Friday, December 29, 2006

Congratulations to Dave

Dave has purchased a new business. The deal closed today. Here is the website I guess I'll have to add it to the links on my blog! This business, which sells Science, Math, and Technology supplies to the K-12 market fits well with his existing computer supplies and accessories business that focuses on schools and educational institutions.

I am very proud of him. As many of you know, he has had lean years of late. I kept thinking (or I should say, he kept reassuring me) that eventually his business would take off--and this opportunity to merge with (or take over) a bigger, existing business--is even better. So, here's to you, dear. You were right! Your patience has payed off.

I believe Dave was given this opportunity because the man that started the business trusted Dave more than any other available buyer. The original owner has done busines with Dave, and known Dave for many years. He wanted to sell the business because he is looking to retire, and has other business ventures as well. Other buyers could put more money up front, but none were as enthusiastic about keeping the existing business intact and building on its sucessful history as Dave. This is one instance where Dave's honesty and personality have finally worked for him. He was burned in the political arena by being a straight-arrow guy, but now he has an opportunity because he is a nice guy. It is such a joy to see him so excited and happy. The man has more spring in his step than I've seen in many years. Okay, he is also pretty nervous!

We are going out to dinner (at Der Dutchman) to celebrate! (Any local readers are welcome to join us!)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We had a blissful, restful holiday. We missed seeing out-of-town family, but the adults in the house are well-rested. The downside is the boys are getting bored just being at home and playing all day. Alex's best friend is out of town all week, so that adds to the pouting . I'm not very creative about finding new things to do, or fun things to do... We have another wedding on Saturday, so that will be an adventure. Alex gets to go to the office with Mommy later today. I'm sure that will be diversion. Not a great diversion, but at least a change of scenery!

I love Christmas. I always have. But, I'm already eager to take down the decorations and have a less cluttered house. I'm trying to wait till Jan. 1 to take down the tree and lights outside. Something about Christmas is all about anticipation and expectation. Once it is here, it seems old. (I won't touch the theological implications of that...I'm sure there are great lessons to be learned. ) Anyway, I guess I wish society would encourage us to WAIT to celebrate until closer to the day, and then to enjoy the 12 days of Christmas AFTER the day. I guess I could wait to put up my decorations until just before the day, and not do what everyone else does, but when all the other Christmas lights are up, I hate to have a bare house. So, I guess I follow the crowd. And I don't want to wait 'till the last minute, 'cause then it is just another thing that needs to be done...

Friday, December 22, 2006

TV and Computer

How much is too much? Obviously, all day is too much. But... We try very hard not to let the boys watch TV or play on the computer too much, but it is SO EASY to let them watch. I can get things done! We play a game with Joseph to keep him off the TV and the computer. The computer is unplugged, from the back, so he can't turn it on himself. He is trying hard, and can almost do it, but not quite. The TV remote downstairs is hidden. We spend a lot of time finding and losing it ourselves. Joseph spends enormous energy dragging chairs all over the house looking for it. The small TV upstairs was rigged with so he couldn't turn it on, but over time, he has figured out all of our tricks. Now we unplug it and put it in our bedroom. He gets it, lifts it and plugs it back in whenever he is given a chance. We usually lock our bedroom to prevent it. As Dave says, you've got to admire his determination and problem solving skills. Well, we are just about out of ways to stop him. And??? If we are careful about WHAT they watch? Is it so terrible? Millions of children are being raised on a steady diet of TV. I don't have the stomach for that, but??? I've tried to limit to an hour or two per day? If I let him have more will he eventually get bored with TV? I want to be able to USE TV when I need it. I don't want him to be bored by it...


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

School's Out

I think Alex has mixed feelings. He loves school and two weeks seems like a big break. He cleaned out all the school supplies from his desk and hauled it all home. Too funny! Maybe he thinks we will start all over with new crayons, pencils and markers. (Maybe we will! Santa is bringing him a new backpack--With Superman on it. He will be thrilled!)

I have mixed feelings, also. There is a lot we can do, and I'm sure we will have a good time, but I'm also sure I'll be happy to go back to school myself!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Krista's Wedding

We went to Krista's wedding Saturday night. Krista is one of Joseph's beloved ABA tutors. She was a beautiful bride. The boys behaved very well, for the most part, and we had a nice evening. The boys also looked devestatingly cute in their Christmas sweaters.

We were able to meet another of Krista's families. Their son Ben, like Joseph, has always signed and never spoken, although he isn't and never has been hearing impaired. He is 13 or maybe 14 now. He has started to speak. Just in the past six months. What a story! His speech isn't clear, but he has a lot of words, I think she said hundreds. She credits the language he developed signing. And he never voiced sounds, although the speech therapists tried and tried, he just started to use whole words. He now uses the words he knows as he reads, and signs the rest of the words. He is a marvel. He isn't close to being "typical," but what a great improvement. He still signs most of what he wants to say, but he can use his voice, and I bet he gets more and more vocal over time. The autisim spectrum is such a mystery. I don't expect that Joseph will follow the same path, but it does reinforce the hope that we all have, and the hope that never goes away, that he will continue to develop more and more language in some form.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Pare as we Prepare

This was the topic of our sermon on Sunday. A familiar message, but one I need to hear over and over. Rev. Leety talked about how the root of both words is the same, about how "pare" means to slim, or literally to "give birth." I'm not sure I rememberr all he said quite right, but you get the idea: pare, slim, give birth, prepare for the birth of Jesus by paring. I've heard it over and over, but I'm trying hard to do it this year.

I baked for the cookie party yesterday, and now there is no need to bake more until very close to the day. I'll make Dave's Kifli and my Cinamon Rolls on the 23rd or 24th. If we want to decorate cookies during the week between Christmas and New Years, I'll bake sugar cookies then. I don't need to do it now. I can cut out some of the frantic preparation.

The house wasn't spotless, the decorations were not perfect for the cookie party, but we had a great time. I cut my expectations a bit, and it was fine.

I don't have tons of gifts for the boys, but I have enough. They will have lots of packages to open. Some will have undies in them, but that is fun to open, too.

I do have a great gift for Dave--Can't tell 'till after the day just in case he reads this. Basically, I'm done shopping.

I've still not done with everything on my list from last week, but I'm working on it!

I have the Advent Calendar out, I bought cute toys/trinkets to put in it, and I never put them in. I planned to put something in each day, one day at a time so the boys couldn’t cheat. Well, I never remember, the boys don’t think of it, and it is one of those holiday things that sounds like such a good idea and just doesn’t work in this house. Two typical boys wouldn’t let me forget, would they? Two typical boys might even be able to wait to open the next day’s window for the next day. One typical mom could remember to put the stuff in every day. I keep hoping our lives will resemble typical lives, but, alas, they don’t. Anyway, since I’d blogged about my great Advent calendar and all the cool toys I was going to buy for it, I felt it was important to report that it looks festive, and the boys are enjoying all the cool trinkets I bought to put in it, but that they are not enjoying them one day at a time. And you know what? I think Christmas will come to our house anyway, even if we don’t count the days systematically!
When Men Get Sick

Caution, may be sexist and offensive to some.

I'm hoping Dave doesn't see this, 'cause I have to vent... Why are men such babies when they get sick? Please, please, please, let me raise my boys to be reasonable men when they are sick. Dave has stomach flu. Very unpleasant. We all know it is not fun at all. I'm willing to be helpful, supportive, sympathetic, etc. etc. But does he have to whine so much? Maybe I, too, whine this much when I’m sick, but I don’t think so. Nobody stays around to listen to me. Also, he is supposed to drive to Dayton today for a convention. He was there all day yesterday,. He has two people helping him. He sent them to Dayton this morning by themselves, but insists he must go to Dayton to help them pack up the van and bring the unsold things back to Columbus. Somehow, he thinks two reasonably intelligent, capable adults can’t do this without him. I’m afraid he will just make it harder to recover his strength, and he will spend even more time cluttering up the house being whiney. Just be sick, stay in bed, watch TV, sleep, eat jello, and get well. Life would be much simpler if everyone in my house did things my way. But then, what fun would that be.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Zoo in December

We went to the zoo on Sunday evening with neighbors and friends to see the lights, not the animals. Our local Zoo decorates with zillions of lights. It was very pretty, almost magical, and festive. It wasn't too cold, and everyone had fun.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Yesterday's Recipe:

Note, I changed a few things... Bake 30 min. instead of 20.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My Cookie of the Week

I'm starting to bake Christmas cookies, and missing my friend Donna. I must email her my blog address!
I'm going to make Sarah's Walnut cookies (Or I guess they are Janice's Walnut Cookies) for the cookie exchange, and also a batch of these. Dave doesn't like coconut, and so I found this recipe that uses Oatmeal instead of coconut in Seven-layer cookies. My Mom made the coconut version, not when I was young, but over the last 20 years or so. I've always loved them.


1 stick butter
1 c. graham crackers, crushed (maybe a bit more)
1 c. oatmeal, uncooked
6 oz. chocolate chips
6 oz. butterscotch chips (or white chocolate?)
1 c. walnuts, chopped
1 c. sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free and it worked fine)

Melt butter in a 9 x 13 pan. Layer remaining ingredients in order given above ending by pouring condensed milk over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until nice and brown on the top. Cool and store tightly covered. I think they are better if you freeze them overnight. You eat them at room temperature, but they hold together better after being frozen. Okay, I know it is silly to use fat free sweetened condensed milk in a recipe with all of that butter and chocolate, but it was what I had.

Friday, December 08, 2006


I've reached one of my favorite weeks in the year. I'm done with the most pressing business of the term, and I have flexibility in what I do each day until Dec. 20, when Joseph and Alex get out of school. I always think that I have lots of free time during this week, week and a half. Really, all I have is choice in how I spend my time. What a joy!!!

Things I need to do during the next 10 days--in no particular order:
-Sort toys into three piles: keep, donate, throw away. This is important before we get new things. The space is limited and my ability to tolerate stuff lying around is diminishing daily.
-Bake for Christmas
-Figure out teacher gifts
-Finish Christmas shopping I'm about done... but not quite
-Wrap and mail gifts to out of town friends
-Write syllabus for next quarter
-Do other "real work" to get ready for next quarter
-Finish decorating the house and tree. (The ornaments have been in a box on the dining room table since Sunday.)
-Call the administrator that supervises Joseph's teacher and talk about where we are for the rest of the year

I'm sure there are more things I need to put on the list, but for now, that gets me organized and started. Today....hmmm... maybe some shopping and a bit of time at the office... Perhaps we will decorate the tree tonight. Dave will behome late. That will be a good activity for the boys and me.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cookie Exchange

My neighborhood book club is having its annual cookie exchange party next Tuesday. I need to decide what kind of cookies to make! I could do the Walnut cookies on Sarah's blog, but I'm worried about decorating them. I guess I could just do a spiral of white chocolate on each... I don't think I can make a snowflake. I could make 7 layer bars. I make a variation with oatmeal instead of coconut since my husband is sure coconut will kill him. I could make my peanut butter bars with chocolate topping, or gingerbread boys. Or, I could make Hugarian Kifli. These are Dave's favorite. I've worked hard for 13 years to perfect my technique and to make good Kifli. You start with a very simple, rich dough, with yeast in it, but you don't let it rise (??). You roll them very very thin on a sugar covered board. Cut into small squares, fill with walnut/egg white mixture, and form into crescent shapes. Kifli means crescent in Hungarian. The cookies puff a bit while they bake, and you roll them in powdered sugar when they are hot. I guess for the Crescent Drive book club, I really SHOULD make Kifli. Dave may complain if I give away 4 dozen Kifli. Maybe I'll just need to make two batches...

Maybe instead of actually baking cookies this year, I'll just think about all the different types of cookies I could bake! I do need to bake at least four dozen for the cookie exchange, and I need suggestions about what to make. What would you like to get? A familiar cookie, or something new?

Also, I've always done cookies in a jar for teacher gifts. I'm getting a bit tired of the same old thing. But I don't have any good ideas. I need a lot of teacher gifts since Joseph works with 4-8 at school and 5 at home, plus a bus driver. Alex works with 3-6 at school and an OT outside school. The higher numbers at school would be if I included the music teacher, art teacher, gym teacher, etc. I ususally don't. Any ideas?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Our Nora Kitty

We call her Nora or Norabelle, or Norabella. She may never be much of a lap kitty, but she is finally brave enough to venture out from under the furniture. She and Felix play well together, and will be great pals. Isn't she a beauty. And yes, she is a bit cross-eyed.

Monday, December 04, 2006


My comments on Advent and the Christmas season. See Sarah's start to the discussion!

First of all, Dave thinks Advent is something invented by the Presbyterians. He was Baptist, and never had Advent. He treats it as a suspect religious activity. I just laugh. The trick of Advent is the same as everything in life. Balance. Hard to achieve.

I agree with Sarah. This is a time of great internal conflict for me. I love the darkness and the stillness of the season, and the pretty lights, shopping, generous spirit part of the season. I love the tacky way-too-over-the-top lights and the pathetic single strand of lights on a Charlie Brown tree. I wanted to start decorating the house yesterday, and I wanted to attend a potluck dinner at church. Joseph just wanted to have some attention. Dave had been with Joseph for several days without me (I had a great time, by the way) and needed a break. So... as we both get short tempered over a fake tree that doesn't light properly and Joseph who wants to get into everything and Alex and the neighbor boy who want to torture cats for fun, I wondered where my Christmas spirit was drifting off to. I love holiday decorations. But they take time and energy. I love holiday tradition. But it takes time and energy. I stopped myself before I had a big melt-down, and we decided not to go to the church potluck. One stress down. (But, of course, we eliminated a traditional night of fellowship. We go to this dinner every year, and I want it to be a childhood memory for Alex and Joseph. However, I decided, they won't remember that in 2006 we did not attend the Christmas Carol Buffet...) I bought a new strand of lights for 1.99 to replace the lights on the tree that were not working rather than spend another half hour twisting each and every bulb in the strand yet again to see if I couldn't coax them to light. I left all the tree decorations in a big box on the dining room table and we will enjoy the tree with just lights on it for a few days. There is no need to do all the decorating at once!

Anyway. Once I had the tree up, and a few of my favorite decorations placed around the house, it started to feel very festive. Then I quit and took Joseph to the grocery store. (Check the Meijer ad for the week, Sarah. Buy 15 General Mills products and get a 10 gift card. The scalloped potato mixes are 3 for 2. That means 15 cost 10. That means that they are free! Yogurt smoothies are about 20 cents after you subtract the gift card savings--cookie mixes are also very cheap...)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gettin' out of town....

I have a concert this weekend, two hours away. My normal routine is to drive there and back on Thurs. for rehearsal. Drive there on Fri. for rehearsal and stay for rehearsal and concert on Sat., drive home Sat. night. The orchestra is pretty good, so the musical experience is worth all the driving. The conductor is a tad annoying, but aren't they all? Still, I sometimes wonder about my sanity driving from 10-12 p.m. twice in three days. I don't have class this Friday morning, I've been a bit sick and not sleeping well, and I'm generally needing a bit of a mental health break, so I talked to Dave this morning and we decided that it made no sense for me to come home Thursday night just to help get the boys to school on Friday... What a great guy he is! (Of course, we've hired a sitter for Thursday night and Saturday night, so he won't be alone all weekend, so he isn't THAT great.) There is also a slim chance for a storm on Thursday evening that would make it hard to drive...

Bottom line--I'm leaving Thursday afternoon, and won't be home till midnight on Sat. Bliss!

I'll stay with the same couple I always stay with on concert weekends. They have become dear, dear friends. I don't care that they don't heat the upstairs of the 1875 farmhouse they live in and it is supposed to be cold this weekend. It is my bed and breakfast--my getaway--my sanity home. I'll take some work, but I should also have time to sleep in on Friday, and maybe even hit K-Mart for some Christmas shopping! Again, I say, Bliss!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Advent Calendar

I’m working on treats for the boys advent calendar. Grandma Helen bought them one of these cute houses from LLBean a few years back. It is fun to open one door or window each day, although Joseph figures out that there might be candy in some of them and starts to open them early. I think I’ll put the treats in each day this year so he doesn’t find anything in the future days places—but I’ll have to remember. I may leave work early today to shop for special little toys to put in instead of candy. Last year we had candy one day, and a toy the next.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime" by Mark Haddon

I'm getting ready to lead the discussion for my book club on this novel. Jannie suggested I read it several years ago, but warned me that it "might hit too close to home." I loved it, and Christopher (the novel's narrator) is really not very much like my Joseph so, although some of it was uncomfortable, none was too "close to home" for me to enjoy the novel. I suggested my book club read Curious Incident because last year we read another novel that featured a minor character who was autistic and I thought the author had done a terrible job portraying life with an autistic family member. After several people in the book club said how 'realistic" they thought the portrayal of autism was in the other novel I nearly leapt from my chair to say "no, no, no..." While it is hard to say Christopher is typical of Asperger's--'cause in my opinion, there is no typical anything when it comes to the spectrum-- I think the portrayal of the neighbors , family, and the reaction of the strangers that encounter Christopher are all pretty believable.

Anyway, I’ve had fun researching Mark Haddon. I recommend his web site to anyone who has read the novel. He has written many children’s book, illustrated most of them, in a quirky style, he has made some very cool abstract paintings, and in general he is an interesting fellow. Click on the question marks below to see some examples:

The fact that I’m ready for book club almost a week early is a testament to how little I want to sit down and grade papers this afternoon!

Friday, November 24, 2006


I'm heading out with Macy's coupons. $10 off $25 purchase. I'm planning to buy a wedding present for Trish and undies for myself. Maybe socks or stockings for presents or for myself. If the crowds are not too large, I'll look at clothes and shoes for myself. All this in just a few hours. I'll update you when I return. Probably the crowds will be too big to get much done.

Oh, and I should add, our Thanksgiving dinner was very nice. Everyone seemed relaxed and the food was great. I wasn't responsible for all of it, but I didn't feel like a domestic disaster at all yesterday. I made up a sweet potato recipe combining two different recipes from the newspaper--butter, brown sugar, oj concentrate, and ginger over just barely cooked sweet potato chunks, baked iin the oven for an hour or so.

I tried something different yesterday. I love crock pots, because you can get stuff done early and leave it. So, I used the regular oven like a crock pot. Instead of 350, I set it at 275, and left the stuffing, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese in the oven for almost 2 hours... I had to take the mac and cheese out early, but I didn't care if it cooled off, 'cause it was really for the kids. That way I could put everything in the oven and then clean the kitchen and take a shower before guests arrived. I was much more relaxed than usual for a big meal. (It helped that others were bringing the rest of the meal...

Holly, if you are reading, the new napkins made the table look beautiful. I've lost my camera or I would post a picture. We are missing all of you very much this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bargain Shopping

Yes, Thanksgiving isn't even here, and I'm already thinking about shopping! I'm a big bargain-shopping addict. I have a friend who clips coupons and scours grocery store sale ads for bargains. On a double dollar coupon day she can buy 80 or 90 dollars worth of groceries for under $20. She donates the things she doesn’t want to food pantries or homeless shelters. She gets free toiletries, free food, etc. etc. I will take advantage of similar offers whenever I can, but I’m not nearly as dedicated to bargain shopping. However, I continue to be very impressed by her shopping prowess, and strive to emulate her whenever I can.

Several years ago I decided to try shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Before that year, I’d always wanted to avoid the big crowds, and thought it was more fun to sleep in and spend the day with family. After that year I want to avoid the big crowds, sleep in, and spend the day with family. I was astonished and humbled at 6 am that morning. There were many more people out than I expected, much longer lines, and none of the bargains I hoped to find were still available. So, Friday morning, after all that turkey, you will find me snoozing or drinking coffee in my PJs… No more shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving for me. Bargains, smargains! Okay, maybe a little online browsing...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving Plans

We are staying home and entertaining Dave's family for Thanksgiving this year. We should be 16 for dinner. Luckily others are helping with the food-- I'm making Turkey, gravy, meatballs, Mac and Cheese (maybe), sweet potatoes, dressing, maybe fruit salad and maybe cookies. Others are bringing jello, bread, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, and pies. What a FEAST! We could do without all my maybe dishes, but I think the children attending would be happy for mac and cheese. I'll probably skip the fruit salad and cookies. I do the meatballs in the crock pot. I do the turkey on Wed., slice it off the bone cold and reheat it in broth. That makes it easier to be sure meat is cooked, it stays juicier when it is sliced cold, and then I can have the mess out of the house before any guests arrive. It means there isn't a beautiful bird for the table, but mine never looks that nice anyway.

My goal for the day is to relax and not worry if everything is perfect or not. My goal for the weekend is to RELAX!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I promise I'll quit blogging about football

Just wanted to show you the photo Alex took of us before we left for THE GAME. Sarah, I believe the hat, hideous as it is, is my favorite fall accessory bargain! I bought it for $1 several years ago at the Eddie Bauer warehouse. It seemed like just the thing to complete my ensemble yesterday, and it is now my new Lucky Buckeye hat... Also, I'm smiling but Dave looks like he is heading out to have an unpleasant medical procedure. What is that all about???

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Life with Joseph

I baked yesterday as planned. Peanut butter bars with melted chocolate on top, and Sarah's pumpkin brownies. Wow. Sarah's Pumpkin Brownies are great. You don't miss the fat content at all. (I put 1 cup chocolate chips in them...) Check her blog for recipe.

The point of this blog is to vent, yet again, about life with Joseph. His latest obsession is the kitchen timer. The ticking sound must bother him, or he is attracted to the bell, or ??? With J-Bear, who knows. Bottom line, he finds the timer and turns it off. That is not a big deal, except I have a hard enough time getting baked goods out of the oven without burning them--I often forget to set the timer--so when Joseph HELPS me by turning the timer off.... Well, let's just say it is a miricle I had decent baked goods to take to book club last night...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Totally Unmotivated Friday

Here I sit on Friday at noon. I promised students I'd stay in the office until 2:00. All I really want to do is go home, put on sweats, bake cookies for "book club" tonight, and veg. I have some brainless work to do at the office that I'll start as soon as I finish blogging and eating lunch...

I played Bunco last night for the first time. (See Sarah's blog a few weeks back.) I enjoyed it, and I won!!!! ($20 gift certificate to the movies...) Beginner’s luck I guess. I had a few flashes to my future life in the "home." I think I'll be a better Bunco player than Bingo player. I like the fact that we had to get up and move around the room. You stay too stationary playing Bingo! At least I hope when I hit the "home" I'm still mobile enough to want to get up and move around the room while playing Bunco...

We went to teacher conferences at Alex's school last night. I adore his tutor. She clearly sees his potential, knows him well, knows all his tricks, and works her backside off to get him to do the best work he can. I can't say the same for his reading teacher. The first nine weeks of school are over, and it appears Alex has put forth no effort in reading class. As frustrating as that is, I'm even more upset by the fact that the teacher has put forth no effort in the first nine weeks to teach Alex. No indication that he knows anything at all about him. No indication that he has tried. My rule for Alex in all he does is that he must try his best. I don't expect right answers all the time. I expect effort. I expect the same from the teachers. They don't have to be successful, 'cause I know both my kids are difficult. But they have to try... We gave the teacher some suggestions, and we will see how it goes. We may end up moving him back to an easier reading class just to get a teacher that cares about him, and cares about teaching. So "Bravo," A+, to both Mrs. W's and "Boo, Hiss," F, for Mr. G. There is my report card... and I feel better for venting. (I can give the teacher a tiny bit of credit in that he spoke to Dave briefly a few weeks ago to tell him that Alex wasn't doing very well, but... Dave certainly didn't get the impression that Mr. G was alarmed!)

Okay, now I'm ready to spend a few hours entering data into an excel file...

Go Bucks

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mozart and Football

Football insanity is upon us, Go Bucks!!!

The tension has been building all autumn—and now the game is here. #1 Ohio State vs. #2 Michigan. Dave and I will be there. I’m hoping there are no terrible riots on campus afterwards.

After the national championship game a few years ago, when Ohio State beat Miami in three overtimes, I spent about fifteen minutes in class the next morning discussing the similarities between sports and music. I’m led to ramble on about the topic yet again. I told my class that that game was as close to Mozart as football ever gets.

Some of the similarities concern the vocabulary we use to talk about the activities. What do we practice? At least two things: sports, and music. Medical doctors are also practicing—but that makes me nervous—so I prefer to think of the medical doctor as a practitioner. There are team sports and individual sports. There are musical ensembles and solos. Sports teams have coaches. Musical ensembles have conductors.

Some of the similarities are deeper. There is a tension in the air during Michigan week that is palpable. The entire football season, from the beginning of practice during the summer to the game this week, has been building and leading up to this game, and the next game. It’s a multi-movement symphony, or maybe an opera, being played by a very talented group of college athletes/musicians. Read the morning paper, walk across campus and see the student activity group tables set up to promote Michigan week activities. It feels like what a music theorist calls “dominant prolongation.” We go about our daily business, but the underlying tension is there.

Music sets up clear expectations in the listener. The pattern of expectation and fulfillment or consequence, the delay of the consequence, or the substitution of an unexpected consequence, creates an emotional response in the musical listener. (See Leonard B. Meyer, Emotion and Meaning in Music (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956) a book as old as I am!) In the same way a football game (or baseball game, or soccer game) sets up expectations. When the other team has the ball for a first and goal on the 1-yard line, you expect to be disappointed. When your team picks up a fumble and runs 99 yards for a touchdown, you are even more elated because that consequence is so unexpected, unlikely, improbable.

How does music set up these expectations? Each note, and each chord has a particular job to do. The notes or the chords work together to define a key. Particular patterns of notes and chords are common, and thus set up expectations. Almost every time I hear a particular sequence of chords, the next chord is predictable. So I expect the chord I usually hear completing the pattern. The composer can delay the expected chord, or might write a different chord, and my ears will prick up… What is going on now??? Why don’t I hear the chord I expect? Why did I hear this unexpected, unpredicted chord? And the music continues until all the tensions are resolved.

How does football set up these expectations? Troy Smith throws a long pass. We expect Ted Ginn to catch it. What? Who was that? Oh, Anthony Gonzalez caught the pass. That wasn’t what I expected, but it is great, and I cheer. Or, Ginn catches the pass, but he was out of bounds, and we must try again. The emotions are closer to the surface during a football game, and the fans react—loudly—during the game. The performers on stage during a symphony concert would probably be distracted if the audience burst into spontaneous cheers or boos or groans after every cadence, but the audience is feeling the same things, just not reacting in quite the same way.

Musical compositions have standard forms. For example, a simple rounded binary movement uses a predictable pattern of harmony and melody, but each rounded binary composition is unique. The patterns are predictable, but the particular execution is not. Likewise football plays have a predictable pattern, and football games contain many predictable patterns put together in a unique and often unexpected way. That is why we listen to different compositions, all in the same form, over and over again without being bored. We watch football games every autumn, even every week, without becoming bored.

I could go on and on…

Friday, November 10, 2006

Neighborhood Card Night/Kids Book Club

Four families from our neighborhood, all with children about the same ages, have been gathering about once a month for a potluck dinner, kids book club and adult card night. We let the kids run wild and the adults play cards. It has been great fun. We are very lucky to have neighbors that we enjoy. We have been playing a game called contract rummy. The game mostly involves luck, but Dave seems very lucky most nights, so he may be paying better attention than the rest of us!

Here are the rules: (With eight players we use 3 decks)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Happy Birthday Mary Ann

I don't have the right day, but I'm thinking of you sister!

When writing about birthdays, I liked the way Sarah asked "when else is there a day to celebrate you, how special you are and what a gift your individual life is to your family?" We try to make our children feel that--so let's make our sisters feel it, too.

I know you read my blog at least once, so now I'm checking to see if you are still reading! I hope you had a fun birthday dinner with Mom and Steve. Where did you go? I wish you could come over for a cup of coffee to celebrate.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

In Memorium

Our dear sweet Fannie-Kitty didn't make it. She seemed worse and worse on Thursday, and after my last blog I took her to the vet. She was having trouble breathing, and the vet took x-rays to confirm pnemonia. She made it through the first night at the kitty hospital, but after I talked with the vet in the morning, she died. Dave called me during my meeting on Friday afternoon to tell me. I had trouble concentrating the rest of the day. I went to Gallipolis for a concert weekend, and just returned late last night. I told Alex this morning. He seemed ok about it, but Alex holds everything inside and it is always hard to tell what he is feeling. We will get Fanny's ashes back, and I'll probably have Alex help me spread them in the bushes outside the screened porch that Fanny loved.

The vet doesn't know why she contracted pnemonia. He said it was not my sips of water, or if it was, it could just as easily have been the antibiotics we were giving her for the surgery. He thinks she may have had an undetected heart defect that made it hard for her during and after the surgery... and the pnemonia found her when she was weak. I was full of a lot of tough farm girl talk on Thursday, but now I'm having a hard time. If we had known she had a weak heart would we have skipped the surgery? Well, I don't want a cat in heat in the house... But??? Anyway, the vet feels terrible, I feel terrible, and she is gone.

The vet has a cat up for adoption. An 11-month old male. A BIG cat. Already neutered. Black and while like Fanny, but with lots more white than Fanny. White boots rather than white toes. White on his face. His name is "Toes" or "Dedos" in Spanish. Dedos Dobos? Felix and Dedos? Dedos and Felix? The name seems to have good Karma. Fanny had many names in her short six months. Her birth family named her "Frenchy" because she had white toes like a French manicure. Alex and his freind Owen called the cats White Paws and Black Paws. So if I bring Dedos home he will be another White Paws, which may simplify it for the little boys... We also called Fanny "Star" "Moonbeam" and "Inky" at various times before we settled on Fanny. But back to Dedos... Do I really want to live with a house full of boys??? Fanny was my Fanny girl, my sister kitty, the other female in this house of males... But some folks tell me male cats are friendlier than females... And then again, neutered males have a tendency to have urinary tract problems... So, what's a domestic disaster to do???

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Update on Fanny

Well, Felix has bounced back from his surgery and seems almost back to normal. However, Fanny is struggling. I talked to the vet this morning and he said I could bring her in for him to look at if I wanted... no charge. He said as long as she is eating and drinking, she will be okay. Now I'm torn. She hasn't been drinking or eating. I'm pretty sure taking her in will be free, but I'm also pretty sure the vet will suggest I leave her with them for IV fluids and nutrition. I've just spent too much money on the surgery. I can't justify spending more money on a cat when there are human beings in distress all over the world... So, I'm giving fanny sips of water from a syringe every hour or so all day. Luckily, I'm working from home today. I sure hope this works. I hope you all don't think I'm cruel. I guess I have a bit too much farm mentality about animals.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sad Kittens

Amid a hectic Halloween, I took our kittens Felix and Fanny to the vet to be spayed and neutered. They are not happy. Fanny had trouble with the anesthesia and had to have an IV and a shot of epinephrine. I guess she almost died on the table. She was very lethargic all evening, and it took me about a half hour to find her this morning. I was very worried that she crawled away in the night and died in some corner remote corner. I found her, and she is doing much better. Now I am trying to figure out how to give them oral medicines without spilling half of it. I've read all about it online, and I'm doing okay, but I can't wait 'till I don't have to do that twice a day. The vet gave us plastic head collars to put on the kittens so they couldn't mess with the incisions... Now, it has been 15 or 20 years since I last had a cat go through this, but I don't remember the plastic collars. I felt so sorry for the kittens this morning I took them off. They couldn’t easily get to the food bowl, they couldn’t clean themselves up after using the box, and they couldn’t get into all the favorite hiding places. I hope I don’t go home and find that one or both have torn open the surgery site. I guess this is one reason to adopt an older cat! But we have sure had fun with the kittens.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Halloween Pictures

We went to a party Saturday night at a neighbor's house, so we were in our costumes early. Just in case I don't get photos taken on Tuesday evening, I took some now. Have you ever seen such cute boys. I couldn't find the perfect Clark Kent glasses for A-bear, but he looks pretty sharp in the blue ones I found. Joseph watched the OSU game on TV Saturday afternoon in costume. He loves to imitate the referees, so he costume was perfect. He loves it.

In addition to trick-or-treat night Tuesday, our two black cats will be spayed and neutered that day. Seems appropriate...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Pictures of New Chairs

Sarah suggested I post pictures of my new chairs. (I finally put fresh batteries in my camera, it took three sets before I found a pair that worked... ) And here is a chair. I still love them. I feel like I've always had them. No picture of the whole kitchen, with all the chairs around the table, 'cause the table is covered with junk...

Couldn't resist including one with a kitty.

Also, I've added a new link. I found this blog by randomly searching the web. I've always liked the things he has to say. He has a very interesting entry about his Dad attending his son's baseball game. (They do the same Miricle League baseball as we do--but they are in Atlanta.)
Halloween Costumes

Alex is going to be Clark Kent--Suit jacket, white shirt and tie open over his Superman shirt... Joseph is going to be a football referee. I actually painted black stripes on a white shirt for Joseph, and it turned out pretty well. Not perfect, but I'm a DD, not a DG, so I don't have to be perfect.

Pictures next week, I promise.

Speaking of domestic goddesses and disasters. I found cooked chicken at the local grocery for $3. I think they take the hot roasted chickens that don't sell at the end of the day and chill them, then sell them the next day for $3. Seemed like an incredible bargin. I'll use the meat to make casseroles, etc. Any favorites that you want to send me?

I've been very worried about keeping up with home and family starting in January. Dave will have a new job/work challenge/ whatever you call it when you are self-employed (90% sure it will happen). He'll still be self-employed, but he'll be working out of an office 30 minutes or more away instead of 5 minutes away. Relying on Dave to pick up a child and take him to gymnastics, or meet a bus at the last minute may be a thing of the past. I may have new professional challenges next year, also. I need to find a way to streamline the dinner hour. I'll need to be doing homework and driving around town, not cooking. SO!!! I was delighted to find cooked chicken for $3. Actually, we'll have more cash in the house so I could spend more on food. What do I do? Where do I buy freshly prepared, good, healthy dinners for my family if price isn't a factor? Do I need a home chef to visit once a week? Where do I find one?
Random Thoughts on Friday, mostly about Alex and race

Ah, the relaxation of Friday afternoon. I'm in the office, contemplating going home early. Only thing that stops me is that the Maytag repairman will be there, and Dave is dealing with it. If I go home, I'll have to deal with it... (I guess I'm pretty sure Dave isn't reading my blog.)

Alex's piano teacher stopped by my office this week to chat. I learned that she is expecting in March!!! A BABY!!! So exciting.

I also learned that she didn't know Alex was adopted. She didn't realize that he was bi-racial, and never questioned that he was our biological child. I'm glad that he fits into our family so well that she never questioned his belonging. I think that it must be obvious to everyone that he isn't our biological child. I'm delighted that it isn't. Grandma Helen thinks he looks more and more like me!!! The racial element will be a challenge. We've told him, in passing that he is mixed race. I don't remember the circumstances, so I don't remember my exact words. I think he was talking about the brown children in class and the white children and I had him compare his skin color to mine and showed him how he was darker... But I've never wanted to make a big deal out of it. He just isn't old enough or secure enough to understand. However... When he is old enough, if we have not said it often enough, and it comes as a shock??? What then??? My black neighbor Eloise once told me that "If you could raise him as a white man it would be best, but you can't..." I've not deconstructed all the layers of meaning in that statement, but it certainly has made me think.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A better day

We had a much better evening and morning. Since I complain so much about the stresses, I need to tell all of you that normally, the household runs smoothly. Alex wrote sentences without complaint last night. I let him make his spelling words with magnetic letters, and as soon as he would make the word, he would come up with a sentence, no fight, no fuss. Do you think he is a tactile learner???

We have a Joseph's monthly meeting this evening. Once a month the whole therapy teams meets with the behavior consultant. We go over all that we are doing in therapy, and we discuss problems, and what to work on next. Always useful, always helpful, always stressful. I usually need to spend an entire day after the meeting putting the therapy materials in order, typing up notes from the meeting, making changes in the paperwork we use to conduct therapy. I may need to hire a "lead therapist" to do some of that work next year... I just don't think I'll be able to keep up.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Continued from yesterday

I think I'm a better blogger in theory than in practice. I'm better at everything in theory than in practice. I guess that is pretty normal, but it is frustrating. I know when I have too much to do because I get short tempered. These days, with the antidepressant medication I'm taking, I'm not nearly as short tempered as I have been during the past 5 years. But just lately, I'm feeling on edge. I think it is because I am truly stretched too thin.

I got home yesterday at 6 pm. Heated leftovers, put dinner on the table, and then needed to do homework with Alex. Dave had turned on the TV for boys when he came home. He had taken the dinner things out of the fridge, but hadn't started heating anything. When it was time to eat, I turned off the TV. Alex was mad. Once Alex is mad, no homework will happen. I just didn't have the patience to deal with it and I sent him to bed at 7 pm. Dave doesn't always agree with me and he wanted to try to coax Alex into doing his homework, but I didn't even have the patience to listen to them.

I've not quite figured out what to eliminate from our lives... and if all goes as planned, both Dave and I have new challenges coming in our work lives during the next 3 to 9 months. We will be able to afford more help at home, but someone will still have to do homework with Alex, and supervise Joseph's program. Maybe Alex will make enough progress in the next nine months so that he will be able to do his 20 minutes of reading a day without an adult listening, or practice piano without me helping.

Complain, complain, complain....

Monday, October 23, 2006

I think I'm too busy to blog

I suspect everyone that blogs feels that way. But, I'll try to keep it up.

Tomorrow is another day...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

New Chairs


We have been using kitchen chairs Dave had at his house before we married. I think he got them when a school somewhere was getting rid of old furniture. They are old, ugly, and have initials carved in them. They are comfortable, so I delayed replacing them. But I finally got sick of them and bought brand new Amish-made sheaf-back oak chairs for the kitchen. They are beautiful. I love new things, or old things in a new place. I'm so like my mother in that. So, now my kitchen looks very spiffy!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


We had a nice dinner. I call it noodles and sauce. Its just hamburger and spaghetti sauce over macaroni or spiral noodles. We have it almost every week. We also have Vietnam Fried Rice (from More With Less cookbook) nearly once a week. And I make "Taco Rice" nearly once a week. I like the idea of eating a variety of foods, but I also like the idea of food the family will eat and that I can prepare quickly. We ate hamburgers and fried potatoes at least once or twice a week as I was growing up. I know my Mom had a lot of trouble coming up with creative dinner ideas, but I didn't mind having the same dishes. What are some of the others we had? Spanish Rice, Mac and Cheese... Sisters help me out here?

I've been trying to help Alex with piano practice and homework in the morning before school. Jospeh leaves at 8:40, Alex leaves about 9:10 or 9:15. So I can normally get both reading and piano done. He concentrates well and seems willing to work in the morning. But it means that my day doesn't start until after that--I'm usually not even dressed before 9:15... So, the end of day, dinner time, comes very quickly and I've not figured out how to make a decent dinner with side dishes... Just one pot meals.

We've been having challenges with Alex of late. He gets very angry. Most of the anger is directed at himself. We are working with the school counselor and planning to call a counselor outside school as well. The dear boy. Today he needed to write three sentences using spelling words before I would let him go to soccer practice. He was mad and wouldn't do the work and he wouldn't tell me why he was mad. Finally, he started scrawling sentences. He wrote "I'm mad" and some other things I couldn't read, and then he wrote "I don't want to go to soccer because I'm stupid." Oh, I could have cried. We really need professional help, and we are getting it. At least he is starting to talk (or write) about his feelings. He claims no one at school has called him stupid, but... He did finish his sentences and went to soccer (only 15 minutes late). I want to try to deal with some of this before he is older and the stakes are even higher.

On a positive note, Alex has made it through almost all of the first "Magic Tree House" book--an adventure story about two children who go back in time and narrowly escape an attack by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It is fun to see him get engaged in the story and find motivation to keep reading. He was only able concentrate for one page when we started, and now we can always do two, and sometimes three.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Joseph's Bus was Late

And not just a few minutes. An hour late. I'm sitting with him on the porch, as he gets more and more upset because he wants to go!!! I'm getting more and more frustrated thinking about all the other things I need to do. I don't have a chance to do Alex's reading homework, I don't get to take Alex to school (yet again, I send him with a neighbor), I don't get to linger over a second cup of coffee. All I can think about is how much I need to do today. 'Till finally, I just sit on the glider, hold Joseph and rock. It calms him, it calms me. Nothing I have to do is that important. (Don't tell that to my boss!) I can't control the bus. I can't help the substitute driver find our house unless she calls again for directions. For someone like me, who wants to control control control control, it is so hard to let it be okay that the bus is late. An hour is just an hour. I'll get it back by being really efficient today.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Funny Story About Cookies

My husband has always refused to eat anything that had peanut butter and chocolate in it. (What??? Is he crazy???) He will eat Resse PB cups, but no other combo of chocolate and peanut butter. Yesterday he came home as I was finishing a batch of Sarah's Monster cookies (YUM!!!) with Halloween M&Ms. In true DD style, I overbaked the last tray, but the rest were perfect. I forgot to set the timer for the last batch...

Anyway, that isn't the point. Dave asked if they had any peanut butter in them, and I was honest and said yes. Then I suggested he try just one. He whined about how he didn't like pb with choc and I became impatient and told him to just try one-- About an hour later he ate a cookie, and then got up to get a second one. He asked again if they had pb in them, so I lied and said "no." After he had eaten several, and told me how good they were I showed him the recipe... He didn't believe me, and said I must have left the peanut butter out.

How crazy! I want to just be exasperated with him--I've not made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for 14 years because he doesn't know that he likes them... He had a bad experience with a too-sweet buckeye candy years ago, and wouldn't try the combination ever again.

But, aren't we all like that. We let our previous experiences stop us trying things. We jump to conclusions. We misinterpret what others say. We think we know what the answer is before we hear the whole question. We assume.

So. Who knew?? Dave likes Monster Cookies! What do I like that I've never tried? Skydiving? Rap music? Scary movies?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Women's Wisdom Circles

"Stories move in circles. They don't go in straight lines. So it helps if you listen in circles. There are stories inside stories and stories between stories, and finding your way through them is as easy and as hard as finding your way home. And part of the finding is the getting lost. And when you're lost, you start to look around and listen.”
Sue Bender (1995). Everyday Sacred: A Woman's Journey Home

Why Wisdom Circles? Women's work has traditionally been done within a community of women. Our culture and economy have eliminated most structures for women to share their wisdom and lives in meaningful ways. The telling of our stories and sharing our wisdom is part of finding connection with each other and our traditions. There is a sense of meaning gained from telling our stories and being heard in that telling. Although there are very wise women to be found in the wider world, a deep wisdom arises from the sharing of community. It is believed that each woman comes with her own wisdom and therefore does not need to take care of others or be taken care of within the circle. . Confidentiality is respected-what is said in the circle, stays within the circle.

This is a quote from, and a paraphrase of, the call to participate in a circle of women on the campus where I work. I think it sounds like a great idea, but it is also what I’m doing in my blog, and by reading other blogs of friends and family. I’d like to see more of you get on board with your own blogs. I want to hear what you are thinking!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

An Apple a Day

We went apple picking on Sunday afternoon. We drove about 45 minutes on a beautiful day to a very nice orchard in the rolling hills of East-Central Ohio. And we picked apples, about a bushel and a half... What is a domestic disaster to do with all these apples?? I made a crisp, I've been eating 3 or 4 a day, and I've put as many as I can into the fridge. I need a nice cold root cellar.

I also made one batch of applesauce, about 3.5 quarts. It is in the freezer for later, when we don’t have so many fresh apples to eat. I’ve never made applesauce with fall apples, but I think it turned out ok. I’ve always used “Early Transparent” apples. They ripen in July. (There was a question about what kind of apples to use for sauce on Sarah’s blog…) I think I’ll buy some caramel dip… Yum.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Got Milk???

A few more details about Joseph's IEP. The meeting lasted 2.5 hours. There were ten people in the room for most of it. The discussion was mostly between myself, Dave, and Joseph's behavior consultant on one side, and the teacher and principal on the other side. The district folks from the special ed department didn't say much. We talked at each other for most of the meeting. We just fundamentally disagree on what Joseph can do now, and what we believe he may (or will) be able to do in the future. One big area of concern is reading comprehension. Jospeh reads 600+ sight words, but tests poorly--with scores of 0% on reading comprehension at the Kindergarten level. We don't believe the tests. They do.... After about two hours, Dave told a story about taking Joseph to the grocery store and having him help find the groceries. J was great at listening and then taking Daddy to the right part of the store for things like orange juice. He understands the world around him more and more each day. So, I asked the teacher what she thought J. would do if I took him to the store and handed him a note that said "Get milk." She said "Nothing." She knows he knows the words get and milk, and she knows that if we told him to get milk he could, but she thinks he can't decode language from print, even though he can sign all the words.... So, I came home an made index cards that said "Go to store." "Get milk." and "Get eggs." Guess what? He did all three perfectly--no prompts, no help, just an adult along for the trip. (We live one block from a store...) I put the index cards into his book bag with a note for the teacher explaining what happened, and after sending them to school two days I've not gotten a note about it back. I'm not sure she has seen my message. (Alas, another fundamental problem with his class is that the teacher doesn't communicate with me, or communicates very sporadically...)

We are asking for an outside evaluation, and planing to fight the district. It seems like we have two choices: one, we could change schools, go to a private school, leave the district, etc. etc. in order to find a teacher that believes in Joseph's abilities, or , two, we can have him educated with other signing children and stay where we are. I'm going to at least try to make the current placement work better so that he has peers that sign, but I may give up and look for a teacher that will believe in our boy. Maybe that is more important. I'd really like to have both.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


I'll have time later in the week to actually have a thought, but I'll update you for now. Alex's second IEP was Friday. The team from the school had more time to think about it, and as we came to the conclusion that we didn't want to move Alex, they also decided against moving him. (It helped that they were able to talk the district into another second grade teacher so will have three rooms of about 20 instead of two rooms of 30.)

Joseph's IEP was Thursday. It was very difficult. We are going to ask the district for an independent evaluation of Jospeh's current level of functioning. They have done an evaluation of Joseph's present level of skill/functioning and are basing the IEP on that. It boils down to we at home see a very different child than the school sees. The school doesn't see the potential we see. The school thinks we are delusional parents. We can't make a suitable educational plan without finding a common view of who Jospeh is and what he could become/achieve. All the standardized tests are difficult for Joseph, and his scores don't reflect the reality of our child, but the school just sees the scores. I'm including pictures of Joseph, since this is all about him.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I'm feeling completely overwhelmed. It is one of those weeks where I have too much to do, two big meetings--one today and one Friday. Rehearsal Thursday night, Friday night, Sat and Sat evening concert. I've not done started the reading for either meeting, nor practiced my part for the rehearsal tomorrow.

I'll go now and do the reading for today's meeting. Tomorrow I'll practice and do reading for Friday. Cook dinner tonight, leftovers tomorrow. Neighbors Friday. Dave is on his own on Saturday.

Writing down a schedule for when I get to each task is helping.

Now I go do it all.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Raising Special Kids--or IEP Week is Hell

One of the most stressful weeks I have as a parent has arrived. IEP week. That stands for Individualized Educational Plan. It is supposed to be the contract between parent and school for a special needs child. In an ideal world, every child would have one. Ours isn't an ideal world, but both my boys qualify for an IEP. We had Alex's first IEP meeting of the year yesterday. We have Joseph's on Thurs. Tentatively, Alex's second meeting is scheduled for Friday. We have big decisions as parents ahead.

Alex is severely ADHD and LD. He struggles with writing and math and is a little behind in reading. He is in second grade. For the past two years he has been mainstreamed into a regular ed class and has worked with a tutor one hour each day, with an OT once a week at school and twice a week privately. He has also worked with the optometry clinic at OSU to address eye-tracking problems, which may be at the root of some of the LD issues he faces.

The tutor, as a representative for the school, suggests we move Alex to a "resource room." A classroom with 16 children and one teacher. The children vary in age, and are all LD. The school is worried that Alex is falling further and further behind. In actual fact, Alex would spend about half the day in the resource room and half the day in reading and gym, art, music, etc. with his peers. The reading classes are all tracked to ability, and he is reading at a “mid–to-late-first-grade level” so I think he is right with a lot of other beginning second graders at his school…

We suggest that whatever happens Alex begin counseling with the school counselor to deal with anger issues and self-esteem issues. (I’m starting to sound like I know what I’m talking about, but I don’t…)

The biggest drawback to the resource room, in my view, is it will be at a different school. Alex was adopted when he was three years old. He is still very insecure, he has always just gone along with what ever happened to him, but we see flashes of anger—mostly directed at him self. He has been happy, for the most part, at his current school. He walks to school with his friends. He walks home with his friends and goes to latchkey with a neighbor boy. There is a resource room at his school, but for third to fifth grades. My current thought is that we should keep him in his regular ed room for now, with the plan that we will move him to the 3-5 resource room next year. I’m thinking that self-esteem and mental health are much more valuable right now than being able to write a grade level story. I worry that he will lose self-esteem if he is faced with too much work that is too hard, but I also worry that he will lose a sense of community if he has to watch all the other neighborhood children walk one direction while he walks or drives the other way to school…

I’m anxious for your input, any ideas out there??? One friend has already told me she will yell at me if I move him…and I can’t imagine telling him that he has to go to a different school without his friends, but I’m willing to listen if anyone thinks I’m wrong.

Monday, October 02, 2006

How Can I Keep From Singing

I was reading the other blogs on Sarah's blog and came across a hymn her friend Kris mentions--I didn't know the hymn, but I googled the title and found both the hymn by Robert Lowry

and a slightly different version of the text. (See below.) What a great hymn! I think I like the Lowry version better than the Fields version.

by Uriah J. Fields

Living in the flow is the song that rings
ceaselessly in the human soul.
Are you listening to your soul?

My life flows on in endless song
My soul soars like an eagle.
I hear the Cosmic Voice saying
Behold I make all things new.
No storm can take from me my peace
While in true faith I'm living.
It rings the joy bells in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

My life flows on in endless song
Transcending all mundaneness.
I hear the music in the air,
I feel the presence of God.
Nothing can take my joy from me
While in my heart I'm singing.
I'll sing my song -- yes my song.
How can I keep from singing?

My life flows on in endless song
Unperturbed by circumstance.
The power of love within me
Is stronger than friend or foe.
No condition has advantage
While on His arms I'm leaning.
The presence of love surrounds me.
How can I keep from singing?

Sunday, October 01, 2006


My brother Philip says that he lives with the Michigan Tribe and that I live with the Ohio Tribe. We both used to live with the Iowa Tribe. Football is incredibly stupid, but also addictive and cathartic. My latest thought about it is that the world could use more football (violent, American-style football.) I'd like the University of Bagdad to play Tel Aviv State in the Big Game. I'd like North Iran U to take on the winner of the OSU-Mich game in the Fiesta bowl. If we could all bundle up on a cold fall day and scream for three hours at the players from that hated other tribe, or sit in front of our televisions and curse and pray and try not to say things we shouldn't in front of our children to watch the beloved home team fall behind the hated others, or (horrors) watch or beloved home team lose to the hated others on a last second field goal, maybe we would be a bit slower to draw guns on one another. We might end up with some burned furniture from drunken riots, but I'll take that on my evening news over bombed out buildings...

I went to a football game a week ago and yelled and screamed like a good Buckeye fan every time the "others" had the ball. And we won. Nothing like it. But I've had my heart broken over and over when my team lost. You pick up and go on. And somehow, we are able to sit at table with those from the hated Michigan tribe, and friends and family from the Iowa tribe will welcome me into their homes even though the Buckeyes won last night. Well, I hope I'll be welcome. We (or most of us) get over it. Is sport what keeps the United States together? Does Soccer enable the European Union to flourish? Do humans have inate needs to live in tribes and needs for those tribes to fight it out? I'm not a sociologist, and someone has probably done research on this that I will never read, but raising Alex shows me how much pent up violence is in little boys. (As with all things, Joseph is on a different planet--He is a gentle soul and has almost never shown any violence. Yet another way he teaches us big lessons.) Girls have a fair amount of agression and anger also, I know I do and did. Being raised a pacifist meant I buried mine pretty deep, but it is in there. I enjoy a good afternoon standing with thousands, yelling at the boys whose uniforms are the wrong color and cheering for the home team. I've enjoyed that since I was a girl watching and cheering for my big brothers' teams. I'm enjoying it very much this year. Go Tribe Buckeye!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Aim High or Low???

A few have commented that I am not a "Domestic Disaster," and although they have not seen my house or my grocery list lately, I appreciate the support. I don't call myself a D.D. because I truly believe I am, I call myself that so I have nothing to live up to. Dave always wants to aim high--so he gets as far as he can. I always want to aim low so I'm sure to achieve my goals and not have a (or yet another) reason to be disapointed in myself. I guess that is the difference between one who has never worried about self image and one who has worried too much about self image.

Of the many many blessings that have come with my children, especially Joseph (who is autistic for anyone who doesn't know) is incredible freedom from worry about self image. I really don't give a hoot anymore what anyone thinks of me. I'm truly dancing as fast as I can, doing my best, and that's all I can do. I'm looking at taking on some new responsibilities at work, and feeling a new confidence that is refreshing. Is this what being 50 and perimenopausal is all about? If so, why does it take so long! So far, my fiftieth year is one of my best ever...

Friday, September 29, 2006


Ah, Friday afternoon... Full of random thoughts and little work...

I'm sitting at my desk, thinking about facing the afternoon traffic, and typing this instead of grading papers. I'll grade the papers tomorrow.

I made cookies from a mix yesterday--in true domestic disaster style--and they were great. Peanut butter cookie mix, baked as a bar cookie in a 9x13 pan, with chocolate chips added after they came out of the oven. I used parchment paper, (my niece's influence) so they came out of the pan easily. The chocolate melts, you can spread it and then you let them cool and they look great and taste even better.

Big plans for the weeked--Clean my closet. Check with me on Monday to see if I did it.

Joseph has a baseball game, Alex has soccer. I'll take photos to post of them in uniform.

Buckeyes play Iowa. It is a hard game for me. I used to root for Iowa--now I am kind of pulling for the Bucks. I can't really lose the game, but on the other hand I can't really win it, either.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Why am I Blogging???

Don't I have enough to do? Clearly, for me, this is a way to avoid cleaning house, cooking, etc. But, I've enjoyed reading my nieces' blogs very much, and it just looked like a fun way too keep in touch with friends and family, while at the same time keeping a record of our day to day lives during a very busy time.

Tomorrow will be an easy day. Work, home, maybe some evening socializing with neighbors? Saturday--Soccer game in the early afternoon for Alex, baseball at 6 pm for Joseph and 8 pm watching the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes play football.

Hello Blog Readers!

Here is my youngest, Alex, proudly holding his baseball trophy from this summer. When I was a child, you only had a trophy if the team won something. Now, everyone that participates gets a trophy. What am I talking about, I never played on any kind of a sports team as a child.

And here is a picture of Joseph, who is a year older than Alex, waiting for the bus on the first day of school this fall.

Here is a picture of myself and Dave, ready for Michael Redd's wedding. This is the only time we have dressed up in at least ten years.

Finally, one of Alex with his best friend Owen and our kittens Felix and Fanny.