Sunday, September 28, 2008

Current events

This (two parts) should be required viewing (and the book required reading) for every American able to even remotely grasp the vocabulary used. We'll be using this broadcast as part of our history studies this week, and the kids will see the book in high school.

Did you know this? Perhaps most of us will continue on in our daily activities with nary a blink, basically unaffected by the shenanigans of those goofy people. Don't bet on it.

I hope this is heard far and wide -- she says articulately and with passion what apparently 95% or more of the people (read: voters) are thinking. More of us should be shrieking.

Here: shriek away. It's an election year -- they'll be listening.

You know, if it weren't all so deadly serious, there's material for a great musical in there. Congress, the imperial presidency, angry lawmakers, the theft of WaMu. Upset citizens, exponentially growing national debt, the sinking dollar, foreclosures, clueless leadership. Gilbert and Sullivan would have had a heyday, poking fun at every player, every faction, all who are so blatantly silly and illogical. Perhaps we could write in Pooh-bah or Pish-tush for president.

(Lyrics link)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Murphy rides again

Well, so much for that. E threw up last night and Q needed to get up to be dosed with decongestant, etc. So I've been flirting with the sniffles, sleeping little as Q's meds change. I was hopeful that since his dose had gone up again last night and the rest of the kids were really tired -- indeed, lights out and quiet well before nine -- that I'd be able to kick it completely. Sadly not. Today I feel a bit disembodied. Yuck. Perhaps a shower, perhaps the ibuprofen, perhaps the Claritin or hot tea will help.

I think we'll go for a walk after a while. The big kids are out in the warm sunshine, Q is playing with his fishies and fan (buttons to push).

Later, when my head and arms are once again attached to the same body, I need to share info about the neuro visit, school fun, and why September is a bad month.

I hate snot.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I was thinking in the shower this morning. Random things. Rabbit trails. You know -- the kinds of things one hashes out and solves in a stream of steaming water and seemingly nowhere else.

For whatever reason, it struck me that I've been incredibly blessed to not have been sick much over the last few years. This is fortunate indeed, given the whole single parent/sole caregiver thing that is my schtick these days. So I wondered some more, thinking about why that could be. Maybe because I'm not having so much personal, erm, contact? Kissing and... stuff. Odd thought, huh? I'm terribly grateful to be mostly well -- amazing given the set of factors working against it. Still. If that's the trade-off, I'd rather have the kissing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I've dithered a little about how to write this because it's important. You could say that it's kind of close to home. And it's a big deal.

A friend of mine has founded a charity. She's got vision and talent, compassion by the bushel. All these things sound good, don't they? And they are, too. But they're so much more than that.

Several weeks ago, while the big kids were off for visitation, I was at Costco with Q and my mom. I was pushing him in his chair and my mom had the cart. While she went into the dairy cooler Q and I hung out in front of the fancy cheeses case. Because when else might I get to take my sweet time perusing the lovely cheeses? While I was standing there, rocking Q's chair back and forth a little, a nice lady stopped on her way into the dairy cooler to check out the signs giving the whys and wherefores of the new milk packaging. She struck up a conversation about the same. We chatted for a bit and as the conversation wound down (how much is there to say about milk packaging?), I started to move off. Just as I was about to turn and make my way to the frozen foods, she said, very softly, "I have a disabled child at home too."

I turned around, all ears. "No kidding?"

She went on to tell a little about how he's all grown up, she's pretty much his sole caregiver, and it's just the two of them now. I nodded and commiserated about the 24/7/365 thing, the never-ending struggle to balance all the things of "normal" life with health care worries. She said that sometimes it feels like it's endless. Yup. I started to tell her about this charity, Out of the Gray, and grabbed a pen from my mom who had by now emerged from the dairy case. I wrote down website and email info. As I did so, I was explaining that my friend's passion is to serve mamas/caregivers who, "...feel invisible," she said, almost whispering.

By now, tears were streaming down her cheeks. "Exactly," I said. We hugged, tightly. "Nobody should feel invisible." As I left, I asked her to promise me that she'd call or email my friend, if not for herself then maybe for a friend who might need it, but that she'd certainly be welcome to contact and nominate herself.

To my knowledge, she hasn't contacted the charity. But she might have read the website. She might be carrying the little piece of paper around in her wallet, maybe in her "emergency contacts" pocket, something to look at when she needs to.

I seem to be similarly approached by lots of people, certainly more than your average single homeschooling mom of five pushing a little green stroller/wheelchair. Maybe it's because my group is usually brightly smiling and easily engaged? (Not bragging -- I get compliments. Okay, I'm bragging. Whatever. It's my prerogative.) The most recent conversation was struck up when we were in the Arts and Crafts section of the local fair. This time with a grandma, one of only two caregivers (mom being the other) for her 5 year old grandson who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes pretty early in life. My kids were busily coloring quilt blocks for a larger project to be used in a local Ronald McDonald House. Other volunteers eavesdropped as I gave the Cliff Notes version of Q's diagnosis/life and the grandma shared that her little guy is pretty brittle already -- no play dates, barely able to attend kindergarten -- but the new insulin pump looks promising. We chatted about research in the field, how exciting the new technology and procedures are for diabetics everywhere. Then I told her about Out of the Gray and wrote down contact info.

Dang if the ladies there weren't all red-eyed and sniffling by the time I chugged off with the kids. The grandma, especially.

What does one say? I dunno, man. Except maybe this: apparently, there are a lot of caregivers out there, striving like mad, burning dozens of candles at both ends, not even thinking about the effort put forth or the dedication they exhibit until someone sort of whispers in their ears, "You're not invisible."

Reminds me a little of some old Journey lyrics...

Here I stand so patiently
For your lights to shine on me
For your song inside of me
This we bring to you
In the shadow of love
Time goes by leaving me helpless
Just to reach and try
To live my life
These are my reasons, so
here we stand so patiently
For your song inside of me
For your lights to shine on me
This we bring to you

Here's the link: Out of the Gray.

It's a big deal.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I'm sitting here waving my amazing Wite-Out wand. (Thank you, L.) Is it wrong to have such affection for inanimate objects? Zip-loc bags, nice shelves/shelving, spreadsheets, and many other non-living things have at various times been the object of a crush. I simply adore good tools. Besides usually being out of my price range (free), they're hard to come by, especially in appropriate configurations and at appropriate times. For years and years now I've used these little boxes from IKEA that are something like $4 for 3 -- assorted colors. They hold pens, crayons, scissors, stickers, shiny stuff, glue, erasers, calculators, you name it, and they stack and label so nicely. And speaking of office supplies, how can one not go on and on about an excellent automatic pencil? The ones whose leads are just soft enough, not brittle, laying down good, even pigment, whose erasers are firmly attached and efficient without tearing the paper?

More household items: I love microfiber cloths -- you too can clean your whole house with just water! (Except for the germy yuck, which requires bleach or those super nifty Clorox wipes.) I've also loved Cutco, Cuisinart, and Kitchenaid brands and recommend them wholeheartedly. There's really nothing like having good equipment in the kitchen. Or anywhere, really. (Stop snickering, people. Geez!! What are you, twelve?)

Well, I'd better get back to the paperwork. A bit more English for the day (waving Wite-Out), then supper, off to swimming, home again for snacks, music practice, quickly to bed before spending tomorrow at lessons. Yee-haw! Q's got a Neurology appointment coming up on Thursday. We've had to reschedule too many times so I hope all the planets align for this one. Speaking of planets, have you been enjoying the giant moon where you live? It's been a lovely creamy yellow, hanging low in the sky and seeming enormous. It looks a little like a good wheel of Brie. Yum.

If you have a minute, my mom could use prayers -- she's having a double root canal tomorrow as a result of a fall earlier in the summer. It's been bad enough that she's looking forward to the procedure (shudder) and there's even more (worse) to come after this. Poor thing.

What are your favorite tools? (Starbucks counts.)

Friday, September 12, 2008


I don't even know what to say. Q slept from 11pm to 2:30am last night. He was up intermittently during that time so instead of heading off to bed myself, I stayed up and ran and folded laundry, cleared out the cracks and crevices of the living room, and generally made myself busy until the boy decided to get up for good. Wah. I dozed here and there on the couch during the dark hours. Q watched what is probably his lifetime limit of PBS hours...

I am so tired. There are grades of tired, you know. (Have we discussed this before? I can't recall.) There's the yawning, sleepy one. The one where your eyes are light sensitive and you keep your sunglasses on as long as you're awake. There's the faintly to fairly to severely nauseous, which is where dizziness or vertigo usually begins. There's the one where your arms gradually lose feeling -- things fade as your neuro function drops. Worst of all, the one where your eyes are perpetually bloodshot but you don't feel tired anymore at all -- until you wake up at a long stop light or in the middle of bedtime stories with the children now peering curiously at you.

This stage of tired involves feeling weaker when I go to hoist Q or S, a perpetually drier mouth because it seems I'm forgetting to keep it closed (what the heck?), and an evil headache. My mom is finishing up with Q and his supplement -- hopefully he'll be stuffed just full enough to sleep all night or that the stars will have aligned to overcome whatever his issues were last night. I'm thinking I may have missed his seizure meds -- the first time in many, many months if that's what happened. I thought I'd drawn the medicine up but not administered it. I looked for the syringe but couldn't find it. So rather than risk a double dose... Or maybe it was the tapioca pudding he ate at supper last ngiht. Every time he's eaten something in which eggs play a starring role I spend most of that night up with him. Duh. Not a good combo, if both those factors played a role. Or maybe he was teething just enough to keep him restless. Could be that he was hungry or thirsty or needed some help to finish the crossword puzzle. Who knows.

But even with all of that, he's been Mr. Congeniality -- bright-eyed and giggling through the day, except when he passed out in his chair. And we've had a good day. Funny how much one can achieve when one is unwilling to accept possible outcomes other than the affirmative ones. We (I) also got to enjoy some interactions with folks, mostly strangers, who found my kids delightful and said so. We got to spend part of our day with one of my cousins and his little niece -- both of whom we'd love to see more of. They're great fun -- now to get the schedules lined up, right?

So I'm going to hit Publish and hope that the syntax holds up under scrutiny. Not that I could care at this point, even if I really tried.

Hope your weekend is lovely and that your punkins and honey bring you joy. Give them a reason to.


Saturday, September 06, 2008


Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow.
--Norman Vincent Peale

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


How to best derail meal prep for ten children? By turning on the wrong burner and consequently blowing up the big glass bowl. Yup. I was a little distracted...

But they're asleep now, every last on of 'em after three rounds of pottying, two sleep walking incidents and proper application of kisses and back scratches. I think someone's story is still playing though, so I'm planning to turn that off before turning in.

Have you ever noticed just how quiet real quiet can be? It's a little weird, actually.

The color-coded schedules are more or less set up for the school "year" -- hanging on the wall in a page protector = official. The last of the itinerant stuff is waiting to be (re)organized. The kids did their cubbies a few days ago and I think the rest is up to me -- switching out textbooks by grade, references by subject/time period of study for the current year. The read-alouds are piling up higher and deeper, thanks to some lovely folks whose boxes of donations included stuff I already had on the kids' reading lists. Have I mentioned that my motto truly is: Expect Miracles? Really. I'll have to write more about that sometime -- "odd" things often happen. Things that, were I not expecting miracles, might render me a little speechless.

I'm off to sleep fast before hitting it again tomorrow. Hope your day brings you a few miracles of appropriate scale.