It’s officially a collection.

I bought another Bundt pan.

That’s two in two days.

This one is more modern than the others.

It’s non-stick, silver, heavy, and made by Wilton instead of Nordic Ware.

And it’s beautiful.

See?

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It’s already on the wall with my red and blacks pans.

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Yesterday, I raised my eyebrows in wonder and slight disgust over the condition of the chippy yellow pan I bought on Sunday.  Someone was mean to it.

This one, on the contrary, was treated like the beauty she is.

The pan has clearly been used, but it was basically clean, and the previous owner had even kept the flimsy plastic insert to protect the pan’s interior.  Amazing.

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You can see some dust on the plastic piece – this is after I washed it with warm soapy water.

It was really gross, but the pan beneath it was happy and safe.

Now, I just need an occasion for popping these pans into the oven.

Send me your favorite Bundt cake recipes.

I also bought a few more children’s books and a teeny patchwork pumpkin.

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A few days ago, I swapped out all the books on my son’s display rack.

We now have enough Halloween books to read a different one every day in October.

Our Thanksgiving titles are in shorter supply though, so I was happy to find a few at the thrift store today.

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The display rack is mostly for seasonal titles.

He has a couple of tall bookcases in his room for other books and some of his toys.

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Heh heh.  I just noticed that Wreck-it Ralph is in the hospital.

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Brundibar is a Maurice Sendak book that I’ve had on my wish list for a while.

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It’s always nice to find a $20 hardback picture book in perfect shape and marked just $2 at Goodwill!

Can’t beat that!

I can’t really imagine paying full price for a children’s book – not when Goodwill actually has its own bookstores.

Unless you’re looking for a new release or a specific hard-to-find item, it pays to go second-hand.

My favorite place to buy books is the DAV thrift store on Elkelton in Spring Valley.  They seem to have a permanent half-off sale – all books and magazines too.

And their prices are low before the discount.

Anyhoo, here is a close-up of my little patchwork pumpkin.

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I am really quite ready to usher in the Fall.

In fact, I can’t wait to see miniature pumpkins at the grocery store.

They make me happy.  🙂

That’s all.

Well…except for here’s my kid and my messy house:

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Happy Tuesday!

♥♥

Halloween 2012 Pictures

I guess cute Halloween is a thing of the past.

The boy went for scary-creepy-spooky this year.

We put a big fuzzy spider out front this year.  It kind of creeps me out that it’s coming around the corner of the house like that.

On the dining table…

We’ve had this spider web candle for years.

Less than an hour.  Just two streets.  And he called it quits.  But look at the loot!

He never wants to be out for very long.  I think it’s difficult for him to continue when he knows there are M&Ms in the bag.  He walked in, peeled off the costume, and was helping himself to a pack in about two minutes flat.

M&M joy.

Happy Halloween!!

♥♥

Little Bits of Halloween

The first thing I decorate in my house for each new season is the china hutch.

In the Fall, I usually stow away my small collection of blue and white Delft (and other) figurines to make way for miniature pumpkins, leaves, and all things natural.

This year, I am so eager for our HOT HOT summer to be over, that I can’t wait for pumpkins to appear in the grocery store.

I decided the little Delft troops and I could get the party started without them, so I made some hats.  🙂

(This amazingly cute photo of a baby chick in a felt hat got my wheels turning.  Thank you, random little-felt-hat-making cute baby chick owner!)

Here is what I did this week…

Got the cat plate from mom #2 many moons ago.  He kinda fits right into the Halloween theme.

I made this little banner thing too.  I’ve never made anything like this before and I can see all its flaws in this picture, but it was fun to do and now I know what I would do differently.  (Like maybe have my ten-year-old print the letters because his handwriting is officially better than mine now.  😳 )

This is what I have labored over this Labor Day.  What did you do?

Happy Monday!

♥♥

Art, Furniture, Halloween & a quick Jig ditty

Art I Didn’t Know About

I got a card in the mail from Father Joe this week – the usual holiday request for donations.  He sends them every year.  I like Father Joe and I have deep respect for his lifelong commitment to serve those in need.  One year, we gave him my old Grand Am.

This year, the request came with a postcard picture of a glass mosaic by artist Botti Studi.  In 2003, this giant work of art was installed on the face of the Villa Harvey Mandel in downtown San Diego.  Until I received this postcard, I didn’t know anything about it.  (Insert picture of fog-brained autism mom here.)

My goal for the week is to see this mosaic in person.

Receiving the postcard has also resurrected a goal I made last year, and subsequently forgot.  😦  Every Tuesday, there are a handful of museums around San Diego that offer free admission.  I haven’t been to any of them in years.  My goal is to go at least once a month.  Come with me!

By the way, did YOU know about that glass mosaic?  Why didn’t you tell me?

New Furniture

Our new tables arrived in plenty of time for turkey day.  Yea!!

Nine-year-old child + a bunch of cookies and some chocolate milk = perfect justification for buying glass to cover them:

Here they are with a little less mess:

I hope to tackle that wall of clutter to the left sometime in the next few weeks.  Sigh.  There’s always something.

Halloween

Halloween is almost over.  The candy bucket is empty, so I have been giving out leftovers from the boy’s July birthday – bubbles, bouncy balls, etc.  The trick-or-treaters actually seem happy about this.

A couple of teenage girls just knocked on the door and informed me that someone is getting in trouble up the street,  Sure enough, there are cop cars and detained kids parked on the corner.  Great.  Where the hell am I living??

Oh well, I guess no Halloween is complete without flashing lights and a bit of law-breaking.  Right?

And another thing…

If you read this post, then it shouldn’t surprise you that the boy made up a song about our jig.

My apologies for the static on the audio – not sure what happened there.

Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!

♥♥

Long Beach Flea Market

I don’t know how often I can come on here and say the same things.

Life is hard.  And easy.  And ugly.  And beautiful.

Life is hard…

because my autistic son needs everything to be a certain way and, despite the good intentions of everyone in my life, very few really understand how insanely difficult it is to parent him.

He seems so incredibly normal – whatever the hell “normal” is.  He is beautiful.  He is smart.  He is talkative and cheerful.  He is happy and animated and very cooperative.  Until he isn’t.

Over the two-week break, he hit me a few times.  😦  He pushed me too.  On one of the days he had a meltdown like I can’t even describe.  He screamed, he broke things.  The usual.

He yells about everything.  “No take the plate to the kitchen!”  “No mama say!”  “No mama singing!”  “No music!”  “No.  No.  No!”

And then there’s the OCD stuff…

He has a thing about the pantry door.  He has to close it a certain way, at a certain time, repeatedly.  He chants his little chants, he swings it shut and pulls it open and swings it shut and pulls it open and swings it shut and pulls it open and SLAMS it closed.  And all of the things that hang from the inside of the door go crashing to the tile below.  LOUD.  LOUD.  LOUD.

And the bathroom door.  He closes and opens it too.  All the time.  Just because.

He writes math problems for himself every night.  He leaves the papers all over the table.  He does this when I am in the pit of the day’s fatigue.  Consequently, his math papers never get picked up.  Our house is an overwhelming wreck.  It depresses me.  I am tired and life is hard.

Life is easy…

because I have three fabulous moms and a good friend who listen to all of it.  Life is easy because husband knows how it is and he’s here everyday seeing it, feeling it, and being in it with me.  And when he isn’t here to make it easier on me, he’s out there to make it easier on me.  He works so that I can take care of our kid.  And our house.  And our laundry.  Our never ending, steaming mountains of laundry.

Life is ugly…

because of stupid, evil, mean people who make me sick with worry for my son…and his future…and the potential dangers that await him.

Life is beautiful…

because the yelling, pushing, screaming, toy throwing little boy is also sweet and kind and funny and he makes up songs about silly things like my jiggly arms.  😀  I love him.

Life is beautiful because I get to see my good friend every few months and we always have a great day together somewhere.  On Sunday, we went to the Long Beach Flea Market and I bought a water fountain.  It’s perfect for our little yard, but it weighs a gazillion pounds.

Life is beautiful because the vendor wanted $75 and we talked him down to $50.

Life is beautiful because my friend carried the dirty top part of the fountain a great distance to my car for me.

Life is beautiful because there is ibuprofen to ease the pain and stupidity of carrying the lower section of the fountain by myself.  Day four and I am still achy breaky.

Life is beautiful because we had a very pleasant lunch at Bono’s Long Beach with the best creme brulee I have ever tasted in my life.  The portion was HUGE and my friend didn’t want any.  🙂  Thank you, silly friend.

Life is beautiful because I also found a book for my brother, a liquid timer for my son, and some Bit-O-Honey candy at Powell’s (best old timey candy store ever) for my husband.

I got these guys for me:

Their bodies are hinged so you can sway their little legs back and forth if you want to.  I know you want to.  🙂

Life is life.

Happy Wednesday!

♥♥

Animals I Love

The Mellowest Cat Ever

I love him because he playfully grabbed my fingers and purred at me like we were old friends, just sitting on the floor of our living room.

But we were at Home Depot, he was in a shopping cart, and I was a stranger.

I might have stolen him…

if his owner hadn’t been so sweet and funny and obviously smitten with her little feline friend.  She told me that Kitty is easier to shop with than her children were when they were young.

Good Kitty!

Llamas & Rabbits

My son and I love the Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney.

We have three and can’t wait to get the others.

Dewdney’s latest is on the right – Llama Llama Home With Mama.

Here is a sneak peek at one of her charming new illustrations – hope I don’t get in trouble for sharing!

You can’t read this title online as yet, but you can peruse the others with this link to wegivebooks.org.

This site offers a great way to donate books to children who need them, but you don’t have to donate just to look.  Don’t worry if a donation message pops up.  Just click the “x” to finish.  Unless you want to donate!  🙂

While you’re there, check out Nobunny’s Perfect too!  We have only read it online and it’s already another of our favorites.  The bunnies have a few behavioral issues in common with my son.  😐

A Sly Squirrel

I don’t remember where I got this little fellow – maybe a gift from the lovely mom-in-law??

Every year, I forget that he’s in the closet, waiting patiently with the other decorations.

When I open the box and find him inside, I always feel like I’ve bumped into an old friend.

He is my favorite little bit of Fall.  🙂

Happy Monday!

P.S.  Someday soon I’ll post more pictures of the things my son tapes to the walls in our house.  He does it so often that we almost don’t notice anymore.  Almost.

This thing was taped up across from the laundry doors for over a week.  😐  It was really in the way and we never understood exactly what it was, but we left it alone.

What can I say?  The boy loves paper and tape and weird little stuff (just like his mama) and he does everything with such purpose.  If he thinks it needs to be on our wall, then it’s pretty much gonna be on our wall.

♥♥

A letter, a nervous knock-out & a couple of pumpkins.

Post This

I got a letter in the mail last week.

I’m talking about an actual, two-page, handwritten letter, complete with family update, inside jokes and miscellaneous witticisms.

Are you jealous?

I am lucky.

Truth be told, I invested a few notes of my own to get this amazing return.

What can I say?  I have a thing for pretty stationery.  And stickers too.  I can’t just stockpile it all forever, so I sent cards to six or seven people on my address list a few weeks ago.

And I got a letter back.  🙂

It came from a 90-year-old friend of the family.  She lives in town, but I never see her, so it was lovely to read something she had written just for me.

I highly recommend that you send out some notes.  These days, snail mail is a luxurious treat and it’s still relatively cheap to send.  You might even get something spectacular in return!

That’s your assignment…

Go!  Write!  Now!

TKO OH NO!

The boy had the big sedated dental appointment last week.

I think we did a good job talking to him about it.  We explained it well in advance, I put it on the calendar, and we brought it up everyday for almost a month.

He knew what would happen and he even seemed proud of himself for having the information to talk about.  “We’re going to the sleep dentist!”

He was quite a little trooper too.  We explained the food restrictions and he never even asked for his morning chocolate milk or snack.

He dressed and rode in the car without complaint and he waited patiently through every part of the process at the hospital.

He wore the gown, he held out his arm for blood pressure, he got on the scale and he used the bathroom when we told him to.

He was a model of compliance…

right up until the moment he was on the table in the O.R.  😦

I was right there with him and I really do think that helped.  I kept my cool and I saw his body briefly relax when our eyes locked, but it was a losing battle.

The nurses, the anesthesiologist, the other techs – five people in all – surrounded him and tried to do things quickly.

I get it.  There are a zillion kids out there, only a limited number of surgical teams, rooms, etc.  There is no space or time for letting my autistic son catch up and comply.  They had to assume he never would, so they just dove in and grabbed him.

As you can imagine, he freaked the hell right out.  I stayed calm and talked softly, but it was tough to watch.

It took all of them to hold him down.  Well, all except the one wise nurse who heeded my warning about too many people in his face.  I figured she was the only parent in the room.  Before I even finished my comment, she took a step back.  I love her.

The others forged ahead and managed to get the mask over his face.  He collapsed back onto the table pretty fast, but his eyelids were purplish and fluttering, so I knew he wasn’t done struggling.  It made me sad to see that.  I kissed him and told him what a good job he did.

They put a tube up his nose after I left.  The gas through that would knock him out harder.

One of the nurses took me back down the hall.  As we walked, he said “you know, your son is only going to get stronger.  Next time, maybe you can ask the doctor for some medication to make him drowsy in pre-op, so that the mask isn’t as traumatic.”

Why the hell no one suggested that this time, I don’t know.  It kind of pissed me off.  😡

I made it back to my husband and ripped off my tight paper goofy suit.  I made Husband promise to erase the memory of that vision from his head.  Those suits aren’t really meant for rubenesque women.  😳

Husband followed me out of the building.  I led him thirty yards from the door and behind a big pillar near the parking garage before I started crying.

There wasn’t really anything to say.  I was sad that only one of us was allowed to go in and I was tortured by the fear I had seen in our son’s little face.  Husband understood and hugged me.  Then we ate bad food and waited.

The boy woke up hard and was mad about having to stay so long in the post-op bed, but he was basically okay.

He came through everything emotionally and physically drained, but he was eager to go back to school the next day, so we knew he would be fine.

The net result of the whole experience was positive.  We learned some things for next time and the boy’s teeth are in pretty good shape.

And the most important thing?  During the struggle in the O.R., he said “all done” over and over again. That may not seem significant, but it’s really quite huge.

He doesn’t communicate well under duress.  He loses his words and sometimes violently tantrums or becomes eerily still and stuck when he’s upset or frightened or hurt.

This was a worst case scenario for him – a cold scary room with weird lights, odd noises, and a bunch of strangers grabbing at him – and he perfectly articulated how he was feeling.  “All done!”

All done, indeed.  😐  I felt that way too.

I don’t think I realized until I dropped him at school the next morning just how much dread and anxiety coursed through my body in the days before the appointment.

Looking back on the last few weeks, I am reminded that heightened stress often keeps me from writing.

I am so glad we don’t have to do this again anytime soon.

I don’t think my kid, my blog, or I can take it!

Fall Decorating

I stowed a few pumpkins in the china hutch this week.

Then I came to the conclusion that I need to get the hutch out of this room.  😦

It’s just too huge for this choppy, awkward space.  I love it, but it limits what else we can do.

Stay tuned for the next round of what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-house?

Sigh.

It never ends.

Happy Wednesday!

♥♥

It’s Friday Night.

I’m already in my jammies – so much more comfy than my heavy black jeans.

The boy has showered, put on his jammies, played out his evening computer time, and is happily eating a fruit roll while I type.

He’ll be off to bed shortly and it’s not even 8:00 p.m.  I still get knocked over in amazement at our evening routine.  I can’t believe it actually works, but the little boy is definitely a creature of habit.  All we had to do was make him a habit that we liked.

Husband just returned from the store with stuff for cheese bread.  We had a craving.

The house is kind of a wreck.

There are still balloons all over the floor from the boy’s birthday party on the 16th.  Man, was that really two weeks ago?  No wonder some of the balloons look like this:

and greasy these:

and pointy this:

We like to leave stuff lying around after our special occasions.

I guess I’d better pop the balloons this weekend though.  Three of my friends posted comments on Facebook today about the sudden appearance of Halloween stuff in the stores.  Seriously?  Seriously.

Even more disturbing is the fact that I’ve already started thinking about decorating for Christmas.  😮

I can’t help it.  I went to Bazaar Del Mundo on Tuesday.  That place always makes me think holidays.  Or rather, HOLIDAYS!!!

It didn’t help that they had this charming addition to the painted tin ornament display:

I had to have him.

And really, if you’re willing to purchase a Christmas ornament in July, then you’re pretty much a sucker for all things holiday, right?  Bring it on!  I’m ready!

Halloween first though…

Happy Friday!

♥♥

P.S. What are you doing this weekend?  We’re probably going on another little nature walk.  I’ll post pictures if we actually do it!  😀

Ashes to Ashes

Ashes to ashes and pumpkins to mush,

smashing them in makes a garden so lush.

Wait until spring and I’ll show you a thing

that grew from the dirt where a jack-o was hurt.

Shoveled and scattered and otherwise battered,

ashes to ashes and pumpkins to mush.

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Happy November!

♥♥