Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gratitude ~ Day 26 Just Today

Just some irreplaceable things that occurred to me today that I should be grateful for:

I have family and friends. They may not be nearby and they may not even be talking to me but I have them and they have me and no matter what, I am not alone.

I can read. I may not always read to learn but I read fiction for the fun of it and humor for the laughs, and I can read to my children. Nothing beats the smile on their faces when I read a book well.

I can relate. I am aware. I empathize. I observe. I interact. I accept. I care.

Friday, December 25, 2009


My kids enjoyed Christmas this year more than any other year before. Rhetta's awareness level for the holiday is very much the same as Willon's this year. Christmas Eve was especially magical.

It started with me setting up farolitos (a New Mexico tradition) for the first time in Colorado. We used to call them luminarias but that is apparently not what they are called so take your pick. I will no doubt always call them luminarias. Anyway... I had enough supplies to do about 4 dozen. I didn't use the traditional brown bag but some printed bags with Christmas trees on them. They turned out prettier than I thought they would. I kinda thought they'd be tacky.



After lighting the farolitos we got in the car and went to see the biggest display in the county.

Here is everyone's favorite part of it. Double decker trains. Click on the video link if you're interested in seeing the whole thing. Kinda fun to hear the kids' reactions. It is a driving tour of sorts. We went through three times. All I can say is how would you like to be that guy's neighbor?


We continued to drive around looking at lessor light displays that were beautiful in their own right. Then we came home, ate brownies and marshmallows, watched Polar Express, and went to bed. Well... the kids did. Rob and I stayed up another few hours getting everything out and wrapped. It was a nice time for us to be alone in the quiet of the house. We went to bed tired but it was worth the end result.


Kit Kat and Lola (not pictured) helped...


The kids got many things they love this year but their favorites are hands-down the Dance Cam and the wind-up train. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa respectively.



I'll leave you with a chorus of noise. No, I do not regret getting these. This turned out to be MY favorite part of our day.

Gratitude ~ Day 25 Christmas Day


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gratitude ~ Day 24 Jokes

I really appreciate a good joke. They cheer me up despite myself. If it weren't for my sense of humor I would surely perish.

Here are some of my favorites:

A horse walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender says, "Why the long face?"
(Duh-dum Tsh!)


This guy gives up his whole life to climb a mountain in search of a guru who can tell him the meaning of life. He reaches the cave and sees the guru and asks, "Oh great and wise guru, I have traveled thousands of miles and climbed many mountains to find you. Please tell me, what is the meaning of life?" The guru scratches his beard, thinking, then says, "Life? Life is a fountain." The guy exclaims, "That's it? I gave up my whole life, traveled thousands of miles, climbed many mountains to find you to ask you the meaning of life, and all you have to say is, "Life is a fountain"? And the guru says, "What? Life's not a fountain?"

Scene from Night at the Opera starring the Marx Brothers:

(After much revision of the contract...)
Fiorello (Chico): Hey, wait, wait. What does this say here, this thing here?

Driftwood (Groucho): Oh, that? Oh, that's the usual clause that's in every contract. That just says, uh, it says, uh, if any of the parties participating in this contract are shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified.

Fiorello: Well, I don't know...

Driftwood: It's all right. That's, that's in every contract. That's, that's what they call a sanity clause.

Fiorello: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You can't fool me. There ain't no Sanity Clause!


And my all-time favorite:

Ernie: (Loudly) What was that, Bert?

Bert: I said, you have a banana in your ear, Ernie.
Bananas are food, they are to eat, but not to put in your ear, Ernie.

Ernie: (Very loud) Whaddya say, Bert?


I CAN’T HEAR YOU! I HAVE A BANANA IN MY EAR! (whole transcript)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gratitude ~ Day 20 Time Together

We didn't always have it so good, you know. Rob worked 7 days a week. He never had any major holidays off. Even when he was home he was sleeping like the dead. A couple of years ago he landed a job with weekends off that paid enough he could quit his second job. This was a little iffy for us because we weren't sure it was going to work. It did, barely, but to such a wonderful end. Every weekend is like a vacation for us! We get stuff done or we pretend we're lazy and don't. Today we took advantage of our day together and went off exploring a town we frequent (Ridgeway, CO). There was still lots to see we had not seen before (all free!) It was fun and relaxing and definitely something for which we are very grateful. Time together is, well, priceless.









Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gratitude ~ Day 19 Friends

I have one amazing best friend who never fails to inspire me. She is so strong. She faces life with the strength of her faith and the love of her family. She counts her blessings as a matter of course, no need for campy blog entries. We are strikingly different in so many ways despite a 35 year history of friendship. I wish I could emulate her in so many ways. She has many more trials and tribulations than any one person should have to face yet meets it all with such patience and grace it would make you weep tears of admiration. I love you, Jo.

I also have a group of friends I don't know what I would do without. You all know who you are, mommas. ♥

The other friends I have are all worth their own blog entries, too, but for now I will just say I have been blessed 100 times over. Thank you, friends.

Hamming It Up



Friday, December 18, 2009

Gratitude ~ Day 18 Reverse Gratitude

I am grateful for driving an old beat-up junker because a nice, fuel efficient car would cost too much to insure.

I am grateful for Walmart and all its shoppers because my local stores are empty and quiet while I shop in them instead.

I am grateful for the beautiful solid wood table my ILs gifted us when we bought our house because otherwise my children would have nothing to spill their drinks on or scrape with their little toys.

I am grateful for all the crumbs that gather on my carpet daily otherwise I would have nothing to vacuum with my fancy Dyson.

I am grateful for so many friends with cellphones they can't afford to use so I don't have to hear my land line ringing incessantly with people who call just to say hello.

I am grateful for health insurance that affords me a visit to the doctor's office where I can catch any number of viruses I didn't already have going in.

I am grateful for the higher postal rates as now I have an impressive stack of used boxes I don't have to part with.

I am grateful for getting foreign change at the market so instead of being able to spend it my kids can see what a Canadian dime looks like.

I am grateful for sarcasm for how else could I get my cynical points across in a thread about gratitude?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gratitude ~ Day 16 A Quote

To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.

~ Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gratitude ~ Day 15 Mahalo

Mahalo, by Laurie Berkner

Mahalo to the urchin
Mahalo to the sea
Mahalo to the skies above
Mahalo to you and me

Sing mahalo, mahalo
Mahalo for everything
Mahalo that means thank you
Mahalo, mahalo, mahalo

Mahalo for the air I breathe
Mahalo for my dad and my mom
My sisters and my brothers
And my good friends
Mahalo for sharing my song

Sing mahalo, mahalo
Mahalo for everything
Mahalo that means thank you
Mahalo, mahalo, mahalo

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December Snow

Wasteland?! I think you mean Wonderland!

A two hour delay gave us time to bundle up for real and go out in the snow this morning.

We were happy to frolic for awhile but the chickens had other plans.


This is our dead tree yard art decorated for the season.


The birdhouse in the giraffe tree.


Rhetta insisted I build a snowman for her.


They were both very proud of it. LOL


Winter snow, stunning and serene.



Sunday, December 6, 2009

Beginner's Jazz Dance Winter '09

Rhetta was in Beginner's Jazz Dance this semester. She didn't seem to want to go at all most times and I was afraid this was the end of her dance career, although I knew it brought her such joy when she wanted it to. 

Tonight was her recital. She was so excited when I told her Friday night that she went straight to bed and woke up the next morning insisting it was Sunday. She was ready this morning 5 hours early.

She had to wear make-up all over her face which I did not know beforehand so she did not know beforehand. Never had anything on her face. I was sure this would be a sensory issue.

So far, so good!

Got a little itchy after an hour waiting for their turn.

Willon being so cute in his seat after running Rob around nearly the entire show through intermission and another two classes before Rhetta came on. He hides his guilt well, don't you think?

You can pretend you know which one is her if you want to, it's okay. If you look closely in the video, though, she is the one with her hair in her face. Seated at first on the floor in the group on the left. She is foremost on the right of that bunch in a lavender kimono. When they hop up and move across the stage in a line she is out front. (No matter where she started in practice she would jet to the front so they seated her so she could be in front.) That however put her in the back row all the way to the right for the remainder of the routine. She did surprisingly well! Much better than she demonstrated in class. More proof that when other people think she's not paying any attention they just don't know her very well.

Okay, I guess you gotta squint and probably just had to be there, but here it is:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Kitty

Goodbye Undertaker, but not RIP

Rob bought the Suburban in the mid 90's when he lived in the high country (Leadville, CO) and worked over the pass in Silverthorne. He had to drive in the snow many months of the year so he prefered a 4 wheel drive. He also needed something he could sleep in when he had a late shift followed by an early shift, or whatever other reason, like 3 feet of fresh powder. Anyway, he bought it for a very reasonable price and took to it immediately. He named it the Undertaker (after - don't laugh - his favorite WWF wrestler) because it was mostly black and looked somewhat like a hearse.

When Rob and I reconnected in 1999 we planned a trip out west for the Christmas holiday and he came to pick me up in the Suburban which we then took to CA to visit his folks. His dad took one look at it and started calling it the Subdivision as it seemed to cover acreage instead of a single parking space. We didn't care. We loved it. We could road trip in it, camp out in it, and even live in it.

That's right. We lived in the Suburban. But not just lived in it. We lived in it, at a trailhead, in the deep snow of winter, at 9,200 ft. above sea level. You see, when we decided we could not live another without each other I packed up my little truck and moved to Colorado. Not prepared to buy a home yet we worked by day and slept in the Suburban by night. My new CO license even read "Trailhead at I-70 and Highway 9, Silverthorne, CO." For three months we drove into our little nest through feet after feet of fresh snow. It was cozy, mostly very warm, and downright romantic.

Later we took it to Grand Canyon to get married, then on our honeymoon to the Oregon Coast, and home again. It moved with us to Morro Bay, CA and back again after Rhetta was born. It stranded us and left us with an empty bank account more than once. I called it the Money Pit but Rob was very attached to it so when it needed a new radiator or new tires or a new engine, that's what it got.

Sometime after we settled into our home here it started to cost too much money in gas to take it to work and back every day. Then the transmission started to go out yet again. We opted to accept an economy car from Rob's folks as a gift and park the Suburban until we could afford to fix it. The house needed a new roof after all and we couldn't even afford that. And so it sat.

Until today. Today we donated it to the NPR Vehicle Donation Program. They can fix it and sell it and someone somewhere will get some use out of it, we hope. Perhaps it will go for scrap, we don't know.

To be honest I have wanted to get rid of that thing for years. Sheesh, it's just an old truck. But I'm sentimental. Today I shed a tear when I had to say goodbye.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rhetta answered a Why? question!

To my knowledge this is a first.

Rhetta: Give me the remote, please.

Me: This remote? (shows her)

Rhetta: Yes! (reaches)

Me: Why do you want the remote? (holding it back)

Rhetta: (thinks a beat) To previous.

I hand her the remote.

She wanted to view the previous scene on the DVD, hence "to previous". Huge jump over the chasm that is Why? I am so proud of her. This is one of the most difficult language developments for an ASD kiddo. Such a tough concept. But! I didn't even get to offer any answers to choose from. She was ready. My girl!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Post-Op Two Months

I am not sure I am all that happy with the results of his congenital ptosis surgery BUT it is definitely better than before. It has relaxed a bit since surgery. Doc says to give it 6 months and we'll see what it does. As you can see by the following series of photos it is sometimes strong and sometimes not. The good news is that he doesn't chin-up to see things like he used to, nor does he turn and look at you with his strong eye. He uses them both equally now so I will call it a success. The eyelashes are wonky too. I will have to go through old pictures to see what they used to look like but I'll save that for another day. In the meantime soak up all of this cuteness as he's dangerously close to not being two anymore.






We adopted two female kitty cats from our friends at C.R.O.W. Cat Rescue.

I have not be able to snap their pictures yet as they are timid and only come out of the basement in the dark.

Here are the kids looking through the new hole in the basement door very excitedly calling their names. They were at it so long they nearly fell asleep right there.


This is Lola. (photo courtesy of C.R.O.W.) She has been through a lot but is a very friendly, loving cat. She comes to me in the evenings and has sat still and let the kids pet her albeit very close to the hole. She likes to hide under the beds, too.


This is Kit Kat (photo also courtesy of C.R.O.W.) who literally disappeared into the floorboards above the cistern in the basement and was not seen by any of us for 24 hours. We were warned it might be longer. One of the kids swore they saw her but I didn't see her until early this morning, in the dark, in our bed, licking my hand.


Rhetta has been talking to Lola and Kit Kat non-stop since the ride home Tuesday night. She has always been skittish and afraid of animals, cats included, despite exposure. Yet since bringing these two home she has immersed herself in cat things. She has had her cat costume on for 24 hours.

Sleeping cat...


She even told Rob this morning, "I want to learn about cats." - that's a LOT of words for Rhetta - and they went to her computer and looked up a bunch of stuff about cats, played cat games, learned cat facts, and she has been eating dry cereal out of her bowl just like a cat. Oh, and drawing cats.


She's just too cute.

Smiling cat...


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Frosty Handprint

Willon left hand prints on my back windshield one day when we had him sitting there to put his shoes on. Just regular hand prints. About a week later we had our first heavy frost and I found this. It's raised. I am too dumb to explain the physics but I thought it was pretty cool.