Sunday, October 30, 2011

would you rather...

we were cruising down the road in vanny, ancient road princess of squealing and chugging. chris is deaf in one ear, so being in vanny is almost guaranteed to cause a relay of  "what"-yelling, interpreting, clarifying swarm of irritation for all of us. whining commenced, frustration flared up, brakes were applied enthusiastically as we swerved over the side of the road and threatened to go back home and skip the movie.

i was sitting there, feeling my blood pressure rise, trying to maintain my tentative hold on my composure when i suddenly snarled, "i would rather STICK MY HEAD IN A TOILET than listen to any more of this CRAP!" of course my fellow vanny riders immediately said, "what? what did you say?" because no one can hear each other in our shrieking mystery machine.

that led to a round of "would you rather" which is always sure to lighten the mood.

would you rather.... eat a booger OR drive the wrong way in traffic?
i think i'm going to have to go with the booger on this one. because hospitals and pain are even worse than the shuddering yucks caused by boogers on my tongue.

would you rather... get a tongue kiss on the lips from a dog OR walk around publicly with a big wedgie where the back half of your pants have been eaten by your crack?
i think i'd prefer the dog kiss. i can't stand to feel or see a giant wedgie when i'm out. when someone in front of me has one, i just want to go ask them how they can possibly not feel it & please to dig it out so i can look away from their rump region.

would you rather... step on a big juicy slug with your bare foot OR step in dog poop?
i've actually done both and the slug was much worse. it exploded between my toes and filled my toes with the kind of jam that cannot be washed off for far too long. and i kept having flashbacks of the exploding slug for days afterwards, always causing me to convulse violently. poop can be washed off & leave your foot as good as new once the stench dissipates.

would you rather... go for a swim in a pool filled with worms OR have dinner at the food court of the mall topless?
this one is a bit troublesome for me. i would not AT ALL like to swim with worms, but i don't know if i could stand the staring of dining sans shirt at the mall. maybe if i wore a sign taped on my back skin explaining my predicament about the worms...

would you rather... eat a live hissing cockroach OR get arrested?
can i pick what the arrest would be for? because i think i'd prefer a few hours in jail for jaywalking to consuming a hissing roach. or more likely it would be for the indecent exposure at the mall. maybe i should just suck it up & chow down on that giant beetle. *shivers* ugh.

would you rather... step in a nest of fire ants OR go on a date with an unwashed hobo?
i would have to pick the hobo this time because i could choose an outdoor eating place for our date to improve the smell situation & i'll bet that hobo would have some interesting stories to tell.

what about you guys? got any good "would you rathers"?

Monday, October 24, 2011

heavy blankie

a while ago i heard about a thing called a weighted blanket. a friend had asked if i had one for brooke. i didn't even know what it was, but it sounded interesting, so i did a little research. apparently, weighted blankets are good for people with lots of kinds of issues, including autism, restless leg syndrome, ADHD, insomnia & many other things. a lot of special ed classrooms use them or other weighted things (like lap pads, vests, or shoulder drapes) to help kids calm the heck down when they're agitated. it's supposed to create pressure on the body that helps relieve tension and release serotonin, causing happy or calm feelings.

i've never seen anything like this in a store, so i couldn't look at one, but when i mentioned it to brooke, she immediately wanted one. for a few months i've been thinking about what this would look like and how i might make one to use during school or any stressful time.

this weekend i finally broke out my sewing machine that's been packed away, brand new and untouched for 7 years. it took a bit of work & stamina and a liberal dose of mom-wisdom, but i got my machine running. for a few hours anyway.

i decided to use dry popcorn kernels for the filling because it's smooth, cheap and won't rot if it gets wet. i bought 2 cheap baby blankets made out of flannel and sewed them together; then we figured out that the best way to make this thing was to do it with little individual pockets to keep the popcorn from falling all down into one side. we used another thin fabric & created 36 little bags and filled them with a half cup of popcorn each. then i chucked one into each space & sewed it all into place.

it took me two days and some help from my mom and her fabulous, fancy sewing machine since mine crapped out on me before i even got to the hard part. but the end result is fantastic. it weighs eight pounds and is pretty heavy for brooke to even lift or carry, but she LOVES it! she named it oatmeal.  she's had it on her in bed each night since i finished it as well as on her lap during school and other times when she's just reading, drawing, or computing.

it doesn't hold heat in, so it's better than covering up with several heavy blankets and it can be used all year round. i'm fairly proud of the way it turned out. plus i only spent $12 to make it as opposed to the $80 or more that it would have cost to purchase. but most of all, i'm happy to have been able to give brooke something that can help her maintain her calm when she really wants to freak the freak out.

i didn't take any pics during the assembly process, but i took a few pictures today. just look at that beautiful stitching!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

tacky babies

 would you put these on your baby? i found them in a store & couldn't resist taking a picture.

i might be frequently tacky, but even i have to draw the line here.

something about this just screams teen pregnancy.

Friday, October 14, 2011

schooling outside the box

sometimes homeschooling is great and i don't hate it at all. there are certainly days when i want to shuck that kid off to school & pass her aspie issues to someone else so i can have a break, but so far this school year, we're doing quite well. i've made a lot of changes in how i structure our days and it seems to be working nicely for the brookster. i'm more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person, but she's not & since it's her education we're working on here, i need to be more flexible in accomodating her need for a schedule.
we've had great sucess in keeping the cats close at hand for intermittent "kitty therapy" when brooke starts to feel overwhelmed. it helps to defuse volatile school situations when she can dig her fingers into some warm kitty fur for a minute.

though, sometimes, the cats can be more of a distraction than a help...

i was trying to help her understand fractions a couple days ago and the little manipulatives we were using weren't quite making the point. so i wrote on her feet. i told her that if i was only in the mood to eat 1/3 of her foot, look how much she'd still have left!
and this one, brooke took of herself. she was doing an art project where she needed to make a realistic picture of someone lost in thought. she couldn't think of exactly how to draw it, so she set up my camera on a timer & posed herself in the position she wanted to draw her picture critter. here's her drawing.

and when we have to tackle things that i know are going to be really difficult, i try to think outside the box in order to make them more fun. for instance, yesterday we were needing to do some dictionary practice. brooke detests doing anything dictionary related. alphabetizing is really hard for her and spelling is rough too, so i had to come up with a way to make it less suckish. so i had her look up the following words: plop, boll weevil, tuna, fat, urine, hag, tinkle, spit, breast, tinkle, mud. then i read the definitions to her in a very prim, proper voice. today, she's begging for more dictionary time and she even said that if we don't have time for it during school hours, maybe we could do it after school. i would have to count that as a win.

i suppose i need to do a little work on phone etiquette though because yesterday when we were at my sister's house, the phone rang. brooke picked it up and said, "woof," then hung up. oops.

Monday, October 10, 2011

photos of my happy 2

we've had great weather this weekend & some nice, outside adventures. i've kept my camera handy and captured a few things i wanted to share. here are some pictures of my happy.

we went to a renaissance festival and brooke got a daddy's eye view of the jousting.

during a romp through the woods, i came across a fungus that felt like the softest corduroy ever.

i don't love spiders, but i sure like taking pictures of their webs when the sun hits just right.

this log was so smooth and curvy and enticing.

my girlie with her hair dyed reddish. we were out looking for deer with my mom.

i love that my mom still climbs trees and does adventurous things.

and this is anna, my parents' st bernard, hanging out on brooke's bed with her.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

lizards on lunch break

as kids, we all have dreams and goals for ourselves. one of mine was to catch a lizard. i grew up in new york where lizards aren't generally available for catching unless i went to my neighbor's terrarium and that didn't count. however, my grandparents had a house in florida where they spent every winter and every couple years, we'd drive down there (it took about 22 hours in the car) to spend a week.

when we got down to the land of warmth and sand, my brother and i would always chase the lizards around and try to catch them. i never managed to do any better than to graze one with a finger before they'd zip away from me, but my brother caught a few.

we had read in books that lizards drop off their tails sometimes when they're caught by a predator and grow back a new one over time. this intrigued me beyond reason and i had wonderful visions of holding a lizard tail in my hand while the rest of him scampered away, scott free. it didn't seem disgusting at all to me, just amazing and i kind of wished i could drop off an arm or a leg if someone i didn't like ever grabbed me.

since we've moved to our current home, we now live in the land of the lizards. they're not the big, scaly ones, but rather the little green and brown ones that don't get more than a few inches long with soft skin that caves in a little on the sides when they breathe fast. brooke (and our cats) are excited by the lizards and brooke decided that it was her goal to catch one. huh, must be genetic.

she sits out on the back terrace and waits for them to shoot past on the railing that serves as the reptile highway. a few days ago she snuck up on one and made a mad grab only to end up with a tiny little tail chunk flailing about in her grip. she screamed and threw the tail into the bush & then ran to tell me about it. that's when i remembered how i had once dreamed of holding a tail myself, not realizing that they thrash about once they've come free.

my desire to possess a tail is gone.

today i let brooke go downstairs for lunch and almost as soon as she went down, she came running, squealing right back up to my room yelling "i finally did it! i finally did it!" when she charged into the room, she was holding a little lizard by the tail, with a great big grin on her face.

i was a bit concerned that the tail would snap off and there would be a crop tailed reptile running around my bedroom, so i took her picture and sent her back downstairs to release her critter outside. she stopped on the way to show the lizard to her little nim cat & kitty snatched that lizard right out of her hand, leaving the tail in brooke's fingers and charging off with the rest of it in her mouth. she played cat and lizard with it for a couple minutes before we managed to get it away from her and cart it back outside. thankfully nim is more pouncy than bitey.

i guess that little lizard will have quite a tale to tell to his friends later today. and i bet he'll remember his mama's words of wisdom and not go into people houses again.

Monday, October 3, 2011

the silly chair

when you're a kid and you have siblings close to your age, you find things to do to keep yourselves amused. you make up games and songs and stupid stuff to do when you're on long trips or when your toys get old or you're grounded at the same time.

my brother and i are only 17 months apart and we did a lot of that while we were growing up. he was kind of my hero when i was really little and there were also moments when he seemed like my nemesis. we got along better than most kids our age by the time we made it to high school & we shared a lot of the same friends.

at some point, a couple years after my family adopted our sisters, chris (my brother. and yes, also my husband's name) started playing a goofy little game with the little sisters. he'd pick them up and swing them around a little bit and call it the silly chair. it was called the silly chair because they were facing away from him and his hands were under their knees so that when they were scooped up in the air, they were sort of in an awkward sitting position. the little girls thought this was great fun & would beg for turns doing the silly chair. he'd swoop them around, making swooshing, flying sounds to make them giggle.

one day he decided to see if he could put me in the silly chair and swirl me around like the little kids. i was about 14 at the time & certainly not a little girl to be easily scooped or swung about. but he was pretty strong and he did manage to get me up in the air, though he swung me around less vigorously than he did the 3 year old.

he thought it was funny to do that every once in a while, probably because i yelled a lot, but couldn't really do anything to escape that wouldn't also hurt me in the process. so one day his girlfriend and my boyfriend were over at the house and he decided that it would be entertaining to scoop me up into a silly chair & give me a great shake around the room. i was screaming & flailing my arms. i couldn't really move my legs much other than some stupid little kicks which hurt me more than chris, so i just started laughing.

i drew a picture, in case you couldn't picture it.
take special note of his mullet and my perm.
our friends were watching and laughing which only encouraged him even more & served to embarrass me to no end. that made me laugh even harder, causing pressure on my bladder, which of course, ended with me wetting my pants. but chris didn't know i had wet my pants. i was incapable of coherent speech by that point and our friends were laughing hysterically and pointing at the spreading wet stain on my light gray stretch pants. chris thought they were thoroughly enjoying his great show of strength and comedy, not having any idea that whole thing had just gone to a whole new level of mortification for me.

eventually i got too heavy & squirmy for him so he plunked me down on the floor, from where i scrambled up like a scalded cat & hauled it out of the room as fast as my wet legs could carry me.

to this day, i can't see gray stretch pants or think of that boy without my face turning a little bit red & splotchy. and we never played silly chair again.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

a question of content

have you ever asked yourself WHY you blog? i generally refrain from asking myself too many deep questions, but now and then, one arrives in my brain and i feel the need to look it straight in the face and come up with an answer.

when i first started blogging, i wrote an average of 10 posts a month. then it picked up to maybe 15 a month but then over this past summer, it plummeted down to about 4 per month. i was thinking about that a few days ago and thinking about the content of my writing as well and i realized that not only has the regularity changed, so has the content. (al, i can feel that poop thought forming in your head as i type this)

when i first started writing, i wrote about brooke a lot. about being the mom of an aspie child and the challenges of homeschooling. i wrote a bunch of childhood memories and tried to cram tons of information into each post as if i thought that if i didn't put out enough, no one would come read me.

as brooke has gotten older, i've felt like it was time to taper off on writing about her. sure, i still talk about her, but i don't want to share as many of her challenging or embarrassing moments. she's a whole human all her own & she might not appreciate being laughed at by my blogging buddies. so now i mostly just write about her with her permission. and i only add pics that i know she'd approve if she were looking over my shoulder. like this one of her holding a teeny tiny bunny that was rescued over the summer.

my day to day life isn't particularly interesting most of the time. we only have one car & my husband works full-time, so i spend pretty much every day in this house, living with my in-laws & homeschooling my recalcitrant daughter. that does lead to some amusing or bizarre events, but most of the time, those events aren't things i can write about because i don't ever want to embarrass my family members or make them worry that the things they say or do will end up in my blog. i want them to like me & that's more important than sharing a great story.

so where does that leave my blog? what is the purpose of it? i think that it has evolved into a place where i can remember who i am. most of my time and brain are taken up with being a wife and mom. i love being that person, but it's not all of me. i still existed before i was married or had brooke. i had a personality and opinions. i went places and did things. i had friends and we shared adventures. i don't get to spend as much time as i'd like existing as me, outside of the framework of wife and motherhood, but my blog is kind of my place to remember that i do exist. it's my place to remind myself that even if something horrible happened that took my family from me, i wouldn't just shrivel up and disappear due to a lack of practical application.

wow, this turned kind of dark in that last sentence, but at least i answered my question of why do i blog now. i guess that means that if you stick around, you'll have to keep reading stories of my youthful escapades, my IBS dilemmas and my boobs.