Weekender

The little boy had a couple of decent days at school, so my stress level is back down to simmer.

The new teacher is tiny, motivated and full of enthusiasm.  I hope she can keep her focus when things get rough with my kid, because they will get rough, and he’s almost as big as she is.

I let go of the guilt I was feeling over the fact that he missed the first day of third grade.

My friend kept her son home on Wednesday too.  That made me feel better.  Or at least, it made me feel less isolated.

Our boys have a lot in common.  Though they attend different schools now, they are both autistic and enrolled in special day classes with full-time one-to-one aides.

Each has a unique set of behavioral issues and developmental delays, but both require constant supervision and extra help in the areas of speech and occupational therapy as well as adaptive p.e. and general social skills development.

Small wonder that we moms became fast friends.  😀  I sometimes feel more connected to her than to anyone else, simply because of the commonalities in our parenting experiences.  She just gets it, you know?

Gee…

I am tired this weekend.  Tired and a little melancholy, for some reason.

It’s probably post birthday slow down – not just my b-day, but everybody’s!

There is one last little celebration blip on the radar this month – cake for my mom tomorrow night – and then we’re done.

Well, we’re done except for a shout out to my friend in Washington state next week, but that’s not quite as involved.  (Happy almost birthday, Deidre!  :D)

Harumph.

I need ice cream.  Now.  Mint chip.  On a cone.  A sugar cone.

Focus?  Gone.

Blurry?  Yes.

Bleary?  Yes.

Bad camera phone?  Check.

With my hair up like that, I look like a boy.  😐  Sigh.

Happy Saturday!  🙂

♥♥

#13 – Things I sorta already knew…

but learned again this month:

  1. If you don’t have giant bandaids, you can use a bandana to tie a kotex to your husband’s hand when he burns his skin late at night and wants to protect it while he sleeps.
  2. If you need a new patio table, one will magically appear at your front door.  Behind it, you will find giant birthday cupcakes (see pic) and a card from a visiting (and quite spectacular) friend.  Thank you, Christine!
  3. If you accidentally toss a heap of lantana clippings into the blue bin instead of the green bin, you will be really upset with yourself when you also pour a container full of broken bottles, dented cans and wet cardboard in on top of them.  Dumb.  Dirty.  Tedious and icky to correct.
  4. If you don’t write something on your blog at least five days a week, you will forget how and your drafts will threaten to outnumber your published pieces.
  5. If you really need a break from the house and long to indulge in a little guilt-free impulse shopping, a friend will suddenly appear with an Anthropologie gift card for your birthday.  Thank you, SarahHUHlita!
  6. Everyone should have three moms.  😀 😀 😀
  7. If you sign up for every restaurant e-club out there, you will get a lot of free meals around your birthday.
  8. The little boy does better with pictures.  For everything.
  9. You can’t finish your list unless you take a cheerios break when you get to number nine.
  10. Sitting in commute traffic sucks even more for a low blood sugar autistic seven-year-old than it does for me.  “No zero.  No zero.  Yes sixty.”
  11. Oil covered wildlife is sad and wrong and makes me teary.  (Don’t look, mom.)
  12. I want to see Toy Story 3 more than my child does.
  13. If you are patient enough, you will realize that the odd looking tomato in the corner is actually a yellow heirloom variety and not a red one gone wrong.
  14. If you are smart enough, you will take your salt shaker into the yard, eat the yellow tomato right from the vine, and feel more privileged than any diner who ever lived.
  15. Support for Obama will wax and wane, but I will always believe that he is a good man who is trying very hard to do what’s best.
  16. If you keep forgetting to take your child for a haircut, the hair will not stop growing to wait for you.
  17. You don’t have to pile into the car to entertain your kid.  Sometimes, riding a scooter to the park around the corner is the best thing ever.  Really, ever.

♥♥

This and that…

Husband left the house at 5:30 a.m.

He was headed down to County Supervisor Ron Roberts’ Eleventh Annual Lawnmower Trade-in event.

I thought 5:30 was so early, but Mr. Roberts tweeted that person number 100 got in line at 5:15!

Never thought I’d care about someone’s tweets!  😀

The event starts at 8:00 a.m.

Sure hope hubby gets a mower.

I hate the gas-powered monster that we bought when we moved into the house ten years ago.

I’ve never used it.

I am 100% girl when it comes to that thing – it’s icky, you know?

The new one will be clean and purrrrty.

Had lunch with my brothers yesterday.

I rarely get to do that.

I love listening to the two of them talk shop.

One works for the city and the other for a large commercial plumbing company, so their careers overlap in some interesting places.

I always hear something from them that I never knew before.

I took my son along, since he was home from school again yesterday.  (Insert heavy sigh.)  It wasn’t ideal, but we managed.

My brother likes Prime Rib, so we went to The Butcher Shop, kind of a gentleman’s dimly lit steakhouse.

I felt very mom-ish in there.

The service was excellent and the onions rings were tasty.  😀  I had them with a Caesar salad.

The little boy ate a pack of peanut butter crackers and a couple of croutons.

He was a little bit squirmy, but he’s had a few rough weeks.

Today, I met a few girlfriends for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.

I think I figured out that it has been over two years since I last saw these ladies.

Not gonna wait that long again in the future!

We blabbed for two and half hours before one of us looked at the time & realized we all had to go.

Except for an odd and somewhat incapacitating allergic response that lodged itself in the right side of my face for the duration of the meal, it was a lot of fun!

Achoo!  Blink, blink, achoo!  😐

It was great to see you, ladies!

Husband is now outside doing some yard work and waiting for the new cordless lawn mower to charge up.

As predicted, it’s beautiful.  Can you be in love with a lawn mower?

Well, I love my husband for getting up and making that his mission today.

Now I can mow too!

He’s ripping up the yard quite seriously this week.

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, but it makes him happy and there are flowers everywhere, so I’m on board.

The little boy is sitting here next to me and playing Galaga, an old style arcade game from my childhood!

I remember hanging out at the SpeeDee Mart a few blocks from our house and playing Asteroids on a stand alone machine when I was his age.

My brothers were better at it than I was.  Ha!

So funny that my kid likes it too.

Maybe he will grow up to be like them.

That would be okay with me.

There’s not much else to tell you.

Kind of quiet Saturday afternoon.

I’m sure there will be some foggy storm to report come Monday morning.

See you then!

P.S.  Some things I really love…

this soup

this hand cream

this Ben & Jerry’s flavor

and this:

♥♥

You both were there.

Dear Pop,

I went to the Deseret Thrift store today, but you know that, because you did too.

I held the door so you could get through and I paused by a rack of clothes to wait for your wheelchair to come down the ramp.

I tried to focus on a row of housewares, but I couldn’t, because this was our favorite store.  You and me.  Together.

You left when I did, but you didn’t get into my van.  The seat was much too high.  I knew I should have bought something lower for you.

You faded when I paused to wonder why you had a wheelchair in Heaven.

Down the street, the strawberry field was green with mature plants.  Five or six workers bent over them picking the fruit.  The little wooden stand at the edge of the patch was open for business.

I had no cash in my purse, but the sound of my best friend’s voice was yelling in my head.  “Buy the strawberries.”

That’s what she said when I drove her past this field a lifetime ago.  She actually reprimanded me for daring to pass up fresh berries picked from a visible patch.

Today I kept on driving, but she was dancing and spinning there and wishing that I wouldn’t.

A few blocks east, I stopped for a light.  You drew my eye to the fruit stand across the road.  Bags of bright oranges dangled from the low roof.  You urged me to get some, but I kept on going.

I bought some lunch and came home to eat it.

I made a phone call.

I turned on the t.v.

I turned off the t.v.

The house is silent.

Except for the light swish of my best friend’s sleeve as she spins in the strawberry patch.

Except for the crunch of your wheelchair tires on the sand in the fruit stand parking lot.

Those things sound like beautiful faraway music.

I’m going back to get some fruit and hear the notes more clearly.

♥♥

Scones and Scarecrow

I had yesterday all to myself!

Thank you, husband.  🙂

I left at 8:00 a.m. and didn’t return until almost 10:30 p.m.

It was a long, but lovely day!

First, I drove to San Juan Capistrano to meet a friend for brunch at The Tea House.

If you’re a fan of traditional English style tea service, you simply have to go.

The food is fabulous and the atmosphere (an old creeky house) is charming.

It’s easy to get to and it also has its own parking lot, a huge plus in such a bustling tourist town.  If there are more than two of you on a weekend, I recommend making reservations.

It was a little bit cool, but we sat outside and were warmed by pots of hot tea, an overhead heater and the rising sun.  It was perfect.

I ordered a crumpet and enjoyed it immensely, but I’ve been to The Crumpet Shop in Seattle, so my expectations were extremely high.  This crumpet was not quite as good as those, but the rich homemade jam and fresh churned butter more than made up the difference.

And the scones!  Oh, the scones!  My friend ordered one with currants.  It was huge, fluffy and shaped like a heart.  Delightful.

It came with cream, of course, and some of the same homemade jam.  I am not a scone person, but I definitely had scone envy in that moment.

My friend was kind enough to share a big chunk with all the trimmings.  Yum!  I will order that next time.  🙂

For my entree, I went with the veggie frittata.  I was skeptical because I’m not a huge fan of eggs, but the waiter talked me into it and I’m so glad he did.  It was really good.  It came with potatoes, fruit and a small bowl of sweet, spicy salsa.  Delicious.

After we ate, I switched to iced tea and we stayed to talk a while.  It was such a pleasant place to sit and chat and the waiter was top notch, filling our drinks and checking with us frequently right until we left.  Although it was getting quite busy, he never made us feel like it was time to give up the table.

Afterward, we walked across the road to a little garden shop.  Though neither of us purchased anything there, I probably will next time.

There were lots of little metal birds and pretty pots and happy plants with funny tags.  There were also hand felted wool purses and tiled mosaic bowls.

Most charming of all, there were cats everywhere.  The biggest, a fluffy black fellow with a huge swishy tail, let me pick him up and snuggle him for a good two minutes.  🙂

Very pleasant morning and it was great to see my friend after almost ten years!

The only low point in my day came when we parted company.  I was disappointed we didn’t have more time together, but we both had other places to be.  She joked about clearing our schedules enough to eat two meals at The Tea House next time we meet.  Sounds like a fine idea!

I went to two thrift stores on my out of town, St. Vincent de Paul and Mission Thrift ‘n Gift.  St. Vincent is a decent sized store with a wide variety of items and reasonable prices.  The Mission Thrift is also large and has a wide variety, but its prices are much less fair.  I really enjoy the Old Barn Antique Mall too, but I didn’t have time for it on this trip.

If you want to make a day of San Juan Capistrano, there are plenty of things to do.  The Mission itself is right in the center of town and within walking distance of historic Los Rios district and The Tea House.  There are also plenty of shops and other restaurants nearby.  My brother and his family enjoyed Sun Dried Tomato Cafe last weekend.

To finish out my day, I met another friend and my family to see The Wizard of Oz at my old high school.  You may remember how proud I am of my niece for her acting talents there.

This production is the antithesis of her last.  That performance put her in a dark dress, on a spare stage, with little more than lighting to hide the evening’s foibles.  My niece was superb, but for the Wizard of Oz, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I knew she would put everything into her role as the Scarecrow, but I didn’t know how, or if, it would work.

The school spent a lot of money for the rights to the music, story, sets and costumes.  It’s a major production, with a huge cast and crew and a lot of special effects.

Just so you won’t think me blinded by my auntie pride, I will tell you that the show isn’t perfect.  There were problems.

Some of the actors did not have microphones and could not speak loudly enough to carry their scenes.  Others had microphones that cut in and out and were distracting.

There were also a few little glitches with the technology and even one instance when a computer error message was projected on the large screen at the back of the stage.

The pacing was also a little slow.  For the eight-year-old boy sitting next to me, it was not easy to sit through the whole thing.

However, all that said, I will tell you that this show is wonderful!

Dorothy can sing!  The Lion has courage!  The Tin Man has heart!  And the Scarecrow?  What a brain!!  What a smart performance!

My niece is amazing.  She simply is the Scarecrow.  She has the physical mannerisms, the voice, the smarts, the wide-eyed wonder, everything.  Always!  She was in character from start to finish (even in the post-show photos :)), no matter who was on stage, no matter who was talking, or singing or dropping things.  She is the Scarecrow, through and through!

My pride in my niece is constant, but last night?  Last night, I got teary watching her up there.  She’s just dazzling to me.  What a way to end my day!

Good job, beautiful niece.  You’re a star!

♥♥

Death?

Uh oh.

Found this on the driveway today, right where husband’s car tires usually go.

Sad.

Seriously.

After watching those two happy lizards sunning themselves in our backyard yesterday, I feel sad when I look at this one.

A nice little life has been snuffed out.

It reminds me that I haven’t ever attempted to teach my son about death.

I’m not even sure when you’re supposed to do that with kids.

I guess it’s important when a pet dies, but our cats always just slow down and then we take them away to say goodbye.

I’m not sure the little boy really even notices that our Burmese cat is gone.  And she was quite a presence in our house.

I know I want my son to understand what it means for something to die.  I just don’t want to scare him.

My best friend passed away when her daughters were four and six.  They got the end of life lesson way too early.

I don’t want my son to worry, but I do want him to have a frame of reference if something unthinkable happens.

Should I show him this lizard and tell him that it died?  Should I try to explain what that means?  Do I even know?

There was a dead squirrel lying on the pavement in front of the door to the school auditorium this afternoon.

It was fresh dead – still bloody, you know?  Probably dropped by a hawk or something a few minutes before I got there.  Lots of hawks out by the school.

When I went to the office to sign out my son, I told the school nurse about the squirrel.

She called the janitor and tried her best to repeat what I had said, but for some reason she had a tough time coughing it up.  She couldn’t say “roadkill.”  She couldn’t even say “blood” comfortably.  And she’s a nurse.  So odd.

I kind of half hoped the janitor wouldn’t get to the squirrel before I got to my son.

I was thinking maybe that little mangled, furry body was a sign that I should teach him about death today, while I’m thinking about it and while this squirrel is conveniently available for my lesson.  But the janitor was quick.  Squirrely was gone when we walked back to the car.

The lizard is still in my driveway though, so what should I do?  Am I thinking about this too much?

I’m good at pondering death.  If you’re a regular reader, you well know my preoccupation with the dearly departed.

I’m open to suggestions on this one though.

How, and when, do any of you recommend telling an autistic child about death?

Comment below to let me know.  Extra credit if it rhymes.  🙂

♥♥

#10 in a series – Things I sorta already knew…

but learned again this month:

  1. The Matrix (or one of its sequels) is always on t.v.  Always.  Always.
  2. My husband is defenseless against a pan of Rice Krispy treats.
  3. I am defenseless against a pan of brownies.  Especially if it’s this recipe and there is whipped cream in the fridge.
  4. If I’m kinda hungry when I take my seat in a crowded community theater, embarrassing noises will come from my gut during the quietest parts of the show.
  5. If I accidentally send an unkind e-mail to the wrong people, those people will be at the same crowded community theater (and probably hear my stomach growling).  And when I see them, they will annoy me and make my flight impulse irresistible.
  6. I’m never going to clean the glass cover on our porch light.
  7. At least twice a week, I get weepy as I’m driving away from my child’s school in the morning.
  8. Sometimes, I miss this cranky, old, cloudy-eyed cat:
  9. Sometimes, I wish we had no cats.
  10. Burger King has veggie burgers and they’re actually kinda tasty.  🙂
  11. Kate Gosselin looks beautiful with longer hair.
  12. The teachers at my son’s school have a great capacity for shocking me.  Like today, when one of them told me that my son doesn’t get recess if he doesn’t bring his homework in on Mondays.  What?  That’s right, my autistic son, a child who thrives on routines and consistency, doesn’t get recess if there is no homework in his backpack…yeah…because he can easily see the relationship between those two things, right?  And he can easily communicate that information to me, right?  Um, no and no.
  13. Life is too short for bad doughnuts.  Go here instead. Or here or here.
  14. McDonald’s has bitter, disgusting iced tea that should not be legal to sell, not as a beverage anyway.
  15. Sometimes I get burned out on Mandarin Dynasty and then, all of the sudden, I can’t stop thinking about the sweet and sour tofu!  And the veggie pot stickers.  Oh my!  You need to go there. I need to go there.
  16. I think I’m unintentionally writing a food blog.  Or maybe I’m just hungry.  For doughnuts and Chinese food.  Chinese doughnuts?
  17. Since I’m a vegetarian, maybe I don’t need to keep this title in my cookbook collection:
     

♥♥