Sunday, December 30, 2012

Diamond Dust

Did you know that is what the sparkly snow is called when the snow shimmers when it is so cold? Just so you know. That is what is happening outside right now, as I write and as I crunched across the walks to a neighbor's.

The whole Whobilation of the Holidays has wiped me out. Not even a Coca-Cola can perk me up. The he flu has been going around so that could be the reason.

I told a friend, after J. left for his designated divorce half time with his other parent, :"I think kids leave messes so that you'll remember them when they leave."

You'd think one would fist pump when you got some time to yourself as a parent, divorced or not, but there is always a mess to clean up. And sometimes you leave it, cause it's cute.

Such as a hand print on a window. The little poems with their hand print brought home from pre-school or nursery, remind you of the fact they grow and go so fast.

But in real time moment, it's exhausting to walk into a room and see the cute little things they left behind.

Can you imagine them coming home from pre-school with what is really irksome?

"Oh, look it's a blob of toothpaste on paper, like what you leave in the sink! ..awwww."


Yes, you'd think you'd be partying the minute the little soul leaves the premise. In my case, a nap.
The day, your schedule is wide open. Want to watch a sappy movie? Done.
Go to the store by yourself and not have to linger all day in the toy section? Call a friend without having a third party ask what the other person said, who it is, so on and so forth....


But for a minute, the mess they left makes you miss them and maybe if you threw a bunch of airplanes, like dice, onto the floor and walk across them like they do in some of the mini-series where people have to walk across hot coal to achieve mind over matter, will remind you of how great it is that you get a break once in awhile.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Christmas Carol Card

This is a Christmas Card we received from a family member. They are both older and had some surgeries this year, yet it was a surprise to get this kind of card in the mail from them! Expecting the usual picture of their faces,  instead we got the X-Ray version of what was going on.

This card made me laugh. Then cry. I wanted to use it. It could not have been further from the truth for me, either!!!!! Or Jaden, really. Considering all the bumps and bruises that came with his first year of Grid Kid this year.

AND it went along with Jaden's assessment of A Christmas Carol- The one with George C. Scott:

J: This is more like a Halloween movie than a Christmas movie, mom.

Me: Well, hold on- wait til the end you'll see it is more of a Christmas movie than ANY of the others.

Not on purpose I ran to grab something during Jacob Marley' s arrival and returned to the living room to see Jaden's back pressed so far into the couch that it left indentations and had his feet tucked between the pillows.  

Me: Ah, shoot. I wanted to see that part!

J: Thanks for leaving me alone!

Poor kid was so frightened, he couldn't even make it outta the couch to another room. And he sat riveted to the movie til the end. -- Because that's where I was and it must have been default.

Not to trivialize J's experience, but in the book Marley, in his hearse, if I recall correctly, comes UP Scrooge's  stairs. Pulled by 6 BLACK horses. So the scene in the beginning that is creepy- a hearse with windows to see inside at the casket and is pulled by two black horses by itself down a creepy street in England is one thing- coming up a flight of stairs with half the blocks lights all knocked out, now that's quite another.

Heck, just writing about it makes me get the shivers. No wonder Eb was confused in his bed as to what the heck was occurring- and I bet he wished he wasn't such a cheap skate when it came to lighting things up cause if you thought that a freight train were coming up your staircase-
 "... and taken it broad wise, with the splinter-bar towards the wall and the door towards the balustrades: and done it easy. There was plenty of width for that, and room to spare;....."

Glad our staircase is relatively small and we don't have balustrades. Even the scary version of A Christmas Carol are tame compared to the book.

Dickens is brilliant. You know that right?

Or do you only know the movie version or abridged versions of Dickens? I did. The Victorian language, although English, is akin to trying to understand urban slang. One day I finally read it. WELL. WORTH> IT.
 It is way longer winded than any text message could hold. All of the beauty of Dickens along with the darkness, the truth, the message; is just NOT present in a movie. There is a lot there if you are willing to read it.

Back to Jaden's induction to this Priceless, overlooked treasure:

J: Is that ghost (of Christmas Present)  STANDING on Ignorance and Want under his robe?

Me: It looks that way.

J: How did they do that? Why is he standing on two kids? Is he a midget?

Me: Well, it's hard to explain. I'm sure he's on a stool behind them and they put make-up on some kids to make them look really scary and destitute.

J: Oh.
George C. Scott after having to look what is under his robe: "Hide them from me. I am unable to look at them."
J: Hide this movie from me! I don't want to see anymore!
Me: Oh, c'mon.

YES, It's Creepy. It's a Dickens, next time we'll have to go with the Disney. 

Dickens isn't even the start of the mental toughness needed, as a child to endure the cold, cruel, long days of December.

Kids go through torture the month of December; They have Elves, like Sting,  stalking; watching their every move.  They have to clean up their rooms,their mouths, make room for new toys, and generally behave in a manner they aren't used to year round. This tension spills out into the classrooms for the teachers. Poor teachers.

Here are some phrases heard in households....

"Santa will come by and see you have enough and just pass over this house.... heck, he may even take the toys you don't play with and give them to someone who would"

"uh-oh, Santa saw that."

For J. to find room in his room for the new stuff was like a death to gift sentence. He'd already had to make room for a basketball court. Remember Bball season collides with the Holiday Seasons?

So right there he had a disadvantage. Add to the fact that I got books from the library like Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids- just didn't help.  (Yes, I got some Christmas books too.)

But he made it.

Granted Christmas Eve he was wound tight as a top.

J: What do I do?

Me: What do you mean, what do you do?

J: When I wake up, can I go upstairs and start opening presents?

Me: No. You wake me up and we all get up and take turns and take pictures of you, opening your presents.

J: What if it's early????

Me: Then you have to wait.


ME: How is it you don't know what to DOI half wonder aloud.

Then I recall he comes from a divorced situation where the holidays are often oddly spent. And sometimes you open gifts at night. Or the day before the holiday. Or the day after. Or.......fill in the blank.

So I had to tell about "back in the olden days" when kids tip toe-ed up the stairs, saw the magic, went down to their rooms and fell back asleep until 8 am and tried to wake up their parents.

 I warned him that if he didn't  go to sleep, Santa couldn't even come by which made it that much more pressure to go to sleep.  Eventually, he drifted off to sleep. I doubt sugar plums danced.
Because through the night I heard him get up several times, he came in and complained about the other family members in the house not in bed yet

J: "That 'stupid guy' isn't even gonna stop here cause Papa is watching Glenn, Gma is up wrapping presents and........"

Me: Wow. You sound angry. This isn't Santa's fault. You just called him "Stupid"! Like he's gonna stop here with that name calling!

J: I know. I just can't sleep. He buried his head in defeat into the pillow.

Me to myself.... I know the feeling. It can get maddening not being able to sleep at night.

I tried to read him some books to put him to calm him, and it put me to sleep. I made him start to read and it put him to sleep!
A deep sonorous breathing from his chest made me feel I could move from my position next to him in the darkness and go to work.  Suddenly,  He sat straight up. I laid down and faked sleep.  Confused and beyond tired, he got up  to use the bathroom. I heard him fumble to the bathroom, find it was occupied and heard his stumbling, shuffling feet down the hall toward the stairs until eventually he regained balance and he took the steps by twos.

Cardinal No-No Rule.. that he had NOT been informed about before he became 9; You DO NOT go upstairs or in the living room until--- well, until waaaaaayyyyy later.

WHY DID I NOT TELL HIM THIS?????????????????????????????

In his absence, I Set my alarm. This was getting to be a painful, tiring joke. He returned upset that Papa scrammed him from the upstairs and told him he was trying to keep him from coming down the chimney. Only to upset J. further.
Somewhere, sometime in that interminable night, the Sand Man really socked it to him and I. We were out. However, my cell alarm buzzed under my pillow and awoke me after only a few minutes into a yummy dream. (that makes you gain weight cause you are on prednisone.) 

 I was up.
Great. Duty done and even ran outta there by Papa who was on Santa detail - to keep him from coming, I was up.

Early morning approached and, finally,  I fell asleep.

A few minutes past and J. was in my room dancing excitedly and begging for me to get up.

I told the child I needed 30. Because it was 4-ish or something.
By the time I dragged myself up there I felt and probably looked like Jacob Marley.

Madre was givin explicit instructions to not take pics of me.

Now, an X-Ray, I have no qualms posting those.
Surprise Gifts that must have come from The Commander in Chief Grinch: A Thermometer. Oh, and a blood pressure cuff. Wasn't expecting those. But I did use Padre's BP cuff a couple times in the last month and he has a thing for having his own stuff. So it was really great Santa stepped in and got me that cuff.
The thermometer was great, tho. Because ours is broken. Enough for tonight. And, Readers, we are glad to be alive.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Aloha, from Padre: Island Greetings

Well, Reader, Padre did NOT say: Melekalikmaka, although he WAS in Hawaii!!!!! He did say: "Aloha" when he called once. But can you believe
He had to board a plane! ??

(These little planes are what J. worked on for his Christmas gifts for his buddies. We still have to deliver some. They can be played with AND stuck on the tree as an ornament. Talk about cute. He made one that was a glider for a special friend and it was adorable.)

His tools had to go INTO the belly of the animal and a smaller version of his mug all flew across the Pacific ocean for "A Case of Trouble".

Yup. Startling isn't it???? You should have seen the days leading up to his departure. Everything was so tightly packed he could have been hired by....some company that requires technical efficiency.

Padre found a Verizon near him due to something breaking off  his phone while he was off the mainland; a major tragedy. But a Festivous Miracle that there was a Verizon located-- So he really was at home with Verizon and Wal-Mart close by him during his painful stay.
  When we'd talk, him on his head set and GPS lady in the back ground, it was  VERY similar to our talks here- him errand running to the same places, even though he was  in Hawaii. 

His best comments:

Padre: "Everyone here wears shower shoes!   (flip flops and sandals)."

Me: Well you should fit in then... at least at shower time! Are they wearing Wrangler Jeans with theirs?

Padre: No. Shorts and skirts.

Me: Too bad you didn't pack any. Or do you have any shorts?

Padre: "Oh! And EVERYONE backs into their parking places!" he said this as excited as a child seeing the loot left by Santy Claus Christmas morning.

Me: You do that too! It's parking  after your own heart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Padre: I really like it! (The parking idea.)

As I said before Christmas, I had a BIG surprise for you Readers. It was a big surprise for his family-

Padre had the 'misfortune' to go by himself to Hawaii and do a "Case of Trouble".

 Which means he worked like a dog and didn't have time for himself to sight see, or find a meal close by at a decent hour and  without traffic bumper to bumper.  He was in NO mood to get anywhere but back to his hotel. But when the trouble is over, its late at night, it's not as if going to the beach or visiting land marks is really an option.

 --When he has Cases of Trouble on his job it makes it difficult to sight see anyway. Which is pretty much daily. Round the clock" trouble shooting" under high stressed, do or die situations; eliminate the location's beauties, and make any location mute and irrelevant.

Which is sad.

I pulled out my scrapbook and told him all the local beaches to hit that were NO where near what Waikiki was and that he could simply go eat lunch there. He didn't care. It was muggy. On and off rainy and he was on the job.

HOWEVER, the first day he couldn't get his clearance. He was FORCED to RELAX, folks. That's when he found Wal-Mart and he his fears were calmed.

(This guy relaxing at Papa's while Papa slaves away. There is a saying I saw once that said:
"Relax like I'm not here." This picture sums that up.)

He did not pack to relax. I don't think he knows how, actually. So, he visited the USS Missouri- A slew of pictures have come through via text message since he didn't even pack a cam.

First one: Padre, with blue skies behind him, frowning in front of his hotel. (It was raining when he got there and his initial room was/ is 11 floors away from an ice machine. See my posts on his mug fixation. Oh, and he took a SMALLER one on the airplane.

Others- A hallway on the ship where the Japanese signed paper work to stop fighting.

One of a woman by a dent in the ship where  Kamikaze plane hit and the pilot slid across the deck.

Jaden stayed up until way late to find out if Padre brought him back anything from the Oahu. He was very disappointed to find he had not.

"Folks, I wasn't in a place I could get any of those things." Padre said distress like.

(Awesome Daises my friend brought by that look like bright lights shining in my room.)

What about your hotel? Did you bring us back any soap or a shower cap. I ribbed him.

"They only had ear plugs. " he said as he started to unload his luggage.

Ear plugs? Now I wondered if he was pulling our ears and had some gifts hidden somewhere waiting to spring them on us Christmas morning.

"Yes, it is so noisy that they issue ear plugs for some reason."

huh. Even that surprised me seeing how it was a Courtyard Marriott on the beach.....

"Did you bring me back some Hawaiian ear plugs?" a sleepy grandchild asked from Papa's new recliner.

"Well, I just used the one pair and tossed them before leaving."

J. fell asleep, I had to rouse him and have him walk down to bed without getting his teeth brushed.

Monday, December 24, 2012

From: Anonymous


When you receive an anonymous present, it is like you are sharing a secret, except it is with someone who remains a mystery.

Christmas time always brings unexpected kindnesses- this year was no exception. Some are too sacred to even tell about because that would ruin the secret in a way.

However, today I must tell about

The Cheese ball.

I have never thought to give this as a gift. Now, I will.

Last night I made a list with Madre about what to buy for food. I said I would make "The" cheeseball- a delicious, time consuming, feat. We headed out today for WAl-Mart. Not smart. It was noon and in full swing. I thought for sure I would get nailed by busy shoppers with carts full of food, or the stockers rolling boxes to and from the aisles.

Since my shopping was done, I didn't feel distressed until I got to the check out phase. Standing in a long line- with all that time to yourself  desperation sinks in. Literally the life was getting sucked out of me and I had to grip the cart for support to keep my knees from wanting to buckle or my body from wanting to sit on the floor and lean up against the candy and National Enquirer.

All the food items on the conveyor belt, in the carts in front of me, and the items in my own cart seemed to be symbols of all the problems facing me. The check out gal was methodically going through them and I wondered how long she would have to endure the lines. Looking behind me,  our line had grown to the jewelery counter. I noticed the checker didn't raise her head to see how long the line was and thought that was probably smart; just keep your mind on what was in front of her at the time.

However, I was having a hard time of it and thinking about how I was going to get through the wait, get home and make the Taste of Home, award winning cheeseball.
It would involve having  to make bacon, chopping it and other ingredients up, and warming it in the oven. It is then placed in a hollowed out sourdough soup bowl.

I prayed right there in my head.

(The seashells are the festive Hawaiian flare given Padre was there.) 

'Father, it's Christmas. Please help me get through this moment of standing in line, like normal people do. Help me make the food I said I would make. I can't do this. It's Christmas.....'

-As if He didn't know...... My phone buzzed. Tiredly I pulled it  from my purse expecting mom on the line asking me which aisle was on.  We'd split up to knock out the shopping and it was a miracle we finished at the same time. Instead of her number coming up on the screen, it was J's friend.

Great. He was home calling friends to play or something. I pushed send.

Me: Hello.?

Her: Amanda! This is: 'friend's mom'

Me: Hey!

Her: I just dropped off  a cheeseball  at your house.


I wanted to make sure Jaden isn't allergic to the stuff we brought over- other than peanuts he isn't allergic to other nuts.

Me: Jaw Dropping.,"You have no idea how thankful I am to hear that. I couldn't face making a cheeseball today and that was my contribution to the family festivities today."

We said our holiday greetings, hung up and it was tempting not to turn around and tell the people behind me of the miracle, that verged on divine intervention, that had just taken place.

Everyone in the fam showed up throughout the day and the cheeseball was a hit. It was JUST what I needed.

The miracle.

That is the fastest, most specific answer to a prayer I've ever had. I don't think it'll happen like that again so I am recording it!

So simple. Yet, not. Those things are hard to make when you are stressed. She did this for me- at the request of her little one who loved her cheeseballs and wanted our family to have one.

He was one of my little league angels at one point and knowing he felt this and had a hand in being an answer to a prayer... well, I was starting to tear up. 

Look for more stories shortly.... Too tired to convey the rest tonight. I just know God heard me and gave me that cheeseball. 

Too tired to edit, etc. I hope the best tonight for you, Readers. Thanks for all you do. And to all the anonymous secret keepers of mine.... well, you already know. It gave me hope.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Have you Flossed?

We are now in the final stretch. Pouting is at an all time high and it is Just a few short- or long- days until the BIG day.
Is anyone else feeling the tinsel tension? Or seeing it in your kid?
After watching J. flop around and moan on the couch yesterday, and complain that he was in physical pain waiting for the big day, despite going to Ijump- you'd have thought he'd had his tonsils out.
The horrible fact his best friend has the flu during Christmas vacation and he is on pins and needles still about whether he's been a good kid this year, was too much  even to  enjoy a Christmas movie.
So by the time night fell....

he was beyond ready for bed. But he ended up staying up, having a late snack and put off his night time routine. Don't you hate that feeling? You want to crawl into your bed, barely can pull your clothes off and slither under the sheets but you still have things to do? 
No sweaty, greasy hair getting into festive plaid sheets I just put on his bed for the Christmas season!
He HAD to do the routine. No ifs of buts. 
After his shower, I  unmercifully called from my bed:
 "Have you flossed?"
He dragged his body back into the bathroom, flossed and then brushed. More moans emanated from the bathroom as he scrubbed his teeth.  
Oh, come on! How hard is it?? I thought to myself as I lay in bed.

 Then he came into my room and reminded me about the canker in his little mouth, showed me and I felt immediate remorse. The toothpaste is on the harsh side, even for me.
 "Have YOU flossed?" he asked leaning against my bed, sincerely concerned about my oral health.
I had not! I was already in bed and almost asleep were it not for the final mothering duties, I'd be in my long winter's nap.
 He brought me some floss so I could get the job done, too. A gesture that truly was appreciated. It helped me get take care of my teeth last night. I'm always pushing  him why it is important to keep his teetch flossed, how it can affect your health, plus who wants to get drilled at the Dentist? Not fun. Painful.

He was really sweet to bring me the good floss. The slippery, extra thin kind. Not the thick, heavily waxed, bargain buy kind. After a day of driving me crazy, he totally redeemed himself. And helped me and him get that much closer to being on Santa's good side! He even read to me from our arsenal of Christmas books.

I hope the jolly fellow stuffs his sock with some sensitive mouth toothpaste. Cankers are the worst.

Hope you enjoy the random pics....

Saturday, December 22, 2012

To: Me; From: Me= Grinch Gifts

What do you put on the tag when you have a Christmas gift you essentially purchased for yourself?
I don't know if this is a trait passed down from the genetic gene pool, but I've seen Padre, myself, and Jaden each make purchases before Christmas that have negated what Santa could/would have brought on Christmas Eve night, had the person simply been patient enough to wait.
Actually, there are some things that St. Nick actually would have gotten royally wrong and you that would mean standing in the long return lines on the 26th. So, really, you are doing the big guy a favor. Right?
Padre purchased some bath mats for himself and wanted them saved for Christmas morning. Padre actually does all his own Christmas shopping because it would be way to involved for us to compare prices, return and re buy the gift- so it simply uncomplicated his and our Christmas. That is why he usually ends up with coal in his stocking. If Santa Claus knew he appreciates the coal, he'd leave something else- like a real puppy dog.
With the high end bath mats finished being wrapped I took my Sharpie and wrote on the tag:
To: Papa
The "From" part brought me to a halt and made me wonder how to answer who it was From
 Shall I put from you?
I asked mom.
You didn't really pick it out.... hmmm.... and it technically isn't from Santa. "
Putting a gift from yourself  under the tree looks slightly tacky and selfish-- and makes you feel tacky and selfish.  Unless you can find someone to say it is from, you end up truly being selfish.
If  a grandchild were to look under the tree, THEY might get the wrong idea and start doing that same thing.
But it is the honest truth; you got the gift for whatever reason; because you knew that's what you wanted and were saving the giver the hassle of going and getting it OR possibly missing the sale OR there is just ONE left. All valid self gift giving concerns.
The best person to ascribe the blame and pass the buck, I concluded,  is the Grinch.
So there it is:
To: Papa    From: The Grinch.
There are several Grinch gifts under the tree.

Monday, December 17, 2012

It Can't Wait

Readers, Padre's latest work assignment can't wait. Like a Christmas gift you open before the 25th, I'm spilling the beans. They are too funny to hold back.  

First of all, Padre had to fly. On a plane. Yup. He had to put ALL of his equipment on the cargo of an airplane and FLY.

Here are some of the first  of the text messages--- they have been censored of foul language for the kiddos.

"... I just got to my room and I am starving. (he left at 8am and it is now almost 11pm) and can't figure out how to get food. I hate this place. Worst traffic I have ever seeen. Reminds me of Saigon.
Can't wait to get out of here. I will call as soon as I can get things going..."


Where Padre is "shootin' trouble" ? And it is worse than his time in Vietnam??????

Any guesses?????
Thanks, Dad, for  doing that for us. The munchkins were all here today and we had Bean with Bacon soup for dinner. Dipped french bread in it. Sorry you had a miserable, all day flight, that they have mandatory valet parking, and we are enjoying the fruits of your labors.
The grandkids were very cute.
The littlest one is the size of a bulldog and will swipe your glasses off if you are not careful.
He's also teething and will tell you all about it.
Ko-gee was very cute as his older brother did a rendition from the 3 Amigos.
He swayed from side to side and then bowed his head at the end and said: OOOOO for the AmigOOOOOs.  part.
Then he spread his arms out wide and bowed his head like they do on the movie.
Cowboy Kade told me he was Ned from the 3 Amigos and when I asked him if I should write To: Ned or To: Kade on his gift he laughed pretty hard.
He also played with one of the figurines from mom's collection. He put the Rider cowboy hat on a little boy that is carrying firewood. It looked so cute. But I warned him it was breakable, to be very careful.
A few minutes later:
Grandson: Amanda, you were right. This guy is breakable.
Me: Oh, dear. Where did it break? His head?
Grandson: No, his poor little feet.
We have to fix him.


The Creature Is Stirring..Manda at Midnight

Jaden has been painting some houses to help alleviate the anxiety of December and not knowing if you will get what you want.....

The sleep was so deep and felt to have lasted ALL night, I heard Padre up in his office and assumed he was turning Glenn Beck on and then heading back to bed.

A look at the clock and it showed midnight. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Padre hadn't even Showered yet.
My body crashed back onto the bed and pillow and I felt the feeling of want  set in.

My feet wanting potassium, the muscles in them seemingly in a perpetual state of being pulled into a ballerina's pointed toes. Prednisone side effect. -- Note to self. Eat more bananas.

Carefully I put them on the floor and waited for the blood to equilibriate in my body before standing- so as to avoid a fall. I felt my way to the hall way, then to the bathroom. Holy swollen, batman.
I am surprised at my refelction in the mirror just in the time I went to bed.

Jaden has been watching The Santa Clause and the way Tim Allen starts putting on weight is pretty prednisone typical. I keep seeing the scale climb even as he stand on it.

Secretly I wish there was some way to drain this stuff off. After the shock wears off I start to feel hungry. So I go upstairs and peek in on Padre. He's doing stuff. Cleaninig computers of viruses, organizing his equipment so he can do some trouble shooting starting tomorrow somewhere. (I can't wait to blog about it. If I can get him to take some pics of him in the bowels of the place he's going- it may be my best post yet. Heck, I feel like Glenn Beck getting you all excited about some future project in the works but I can't tell you right now. Or you have to wait to watch it on my show later in the day.)

So Padre and I exchange words and I feel hungry. But my stomache is very deceptive in its choice. Not only do I look pregnant, but I feel pregnant with my food cravings.

One day went like this:

Stomache: mac and cheese sounds soooo good right now.

Me: You hate mac n cheese. You never eat mac n cheese.

Stomache: But I want it.

Me: Ok.

half way through stirring the noodles Stomache starts to get nauseauted.

Stomache: I hate to tell you this... but maybe I don't really want mac n cheese.

Me: Great. I have already started it! What am I gonna do, make it and put it in the fridge as a leftover??? That's is really gross. Leftover mac n

Stomache: Stop!!!! You are makiing me ill! Oh, no.... why are you putting that much butter in.

Me: It calls for it on the directions.   (stir, stir)

Stomache: Now I am really sick. Stop. Just throw it away. I can't stand to look at it.

Me: Well,, way to waste! No. You are gonna finish fixing this and put it in the fridge and clean the pot.

Stomache: Okay! (gag. bile production starting)

I can't remember how that story ends, but I know tonight I opted for some Ritz crackers and Ginger Snaps to curb the nauseau. Oh, and a banana popsicle. My mouth is so dry.
I tried sitting by the tree and thinking happy Christams thoughts.

Read some sad news. Decided I'm done reading sad news. Changed my sheets. Wondered about how my friends are doing and that I may as well live in a diff. time zone because when I can talk, they are snoozing. While my body looks and waits for when I can take the prednisone and the withdrawel or want of whatever it creates in my body, stops.

But it's only 3. And I usually don't take it til 6. Three hours. If it didn't hurt to cross stitch, I would do that. I used to do that for years. I've noticed new bruises on my body that are mystery bruises but they hurt. Are they left over from when I fell?

There are new bruises below my knees. I walked a little the other day and any time I exercise, I get bruises there and on my shins. I don't know why that is. But I have to build my stamina, and muscle back up because the pred. is pulling muscle tone from my calves and displacing fat cells on my trunk. And it is making falling down more of an issue.

My ankles are culprits in this as well. All those years of rolling them in sports and now it seems they are playing part in this prednisone game of tug of war over some vital nutrients or something. Prednisone is winning. But I have started doing my sprained ankle alphabet exercises to strengthen them.

The good news is that my blood is in a little vile and on its way to Seattle, WA. Where there is a lab that will look at my blood and see if I have been exposed to a certain virus. If no, then I can start a new drug for my disease! So I am trying not to get too hopeful, but excited that maybe by Christmas that drug will be in my veins and stopping this disease progression. And I will be that much closer to lower mgs of prednisone.

I never knew my life would revolve around such a small thing: milligrams. But their effect, in drug form, on the body.. whew.

Jaden is excited about his gifts. I wrapped them in assorted boxes and camoflouged them so he won't know what they are. He said he is excited to open the one that I have wrapped in hay.

It's got a raffia bow tying it shut so he can't open and peek. He is a snoop this year for sure.

Felt is still a medium of choice while on prednisone. This year, instead of the cute, trendy balls of string I made, it is Felt Scottie Dogs with varying material for the scarves around their cute little necks. 

(Spurs make it hard to kneel down- good thing his knees bend both ways and he can sit in that position that makes adults crings. -- legs out and behind him. he also walks charachteristically cowboy-ishly pigeon toed and this is no small feat with spurs....)

I am debating doing Little Mice in red bathrobes but am afraid I will be certifiable if I make a bunch, regardless if it was Mary Engelbreit's idea.

Jaden is enjoying the gift project for the year. A simple little something that he gets to use his coping saw and paints on. however, he made the first one and stopped helping and just played with it.

Did I mention that Padre saved my computer? Awhile back all my troubles were mounting and this laptop crashed. Two days of Padre trouble shooting my case of trouble, and I was back in business.
Man, he's good at fixin' stuff.

Ugh... this screen is now making me dizzy.

over and out.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Kindergartner- Conn. Tragedy Tribute

(My typewriter with the names of the children that were killed on that dreadful)

As a teacher- a substitute teacher none-the-less, I am pretty emotional about the massacre in Connecticut. One of this blog's premisess' is based on the "whoas" of teaching... Today was one big Woe.

A lot of my inspiration came/comes from being in the class room or coaching. Something that I haven't been able to do for some time. However, the 'teaching'; it continues day in and day out with my little pupil and son, Jaden.

 At J's school I taught kindergarten class on a regular basis a few years ago. Every day is a lot like the day before. Routine. Going over the same things to learn their numbers, letters, how to cut things out and how to interact with others. It can be tough. But it becomes safe and familar.

Hearing the news of the shootings reminded me of 9.11 because both unfolded on the radio for me as I sat devastated. Today, I was at the table trying to wrap some gifts as I  heard the chief of police unfold the morning piece by piece. First that he shot the principal as she was doing the morning news over the intercom. Then he shot other staff members. Finally, one of the officials said  that the gunman had confined the massacre to two rooms.......

But which two??? I anticipated the older children for some reason. Until eventually it was revealed that it was smallest of them all. The pint sized ones. The ones who were probably getting ready to or were sitting on the floor, at the foot of their teacher sitting criss cross apple sauce and reading a book.

Either way, today they would've counted to the 14th while their teacher used a stick or wand to point to the numbers on the Calendar.
After reaching the 14th they would repeat in unison: "December 14th 2012". Then they would have counted by 5's and possibly 10's. Just like every other day since they had started school for the first time.

My heart aches and as I thought about the characteristics of these little ones and the traumatic experience they faced today.... tears came. So here is what I recall about this special age and my time in the class room with them. And my prayers are with the families that lost their children today. That had their children witness this event. And I pray for parents everywhere that little ones  are protecte and loved how the Lord would love them. (see below my description of "A kindergartner".)

A Kindergartner is.....


wears a plastic Disney back pack that is almost bigger than he/she is to school.

is overjoyed to wear that back pack and finally go to school.

loves to ride a bus.

able to sit criss cross applesauce for a little while.....

unable to sit criss cross, instead lays on the outer fringes of the rug like he were doing a snow angel.

able to raise their hand for every question; even if they don't have the answer.

still working on using a tissue to get boogs out and cover sneezes.

needs a snack, like graham, fish, or animal crackers to get through the day.

knows her birthday, and others and will tell you in the middle of reading a book.

has a hard time sticking to the subject without an elaborate story from home.

able to sit in a tiny chair that the teacher can only get half of herself onto.

uses way too much glue.

needs help with coat zippers.

has shoelaces that need to be tied.

calls you "Teacher", no matter what your name is.

loves recess and standing by the duty (you as their teacher) and talking.

hugs you in the hall, in class, out on the play ground and their head buries itself right at your hip.

tells tall tales.

learns to write the alphabet.

uses crayons to draw pictures for you to take home and put on your fridge.

uses tiny scissors to cut things.

always losing mittens or hats during winter.

wears their boots in the classroom,, where the aroma of wet, sweaty kindergarten feet fills the air!

sometimes gets lice. 

gives compliments. (once one, who looked like a Mexican version of the chubby mouse off of Cinderella came up to me and said: "Teacher, you're pretty." I was in a purple dress.

likes to get a drink from the drinking fountain.

loves to play pretend house with the kitchen set, or build forts and towers with wooden blocks and scatter them all over.

cries or is nervous when there is something amiss- like when a substitute teacher comes to class.

loves their teacher and worries about him/her. Especially if sick or in an accident.

tender hearted.



may not speak English.

laughs at my Spanish jokes or little songs.

loves reading time

loves to share what their work to their classmates who sit on the rug while he/she stand next to the teacher in her chair.

loves to use the dry erase markers and pre-tend to be the teacher- at school and at home.

has to use the handrail on the bus to climb the huge first step onto it.

loves when it is singing time and they get to dance and move and wiggle to the music teacher's songs.

will tell you things that the parents probably don't want you to know!

may have a learning disability like ADD.

sometimes rolls out of bed and comes to school without brushing their hair.

may be neglected at home

trusts you.

wants to please you.

is learning to sound out the letters of the alphabet.

hangs their coat and bag in the same place each day.

sits at a table with their name displayed on it.

day dreams. A lot.

talks a lot to their neighbor.

is mischievious.

doesn't want mom, dad, grandma or caretaker to leave when they come to volunteer.

can make quite a mess with glue, construction paper, and their clothes.

loves to paint.

loves play dough. (so does this teacher- it is a nice stress reliever. )

smells like home-made salty play dough.

will sometimes eat play dough. crayons. erasers off the end of pencils and other objects.

wants to always have their pencil sharp; and needs to use the teacher's sharpener.

will lie

will tell the honest truth.  ("Teacher you have... fill in the blank!)

loves to bring a little toy from home and can't keep it in their pocket.

will cry if what they brought from home has to be on the Teacher's desk til iit's time to go home.

will have her hair all done up with cute barrettes or bows.

loves to wear fluffy skirts and twirl in them. (girls)

has holes in the knees of their jeans (mainly the boys. : ) from playing with cars and trucks and rough housing on the ground.

has grass stains on their jeans.

can get into a huge mess in the bathroom.

can "miss" getting to the bathroom in time.

can throw up in the middle of where everyone walks.

learns to wash their hands for the whole duration of Happy Birthday and with warm water.

did I say loves to listen to you read to them??????

likes order and routine and may even come un-glued if a sub does things differently than their real teacher!

believes you will keep them safe.

Stop here, reader, if you don't want to hear more the ramblings of a sub teacher, coach, and mother.I got a little carried away earlier.

Because this post went in a different direction than I thought. But I needed to write it down. And, maybe, these words will somehow help us all remember how to teach and treat little ones....

A long time ago I found that I loved teaching children. Well, that I loved children. Period. It was so important for me to know how God, and His Son would teach a child. I will never forget being in college at USU when a man by the name of Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to a stadium filled with college students, about things I have forgotten since. But at one point he seemed to look directly in my section and with a pause then his hand lifted in the air and finger pointed, he said: "There is never a reason for you to raise your hand or your voice to a child."

This man was the Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I belong to this church.
After years of searching and learning about child hood education, I heard the words that my heart had always known and felt validated by this bold statement.

Never before had any Prophet of my faith so boldly said what he felt. It isn't part of the 10 C's. I had heard this man say: "Spare the rod- but not the fishing rod" during one general conference. So it wasn't like I could or members of my faith were required to follow this admonition to be able to gain eternal salvation.

Our church is one that allows people to govern themselves. But in my heart I always carried this conviction and looked for it in my studies, looked for data to back up the fact that physical force against a child wasn't necessary- that there were other ways. This journey led me to hear even a much harder admonition: Not raise my voice. NOw that would be HARD.

As 22 year old sitting in the Aggie gym, I wrote down what I heard in my navy blue Franklin planner and felt it was as valid and important as if Moses were coming down a mountain with Rock plates in his hands and the finger of the Lord's wriiting upon it.

This post isn't going the way I thought it would initially......

When I informed others of how I would raise my children, or I instigated a "softer" approach to how I re-directed I felt as if I was judged as being an enabler, or too soft. Etc.

One more example that came from a prominent individual in my church was at a Stake General conference. This is a gathering of several wards. Think of a tent. You have a neighborhood that makes up a group and then several of those groups; a stake.

Elder Nelson, spoke to us in person and the first thing he had us do was have the kids stand up on their chairs. ??? huh??

My son and I were in the gym, where cold fold up chairs were set up. I didn't feel too bad about the kids standing up on these, but what about the pews? Elder Nelson had to urge us parents, those in the nice pews, to allow the kids to put their dirty shoes up on the furniture.

Whoa!!!!!!!!! Man, we got in trouble with mom and dad if we put our shoes up on the pew in front of us, let alone STAND on top of them. WHOA! The children stood up. Elder Nelson then told us to
"behold" our children.

He repeated what I'd heard many years before- he spoke of abuse. Not just physical. But emotional.
Having these little ones, up above us, on a pedastal and hearing Nelson talk about how The Lord felt about these little ones.....

NOW, I don't want you to think I have never spanked J. I have. I can recall the few times that I did. How I had gone back on my promise to myself and against the knowledge I'd aquired. Please also know that I think that sometimes you gotta get a kids attention. Maybe a swat as they run toward a highway is exactly the kind of jolt you need to give a child.

Every time I've needed to "teach" J. or discipline I've felt a distinct moment of choice- I could either go ballistic, get angry, or do......... sometimes it is different.

There have been some big FAILS. Moments I did the wrong thing.

I'm too tired to edit or finish the thoughts of the day. This was written over the course of a few points during my day so it may not flow. And I have had a hard time thinking with the concussion dealio.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Padre and Holiday/Work Travel

Any time Padre has a job- on his job- he calls it "a case of trouble".

If I text him or call him to ask where he's at, he might reply:

 "Well, I got a 'case of trouble' over at Idahoan (it's a diff. name now but they make dehydrated potatoes.)


 "There's a "case of trouble" over in Cheyenne that they've got me on." Either way, it takes him to distant places at times. He drives to these locations in his work car that is basically set up how his office, bedroom, and life are set up- exactly how he likes it.

Sometimes these cases of trouble take him really far away. Those  long hard trips, driving in his work vehicle, that has all of his tools to fix cases of trouble, that deal with phones and whatever other trouble that comes with how people and companies comunicate, can be really hard on him.

The fact he  is in this field and excels is almost ironic to me because, I swear, he and I can't communicate. Somehow things get lost in translation.

Recently, Padre returned from Denver and was telling us  his adventrues driving clear to the state of Colorado with all his specifically Padre packed items for a trip. (i.e. his stuff.)

After he recounted a scammer calling his motel room and telling him that the hotel computers went down and all of the information was lost and would therefore need his credit card information again- my brother asked some questions and made some observations.

First of all, to ease your mind readers, Padre caught on real quick to the scam; told them he never gave his credit card info over the phone and he'd come down to the desk. Which he did. They informed him that it was what he already knew- a Scam Call. Probably the desk person's friend calling from the next room- but the scam was alleviated and Little Brother rightly assessed:

"You have to get up Pretty Early in the morning to pull one over on this guy."
More travails followed concerning the trip and the breakfast conversation went like this:

Son: "Wouldn't the company fly you?".

Padre: "Yes."

Son: "Why didn't you just have them fly you?"

Padre: "Because then I have to check in, and then I have to have my tools in the belly of the plane and then they might lose them. And THEN what if there is a tool I needed that I didn't ship.

Me: Thinking to myself I knew the answer was that he wanted ALL his stuff right with him. And there is NO way he's getting that into a carry on. Heck, just some of his stuff is pulled to his work car in a small luggage bag that many could mistake him for the pilot. So that right there would put a lot of folks at risk.

Brother: "Is that really why you don't want to fly?" he knows the reason, too. He just wants Padre to admit the truth.

Padre, wincing and throwing his head back as if he'd heard the stock market has plummeted and he's lost his whole life's savings, pention plan and the house finally wails:

"I just want my mug!"

So we were all wrong. Well, to a degree. Because, as you know Reader, Padre has to have his mug.

Son, Me: We sat in silence for a brief moment to Reflect on whether or not mugs are even allowed as a carry on.

 I thought  back on all of my airplane rides and I can't recall seeing anyone drinking from a mug.
Can you?

Grandson: uncontrollable laughter.

*For new readers, Padre's mug is a very large, yellow mug that he either puts ice or Coca`-Cola into and perfects the ice/liquid ratio so that it tastes better than any drink you could possibly create. It could quite easily carry a plethora of tools that a terrorist could use, so I can see that it would not be advisable for airlines to allow Padre sized mugs aboard planes. And even if you weren't packing a bomb in the mug, who carries a huge mug onto a plane? It seems somehow out of place.

In Padre's defense, it would be unnerving to have all the tools you need for a Case of Trouble to the job; have it possibly get lost, get through busy airports, and not being next to his stuff would bring on a lot of anxiety. Not worth it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mele-Kalikimaka Concussion

Concussions are not fun. It makes making sentences hard.
 Or harder. Cause sometimes writer's block is tough but this takes writer's block to a whole new level.

I have tried googling the words: Crohns, Tapering Prednisone and Concussion together and found zilch.

So I don't know if I am the first to pioneer this forum or the people that have had this combination of problem, are so con-cussed and are resting from thinking or looking, that they are not on the google radar.

What I did find is that there are a lot of pro-football players bringing concussion, at least, to light.
A couple suicides. Yikes. Depression. Check. New rules and equipment. Got it.

The latest is the afro called The Gaurdian. But, mind you, this is for football players. Concussions can happen to those of us off the field. And who is going to go around in public with one of these on??

FYI I have sat and stared at the post, and others, for long periods of time. The whole experience is making me re0think what J does. I know I am maybe over-reacting.

I mean back in the day when I was a kid and seat belts were new, helmets unheard of and we probably got concussions on a weekly basis. They were called "Goose Eggs".  And I don't know how many I accumulated but it was a sizeable amount.

Turning around in a single driveway on a banana seated bike with handle bars that rose above your head was a feat in itself. And was the reason you didn't learn to ride a bike until you were 12.

Okay, it was 7 or 8. Kids now days can learn at two because of the dwarf sized bikes and if you fall, all you have to do is put your foot our and it's a kick stand.

All I do know is that after sustaining this head injury I painfully walked my big  purple bike home, tears streaming down my face, went inside and informed my mother who handed me an ice pack.
Just thinking about the pain as that tender egg swelled gives me shivers. This was also before I learned about Tylenol. Maybe she gave me one. I don't know.

So is it better to just let kids tough it out? Does it make us stronger or more stupid?

Now, I don't know if this is fate, but the book J chose from the Book Fair- I Survived. The Twin Towers is about a boy who suffers three concussions in two years and is told by his Physical Therapist he shouldn't play football any more.-- I know both J. and I were snuggled up in bed with our little lights twinkling while he read and once he came to that part he put the book down and we both looked at each other with the look like: "Is this a coincidence, or what?" THEN it went on
to tell about the boy, Lucas, at the PT office and looking at pictures of deceased  pro players who had died due to concussions and donated their brains to be studied about the effects concussions.

He read those lines and sat straight up in bed, wide-eyed and looking at me.

I'm not going to die! This is my first concussion. Technically. And those guys get them over and over playing ball. It's their job to play ball and they get hit every day. So it's different.

However,  My little wrapper reader, cautionary child is now informed, from another source other than mother, that it [concussion] is a serious thing.

To make the point hit home even further, the book is quite good, he is enjoying reading it and can relate to the young boy playing ball and can't hardly put it down because it is leading into the young man going into the city to talk to his firefighter uncle, Benny, about the Dr. visit and not being able to play his favorite sport, on 9.11. So the author has credibility in his mind.

So I had to do some balancing of risks that we take and point out how to be careful, blah, blah. That doing extreme sports without proper equipment is foolhardy. And maybe he ought to evaluate what he does in life. Yet there still aren't guarantees. Ya gotta live. It can happen crossing the street, or case in point; going down the stairs. And there are going to be a lot of stairs that he will encounter in his life time and find he'll need ot climb them.

Appeased, he continued to read and my mind drifted off to some other place- I thought about a young man at the HS who won an award for honors and some other stuff that was in band. He played the drums, got really good grades and won some Honorary award/scholarship.

I went to school with his smart mom and really admired how she and her husband raised such a smart kid. He'd suffered a really bad concussion, so he decided to go another route and that focus took him to school and playing the drums. Smart kid. But he does have another brother who has kept playing the sport.

Also my mind thought about a relative that had a freak accident and he didn't have on a helmet. It changed his life forever. And his families.

So when I see kids at the skate park or on the slopes or on motorcycles without protecting their head- I wanna grab them by the shoulders and shake them. Which would be the equivalent of Baby Shaken Syndrome to the brain- in order to get them to see the Risk.

Okay, this is showing the effects pretty much of the pred. and concussed. So I will sign off with something funny.

While taking my meds the other day J. picked up the Prednisone pill bottle and read the three warning labels out loud to me. One says to avoid those with diseases and infections because "your ability to fight off these infections is compromised."

J started laughing so hard. I asked what was so funny.

"How can you avoid yourself?" (I have a disease, infections at times.)

They next label has a picture of a loaf of bread- which is the universal sign in the Pharmceutical world to take the med with food. He thought it was a twinkie. Hostess has gone out of business.

"How are you going to take this if it wants you to take it with a twinkie?" more laughter.

One had a giant X over the sun. Meaning I needed to avoid sunlight or wear sunscreen if I was outside. 

He went through all my medication warning labels and was laughing so hard at how I was supposed to keep it all straight. The one thing that wasn't tough to keep straight was "Breast feeding" or "Planning on Getting Pregnant". These warnings had him blushing.

Some of them were good reminders as to side effects, etc. And I realized I breeze past the fine print more than I should.

And it makes me realize that there are risks to taking meds that you hope to help your body out. I.E. Chemo., etc. You make allowances.

Okay, Readers, I've given you a good concussing tonight. And if there is somone out there who has suffered a concussion, has Crohns and is on prednisone- we need to talk.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stick Tree

Well, here is my stick tree. I told you I was keeping it simple.
Around Thanksgiving, on our trip to pick up J,  I saw a lot of UT license plate cars with trees strapped to the tops. It was obvious they had made a jaunt into the woods, cut down a tree and hauled it back home to Utah.

Don't they have trees in Utah? Maybe Idaho trees are better.... 
All I had to do, in order to get my "tree" was walk into the back yard and rummage through the debris left over from cutting down the tree branches last month.  I stuck it in my 1776 milk bottle, hung the doily ornaments and surrounded the base with pine cones.

Gifts from Christmas past are also there- so it is nice to look at from the bed.That doll is creaping me out now that I look at her in these pictures. Although I loved playing with her as a kid, she may have to go.
There are no lights to string around the branches, pine needles to pick up, and it doesn't require water!
If any of you feel like a stick tree, you are welcome to our backyard!
This stick tree will bring a sweet memory as to the work I had J. do after little brother cut the tree branches down, sawed off smaller logs, and left the rest for us to disassemble.
In order to make it "fun" all I had to do was join him in the project and include the wheel barrel.
After the second or third trip of loading the heavier logs into it, pushing it throught soft, plowed soil, up over the cement lipped boarder and then stacking them by the house- he was pooped.
The project eventually turned to the smaller boughs and using different tools, such as sharp tree clippers. That was fun for a bit too. we would pick up boughs like my tree above, then clip them into smaller pieces to use as, well, kindkling for starting our house on fire. (See last year's post on when I built the fire and forgot to open the flew in time.) Despite a good pair of yellow deer skin gloves on his hands, Jaden's hands got pretty sore and despite being in somewhat good shape from bball, he was huffing it. So...
I threw in Hans story about the Little Match Girl to make the "suffering" of working hard put in perspective. He's read the story before but I lost the book when I took it to one of my sub teaching jobs. It was illustrated by a former ballerina and is my favorite. Remind me to buy it off ebay when I can.
Yup, little orphan boys would sell things on the street corners too. Some had to go out into the wolf filled woods, gather twigs the size you are holding and then sell them for a penny.
This wolf talk and poor wages earned made his eyes widen. I reassured him Padre wouldn't be such a stiff, yet we pretended to be poor, which in all reality wasn't too hard to do for me, but as far as he knows he isn't going to have to be gathering kindling to sell,at least for a few years, to help pass the time.

(I love the memories that come from these vintage items)


Tonight at Pillow talk:

J: So when did you stop believing in Santa Claus?

Me:????? Uh-oh. Here it is. The Christmas Talk. Harder to do than the Birds and The Bees Talk.
Did I give off that aura or something? Darn! I thought I had one more year!

What do you mean? You are asking me a trick question, aren't you?

J: I know you don't believe in him.

Me: Yes, I do. I believe in the spirit of Christmas. It's like faith.

I explain faith. Like faith in God and His Son. Then continue with my Santa is Real Shpill.

 It's hard to find it each year. But it exists. And when you feel it, you know it. And you know he exists.

J: So and so said it's just his parents writing in swirly writing on the tags. But so and so friend believes. So when did you stop believing in him?

Oh, no! More talking about this Santa stuff???? AAAHHHHH!!!!!

Me: Ummm..... well, it was 5th or 6th grade- when a friend of mine told me he wasn't real. --But I still believed in him and told her so.

J: I still believe in him. I mean- I SAW him. He was at our house, walking out the front door and then he just disappeared.

(heavens open and angels sing at this response because it gets me out of the hot seat and it is TRUE.)

I about started to cry.

This event really did happen one year. Orchestrated, of course. But it happened. It was before he had to leave to his Dad's- we left the house for a little drive and upon returning we saw through our front wiindow:  "Santa" all dressed up. The lights were off except for the tree and a small lamp and there he was.

He exited our front door, we kept driving because we knew the  cardinal rule of seeing Santa!! And quite literally, he disappeared in thin air.  That was not orchestrated. To this day I don't know how Santa Claus did it. I need to ask him when I get the chance.

But hearing J say that made me almost cry.   That was back when Mrs. Claus didn't have cancer, when she cared for Santa and he began his growing his beard in August.

Then all the memories of last year flooded me. The glow from next door- the "north pole" equivalent.
Our whole avenue had a reverence to it and this year it is a seemingly plain and  'bare as the stick tree'

 Or is that my heart? And my hope?

I looked at J's post from the other day and felt a sadness at his seeing Santa a second time, drive away in his Pontiac sleigh. Where is that Santa? I am sad that J. had a chuckle about it. But it is the raw truth and I wanted to keep his words, perceptions. Those are important in writing and capturing real life- and he wouldn't blog if I touched his work. So I accepted the conditions but didn't realize it could be hurtful.

Maybe I should have given him a good talking to about where Santa was coming from and his needs too? I dunno. Or did J. think he was one of those Santa helpers that come from the mall like in the movies he watches?

I wish life were as simple as getting a stick tree set up,

And yup, baby doll has to go before this turn into The Nightmare Before Christmas.

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