Gifts of Yum and Stuff and Rain

The doorbell rang on Christmas Eve.

To my delight, Fedex came bearing a box of homemade marshmallows from lovely Lisa in Washington.

That’s right, homemade marshmallows!

Lisa mentioned her latest batch and I made a wishful comment, but it didn’t occur to me that my wish would come true.

I have my very own tub of yummy, fluffy, perfect, quickly-disappearing goodness.

Thank you, Lisa!

They.  Are.  Heavenly.

In fact, my taste buds tell me they’re a close cousin to divinity, one of my all-time favorite candies.  And we all know what “divinity” means, right?  😀

Lisa became part of my cherished new extended family when her deceased sister’s sweet husband married my sweet mom-in-law last New Year’s Eve.

Did you follow that?  No?  Suffice it to say, Lisa is family and friend and thoughtful to boot.

The Mistress of Marshmallows, that’s who she is.

The most unique gift I received this year was the mixed bag of goodies from Tongue in Cheek Antiques French Brocante.

My wonderful mom-in-law follows Tongue In Cheek’s blog and was inspired to order this little collection of French curiosities just for me.

I love it!

There are little medals and a key and a fabulous shoe.

I love the bright blue ceramic heart, the big black flower button and the miniature Paris banner.

There are numbered tags and a key plate and the teeniest plastic statue of Queen Elizabeth.  (I guess a bit of Britain climbed into the grab bag too!  😀 )

All of these trinkets were wrapped in French documents from 1922, two typed and one handwritten.  Charming.

It will be fun to see which objects inspire art from me this year.  My wheels are already spinning.

Thank you, Jenifer!

Christmas went by in a blur of food and family and mountains of Trio.

The week before it brought a ton of rain.

I snapped a few wet photos in the yard to catch the mood.

Enjoy!

And Happy Tuesday!

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A Little Relief, Please

I left the school in tears again today.

The little boy started out happy and was looking forward to his morning run with his classmates.  But there was an assembly scheduled first thing, so they didn’t do the laps.  My son had a complete meltdown.

After ten minutes of trying to calm him and offering to run with him myself, I realized I had to leave and let the aides deal with whatever he dished out.  It killed me to walk away while he was so distraught, but I had to.

I drove to a thrift store.  Browsing there would cheer me up.

There was a man in the store who reminded me of Willie Nelson, partly because of his looks, partly because he had a lovely southern accent and gentlemanly way about his speech, but mostly because he was singing.

He wandered through the store much like I did, only extroverted and conversational with everyone he passed.  The last word or two of each sentence he heard reminded him of a song which he would then happily sing as he browsed some more.  Hymns, carols, interesting old country hits, he knew all the words and he carried the tunes.

He walked and looked and found more clerks and customers with whom to exchange pleasantries.  With each of them, he found a new song.  And he had a lovely voice.  A lovely, homey, comfortable, Willie Nelson voice.  And I love Willie Nelson.

But I was in my autism fog, blue and teary, with a lump in my throat and no courage in my demeanor.   I didn’t want to be one of the people this man spoke to.  I didn’t want to be one of his songs.  So I had to navigate through the store carefully, being small and quiet.  And I’m not very good at that, so it stressed me out.  Lovely song man stressed me out.  And made me stay in the store longer than I wanted, just so I could avoid him.

Once I finally made my escape, I headed to the grocery store.  That was rife with even more awkward social moments.  I still can’t believe I asked a twenty-year-old produce boy if he had fresh zucchini.  😳

My mind raced this morning – everywhere I try not to let it go.

When I got back into my car, I flipped on the radio and was annoyed to find Gloria Penner at the Editor’s Roundtable, discussing unemployment.  I usually love Gloria Penner and the editors too, but people without work at Christmastime?  Too depressing for me today.  I pushed another button.  I thought music might boost my mood.

Nope.  It didn’t.  Four more stations – all playing sad ballads or songs of despair.  I wanted a lift, you know?  I wanted something to pull me from my melancholia.  I’m not the type to indulge the sad music.  I was looking for a way out of that.

Suddenly it occurred to me that I could turn to a Spanish station.  I understand a lot, but I probably wouldn’t be able to translate lyrics fast enough to be bothered by them.  I could tune out the words and just hear something musical and cheery.  Fighting back a fresh wave of mom tears, I pushed another button on the radio.

I sold myself short.  I understood every word.  And do you know what they were talking about on the Spanish language station when I tuned in?  Oh, you will never guess.

Sangre.  That’s what.  Sangre en el papel y en la taza.  Sangre de hemorroides.

Seriously?

I’m depressed.  I’m looking for something to cheer me up and these people are talking about hemorrhoids on the radio.

Hemorrhoids.

Pain, itch, general discomfort and sangre.

In Spanish.

On the radio.

Well, what do you know?

That cracked me up!  No pun intended.

I laughed in Spanish too.

Ha!

Happy Friday!

I’ve lost track of my photos, so if these are duplicates, I apologize!  😀

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Green and Red

We put up a few more Christmas decorations today.  Just one more little box and we’re done!

I love how our house looks when it’s all decked out for the season.  I wish we could carry the sparkly glow of that through the whole year without diminishing the special feeling of it in December.

We dim the lights and burn some candles whenever we have guests, but there’s nothing quite as romantic, cheery and welcoming as holiday lights.  The trees, the garlands, the string of fat old bulbs on the backyard fence, they all just add so much to the fun of day-to-day living.

I often think I’d like to keep the backyard lights throughout the year and simply change their color for each season.  They’re very festive and seeing them out there makes me feel like I’m in Bazaar Del Mundo or something.

But enough about that.

The little boy went to school as happy as can be this morning and seemed the same when I retrieved him in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, I just found a red card in his backpack.  Apparently he was “not following directions, pushing others and slapping the classroom aide.”  Blech.  Will it ever end?

I had lunch with a dear friend today.  He asked me what I thought would happen to my son after I was gone or just too old to care for him.  My friend wanted to know if I thought my son would ever be independent and capable of living alone or being in a relationship.

I confess, those questions circle my brain on a regular basis.  They put a lump in my throat at least once a week and occasionally motivate a full blown sobbing panic attack.  All of that is laced with heartache, but I try very hard not to let it get the best of me.

For the most part, I am full of hope for my son and I consciously choose not to worry too much about his future.    There’s just no way to know it or to control it, so I can’t borrow the trouble of it while I’m busy getting him through elementary school.  I simply can’t afford the energy that would require.

I do know that he has come a long way since he got his first diagnosis around 18 months.  For a while, we weren’t sure if he would ever talk.  Now he talks all the time and he has an infinite capacity to learn new words and to correct himself with each sentence he tries.

He constantly labels things aloud, narrates whatever action he sees and is eager for clarification or fine tuning of his vocabulary.   I just see all that growing and, I think as it does, it will naturally improve his ability to navigate successfully through the social nightmares that surround him.

I guess I gave some shortened version of this response to my friend.  I know he worries about my son too, so I hope he was okay with this answer.

I feel like I’m rambling now and, really, I’m more than ready to sit on the couch with the remote in one hand and a fudge bar in the other.  (No cracks about that please.  Or the fact that I linked to Walmart.  What can I say?  The fudge bars are good and Walmart sells ’em cheap.)

Oh, just one more thing – RageAgainstTheMinivan cracked me up again this week.  I swear, she’ll probably think I’m a nutso blog stalker or something, but she’s really funny and you all deserve a laugh, so here’s a link to one of her recent posts.

Enjoy!

Day Twenty-Nine 2010 Pumpkin Demise

Flat as pancakes out there.

Pumpkin pancakes, mind you.  Just like IHOP.  :mrgreen:  Not.  Heh heh.

As usual, there are a few other pix in there too, including a couple of the little boy with half closed eyes and really dirty teeth.

He’s the sweetest, smartest, cutest, kindest, most beautiful baby boy that ever lived.  And, no matter what, I tell him that every night.

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Happy Monday!

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Sunday Show

No written post this morning.

Just the
Day Twenty-Eight 2010 Pumpkin Demise
and a few other pix for you until later or tomorrow.

Have a great Sunday!

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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.  🙄

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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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Day Twenty-Five 2010 Pumpkin Demise

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Day Twenty-Four 2010 Pumpkin Demise

We blew some giant bubbles again today too.  😀

Happy Wednesday!!

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Day Twenty-Two 2010 Pumpkin Demise

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Day Twenty-One 2010 Pumpkin Demise

More later.

Just a pile of pumpkin ploppy for now.

😀

Happy Sunday!

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