Thursday, October 29, 2009

things boys do

Watching television together. One of them will smile for the camera!

Playing bedtime. He likes to `pretend`` its bedtime, but hates going to bed!

Going for rides in the bins.

Sharing a comfy seat.

Sitting under the table together...
Painting with Nyx for company

Paint IN the paint container


The finished painting product.

First you finish it, then you drive a truck over it!

Eating paint

Is it better to paint or play fort or a little of both

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

365/13 "Kid"


Try this: make a list of 365 people whose names you remember and who were interesting to you. Even if you don't want to write 40 about each, at least try making the list. And then, if you can, write down a few words about each of them before they're gone from your memory. If you can't do this, it might be wise to spend the next 365 days meeting more people in person who are interesting to you. Learn their names.

It has been a while since I blogged anything that I consider to have "content". This 365 idea is one I started a while ago and one I am interested in following through with. I think I am gearing up for NaBloPoMo and trying to post every day of the month.

So here is something about "Kid" and why he was interesting to me.

Kid came into a group home type setting when he was under the age of twelve. We didn't get many kids that young unless there was some reason they were sexually inappropriate with the kids in the kid shelters. So without knowing a bunch about his background we knew there was some sexual stuff. It turns out kid was removed from the care of his mother when he was under the age of four. His step father and a series of mothers boyfriends had physically abused him so severely that when he was under the age of one he had bones broken. MANY bones broken. Does it go without saying how horribly sexually abused he was? He lived at first with grandmother but she had mental health issues and became homeless and they lived together in her car until they were reported and he was taken from her. He went to other family members and was accused of being sexually inappropriate and placed temporarily with us. I'm not going to sugar coat anything - he acted out sexually in mind boggling ways. He completely annoyed the female staff and for good reason. I will not know until the day I die why I connected with this kid. Everything about his behaviors were (and are) a "turn off" to me. And somehow I liked him. A lot. I liked him enough that if we had been able to be foster parents I would have taken him into my home - and I can't say that about any other kid but ONE in all my years of working with teens.
He went from our place to a young sex offender home (please don't get me going on THAT topic). To my knowledge he was never "out" of group homes until he aged out of the system.
I have kept some track of him over the years although we were never in contact after he left the place I worked. The last I heard of him he was being incarcerated for sexual predation in a public park. I read an interview by the father of one of the kids he lured. The man was livid (understandably) and completely vilified this sexual predator (understandably). I don't blame him one bit, and yet in the back of my mind - or closer to the front of my mind - was the fact that I knew this kid. I knew him when he was a little boy. I am so very sad for him and for the life he has lived on this earth. I know there are people who will hate my opinion. I know there are people who don't agree with me, and yet I still shed a tear, yes a tear, for the tiny tiny baby who had his arms and legs and collar bone broken, and wonder what his life would have been like if someone had cared for him.

one day while we were driving with him and other kids to go sledding, we were pulled over in the youth corrections van for going to fast, He was in the seat right behind the driver, by friend Louie. The officer wanted her to giver her name and address and phone number but she didn't want Kid to hear her giving her personal information so she was trying to whisper to the officer out of the window. Every time she whispered the officer said"WHAT" and made her repeat what she had just said. Every time she repeated herself, Kid leaned closer to her to hear what she was saying. I know she was not amused but I found it very funny. Finally she said her phone number loud enough for the officer - and Kid - to hear it and as the officer wrote it down, kid started to chant it. "seven seven threee....." He kept it up all day. no matter what he was threatened with he could not even get himself to stop. Since it wasnt my number, I thought it was hilarious, but I can see how infuriating it was to her. I just don`t know what I liked so much about this kid!

happy birthday to me. What an awesome day

I had a great day. I worked, which I think should be banned, but other than that I couldn't have asked for a better day.My son picked out my balloon and my stickers (which he used). We all wore party hats - even the dog! and our bedazzled sunglasses. Maxie even went to bed with his sunglasses, cause you know, his futures so bright he has to wear shades.
My nieces and nephews sang to me. My office was decorated with balloons and streamers. What more could a person ask for?

My baby gets his first school photos

Today is the day my number one gets his first school photo. I don't think he is as excited as we are. Of course we purchased the most expensive photo pack, we are total suckers. We are going to have so many pictures we won't know what to do with - and don't forget the fridge magnet ones!
I am HOPING he looks at the camera, he doesn't really like to do anything by himself, so even sitting in the chair alone might be interesting. I will laugh if we get a picture of him and the teachers assistant!
When I picked him up they said he did fine. He even "kinda" smiled and they can retouch the pictures so his rash isn't so bad which is also nice.
We think he is beautiful no matter what, and even if he hadn't looked at the camera it's ok.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

if today is your birthday.... yup it is!

October 27 Birthday Horoscope

If Today is Your Birthday: October 27


The Year Ahead
Forecast for October 2009 to October 2010

If You Were Born Today, October 27: You are an energetic, emotional, and dynamic person. A study in contradictions, at times you appear reserved and quiet, and at other times bold and even reckless. Your inner restlessness can drive you to achieve much, as long as you learn to control your mood swings. Success is within your reach, largely due to your dynamism. You are enigmatic and passionate, and your powers of observation exceptional. Famous people born today: John Cleese, Emily Post, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roosevelt, Marla Maples.

Your Birthday Year Forecast: A trine between the Sun and the Moon in your Solar Return chart this year is a fortunate aspect. It suggests that your domestic and career needs are not in competition with one another in the year ahead. Your inner needs tend to be mirrored by external events, and vice versa. This aspect is very powerful and rewarding. It suggests that you will be on top of your game this year, for the most part, and positive connections with others can be made fairly easily. A comfortable level of personal popularity helps to keep conflict to a minimum. With the ability to handle your emotions successfully, there is less stress on both your mind and body. Your self-confidence and positive attitude will reward you!

The Sun squares Mars in your Solar Return chart. Your energy levels run high this year, but you should watch for hasty or impetuous behavior. Remember that "haste makes waste". This year is likely to be especially busy. You could be rather wilful and impassioned, and it would be best to channel excess energy into healthy physical outlets. Others might find you temperamental. If you suffer from frequent headaches, it is likely that you are not dealing with your own anger or desire to take the lead appropriately. You feel a great need for action, but if you don't know where you're headed, you might take the wrong turn. As long as you channel the excess energy constructively, instead of wasting your time arguing or getting yourself into conflicts with others, you can accomplish much.

The Sun forms a sextile to Pluto in your Solar Return chart, and your attitude towards life is changing. What used to satisfy you may not continue to do so, particularly if your goals have been superficial or a poor reflection of your inner desires. You are no longer willing to make compromises in the important areas of your life, particularly with regards to career and your life path. You are more determined this year, and it�s an excellent time for getting rid of bad habits. This is a year in which to get your life back on track, as you have the willpower to do so. Others are bound to recognize your leadership skills and talents, or, at the very least, your potential. You want your life path and your objectives to reflect what you�re really about. You benefit from being more decisive than usual, and your ability to concentrate and focus help you to achieve what you set out to do. A new project or goal begun this year has a good chance of being successful and long-lasting.

Venus trines Jupiter, and you are likely to find yourself more accepting and understanding of your friends and lovers. Contentedness in love is likely to figure and to attract positive circumstances (and people) into your life this year. Legal affairs, education, and travel may be especially fortunate for you. Social opportunities might increase, and a boost in your personal popularity and magnetism is also likely. Others are looking on you favorably, particularly friends and lovers (or potential lovers). You are more friendly, optimistic, and big-hearted than usual. A cheerful and hopeful outlook increases your chances of gaining cooperation from others. This is a sociable, and perhaps self-indulgent, time when the pursuit of pleasure is one of your high priorities! You could find that you are more open and trusting of friends and lovers, and that you easily win others� trust. Healthy speculation is favored. Financial benefits may come your way. Some people fall in love under this influence.

This is a year of increased confidence for you--a great period in your life for discovering or rediscovering your talents. Realistic optimism is your main avenue to success, while impatience is a potential downfall. Social opportunities increase and an expansive, faithful attitude brings rewards.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Diski Dance

World Cup 2010 is in South Africa. I am a HUGE fan of football (soccer) and I wish I were able to visit my parents in SA while the world cup is being hosted there.
Check out this dance that is based on football moves and has been developed in SA.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I've written quite a bit about my oldest boy and some of the challenges he faces. We recently enrolled him in a program called "stepping forward" where he goes to the elementary school and they work with children with all different kinds of developmental delays. They have a speech therapist, an occupational therapist and all kinds of intervention programs they use with the kids. It is a small group of children (less than ten) and there is a teacher, a teachers aid, and all of the other people who work with the kids. It is a great program and we are happy he is enrolled and getting access to some of the services he needs.
Last week he and I met with the speech therapist. We met for an hour and basically did an "intake" and she asked if I had any questions. I asked what we could expect, what we could work towards as far as goals for speech for him. I have always thought that his speech delay is directly linked to his profound hearing disability (which we hope has been corrected by his surgery), but I really thought that once he was done with his surgery he would start talking fairly quickly. I was wrong. We have a LOT of work to do with him and she said she thinks he a realistic goal for him would only be to say two words by the end of the school year in June.
He says things like "ma" and "ya" but she said those are not words as much as they are "sounds" and we can't really count them.
So I tried to talk myself down from my high expectations, still HOPING he would say more than two words by the end of the year.
Yesterday I picked him up and we drove home together. When we got home I asked him to help me to carry the grocery bags into the house. As he picked up a bag two onions fell out onto the floor of the truck. He put down the bag and picked up the onions. I asked him if he was going to carry the onions inside instead of the bags. He looked at me, looked and the onions and said "onion". I was shocked and thrilled and told him to go inside and tell his mom what he just said. He went inside and said "Ma. Onion!" We were both so thrilled we did a happy dance and tried to get him to say it again. He isn't so interested in being our object of amusement and so he put the onions down and went back outside to get grocery bags.
I am still ecstatic that he said his first word!
I think I'm going to get a picture of an onion for his bedroom wall - and now we only have to get him to learn one more word and we have reached our goal for the year!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

things I am thankful for... and not

Yesterday here in Canada was Thanksgiving day. For most of the day I was at work, cooking a meal for the students who don't go home over the long weekend. While I was away my spouse cooked up a dinner for us.
We have a tradition at the thanksgiving table to take rice grains from the bin and for every rice kernel we take we say something we are thankful for. The rice (not so mysteriously) got mixed in with sunflower seeds earlier in the week and ended up as bird food and so we had no rice kernels last night.
A few weeks ago my boy Max had surgery on his ears. He has had profound hearing loss since birth and although he is three, he doesn't speak. He does have a few words in his repertoire (like "ma"and "ya") and so I thought I would test out his hearing skills and ask him what he was thankful for. Our conversation went something like this:
Me:"Max, are you thankful for mashed potatoes?"
Max: "Ya"
Me: "Max, are you thankful for mom?"
Me" Max, are you thankful for your cd player?"
Max: "Ya"
Me: "Max, are you thankful for your little brother?"
No response.
So I figured he was just tired of playing the game, but thought since he was digging his mashed potatoes I would try again.
Me: "Max, are you thankful for mashed potatoes?"
Max: "Ya"
Me: "Are you thankful for your gravy?"
Max: "Ya"
Me: "Are you thankful for your little brother?"

Crickets chirping.

Apparently in our house, spuds and gravy trump little brothers!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

this one goes out to the ones I love

Yesterday we put to rest the three oldest members of our animal family.
These members of the family were part of "us" even longer than I was. They have been with Shel and I as long as we have been together. Sadie, Gina and Angel were the three remaining cats from the family I joined when I met Shel. I joke about the first "big" fight that Shel and I had and how I told her that she needed to pick between me or the cats (at the time there were Buddy, Sadie, Simon, Gina, Georgie, Angel, Tiger and Foxie). She said "see ya later" to me so I left and slept in the front seat of tinkey winkey for the night. (That tells you how long ago it was because there is no way I could fit my fat body onto the front seat of tinkey for the night now!) After a night in the truck I reconsidered my position and withdrew my ultimatum because it was made painfully obvious to me that Shel was not going to part with the feline members of the family, even for me. (and I like to think I am somewhat of a "prize!)
We have moved more times than I care to remember and before they met me they moved a few times as well. They started out their lives in sunny Southern California and went from there to Utah and from Utah to Canada. When they arrived in Canada in November of 2003 I think they must have thought we were out of our minds because the temperature that balmy day was -26 degrees Celsius. Since we have been in Canada they have lived in three different homes and put up with the additions over the years of four dogs and two additional cats. They have outlived two of our dogs and five of their litter mates, so I am sure there was quite a reunion for them as they passed to the other side.
I know they have had wonderful lives. This summer in particular they spent a lot of time outside and we were even able to lure Sadie out of doors a few times. One by one we have said goodbye to other members of the family and not one farewell has been easy, but we have never said goodbye to three at once and that made things extra hard. Shel made sure they ate like kings for the last few days and we emptied more than one grocery shelf of tuna on their behalf. One by one yesterday morning Shel held them as they crossed over and we took them home to be buried next to Shiloh.
We knew the weather was changing so we wanted to be sure to get them buried last night. After the kids were in bed we went outside to dig their grave. By this time it was pitch black out and so we dug by the hole with the aid of the van headlights. Though the moment itself wasn't particularly humorous I am certain the whole herd of them were laughing at us as our bodies blocked the headlights and we tried to dig a hole we couldn't see!
We buried them with the items they were dragging when the day started, because what would their journey to the other side be like if they didn't have a pair of my underwear pulled behind them. Underwear, socks and a slipper went with them and I finally was able to let go of my Muk also. I am certain people think I am a loon, but I have had the ashes of my beloved Mukiwa with me in Tinkey Winkey since she passed. Now she is at rest with the rest of our original family, with the cats that raised her.
Travel well my friends. Thank you for accepting me into your lives. You are already missed more than you will know.
I don't have a lot of hope in things, but I do have hope you will all be waiting for me when it is my turn to cross the great divide.
P.S. Just so Shel won't miss you so much I promised to drag my clothing around the house and make loud mewling sounds when everyone was asleep.