Friday, January 30, 2009

One Down -Eleven to Go -Only The Good

Wow! Here it is, the end of January -one month out of the year 2009 already gone! (Yes, I know there is one more day left -tomorrow -but for all purposes, the month of January now is virtually history, isn't it?)

This month has had a few things that maybe weren't all that pleasant, weather-wise -a whole lot of "wintry mix" stuff that includes a whole lot of sleet and freezing rain and that has meant a lot of icy surfaces, for sure. I've been lucky in that I had very few reasons why I had to leave the house so I didn't have to go out and risk life and limb on icy or even just snow-covered roads.

For most of the month, the only time I left the warmth of the house was to get Maya on and off the van on a couple of occasions and now and then, I had to venture out to check if the newspaper had arrived. I did manage to get out and go to church last Sunday though -a first for the month and thus, for the New Year.

This week has brought me a lot in the "Only The Good" department though. You -my readers -have already heard about the photos I received in the mail last Saturday, the great phone call I had the other night too from an old family friend too.

In the course of my conversation with Art -the elderly gentleman caller -he told me that back in the 60s, he took some extra credit classes at Johns Hopkins University pertaining to autism and his instructor -the professor for those courses -was none other than Dr. Leo Kanner -who was one of the earliest individuals to research the disorder, Autism!

Art told me that when he reads my e-mails to him and his wife, in which I frequently chronicle the issues, actions and reactions of my grandchildren, both diagnosed with Autism, that he can think back to that coursework and understand quite well the things going on with these two little ones in my house. Knowing that, just reinforces the friendship bond I've had all my life with Art and his wife, Priscilla. It's always a special benefit to know there are people who have a good background and understanding then of the situation -of the capabilities the kids have and also,of the problems that crop up in trying to help them learn and grow into being as successful as possible.

Yesterday, being the last Thursday of the month, was my monthly lunch date with some of the girls from my high school class. We've been doing this monthly get-together for a year now and it is really very much an enjoyable thing for me and I'm pretty sure the others have a good time at it too!

There were four of us yesterday -Kate, Rose, Linda and myself. Carol, who lives over in State College -about 37 miles from here -didn't make it over the mountain this month. She had another commitment for yesterday afternoon, plus she and her husband plan to come over here tomorrow for the funeral of her husband's cousin -the friend I mentioned last week who passed away suddenly, apparently of an aneurism. So, since I plan to go to the funeral too, I will get to see her -and her husband, who grew up two doors up the street here from me as well as most likely I will get to see Rose, along with her husband, Durvin, there too then. Rose's youngest sister was married to Ron's second older brother (Den -who was a very special friend of mine and who died of cancer in 1988) and also, one of Rose's older sisters was married to an Uncle of the deceased, who also was a very good friend of mine and his wife still is someone I am very close to. Boy, how's that for a long, long, drawn-out sentence? The funeral will be held in a church in a nearby town which is no longer in use and the mass will be done by Ron's oldest brother, Father Bob. So, on many levels, it will be not just a funeral service for Ron, but a gathering of relatives and close friends of his and of his entire family. That is one of the really good things about growing up in a very small town and people being very inter-connected with each other from childhood to the grave.

Yesterday at our lunch we discussed again the idea of maybe meeting at some different locations from time to time. One of the places we are hoping to meet at for a lunch is a new restaurant that just opened this past month in Philipsburg -a town about 12 miles from here. This restaurant -I think the name of it is either the "1921 Phillips" or the "Phillips 1921" -I'm a little foggy on the correct name there and I apologize for that -but it is located in the building in town that for many years was a very grand hotel -"The Phillips Hotel." It closed a few decades back and then was used as part of a nursing home center for about 20 years or so but they vacated the premises just a few years ago now.

But now, two women from Philipsburg have taken over the building and are in the process of restoring it to the grandeur decor it had back in its hey-day. Right now, the restaurant they have set up there -a very upscale setting and menu too -I believe is the first thing they have finished and in operations. My friend Kate told us her brother and his wife had gone there for the buffet they offer on Sunday and reported back that the food was very good, although many in these parts would hesitate to partake of that because it is $18 per person. I'd have to scrimp a bit to be able to afford a Sunday lunch there but I do think it would be very well worth the price, overall.

I hope this restaurant manages to get off to a good start and gain a good foothold to continue then to operate as there are not very many really nice, restaurants in that town any more. There's maybe one or two over in Clearfield that would be along that type of "fine dining" but otherwise, the closest restaurant of that type would require either a trip to State College -37 miles away -or to Altoona, and that's a 50 mile drive, one way. So I see this new place as being a bright spot to the overall Moshannon Valley Community -one very much needed as the general outlook here has often been very bleak for a long, long time now.

On Tuesday of this week, I had to go to the hospital in Clearfield to have bloodwork done for my six-month, routine check-up with the oncologist. No big deal, ya know. A little jab in the arm, a vial or two of blood removed -not a problem. I mentioned to the phlembotomist drawing the blood that in almost five years of dealing with this particular lab/hospital, having had chemo treatments for over seven months too which of course required an IV and yes, ya know those IV's mean needles and jabs in the arm, etc., I had only on one occasion had a painful experience with one technician drawing blood. As much as I tend to hate needles of that type, I thought that was a pretty darned good thing -a good track record in my opinion, of the staff there then, don't you agree?

One problem arose from having that bloodwork done this week though.

In the ongoing struggle to get Maya fully potty trained -no, we still haven't mastered the fine art of her using the potty for the #2 function -Tuesday evening, Maya announced she had to go "potty" and insisted I go back to the bathroom with her and sit there, holding her hand while she tried to go. (She doesn't require any help to go to the bathroom for other things, just this.) So, back I went. Got a little chair we keep in the bathroom to put clean clothes on so they are there, ready, when you get out of the tub and it works just great to unfold this chair and park your butt on it while talking -and singing -to Maya in an effort to help her produce something, anything, ya know. The song we sing to her -more like a cheerleader's call -"Push it out! Push it out! Way Out!" She even sings along with us on that one too.

But anyway, while sitting there, talking to Maya about all kinds of stuff, she asked me where I'd been that afternoon as she knew I had been out and away from the house. So I told her I had to go to the hospital. "What for?" she asked and I -not thinking anything of this answer had responded, "Bloodwork."

Boy, little did I realize that would spark a long, lengthy discussion as she had more and more questions then about "What is bloodwork?" And when she starts with the Q&A type thing, she doesn't give it a rest until she gets an answer that I guess makes sense in her mind then.

Have you ever tried to explain what "Bloodwork" means to a small child? Especially to a kid who doesn't always comprehend a lot of things completely? My advice here is, if possible, don't go there! It can really tax one's gray matter to try to find a way to explain something as simple as bloodwork but yet, as complicated as that then becomes under circumstances like those were!

I had to pull up my sleeve and show her where they had done the "Bloodwork" and she was so fascinated by all this conversation that she will still come up to me and pull my sleeve up so she can look at the crook in my arm -at the elbow -and she points to that saying "That's Gram's Bloodwork!" Yeah, close enough Maya, I guess.

Meals here sometimes can be quite taxing. First, there is trying to figure out what to cook that isn't just the same old, same old stuff you know. But with botht he kids who don't really like anything other than macaroni or noodles, trying to incorporate foods around those two items can at times be a bit tricky. I hate the idea of fixing one meal for Mandy, Bill and myself and a separate one then too for the kids, so sometimes, if I have a hankering for something I KNOW the kids will completely turn up their noses at, I try to fix those type meals when I have a few leftovers in the fridge that I can just heat up for them.

Last night though, I decided to fix Stuffed Peppers. I love this dish and Mandy and Bill both like it too. On previous occasions when I made this, both the kids had readily eaten the "stuffing" -rice and ground beef, ya know. However, lately it seems rice is becoming -quite rapidly too - an "unfavorite" menu item for both kids. Their tastebuds do seem to fluctuate a lot at times. And last night, apparently was one of those occasions when neither of them wanted anything at all do with rice! Maya did take a couple tiny bites but Kurtis -narry a smidgen of it passed over his lips.

Nope! Instead, he played with it on his plate. Then he took handfuls of it off his plate and plopped it down in little piles all around his plate. After that, he decided this would be a wonderful substance to use to "paint" the table top with it too! And when he finished his paintings, he then decided to push it all off the table and on to the floor! Talk about a mess! Yes, we had one royal one there! So much so that Mandy tried to phone our neighbor, two doors over, to ask her to please bring her big part-boxer dog -Parker -over to have supper directly off our floor! It's times like these when I really miss not having a dog in the house! Heck, even our old cat, Gracie Baby, would have loved being present for a feast like that! She prowled regularly around our feet as we would eat our meals, just waiting for the kids (or even an adult) to accidentally drop a tidbit and would be really quick to pounce on that too as a very special meal I guess. Our current cat, Chino, seems not to have that trait though, unfortunately. Sadly, Mandy wasn't able to reach Karen and have Parker come dine with us, courtesy of Kurtis so we ended up having to clean this mess up ourselves. YUCK! I'll really be very grateful for the day Kurtis starts to eat much better. But at least, the adults here had a really good meal last night, guess that's the good part, isn't it?

Yesterday, when Kurt's occupational therapist came, she brought with her some embroidery floss I needed. Last week, when she was here, I mentioned that I was going to have to get out sometime soon and drive either to State College or Dubois -where the closest Joanne Fabrics store is located and which would be a 37 mile trip to one store or a 42 mile trip to the other -one way. This therapist though lives in the Dubois area and since she also likes crafting and such, she is familiar with the Joanne Fabrics stores and offered then to pick up the additional floss I need to complete the tablecloth I'm currently working on. Boy, that was nice, really good of her to pick that up for me. Not just because of the time and gas it saved me but also, because it was less expensive getting the floss there than it would have been had I had to resort to ordering it too from Herrschnerrs -my favorite online craft place! Now, as soon as I complete the places requiring the dark green floss -only three more "sprays" on the cloth to go before I finish that, I can then do all the yellow flowers -lots and lots of satin stitch which uses up lots and lots more floss that way too! She told me anytime I need more floss, just give her a call and she'll be more than happy to pick it up for me! Hmmm. Considering I just got a sale flyer in the mail yesterday from Joanne Fabrics and I see they have floss on sale right now for a quarter per skein, I should go through some of my projects in my stash and also the big bag of floss I have separated into little zip-lock bags to see what colors I will need to work on some of thos items too, shouldn't I? There is a limit of 30 skeins per customer but heck, I could maybe talk Roberta into stopping into the Joanne Fabrics store every day on her way home and that way, I could get oh, maybe an additional 100 skeins then for way less than it would normally run me. So for an outlay at those sale prices of $25 for 100 skeins, it would save me a nice, tidy $10 right there! I may have to give that a little more thought and see if Roberta wants to go in business to be my floss runner for me! Actually, since Mandy had to venture out to Dubois today to take her father-in-law over there for something or other, I should have made a list and given her money to pick up at least 30 skeins, huh? Oh well. I think I'll survive for a while now with what I have on hand. LOL

Right now, as I am writing this, my little sweetpea, Kurtis, has crashed and is taking a nice, hopefully very long afternoon nap. With him sleeping, me actually wide awake too for a change, that gives me at least two, maybe even three hours of good quiet time, no interruptions, and I can get down to work on this tablecloth, get it finished shortly and then -start on yet another project!

Yep, it never ends, does it?

But that too is all "Good" stuff -something I do really enjoy, and which I find to be very comforting, very relaxing and yes, even very exciting as I see the design take form and beauty with the addition of the colors of the floos.

A lof of darned good things, I'd say, wouldn't you?


Debo Blue said...

It's great about the monthly meeting your group still does. My firends and I try to do this but can never find the time.

And I know the pain/exasperation/humour of explaining something to a two-year old:-)

Good luck on the tablecloth!

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I just want you to know that you are in my Google reader. Have been for a very long time. I thought you just quit blogging since I never saw a new post from you. Well, you have been blogging, but you never show up in my reader. Your new posts are there, but it doesn't show as new. Weird.

Thanks for the joke. I've posted that one already, but keep them coming.

Have a terrific day and weekend. Big hug. :)

Morgan Mandel said...

Some of those vampires who draw blood are kind of rough about it. There is an art to the process. People are trained right do it right. I'm glad you've had mainly good experiences.

Morgan Mandel

janeywan said...

Hey Jeni,

You write so effortlessly. Just wanted to let you know your posts are coming through on my reader finally. So maybe it's fixed now.
Stuffed green peppers with rice, yum.
That good ol' eastern cooking.My mother use to make those a lot I was growing up. My men not so thrilled about them.
You sure have your hands full and busy, busy all the time.

Mary said...


I enjoyed reading your post. I'm glad that your friend knows something of autism. That always makes for easier conversation.

Brandon wasn't a picky eater when he was little but was a bit like that from age 5 to 12. Now he will at least try new foods without refusing them. He does eat many things that he wouldn't at one time, so there is hope.

Do your kids like tomato soup? If so, cook some macaroni, add a bit of cooked ground beef and then add a can of tomato soup. This is something that I make when it's getting near pay day and kids seem to love it. I also put ketchup on hamburger, but if Maya and Kurtis are anything like Brandon, they don't like the feel of meat in their mouth. It's just the last two years he will really eat much meat and then he is still a little choosy.

Wow! Embroidery floss for 25 cents a skein. That is great. I paid 50 cents at Mary Maxim for mine. I thought that was a good deal and it wasn't on sale.

Thank you so much for your kind and loving words on the passing of Meeko. He passed quickly and with dignity. He is not in pain and for that I am thankful. He will live forever in my heart. He was the most intelligent dog I ever had and a loyal friend and companion. I will miss him. It is hubby that is having a really hard time of it.

Take care, my friend. I hope you enjoy your weekend.


RuneE said...

They say that the days in January are short - but it doesn't always seem that way, does it? :-)

Keep at it!

... Paige said...

as Sandy said, your blog does not show up as "up dated" on my bolg. I have often wandered why.

Be safe

... Paige said...

as Sandy said, your blog does not show up as "up dated" on my bolg. I have often wandered why.

Be safe

... Paige said...

as Sandy said, your blog does not show up as "up dated" on my bolg. I have often wandered why.

Be safe

Sweetie said...

Jeni, I really enjoyed your post. I'm thinking that some of the ladies that graduated with me (back in the day) would enjoy going to lunch once a month. I'll get on that first thing Monday morning. We have a problem about the shortage of restaurants in our area too. My husband and I enjoyed dining out and liked nice restaurants. A friend and I ate at a relatively local restaurant a few weeks ago. We had a wonderful meal. Of course, it was pricey but it isn't something we will do frequently.

Rolling said...

yes, here tho its exam time and ever since I got this documentation assignment, it has been busy times for me. It is never ending work as am supposed to put together everything that's happened to school over the last 8 years. I came after some weeks here and saw that I had missed quite a lot of catching up to do.

How does Kurtis look now? Does he like looking at or drawing pictures?
Why do u have to see an oncologist, Jenny? I thought they deal with Cancer? For routine bloodtests, you can go to any drug store in your area and they doit for you, right? At least they do.

terri said...

Lots of good stuff going on in your world these days. I always love reading about the kiddos. I can just picture the curious look on Maya's face as she drills you with questions about bloodwork. And I can imagine the way Kurtis picks at his stuffed pepper, scattering his food everywhere but in his mouth.

Seems like the embroidery projects are helping you pass the time this long winter. Glad you have something you enjoy to do that.

Jocelyn said...

Despite your not leaving the house much lately, your life is full, inn't it?

The image of you explaining bloodwork during Poo Time cracks me up.

Jocelyn said...

Despite your not leaving the house much lately, your life is full, inn't it?

The image of you explaining bloodwork during Poo Time cracks me up.

Sandi McBride said...

I love that your month has been full of GOOD STUFF...and that your bloodwork went well. You really are a fantastic grandma, Jeni...those two little guys don't know how lucky they are right now, but they will! Hugs to all...

Gretchen said...

I'm reading this and start seeing all these familiar names. We're neighbors! I'm up in Elk County. :)