Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Picture of the day!


So, it was any other ordinary Saturday, when we--meaning DP, DP's sister, and her man friend and I decided that we would go play BINGO on the reservation. Now, when this idea was brought up a while back, I was very excited--I had always heard that gay bingo was fun. Well, I came to find out later that the bingo we were going to play was not in fact gay bingo at all. Oh well, it would be fun none the less. Right?

Let me tell you, this ain't your elementary school bingo, kids! This was hard core bingo, complete with old ladies with oxygen tanks, smoke filled rooms, and bingo boards the size of a small child.

When we arrived at the Menominee Casino we were wide eyed and unsure what to do. You would have thought we all had 5 heads the ways these folks were looking at us. We found someone to tell us that we had to get a special card in order to play, which we did. We stood in a very smoke filled room while we all got bingo cards with our names on them. Then we had the tasks of standing in line tyring to figure out what all the options meant. At one point a fairly grumpy old lady informed us that the line was back there, and what did we think we were doing cutting in line. Couldn't we see they were all waiting?(She was sitting at a table that she clearly felt was a line??!!??) Apparently anxiety was already high in the Bingo hall because the computers had recently gone down and they weren't able to sell games in enough time to be able to play warm up games. While we waited in line, a bus arrived with many, MANY older people who had these little pins on-I guess to remind them they'd come on a bus and to identify them?

We decide on what kinds of games we will play, and DP and Man friend walk away with electronic bingo boards, and sister and I have the paper boards. The electronic games I think are for those that want to say they are playing bingo, but really want to pick up a hot lady or man friend while looking about the room. Basically these machines did everything for you, and even beeped and told you to prepare to yell bingo when it was time. Good thing I stuck to the real thing for some authentic bingo experiences.

After looking through my three inch stack of paper games, it was evident that we would need one of those dot maker things--otherwise known as a dauber. Pictured here in case you didn't know what they were. I believe in the world of children, they are also known as Do-A-Dot Art. Clearly this activity was started by seeing some child playing with their great great great grandparents daubers in Florida somewhere! Someone thought "Hey, we could make a mint on this and market it to kids-then they'd already know how to use them in their golden years for bingo!! Anyways, I went and made my selection of a medium size dauber-in purple of course. Sister chose green. Man friend was awarded a FREE dauber since it was his birthday month. You can BET I am going back in December when we are here for Christmas to get my free dauber. It even had a birthday cake and candles depicted on the front. Ah, memories.

Well, finally it was time to get started, and we were playing what is called 9-on, where we had nine games going for each round. There were 27 rounds total, though some were special ones. I swear, I left there with a headache and seeing colored dots floating around the room. It was interesting to watch others play this game. Some came with enough gear to get snowed in for months. Multicolor daubers, little snow globe receipt holder things, coolers of food, smokes--they even served free coffee and soda! I still don't know what you would do with a 10 color selection of daubers, but more power to them.

In the end I left with nothing but a blogging topic, and a better understanding of what was happening in the gym on Friday's when I went to catholic school. My fondest memory of bingo prior to this trip was getting chosen to be the one who was allowed to take my teacher's dollar bill to the gym and buy her a hot dog w/ kraut and mustard every Friday during bingo. I wasn't ever sure why I was chosen to do this, but I remember it fondly.

We stopped off at the slots for good measure with $20. I lost all but $4, but in a last minute decision, I ended up leaving with $21.50.

It was a good day.

(PS--this post was not meant to be offensive in any way. So if you, or your grandparents, great grandparents, or great great great grandparents are a bingo player and felt offended, I am sorry!)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Unbelievably cute dogs!

I know everyone says and thinks their dogs are the cutest things ever. I know several of my regular readers have adorable pups of their own--some really crazy readers have MANY dogs!

For those of you who don't appreciate dogs, or don't like them. I am sorry. Here goes . . .

Addie, Riley, and Molly--DP's parents dog from the same litter!! How cute are they! This was in a rare moment where they weren't trying to put each others heads in their mouths!!

Addie showing her little brother who is in charge. Though when Riley is on the deck, he is all sorts of vocal and assertive! Very funny to watch because he will get all excited and fall off the deck and then he sees Addie and is like, "Oh, shoot, retreat, RETREAT!!!" Then he, or Molly will head under the grill where Addie can't quite get to them.

After all the messing around, Riley goes to the chair on the deck where he just sacks out. Sometimes I will go to the other chair and he will crawl up and just look at me. He needs the stair on the deck to get into the chair, so that is the only one he can get in for now. He won't fit in that chair for long!! He now weighs 20.9 lbs!! His sister is only .2 lbs smaller-though he looks so much bigger!

Hello in there . . .

This is Molly. Yesterday Riley put the whole thing on his head and was walking around with it on his head. They do this sort of drunk looking walk when they are carrying this around, I think because they can't see.

Could these girls look any more guilty?????

This is Addie before her morning cup of coffee. Good thing she has that big mug of joe to get her going!! How telling is that picture. This must feel like doggy day care everyday for her, and this morning the pups and Addie were so low key and droopy. I think it is all catching up to them. Just in time for DP's sister to arrive with her dog, Willie. I think mom and dad should just hang a kennel sign out front!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

What have I been up to!

Oh so very busy around here. Life with three puppies, a DP, her family, and lots to do has been hectic--but we are having lots of fun.

The other day we went to see DP's sister in Minneapolis--which by the way is really hard to say sometimes, especially with a lack of coffee in your system. It has been known to come out as "Minne-ne-min-opolis" at times. Oh well-much funnier in person! It was a good time. We were able to see the site of the bridge collapse, which consequently is right behind their house a few blocks up. They are doing amazing reconstruction, so you can imagine the traffic concerns still.

Then we went shopping around town. We went to see some tile, glass, and pottery places. I bought a few tiles at this really neat store called Clay Squared and we found some neat numbers for our house. They had to make one of the numbers we needed, so they will ship it all out together which is nice. We won't have to worry about it breaking on our watch! Then we gallivanted around some more. We went to another place called Saint Sabrina's tattoo and piercing place to get my earrings switched out. I got my earring put in there a few years ago when we were visiting and they were really nice--clean, too which is always a plus! While there, I talked with the woman who helped me, who is one of the piercers, and I noticed that she had self-injury scars that were tattooed over. We talked about this a bit, since I was told that I couldn't tattoo over my scars. It was nice to talk to someone-weird as it was at a tattoo place-who was in a good place about her scars. She said she covered them up because it was easier than telling people why she had them in the first place. While there, we also saw a girl--who was CLEARLY in the rebellion phase of her life who declared to us that she was getting her cl** pierced. Hmm, so my lady goes from piercing THAT to working on my ears. I guess the work isn't boring!

We then went to this great store that had all eco friendly home stuff. I can't remember the name of it, but not only did it have great products, but it also had really neat free info you could take. We also went to Bibelot, which is a store that I would spend way too much money in if we had one close to us. Very fun to go to new places and see new fun things!! We were able to get some holiday presents checked off the list. Oh, there was a neato pet store and trendy baby store as well that we were able to get a present in for my little tyke nephew--who is going to be 5 in January--not so little tyke I guess.


The first day we were there, we went to The Mall of America. For those of you who know me well, you know that I hate malls, and typically hate to shop. You won't believe then when you hear that it was MY idea to go to MOA. I figured I needed at least to say I had been there. Well, we did all three floors-and the first floor twice! We had a good time, a good meal, and I can now say I have been there!

Well, that was that. I have a puppy update in me as well, but I have to take a break. The computer access here is ify, and sometimes really slow. The pictures take a long time to load.

DP's sister is coming to town today with her boyfriend, and they will be here for the weekend. We are going to this large art fest in Green Bay this weekend called Art Street. I am very excited to see what they have to offer, especially the pottery. We will also try our hand at BINGO at the Casino tonight. Should be loads of fun. Maybe we will even do some nickle slots. Always a good time--with our $20 limited stash of cash that is!!

Hope you are all well. Stay tuned for the puppy update!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Addie's Corner- Episode 5

What a trip. I don't even know where to begin . . .all I know is that the moms got up soooo early the other day--I was still sleeping, which means it had to have been early because I am a "Rise and Shine" kind of gal, and that means EARLY!! I lay there in my bed hoping they would go back to sleep-but they didn't. I think the clock read 4am. At least they fed me and then I got to get in the car. They bought me this new thing for the car which helps me from not falling down between the seats. I don't have such good balance in the car, and sometimes I get marooned in between the seats when I fall. They said it would be dangerous to try and un-maroon me while travelling at high speeds, er, I mean the speed limit of course!! This lets me lay on the seat in all sorts of positions and get comfy. Good thing cause we drove and drove and drove some more. Here I am posing with my new car hammock! Aren't I pretty?

I saw a lot of this while we were driving. Moms said they never expected me to be such a good traveler--they told everyone they talked to on that little phone that I was so good. We stayed in a neato hotel in Maumee, OH where they had the neatest park with trails and little kids I could sniff after. I got to run around the hotel room like a little banshee and not even get in trouble. I slept the whole night-until they woke up early again--then I saw more and more of this!! OHH, while we were on the trip, we stopped a couple of times at these big places with lots of cars and people, and I had to stay on my leash. I didn't like that part so much. I was so distracted by the cars and people, and can you imagine that there were people who DIDN'T want to play with me--sheesh. Clearly they missed out on supreme cuteness. I had to pee and poop on my leash (well, not ON my leash casue that would be unrefined and I am NOT unrefined!) and that isn't so fun when you are used to complete freedom in the bathroom department if you know what I mean. I managed though.

The moms got me some new toys to play with in the car, and this was by far my favorite. I call her elephant, and I like to chew on her and hug her. Here I am sleeping with her nearby to me--keeping her safe of course.

Finally we arrived at grandma and grand pop's house. There I got to meet grandma first, since grand pop was out fishing in Canada-wherever that is. She was really nice and she pet me and loved all over me. Finally someone who fully appreciates my cuteness!! Then it happened--the moment I had been waiting for months for . . .

I got to meet my kid brother Riley. Here is is being silly. He and his sister Molly--who is really my aunt, and mom and dad will eventually be grand pop and grandma (sorta like a bad Kentucky soap opera!!) have been hanging out here for a few weeks. Well, now that I am here I can take charge. I have let them know their place--which is on the deck, and when they try and leave I herd them back. It's a good system I think--though I keep getting yelled at when I try and put their heads in my mouth. I don't know why, but for some reason that makes the people yell at me. They say I am a good babysitter though.

The kids found a plastic Folgers coffee can-kids these days are starting to drink coffee so much earlier then when I was a kid. This is a picture of me monitoring the situation. I like to be sure everyone is doing ok, and not getting into trouble. It is exhausting work. I was so tired last night that I slept until 6:30 this morning, which is REALLY 7:30 our old time . . .

They like to sleep under the grill-strange kids they are. This was this afternoon where I was making sure that they stayed out of trouble. Good thing they have me around--could you even imagine the kind of trouble they would get into without me. I have some big responsibility now--to be a good big sister and make sure they grow up to be just as perfect as ME!! I am sure you will hear more from mom about how this trip goes. She is getting all anxious and stuff about bringing Riley home-said something like maybe needing a tranquilizer for the way home. Not sure if that is for Riley, or for mom. Stay tuned!!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Introducing Riley . . .

There's a lot to say today, but I am exhausted from two days of driving and meeting the new pups. I will leave you will a few pictures to entice you to come back and hear more.

Here he is hiding under the grill . . not so sure of what to make of the big woofy--Addie--that has come. He was used to ruling the roost and now he has to answer to his big sister!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Oh so ready!!


We leave soon, and the list of things we have to do seems to grow by the minute!! Tomorrow we will take Addie to daycare to play for a few hours, and then she will get a bath to smell pretty for meeting the new family.

SO much to do, so little time!!! I will blog I am sure while we are gone . . .but until then . . .

See YA!!

oh-and today at work they asked me if I minded going to a conference in San Diego . . .um, let's see . . .HECK no. I haven't been further west than Minnesota. I am very excited. we'll see if it really pans out. a paper we wrote got accepted to the American public health association and we have to do a 12 minute presentation. whoo hoo!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Garden Update

These are just some of the many many tomatoes we have gotten. The week before we left we had a ton of tomatoes and ate BLT sandwiches two nights in a row. One night we had a tomato that filled up the whole piece of bread. One slice was that big!! Seemed while we were away though that the tomatoes overpowered the cages they were in and the cages have started to buckle. One has even broken and we aren't very sure what will happen to that plant. Lessons for next time--only one plant per cage, get square cages, and leave more room in between. We also came home to one of these nasty ass bugs I blogged about before-and it had the larvae on it-made me want to puke. I didn't-but we did capture it and tied it up in a bag. Filthy bastard!

These are some of the peppers. These are the long ones-but we also have had bell peppers as well. We have been cutting and freezing these. We had picked some of these earlier in the season before they were ready, but realized that they needed to be much longer and larger before they were just right. Unfortunately dad's peppers didn't grow, so we hope to have some to bring to them when we leave on Thursday.

While I wish I could say that this is the pumpkin that was the size of my ass, I would be lying like a very large sac o' potatoes. But we did come home to find this growing in the mulch/weed/crap pile in the side of the house. There is another tiny one next to it as well. This is where we put the pumpkin plants that we pulled from the garden. Apparently it was real good at transplanting itself. I am a bit worried since this little guy is hanging from the middle of the fence. I hope once it gets larger that is can keep itself up--and that my woofy friend doesn't think of it a a snack!

Now this, my friends, is the very large one that scared the poopies nearly out of me. It is hard to see, but it is very large. It has started to turn orange, but it is very big. I think it is growing larger and larger by the day-- (but then after the way I ate this week, so is my ass). Maybe at the end we will take a side by side comparison for all you playing along at home. Seriously, can you just imagine not having any idea this thing was lurking and then -POW-there it is?

That's all for now folks. I will keep you posted as usual. Oh, the cukes continue to grow fast and furious, but none have been edible. Very bitter and yucky so far. Maybe the ground is just not right for them this year. It is only our first shot at this after all.

Darn these blasted Olympics . . .

i don't think i will sleep for the next week. i don't like that the Olympics are shown at night and i can't resist staying up to watch. It is 2:15 AM and i am still awake . . .wide awake . . .not one ounce of sleepy in me. i can't wait for gymnastics to start-though i am really sad that chellsie memmel is all but out--she worked very hard to get herself back in the game and now she has a sprained ankle . . .

DP is off babysitting tonight and i am so horrible as it is going to bed when she isn't here . . and now i have the Olympics to keep me up even more!

Sheesh . . .

BTW--how freaking cool was the opening ceremony with those tiles things. my dad and i were trying to see what was making them go-he thought people and i said surely it had to be hydraulics. nope, he was right. amazing!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Week's Round-up Rant

We are finally back from the autism conference. I have to say, a week is far too long to talk about one thing and one thing only--especially when you aren't entirely passionate about it. Now, if it were a conference about puppies, or gardens, or pottery, I could get into that. But by mid week we were done. We did have some great conversations with some work folks, and had some good eats and shopping excursions while out and about in the "big" town.

I have a few observations that I would like to share--I apologize in advance for the harshness of some of the things I am about to say . . .

1. I had noted that at this conference, and elsewhere in the world of autism, it has become very important for people to qualify the severity, or mildness of their child's autism. For instance, one could overhear hundreds of times at the conference "My son, who has high functioning autism" or "My daughter, who has aspergers" BLAH BLAH BLAH. Never once did I hear "My son, who is severely impaired" or "My daughter who is extremely limited". I bring this up for the mere fact that if I were a parent of a child who was severely affected by autism--of which there must be many-- I would have felt very lonely and left out of this large event. I find this is true not only here, but in other arenas as well when it comes to autism. No one wants to have the child who can't toilet themselves, who rocks in the corner most days, who cannot be reached. I feel so bad for these parents, and the lack of support they must feel from their own community.

2. On this same vein, there is such a divide between those who feel it is ok to medicate their children, and those who think it is a cardinal sin. Again, why must parents be made to feel guilty for trying to do something that will help their children. I sat in a session where people went head to head on this issue-and in the end I felt as if they'd all lost sight of what was most important. The children they speak so eloquently about wanting to help. It is not helpful to them if a parent chooses to withhold something that may be beneficial. I know that is my view, and I do have a right to it. But why would you continue to allow you child to be anxious to the point that they are hurting themselves and others, simply because you don't want to medicate them? I get that there are risks, and that it isn't for everyone--and I am in NO WAY advocating for a blanket mass medication of the autistics. But I am saying it shouldn't be ruled out as well.

3. There are parents who spend every last minute of every last day fighting so very hard to be sure their child has hours and hours a week of services. They view the professionals as people they must battle with-uncaring and horrible people. Yes, this was actually said by some that we as professionals are uncaring and lack professionalism and understanding--because if we cared, we would give into every whim of these parents, even if what they are asking for is not in the best interest of their child. More is not always better-and people, just because you want 60 hours a week of therapy for your child doesn't mean it will happen. Perhaps what you are looking for is a way to feel better about the circumstances you are in. Save the child from the mass quantities of therapy and get a counselor yourself. It will be better for both you and your child.
Again, I feel for the parents who are doing the best they can--who don't care to spend every waking moment fighting this-their child, their children's team, their programs. They recognize that there is balance in everything, but I imagine they could also feel bad that they aren't like those who are a bit more "passionate" about their cause.

4. Inclusion at any costs sucks-really really sucks. There are some parents who feel their child should be included with typical peers, even when it means they will miss out on more intensive therapies and work in a more specialized setting. For instance--this child doesn't have autism, but another disability. The child will be going into 4th grade this month, and is very limited. The parents have fought and fought for this child to be included in a regular classroom, and so they're are educated besides typically developing peers with an aide--who is constantly changing no doubt due to the intensity of this child and how difficult it must be. They also are quite behavioral and often require interventions to keep them on tasks that are distracting to the other children and not pleasant for them either. I would also venture to say that most times any kind of demand is placed on them, there is a behavioral outburst. This is not fair to the child-or the other children. I get that these parents feel this child SHOULD be included with their peers, but I wonder often how much further along the child would be had they had the opportunity for more intense attention to their needs. Transition planning starts at 14 in PA, which means that the focus of school turns to vocational training if a child is not really keeping up educationally. I just find it sad to think of what could have been if the parents even tried seeing how the child would have done in a more specialized setting. Would they be able to talk and communicate more? Would they be less frustrated by the demands that clearly cannot be managed in this setting? Would the child welcome the opportunity to slow down a bit and be with others like them? I don't know the answers--and clearly it is very easy for me to say all this from my post-not having a child in this situation. I have another family I know--they have a very healthy outlook on it all-- it seems, I guess I could be wrong also, but we have had very candid conversations about this. They recognize that it is what is in their child's best interest that is best. They are able to look at the needs from a variety of angles and make decisions that honor who that child is-right then and there--not who they wish that child was or could be ten years from now. But what will be in their best interest right now. It is refreshing, and I know not easy for them to deal with the pressures put on them from others who believe in inclusion at any cost. I say be included in other areas--church, community, libraries, parks. Give these kids a chance. Maybe for some that means inclusion in typical classrooms, maybe for some it is a more specialized setting. I don't have the answers, I just with we'd all get back to the core--the whole child.

I think that is it. Sorry that ended up being somewhat of a rant, but it is hard to watch sometimes. All these parents and professionals who have the power to move mountains, but because they can't agree on how to do, when to do it, and how often to do it--they end up spending so much energy on that, and forgetting what is most important. The child, and allowing that child to be a child-first and foremost.

I wish I had the magic wand to make this all better for these folks. But I don't. In the meantime, I will keep an open ear, and try and help them come to know what is right for their child, their family, and their hearts.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Things found in the garden

When we first started with the garden, I was a bit obsessive about weeding it. Now that the tomatoes are towering over my head, I can't get in there as much as I can. The other day we finally spotted some red tomatoes, and so I plowed through.

I was in there and started to pull some weeds. Now I can't stop at just one or two, and I end up going crazy. There I am, weeding along, and then I saw this large thing in the corner of the garden. I immediately jumped and felt my heart thumping wondering what kind of critter was in the garden with me. I went around the fence to see, and lo and behold I see a ginormous pumpkin the size of a small elephant.

How the heck did I miss this ginormous thing growing in the garden. I called DP and reported that there was a pumpkin growing in the garden that was as big as my ass. I don't think she believed me until she herself spotted the thing and saw just how big it was.

So focused on the weeds that I miss this. Sheesh.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Overheard at my parents house

**Background-my mother has charcots disease-which means that she has over the years gotten really funky, misshapen feet that she has no feeling in due to the neuropathy from diabetes. She has had an infection for the last year or so in her foot, and about three months ago they had to go in and drain in. The wound hasn't healed, and in an effort to help it, they agreed to put pig skin on it. Too weird for me, but ok. She has been waiting and today this is the conversation that was had. I will do my best to recreate it**

Beans- So what's happening with mom's foot?

Dad-The doctor is still waiting to hear-apparently it costs a lot of money, so they need to be sure it is really needed and such.

B-they're still using the skin, right?


B-huh, wonder what's taking them so long

D- we'll they're now going to use foreskin-since they said that would be better

DP-WOW, foreskin, huh. Wonder how that works.

D-she only needs to cover a small amount

B-i wonder why it is taking so long to get that from a pig

DP-so it's possible that she could have black skin on her foot?

D-I guess so.

B-I didn't know there were black pigs, much less black foreskin. I wonder how they get the foreskin off of a pig

DP-beans, they aren't talking about pigs anymore . . .

B-What? OH, OHHH, EWE . . . .

Then everyone thought it was really funny that I was still wondering how they got foreskins from pigs, when in fact they weren't talking about pigs anymore. I was a little slow on the uptake.

Guess you had to be there. It was really very . . .very funny. In re-reading this to DP to assure the accurateness of the re-creation, she has reacted with uproarious laughter again. Glad I could provide some laughs all around.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Autism, Autism, Autism

We are off tomorrow to the week long autism conference at Penn State. I went a few years ago as a presenter, but this year we are both just attending. Of course DP didn't register in time-like I clearly prompted her a million times to do--so hopefully she doesn't get stuck listening to something crappy all week. I thought it was a secret ploy to not have to leave the room and have her nose in a book all week, but she vehemently denies this!

Things have been ok. Addie is doing well, and seems to be adjusting well to a new food-simply duck and rice. Supposed to be good for dogs with IBD-which is what she probably has. We are so ready to meet Riley, and found out yesterday he weighs in at a hefty 15lbs. He is just 9 weeks old!

I am hanging in there-ready for a therapy break for a few weeks. I will see her once while we are back, and then not for a few weeks.

I had lunch today with the woman that I served with at Kid's Camp, and she was very cool with the whole gay thing. It was a very fun lunch! I am thankful that I pursued meeting with her despite my anxiety about how she would react.

Posting could be sparse over the next few weeks as we are away this week, come back for a few days, and then are off to Wisconsin for two weeks.

I have another post, but I will save it for tomorrow. Hope all is well in your corners!