Still No Armadillo

Remember Gourdy?

I got a friend for him today.

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His mustache reminds me of Snoopy’s brother, so I named him Spike.

He is Gourdy’s Uncle Spike.

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He makes me laugh.

I also picked up a few children’s books (big surprise).

I found two small Wilton cake pans too.

The pans are oval – perfect for making Easter egg cakes next spring – and they were a steal at two for a dollar.

The price was extended to me because the vendor was an acquaintance of my brother’s.

It pays to hang with a sibling who knows the sellers by their first names.  🙂

My favorite find of the day is this chippy yellow bundt pan.

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It was dirty and neglected when I found it.

It astounds me that people can’t be bothered to scrub a bit before tossing things into the donate pile.  Gross.  Sad.

I’m not sure how well it will actually bake, given the abuse it suffered from its previous owner, but I love it up there on the wall above my spice rack!

I will try it out over the holidays, for sure.

A few months ago, I bought a small red bundt pan that hangs on the opposite wall.

DSC00240It’s chippy too.

I love them both.

That’s all.

Happy Sunday!

P.S. Look at this:

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I tossed some leftover ground cover into a planter pot a few weeks ago.

I actually thought it was dead.

I guess I was wrong.

Happy Surprise.

♥♥

Kitty Cat Memorial Cactus Garden

My dear friend, Leighann, was in town for a few hours last Wednesday.

We met for lunch and some thrift store browsing in Poway before she headed to the coast for a meeting.

Whenever we get together, Leighann brings me the most amazing, thoughtful gifts.  This time was no exception.

Behold the beautiful Kitty Cat Memorial Cactus Garden:

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She assembled it in a gorgeous glazed blue pot.

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She tucked some sea glass and a tiny kitty between the plants.  (Sorry so blurry – hard to get a clear pic of the kitty’s little face.)

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I love this little garden so much.  It’s a perfect addition to our backyard.

More importantly, it’s a fitting tribute to Rusty and Poupon who spent so much time where this pot now sits.

Thank you, my lovely friend!  You always know exactly what to do.

Just outside our front door, there is small patch of dirt that makes my eye twitch.

This tiny patch was once home to a beautiful, licorice-scented heliotrope plant, but ultimately it proved too small to adequately contain such an aggressive shrub.  The heliotrope had zoomed to dishwasher size, was dropping its little purple flowers all over the path, and was mercilessly grabbing our clothes when we walked to the door.  We had to tear it out.  😦

For the last few years, the dirt patch has been basically empty, save for a handful of river rocks.  It never used to bother me, but now I stand in my driveway every afternoon as I wait for my son to come home on the bus and I just can’t help but stare at that stupid, unfinished, neglected chunk of yard.  😦

It’s a problematic spot – not very deep, limited water, and anything we plant there must be trimmed back from the walkway.  There aren’t many plants that can handle such routine and vigorous pruning.

A few weeks ago, I accidentally broke off a piece from a succulent in the backyard.  Impulsively, I shoved it into the dirt in the patch out front.  I wasn’t expecting any miracles, but the succulent survived and even started to grow.  Encouraged, I did it again with another plant.  That one made it too.

Today, I bought a few more succulents and tucked them next to the others.  I also added a bag of rocks we had sitting on the side yard.

Here is the (almost) finished patch:

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This may not seem like much to accomplish, but my eye has stopped twitching.

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What have you been up to?

♥♥

Cast Concrete in Chula Vista

***

Update as of July 2014

Unfortunately, R.C.S. Concrete Caps has closed their Chula Vista location.
I have not had any luck finding out if they still exist elsewhere.
Let me know if you find them!

***

 

 

Last week, on one of my regular trips to the west Chula Vista thrift stores, I spotted a new vendor at the corner of Broadway and Main.

R.C.S. Concrete Caps and Sculptures has taken over a dirt lot next to the Otay Farms Market.

R. C. S. sells mostly items made from cast concrete – fountains, animals, and other garden statues.

I love the giant turtles and alligators.

There are also some large planter pots, a Bhudda or two, suns, angels, pagodas, bird baths…really anything you can think of.

I chose a morning dove for $8.00…

and a frog for $5.00.

When I hesitated at the $5.00 price of the turtle I liked, the saleswoman lowered it to $3.00.

That’s my kind of vendor!

The turtle seems happier submerged in our birdbath than he did roasting in the hot dirt.  🙂

Anyhoo, that’s my find of the week!

Stay turned for a long overdue post about all those thrift stores I keep mentioning.

Happy Friday!

P.S.  My GIANT son thinks he is small enough to replace the little sheep that used to sit in the nook above our stair landing.  I’m not sure I agree.  🙂

 

Ribbon, Flowers, and Math

Ribbon

My order from The Gilded Bee arrived a few days ago.

(Commence happy dance now.)

She sent a gift along with my purchase.  🙂  That blue polka-dotted ribbon with the scalloped edges is the freebie.  I love it!

Giveaways are so great for retaining customers.  I will definitely order again – maybe even tonight!

And did you notice the pink plaid packaging tape on her shipping box?  Cuteness overload.  Love.

Flowers

Speaking of pretty things, there are flowers all over my backyard.

Thank you, husband.  You have been busy.

I particularly love Mr. Chicken.

The nasturtiums under our plum tree came raging back this season too.

They’re beautiful, bright, happy (and edible!) little flowers, but this year they are absolutely COVERED with aphids.  Blech!

Click the pix to see the little devils – they’re kind of horrifying.  😦

I guess the good thing is that the aphids are leaving everything else alone.

I think my favorite flowers in the yard right now are the ranunculus.  How the heck do you make that word plural?

Math

The boy sat close to do some math with his sidewalk chalk while I was taking pictures.

He made me upload this next pic, print it out and use a pencil to solve the problems.

This morning he used the utensils and food from his little kitchen to make a robot and some funny birds.

He is smitten with stop signs lately.  He has been counting and drawing them.  Oh, and taping them to the window.

Anyhoo, that’s our house this week.  What’s going on with you?

Hope you’re having a Happy Thursday!

P.S.  I am addicted to Pinterest.  Please send help.  (Or your Pinterest link. Ha!)

♥♥

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!

♥♥

Back Again

There were words missing from the word search in the little boy’s homework packet this week.

The words were listed on the bottom of the sheet, but they didn’t appear in the grid of letters above.  And the word “built” was backwards.

My son couldn’t handle that.  “No backwards!  No backwards built!”

He gasped that out through lumpy-throated, head-shaking moans.  Then he flew into a raging tantrum like I haven’t seen in a long time.

He ripped the paper into six pieces, wadded up the bits and threw them to the floor with a scream.

Next, he reached for the pencil bucket.

He used both hands to send bunches of sharpened projectiles into the air over his head.

Most of them rained down on the china hutch and computers behind him.  His scissors and the hole punch landed halfway up the stairs.

I snapped at him to pick up immediately.  He didn’t.

Instead, he up-ended a basket of his school papers and sent them sliding to the floor too.

I was mad and I yelled.  Nine years, and I still instantly feel like such a rookie in the face of his upsets.

I fought for calm and grabbed a piece of paper.  I drew a scale – one to ten – and tried to make him understand that the missing words on the homework sheet were just a “level 2 frustration” and not the “level 10 mad” he had just displayed.

He stared at me, a little catatonic, but with a spark of understanding.  I actually think he knew what I meant.  He watched in stillness as I taped the word search back together.

I talked to him quietly about his homework.  I told him we would put it away for now and try again tomorrow – maybe even make our own word search.  He seemed okay or, at least, distracted from his rage.

I stood up and I told him I was going to make dinner for daddy.  He had started drawing, so I left him at the table.

In the kitchen, I put on gloves to peel and slice some garlic.  I should have predicted it wasn’t the best night to do that.  He interrupted me on the third of ten cloves.

“I want to take a bath.”

It was a routine, even-tempered, and perfectly articulated announcement, but it was much earlier than usual and I wasn’t ready to go upstairs with him.

I showed him my gloves and knife and the cutting board too.  I even told him to smell the garlic, so he would know my fingers were too stinky to touch the shower curtain or the faucet, much less the shampoo bottle or his hair.

I reminded him that last night we talked about what a big nine-year-old boy he is and how he can take a shower by himself now.

He looked at me and started to shake.

Clearly, this was not the time to begin a new independence.  I cut the garlic faster and told him to wait a few minutes.  He couldn’t.

He started looking around for something to throw.  He used his arm to clear a binder and some loose papers off of the new glass topped dresser in the kitchen.  He looked at me and then turned back to the dresser and tried to push it over and the glass off too.

That was the final straw for me.

I yelled at him to stop, I pulled off my garlicky gloves and I followed him out of the room.  I was defeated and he had begun whining, slapping himself and flailing his arms back and forth.

He wanted me to come with him upstairs, but he was so mad and I was too.

I am embarrassed to confess that I lectured him all the way to the tub.  It really didn’t help or make either of us feel any better.  I am an ogre.

He got in, turned on the water and yanked the curtain shut.  I left the bathroom and went back downstairs to cry and finish the damned garlic.

I knew I had only ten minutes until he emerged from the shower, failed to dry off, and came dripping downstairs, expecting me to get pajamas for him.

That time limit made me cry even harder and chop even faster.

Sure enough, he came into the kitchen, naked and damp, just as expected.  I kept chopping.

He said nothing and left the room.  I heard the laundry doors open and could hear his little whisper voice talking about something in the hall.

I was weighted by his tantrum and couldn’t even muster a smile, but I had finished the garlic, so I washed my hands and went to get him the pajamas.

Much to my surprise, he was already in them!

Miracle.

He was even wearing a pair of shorts that he typically rejects.  He did it himself and he made a compromise too.  I was speechless.  Something sunk in…and it kind of melted me.

In the day’s sea of frustration and tears, my smart little boy extracted some useful tidbit and took a step toward more independence.

It may seem like a teeny step, but it’s big enough for me.

Happy Tuesday, indeed.

Good little boy.  😀

God, I’m tired.

Sigh.

P.S.  Look at the new hibiscus now…so pretty.  Thanks, husband.  🙂

♥♥

August Garden Pictures

No time to write, so just some pix today…

Pray for that freshly planted hydrangea.

Our first one didn’t do very well.  😦

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😀

Happy Wednesday!

♥♥

Easter Pix

A week late, but here they are…

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Happy Sunday!

♥♥

Twinkle Twinkle, Tiramisu, and Pretty Flowers

Eight-Year-Old Cinema

The little boy just took the video camera from me and went off to make his own movie.

He has been doing this a lot lately.

It mostly just involves filming the walls up close and singing in the background while occasionally waving his hand in front of the lens.

Sometimes he makes funny noises and laughs at himself.

Sometimes he mumbles scenes from his favorite movies.

But only rarely does he really point the thing in his own direction.

I only hesitated about two seconds before handing him the new camera to use without my supervision.  He just seemed so eager to do it himself, how could I say no?

Yes, maybe he will break it, but it wasn’t that expensive and he’s actually pretty careful.

Who knows?  Maybe he will find his future behind the lens.

Here is a sample of his cinematography skills:

And just in case you prefer to see his face and hear his singing while I hold the camera, here’s Twinkle Twinkle:

Tiramisu

I made tiramisu from this recipe last night.  I was really drawn to it because of the almond extract, one of my favorite dessert flavorings. I also appreciated the omission of raw eggs and rum, neither of which are high on my list of culinary delights.  😕

This is a really good recipe – very easy to assemble – though I recommend finding heartier lady finger cookies than I did.  Mine were VERY dainty and spongey, not at all firm like those in her photos.  They sort of fell apart when I dipped them in the coffee.  I made the best of it, used them anyway, and chilled the assembled dessert for only the minimum six hours before trying it.  It’s delicious!

Thanks to Mom #2 for saving the Food Section for me!

By the way, a quick search produced this very simple lady finger recipe, so maybe that’s the way to go next time.

Photos

I snapped a few pictures in the yard while we were waiting for pizza today.  The little boy has sauce on his face for the close-ups.  😀

Our Julia Child Rose is doing really well.  The yellow flowers are beautiful and cheery, but I love how the older blooms fade to a creamy white.  It almost looks like there are two different flowers on the same plant.

We planted a Charisma Rose a few feet behind it, but it isn’t as happy as Julia.  Our Charisma has that unfortunate white fungus on some of its limbs.  We will snip those off, treat the others somehow and hope for the best.  I think there’s a picture of it in there so you can see how unhappy it looks.  😦

Notice the orange-yellow Hibiscus.  Just this morning, the husband mentioned how pleased he is that the plant is healthy and producing nice flowers again.  An hour later, the little boy hacked off all of the blooms.  😐  Sigh.

A picture of the book I chose from my too-tall pile of options is in there too.  I grabbed it as we were heading out the door to the park this morning.  It was on top of the stack.  I read three chapters without even noticing I’d done it.  So far, it’s good.  I’ll let you know if it holds my interest!

Enjoy the pictures!

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Happy Sunday!

♥♥

Good Job and Some Music

My husband stopped at Home Depot on his way home last night.  He picked up a carton of fireplace logs and a deep pink potted miniature rose.

When he walked into the house, the little boy looked at him and said “A log!  A rose!  Good job!”  Considering where the day began, that made us chuckle.  Smart little boy.

He went to school this morning.  His initial protest was predictable and annoying, but he seemed to snap out of it when I told him I would take him to school in his pajamas if he didn’t put on his clothes.  I guess he figured I was serious.

Clearly, he has developed some sort of social anxiety about being in his jammies outside the house.  That part actually makes me a little sad.  He’s only eight.  Kids should feel comfortable being in their jammies, whatever the scenario.  But he doesn’t, and it’s no surprise.  It’s worth repeating, he’s not like other kids.

Tomorrow starts a four-day weekend.  My swollen eye and I can’t wait.  I need to stay in the house as much as possible.  We have a few things planned, but I can’t really handle the brightness of the sunny skies until my eye gets better.  It’s hard to drive, hard to walk, hard to do anything but just sit still.  My eye is more sensitive to light than usual and today’s chilly air is downright painful.

This afternoon, I was lucky enough to catch up with some friends for a long lunch in a dark restaurant.  Sitting there, with my back to the windows, was the best break my eye has had since the stupid balloon popped on Monday afternoon.  Thank you, friends!

The little boy is home from school and planted at the table with a book of mazes.

He is obsessed with mazes lately.  I spent $25 on three books full of them yesterday and he has already finished the little one.  I don’t quite know what I will do when he finishes the last of them.

He also makes me draw mazes for him.  It exhausts me.  You try it.  It’s not as simple as it sounds.  The maze has to be tricky, but not defeating.  My son is very crafty and sharp-eyed, but he’s still autistic and he frequently displays escalating and sometimes explosive frustration when he can’t figure out a solution to something.  Mazes are a challenge for us both.

There are plenty of mazes on the internet, but my printer doesn’t work right now and I’m not too keen on dropping all my toner on that anyway.  Mazes are sort of ink-laden.

What to do?  More books, I guess.

I remember liking mazes and other brain teasers myself when I was his age.  I wonder how my parents kept my supplies well stocked.  I don’t remember ever doing without them.  Hmmm.

The husband and I are constantly working on crossword puzzles at the dining table.  I guess that’s our grown-up equivalent of what the boy likes.  Maybe there is hope for his interest in reading.  Language is a maze too, isn’t it?

Anyhoo, not sure how much writing I’ll get done over the long weekend, so I’ll catch you back here in a few days.

Happy Thursday!

P.S.  Evil husband tried to plant bad 80’s pop music in my head as we were drifting off to sleep last night.  I countered with Hank Williams and some Donny and Marie.  He sang some Rush and Scorpions and I responded with a Partridge Family tune.  We both got stumped trying to remember the Billy Joel song from Bosom Buddies and then were equally tortured as it seemed the theme to The Greatest American Hero would never escape our addled brains.  Luckily, I remembered this Elvin Bishop song, one of my all time teenage favorites.  I happily drifted off with it spinning in my mind.  (Enjoy that video – there wasn’t anything official, so I figured I’d choose something a little off the wall for you.  😀 )

♥♥