Friday, August 31, 2007

Current Needs!

First off, let me thank each and everyone of you for the comments left on my last post about my introductory column. Although I am planning to write at least one more piece prior to submitting my intro piece - to have on hand in case the editor doesn't like my submission or some thing like that - but I did get a piece composed the other night. Well, I wrote two versions of it actually - the first one weighed in at a word count of 924 words so yeah, it was going to need some serious editing to trip it even close to the limitations the editor gave me -300-700 words, remember? The second piece, using the same theme, finished out at 567 words which was astonishing to me and also to one of my friends here -name shall be omitted till after publication of said piece -who was in a state of shock that I'd managed to come in midstream there with the word count restrictions! LOL I will post it here - the intro piece - after it is published. But I will tell you this much, it deals with sort of a dual theme - autumn and family trees.

Now, on to the business at hand. Time to rant a bit. Don't run and hide now, I'm not going to discuss politics in this rant. Heaven knows, my attitude about politics right now would take me all day to try to write about what ticks me off there! And, in doing that, I'd probably tick a whole hell of a lot of my readers off too and I don't wanna do that either.

The past almost 24-hour span has been one of a lot of issues. No nothing earth-shattering, just nitty-gritty, sometimes goofy little issues. Yeah, you know what I mean there don't 'cha? The day-to-day crap that life flings at us sometimes.

First -I think I'll lead off with this one -Maya's been developing some really bad, quite undesirable habits in an almost four-year-old of late and that is in addition to the meltdown behavior autistic kids are often noted for, she's been adding in to that her own little "I want my way or else" tantrums. Her main thing of late is if she is asked to do something, or wants sometime we don't want her to have or to do or whatever, upon being denied, she has a fit and if there is something in her hand -or within reach -it is most likely going to end up being throw! She's also been having little fits too about picking up her toys - after she has littered the majority of the living room floor with Barbies, Bratz, their clothes, along with books, coloring books, videos - you get the picture there too I'm sure. When she has all these things thrown all over and I try to get her to pick up the stuff, to help clean up the floor, I've made it a rule that if I have to pick up the stuff for her after being asked upteen times to pick up a bit, then whatever I pick up gets put up out of reach. The same goes for anything that she decides to use as a flying object too.

As a rule of that rule now, the china cupboard it filled on the tippy-top shelf to overflowing. So is the top of the bookcase and the mantle over the fireplace. Just about any area that is out of her range to reach is now in use -holding upteen toys of upteen varieties.

Last evening, she was bugging me to get her some of her Barbies or Bratz down and I told her flatly, NO -because she was throwing stuff. Therefore, no Barbies, no Bratz. Well, that ticked her off royally and she reached to find something to throw but there was nothing available, so instead, she grabbed the side of the playpen in which her brother was sleeping ever so nicely and began to shake it. Not a gentle shake either, I might add! For a four-year-old, she is remarkably strong too! Well, needless to say, after that episode, the baby was no longer enjoying his nap. Nope! He was standing in the middle of the playpen, wailing away, with a throughly confused look on his face too -that "Wha' happened?" look, ya know. And I did something I don't like to do but every now and again, there aren't appropriate aversives to use to try to discipline her so, as a result, Miss Maya got a little bit of a spanking! No, not the kind that actually hurt her physically, but just enough feeling through the mega padding of the pullups to hurt her pride. Her older sister here, Kate, made the comment that it looks like we may need to enroll Maya in an anger management class of some type and I'm almost inclined to agree with her there. Do they have them for four-year-olds?

Fast forward now to this morning. The son-in-law came and woke me up about 9:00 a.m. or so to tell me he was leaving to go to his physical therapy appointment and that Maya was up, in the living room, drinking a cup of milk then and the baby was still asleep. Ok, fine. I got up, got my eye-opener (or so I hoped it would be) cup of coffee and sat down to read my e-mails, my favorite blogs, the CDT newspaper online - all my lovely little morning rituals. I noticed though a while later there was a very potent odor about the room - all of it seeming to be coming from the vicinity of the playpen where the little guy was still sleeping away. And I decided I wasn't going to wake him up and make him upset and angry to start his day just for the sake of my olefactory glands pleasure.

The son-in-law returned from his therapy appointment, noticed the odor too and decided he was going to remove the blankets, bear and bunny furry pillow things the little guy has in there and wash them because the boy has a tendency at times to shake his bottle enough so that some of the milk splashes out on these items and that contributes a bit to the odor - nice sour milk smell ya know. Eventually the little guy woke up and I had the dubious honor of cleaning up his bottom that was covered in technicolor substance. Yeah -you get my drift there too, don't 'cha? I decided too that his mother had best not be purchasing anymore of the "Pasta Primavera" baby food he'd had for a meal recently because it has baby kernals of corn in it and I really don't want to see anymore of it the way it was today!

Then, the son-in-law decided -after he took Maya in to the bathroom to change her and get her dressed, that the cats were being way too generous in sharing their wonderful accumulation of fleas. He claimed that when he went to comb Maya's hair, the fleas were just circling her head, like a halo. Knowing him and his penchant for exaggeration, I would say that probably translates to he found a flea! Ok, so now the plan of attack on his part was that he was going to bathe both cats - Nina, the kitten and Grace, the mean old dowager cat who will shortly be 16 years old.

After that was done, he announced that Nina, the kitten either needs to be declawed or depawed! Seems she had managed to scratch him while he was bathing her. Yes, no doubt about it - the kitten needs to be declawed - also needs to have a cat hysterectomy too so that will eliminate any potential for MORE cats in the house in the future too! But that also requires that he not be on unemployment as vets like to be paid a lot more than can currently be squeezed in to an already overloaded budget! He also decided after completely the cat bath routine that he had scrubbed so many fleas off these two felines that he was shocked it didn't plug the drain when he pulled the plug in the tub. I mentioned to him that I didn't really think, as small as fleas are, that there was any risk of the drain getting plugged from that but his response was "Well, when there are millions of fleas, like these two had, I'm not so sure it wouldn't plug up the drain."

And then, he left to go work on a car he's repairing for someone to purchase!

Five minutes after he left, I detected odor emanating -again- from the playpen, picked the little guy up only to discover this time, he had the substance smearing out around the edges of his pamper, squishing clear up his back, on his feet - you name it, all over! Wonderful!

Much as I am happy his plumbing works as well as it does, I really wasn't enjoying this clean-up job again less than 2 hours after the earlier clean-up had taken place. And to add to that, I no more than plunked the boy down on the changing table and was up to my elbow - well almost anyway - in cleaning him up but the darned phone begins to ring -and ring - and ring! Since it had died earlier and was upstairs on the charger, even if I had been able to get up there to pick it up, I can't move fast enough to maneuver the stairs to do that and especially not when I've got a 16-month-old semi-naked baby covered in crap too! Talk about impeccable timing, huh?

And for me - well now I just want a huge container of calgon to use to take a nice soothing, calming bath in it! Ah yes - the lines from the old ad for Calgon - "Calgon - take me away!" are echoing in my mind about now.

Either that or a winning lottery ticket so I can buy a plane ticket and plot my escape for a couple of days!

And there you have it now - my current needs, for sure!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mental Debates

As I mentioned here a few weeks ago, I'm going to start writing a monthly column - beginning the third week of September - for the weekly publication from a nearby community.

I've been debating in my mind since the offer was made to me about writing this column as to what or how to present myself in the first column. I still haven't come up with an idea that I think will be best for an "opener" but I'm kind of leaning towards a very short, general introduction of myself, leading then into an also "short" piece about differences, as I perceive them, in school today compared to my generation. After all, when I started school, the elementary school -grades one through sixth -was located atop the hill here in this village and all of us walked to school. With the exception of a very few kids who lived on top of the hill, it was an uphill walk for the rest of us - both ways! Well, considering how long it would take me to make my way HOME from school, I think my Mom probably thought it must be an uphill walk both ways.

Or, perhaps, I could do a little bit about my granddaughter, the little Princess, Maya, who will begin school next Tuesday at a school about 22 miles from here specifically for kids who are autistic. That's another thought, ya know.

Then, there's also my interests about local history, the research I've been doing online for the past three years now pertaining to the little villages within the township where I've lived the bulk of my life. Considering this topic is what I primarily wrote about when I was doing articles for a little local monthly publication up until last winter, I'm sure I could come up with something on that topic too.

I could also write about one of my other big interests too - family tree research -and how much fun it can be -along with some of the pitfalls it produces too along the way. Boy, does it ever do that at times!

My kids, all three of my grandchildren and the three step-grandchildren often provide a bit of "comic relief" here although my son also often provides a lot of worrisome things too. I'd kind of hoped by the time he hit his 30's that some of the stuff he did that really worried me would start to die down but you know as they say, "a mother's work is never done!" How true, how true!

Since this publication is basically a newspaper - not a small-time magazine type thing - I figure I'd best keep my political leanings far, far away from this column. Especially so, considering our esteemed representative to Harrisburg also does a monthly column for the paper too and I am not exactly one of his minions who pay homage to him at every turn. Frankly, I just plain don't like, don't trust the guy as far as I could throw a baby grand piano so you know I really have to lock up the keyboard in that aspect don't cha? And, I don't suppose mentioning anything I find humor in -like the lovely Bushisms I like to post here - would be a good thing to write about either, would it?

Or another thought that popped into my mind is the problems we've had most of this summer - heck for longer than that - of animals that like to visit our humble abode, inside and outside. Yeah a mouse family in the house along with numerous raccoons, and some skunks too the latter two species that had developed an affinity for our garbage cans. First there was the skunk my son-in-law thought he'd done away with but it crawled into the drainpipe that runs under the road in front of the house and decided to die there. Now there was a smell you don't want to experience! Trust me! Or the recent episode when he set up the humane trap by the garbage cans using some tuna fish as bait and the next morning, what was in there but the next door neighbor's fat cat - appropriately named "Tuna." Last week, after switching the bait to a mixture of peanut butter and breakfast cereal, he caught another cat. This one was one we'd never seen before and boy, was it mad too at being caught there. When Bill finally tripped the release on the cage, that cat took off like a shot, running up the road and we're all wondering if it might not still be running considering how fast it was going!

Got any thoughts you'd like to give me of other ideas? Feel free to bring them forward, drop a note to me either by e-mail or in the comments section.

I'm more than willing to entertain lots and lots of ideas to compensate for the days when I am totally braindead and can't even manage to conjure up a tiny little old brain fart!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Let There Be LIght

Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm late. Forgot all about the lovely little quotes from the DUBYA yesterday. But remember that other old adage too - "Better late than never" and with that in mind, here's this week's assemblage of Bushisms. Enjoy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

"You might want to comment on that, Honorable." -- To New Jersey's secretary of state, the Honorable DeForest B. Soaries Jr., as quoted by Dana Milbank in The Washington POst; July 15, 2000

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"The senator has got to understand if he's going to have --he can't have it both ways. He can't take the high horse and then claim the low road." - Florence, South Carolina; February 17, 2000

Wednesday, August 29, 2000

"I would have my secretary of Treasury be in touch with the financial centers, not only here but a home." - Boston, Massachusetts; October 3, 2000

Thursday, August 30, 2007

"Dick Cheney and I do not want this nation to be in a recession. We want anybody who can find work to be able to find work." - On CBS's 60 Minutes II; December 5, 2000

Friday, August 31, 2007

"Arbolist...Look up the word. I don't know, maybe I made it up. Anyway, it's an arbo-tree-ist, somebody who knows about trees." - As quoted in USA Today; August 21, 2001

Saturday/Sunday, September 1/2, 2007

"If a person doesn't have the capacity that we all want that person to have, I suspect hope is in the far distant future, if at all." - Remarks to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Institute, Washington, D.C.; May 22, 2001

And there you have 'em folks! Some excellent spins on vocabulary, as well as leadership capabilities of the two top honchos of our government process today. Loverly, ain't it?

Take Aim, Push and Pray!

The grandson went to sleep last night - or rather this morning - around 1:30 a.m. I know, by most people's standards, that's a really late bedtime for a 16-month-old, but for him, that's an early hour to crash compared to the hours he'd been keeping of late.

With him, if he happens to fall asleep somewhere between 10 p.m. and midnight, it is almost a guaranteed thing that he will then wake up between midnight and 1:30 a.m. and then, be up, wide awake and bouncing around the playpen. He also likes to make a lot of really LOUD babbling noises from time to time then and all of this combination is what led a couple months back to his sleeping downstairs in the playpen. Taking him upstairs and expecting him to go to sleep and STAY asleep long after his parents have gone to bed was creating way too much havoc with his mother - who frequently had to be up between 6 and 8 a.m. to get ready to go to work. And, his frequent interruptions there weren't very conducive to her getting a decent night's rest so it was decided to leave him down here with me since I rarely go to bed before 2 a.m. and frequently not till as late as 4 or 5 a.m.

In theory, this generally works fairly well. The only time there are problems are when I can't fall asleep shortly after he crashes and am up even later than the 4 a.m. witching hour. Odds are, when this happens, some sweet person - usually a bill collector - will telephone here between 8 and 9 a.m. and wake me up well before my system has gotten in a minimal amount of sleep - like 3-4 hours straight. Phone calls tend to wake me up so much so that I can't go back to sleep then to get that little extra 40 winks and then it throws me off for the balance of the day. So, both the grandson and I have strange sleep patterns - which you've probably already discerned from reading several of my most recent post where I was lamenting about this issue.

However, the topic today centers on the skills one must develop in order to change, clean up, re-dress and then feed said 16-month-old!

He woke up somewhere around 12:30 this afternoon today and apparently he was in a good mood when he woke up too because I wasn't even aware he was sitting up, watching intently whatever fare happened to be playing at that time on the old tv set here.

After his having slept for roughly 10-11 hours, when I went to get him out of the playpen, I was prepared that he most likely would be a tad on the damp side, as that too is the norm. And, I was correct in that assumption too, I must add. The kid's clothes probably could have been wrung out and filled a container with the excess fluid he had there - to say nothing of the other added attraction I could tell was going to meet me when I got these wet clothes off him.

Stripped down, I then set about trying to keep him in one place on the changing table so I could wipe off all traces of previous entries into his little system. Keep in mind, he's not fussing - just constantly moving about and making finding his little behind quite a challenge before he manages to deposit several patches of this residue all over the changing pad too. In that respect, I lost the battle today as the pad is now in dire need of being tossed into the washer.

Okay, finally got the little squirmy worm boy cleaned up and now, to get him dressed. Diaper went on fairly easily but trying to get his "onesy" shirt and then his tee shirt and shorts on him didn't make for an easy task. It's amazing how many things he can spot from his vantage point, laying, trying to sit up, trying to scramble himself into a standing position, all while I'm trying to dress him. It's also amazing to me how difficult it can be to insert two little legs into two little pant leg openings of a pair of shorts too! I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever succeed in dressing this kid!

Eventually, he was fully clothed, happy, content and ready to sit in the high chair while I gave him his "morning" (by his timetable) meal. I mixed up a regular sized cereal bowl of baby rice cereal mixed with warm water and to that, added a jar of baby food -fruits. Today's entre was plums and bananas. Stirred that around to make a smooth concoction for him and settled in to attempt to spoon it into his little mouth.

Now, he's not a fussy eater - not usually anyway - and today was no exception. The only problem is that one never knows where the heck to find his mouth to put the spoonful of goodies into his system.

So it becomes a game - which direction is he looking? Fine, he's glancing off to the left at the tv screen so I shift in my chair, move the spoon towards his mouth at that angle, get it close, closer, ready to slip the spoonful of food in and as I do that, don't you just know he moves his head right at that exact moment and presto magic - voila - cereal and fruit smeared all across his face.

Somehow we continue this process until finally the cereal and fruit mixture has all made its way into his mouth, down the gullet and being digested now - all ready things are working there to make this a speedy return on my efforts as this kid is just a regular little "poop" machine - or so it seems.

Take aim, push it in and in short order, he'll push it out.

The prayer part - well, that worked quite well in that his mother just walked in from work and now, with my blessings, she gets the honors of dealing with him as he works on the many happy returns part of his mealtime!

Ah yes! I'm a happy Grandma now!


I guess, if I want to have any peace at all within my family, I best make some corrections here.

My older daughter commented tonight on two of my posts - one from I believe August 14th and was the post about the contest for when any one felt like "Death on a Cracker" and the second comment was on my earlier post tonight "Nice Times Two."

Seems I made a little error in my typing on the contest post where I inadvertently list the year of my older daughter's birth as 1966. I DO KNOW it was 1967 and well, the fingers hit the wrong keys and proof-reading after I type my posts is not a strong point of mine.

Now, if you read her comment on my earlier post tonight - the "Nice Times Two" - well that gives you a good example of what I was talking about in that post as to how I do things at times that really rile and irritate my kids.

So - for the record now - let's get it straight - my older daughter was born in 1967, not 1966. The day I was talking about when I truly had felt like "death on a cracker" though did take place in 1966!

Now, am I forgiven Carrie?

I still love ya no matter what year you were born though.

Nice Times Two

I'm really going to have to watch my p&q's, be on my best -and nicest -behavior too.

Why? Because today, the author of the great birthday blog (this past Friday) and my very first blogging friend too, made me the recipient of another "Nice Matters" award - my second one! WOW!! Now that, to me, is really impressive! If you look along the sidebar of my blog, you can see the Nice Matters Award which I have now labeled as being a second-time award and I added Skittles name to it at the bottom as being one of those who gave this to me.

Maybe I should point all three of my kids in the direction of my blog and let them see this award since all too often, they wouldn't always agree with the idea of my being "nice." ya know. Although I know there are times, many of 'em too, where my kids might be more that a little irritated with me, I think the good thing there is regardless, they know I'll always love them and, even if their patience levels might run pretty low at times with me, I know they feel the same way in return.

I think the weird hours I've kept this past week -all for the sake of waiting out my grandson's quest to fall asleep really caught up with me yesterday and today.

Friday night, I was awake till almost 7 a.m. Saturday morning and then cat-napped here and there throughout the day. Saturday evening, I fell asleep within about thirty minutes after we had supper and slept for about three hours. Just enough sleep that when I woke up to make a trip to the bathroom, as I returned to my room, I was wide awake. The little guy was close then to falling asleep so I figured well, may as well play on the computer a bit till he is sound asleep but then, I couldn't go back to sleep. As a result, I was up till past 7 a.m. Sunday morning then before I finally was able to nod off. That time, I managed to cram in almost four hours of sleep. B ut by mid-afternoon, my intestines were starting to give me fits -cramps -plus my leg was swelling again and very stiff, the back aching and I had to go lay down just to get some relief. And, I fell asleep again and slept the rest of the afternoon away. After supper tonight, I decided to have a sweet treat and cut myself a slice of the cake I'd made earlier in the week for my sons birthday and as often happens when I eat something really sweet, it makes me very groggy so I fell asleep on the sofa then and was sleeping very nicely until about 11:30 p.m. At that time, my dear daughter WOKE ME UP to tell me she was going to bed. Geez, was that necessary? All she'd had to do was to turn the lights out in the room and go upstairs. The odds are that I would have awakened either if the grandson decided to start fussing or to make one of my many trips to the bathroom and I think I'd have figured out that she'd gone to bed, don't you. So now, here I am, wide awake -again - with the grandson down for the count early tonight thankfully.

Oh well! What the heck you gonna do about things like that anyway? Grin and bear it I guess.

I'll be nice about it as it gave me a chance to finish reading my favorite blogs which I hadn't been able to complete earlier today with my frequent naps and to make the changes on my blog to my "Nice Matters" award too.

I think I may just take advantage too of being awake for a while now and go do some work on my research project here. That almost always tends to make me really sleepy!

Saturday, August 25, 2007


The author of one of the blogs on my favorites list commented back to me on a comment I'd made and in his comment, he remarked that he's noticed I seem to be "all over the place" with respect to the time of day I post or comment. He said he's seen where I've visited in the wee hours of the morning, various times during the day and early evening too and thus, he wanted to know "When do you sleep?"

Well, I've always had a tendency to be a big night owl. It's a family joke within my Mom's side of the family that they were all night owls. My four youngest cousins were the exceptions within the family as my aunt and uncle had very strict bedtimes for those kids - between 8 and 9 p.m. - so anytime they were here, it was pretty much a given that those cousins would have given up the ghost early on in the evening whereas I would still be like the energizer bunny, staying up till at the very least, midnight and often later than that.

In my twenties, I worked long -sometimes VERY long hours - twelve to fourteen hour days, usually six days a week were a big part of my life and when I did get done for the day, it was also part of my mode of operation to frequent a little local bar too and rarely did I get home till 1 or 2 a.m. Then, after my divorce, I worked midnight shift for almost four years, plus during the day, I pretty much catnapped - a couple hours here, run and delivery Avon, home to fix supper, catch a few other customers and then, grab a really quick nap for maybe an hour before getting ready for work. After that job, I generally worked afternoon/evening shift from 4 p.m. to midnight but getting off at midnight often left me still wired and I would rarely go to bed then before 4 a.m. Now, well now, I have no true routine at all. Plus since I am usually up way late at night and the little guy - my 16-month-old grandson has been having sleep issues for the past several weeks now and often wasn't falling asleep till between 2 and 4 a.m., well it's up to me to be here with him till he does finally crash. This week, he's done much better and has generally been falling asleep by 1:30 in the morning but that still doesn't mean I go to sleep as soon as he is down for the count. Here it is now 5 in the morning and I'm still awake.

The past two days though my sleep really got more messed up that usual. Thursday and Friday both, I was awake till 5 a.m. one day and till 7 a.m. yesterday. Thursday, I only got about 2 1/2 hours of sleep till I had to get up and get ready to go visit the granddaughter's school. Being out, standing a lot while we were at the school too got my left ankle in a dither and it started swelling - a normal pattern if I am on my feet for a longer than usual time span -and that started the back to aching and by mid-afternoon, I was out like a light for about 2 hours. After supper, I couldn't stay awake and fell asleep in my chair at the computer for about an hour - just long enough though to keep me wide awake then all night! And Friday morning, hitting my pillow at 7 a.m. I figured ok, I'll be able to catch about 3 hours of decent sleep then but that went down the tubes when the phone woke me up an hour later! So I was dragging then Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, once the little guy settled in for his normal nap, I figured I'd lay down and catch 40 winks too but that was a really futile thing as it seemed within five to ten minutes after I would doze off, the damned phone would ring and wake me up. That happened to me at least six times during the afternoon as I tried to nap. So, last night by 9 p.m., I was bushed and went to my room to lay down. However, no matter what time I do actually go to bed, it is rare that I sleep more than four hours at a clip because I will have to get up and wander to the bathroom. That much activity then is just enough to wake my system up and I can't go back to sleep then for several hours. And that explains then why I'm sitting here at 5 a.m. typing this post then doesn't it?

Last week - on Monday, Mandy took Miss Maya to the doctor for her regular check-up. These doctor visits are usually not the most pleasant things as Maya frequently goes into a meltdown as soon as the nurse comes out to the waiting room and calls her name. And, the first thing the nurse does when they get her back headed towards the examining room, is attempt to take her temperature, followed by the weigh-in and measurement thing at which she goes into more of a meltdown. Lots and lots of screaming, kicking and general carrying on you know.

Well last week, the only time she threw a fit was over the thermometer! The scales, the measuring, Mandy was able to distract her by telling her to look at the numbers and she could see what number she was. Since she is fascinated by numbers that was all it took then to get her weighed and measure her to see what her height is now too. Even the doctor was quite surprise as she checked Maya over that she had calmed down very much and left her do her work in such a peaceful manner. When she left the doctor's examining room, she even blew the doctor a kiss! But the really big change we noticed came about a day or two later as she started carting a little squirt gun around and coming up to us, putting the squirt gun in our ear, then looking at it and mumbling something about our temperature being "ok." So, maybe the next time at the doctor's office, she won't even throw the fit over having her temperature taken!

Last Sunday was my older grandson's tenth birthday - which meant he was here for a short visit and those are always nice. But two days before his birthday was something that came and went and I paid no attention to it - forgot completely about the fact that August 17th is my younger daughter's wedding anniversary. She knows I tend to not pay any attention to the calendar and forget about birthdays frequently and anniversaries, well they generally totally escape me so she usually makes a few mentions about these things in advance. But even Mandy said nothing around the house that tripped my trigger that it was their wedding anniversary, so Mom didn't even have a card for the kids.

But the thing that got the most attention, overall, about that event was on Sunday when Mandy told her sister what Bill had given her for an anniversary present. Normally, Bill usually finds a nice card and will try to get some nice little gift of some type for Mandy - all of which also hinges on what their finances are like at the time too, of course. This year, with him being laid off, he must have been really broke because his anniversary gift to her was a packet of those "Mr Clean" type cleaning sponges!

The older daughter was aghast! And that is putting it mildly. Then, on Wednesday when my son was here for supper - on his birthday - Mandy mentioned this anniversary gift to him and he was even more shocked - if that is possible - than his older sister had been on Sunday when she was told about the present!

And for me, well it brought back memories of a time a long, long time ago - the fifth anniversary for my ex-husband and me and the gift he brought me that year. A six-pack of Coors beer! However, it was pretty special though because at that time, Coors wasn't selling beer yet east of the Mississippi and how he managed to get a six pack of the stuff then is still beyond me!

Ah, memories! Aren't they just great though?

Now, I think I'll go wash up the dishes so that's done and I don't have to look at the sink, full of dirty cups and plates and bottles and such when I do wake up a bit later this morning.

Have a good day now and sleep well.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mixed up? Who, Moi? Hah!

I thought I was going to be really, really slick. Yep! I knew the perfect solution to a birthday present for a friend and it was going to work just fine and dandy. You betcha!

Well, as soon as I had those delusional thoughts in my pea brain, I should have clamped down on that part of my mind that allows thoughts of that nature to cease and desist and do it right damned now too!

One of the first people I "met" or got to know or became acquainted with - whatever term fits your mind about blogging buddies, works for me - was Skittles. She must have been doing some blog surfing one day and came across mine and pointed out to me that I had a SPAM message on my comments that day. And, of course, me being the new kid on the blog block and not knowing my a** from a hole in the ground too, she had to explain to me how to prevent those things from happening.

That was back in September of last year I believe and now, TODAY, as a matter of fact, Barb's got a big anniversary/birthday celebration going on at her place because today marks her blog's first birthday!

Wow! A whole year of blogging. That's cool, isn't it? Plus she noted on her blog the other day that she has also done 2000 post in that year's time too. Now that is really incredible! Some days I lose track of time and forget to post and other days, my mind just doesn't particularly care to participate and I can't think of a single thing then to write about - yeah, BRAINDEAD, that would be me for sure a lot of the time.

Now, I really wanted to do something I thought would make for a nice present for Barb for her blog's birthday but because I didn't want to risk forgetting about this important occasion - and also since I had actually thought of something to do for a gift for this auspicious event then, I decided to do my post for her birthday then, save it and then today, bright and early, I'd post it here and all would be fine!

I figured by doing that it would also be a good way for me to have a post for today too except I wouldn't have to worry today about actually writing it you see. Nope, it would be all done and all I had to do was go to the dashboard, pull it up and publish it. Right?


Well, not totally wrong because it did publish it ok. However, it is down wedged in between my post for Tuesday and the one from yesterday!

There went my theory of having today's post all done and showing up at the top of the page here - flew right out the window.

But, the fact that it is there - present and all just for Barb to partake of it - I guess it's kind of like sending a belated birthday card except this one was done ahead of time and still got kind of shoved aside because apparently I don't know or understand the proper rules behind saving a post and then publishing it at a later date.

Oh well! The message is there all the same. Barb just has to go searching for it!
Ha! And many more!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Starting School

This morning, my daughter, son-in-law, the two little ones and I took a drive over to Clearfield. Actually, we went over to Hyde, to check out the school where Miss Maya will be attending classes in the very near future.

Maya will start classes on September 4th in a pre-school program that will last for the next two years. She'll be in a class setting with six other children about her age. And, all seven of these children will have one specific thing in common. They're all autistic.

The past three years, since my older daughter and I both noticed some small warning-type signs that are often autism "markers" have seen other little things too that just weren't quite right about Maya. From the beginning, when she first started to walk, we noticed she was very much a toe-walker. However, although that is often a trait of autism, we really didn't pay all that much attention to that as her mother was a toe-walker and her great-grandmother - my ex-husband's mother - is still somewhat of a toe-walker too. And, they're fine.

What really got my daughter's attention and mine initially though was the eye contact. Maya had very little of that. She would almost immediately look away from you if you tried to initiate any eye contact too. Then, she began doing a lot of hand flapping - also a marker. She often showed little response to people trying to get her attention and our concerns then became that perhaps she had hearing problems. The pediatrician listened as we explained these things we were noticing and when she too had some difficulty getting Maya's attention, she immediately had her scheduled for a hearing test. At the same time, she also referred us over to an agency here in our area that works with children and has special programs set up to assist children and families if any type of learning disorder or physical problems exist in the children.

Before the hearing test took place, two things happened. One, was that I gave Maya my own version of a hearing test - very unscientific, of course, but what it showed me was that she DIDN'T have a hearing problem. I did this with our tv set. One day, the tv was turned off, Maya was busying herself in her playpen and I turned the tv on using the remote control It makes a very small -VERY SMALL -click when you turn it on and takes about 5-10 seconds or so before the sound and picture appear. Well, as soon as I clicked the tv on, heard that tiny sound, Maya was scrambling to stand in the playpen and by the time the picture and sound came on, she was already up and waiting for that to happen. She had definitely "heard" that little noise, therefore, her hearing issues we were worrying about most likely were selective in nature. She just didn't want to be bothered by us.

About two weeks prior to the hearing test, a team from the local agency came to the house and did their initial evaluation of Maya. Their determinations were that she was at that time, developmentally delayed but, if there was any issue that showed up on the hearing test, they would have to re-assess her and her scores would be changed. At that time, Maya was about 20 months old but the tests they did on her showed her levels at anywhere from that of a seven-month-old up to a twelve-month-old child. I inquired then if there was a possibility she might be autistic and they said that could be a possibility but they were not certified to do evaluations for autism.

However, based on their assessments then, it was recommended that Maya receive therapy at home and the agency then provided two therapists who began working with Maya within about a two week period. They've been coming here once a week, for roughly an hour at each therapist's visit and the changes we've seen in Maya have been astounding.

The one young woman is a behavior therapist - actually a "play" therapist and the other is a speech therapist. These two have worked really hard with Maya and it shows too how well they've done their jobs too because today, Maya has definitely showed major improvements in her actions.

It took from June of 2005 until probably January or February of 2006 before we started to see really noticeable changes in Maya, but once they started to appear, it was almost like someone had opened a floodgate.

She began to pay attention to toys - which she had and still has a very abundant supply of those items. Prior to the therapists intervention, Maya's version of "play" was usually just to pick up a piece of paper she found and then, carry it around as she ran through the downstairs of the house. Suddenly she was playing with blocks, with cars, dolls, and even putting little wooden puzzles together correctly too. No, it wasn't that she was doing this ALL in a totally normal fashion overnight but the mere fact she was interested in those things and putting forth some effort then to play with them appropriately was astonishing to us.

About the same time as the play therapist began to get results, the speech therapist was effecting changes in her too. She finally said her first word a year ago this past February - answered us when asked how old she was by saying "Chew" -or two, in her pronunciation.

Since then, she has advanced fairly regularly and today, plays appropriately with all her toys -even to the point of having conversations with her dolls, talking to herself too while playing with other toys. Her vocabulary is constantly growing too - sometimes, because she does do a lot of echoing at times (also a big trait of autistic kids) -it almost can make you wish she hadn't begun talking! Not really, but trying to get her to be quiet is now as hard to do at times as it was to draw out those first few words.

The purpose of our visit today to the school was two-fold. First, it was a way for us - her parents and me - to get a glimpse of how the teacher operates, what skills they try to teach the kids and what methods are employed. It also gave Maya a chance to see the school too and get a tiny bit of familiarity with the building, the classroom, the toys - everything.

Her teacher told us the people who run the van pick-up/delivery service (door-to-door) will probably contact us sometime next week and do a test run for timing how long it will take them, on average, to get Maya from home to the school. It will also allow for her to meet the driver and realize she will be riding to school, alone - no Mommy, no Grammy there with her.

Having seen Maya's reactions today to everything about the school, provided the travel part goes ok, I think we're definitely heading down the right road with this program.

She absolutely loved the place - from the playground outside which we had to pull her away from that to get her to go inside the school to the classroom and all the many different toys they use and especially to her reactions to the teacher and the two aides who will be working with her.

No fear!

And, in this instance, that's really a very good thing.


I'm not going to point anyone in any specific direction tonight with respect to topics being discussed here and there among my blog favorites. Too doggone many really great posts there and you're just going to have to weed through the maze to find them for yourself. But trust me, they are there, really and truly, they are there - from criticism of our illustrious "leader" to questions about language and political correctness with lots of stuff in between.

Why am I doing this? Simply because today is a very important day in my life and in my son's. It's his birthday! Yep, "Sonny Boy" -who gets called a whole lot of other things by me, by his sisters too and by many of his friends as well (some are not always nice, polite; some are really funny if you know his "history") - but tonight, I'll be nice and just call him Clate then, since that is his real nickname.

When I was growing up, like most every young girl across the world I'd bet, I used to dream about someday I would marry, have children and what I would like to name a son or daughter then. For many years, I always particularly liked the name David and said if ever I had a boy, I would want to name him that. However, producing a child does take two people - usually a husband (but certainly not always) and ok, when my son was born, I was married to his father and we had gone round and round over boy's names. He was adamant though about not wanting to name this child David though since he had a cousin named David who died when he was I believe about 13 or 14 years old and my ex felt it might be too painful to have another child in his family with that first name.

I read the "Baby Name" upteen thousands I think there were of 'em too - over and over, calling attention to different ones I kind of liked, hoping sooner or later (hopefully sooner) we could strike a happy medium. One day, I happened on the name Clayton and suggested it. My ex thought about it a bit and then popped out with this, "Well if we name him Clayton, we can then call him Clate, (after a top stock car racer in this region) can't we?" Sure we can! I happened to be a big fan of that particular driver too so it was a done deal. If this baby turned out to be a boy, Clayton he would be! And so it was.

My ex's occupation was auto mechanic and he was then, still is, a very good mechanic too. Like many others in that trade, he kind of ate, breathed and slept "cars." Still does that too. And, our son -well he is definitely his father's child in that he is extremely interested in cars too. His main interest though is in Volkswagons though, followed quite rapidly by being a devotee of most anything produced by General Motors with heavy emphasis there on Chevrolet. Anyone who knows him know he dearly loves to talk cars, motors and the like. He likes racing but isn't a mega fan of it though like his father has always been. But if there is an analogy needed, odds are too that Clate will somehow figure out a way to use Volkswagons in it somehow or other.

I won't sit her and write this and tell you that my son is the absolute best kid every to come down the pike, that he was an excellent student always polite and nice, never ever got into trouble at all -all that kind of malarky. Nope, I wouldn't do that and besides, again if anyone reading this knows him, they'd sit up and yell at the top of their lungs that I'd be lying to you.

He was anything BUT innocent in many of the things he got into growing up -and to this day too. Sometimes, he drives me absolutely wild with some of his shenanigans - just a little boy who is taking his good, sweet time about growing up or so it seems at times.

He is however very outgoing - has been that way forever, even when he was just a toddler. I remember one day we went out to a sandwich shop for supper and his actions totally embarrassed his dad. The kid was sitting in the high chair and as anyone would go past him, he would reach out, grab at the person passing by and holler "Hi, Hi, Hi!" over and over again! Didn't bother me but it sure did annoy his dad.

We learned early on that the kid also seemed to have a penchant for destroying toys too and thought for a time maybe we could farm him out to Tonka to be a tester of durability factors in their toys. One year for Christmas, we decided to get him a Tonka wrecker truck because he liked cars and trucks so much and also, because after checking it over closely, it appeared to be really solid thus the kid wouldn't be able to destroy it -or at least not all that quickly. However, within a short period of time, he proved us wrong on that as I noticed he had managed to break out the windshield in this tow truck. I asked him why he'd done that and he informed me it was so that one of his "people" (alias the little Weebles characters) could sit in the cab and drive it. Can't argue with that logic can you?

Then there was the day I was leaving the house for work and he was busy playing in the front yard with his cars and trucks and such and I noticed he had dug up a good patch of the lawn in front of the house and every so often, he had big mounds of dirt piled up and was making a big production of driving these cars and trucks over these mounds. I asked him why he had dug up the lawn and built these piles of dirt up and he told me "Mom, they're rumble strips." (Needless to say, the Interstate Highway that cuts through fairly near to where we live had tons and tons of construction on the Interstate 80 that year so we encountered a lot of rumble strips every time we went any place - or so it seemed.

At about age eight, he broke his right wrist. Big deal you say, broken bones, cuts, stitches, lots and lots of bruises and such are all often a part of all kids growing up, especially little boys. However, how many of them break their arm by jumping off a refrigerator? It was an old refrigerator that had once served us as the holder for a keg of beer but now was about to be hauled away and was sitting almost but not quite under the deck of our old house, next door to where we were living (where I live today) and his explanation about what he was doing up on that old refrigerator and jumping off it was that he was "practicing his broad jump."

In junior and senior high school, he refused to do very much in the line of studying and definitely didn't want to do this stuff called homework either. The "no homework" attitude got him on the really bad side of a certain math teacher who refused to pass kids if they didn't regularly turn in homework so as a result, the boy failed Math I not one year but three years running! Give him an English class though or Art and he shined! Same with music although he never took any instructions on a musical instrument but he loved being part of the school's chorus -even had a solo performance from time to time.

But he had some strange ideas about the English class requirements and such too as I found out. Seems one English teacher had the kids all compose some type of poem and then, they also had to read it or the teacher read it aloud - not quite sure now how that worked -but anyway, the kid had written a very nice - also very sentimental poem for me, I think in honor of Mother's Day or something like that. After it was read to the class, the teacher had made a remark to the effect "Leave it to a dreamer to come up with a beautiful piece of work." When he came home from school that day, the boy was really highly incensed over the teacher calling him a "dreamer." That to him was an insult to end all. And it took me the longest time to show him that it was actually a compliment of the highest order as the teacher was comparing his work to that of literary greats, most of whom all were "dreamers" too.

In his teens, he got in trouble with me and his sister because one day when she was working the same shift as I was, and had ridden to work with me thus leaving her car here at home, he took her car for a ride! I think he was about 15 years old when he pulled that stunt. He's really lucky he's still alive as his sister was ready to kill him! When he was 17, he took the car he had bought with his earnings as a dishwasher at the truckstop where I was assistant manager - said car which hadn't yet been transferred over to us, had no inspection sticker, obviously no license plates and he had no license to drive even, and drove it up the road, not once but twice. And, of course, the next door neighbor, who was a state trooper, had seen him but had just waved to the kid on both occasions which made him believe hey, this was ok. However, on the second time around, the trooper had called the local John Law and had him arrested on a "citizen's arrest" type report. I was livid! Some of the state troopers I knew from where I worked told me I should request a hearing because if I did that, then whoever had reported him would have to appear and I would then at least know who had turned him in. Well, I already knew, deep down inside who had called the local cop on the kid - just KNEW it was this state cop. And I really didn't believe the kid should just get off scot free either if the person who reported him didn't show up for the hearing either. But, I was really angry because that party didn't come to me the first time he observed the kid doing this nor had he given him a citation then and there, which I felt he should have done if he was so concerned over his actions.

But, eventually, I did request a hearing mainly because I figured if I was going to have to take time out of my busy schedule then to go pay on whatever fine the kid got, that person was going to have to come forward too and attend the hearing. And, at said hearing, I explained what really had me very upset over the way this had all been handled to which the state trooper made a comment that he had frequently come over to my house to try to talk to me about Clate but that I would never answer the door. Whoa Bessie! Me, not answer someone's knock on the door? No way! And I stated that, emphasizing then too there was only one person I would go to all lengths to avoid if I knew it was him at my door and that was the Fuller Brush Man. As soon as I said that, I thought to myself, boy, talk about a case of open mouth, insert foot, girl you really did it there. Why? Because the district magistrate hearing the case was the son of the local Fuller Brush Man, that's why! Yeah, call me an idiot, for sure. HOwever the magistrate was very nice in the way he handled the case as he told me later he saw that there were issues he felt that went beneath the surface of the state trooper's motives -and by the way, there were. So, the magistrate fined the kid $395 for his various offenses and then, advised me to allow him to get his driver's license as soon as possible. Well, that had been our initial intent but my ground rules were that no kid of mine got their license unless they had a job, could pay for the purchase of the car, could pay for the insurance coverage of said car although I allowed it to be placed on my policy to lessen that cost, and the kid would also have to be responsible for every bit of upkeep and gas/oil for the vehicle too - along with being a relatively safe driver. Or at least I would cross my fingers a lot on the "safe driver" issue. And that fine really put the kid in a bind then towards getting the car road worthy - knocked him behind about 6 months it did!

In the spring of 1991, almost the end of my first year as a student at Penn State, the boy managed to set the house on fire too. Oh yeah! Totally torched his bedroom, caused severe smoke and water-and fire too- damage to the other two bedrooms as well. So much so that he, his sister and I spent over three months living in one motel room! YUCK! I was not a happy camper as we stood out on the street in a steady cold spring drizzle, watching the next door neighbor try to break a window to insert a garden hose to try to get a little water into the kid's room till the fire company arrived. Yes, I was grateful that the kids, the pets and I had managed to get out -no problems there. Yes I was also very upset at seeing that this could possibly, if not brought under control, totally destroy our home too. And I questioned him about what the heck he'd been doing in his room to catch the damned place on fire as I'd had lots of re-wiring done to the old homestead and it was in good shape in that respect. He began to sob to me then how sorry he was but he'd been smoking in his bedroom and that's how it had started. As my neighbor and good friend asked me a while later, "So how exactly did you learn that Clate was smoking anyway?" And I'd told her "When he caught the damned house on fire!"

Yeah, he's pulled some stunts in his day. Some that are comical to his sisters and to me now when we get to talking about things that happened over the years. Some are still scary, still a bit irritating to me too -like the episode this past Christmas when he managed to total my car.

We've all been very fortunate overall thus far though in that for him growing up in a single parent home - a parent who worked long, strange hours at times, who also was a student in college when both my younger kids were in high school, kids that frequently had to fend for themselves a lot too because of those circumstances - that nothing worse happened to him, to all of us for that matter.

I've been very fortunate too that I have this kid I call my son as well. Under all his actions that at times were really dense, really dumb, there lies a young man with a heart of gold too. In many instances where other guys in his age range have a very callous attitude about people, especially women and the issues that often make the road women have to hoe just a bit harder, my son is a true feminist through and through. He also is adamant about issues like racism, prejudices of all types and won't hesitate to call another person on their attitude when he sees things going on that he believes to be wrong, unethical, prejudical and such.

And yes, I am very very proud then of this young man. He's also very, very funny too - has a wonderful, sometimes quirky though, sense of humor. He can do imitations of me, of his sisters, his dad, lots of friends and neighbors along with some of certain celebritites too. He's an excellent artist - has talent there that he's never even thought of tapping in to. Although he prefers -most of the time - to talk cars, engines, and the like, he can carry on a very rational conversation on many, many subjects.

Trust me, for all his doings that weren't quite right, he also does know and understands fully the difference between right and wrong. Although there have been times when I have wondered a lot about that aspect!

But anyway, that's my boy! My sweet, tall, scrawny, good-looking, goofy son, my baby, Clayton!

Wish you all could meet him too as I'm betting within short order you'd love him almost as much as his sisters and I do!

Happy 34th Birthday, Tapwater! (Alias, Clayton) I may not always like some of the things you do, but kid, I'll always love you!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Wow! A whole year of blogging -and with over 2,000 posts too. That is absolutely incredible. And no, that's not me who is celebrating a first anniversary of blogging and certainly not me with 2,000 posts in a years time either.

Nope -but it is one of my favorite bloggers who is celebrating her anniversary - her first -with her blog.

And that would be Barb - of Skittles Place!

Barb and her husband Mike live up in Michigan in the Detroit area. Mike has a blog too that you can check out for some of his interests along with Barb's. Mike's REALLY interested in model trains and Barb or Skittles - well gee, I'd be very hard-pressed to figure out something she ISN'T interested in.

So, since she's having a big celebration over at her blog - yeah, she's begging for anniversary gifts ya know - I was trying to figure out what the heck could I give Barb that she might really appreciate.

Then it hit me! Barb (and Mike) love to travel. They like to zip around all over the country whenever they can. Only problem there is, Mike has to work (poor baby, huh) and well, time is limited - so are funds at times - so as much as they do go gallavanting around the country now and again, they still can't get to see EVERYTHING they'd probably like to see, Can't get to EVERY single state you know.

So I thought hey, I'll send them on a tour of the United States - and it won't cost them a single penny. (Heck, it won't cost me anything either since it's a virtual tour -what better tour for a blogger anyway? And besides, if it cost me something, I'd not be able to give her anything for an anniversary present since I am generally pretty doggone BROKE.)

So here you go Barb! Your Grand tour of the good old USA! Hope you get out your flag, wave it high and enjoy all the sights. There sure are a whole lot of things to see in this land you know!

Barb's Virtual Anniversary Tour!

Here's hoping you have a great trip and lots and lots more anniversaries with your blog too!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Love that Scarlett!

Reading around the various blogs on my favorites today yielded a lot of neat posts, interesting thoughts, questions, ideas and memories too.

First, here's a question for you that my friend Dave is wondering about - how to figure out temperatures and times when using a convection oven he just purchased. If you have some expertise in that type of oven, stop by and see if you can give him some input. I'm sure he'd appreciate any help he can get.

My friend Shelby, down in Alabama, got some really depressing news yesterday. After learning in June she couldn't return to law school this fall, she'd applied to a graduate degree program and was notified yesterday that she wasn't being accepted to that either. But, today -tough little fighter that she is - she zapped off some e-mails, had some round robin type communications running there for a while and ended up getting herself registered for a single course as a "non-degree seeking" student in the graduate program. I'm really happy that she is at least going to be taking one class this fall but her ordeal reminded me of when I had applied to transfer from "non-degree seeking" to "degree seeking" at the end of my second semester at Penn State.

I received a letter from the Admissions office telling me I was being denied acceptance as a degree seeking candidate and the reason they gave me was that I was missing a Carnegie credit. A Carnegie credit? What the heck is that? I called the Admissions office to inquire because my grades though not Dean's list caliber, had been decent enough - a solid B anyway which I thought was pretty doggone good considering I'd been out of school for 28 years when I decided to go to college.

Well, it turns out the missing Carnegie credit was due to the fact that back in high school - when college entrance requirements were somewhat different than they were in 1990 and even more different from what they are today - I had not taken Algebra 2! Imagine that! I called the Division of Undergraduate Studies and spoke to the advisor on the call-in desk who looked into the problem for me. He called me back and asked if I felt I could take the necessary make-up course work and have it completed within the next 15 months. I said yes, as that had been my original plan since I knew I was going to have to take the make-up math classes anyway before I even thought about taking a college level math course. I just had never been aware that I had to have that under my belt before I could be accepted as "degree seeking." (It's amazing what a lot of colleges -and advisors too -DON'T tell students ya know! This advisor then asked if I already had an advisor and I had said yes, I do. He then asked if I was satisfied with that advisor and I had told him no, not really. He then announced to me that he was officially signing himself to be my advisor and to make an appointment as soon as possible to come in and meet with him in person. After we hung up the phone, I did just that - called and got an appointment. And that was one of the best things that happened to me during my remaining three years at Penn State as Dr. Bronstein was a really super advisor! The things he explained to me, the course recommendations he made too - all were excellent advice and thanks to his help, I not only was accepted as degree seeking but also finished my coursework, got my degree in the "normal" four year time span, unlike a lot of other students who, often from having a not-so-great advisor ended up taking classes that actually worked against their degree credits programs and as a result many of them had to attend college for at least one, sometimes two years longer.

So, sometimes things that happen to us that look to be a deal breaker at first, actually turn around and work to our benefit -much like things did for me way back when.

This afternoon, while getting things ready to fix for supper, as I glanced out my kitchen window, the sight there reminded me immediately of my friend, Vic Grace up in British Columbia. Vic frequently writes and posts some absolutely gorgeous photos too of not just the awesome scenery up in her neck of the wilderness there but also of many of the animals that often come calling at or near her home. And, looking out my window, there in my next door neighbor's yard, stood a beautiful deer, peacefully eating apples on the ground that had fallen from the neighbor two doors overs apple tree. It was such a pretty sight and in the middle of the village in broad daylight and all, I thought I'd try to get a picture of it - just so maybe in the near future I could post it here you know. However, my luck ran out on me there because by the time I found a camera here and made it back to the kitchen to go outside and take a picture, the deer had gone -probably spooked by a car going down the road or some other sudden noise. Maybe it Parker, the big (and I do mean BIG) dog that belongs to the neighbor two doors over from our place.

So many interesting posts I read today and that's usually the case most every day too come to think of it!

This evening then, I got an e-mail from an old friend of mine who lives down near Harrisburg telling me she reads my blog all the time and really enjoys it. She says it gives her a little means to keep track somewhat of some of her cousins who live here and who are good friends of my kids and me. Matter of fact my niece is a cousin of this lady's too, come to think of it! Anyway, she'd told me way back the end of November that she had found my blog and was reading it but in all the time that's passed from November to now, she's never ever posted anything in the comments area. I don't know if she's just shy (Naw, I don't really think she's that -matter of fact I KNOW she's anything but shy) but it reminded me that I recently added something to my blog in case you haven't already seen them at the bottom of each of my posts - right by the area where you can click to make a comment - there's this little thing with four smaller blocks beside it called "Comment Clicks." I neglected to call anyone's attention to this last week after I got this added there but it's mainly there for people we bloggers call "lurkers" - those who come by and read our blogs but never comment, for whatever reason. If you check this "Comment Clicks" out you'll see you can just click any of the four buttons there that expresses how you felt after reading any given post and you don't have to have a blog, don't have to even register to have a g-mail account so you can comment the other way in anonymity. Nope, just click whichever button fills the bill in your opinion and either keep on reading or bounce around to other blogs along the way! Check it out. Give it a try sometime. Easy as pie! Plus it shows a little bit to me what type of topics and such people enjoy reading too so not only does it help me, but it helps the readers along the way as well.

And finally, some good words of wisdom from one of the new bloggers on my block - one that I just added to my favorites list last week - Keith -wrote about three words we all think about but two of them are basically unimportant to leading a good life - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. And, as he said yesterday and tomorrow are two words we shouldn't dwell on, shouldn't worry about.

Boy, do I agree with that philosophy. My favorite book has been for over 45 years now -the wonderful "Gone With The Wind" by Margaret Mitchell and Scarlett O'Hara's been my heroine for those many years now as well. I especially loved where she said "I'll worry about it tomorrow." Sage advice Scarlett, my dear cause if you think about it, with respect especially to worrying about thing, tomorrow never comes, does it?

The only day that is truly important in our lives is this one -TODAY! And how well we lived it.

Now, for me, Today could to some be viewed as a day I wasted because I was totally engrossed for the bulk of the time since yesterday when reading my favorite blogs I saw something in the comments of my favorite blogger up Quebec way - where yesterday, her sister-in-law (also a favorite blogger of mine in Ontario) had posted a URL in Latte Girl's comments section that I clicked into and spent the better part of last night and today busily reading as many of the articles in that piece as I possibly could. Yes, to me it was that fascinating. Check it out and see for yourself and let me know what you think. Of course, this site may only be fascinating if you are like me and love shows like "Law and Order," "CSI" or maybe "DaVinci's Inquest" though -
Crime Library. Check it out.

And remember Don't worry about tomorrow - just enjoy the day before you - TODAY!

Smooth Sailing?

I don't know about your neck of the woods today, but ours here was wet - very wet. And cold too - almost felt like a brisk but wet fall rain. I know rain is an absolute necessity to life but boy, my joints just don't like this kind of rainy day very much as it tends to make them stiffer, sorer than normal. I don't really need any help in that direction as my ankles and knees tend to stay on the stiff and sore side all the time but this kind of weather just aggravates it.

This morning, we had the folks here to do the IEP for Princess Maya. She got to meet Pam, the lady who will be her teacher in the pre-school class she will begin attending on the day after Labor Day. All went quite well today with the psychologist, the teacher and the representative from the agency working with us, with Maya. The psychologist was very pleased to see how many more things Maya has learned since he was here back in May - vocabulary is increasing very nicely as are her play skills. Her behavior in some other aspects has been taking a bit of a downturn lately though as she has recently begun to express her anger at little things very quickly and doing it by either throwing whatever happens to be handy to her or having a lot more mini-meltdowns it seems like every day. Tonight at supper, she took a bite of the vegetable we had, chewed it about five seconds if that, and then, leaned over to the side and spit it all on the floor. That's the second time she's done that now in the past four days and it's a bit unusual for her to do things like that with food. Usually, she just would ignore things she didn't care to eat - or try, if it was a new item. For the most part, her eating has never been really problematic but tonight happened to be a meal that didn't have any of her favorite components. Actually, I think she was expressing that she was upset because I didn't have "chicken and sketty" for supper because when she came out to the table and sat down, she announced that was what she wanted. Too bad she didn't tell me that several hours earlier when I was asking for meal suggestions! She doesn't like certain foods -like roast beef because of the texture there - require more chewing than a lot of meats. She also doesn't care for mashed potatoes and gravy much either -which was another thing on tonights menu. I had made a pot roast tonight with onions, baby carrots and cabbage cooked with the meat in a crockpot and with a nice gravy. She generally likes carrots though so we figured, well if she eats a tiny bit of the potatoes, fine but the carrots will be ok in her book. She kept looking over the table and asking for "sketty" or "noodles" so we lied to her and told her the cabbage in with the carrots was noodles. The funny thing there is it was the carrots she spit out but she picked the cabbage out and ate that! Learn something every day there with her, so we do!

One of my son's good friends, who will be getting married this October, stopped by today with his fiance to introduce her to Mandy and me. She seems like a really nice young lady and we're all really happy that Clate's friend is going to "tie the knot." They are having a Scottish wedding where all the men in the wedding party have to wear the full Scottish garb - kilts, jackets, special shoes, the whole nine yards! So Mandy and I are looking forward to attending this event but it's going to take some manipulation as to how we're going to get there since they are getting married down in Hummelstown, which is near to Harrisburg. No way are we going to try to go to that wedding and cart Maya and Kurtis along with us so it's either going to be that Bill will have to remain home all day with the kids or we'll have to make other arrangements for the kids - maybe to spend the weekend with my older daughter and her fiance. Just not quite sure how we're going to work that out yet.

My son has been on the road since last Wednesday now and has no idea right now when he'll be getting home! When he left last week, it looked like he would be doing runs from Wednesday thru Sunday between Harrisburg or Hagerstown and some terminal in Tennessee but things got changed and he and his co-driver got sent to Phoenix and from there, to Los Angeles and then, that's where things bogged down. They didn't get a run out of Los Angeles till yesterday afternoon sometime - supposed to be going from LA to New Jersey. THis is good on one hand since it is a lot of mileage and he gets paid by the mile so he'll have a good check for the week. But it was also bad for him because of a couple things - one being he had scheduled dental appointments for this morning and for tomorrow morning, so he had to phone the dentist this morning and cancel both of those. He was supposed to start tomorrow morning on a "Dedicated" run - meaning he would be going out every week starting the same day of the week and running to the same terminal too so now, that won't take place until probably next week. And finally, this threw a monkey wrench into our plans here too because this Wednesday will be his birthday - he'll be 34 - and we had hoped to have a nice family get-together dinner for the occasion. Oh well, we can always have the dinner anytime I guess, can't we?

Last night was a momentous occasion here - the little boy went to sleep just before 1 a.m. and slept through till almost 10 a.m. this morning! I was really ecstatic over that. However, my joy is short lived I see because as I am typing this now, he's bouncing around the playpen, up and down, playing with his "bear" pillow and his "bunny" pillow too in between watching Conan O'Brien! At least he doesn't object to the programs Grammy here likes to watch which is a bonus for me any way. But boy, I wish he'd start crashing a bit earlier in the night. Hopefully, he won't still be up and rooting around till 3 or 4 a.m. like he did several nights last week.

My good friend and high school classmate, Nancy -out in Colorado - sent me this little bit of humor today and I just thought I'd pass it along here. If you've already heard this one, my apologies. If not, hope you get a little chuckle out of it.

One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out.

She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?"

"Reading a book," she replies, (thinking, Isn't that obvious?)

The Game Warden then tells the woman he is going to have to fine her for fishing without having a license.

" But I'm not fishing. I'm reading." She responds.

"Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up."

"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman.

"But I haven't even touched you," says the game warden.

"That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment."

"Have a nice day ma'am," and he left.

MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think!

Till tomorrow - or Wednesday or whatever day it is that is the next time.
Stay dry -and warm too!

Monday, August 20, 2007

UPDATE - Chasing Rats

This news bulletin just in!!!

Bill set the trap again tonight on the deck and about 1 a.m., Mandy was sitting at the counter in the kitchen and according to her description, she felt a vibration, heard a noise on the deck and when she flipped the back light on, there in the trap was one really, really HUGE raccoon!

Yeah baby! This specimen has definitely been around for a while. It might even be the great-grandparent of the "teenaged" raccoon he caught Friday night or early Saturday morning.

This one isn't all that content though - unlike the one Bill caught the other night.

The reason? For openers, it a cold rainy night and there's no big fat bag of garbage sitting within range of this one for him to snack on the rest of the night.

And that means there'll be no big fat mess of garbage all over the deck either for poor Bill to have to clean up -again.

So, before he heads off to work in the morning, he's gonna have a little bit of a surprise there awaiting him and he's going to have to take a bit of a detour too and run this big fella down the road to the ghost town to set him loose there.

Here's hoping this one's sense of direction will take him east then and he won't be enticed to come back up and raid the trash cans along this street - at least for a while anyway!

I'm just grateful as all get out though, considering this trap is sitting out on the deck, just outside the kitchen, that neither occupants of it have been black with that tell-tale strip down its back.

Can you just imagine what the whole house - along with the entire neighborhood - would smell like then?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Big Day Ahead!

Tomorrow's going to be a big day here. Company coming! Not relatives, not friends, no -nothing like that.

Tomorrow, the psychologist who did the evaluation on Maya will return along with some staff personnel from the Agency handling Maya, the teacher from the Pre-school for Autistic kids and her play therapist will be here to meet with Mandy -and by that token, I guess with me too. The purpose of this meeting will be to review Maya's progress, bring the teacher up-to-speed with what advances Maya has made and then, to plan her IEP for the coming year. The day after Labor Day Maya will begin attending pre-school classes at this center in Hyde, which is adjacent to Clearfield. The agency will send a minivan daily to pick Maya up here at the house, take her to the school and of course, bring her home in the afternoon. She will attend classes there four days a week - from Tuesday through Friday and from 9 a.m. until I believe 1:30 or 2 p.m. She was eligible to attend classes at this school last fall, after her third birthday but at that time neither Mandy nor I felt she was mature enough to handle to routine, the regimentation or riding the van without one of us with her. This year, I think, as does Mandy, that she has evolved adequately enough that she will be able to deal with the van, the separation from either of us too.

But boy, it is a scary time to think about her going off "on her own" so to speak and it's definitely going to change many things around the house too while she's over there. Boy, is this place ever going to be quiet! Might even stay half way clean for two, possibly even three hours too! Woo hoo! That will really be a switcheroo!

My blogging buddy, Maddie, in her post today mentions the aspect of "play therapy" and how some folks apparently have been rather surprised to learn such a therapy exists. However, they couldn't quite grasp why it was needed because they seemed to think "play" was something that comes quite naturally to children and was actually something they did best.

I probably was about as ignorant about the need for play therapy too prior to Maya's having a "play therapist" assigned to her two years ago this past June.

Now, at that time, I knew that Maya wasn't exactly actively involved in playing appropriately as that for her consisted then of picking up a piece of paper or some strange small object and just carrying it around, holding it above her head usually, as she would then run from room to room throughout the downstairs of the house. Ok, we all recognized that wasn't the correct way to play but none of us really knew exactly how to go about getting her to learn how to play with the many and varied toys she had here. That, plus she exhibited very, very little interest in those toys too. How do you "Teach" a child to play, exactly?

Although I was usually present for almost all her therapy sessions, I can't really begin to explain exactly how the therapist began to "teach" her, but she did get the message across to Maya somehow.

Initially, the therapist suggested we have her seated in her high chair as that way, it was much easier for her to work with her and to have some form of control in keeping her attention where she wanted it - on the toys! We also used the same seating method for Maya when her speech therapist came too as again, for her, it was easier to keep Maya focused on the work at hand.

Both of these young woman labored long and hard from June until about last February until we really started to see some definite changes, some good results.

It took quite a while before the play therapist got Maya to work with various toys, but one of the first things she did begin doing was taking blocks, wooden blocks, with a letter on one side, a number on another side and a picture on each of the two remaining sides of either a toy, animal or some type of inanimate object on the it and the first reaction Maya had to the blocks, once she began to work with them was to line them up on the tray of the high chair. But, she didn't just line them up any old way. No sirree Bob! She had to have them in order so that if the first block she placed there had a letter face up, then each subsequent block had to have a letter showing face up. After that she began lining up matchbox cars -not by any specific type or color or anything -but they had to be in a straight line, just so!

In between playing with the blocks and cars though the play therapist introduced Maya to jigsaw puzzles - wooden puzzles - and that was where we first really saw the progress beginning to take shape as she quickly grasped the concept of putting the pieces into the correct slots.

From working with the blocks, along with watching Sesame Street too, by last June, Maya had learned the basic numbers - one through ten -and was able to identify them on sight too. We used to work with her on counting first, up to five, using our fingers and then, when she could repeat that process, we moved up to counting to ten. However, we had never "worked" with her here on the numbers that come after ten but all of a sudden, she started naming those numbers too -and identifying them. We finally came to the conclusion that she had learned the other numbers from watching "The Count" on Sesame Street. During that same time span, she also learned to repeat the ABC's and also, could identify each letter and name it on sight by the end of June of 2006. She was just over 2 1/2 years old at that time and we thought that was remarkable for her, at her age, to be able to do that!

Since then, she has learned to print her name, to print "Mom" and "Dad' too and she knows how to spell "Gram" as well as "Lois" and "Peggy" - the names of two of Mandy's co-workers at the job she had held for the previous 2-3 years of so.

Today, Maya plays easily with her Barbie dolls, the Bratz dolls, cars, a play camera, an old cell phone her Dad used to have as well as being able to ride a tricycle in the house and she can even ride a two-wheeler bike now with the training wheels.

It's become a fairly common thing to find Maya on the living room floor with her Barbie, Bratz and princess dolls all around her and playing with them -using conversation with the dolls too! Some of the sentences she says then are really cute and comical as we try to figure out who around the house she heard saying some of the things she now repeats to her dolls. Anytime she does let fly with an occasional four-letter word that wouldn't exactly be on any required reading list or anything like that, I'm almost always the one who has to take the blame for having let this or that word slip in front of her -well, most of the time anyway!

So, if you're child (or grandchild, as is the case for me, with Maya) is diagnosed with autism and play therapy is something suggested for the child, based on the results we've seen take place with Maya, I sure would recommend this type of therapy! No, I'm certainly not trained in this process - just speaking from first-hand experience here and I realize what worked for Maya may not work at all or not as well with other children, but even if it only helps a little bit, that little bit of learning, of change - adaptation, if you will - is worth so much to helping the child and from my daughter's and my perspective, all the money in the world couldn't buy the happiness we share now in watching her at play.

There is a downside to this though. Yeah, I know -here's the bad part, cause you know everything isn't all peaches and cream now don't 'cha? Expect the floor of your living room or playroom or family room or kitchen - or whatever - to take on a whole new decorating scheme!

Most likely, it will become a labyrinth of toys strewn from one end to the other! But heck, at least they aren't just sitting in a toy box now waiting for some child to come along and play with them and making you feel like you wasted a bunch of money trying to provide an ample supply of toys for the child though, would it?

Good night and God Bless!

Bushisms - The Week Ahead!

This posting the Bushism of the day by a full week's supply seems to be working quite well for me - as long as I don't forget about doing it on Sunday and then remember on Wednesday of that week that I forgot to post them, that is.

My theory there -"Better late than never!" As well as, remember that I can't remember too!

So, with that in mind, here's the Bushisms for this coming week -covering from August 20th through August 26th.

Monday, August 20, 2007
"I didn't join the International Criminal Court because I don't want to put our troops in the hands of prosecutors from other nations. Look, if somebody has done some wrong in our military, we'll take care of it. We got plenty of capability of dealing with justice. " - Niceville, Florida; August 10, 2004

Tuesday, August 21, 2007
"I suspect that had my dad not been president, he'd be asking the same questions: How'd your meeting go with so-and-so?...How did you feel when you stood up in the front of the people for the State of the Union Address--state of the budget address, whatever you call it." Interview with The Washington Post; March 9, 2001

Wednesday, August 22, 2007
"When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were. It was us versus them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they're there." - Iowa Western Community College; Council Bluffs, Iowa; January 21, 2000.

Thursday, August 23, 2007
"We got people working all their life at hard work, contributing by payroll taxes into a Social Security system." - Washington, D.C.; May 13, 2005

Friday, August 24, 2007
"I'm confident we can work with Congress to come up with an economic stimulus package that will send a clear signal to the risk-takers and capital formators of our country." - Washington, D.C.; September 17, 2001

Saturday and Sunday, August 25, 26, 2007
"So community colleges are accessible, they're available, they're affordable, and their curriculums don't get stuck. In other words, if there's a need for a certain kind of worker, I presume your curriculums evolved over time." - Niceville, Florida; August 10, 2004

Now, aren't you ever so glad we had this little "learning" time together?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Chasing Rats

Don't be alarmed by that title. No, our house hasn't been overrun by rats. Well, not exactly anyway. While we do have a few of the animal kingdom who seem to like to visit here from time to time, only a few mice have made it inside and tried to stake a claim here on occasion.

We have had an inordinately large visitation this summer - or so it seems - by some four-legged creatures who dearly love to trash our trash. Seems they really believe whole-heartedly in the tag line "One man's trash is another's treasure." However, I wish they would be just a trifle neater about their rooting around.

Bill - that's the son-in-law -has stalked some of these creatures. Managed apparently maim one of the black type with the white stripes down their back and the ungodly smell they emit about 4-6 weeks ago and the smell hasn't quite dissipated yet! Of course, it was compounded by the fact that it crawled off, across the road, down the smallish road-runoff ditch there to where it joins up with another ditch that runs beneath the road and apparently died under the road. Now there was an odor! Ok, we won't pursue that topic any further, other than to say it WAS gross, very gross!

Bill tried building a fenced in area around our trash cans in an effort to ward off these scavengers but somehow, they managed, or some of them did anyway, to crack the code and get in there from time to time. The only good thing about that fencing then was at least their rubble was fairly well contained in that spot and not rolling and blowing paper, cans, you name it, all over the parking area out front or down in the yard too.

The thing of it is, we do generate a good volume of garbage what with three adults, a teenager, and two small ones in the house. And, we have no place to put full trash bags to await garbage pickup day other than in the cans out front. Well, we do have the deck off the kitchen but that is far from a "safe" place because the four-legged friends have no qualms about coming that close to civilization either.

So, about two weeks ago, Bill borrowed an animal trap to set out in hopes of capturing some of these visitors and then, taking them down to the woods about a mile or two - or ten -away from the house. He got this trap from his former mother-in-law who, when she brought it down here, also brought two of those nice and tasty -also quite expensive - packets of a certain name brand tuna fish. Mandy took one look at those packets and quickly stashed them in the cupboard for our own use and subbed a can of the "el cheapo" tuna we normally purchase.

Bill then set the trap and met with success the first night he set it out. The creature caught woke Mandy up about 5:30 the next morning. She looked out the window and what did she see? Well, it was the neighbor's cat, aptly named "Tuna."

Yesterday morning, when we got up, we discovered, much to our chagrin, that the garbage bag (full) someone (probably Mandy) had placed out on the deck by the kitchen door had been raided during the night. Boy, what a mess! Trash strewn all over the deck. Bill cleaned it all up yesterday and last night, reset the "humane" trap there. And, this morning, there in the trap sat this nice little raccoon - not a big full grown one, not a baby - ok, a teenager I guess it was. Busy as all get it too, having a feast with the garbage bag Bill had used to clean up the mess from Friday morning! So, he gently removed the trap, took it to his truck and provided a free ride to the woods for that little furball, in hopes that its tracking devices send it in search of food in a different direction - like maybe east of here!

But all of this activity some how managed to inspire Mandy to do some belated "spring" cleaning or maybe she's getting a jump on the idea of fall house cleaning. I don't know but I do hate when she gets on one of these trips.

She's after a certain type of rat though - one that lives, moves within the household and is commonly referred to as "The biggest pack rat ever." Yes, that would be ME!

She and I have much different versions of what constitutes "trash" at times. And today, her instincts led her to cleaning out kitchen cupboards, rearranging what items should be stored above the cupboards because they are things we do use but only on a few special type occasions and are too large to take up all kinds of space inside the cupboards. Roaster pans, big cooking pots, the cake saver and its' accompanying glass plate bottom, the broiler pan, etc. Ok, I'm good with what she did there as she didn't actually trash anything but did remove a few things to a box, packed them away and they'll be moving to either the attic or to the storage thing Bill and his Dad rent a few miles away.

Then she moved down to the actual cupboards and had a field day - especially in the cupboard where I was storing packages of pudding mixes, jello and the like.

Here's where things get tricky you see. I have never in my life paid a lick of attention to this little thing on the side or bottom of packages (or cans) called an "expiration date." NEVER! I bought items, put them away, used them from time to time but had never put them away by date so sometimes the newer packs were used before the old ones and who knew the difference? No one has ever had a food borne illness in this house from ingesting any of those foods so what's the big deal? Mandy, on the other hand, some where along the line, has become a little warrior in her quest to rid the house of anything that is "outdated." And boy, she had a field day there today.

The upshot is we ended up with the cupboards above the refrigerator being totally empty! Well, they aren't empty now as she moved some dishes and pans - the type we do use but infrequently but aren't huge in size into those places.

Now, all I have to do is remember where the hell these things have been hidden away when the time comes, some day in the future, when I want to use one of those things.

And, I'll have to bite my tongue too some time in the future as well, I'm sure, when I decide to make something that requires either a specific jello flavor or a pudding that I know I have in the cupboard and when I reach for it, it will be gone because she's pitched it out today.

The good thing, really, about this whole deal - I hope - is that I won't go out and overload the house again with these items.

Yeah right! I'm sure it's gonna happen that way. But, it's a start.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Really NICE Picker-upper!

WOW! What a surprise. I opened an e-mail this afternoon from my blogger buddy, Mau from Canada and there was this note telling me she had given me a "Nice Matters Award." Wow! The only thing I can do after taking a bow and offering profuse "thank you's" to Mau is to think of that song "You Don't Know Me!" (Know which one I mean there.) I don't go out of my way, not usually, to be contrary or sarcastic and stuff but my kids would say that song frequently does fit me when thinking of me in the "nice" category. Or, as my son tells the 15-year-old stepgranddaughter here all the time, "That person is NOT the same person that I grew up with" as he points directly at me! Age does wonders Son, that's about all I can offer for an explanation there. But seriously, Mau, I do very much appreciate this award and I will try to show it was at least on some occasions, deserved too. (Not an easy feat for me some days, ya know.)

Here's what the Nice Matters Award looks like and as you can see, I've already added it in my sidebar. For me to stop everything and add things to my sidebar - well, that's quite a big deal in my life too, ya know. And here's what folks are supposed to be like in order to receive one of these awards:

This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've been awarded please pass it on to others who you feel are deserving of this award.

Now, I get to pass this award on to other bloggers who I feel deserve this honor. So, here goes!

Maddie - Now, here's a lady who also should get a similar award for patience too! She has two young sons, both who are autistic, and in her blog, she chronicles many of the things she deals with on a daily basis with the boys and the methods she has tried, uses now or is thinking of employing to enable them to function better and better each day. She does these tasks with the boys in such a nice manner, exemplifies patience and gives me strength by reading her blog that there's hope for me to acquire the patience thing someday, maybe even soon too. Who knows, it could happen ya know!

Sognatrice - Now here's a very nice young lady, originally from the States but who now makes her home in Italy. I've been reading her blog off and on for quite some time now but because I am the queen of procrastination (should maybe think of changing my blog name to reflect that trait?), I just got around today to adding her blog to my blog favorites list. Pictures that will make you want to get a passport and book a trip to Italy as soon as possible are just one of many aspects on her blog. Recipes too and descriptions of her garden and her skills in that respect abound as well -along with lots of other neat little things this writer (and she is that - a writer) puts into her blog all done in a very, very NICE way!

Patois - Another new addition to my favorites list is this SAHM. She writes about the goings on in her home with her husband, children, their activities and such with style, grace, humor and once again -NICE - very nice, so I think she deserves this award too.

Atlanta Attorney Dave
- Now here's a switch for you! I came across Dave's blog a while back on my friend Debo Blue's blog. I have to tell you too, I haven't seen that Dave has any thing on his sidebar in the way of awards or anything so don't know if he's never had anyone give him one for his blog or if maybe he doesn't like to mess up the clean "landscape" of his neat and tidy and very NICE blog or not. But if he does, here's an award he can use if he'd like to post one there. He writes about many topics -with great wisdom, humor too and occasionally tosses a bit of sarcasm in, just for balance I think. Check his blog out and I'm sure you'll agree with me his blog is pretty doggone NICE. (I added him to my favorites list about a week ago now and never got around to introducing him at that time.)

Bruce In Eastern PA - Now, if you open his blog today, don't be mislead by the title of his top post (Jerkstore) and think that I must need my head examined to give someone with a topic like that a Nice Matters Award. Read his posts and you'll find a gentleman, through and through, who speaks his mind but isn't afraid to show his caring side too. After checking his blog out, I'm betting you'll agree with me that he really rates a NICE too for a job well done on his blog.

Walking Blind - Another new blog to my favorites list who I neglected to introduce here properly. He writes about lots of things many which delve into societal problems but he does so in a manner that is tactful, thoughtful and very, very NICE. He speaks openly about some of his past problems too which is nice to read especially on days when maybe you might be a little down, a little harder on yourself than is really necessary. Gives a lot of insightful and good words there.

Sasha AKA Billie Jo - This award goes to a young lady who is brand spanking new to the world of blogging. Just introduced her blog today as a matter of fact! Now, how you may ask can I justify giving a new blogger and award for "Nice Matters?" Well, let me explain that. (Yeah, you knew I would do that didn't you?) I've known her for probably sixteen years or better perhaps. She graduated from high school with my younger daughter, they shared an apartment for a time when she was an undergrad at Penn State (yes, she has good taste where higher education is concerned - WE ARE!) and Mandy was working over in State College plus she was my son's girlfriend for several years too. So, yes indeed, I can say this is a very NICE young woman, hard working, great student -doing graduate work now and I thought maybe it would be pretty doggone nice too if everyone here stopped by to tell her hello, that you heard she's a good kid, nice person and all that and welcome her to the blogscene! Now that move on my part today, I think I was being really nice, don't you?

I think I have my bases covered now as to who I'd like to pass this award to and why. Hope you agree with me too and enjoy what each of these fellow bloggers has to offer.

Now, everyone go and write and be NICE!