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!

♥♥

Thankful

The last few days have been kind of nuts.

My husband was in a cycling accident out in Palm Desert last Saturday morning.  He’s going to be fine, but he has two cracked ribs, a broken collar bone and a lung that is, to our great relief, re-inflating on its own after a partial collapse.

He’s upstairs in bed at the moment.  Until yesterday, he had to sleep sitting up.

On our first morning home after the accident, I watched as his head sort of bobbed back and forth, then ultimately smacked into the wall.  I thought the impact would wake him up, but he was exhausted.  He just started snoring, with his head tipped back like that.  I went out and got him one of those half-doughnut travel pillows a few hours later.  I don’t know if it really helps.

Last November, after we took this same trip to the desert, I told my husband that I wanted to do it again in November 2012.  I said I wanted to stay at the same hotel, have him enter the same bike event, take the boy up the mountain tram again…do everything the same…because I loved that trip!  LOVED it!

My husband’s response to me a year ago is really ringing in my head this week.  He said that there was no guarantee the trip would be the same.  He said that anything could happen to make it a totally different experience.   But I was relaxed and happy and I wanted to believe we could sustain those feeling by committing to the same activities a year later.  I was a bit annoyed with him for suggesting otherwise.  And he seemed annoyed with my naive optimism.

Well, here we are a year later, and it turns out husband was right.  It was a totally different experience and somehow, I knew it would be.

Instead of taking our son up the mountain to play in the snow, we dragged him with us to the Emergency Room to play on his iPad.  It was not quite the sparkling repeat my son and I had hoped for.  The little boy made it through four long hours at the hospital, and then he completely melted down.

I had to leave my husband alone in the waiting room while I took the boy outside to self-destruct.  He kicked and screamed and tore things to pieces in the backseat as I stood next to the passenger door, staring in frustration at the hospital entrance.  The entire van rocked with the force of his upset.

I could tell from the sound of my son’s whining voice that he was getting sick – from stress, from fatigue, from hunger for something more than vending machine snacks – from all of it.  That was the worst moment of the weekend for me – trapped in that tortured space between my broken husband and my sorely disappointed, autistic son.  I couldn’t help either one.

Sleep that night was difficult for us all.  I woke up every time husband made a sound or moved oddly, and husband woke up from pain at regular intervals.  His meds worked great.  Until they didn’t.  Those long minutes of waiting until time for the next dose were hard to watch and even harder to experience.  Husband was just really uncomfortable.  And the little boy woke a few times with his usual dry, sniffy nose and his newly sore throat.

When morning finally arrived, I took the boy for pancakes, so husband could get more rest.

On Saturday, the two of us had gone to the same IHOP, while husband was off for the bike ride.  I felt well rested that morning –  I was energized, refreshed, and excited for our weekend plans.  I had even put on mascara and earrings.

But Sunday, after that night of listening for husband’s breath sounds and worrying about the little boy and the change of plans, it was different.  I had on the same shirt, but it was wrinkled and so was my face.  No make-up.  Bags under my eyes.  Unwashed, barely brushed hair.  I thought about all those differences as I ate the very same pancake breakfast.

When we got back to the hotel, husband was a little more settled into the routine of injury.  He definitely wanted to go home a day early, but he managed to take a shower and concluded he could handle a brief stop at the Children’s Discovery Museum too.  Our son seemed relieved that there would be one fun thing before the long drive home.  All things considered, that little boy handled our broken promises very well.

The next few days are kind of a blur now.  The most depressing of them was also the best of them – three and half hours in another hospital to get a follow-up x-ray.  Ultimately, we were relieved to be told that husband’s lung was looking better, but the hours leading up to that were a swirl of confusion and disbelief.

Everyone there could agree my husband needed to be seen, but no one could decide how to handle the paperwork.  The paperwork!  Really?  I snapped at an E.R. nurse.

I regret that because I have friends who are nurses and I know how hard their jobs are, but I don’t regret expressing my annoyance at the lack of organization and efficiency in our mid-town hospital.  They should have thought about the patient first and the paperwork later.  It still makes me mad.

Now we are a week out from the accident and I do believe my husband is feeling a little bit better.  It is very clear that he won’t be driving anytime soon and that has presented us with a few logistical challenges, but we will figure it out.

Husband’s bruises are large and alarming.  He is still quite vulnerable from the cracked ribs and broken collar bone, and there is an overall lack of comfort that will likely continue for a while, but this could have been so much worse.  He could have died or been left with a traumatic brain injury or some other devastating permanent problem.

Save for a few gouged knuckles and other small scrapes, husband also came away with most of his skin intact.  That’s saying a lot for a cyclist.  Huge, bloody, asphalt-filled abrasions – road rash – are just another part of the sport.  But husband fell straight over and was injured by the impact of the fall more than anything else.  He was spared from too much skin grating slide and that’s no small blessing.

In a few days, some family members will come to our house for turkey and pumpkin pie.  Every adult in attendance has had some kind of accident or major surgery in the last several years (a few of them have had a lot of both), but they’re all going to walk in and sit and talk and think and eat and laugh at our table.  We are all so lucky.  And I am so thankful.

♥♥

Holidaze 2011

It’s Saturday morning.

The boy is up, energetic, LOUD, and relentless in his demands.

Just now he asked for banana circles.  Okay, not so loud or outrageous.

I cut them up and gave him the plate.

I figure I have about twelve seconds before he is finished eating them and wants me to do/make/be something else.

I’ll write fast.

Thanksgiving is gone.

We had lots of people and a ton of food.

I wasn’t that excited about my mashed potatoes – should have used the russets.

The stuffing was kind of dry – celery chunks were too big and too plentiful.

My green beans were uninspired and far from my personal standard – bought late and microwave-steamed in the bag.  Sigh.  Painful to confess.  I served them anyway.  I ate them anyway.

But…

the guests brought delicious side dishes and desserts, the turkey seemed moist, and no one complained!

And I did make a very good cake – even if I do say so myself.  🙂

I’m marking the “success” box.  Yea!

Husband and I were full and sleepy after everyone went home.  We sat on the couch, defenseless, and allowed an entire episode of the little boy’s  Wow Wow Wubbzy to assault us.

The boy was tired too.  Visiting cousins are very exciting!

I’m glad I got to see the taller ones for lunch in Old Town the next day.  There’s nothing quite like a huge plate of my favorite Mexican food, having someone else cook it, and then getting to shop afterward.  And with cousins, no less!  😀

Now Christmas is coming.  😀

Miniature candy canes have been dipped in chocolate.

The trees are up – a big one downstairs, small ones in the bedrooms, a one-footer in the guest bath, and teeny versions tucked into the china hutch, the bookshelves, and a few other corners.

The little boy made paper trees to line the stairwell wall.

The stockings are at the mantle – one for each of us, one for each of the cats, and an extra for kitty cats past.

The garlands have been wrangled too.  Stripped of  failing white bulbs, they’ve been re-wrapped with cheery colored lights and hung happily from the banister and bookcases.

The upstairs landing looks like the site of like a plastic pine needle massacre and my hands are scratched in twenty different places, but the lights work!  Ha!

They’re on timers too.  I don’t even have to flip a switch for a daily dose of Christmas cheer.

Inflatable Santa is in the yard and husband hung the outdoor lights.  If the wind blows in from L.A. tonight, we’ll bring Santa inside for a while.

All of the leaves have dropped from the plum tree and the nasturtiums are back.

The late season hibiscus flowers are smaller, richer in color and more fleeting.

I stewed the mini pumpkins and poured them into the yard to hasten their demise.

And my twelve seconds are up.

What’s going on at your house?

Hope you’re having a Happy Saturday!

P.S.  The picture is of the Fairy Princess Grey Poupon in her standard winter spot.  Sweet.  Warm.  Dirty, furry kitty.

♥♥

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!

♥♥

Holiday Wait

The little boy broke more stuff today.

I snapped at him.

I cried some more.

Ugh.

Hate myself for not just letting it roll off my back.

He’s really excited about Christmas.  He has been bouncing off the walls all day.  He wants to hang EVERYTHING on the tree and he wants to do EVERYTHING himself, including things he really can’t or shouldn’t do.

Sigh.

I have less patience this week than I ought to.

And such guilt.

Husband and I got to talking over dinner with some friends about how much waiting kids have to do at the holidays.

While the grown-ups get together and cook and eat and exchange pleasantries, the kids wait.  And wait.  And wait some more.

I think my son does a lot of waiting.

I think my son does a lot of waiting for something he is sure will be exciting.  Instead he gets more waiting, nothing too exciting and a mom who snaps.  And maybe a vague sense that the snapping has something to do with him.

I think my son probably doesn’t understand why grown-ups take so damn long to do everything and when they do it, they don’t have the same joy about it that he does.  I think my son deserves a mom who isn’t tired.  A mom who finds that same joy and shares it with him as well and as often as he shares it with her.

I try to be that mom.  I do.  I really do.  I don’t think I am though.

My son is so hopeful.  I hate that I can rob that from him with impatience or delay or fatigue or a quick temper.  He deserves more.

Tomorrow, I will try to give him more.

Day Twenty-Seven 2010 Pumpkin Demise

I took some of these photos in the morning and some just before dusk today.

The later pix are softer, even downright fuzzy, for some reason.

I don’t know if I chose the wrong camera setting or if it was just dark clouds in the late afternoon sky that made the difference.

I decided to include the later pix anyway since there are a few cute ones of the boy and his chocolate mouth.

Enjoy!

Oh, and just in case any of you are worried, I will not be showing you the demise of those other squash on a daily basis.

Happy Saturday!

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P.S.  My oldest cat barfed in three places on the floor behind me as I was typing this.  🙄

♥♥

Wounded, But The Shooter Is Sweet

Sometimes I am wounded to the core by my son’s disdain for my singing.

I can’t stand it.

I don’t have a bad voice and I love to sing.

He won’t let me.

I feel stifled.

And sometimes I feel wounded to the core by his annoyance with books.

Granted, there are occasions on which he actually enjoys them and will let me read him a page or two.  He might even read a sentence himself, but those occasions are exceptional.

In general, my kid doesn’t like to look at books.

Sad.

I come from a family of book lovers.  A family of book collectors.  And a house full of music.

Sigh.

Now I am ordered not to sing, not to read, not to be.

My heart breaks over this on a daily basis.

And it feels like a slight to my father, the one who mastered a love of books and beautiful song.

I know a conversation with my dad today would only reveal a man determined to appreciate the strengths of a boy.  My dad would caution me to overlook these minor and probably temporary let-downs.  Of course, I always heed that imagined advice, but the whole of it makes me very sad anyway.

Just now, the little boy and I were in the guest room, stripping the bed after Grandma’s visit.  He was singing, humming really, with his lips forming a perfect “o” and his little head tilted upward, like the children at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I thought I would try to engage him with a book from the t.v. special, complete with music and lyrics for two of the songs.

He saw Snoopy and the other characters on the page and seemed very interested, so I showed him a second Charlie Brown book.

He sat on the floor, turned the pages himself, pointed at Snoopy and was smiling and happy.

Then he started singing Jingle Bells.

I produced a board book with the music and lyrics for that song too.

But then I made the fatal error.

I decided to sing the words and point to the notes so he could follow along.

He lost his mind.

“No read a book.  No read a book!  No sing!  No read a book!  Mama, no sing!”

I tried to calm him down.

Too late.

He took the item nearest him – the dust jacket for the Peanuts book – and ripped it in half.

It made me mad.  It really did.  With all the fury of impatient generations behind it.

I ordered him out of the guest room and closed the door and now I sit here pouring out the emotion just to get it gone.

Because I know the little boy loves music. I KNOW he does.

And I know he will come to love books.

But in this moment, I am overwhelmed with his disdain for my love of them both.

Overwhelmed.  Sad.  Stricken with grief for the unfairness of time and loss and death and the mismatch of generations.

I miss my dad.

I just miss my dad.

And I wish I had let my mother sing.

Now it’s 7:00 p.m.  The little boy is clean and dry, snug in his room, and headed for dreamland.

He closed the door to the bathroom during his shower tonight and got the place as steamy as a sauna.

When I popped up to check on him, the steam poured out and engulfed me.

Through the fog of it, I found him standing on the edge of the wet tub pointing a full bottle of water straight at the light fixture.  I shudder to think what hazardous scheme had hatched itself inside his busy brain.  Sheesh!

I have ridden a roller coaster of emotions today, partly fueled by sleeping only four hours last night and partly fueled by the little boy’s destructive nature.

He broke things today.

I replaced them or I fixed them or decided I didn’t need them.  I cried a few times and just kept going.

I went to Pier One and Trader Joe’s and Petco and Von’s.  I came home, I took down Thanksgiving and put up Christmas.

The boy was excited to help with three trees, two garlands, and a wreath.  Husband hung a cheery string of outdoor lights and inflated a silly two-foot Santa on the front lawn.  We ate Thanksgiving food all over again and I chopped up the decorative gourds to scatter in the corner near the ever-flattening pumpkins.

What a day.

Now I’m going over to my new couch to sit next to my sweet husband to watch something with Bruce Willis in it.  Anything with Bruce Willis in it, please.

Over.

And out.

Day Twenty-Six 2010 Pumpkin Demise

I was enchanted by a beautiful hummingbird in the yard today.  Now THAT was a photographic challenge.  Didn’t get any really great shots of him, but it was wonderful to watch.

Enjoy!

Oh, I almost forgot…

Happy Friday!

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♥♥