Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Stuff!

Today was quite the day for a whole lot of different emotions -happy, sad, angry, worried -pretty much ran the gamut. So where to begin to write about this?

I think I'll start with Maya. The report in the notebook that goes back and forth to school with her every day had some news in it that was a bit unsettling about how Maya wasn't very nice today to one of her classmates -pushing him while the kids were in line for a drink and then, trying to boss him around a bit. A little talking to was in store for her from her TSS as well as her teacher. Although we don't "like" to get reports like this on her, it isn't surprising either as she does have this streak going on now -a lot -where she thinks she is in charge of everything and is on a par, with administration of justice with her teacher. It's kind of humorous at times but still and all, this is far from desirable behavior that we want her to exhibit too, ya know.

The good thing in her notebook today though was that the kids now have a student teacher in their class and Maya's teacher commented that this might serve as a good conversation starter with Maya. She tends to have standard answers for us when questioned about her school day, you see. Normally, if you ask her what she did, or did she learn anything, or who did she play with, her answers all tend to be either "Nothing" -learned nothing, did nothing, etc., and/or "I don't know" which tends to be really frustrating for us as we try to get her to discuss her day with us.

Well at supper tonight, Mandy asked her if there was anything new at school, in her class and she immediately began to talk -very openly -telling us that they have a new teacher, her name is "Miss Woods" and she is a student at Penn State where she is learning to be a teacher! Yes, pretty much word for word there -and all in one big breath too!

So, obviously this student teacher made a big impression on Maya as we didn't have to hog tie her and drag this information out of her at all!

After that though, the supper discussion went downhill really quickly as Maya wasn't the least bit interested in eating what I had prepared (Oriental pork in a brown gravy type sauce with bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and bean sprouts -over rice). She was highly ticked off at me because I hadn't fixed a separate "meal" for her and Kurtis. But I told her the time has come where she will have to learn to adjust to eating foods that her Mommy, Daddy, sister Kate and Gram like to eat and that Gram is no longer going to fix macaroni and cheese or chicken fingers for her and her brother every day of the week. So it is going to be business as it usually was back when my kids were little -orders of "Sit up, shut up and eat!" in other words.

She did fuss about this deal a good bit but did end up eating the pork and rice -although Mandy did have to wheedle her into eating by feeding her, tiny bite, by tiny bite. Kurtis, on the other hand, did nothing at the table but play with the rice. So, he ended up munching on some plain bread and butter -which makes him quite happy when we have foods that he refuses to eat. In his case, sometimes it is that we have stuff he thinks he doesn't like and other times, he reacts that way to food that he normally will pig out on so there is no rhyme or reason with his actions and reactions at the table. Just have to drop back five and punt with him -which means some evenings he just has some bread and butter, other nights when he turns down the dinner fare, he might end up eating cereal or if he's really lucky, I might be able to find some leftover in the fridge that he appeals to him then. Picky, picky eaters these two can be!

I had a doctor's appointment today with the new woman doctor in the area -an ob-gyn doc and got referred there because my family doctor didn't like the test results from my last Pap test. I must say I really liked this new doctor -very thorough and also, very friendly and nice too. The upshot of this visit is that I have to go back in two weeks because she and her partner in the office both feel my pap test warrants some kind of scope test -don't remember now the name of it -but it will enable them to check further in my innards to make sure there is no trace of cancer in the female organs.

The upsetting, very unsettling stuff going on here though concerns my SIL and his endeavor for the past year now to get himself established in an auto repair/inspection business of his own.

His actions -or rather some of his inactions at times -have been driving both Mandy and I a bit bonkers. From getting up around 8 a.m. and then, parking in front of the tv in the other recliner, cup of tea in his hand and just staring at the tv screen -or more likely, off into space -and then, maybe -if we are lucky, he might venture out the door to go to the garage around 10 a.m.! Whast is annoying to us about this -and I'll wager it has cost him some valued business/customer potential too -is that the sign on the door at the garage says his hours are from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. but it's pretty hard to work on cars, do business then if you don't shoe up at the shop until 10 or 10:30 a.m. -sometimes not until 11 a.m.! I can't understand why he can't figure out how convoluted his logic is on this but then, who am I to judge there I suppose!

Now, the guy he was sort of in partnership with at this garage has pulled out of their arrangement and the lease on the garage, plus the bills for the the utilities and such were all in the partner's name with today now (Wednesday -today) being the last day of the lease!

So as I write this, we really don't know if he will be able to figure out a way to keep operating in that location. And, if he doesn't -because he has no alternative place in mind that he could afford to lease, who knows what he's going to do or be able to do, etc.! This is really unsettling because, obviously, the income, livelihood, for him and for Mandy and the kids all depend on this job of his!

But how can one get somethings through to someone who does frequently tend to exist in a bit of a dream world, ya know?

For me, I'm just going to have to allow some of the tenets I learned a long, long time ago via Al-Anon, to "Live and Let God" pretty much. I can not control what I can not change and therefore, I have to let this go in order that I can be free of as much of the stress impacting on me.

Tonight now when I went to open my blog, someone had closed everything down earlier on the computer so I had to sign in to open my blog -something I don't usually have to do. When I did that, it opened to my Dashboard and I noticed then that I have several new followers -apparently -according to the number it was showing on my dashboard anyway. So I clicked into that to see who they were and was quite surprised to find a young friend/acquaintance of mine on there as a follower. (I didn't even realize she had a blog,)

But anyway, I clicked into her blog and I'm gonna give her a little plug here!

This blog - Memories In Focus -is done by a young woman who lives in this area and works in the journalism trade. She's very interested in photography along with local history and loves to go traipsing about the woods in this area, snapping some fantastic shots too as she goes! She's a very talented young lady and if you would, please check out her blog, read some of her posts and view her pictures. I'm betting you'd also be quite happy to add her to your own list of blogs to keep up on -either via your reader or what ever other method you use to keep tabs on other bloggers. Be sure to leave a comment and tell her that I sent you there too, will ya?

And finally, tonight I want to leave you with some pictures of my most recent completed craft project -a new tabletopper that I started working on very late Sunday night and I completed it tonight! I should have been able to have finished it last night but unfortunately, it became much more important to my system -or so it seemed -to catch upon some always much needed sleep!

Here then is the latest item - a tabletopper cloth, size 31x31 inches and the name of this project is "Oh Tannenbaum." It was really a lot of fun to do this one and as you can tell by the time I started it to when I finished it, the work was quite easy and went fast! My kind of project there for sure!




Now, I need to figure out what project I should tackle next! I have another tabletopper in my bag -same size as this one above -with a snowflake design of red and gold on a very dark Christmas Green fabric I could begin or, maybe I should tackle one of the sets of coasters I got to do up but they are counted cross-stitch and I'm not sure I want to mess with that stuff right now. I really need to do up some stuff that will work up fairly quickly so that as it gets closer to the holidays I can then devote my time to bigger projects -like maybe at least one more big tablecloth or perhaps two -if I can really get on a roll and work quickly! The idea of working quickly while doing embroidery work is quite laughable for me as I am really a pretty slow stitcher although my neighbor and good friend, Shirley, thinks I am a speed queen at this stuff. That's only because she has lots of other things she has to do around the house all the time, plus a husband she has to feed and tend to (LOL) whereas I don't have that kind of responsibility in my life. All I have to worry about, for the most part, is figuring out what to cook for supper and usually, washing up the dishes afterward or occasionally, having to watch the grandkids if Mandy has to work or wants to go to an Autism Support Group meeting or shopping, etc. The rest of the time -if I want -I can just work on whatever project has caught my eye and attention at the time. That makes a really big difference in how much I can do with respect to this crafting stuff ya know!

So for tonight, I'm gonna maybe draw straws to see what to tackle first and then, go to bed sometime before the sun comes up!

Peace -and Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rave Reviews?

Over the three years since I started this blog, I've often written about the little things the grandkids do that sometimes are frustrating as all get out but often -very often -really do make us laugh a lot.

Some of the things Maya does and says these days often make me think she's well on the road to being a comedienne and that is should be finding an agent for her, making some tv deals perhaps.

Some of the stuff she comes out with maybe would work better in a script of a family-type comedy show.

Like on Friday, when Mandy was getting ready to leave for work and Maya decided that she really, really, REALLY had to go with her and that she wants to go to work. Yadda Yadda. The whole discussion had begun to escalate into the a big fat meltdown as I scrambled, trying to think of something I could tell her that would get her to see how illogical her argument (of which she really had none, just screaming -and kicking -that she had to go with Mommy!)

Mandy works two nights a week, helping out in the kitchen at a little bar-restaurant place about five miles from here. This is also one of the few places around where one can go and eat, drink, be merry -and also, still smoke. They get around the law and allow the smoking because they also have two house rules. One is NO ONE under the age of 18 is permitted in the place at ANY TIME and Rule #2 is if you are between the ages of 18 and 21, you are allowed in there only up until 9 p.m. and then, only in the company of someone over the age of 21.

So I hit on the idea of telling her that even if she really could go and "help" Mommy work, she wouldn't be allowed in the building because she isn't old enough. Then I mentioned that even her big sister -the 17-year-old here -wouldn't be allowed to enter the building either.

Boy, when I said that, I wish you could have seen how quickly I got her attention and in a matter of maybe 3 seconds time -at most -the tears, the kicking, the screaming, in short, the tantrum ended as she looked up at me and asked, "Well, how old do you have to be to get in there?"

When I said eighteen, she then asked how old Katie is and I told her she is only 17. Then she wanted to know when it will be Kate's birthday -December -and as suddenly as the tantrum began, it ended and she walked away from me, into the other room and was quiet and peaceable the rest of the night.

But that is only comical when you are present to see the change, the transformation, the look, on her face and how fast she went from being the little demon-child to being darned near angelic in her actions.

The other night -well, actually it was 5 a.m. -when I decided to go to bed and crawled in beside Maya, I noticed she was awake. I asked her if she'd been awake very long and she just shook her head that she hadn't. So I began to talk to her a little bit and very quickly, she rolled over and was quiet.

So, I did the same thing. But within a couple of minutes, I heard her saying something but I couldn't make out what she was saying so I asked her to repeat it. She did and it sounded like she was saying "Nothing" but that didn't really make sense. So I asked her to repeat it again what she was saying and this time she said it a bit clearer -"Nothing."

Okay. I then asked her if she was saying nothing then who was she talking to?

At that, she sat up in bed and gave me a glaring look and said, "I'm talking to myself and you have no business listening to me!"

Hmmm. Guess she told me "what for" there didn't she?

Okay -so maybe this isn't exactly comedy fare for everyone but to those of us around Maya as well as many family members and friends, she is quite the funny little girl much of the time.

Except for those darned tantrums.

But sometimes, even they end up being funny as all get out too!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

C'est Finis!

Hmmm. Wondering now if I spelled that word right. Ask my resident translator on my blog reader -Terri, is that correct the way I have "finis" spelled here?

Anyway, while I wait for the translator to answer my question, I will restate the title in English for those who don't know even a couple of words in French.

It is FINISHED!

And I am, of course, referring to the tablecloth I have been working on and intermittently talking about on my blog too!

And yes, I do have pictures now of the finished product -all for your viewing pleasure!

This -above -is the center portion of the tablecloth. On opposing corners of this there is a male cardinal and along each side, nestled among the branches and berries, is a female cardinal -along with some pinecones, holly berries and leaves and some ribbons too -for added trim!

On each of the outer corners is a female cardinal -more holly, more leave, more ribbons, more pinecones too.

Here's just a little closer view of the male cardinal -in all his glory, ya know!


And here is just a slightly closer view of the corner female cardinal too.

And now -I am enjoying a nice cold brew -to celebrate having finally completed this project!

Now I get to decide on what to embroider next -a tabletopper, pillowcases, a counted cross-stitch Christmas samper (Only if I am in a big hurry to make myself go blind will that one be chosen now) or perhaps a set of trivets to do up for a Christmas present -maybe.

Or I could knit something too but I haven't yet decided on what yarn I want to get to make that cape that I finally found a pattern for it so I think that can be automatically ruled out.

But then, I do have several skeins of Christmas colors of cotton yarn that I could maybe do some relaxing crochet -maybe some hot pads or potholders or even dish cloths -do 'em up as a break in the action and donate them to the ladies of the church's upcoming Fall Bazaar. That might work.

We'll see what tomorrow brings, won't we?

Cheers now!

Too Much Time!

Boy, it's been three days since I wrote my last post -and I think I did that one in the wee hours of the morning because I know I didn't have time to even think about writing a post since then!

Why was that? Well, because on Wednesday my day was pretty well absorbed by all kinds of things -ending with going to the school open house so that began the process of my getting behind in my blog reading. Then, Thursday was the date for my "Monthly Lunch Bunch" get-together with four good friends from my school days. And after that day being spent and not by getting caught up with my reader, I have been trying since Friday to get my Reader caught up to date -along with cooking supper, watching the kids while Mandy worked Friday night, feeling ultra crappy on Saturday, helping to tend to a sick grandson Saturday afternoon too and in between all of this, working on the tablecloth, trying to get it finished!

The upshot of this was that I did finally get caught up with the backlog on my Reader about a half hour or so ago now! Phew! Remind me never to get that far behind, will ya?

Yesterday was an especially difficult day though. First off, I was feeling really under-the-weather -with all kinds of cramping in my lower intestine, a higher than usual pain level in my back and legs and add to that a nasty headache in my right temple area that just didn't want to give an inch and disappear for several hours. Then, after managing to take a nap and I woke up, realizing the damned dishes were still sitting in the sink, waiting for me to tackle them (since no one else had made a move in that direction) and as I started to get things ready to wash them, Mandy called out to me to come quickly and help her!

She, Maya and Kurtis -along with Nina, the Mama cat and all six kittens -were laying on my bed, lolling around, playing with the kittens I suppose (or some such thing like that) when all of a sudden Kurtis got sick and barfed all over himself, the bedding but mainly -or so she thought -all over Mandy's arm too! Anyway, she was helpless to move without spreading more of Kurt's gift over more of the bed, it seems. So, Grammy to the rescue with paper towels and such and got enough of that cleaned off that she could get up and move him to the bathroom and then come back to strip the bed and toss all the linens, blankets and quilts into the washer and then the dryer. The nice thing out of all this was that I had totally fresh sheets and bedding to slide into when I went to bed then much later that night!

And Kurtis -well he was running a little bit of a fever which some Motrin brought down and seemed to be okay then too no more upset tummy events. This morning, he was completely back to being his lively little self too -all running around the house, playing with toys till Maya spotted whatever toy he had and of course, decided that was exactly the item she NEEDED to be playing with at that same exact time, ya know. But fights between the kids aside, I'm just relieved that both he and I are feeling a lot better in the stomach complaints department anyway and if the yucky weather would just dry up and warm ever so slightly, I think perhaps some of my other aches and pains would lessen up a good bit for me too!

I had a lovely treat last night though -after supper -as Mandy made a scrumpdelicious pineapple upside down cake. Now, I do like cake well enough but in the dessert line, pie is actually my favored item. However, pineapple-upside-down cake is Mandy's all-time favorite I think -or it ties with maybe pumpkin or lemon meringue pie perhaps -but for me, when it comes to cake I do love, love, love pineapple-upside-down cake! FOR SURE!

I had the first slice of the cake last night and today, by the time I decided I really needed another piece of it, almost 3/4 of the cake was already gone! How the heck could that have happened anyway? I know it wasn't Kurt or Maya who ate that much of the cake as I would be totally surprised if they even had a teensy tiny bite of it since they don't like to eat anything with certain other elements present -in this case, like pineapple, ya know. I rather doubt that the SIL ate that much of the cake either as he isn't that big on sweets. So who does that leave then? Hmmm. Me thinks Mandy was the main culprit in scarfing up all this pineapple-brown sugar and melted butter backed delight.

Which leads me to thinking that if she keeps up eating habits like that, she will sooner than later be heading out to buy weight loss pills instead of me! She might be pretty much on the skinny side now but I keep telling her to beware that sometime in the future her Mom's fat cell genes are liable to kick into gear on her and before she knows it, she'll be worrying about stuff like that even more than I do!

On the other good news though to report, I am on the home stretch now with the tablecloth! Boy am I ever happy to report that! All that remains for me to embroider are the four female cardinals that are positioned in each of the four outer corners of the cloth and thankfully, all that is left to do on these four birds are some short straight color stitches and voila, the tablecloth will finally be completed!

Sorry. No photos available at this point in time. But you better believe that just as soon as this puppy is completed, I will be taking pictures of it and posting them here!

All for your viewing pleasure, ya know!

Now, time for me to start getting things ready for supper. An easy task to do today as we were expecting Bill's two middle children here yesterday for dinner and I had made a big, big pot of spaghetti and meat sauce and we cooked up two big bags of ravioli to mix with the sauce to have for our dinner meal last night.

And as often happens then when I am fully prepared for extra folks at the dinner table, they didn't show up so now, I reap the benefits from having cooked that much extra food and we'll have a really good but very easily prepared supper today!

Ravioli! What else?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lost Time

Lately, Sunday seemed to be the day I got really far behind on my blog reading and posting but today -well, I really got behind today!

Actually, my getting behind began last night when I fell asleep in the recliner about 45 minutes after supper. I slept till about 10:30 p.m. and when I did wake up then instead of finishing my blog reading for yesterday, I worked on the tablecloth for about 3 hours or so.

Then I checked my e-mail, facebook, played more game of the Bubble Shooter thing on the computer than I should have and about 5 a.m., I toddled off to bed.

Now, mind you -right before I started to move towards the bed, I was so tired -sleepy -that I could barely keep my eyes open but as soon as my body hit the bed, it popped my eyes open -wide open!

Why is that anyway? It's really frustrating, ya know. Maybe I should just fall asleep at the computer, and hope my head doesn't hit the desktop, huh?

I slept about 2 hours, woke up, made a bathroom visit and lay back down as I was still rather groggy. I knew if I tried to stay up then, I would be asleep in the chair at the meeting I had to be at out at our church at 11 a.m. so figured I'd better try to catch another couple of winks.

Which I did -and I slept then till almost 10 a.m. when I had to get up, shower and hurry to get dressed to be at the meeting on time.

And the meeting -well, today it was a bit on the boring side as all the chairlady did was review what we had discussed at our last meeting -two months ago! No additions, no deletions -but at least that meant it wasn't a really long, drawn-out affair either so I was out of there around noon then.

Made a quick trip to the local grocery store and picked up two hoagies in their deli for lunch for Mandy and myself -since it was only the two of us here today -or so I thought. When I got home, there was Mandy serving up two plates -grilled ham and cheese with some potato chips and I told her that I had brought hoagies home but had I known she was going to fix this, I wouldn't have bothered.

That's when she informed me the sandwiches were for herself and for my son's girlfriend -Betty -who was coming down here on her lunch break.

Gee Thanks, Kid! Oh well, getting at least one of those hoagies sure did come in handy. Except that within about 30 minutes after I ate, I was falling asleep in the darned chair -as usual.

And, when I woke up it was time for me to start cooking supper! Yeah -what a revolting development that is when all you accomplish is a little sleep, a short meeting, a sandwich and another nap and then, time to cook a full meal -again!

I made a pan of pepper steak with rice for supper -and considering how much Kurtis did not eat tonight -or last night either -I figure he must have had a darned good lunch at his school yesterday and today that he wouldn't eat anything. Either that or tomorrow, he will eat them out of house and home either at school or for supper tomorrow night!

The 17-year-old's boyfriend was here for supper tonight too and although I get a little upset if she invites him to supper and either doesn't tell me or she tells me, I fix something with extra and he doesn't show up, I still rather like having him here for supper though.

Why?

Because he EATS! No dainty, nibbling a dabble of this a dollup of that for this boy -he digs in and chows down! I told him tonight it kind of makes me feel younger when he is here for supper as it reminds me of how my son was when he was still living at home. Most of the time -a bottomless pit! The only difference between my son and the 17-year-old's boyfriend is that my son has never shown any affect of the eating whereas, you can tell Simon likes a good meal! And the fact that he always tells me when he likes something I have made too! That little bit of a compliment really perks an old lady up a bit, ya know!

Tonight, after supper, Mandy, the two little ones and I went up to the school for the elementary open house. Mandy told me yesterday that I better go to this because Maya said her teacher had wanted to know if she was going to bring her Gram with her to open house and Maya had said that yes, she was. So the decision was made for me and away I went.

We got to see the young lady who is the school speech therapist first and who is pretty much like a member of our family too seeing as she was a weekly fixture here for four years -working with Maya for about 2 1/2 years and then, for 18 months after that, with Kurtis.

We were curious as to what reaction Kurt would have to see her again -since he hasnt seen her I don't think since April. When we walked into her room and he saw her, he recognized her right away and immediately began to dance around the room and squeal in delight! Maya sees this therapist for about a half-hour once a week now at school so she gets to see her regularly that way.

After visiting the speech therapist for a bit, we made our way down to Maya's room where she was so proud to show me her chair, her papers and her spot for circle time too.

When we got to talk to her teacher, Mandy asked Maya if she was going to introduce everyone to Mrs. Koleno, her teacher. She was so darned cute as she put her head down a bit -coy or shy -I don't know exactly which she was trying to be, but she grasped hold of my hand and said "This is my Grandma."

I was really surprised at that because she always has just called me "Gram" from the very beginning when she started to talk and to call each of us by a name. But tonight, I was "Grandma." And a prouder old Gram you never did see either!

She also introduced her teacher to Kurtis too. He was busy, zipping all about the room, looking into everything he could find and Maya pointed to him and said "And that's my little brother, Kurtis." All very matter-of-factly the way she did it.

We got home, the kids each crashed and were asleep by about 8:30 and I worked on my tablecloth some more till Mandy -who was busy on the computer from about 9 p.m. until around 12:30 a.m. finally decided to go to bed!

And now, here I am -really a bit too tired to read any more tonight. So I figured instead I'd do a little run-down of my exciting day today and maybe tomorrow I can fight Mandy for some computer time and get the rest of the posts in my reader all cleared out and ready to start from zero again!

And as to the tablecloth -well, I think I'm starting to see daylight with it!

This cloth is 52x70 inches and has a design in the center consisting of holly branches and berries and pine cones and in two corners, there is a bright big male cardinal and along two sides -among the leaves and berries, there is a female cardinal. Then there is a border around the bottom part of the cloth with more leaves, berries an pinecones and each corner on the outer border has a female cardinal sitting among the decor. Oh, and I forgot there are some ribbons to embroider on each group.

Well, after tonight, the only thing I have left to complete are the cardinals!!! Got all the greens done, all the ribbons, berries and pinecones too and the female cardinals all have the outlining done now too. So -if I really get cracking on this puppy, maybe I can have it all completed by next weekend then!

I sure hope so cause I have a bunch of other table toppers, tablecloths, pillow cases and even a Christmas picture I'd like to be working on to get some more stuff done up for the holiday gift-giving, ya know!

In this house, Santa Claus carries embroidery floss, hoop and needles!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Family Additions

Some of you -those who are on Facebook and follow me there -know we had a big addition to our family this past weekend.

Our cat -Nina (the same one who had four kittens back in April and we just got a home for the last of that brood about a month ago now) had six more kittens this past Friday night.

Six kittens! Yes, SIX of 'em! All lovely -of course. Well, unless you are the one who might be stuck with several of these little cuties if someone else doesn't decide they want to add a sweet natured little kitten to their home oh, say about 8 to 10 weeks from now!

Anyway -I did promise several folks on facebook as well as blogger buddies that I would be posting pictures of these little sweet things and tonight, Mandy got my camera and went to town, taking several photos of the little darlings.

Here now, I present to you, Nina's babies -all six of them!










The first one born is the orange one with the white ring around the neck and white markings on its face. It was followed by a calico, then another all-orange baby, then two more calicos and finally -number six was another orange one.

Surprisingly enough, we already do have a taker for two of the kittens -my son's boss and his wife want two of the calicos. Now, if I could find two more people who would like to take two kittens each, that would really solve the home-finding dilemma we'll be facing down the road quite nicely, wouldn't it?

Kurtis sat on the floor with me as I tried to stroke Nina, keep her as comfortable as possible, while she was having the kittens and I must say, he was very good. He pointed to the babies and would say "Kittens." to me along with putting his hand out as if to pet Nina but not touching her at all, he would say "Nice, nice." then too. At least he understood -or seemed to anyway -the fragility of these tiny creatures as they came into the world.

Maya wasn't home Friday night when Nina started to deliver as she was spending the night with Mandy's friend, Jen-Jen and her family. So, when she got up Saturday morning, Jen-Jen told her that we had a big addition to the household here the night before and there were six kittens waiting for her to get home to see them. So, needless to say, when she came home, she was very excited and happy to see them all. She's very antsy though, wanting to be petting them every chance she would get but I think we've got her pretty well settled down to them now having told her again and again that if she handled the babies too much, Nina would get upset and take them to another place in the house and hide them there. And, we told her then that we didn't want to have to try to go and find six tiny kittens cause she might accidentally place them somewhere that might be dangerous for the kittens to be inside a house.

So she has become pretty resigned to the fact that she can look at them now but will have to wait a couple weeks till they open their eyes and begin to move around a bit before trying to play with them. Hopefully, they'll learn to run and hide on their own then if they see her coming cause she does dearly love to lug them around and well, she isn't exactly as gentle as perhaps the kittens might want her to be then. Then too, since this is the second litter she's been exposed to, maybe she has learned a bit more about how NOT to carry kittens and how better to do that so they don't get choked in the process.

Such fun huh?

I am hoping this time Mandy will be able to follow through though and take Nina to the vet's office to get her fixed as soon as it is allowable for her to have that done!

Cause much as I do love the little kittens, I really don't want and certainly don't need, that many adult cats roaming around and I definitely don't want or need a cat reproducing every six months or so either!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Old Treats

I used to really enjoy cooking. Well, I thought I did anyway. Maybe it was really that I always enjoyed eating though.

I dunno but of late -not just recently, that is, but for quite sometime now -I've found I don't get all that excited these days about cooking. I'm not sure why because I still like to eat just as much -maybe even more -than ever, so that can't be the cause.

Maybe it's that no one ever gives any suggestions for a meal or that the fare the two little ones would prefer does nothing to truly excite me. I mean really, chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese? Much as I do love mac and cheese, it can get to be a little much when some would want it on the menu day after day after day!

Back in the days when I worked in State College (at the World's Largest Private Weather Forecasting place) I often made cakes or cookies of various types and brought them in to work to share with the crew. They all seemed to enjoy my efforts. I guess they did anyway since I never had leftovers to take home with me, if that's any testimony to whether what I had to offer was good or not.

Back then too, my son was still at home and though he is generally pretty easy to please with respect to food, one nice thing about feeding him was he almost always complimented whatever I had fixed for supper or for a special treat. I guess I kind of miss that little bit of ego-stroking every now and again these days.

I don't do very much in the baking lines anymore. Every now and again, I do bake a batch of homemade bread but sweets and stuff -not near as often nowadays do I venture into making cakes, cookies or other treats like that.

I usually do try to bake a special cake on the occasions of someone in the family adding another year to their life -most of the time -but even that is no guarantee to get me to dabbling with that stuff. Most of the time, if I bake or make a special treat, it is because I was asked to fix something for some event at our church -a pot-luck dinner or as was the case this past week, I was asked to make a cake for the funeral dinner we served at our church.

While trying to decide what to make, I wasn't getting all that hepped up over any of the many recipes I have -and trust me, I have a pretty large assortment of cookbooks along with two notebooks I made up of my favorite recipes. All that, in addition to having several sites bookmarked on the computer to search for other intriguing recipes too and I was coming up blank for a while on the type of cake to make.

Then it dawned on me as I was leafing through one of my notebook cookbooks and I came across a recipe I had made back in August on the occasion of my son's 36th birthday and my grandson's 12th -"Banana Split Cake!" Hmmm. Should I make that or not? Technically, it isn't really a cake but rather is just more of a dessert -not baked at all, as a matter of fact. I decided that it might be just the ticket though, went and got the ingredients I needed (that I didn't already have on hand) and put it together.
Here's what banana split cake looks like before you cut into it.

I wish I could describe how it tastes -other than to say I think it's delicious and so does most everyone in my family too. What's really neat about this dessert is that it is really quite easy to make too. And to prove that, I'm going to give you the recipe for it (if you're not already acquainted with this item) and you can try it out and see for yourself!

First off, I have to say that I don't know where this recipe originated but I got it from the mother of the guy I was engaged to marry back in the early 80s so, thank John's mother, Mrs. Boyle, if you see her for sharing it with me in the first place. (Considering I broke off the engagement with her son in the fall of 1984 and haven't had any contact with him or his family -at all -since then, I don't know if she is even still around for anyone to thank but well, you get my drift, don't you. Say a "Thank you" to her silently maybe. And the instructions in this recipe are just as she gave them to me too.)

Banana Split Cake -from John's Mom
Here's the ingredients you will need:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cup of butter (or margarine)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups crushed, well-drained pineapple
4 or more large, sliced bananas
1 large container of cool whip.

Now -to make the "cake" here's what you do:

Melt 1 stick of butter and mix well with graham crackers. Press crust into 9x13 inch pan and chill.

Beat 2 cups of powdered sugar with 2 eggs and 1 cup of butter together for no less than 15 minutes! It will get very creamy -VERY!

Pour this mixture over the chilled crust.

Then, with the pineapple -make sure it is well-drained by squeezing the juice out off it -over and over and over until you think it can't possible have any juice left. Spread the very-well-drained pineapple over the pudding-type filling.

Then, slice and spread bananas over top of those two layers.

Top all of that with the container of cool whip -spreading it over like icing. Finish it all off by garnishing the "cake" with maraschino cherries (wipe the extra juice off the cherries with a paper towel before putting them on the topping) and you can then drizzle some chocolate syrup over the top of the dessert too, if desired!

And presto-magic, you've got yourself one really great treat!

Yesterday, I don't know why but I was in the mood for something along the "treat" line to eat. I didn't really want anything baked per se though and I thought of another recipe I have in my notebook that John's Mother, Mrs. Boyle, had also given to me. This one does involve a tiny bit of baking to it, but for the most part, it is a cool dessert -needs refrigeration -is not difficult to put together and yes, like the Banana Split Cake, it is also really delicious too!

The neat thing about this one is that you can vary it, depending on what kind of instant pudding you may have on hand so you can make basically a different flavored dessert every time you make this if you'd like.

The name of this one is "Coconut Cream Dessert" and I used instant pudding in the new flavor of "Chocolate-caramel-pecan" for my filling on this.

Here's what my version of this dessert looked like last night after having had the first piece cut from it.
Here too is the really easy recipe for this creation.

Coconut Cream Dessert from John's Mother

Here's the ingredients you will need:

2 cups flour
1 cup butter (or margarine)
2 tablespoons sugar
8 ounce cream cheese
1 cup cool whip
1 cup powdered sugar
2 - 3 oz packages instant pudding -flavor of your choice
milk -as required to make the pudding
container of cool whip
coconut and/or chopped nuts

Here's how you make the Coconut Cream Dessert:

For the crust - mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup of butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar as you would a pie crust. Press this into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool crust.

Mix together - 8 ounces package cream cheese with 1 cup of cool whip and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Spread this over cooled crust.

Mix together the instant pudding mixes according to package directions. (Should require 4 cups of milk for 2 packages of pudding mix.) Pour this over the layer of cream cheese you have on top of the crust then.

Spread over top of the pudding the full container of cool whip and top with a little coconut and/or finely chopped nuts.

Refrigerate!!!

Just to "show" you (without pictures though) how well received this dessert was in our house, tonight that pan is completely cleaned out! Everyone -including the kids -loved it!

Give either one of these -or better yet, both of 'em a try and let me know how well your family likes them too then!

Oh, by the way -in case you're wondering what inspired me to share these two recipes with you, it was because while reading blogs from my reader earlier today, it seemed other bloggers were talking about cooking and such and I saw what looked like a really good recipe for an apple-cranberry cake at my friend, Paula's place and that got me to thinking about these two recipes and how good they are -and especially, how easy they are to fix too.

Check out Paula's post with her recipe today (and if you look back through her blog, you'll find a few other really yummy looking concoctions she's made and shared here too.

And, if you'd like to read more about cooking, get a recipe almost every day, check out this site I found not too long ago -maybe about 2-3 months back now -and follow his cooking expeditions and experiments. The blog, titled "Macheesmo" gives some really interesting recipes, instructions on how to do/make lots of things and pictures too so you can see what something is supposed to look like too at various stages as well as the finished product. It's a neat blog, fun as well as funny too on many occasions!

Check 'em both out! See for yourself, then report back to me.







Thursday, September 17, 2009

At Odds

There's actually a bit of a small war ongoing in my home these days.

Here' I am -overweight, needing to take off more than a few pounds, for sure and that would make me probably a good consumer for diet supplements and then there's my son-in-law, who is so thin a good brisk wind could probably just whisk him up and away. Or there's also the two finicky eaters at the lower end of the age scale here who would prefer a steady diet of nothing but macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggest and chocolate milk! Oh -those two would also appreciate a bit of candy thrown in frequently too!

So cooking a meal here really takes a bit of mental effort -as well as the physical preparation too. What can I fix that I like that isn't really unhealthy or very fattening that will work in the reverse for Bill and at the same time, appeal to the two fairly normal eaters in the house -Mandy and Katie -while still managing to impress Kurt and Maya to eat more than a tiny nibble of things some days.

And people wonder then why I can't figure out what the heck to prepare for supper here, day after day after boring day in the kitchen!

Can I borrow That?

Writing the previous post, something else came to my mind tonight. Imagine that, huh?

Actually, I've been thinking about this over the past couple of days -in light of recent events I suppose that is what got me thinking along these lines.

But I was thinking about people I know, those I've know and now, no longer here too -and various traits held in some folks that I wish I could borrow or better yet, just outright steal a tiny bit of that from them if they can maybe spare a thimble full or a tablespoon or maybe even a cup or two, ya know.

However, I wonder how would one go about getting some of the things I admire or yes, even envy, in some folks. I'm wondering if maybe they might have some kind of identity theft protection plan in operation that prevents me from managing to nab just a bit of this ot that from them.

But then, how do you try to absorb something like artistic talent, creativity -abilities like that which my friend Margie has in abundance? I'd love to have the calm that both my friends Kate and her sister Shirley seem to be able to maintain. Or the energy of Florence and Lois as they take charge and get things done with such ease.

The exhilaration Tom gets and puts out through his musical abilities -boy, what I wouldn't give for a touch of that! The ability to read and cut through to the heart of a subject in a few quick strokes and then, explain it in words easier to absorb and understand as Pastor Carrie and more than a few ministers we've had over the past 37 years could do.

To be a cook of the caliber of some of my cousins -most notably, Arline and Rita -who can turn out a gourmet feast in what seems almost to be the blink of an eye.

To have the gumption to fight on every level possible as my late Aunt Mike did to see that her daughter received everything possible that she could get to help her learn -regardless of how little or how much her daughter retained over the years, just that she had a chance at grabbing onto that ring, ya know.

To be able to someday knit -with ease -as did my late Aunt Mary too. Oh, I can knit alright but I'm far from smooth and accomplished at that craft. Yeah, practice makes perfect -or so they say -but I've still got a long way to go before I can be even near the same league as Aunt Mary was!

To have patience, patience and yes, still more patience the way so many of my friends -and family too -have had, or still do. Although, if I've learned anything at all in the past six years alone from my medical problems to Maya and Kurt and dealing with their disorder -the Autism thing -I'd have to say that slowly -way too slowly at times -I am learning a bit of this. I'm not sure exactly who loaned it to me but I hope they don't come calling and want that little bit I've acquired back anytime soon cause I still don't have near enough of that to make any repayments there, ya see!

I don't wish for some of the material things some of my friends or even family may have -the things that people really do need to worry about with their identities and such. Not that I couldn't use a little extras here and there, but those are not the things I really need and want.

I want the things that aren't tangible, you see. Much as I wish I could touch this or that person and a little of their special talents would rub off on me, it just doesn't happen that way, does it.

What to do now?

I think I'll just keep on watching, listening, hoping the various things I see and hear will sink in -eventually -and give me some of those abilities I see in so many and which I consider to be a large part of that person's particular identity.

Now that would really make me an all-around excellent person if I can just absorb that much in the short time I probably have left to work on all of these things.

Sure do wish I'd figured this part out a long, long time ago!

On Mortality

Events of the last couple of days here -and actually, in retrospect, of the last so many years too I suppose -are leading me to writing this post tonight on this topic.

However, it would appear from reading some of the posts today from some of my favorite bloggers that I am not alone today with having this subject on my mind.

Terri wrote about the sudden passing of her neighbor of twenty years last night and Suldog reposted what he wrote three years ago about the sudden death of his cousin. Kind of strange that tonight as I sat down to catch up on my blog readings that this topic should surface -and then resurface further on down the reading line isn't it?

Especially so since I spent the afternoon out at our church, helping to serve a funeral dinner to the family and friends of a member of our congregation who passed away last Friday.

Dotti was only 59 years old. Definitely still a spring chicken by my age standards. An old lady I suppose to those youngsters in attendance at her funeral today though. I'd know her since she was probably about 18 months old or so. She began her journey in our church parish when she came to the home of a couple from church who already had two children of their own but they opened their home and hearts to the needs of this little girl as her foster parents. That same couple also had two more children and took in countless other foster children over the years with one other little girl ending up making her home with them on a permanent basis too.

And in my teen years, I used to babysit this lady who was buried today.

I didn't know until about two weeks or so ago that Dotti was ill until a message came through on our prayer chain that she was being admitted to a large hospital in the eastern part of the state for a possible lung transplant. Then Sunday -at the church picnic for Rally Day, I heard the news that she had died Friday after having been transferred to Temple Hospital in Philadelphia where it was determined that she could not possibly survive the aspect of a lung transplant.

Knowing the size of her foster family and the various relatives therein, I figured in advance it would be a pretty good-sized funeral but I was no where prepared for the number of people standing outside the church and in the narthex for the viewing. When I arrived and went to sign the book and view Dotti, there were people milling all around the narthex and it was, I have to say, the first time I have gone to a viewing in our parish where I didn't recognize a single person in the mix!

When I got up to the kitchen and we began getting things set up for the meal, the lady in charge of funeral dinners remarked to me about the number of people present and wondering if all of them would be staying for the dinner. If they all stayd for the dinner, she continued to muse, she was beginning to worry that we might not have enough food.

She hadn't yet picked up the meat and cheese tray she'd ordered from the deli at the local store so after a little thought and a conversation with our Pastor and a cousin of Dotti's, she decided to call the deli and see if they could add on to the meat/cheese platter -upping it from enough to serve 50 to 70. When she went to pick that up, she also purchased ALL the dinner rolls the had in the bakery then too!

Shortly before the service started, I noticed a gentleman who had just come into the kitchen carrying a very large container which he left on the counter there. It turned out to be a huge disposable cooking dish filled with sauerkraut, roast pork, sausage and hot dogs! What a blessing that delivery turned out to be too!

Shortly before he showed up, Florence -the crew chief in the kitchen -had remarked to me that we might be well-advised to send up a prayer for something along the lines of Christ feeding the multitude with a few bread loaves and fish and it was about ten minutes later that this delivery took place. As it turned out, if we hadn't received that pork and sauerkraut, we would definitely have run out of food.

You see, she had been told to prepare a meal for about 50 and we ended up serving 102!

I had a chance to visit with three of Dotti's four foster brothers as well as her younger foster sister too. The younger girl was a toddler back when I used to babysit those kids and she was my "pet" I suppose you could say. There was something about her that I was drawn to her from the first time I saw her and everytime I saw her at church or at their home, she always reached out for me to hold her. Just a very sweet, loving and oh, so cute, little one she was.

I had heard a few months back that the younger of the sisters was ill -cancer of the lung as a matter of fact and that she was beginning treatments -chemo and such. I'd heard a few reports here and there that she was dealing with the disease but that the treatments were really harsh and hard on her. I'm not really sure when I'd last seen Renee -the younger sister -(it may have been at their Dad's funeral, just not sure even how many years back that was right now either) but I asked the oldest of the brothers if Renee had made it up for the funeral today and he pointed her out to me.

I never would have recognized her! Of course, with the mask on her face to prevent her picking up any more germs than need be and the ball cap on her head to cover that she had lost all her hair, it is kind of hard to tell who a person is, you know -under neath all of those trappings.

But when I knew that was Renee, I had to go speak to her. It had been so many years that initially, she didn't even recognize me until I told her my first name and then, she knew right away who I was -who I am. We hugged -long and hard. Talked briefly about the meds, how she's handling things and above all, how we both believe that attitude -having the most positive attitude possible while dealing with an illness like cancer -is not just half but rather more like 75-90, even in many instances, a full 100 percent of the battle there.

The thing with this particular family -and I've known more than a few of them over my lifetime -is that they all, every last one of them -have always exhibited in more ways than I could possible count much less relate here -an extremely strong faith. As one of the ladies in the kitchen remarked today that she and her husband had gone to the nursing home where the mother of this family is now a resident on Sunday evening with the thought in mind that they would be there to console Betty -the mother. But they returned home having had Betty console them.

Now that is not something that surprised me -not in the least! That is how Betty has always been and I'm quite sure, it is how she will always be. It is what I will remember the most about her -and her sister -and their mother too, for that matter -as they have always had that inner strength to see through the sadness, the pains of life and grief, to find the best in what has been brought their way.

Today brought back memories to me -as often happens on the occasion of a funeral -of other deaths. When we, the help, got a chance to sit down and grab a bite to eat, I sat across the table from a lady who grew up five doors down the street from me and I remembered when her brother was killed in a car accident on Election Night of 1964. And thoughts of Billy -who was a year older than me -came back to me.

As I saw and spoke to my friends, Kate and Shirley -I remembered then three other funerals -their parents as well as the sudden and very shocking passing of their brother -who had commited suicide -and the grief and tears that had poured from people in attendance at his viewing as well as the funeral. And I remembered too a very dear friend who died 21 years ago this month at the age of almost 44, from cancer too. Many others also came to mind but those were the ones that entered and stayed for more than a fleeting thought today.

As we ate our late lunch this afternoon, seated across from my former neighbor from my childhood, sitting alongside Pastor Carrie and across from her, the gentleman who used to be our organist and often fills in for funerals or other special services during the weekdays, the discussion was centered for a while on whether or not we should grieve or rejoice at a funeral.

While it is sad to lose someone -be it a family member, a very close friend or just an acquaintance through work or some other activity -and it is often difficult to try to fathom why this person was taken now, it is also very comforting to think of it as not the end of a life but rather a new beginning.

And I chose to believe too that someday we will all be reunited with those we've known and loved so this is not the end, not the last time we will connect. Just the last time in this particular place and the next one will have us free from all the trappings of life, all the sorrows and pain.

Not that I am anticipating something -or hopefully not in the very near future you know but still, it is, for me, something I do look forward to someday.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Evidence of Invasion!

Boy, it just gets harder and harder, day after day, to try to establish and to KEEP some order here.

Six people in one three bedroom house with a fourth makeshift bedroom and space becomes really limited, ya know. Not enough closet space. Not near enough room for chests and such in which to stash other items of clothing or lines and things.

And with two small children -ages (almost) 6 and 3 -well there are days when I do believe we are being overrun by toys. Do these things maybe multiply overnight? Sometimes, it definitely does seems that way.

About the only thing we don't have an abundance of is preschool furniture.

That's not to say that we don't have any furnishings along those lines - we do have a fuschia-colored plush Barney chair. Blends in so nicely it does, with the rest of the living room furnishings in its position of honor (much of the time) perched atop the back of the loveseat and in front then of one of the windows in the bow window. I have no clue as to which one of the two little ones came up with the idea that this particular spot would be the ideal place to set that chair. Somehow, I don't see this as a decorating fad that will take hold -just in case that child is thinking of interior decoration as a career choice, ya know.

There is also a table with two small chairs here someplace too. I think it has made its way now to the basement though and occupies a choice spot in their Dad's "private" space down there. That area that we affectionately have dubbed as "Bill's Bat Cave."

The radiator along the front wall of the living room has become the garage now for several smallish toy school buses, an airplane, a blue Volkswagon bug, a small tractor, fire engines -there are two of these that get parked there -and a couple other little car/truck type toys.

The toy chest is filled to overflowing -so much so that trying to put the lid on it is an impossibility.

Yard sale time is pretty much over and done with. There is a birthday coming up on the 18th of next month for a little girl and then looming in the distance after that, of course, is Christmas.

Really, the last thing these kids do need is more toys but you and I both know that there will be more coming in to suck up the space that is left here.

And whatever is left after that -I'm figuring there probably will be a few new clothing items added to the already burgeoning wardrobes these kids have now at their disposal.

I think back to when I was a kid and my toys got stored in a cardboard box. My clothes -all neatly placed in dressers and chests or hung -after careful ironing too by my Grandmother -in the small closet in the medium-sized bedroom I shared with my Mom. That closet also held some of her clothes and special items, like winter coats, in the summer time. Things like that.

At the rate this stuff is accumulating here, we may have to put in a mobile home or something just to have a place to sleep and then, come back into the house to ride herd on the kids as they drag out one toy after the other and lose interest in it as soon as it hits the floor.

Certainly does show how times -and purchasing -has changed over the years, doesn't it?

What I Do Best

Sometimes, I wonder -maybe you do too -why I am here. What is my purpose in life? That kind of heavy stuff, ya know.

I haven't yet come up with any answers to those questions in my mind. That much is for certain. Probably never will either, come to think of it. It's a bit late in my life to be thinking of making any major changes to my so-called purpose, isn't it?

But anyway, that's something that does run through my mind as I fritter away my days -playing with my embroidery stuff, for the most part.

The tablecloth I am currently working on -"Winter Greetings" is what this one is called, according to the label on the packet. It's a pretty Christmassy theme, with an oval shaped design in the center, consisting of holly berries amid pinecones and holly leaves, with two male cardinals at opposite corners and a female cardinal perched on each side. The outer border consists of more holly berries, leaves, pinecones and female cardinals. All of these bunches of leaves and such have ribbons running around them too -in shades of a pale pink and a brighter pink.

It will officially be four weeks this Wednesday since I began this project but, because the first week, I had roughly three days in there during which time I did absolutely nothing on the tablecloth, so I am saying then that I started the project four weeks ago this coming Friday instead. Makes sense to me ya know.

The tablecloth I did last winter that was also a floral design, 52x70 inches -same as this one -and which I gave to daughter, Carrie, for her birthday, took me between 5-6 weeks to complete. I'm hoping I can finish this one in a little faster time than the other one took. Why? Because I have a kazillion other tabletoppers -plus at least two large Christmas type tablecloths I want to get done too. Time is running out on me! Or did I just get a bit carried away maybe with the purchases I made of these other kits perhaps? Well, can't pass up a great sale and as long as I can still see, still do the handwork, hopefully eventually I'll get them done.

Another thing too is that as most of you know by now I have terrible sleep patterns. Tend to be up either embroidering, knitting or blogging most of the night into the wee hours of the morning quite often and then, ending up with only 3, maybe 4 hours of sleep as a result.

This does create a somewhat zombie like feeling within me from time to time. Now there's something I probably should work to change, shouldn't I?

This past Friday, I thought maybe I could get the jump on trying to revamp my sleep patterns as I had been up all day and by 11:30 -which is a very, very early hour for me to consider going to bed, I was really beat, so off to bed I went. I figured I'd get a good night's sleep in, maybe even be able to hit the sack a bit early Saturday night then too.

But, you know that old adage about the best laid plans of mice and men? Well, it sort of came to roost with me Friday night as I fell asleep very easily and fast shortly after 11:30 but unfortunately, by 1:30 a.m. I was awake -and I do mean WIDE awake and as a result, was unable to get back to sleep then till around 6:00 a.m. Saturday. What a pain in the behind that was!

But to stay with the theme here of sleep and my purpose in life, this picture -taken by my dear daughter, Mandy (and I don't get mad, my dear, but I do try to get even ya know) probably gives her explanation as to what my purpose in life is.

There you have it -in living color! That's our cat, Chino, stretched out across my lap. The tablecloth I'm working on laying there too -waiting for me to wake up from a nice refreshing little "catnap" huh?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

When Only the Good Seems Bad


If you've read my blog for any time now, you may remember I signed up a long time ago as a participant in Shelley Tucker's Only The Good posts through her blog at This Eclectic Life. Click either place there and you can see what the objective is in these posts -hopefully, you'll decide to join forces with us too! Shelley recently changed this from a Friday thing to doing it any day of the week that you want to deem being a day for "Only The Good" postings.

Today, I had designs on what I wanted to do, what I expected I could accomplish -that being getting more of the ribbons that are all done in satin stitching closer to being completed on the tablecloth I am currently working on here. I figured since Maya had spent the night last night at the home of Mandy's good friend, Jen-Jen and her husband and kids, and that Mandy was planning a trip to State College to shop for halooween costumer at the children's consignment store there, that would leave me alone, able to work pretty much without interruptions on the tablecloth.

Mandy and Kurt got home around 3 p.m. and she showed me the cutest little Elmo costume -complete with a little hat to match and all -for Kurtis. She was really happy to have found this outfit for him at a price that was right for her so that was a pretty darned good thing. Agreed?

Then she and Kurtis left to go to her sister-in-law's place in Phiipsburg for a little birthday party for her nephew -who turned 11 today. That gave me some more time to spend on my embroidery project which made me very happy.

That is until the phone rang around 6 p.m. and it was Mandy calling to tell me I was going to have to drive into Philipsburg and pick her and the kids up because her car had just broke down on her!

She had just left her sister-in-law's place and at a stop sign about 2 blocks up, when she pushed the clutch in to the floor, it just stayed there and then the car also just shut off completely. No, that wasn't a very nice thing, for sure.

But the first thing Mandy thought of -after using her cell phone to call me, to call her sister-in-law and have a mutual friend who was present come and rescue her and the children -was how lucky she was that this happened where it did -only two blocks away from her sister-in-law's place and not on a busy street over in State College and also, what a good thing it is that she has her brother who provides her with her cellphone on his phone plan!!!!

It was a good thing too that I had taken my shower earlier this afternoon too and not put it off till early this evening because that way I was clean, fresh as a daisy, etc., and able to hop in my little old jeep and run in town to pick her and the kids up then.

After getting the kids all strapped into their car seats and such, away we went to the local Weis Market -a grocery store chain in our region of the state.

And here is where things did eventually go really down hill too.

Maya insisted that I get a cart that is a "Red Car" cart -meaning it has a little car on the front that will hold two toddlers or preschool kids there and keep them somewhat entertained in the process while the parent -or in our case, the parent and grandparent try to do a little grocery shopping.

I got the cart, got her in it and wheeled it back to the jeep where Mandy was finishing up doing a quick change on Kurtis so he too would at least smell fresh as a daisy for our visit to the store. Got him in the cart and fastened down and away we went.

Early on in our visit at the store, we saw Kerri -the young lady who is Kurt's preschool teacher and who also was one of the first therapists to work with Maya when she was initially diagnosed as having developmental delays. She was there shopping with her grandmother and both kids were happy and excited to see her there too.

We made our way around the store and unfortunately,as often happens when Maya and Kurtis are in close quarters -like seated together in this car-cart for a while, Maya gets restless and then starts to pick on Kurtis and gets him upset. When that happened today and Mandy reprimanded her, she began to act up a bit more at which point Mandy then removed an item from the cart, put it back on the shelf and refused to buy it because Maya wasn't behaving properly.

That then ended up sending Maya over the edge into a massive meltdown, the likes of which we haven't endured in public in about two years or more!

She screamed, cried, kicked, hit at us, refused to quiet down, insisting that she "Want my Chewies" -a vitamin tablet Mandy gives her every day. This isn't what started the meltdown but rather what Maya chose to use as her reason for having this hissy fit.

People all over the store were watching us, giving looks to Mandy or to me as if to say "Why don't you get that child to be quiet?" or "Why don't you get that kid to listen?"
This is what Maya's meltdown looked and sounded like -except that this is only a couple seconds of what actually went on for probably 10-15 minutes at the very least.



After a good 15-20 minutes of this constant screaming, Mandy was stopped at the service desk as she had to have the lady there give her a new card so we would be eligible then for some of the store's advertised specials and Maya continued on with her rampage.

Then an elderly lady came over and spoke to Mandy -and actually to Maya -telling her to please be quiet as she couldn't stand that much noise. Maya did stop fussing for all of about 20-30 seconds and then, started up with the screaming and crying all over again. This lady was looking very befuddled but then Mandy turned to her and told her "I'm very sorry this is upsetting for you, but my daughter has autism and unfortunately, right now, there is nothing I can do to her or for her to get her to stop with this behavior. Believe me, we would like it to end just as much as you would."

Upon hearing that, the lady looked a bit stunned at first but then apologized to Mandy and said she understood.

Maya however continued on with her bad behavior. Until finally, as we were trying to check out, Mandy had taken Maya out of the cart and turned to me to tell me if I wanted, I could take Maya out of the store and get her into the car.

That sounded like a good idea to me but it turned out not to be fitting with Maya's ideas and she really threw a fit -throwing herself down on the floor, rolling around, kicking then, hitting at me, screaming more -and even louder -if that was possible. (Trust me, it was possible!)

Each time I would reach for her to try to get her to stand up and come out of the building with me, she would turn her legs to jelly and I would end up virtually dragging her. I couldn't get her up enough so that I could bend over and pick her up and carry her out -kicking and screaming all the way either.

At one point, she was thrashing about on the floor and pulled away from me and suddenly her shirt sleeve gave way a bit so it was like an elastic band reaction where she was straining against my holding on to her and when this gave, she ended up banging her upper lip slightly on the floor. At which point she jumped up and began alternating between trying to run from me or getting back down on the floor and crawling away at a rapid pace.

I finally got a grip on her arm and began to basically drag her along on the floor when a male customer -along with an older man who is an employee in the store, both came over to ask me if I knew she had hurt her mouth and the customer also insisted I was hurting her arm because he knew that from the way she was screaming and crying. I knew better there and no, I was not hurting her arm -not near as much as I really was thinking I wanted to blister her behind about then anyway!

This man insisted that I allow him to talk to her -as he just knew he could calm her down and I told him "Be my guest."

When he couldn't reach her and his wife came over, she told him to leave the child alone and also that she knows the child's mother. Okay fine. I told her then that this behavior is due to Maya's autism and she immediately understood and got her husband out of there and away.

By that time, Mandy had finished checking out and we exited the store -all the while to the tune of Maya still screaming like a wild banshee and clerks and customers all stopping and staring at us to see which of us had to be beating this kid within an inch of her life for her to be wailing and carrying on so much -or maybe it was to get a glimpse of some kid who has no training at home and is simply spoiled rotten, having a tantrum to get what she wants. (Well, in a way, that is what a meltdown is but it is also more than that as it is generally brought on by something, some event, that the child begins to obsess about and it just ramps up a notch at every available interval then until the child is finally cried out or spent.)

We got in the car -still fighting with her -got the kids both fastened in and by the time we pulled out of the parking lot Maya's screaming had subsided.

Not that she got quiet exactly because she didn't but at least she was doing a lot of self-talk and telling herself that she wasn't going to go to school at all next week, then it was that she was going to do something else and after that, something else again. On and on she talked for the entire drive home!

We stooped at the gas station near home and as I was getting the tank filled, she began to tell Mandy and I that only little children who are 1 year old, 3 years old and 5 years old were allowed to go into the little store part of that gas station. No child with an age that was an even number it appeared was allowed in that place according to Maya. We asked her where she got that information and she pointed to the attendant and told us that he had told her that. Then she asked us how old you had to be to go into that place and I made a wise crack remark to her telling her you had to be "42 to go in there."

She didn't like that answer at all and promptly told me "No Gram. You are wrong. You has to be 35."

By that time, the attendant was through with filling my car's tank and as he handed me my receipt, I asked him "What the heck is the big idea telling my Granddaughter how old you have to be to go in this store?" I was winking at him -or at least I thought I was anyway, as I said this in hopes he would see that I was just joking with him. Thankfully, he picked up on that and then said "OH, that's part of our store's policy about how old one has to be to buy cigarettes ya know -age 18 or over."

And that's when Mandy and I realized that Maya was simply reading the sign that said you must be 18 or older to enter here!

But, as embarrassing and frustrating as it was to have Maya go into that meltdown in the store, Mandy and laughed about it on the way home as we told each other and she told her friends as she called them and spoke to them on the phone then that we had just done our own personal Autism Awareness Presentation at the Weis Markets store in Philipsburg today!

So I guess in that way one could say it was a good thing too then, wasn't it, after all?

Now, I just hope for Mandy's sake that the clerks there down lock the doors if they see her heading into the store in the future. Maya's TSS did however promise to give Mandy a set of earplugs for Christmas though.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good Fortune

I don't know how I became so lucky but boy, I really have been hitting the jackpot of late. I've been receiving oodles and oodles of e-mails from all over the world but mainly from people in Cote d'Ivoire who want me to assist them by accepting some really huge sums of money that their late husbands or fathers had put in some kind of security account in a bank in Abidjan and they can only access it apparently with my help.

Several of these ladies want to give this money all to me because they just know I am a very Godly person and will not misuse these funds in any way, shape or form. Hmmm. Wonder where they ever received that information? Surely not from any of my neighbors or other close friends and acquaintances who know my vocabulary is not always that of what is considered to be fitting for a lady who is real "Godly" -if ya know what I mean there.

I decided after having received five of these request/notification between 3 a.m. and noon yesterday to look a bit closer at some of these letters and to share them with you -my blogger friends -as maybe some of you might want to respond to these folks and help them to help you out too.

Here's some excerpts as well as the full text from a couple of these letters. (As you can readily see, if I were to take over all these monies, it would definitely be very overwhelming for me to have that much income at my advanced age and I may be broke but I'm not greedy. Share and share alike in the wealth, ya know. Please let me know when you receive your money from these sources too and maybe we can go together to Cote d'Ivorie and thank these people for their kindness and supreme generosity.)

9-9-09 (12:18 p.m.)- Mrs. Julie Yahiri Guy -was compelled to write to me. She was born in Panama City, Floria and was married for 36 years to Mr. Richard Guy Yahiri, the director of Yahiri Industries in Cote d'Ivoire who died last year. She is now dying of cancer of liver and a stroke but there is this matter of $3 million dollars deposited in a local bank in the Ivory Coast by her husband of which she apparently has no use and wants to donate it to me -provided it is used in a godly manner. Hmmm. Now how has she ascertained that if I had this money given to me that I would use it in a Godly manner. She closes her note saying "God bless you as you listing to the voice of Reasoning." (What I have typed there is exactly what she had written in the note -the wording that is a bit off, capitalization of the word "Reasoning" too.)(2 letters)

09-09-09 (11:05 a.m.) -I received word from a Ben Moore about a payment of $1.2 million USD! Apparenly Mr. Moore is maybe just a secretary performing duties because no where in the body of the letter do I see his name re-mentioned. But here's a copy of "his" letter to me.
UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT IN AFFILIATION WITH WORLD BANK
From: Special Envoy to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Attention: Beneficiary

How are you today? Hope all is well with you and family?, You may not understand why this mail came to you. We have been having a meeting for the past 7 months which just ended 2 days ago with the secretary to the UNITED NATIONS. This email is to all the people that have been victim in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS IN Affiliation with WORLD BANK have agreed to compensate you with the sum of US$ $1.2million, for self support.This is regarding the draws he organized before he left the office to help individuals to own a self charity organization also for your to build your Personal Company/organization so as to help th e less privileged in there society.

This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their contract, inheritance & lotto sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems etc. We found your name in the list of those who are to benefit from these compensation exercise and that is why we are contacting you, this have been agreed upon and have been signed You are advised to contact Mr Nelson Febian of a Courier Apex in Benin Republic, as he is our representative in Benin, contact him immediately for your Cheque/ International Bank Draft of USD$1.2m .

This funds are in a Bank Draft for security purpose ok?, so he will send it to you and you can clear it in any bank of your choice. Therefore, you should send him your full Name and telephone number your correct mailing address and ID to avoid wrong delivery, where you want him to send the Draft to you. Contact Mr. Nelson Febian immediately for your Cheque at the given address below:

Comapny Name: Apex Courier
Contact Person:Mr Neslon
E-MAIL: apexoffi1@sify.com
Tel;+22993806648

I apologize on behalf of my organization for any delay you might have encountered in receiving your fund in the past. Thanks and God bless you and your family. Hoping to hear from you as soon as you cash your Bank Draft. Making the world a better place.

Regards,
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
http://www.unorg/sg
Regards,
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

09-09-09 - (10 a.m.) I received a very important message from a Dr. Kabore Zuru, who is the director of the bill and exchange dept. in the Bank of Africa (B.O.A>) and he needs my urgent assistance in transferring the sum of $10.5 MILLION Dollars, immediately! This is U.S. dollars that he discovered in his department in this abandoned sum in an account that had belonged to one of their foreign customer who died long time ago from Australian Nationality remain unclaimed. He just needs a foreign partner to access this money which is why he decided to contact me. (How nice, huh?)

9/9/09 -(3:47 a.m. and 3:32 a.m.) I received this message from Mrs. Susan Dunga who is contacting me about a business venture with her and her son that the intend to establish here, in MY country. She has this huge amount of 18 million U.S. dollars that her late husband had kept for them in a security storage house in Abidjan before he was assassinated by unknown persons. She wants me to help her and her son to invest this money anywhere safe enough outside Africa and would like it to be in the following types of business: Telecommunication, Automobile manufacturing and Hotels. Hmmmm. I betcha the auto manufacturers would love to talk to her about allowing her to rescue them but hotels? I think they're already pretty much taken over by nationals from a few other eastern type countries aren't they?


9-2-09 (8:18 p.m.) there was this note from David Jones of David Jones Pty Limited in Sydney, Australia saying this I will like to place an order in your store, and i need to know if you ship to Sydney, NSW Australia and my
method of payment will be credit card.so please let me know if you can assist me with the order, And please
do not forget to include your website in your reply back to my message.I will await your prompt response as
soon as you receive this message,i will be be very glad if you treat this email with good concern...



Best Regards
David Jones
David Jones Pty Limited
davidjonesptyltd@gmail.com
36 Carters Road, Dural,
Sydney, NSW 2153

Mrs. Susan Morgan -also from Cote d'Ivoire who has the same issues as Mrs. Julie Yahiri -as her husband died, leaving this huge amount of money, she now has cancer and has had a stroke and neither of the women have any children to leave this money to. Amazing, isn't it? (Two letters from this lady asking for my help.)


Mrs. Naomi Solomon -Cote d'Ivoire -same as Mrs. Susan Morgan and Mrs. Julie Yahiri. (2 letters)

Miss Mary Kone -also in Cote d'Ivoire needs my help getting the $2.5 million her late father left her in a bank there.
From Stella Oleiver (Cote d'Ivoire too) is an orphan too -like Miss Mary Kone except her late father left her $17.5 million that she can't access in a Security Company in Abidjan.

Then there is Miss Mary Moudo with the same issues as Miss Mary kone and Miss Stella Oleiver and $8.5 million U.S. dollars she can't access either.

Back in February of this year, I learned I had won $750,000 in the Deaf Financial Bank Lotto. Imagine that will you! I thought in order to win in a lotto deal you had to have purchased some kind of ticket but apparently not. What a stroke of luck this winning has to be, huh? Wish they would contact me in person since they already have this information about me -like my e-mail address and all, ya know.

Now before you all get really worked up and think I've gone completely off the deep end and been suckered into any of these schemes, I just wanted to tell you that I have forwarded a copy of each of these notes -along with about 50-60 others similar to these that I've received this year alone to an e-mail address a lady on one of the Writer's Groups I belong to had posted. - spam@uce.gov - which is supposed to be a government site that looks into all these crazy e-mails that many of us receive all the time -or now and again -whatever!

Just as soon as I receive any clarification from the government that any one of these offers is legitimate, I'll be off and running, out of here in a heart beat to claim my new found wealth.

But in the meantime, I'm also not going to hold my breath waiting for that clarification and I sure as hell hope you aren't either!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Replenishment and Replacing

Well, the issues of Thursday night have subsided somewhat.

A wel-placed phone call yesterday to the IRS and Mandy worked out a plan to get the debt taken care of -thankfully in very small monthly increments over the next 63 months! Yes I said 63 -as in sixty three months -during which time her butt belongs to the IRS if she misses any of those payments. LOL Not quite that serious an outcome but pretty darned close!

And the bathroom sink spigot problems got fixed too. Seems some valve or some such broke off and Bill got that taken care of last Thursday night.

All this and many other things have been whirling and swirling about in this home for a long, long time now and of course, only come to a head or break or get called out -whatever -always at the least opportune of times. Isn't that always the case though.

And this morning, as I sat here peacefully scrolling down my reader, checking out each blog there with a new post showing, the kids were behind me -in the other end of the living room -playing peacably together.

Or so I foolishly thought anyway.

Until they started squealing and laughing louder than the usual -a signal most parents recognize immediately as an omen that they are enjoying something probably not meant to be enjoyed.

I turned to see what was going on and now, almost wish I hadn't looked.

There they were sitting on the floor gleefully pulling all the stuffings out of one of the back cushions for the loveseat and tossing these white fluffy pieces all around themselves there in the middle of the floor!

And so -as I write this post, Maya is busy picking up and pushing these white fluffy things back into the slip to make it into a cushion for the loveseat again. Kurtis has been ordered to the couch to "SIT AND DON'T GET OFF THERE" until Maya finishes the clean-up job.

And I have for probably more than 4396508 times now tried to stay calm, cool and collected while seething inside. (And don't we all wish that with a simply little point and click of the mouse, we could just change something in a snap like that!)

I sure do!

Surprisingly enough, Maya did clean up all that white fluffy stuff -all by herself! And without throwing a royal fit too!

Miracles do happen after all. Maybe it just has to be in fluffy cloud shapes to happen.