Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fears Confirmed

Just spoke with one of Dad’s doctors at the V.A. hospital.  The mass in his neck is very large and very invasive.  It has invaded his esophagus, his brain, his spine, his shoulder bones, his lungs, his sinus cavities.  It is inoperable.  He is unable to eat, drink or swallow, but a feeding tube cannot be put in because he is delirious much of the time and keeps trying to pull out his various tubes and medical monitors.  He has already half starved himself, so he is not strong enough to undergo chemo or radiation treatment.  He will never be able to go back to a home setting; it would be a “miracle” in the doctor’s estimation if he lives long enough to be able to leave the hospital.  She gives him days, maybe weeks, of life left.  This may be horrible to say, but I hope he dies quickly.  Less suffering for him, and the less Jamie will have to see him suffer and be traumatized by it.  I’ll keep you informed as to how things progress.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Can You Give Me a Hint?

On Sunday afternoon, Jamie went Christmas shopping with his BB Bill.  He came home with FOUR presents, all wrapped neatly, to put under the tree – FOR ME!  Since the packages were wrapped very nicely, with straight edges and taped down seams, I know Jamie did not wrap them.  However, I DO know he picked them all out himself for me.  Now, I’m dying of curiosity!  Usually, Jamie is pestering me at this time of year, wanting hints on what is in the brightly colored packages under the tree.  This year, I’m the one following HIM around saying “C’mon, please?  Just one teensy, weensy little hint?”  Which Jamie finds hilarious.  (Of course, that’s why I do it.  Uh huh.  That’s the only reason why I pester him to try to figure out what they are.  Suuuuuuurrrrrreeeee….)  Which one of us is the 10 year old and which is the 30-something one?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Confusion

I don’t know if I can wait until Dad’s siblings arrive to make a decision on what to do with Dad.  He called me last night insisting I come to his house today.  I told him I have to work, but I’ll be down Saturday.  “You have to work on Christmas?”  he asked belligerently.  “Dad, Christmas isn’t until next week.  Tomorrow is December 18.”  Dad got really quiet for a minute, then said he couldn’t keep track of what day it was anymore.  If Dad has lost a week, how well is he keeping track of his medications?  He’s got about 15 different types of medication he takes a day.  I noticed his motor skills have gotten so bad he can barely get up and down off the couch anymore.  It takes him several tries to get up.  He even had an incident where he peed on himself a little bit because he couldn’t get up off the couch in time to make it to the bathroom last time I was down there.  When I go down this weekend, I’m going to inform him that there’s no way he can live by himself anymore, and we need to make some arrangements – NOW.  Then, when his siblings come down next month, we’ll make decisions about where he’ll go. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Call Me Sick and Twisted...

But I find it kind of funny, in a dark and horrible way, that an ad for Macy’s Department Store featuring a woman wearing a long cashmere scarf appeared in the advertising space alongside the Chicago Sun-Times’ story about a woman who was killed at a factory when the scarf she wore became entangled in the machinery.  I know these ads are rotated so that the same ad doesn’t always appear on the same page, but I still find it darkly humorous.  Yes, I am a warped, twisted individual.  It’s why you all love me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Until Today...

Until today, Jamie thought it was cool to run a few steps, fall to his knees and sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiddddddddddddeeeeeeeeee across a hard floor. Regardless of how many times I told him not to do it because 1) it ruins the knees of his pants, 2) he could get hurt, and 3) he could hurt someone else, he has insisted on performing this little trick at every opportunity on every possible hard flooring surface. Until today, he thought it was lots of fun. Until today.

I just got a phone call from Jamie’s school. It seems he performed his little trick in the gym during the after school program. He was going after a ball and decided it would be fun to sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidddddddddddddddddddddeeeeeeeeeeeeeee across the shiny, slick, hardwood floor in pursuit of said ball. He then looked down and away from where he was going, as his body turned until he was going backwards. He wasn’t watching where he was going, so he couldn’t see that he was perilously close to the cinderblock concrete walls of the gym – until he crashed right into said wall and rung his noggin, so to speak. I am told by the afterschool program director that the knot on Jamie's head is quite impressive, as is the monstrous headache Jamie now has. He’s also complaining of dizziness. As Jamie is prone to a touch of histrionics in such situations, I told him I’d see him when I get off work at the usual time and check him out then (it’s only about 30 minutes from now).

Until today, sliding across the floor was great fun. I suspect it is not great fun anymore.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Got an Early Christmas Present

I got myself an early Christmas present yesterday – a new coffee maker with a timer.  It was so wonderful to wake up this morning and have my full coffee pot waiting for me.  The smell of the coffee just about lifted me out of bed and dragged me by the nose to the kitchen.  I felt like one of those cartoon animals being led around by the nose by a little cartoon “arm” of scent.  It was a great way to start my day.  The best part, the coffee maker was a brand I have used and trust, and it was on sale for less than $20.  Nice early Christmas present!  Yippee!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fixed the Internet Issue

Yay! I'm online again! Boo, I can't figure out why the wireless printer is no longer connected to the network!

Drats. Back to the drawing board.

But at least I've got the Internet issue solved.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tidbits and Updates

For those of you wondering about results on Jamie’s kidney issue, the answer is – I don’t know anything yet.   Every time I call the doctor’s office, they say they haven’t gotten the results yet.  Thank you all for your continued concern, and I’ll let you know when I know something.

For those of you who may have sent e-mails to me or to Jamie, don’t be surprised if it takes us a while to respond.  Dummy me thought I was unplugging the printer the other night.  I went to bed, and when I awoke the next morning, I discovered I had actually unplugged the wireless modem.  I plugged it back in, but keeping it unplugged apparently messed up my network connections, meaning I’d have to re-enter my WEP key and such.  Well, I lost the paper that had the key on it.  I haven’t really looked for it too hard, because I haven’t been on the computer at home too much.  I’ve been basking in the fact that I don’t have to jump on the computer to do homework right off the bat, so I’ve avoided it completely.  I do check my e-mail via webmail at work, but Jamie has no way to do so.  I will either find the WEP key and reset everything, or I will call my ISP to get a new one, and be back up and running by Sunday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Cavalry is Coming...

… maybe.  I got a call the other night from my Uncle Mike, one of Dad’s brothers.  He is planning on coming down here January 4, and may be bringing my Aunt Patty and possibly one or two other of the siblings.  I sent them an e-mail last week laying out what all exactly is going on with Dad – the neurological disorder, the mass in his neck, how Dad basically can’t live on his own anymore, and how I don’t know how I can take care of him, work full-time, raise my son by myself, and go to school.  I also mentioned how I didn’t think Dad living with me (the only real option we have at this point) would be good for Jamie, considering how emotionally cold Dad can be.  So, Mike called and said if any of the other sibs want to come with him, he’ll be brining his RV down.  If they all have things come up and can’t come, he’ll be flying down by himself.

Once he (or they) get here, they’re going to go sit down with Dad and visit and talk to Dad about what he wants and needs.  Then they’re going to either talk to his doctors himself, or they’re going to get me to do it (since its in all of Dad’s medical files that they have permission to discuss his condition with me), to see what the doctors say he needs.  Then we’ll get on the phone with the VA, and see what programs there are.  Then, we’re all going to come up with a plan – together – to take care of Dad.  If that means selling his place and moving him back to Ohio where all the sibs can take turns checking on him and doing for him, then so be it.  If that means convincing Dad to find a residential facility here (and giving me his dog to take care of), so be it.  But I don’t see how I can do this alone, folks.

I was so relieved to get that call.  I know – as Dad’s nearest relative – I should be the one to take care of everything and take care of him.  But I don’t think I can.  I feel guilty about this, but I also know realistically that I will go insane, and Jamie will be adversely affected, if I have to be the one to shoulder everything.  I just can’t do it.  So, the cavalry is planning on coming.  Thank you God for answered prayers!  I’ll keep you all posted on what develops.

 

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Cheap Entertainment (and Educational, Too!)

Friday night, Stinkbumps and I will be heading to the planetarium at the community college here.  Seems with my handy-dandy college ID, my admission is free.  Stinkbumps only costs $2 to get in.  Heck, I’m even thinking about letting him have an honest-to-goodness sleepover that night, and inviting his friends Remo and Spencer to come, too.  $2 a kid?!?  Heck yeah, I can spring for a few more to come.  Plus, all three are very interested in astronomy (as am I).  A cool thing about the planetarium is that they just fully digitized it to an HD show.  They also change out the show about every two months, so there are multiple opportunities for educational entertainment.  I think Stinkbumps will find this a big improvement over his National Geographic Kids Telescope that I got him earlier this year so we could view the lunar eclipse. 

Speaking of that, the other night when Jupiter and Venus were highly visible near the moon, Stinkbumps dragged out his telescope and parked his butt out in the yard for hours looking at the moon and the planets.  He also has several astronomy books, as well as glow in the dark stars in his room.  He was a bit upset when I put them up that I didn’t arrange them as the constellations actually appear in the sky.  I told him that was too time-consuming, and if he wants it that way, he should do it himself.  So far, the stars have stayed exactly where I put them.  I figured they would.  J

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I'm Still a Bad, Bad Mommy

It's almost 7:30 p.m. By 8:30 p.m., my son is supposed to be showered, teeth brushed, all 500 medicines taken, school clothes for tomorrow laid out, backpack and shoes lined up neatly by the door, and be in bed waiting for me to tuck him in. There's just one problem - I haven't even fixed dinner yet. I just got done taking my last final of the semester, and prior to that, we had just gotten home from spending the night at my father's house. We didn't get home until almost 6 p.m. Needless to say, I'm exhausted (both mentally and physically), and I have no idea what to give my kid for dinner. Yes, folks, I'm a bad, bad mommy - but one who's glad she doesn't have to even think about school again until Jan. 20!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

More Health Issues, More Tests

Last night I had to rush Jamie to the after-hours clinic. He'd been complaining off and on for a couple of days that it burned sometimes when he peed. He's had a UTI before, so I just told him to drink more water and got him some cranberry juice to drink, too. Then last night, after his 5th grade holiday concert at school (not his strings concert, that's later this month), he went pee after he got out of the shower and screamed like he was being killed. He said it hurt really bad when he went pee, his back hurt (where the kidneys are) and there was some blood and a blood clot in his urine.

Okay, do not pass go, do not collect $200, just get your butt to the clinic! We get there, finally get checked in, and start describing this to the PA. He tells Jamie to pee in a cup, Jamie produces a sample, and they go test it. The PA comes back, says there's blood in the urine, but they can't tell if there's any infection or not. They can tell Jamie is mildly dehydrated. He pounds on Jamie's back (where the kidneys are) and Jamie yells. The PA says he thinks Jamie may have either kidney stones or an infection, so he sends us over to the hospital with the pee and orders for an ultrasound of Jamie's kidneys and some blood work. Of course, at 11:00 at night, they don't do ultrasounds and/or blood work, so I have to call today and make an appointment. We should know in 5 working days what's going on, but in the mean time I'm to keep forcing the water and cranberry juice on Jamie. We got home so late that Jamie stayed home today to rest and drink fluids.

On top of all that, Jamie's having increased difficulty breathing when he's active. Then when he has trouble breathing, his heart just about pounds out of his chest. Don't know if it's a type of panic attack because he can't breathe, a reaction to the fact that he can't breathe, or something else (heart conditions do run in the family - my mom, my grandmother, both my mom's brothers - all from early ages have had heart problems). So, Jamie has an appointment Dec. 26 with his asthma doc for her to see if the asthma has gotten worse, what we need to do about Jamie's soccer (if he can still play), and if the heart thing is asthma or panic related, or if we need to be referred to someone else on that.

I'll keep you all informed as to what the tests find. I'm ready to pull my hair out. I can't be everywhere and do everything I need to do. I'm so tired of jumping from one crisis situation to another, with no chance to rest or get my feet under me before another crisis is thrown at me. I almost feel like I'm in a war zone; I never know what's coming at me next, where the next bomb is going to land. I just stumble along, like some crazy game of "pin the tail on the donkey" - I'm blindfolded, dizzy, spun around and told to put the piece where it belongs. Well, I'm sorry, I don't seem to know where the pieces are supposed to go anymore, I have to just put it wherever I can and hope it's the right spot. Yanno?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Time Out from Negativity

I need to take a breather from the negativity.  Yes, it’s still all around me; but I’m not accomplishing anything by stewing over it.  I did get some good news today.  Texas law states that the rental company could come after me for the entire rent, even though her name is on the lease, too.  But, since I have such a long history with them, they told me to just pay my portion and they’ll go after her for the rest.  I was really worried that I’d be left holding the bag on it all.  Now I just need to contact the pest control company.  That’s in both our names, too. 

 

On another good note, I only have 1.5 weeks left of school.  It will be very good to get that stress off of me.  I can use a month to relax, decorate for Christmas, bake, start actually cooking meals instead of just nuking them in the microwave.  I know Jamie’s looking forward to that, too.  It will be good to be able to sit down and read whenever I want to, instead of fretting over the homework I’m ignoring in order to be able to do some pleasure reading.

 

Since R moved out, this also means I can move Jamie’s stuff around, and actually sort through and see what to keep and what to get rid of.  I can use one of the spare bedrooms as a sorting room for all his toys.  He may not like it, but some of his junk has got to go.  I’ll be sorting through my junk, too.  It’s time to declutter and start fresh – just in time to get more junk for Christmas!  LOL

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'd Like to Kill Her

When I came home from spending the night at my dad's house, my suspicions were confirmed. My fink roommate moved out the rest of her stuff and left me her key. I immediately text messaged her to let her know that, regardless of if she's actually living here or not, she still signed a lease - which means she still has to pay her portion of the rent for December and January, and she owes me her half of the pest control bill. I'm calling the rental company on Monday and giving them the address where she moved, and informing them I'll pay my portion of the rent directly to them, they'll have to get her portion from her. I knew this would happen. She hooked back up with her ex-husband, which - hey, that's great if they can work it out. But what ticks me off is that she decided she didn't need me anymore, so she left me in the lurch. I'm really tired of so-called friends merely using me until some better patsy comes along, especially after all the ways I've bent over backwards over the past two years to help her. I wash my hands of her whole two-faced, back-stabbing family.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Near-Disaster

Jamie & I celebrated Thanksgiving just the two of us, so I really didn't see the point in cooking a big meal for just us. I remembered at the last minute last night that I had a Cracker Barrel gift card that had been given to us back in January, and we still had two movie passes left over. Dinner and a movie for Thanksgiving? Great!

We have been eating at Cracker Barrel for years with no problem regarding Jamie's food allergies. All we've ever had to do was tell the server about his fatal food allergies, and they've been really vigilant about keeping nuts away from our food and warning us about foods that contain nuts. Well, last night - being Thanksgiving - Cracker Barrel was serving a Thanksgiving dinner that included turkey breast, stuffing, cranberry relish, sweet potato casserole, a side vegetable and pumpkin pie. Well, the casserole and the pumpkin pie had pecans in them, but the server - once I explained the situation - said it was no problem to substitute and that she would warn the kitchen staff about his allergies. I even saw it written on the ticket that neither plate could come in contact with any nuts. Jamie and I both substituted baby carrots for the casserole, chose okra for the side veggie, and substituted ice cream for the pumpkin pie. No big deal.

Our food comes, and there's pecans in my carrots! It looked like they had gotten sloshed on from another dinner. I didn't see any on Jamie's plate, but it freaked me out enough that I sent his plate back to have a whole new plate prepared for him, then I went and found the manager. I told him what had happened and that I was very upset, and explained to him in great detail just how severe Jamie's allergies are, as well as how just the tiniest contact with the allergens, even on someone else, could trigger a fatal reaction. I then went to the rest room and scrubbed my hands, as I had touched the pecans to get them off my plate (I still wouldn't eat the carrots, but I had taken the pecans with me when I talked to the manager).

About ten minutes after I returned to my seat, the manager came up to our table and apologized, then said something to the effect of "Well, we can't help it that your son is allergic." I went off on him then, explaining that we had been eating in Cracker Barrels all over the country for years, and this was the first time we'd ever had a problem. I further pointed out that restaurants are instructed to make accommodations for persons with disabilities, and that there are several government agencies that include food allergies in the list of disabilities (of course, I didn't mention that the only one I could think of was the USDA as it oversees the school lunch program). He then apologized again and stated that our meal was on the house.

Now, while I would not recommend near-fatal brushes with food allergens as a means of getting a free meal, it was still nice of them to do that. And fortunately, the rest of our evening was a lot of fun. We used our tickets to see Bolt in 3-D, and got home around midnight last night. Then I did homework until 3 a.m.

So, last night wasn't a complete disaster, and we had some fun. Now I'm doing laundry and getting ready to go to my dad's. Tomorrow I'll be fixing a big Thanksgiving feast for us.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tweet, Tweet

Thank goodness for a handy little doodad like Twitter! Jamie and I have both been sick with the nasties for the past week and a half, so I haven’t been doing much in the way of blogging. Plus, I’m working like mad to dig my way through the end-of-the-semester assignment clog, plus keep up everything else. So, Twitter has been a great way for me to keep my blog updated. All I have to do is text a 140 character or less update to Twitter, and they post it in the sidebar of my blog. So, if you’re wondering what I’m up to, but I haven’t had time to post, more than likely you’ll see my little “tweets” on the right sidebar. I’ve also found they are an endless source of entertainment. I’ve subscribed to several people’s twitter updates. So far, my favorite has been a user who calls himself “Holy God”. His last update read: “Attending a deity conference. I'm the only one here.” I laughed out loud when I read it. This person also posts things like “Waking up half the world and putting the other half to sleep,” "Chillin' with the saints" and “Just a little reminder to everyone that adultery is a sin and a very bad one at that. Worse than cursing.” He (she?) also randomly tweets things such as “The Bible is my favorite book. Is that conceited?” I enjoy this person’s tweets very much.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday Eye Candy!

I was going to wait until Friday, but I decided I couldn't wait to show off my boy!

Here's Jamie's Fall 2008 pictures. I couldn't afford the $40 the school photogs wanted for school pictures, so I took him to Wally World and paid only $16, and got more photos and more poses.




He loves the violin so much he insisted on having some of his pictures taken with it, even though they hadn't even starting bowing yet in practice! He amazes me more and more every day.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why, Yes, I CAN Procrastinate!

I'm supposed to be doing Spanish homework right now, but because I feel like crapola (thanks, Jamie, for giving me your virus!), instead I will fill out this meme I stole from Steph, who stole it from Feral Mom.

Three Things You Want To Do Before You Die:
1.) Write a novel
2.) Tour Europe
3.) Fall in love

Three Names You Go By:
1.) Jenn
2.) Juniper
3.) Jenny (only to family)

Three Physical Things You Like About Yourself:
1.) my chameleon eyes
2.) my full lips
3.) my strong, flexible hands and fingers

Three Parts Of Your Heritage:
1.) German
2.) French
3.) Irish

Three Things That Scare You:
1.) Hypodermic needles
2.) The current economy
3.) Commitment

Three Of Your Everyday Essentials:
1.) French Vanilla Coffee
2.) Sleepytime Tea
3.) music

Three Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1.) jeans
2.) white t-shirt
3.) Geek chic glasses

Three Of Your Favorite Bands/Musical Artists:
1.) Simon & Garfunkel
2.) Canadian Brass
3.) OK Go

Three Of Your Favorite Songs (at the moment anyway):
1.) OK Go, "Let it Rain"
2.) Pink feat. Steven Tyler, "Misery"
3.) Simon & Garfunkel, "Sound of Silence"

Three Things You Want In A Relationship:
1.) Laughter
2.) Respect
3.) Love

Two Truths And A Lie (in no particular order):
1.) I've never been married
2.) I *love* living in Texas
3.) My boy is the center of my world

Three Things You Want To Do Really Badly Right Now:
1.) Drink a bunch of Nyquil and go to bed
2.) Win the lottery
3.) Watch all six hours of A&E's "Pride and Prejudice" mini-series

Three Careers You're Considering/You've Considered:
1.) Actress
2.) College professor
3.) Journalist (Okay, that's cheating, as I actually WAS one, not just considering it)

Three Places You Want To Go On Vacation:
1.) Ireland
2.) Italy
3.) Prince Edward Island, Canada

Three Pet Names You Like (not sure if this means affectionate names for humans or names for companion animals, therefore these are affectionate names for my companion animals):
1.) Triptych
2.) Maestro
3.) Jazz Man

Three Ways That You Are Stereotypically A Girl:
1.) I have 30 pairs of shoes
2.) Go all gooey inside when I get to hold a baby
3.) I don't understand the fascination with cars: if it has four wheels, runs, and gets decent mileage, who CARES what it looks like?!?!?!?

Three Ways That You Are Stereotypically A Boy:
1.) Major potty mouth
2.) I love to play with tools
3.) Hate doing housework

Monday, November 17, 2008

Stubborn Old Man!

Dad wouldn't let me pick him up this morning, nor would he let me take his dog home. He insists on driving himself to the hospital. He doesn't want me to take the dog because he doesn't want me "spoiling" him. Don't worry about Buddy (the dog) though, I made sure he had plenty of food and water, and he has a doggie door so he can go outside when he needs to. However, I don't think Buddy will be lonely because I personally think Dad won't go at all. I tried coaxing, arguing, guilt trips - everything in my arsenal, but the stubborn old fart would not let me come get him. Grr!

He's supposed to call me when he gets checked in and tell me what room number he's in. Like I said above, I personally don't think he'll go. He thinks if he doesn't know about it, it can't hurt him. Like an ostrich, he wants to put his head in the sand and hope when he emerges the threat will have gone away. Doesn't work that way, Dad.

If by some miracle he does go, I'm going to tell the doctor she better keep him sedated, or else he'll get mad about something or other (like he always does), get dressed and leave before the testing is completed. If he's sedated, that also means I'll be able to go visit him and take his keys to his truck away from him. Kind of hard to leave somewhere if you don't have the keys to your car, yanno? As for the dog, I have a key to Dad's house, so I can go down and pick him up at any time if Dad does go for the testing, and they find something that needs to be treated right away.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stunned

How is it that, despite having watched closely as my sister, grandmother and mother wasted away, I am still stunned when I learn that yet another case of cancer may have reared its head in my family? I'm on auto-pilot right now. I'm kind of numb, and feel like I'm walking in a daze. This morning, I got a call from my father's oncologist. I didn't even know he HAD an oncologist. Apparently, Dad had gone to his cardiologist for his regular check-up on his pacemaker and complained of difficulty breathing and rapid weight loss (~10 pounds since I saw him 2 weeks ago).

So the cardiologist ordered a CT scan, and discovered a large mass in Dad's neck that also appears to be fused into some of his spinal cord, shoulder and brain. This led the cardiologist to send Dad to the oncologist. She met with him yesterday, and called me this morning to talk to me about Dad being admitted to the hospital for 2-3 days for intensive testing. Mind you, Dad didn't tell me a word about any of this.

She also confirmed that Dad does indeed have Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a degenerative neurological disorder that is fatal, usually within six years of onset. Based on his medical history, he's been displaying symptoms for the past two years. She also stated that Dad should not be living on his own anymore, and definitely should NOT be driving himself anywhere anymore. So, I'm taking Monday morning to go pick up Dad and his dog, drop the dog off at my house, take Dad to the hospital, and check him in. Then the oncologist wants to meet with me and Dad to discuss his living arrangements. I don't know what to do about that. To protect my child, I really can't have my Dad living with me. He can be violent, he's mean, and the emotional damage to Jamie would be great. I also don't have the ability to take care of everything he needs for the PSP, much less if he has cancer as well. I have no idea what to tell the doctor, much less while Dad is sitting right there with me.

That same day, I have to take Jamie to start his vision therapy for the convergence insufficiency. It took me a month to get an appointment, I can't reschedule it now. Sometimes it really sucks to have no one physically in your life on whom you can lean when you need help. I need to be 10 places at once, and somehow manage to do it all - including not missing any work, or else my boss won't wait until January to terminate my employment. This. really. sucks.

I know I complain about my father - A LOT. I also know I've said a million times that I love my father, I just don't like him very much. And this is true. But I wouldn't want to see my worst enemy waste away like what will happen to my father - whether by PSP or cancer. Either way, the prognosis is not good, and he's going to need a lot of assistive care. And knowing my father, he'll be kicking and fighting the whole way. God help us all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Recipe on R.O.U.S.

I posted a new recipe on R.O.U.S.

Go check it out! Just click on the title of this post, and you'll be there. Go on! Go!

:-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm a Bad, Bad Mommy...

.. because I failed to tell you all that Jamie sprained his wrist last Monday while playing soccer at recess. The nurse thought it was broken, so I had to leave work and take him to the ER for x-rays. Turns out, it was just a sprain, but bad enough that he had to have a hard brace and no P.E. or recess (or soccer) for the rest of last week. I was told Jamie could play in the soccer game on Saturday, though, as long as he wore the brace.


Well, wouldn't you know that Jamie fell in the exact same way during the game and reinjured his wrist. Now it's another week of no soccer, recess or P.E., and the wrist looks worse this time around. I may have to take him back to his doctor if it doesn't get better soon. I'll keep you informed this time, I promise!


You can barely see it because one of the rungs is in the way, but Jamie has a huge ice-pack on his left wrist in this picture. This is what pain, boredom and the trance-like state that "Spongebob" induces looks like!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Maybe Surrender was Premature...

Hello again. Time for me to bore you with more degree puzzlings and angst. I was about to surrender and go back to a BGS degree. BUT - then I noticed something. All the classes I've liked in both sociology and government have been law-and-society type courses. Criminal Law (gov), Constitutional Law (gov), Criminology (soci), Global Inequality (soci), etc. Just about every class I've elected to take has had to do with these type of courses. So, guess what! They all are also required courses for a B.S. in Criminal Justice. If I switched to this major, I would graduate in Fall 2009. That's only one more semester than the BGS degree. I can handle that. I was just getting frustrated with the Soci major because not everything was offered online, which meant I would have to take the courses at another institution and transfer them in; there's also a residency requirement which meant I would have had to take two or three semesters of electives just to be able to graduate with the correct number of in-house hours. But the CJ degree is offered 100% online at my school! I wouldn't have to worry about the residency. Also, I was going for a Soci major and Gov minor. The CJ degree is a perfect blending of the two. Also, many of the jobs I would ultimately want require either a sociology degree, social work degree, or criminal justice. Am I crazy? Or should I go for it?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Surrender!

Those of you whom have read this blog for a while know that I was originally in school pursuing a Bachelor of General Studies degree with concentrations in Sociology and Government. Earlier this year, I switched to a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with a minor in Government. The idea was to start this past summer taking additional sociology classes from another online school to transfer to Texas Woman’s University. The way I had arranged it, it would have only involved an extra year of schooling. BUT – that was before Jamie’s health issues this summer flared up to the point where I couldn’t handle a full-time load, before my job was at risk, before my roommate decided to ditch me.

SO – I’m switching back to my original plan of getting my BGS. This way, I’ll graduate next semester (go me!). Then I can start applying to grad schools. Now my only problem is deciding what program to which I want to apply. I’m enjoying my sociology classes up to a point. But I’ve enjoyed all my government classes more. Heck, I got nominated into a history and government honors society, for goodness sake! But, I’ve also always had a dream in the back of my head of being a teacher for the deaf. And TWU offers both a Masters in Government and a Master’s in Deaf Education. Both programs are online classes. The only thing additional I would have to do for the deaf ed. would be to take sign language classes here locally. And one of the colleges I already attend (San Antonio College) for my prerequisite courses offers sign language classes. I want to get my Master’s from TWU because I figure – hey, it’s their BGS degree! They can’t exactly turn it down as inferior, can they?

So, anywho, I give up. I surrender. I cannot take another whole year of school to graduate. I’ll go insane! So, I’m taking the easier way out. Am I making a big mistake?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Don't Have to Move to Canada After All!

OMG OMG OMG!!!! I can't stop smiling. My cheeks hurt, I'm smiling so much!

I was so afraid this day would end so much differently. We all know how the elections have gone in the past - GOP. But this!

Oh! I don't have the words! I have hope again!

To quote some dear friends:

"Woooohooooooooo!"

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Today's Guest Blogger is Jamie!

Hi i'm jamie. last week I went to Jon knocks rach, itwas fun!!!!! 1 thing I did was fine the cabin. My cabin name was limestone. It was cool and amazing. I sleep on top. My room mat's were remo, cj, and chaperone. Then we went to the meeting house we had fun. Then on day 2 we went canoeing,and fishing and we went bird watching and saw 1. Then on day 3 we moved ash juniper trees, then we left. I had a lot of fun!!!!! Thank you Ms. Tiffany for makin it possbel for me to go!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Too Funny!

Jamie told me this story just as I was putting him to bed, and I about peed my pants, it was so funny!

At some point today, his teacher, Ms. S, had to have Jamie come back with her to the female teachers' cabin to take his meds. When he got there, the other teacher, Ms. B, was in there. Ms. S and Ms. B got into a very "female biology oriented" discussion - evidently forgetting that Jamie was there (he can sometimes be so quiet, you forget he's still there and paying very close attention). Ms. S looked up and realized Jamie was in the room. She stammered out, "Oh, Jamie, please tell me you weren't listening to all that. I'm so sorry we forgot you were here!"

To which Jamie replied. "Huh, that's nothing. I hear that kind of stuff all the time. I DO live with three women, after all!"

I about cracked up! Of course, after I tucked him in, the first thing I did was go tell my roomie what he said.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Miss My Boy

While I have to admit that I'm really LOVING the fact that I got to sleep in until 7:45 this morning, and have a small, secret pleasure that I didn't have to spend 45 minutes telling Jamie to get his butt in bed last night --- still, I miss my boy! I'm counting the hours until I pick him up from school tomorrow.

I'm not the only one who misses him. Ziggy keeps wandering around the house, nosing open any door that is even partially closed, then running inside the room. Then he stops suddenly in the middle of the room, sniffs around, whines, tucks his tail between his legs, and leaves the room. Then he stands outside Jamie's room and whimpers, then looks at me like "Where's my boy?"

I'm wondering the same thing, Zig. But don't worry, he'll be home tomorrow. We'll see him in about 24 hours and 14 minutes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tomorrow I Be Kid Free

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Jamie's field trip; he'll be gone until Wednesday when I pick him up after school. So today is filled with doing laundry, packing his bag, and preparing and packing all of his food. Originally, I was only going to pack him cold stuff to eat at every meal. However, the weather forecast is for chilly temperatures, and I feel at least one hot thing at every meal is essential to keep him from getting sick. So I bought him oatmeal packets for breakfast (all he'll have to do is ask an adult to get him some hot water and he can mix it himself). But lunches and dinners were a bit more problematic; so I went the more expensive route and bought some microwaveable soups that he can ask an adult to heat up for him in a microwave. As skinny as Jamie is, and as easily as he gets cold, I can't imagine that eating nothing but cold foods for three days would be conducive to him staying in good health. He needs something warm in him to combat the chilly temperatures.

I've been trying to hide my anxiety about this trip from Jamie. He's excited to go, but as we get closer to the deadline, he's become more anxious about it. He's worried that he might accidentally be exposed to something he's allergic to, and he's worried that the adults won't know how to react if he does go into anaphylactic shock. There's something so wrong about a 10 year old being (rightly) so worried about the possibility of death. I also worry, because the camp is an hour and a half away, because they don't get cell phone reception and only have one land line, because the nearest hospital is an hour away, because I won't be there to make sure all the kids wash their hands after meals, that the table gets wiped down, etc. etc. But, I also realize that Jamie can't hide his whole life because of what "might" happen. I realize that pretty much any encounter with food is a risk for him, but he can't go through life scared. If he does, that isn't really living. It's merely existing, and I don't want that for my child.

So, even though he's now voicing doubts about going, I'm encouraging him to go. I've told him he can't go through life scared. He should be cautious about things, but not hide from them all. I've put on a brave face, when inside I feel like I'm sending him off to the executioners. But I can't prevent him from being a normal kid just because I'm scared. Any more than he can hide from life because he's scared. Go live, little guy. Enjoy life, don't just exist.

But I'll be praying the whole time he's gone. And I'll give him the biggest hug he's ever gotten when he comes home on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thank you

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say "thank you" to everyone who left words of encouragement or offered advice on my extremely depressing birthday post the other day. I've been increasingly down in the dumps as this year has progressed; the current economic situation has not helped one bit, let me tell you! I've been racking my brains, trying to figure out how to squeeze in another source of income into my already hectic schedule; so far, no luck. That is, unless I want to forgo sleep all together. If I don't sleep, I can squeeze a second job in there at night, but then I would be too exhausted for work or school.

I was talking to an acquaintance about the general economic outlook for the whole country and casually mentioned that it's hitting my family, as well. She looked at me and said, "Well, just cancel Jamie's violin lessons. That'll save you some money. It's not like he needs music for anything." WHAT?!?!!???! Please tell me I misheard her! How can anyone say no one needs music?!?! I wanted to grab the nearest textbook and whack her upside the head with it. For my high school portfolio, I wrote a paper on how music and math are linked, and how study of music helps in one's verbal development, reading skills, and math skills. Oh, how I wish I had had a copy of that paper to stuff in that poor, misguided woman's mouth until she choked on it! Doesn't need music, my a$$!

My roommate also suggested that I take Jamie's violin lessons away because that would save me $30 a month in instrument rental fees. Again, NO! First of all, Jamie loves to play his violin. He's no virtuoso, my ears can attest to that! But - he is a lot better than I expected someone to be after only four lessons (they meet for an hour once a week after school). I can tell what he's playing about 3/4 of the time, and there is a very definite rhythm when he's playing. His whole face lights up when he plays, and it's beautiful to see. No matter how the bills get, I'm not taking away the violin, nor will I take away soccer. These are the two extracurricular activities he loves the most, so I'm not taking them away from him. Also, not only does he love them, but according to his psychologist, they are good therapy for his ADHD. They help him learn that paying attention is important, that if he doesn't do what he's supposed to do, he isn't just letting himself down, but he's letting down the whole team/ensemble. They also help him to learn how to work with people, instead of always trying to get his own way. And again, there is the benefit that music brings to the rest of your life (the aforementioned reading, math and verbal benefits, etc.)

Speaking of reading, I may have discovered part of Jamie's school problem, and why he speaks like an adult but reads like a first-grader with no comprehension skills whatsoever. Yesterday, I took a vacation day so I could take a computer equivalency exam and then take Jamie to the opthalmologist. He had failed his eye exam at the pediatrician's, so the doctor wanted Jamie's eyes checked. Because Jamie has migraines so often, and his other concentration problems, Dr. Jardan wanted Jamie seen by an opthalmologist instead of an optometrist. So, at his appointment yesterday, Dr. Zwaan said Jamie has something called "convergence insufficiency." Basically, this means he can't focus both eyes up close like one needs to do when reading and working on the computer, doing homework, etc. It takes so much effort for him to keep both eyes trained on the book/computer/paper, that he cannot comprehend and retain what he's reading. It also causes eye strain because he's seeing multiple images out of one eye due to the strain. Basically, both eyes are supposed to focus down into a "V" shape, with the smalled part of the "V" being trained on the paper/book/computer. Jamie's left eye wants to make more of a "U" and wander off to the left somewhere. This causes him to see multiple images of the object out of his left eye, and normal vision out of the right, which then confuses the hell out of his brain. So then, his brain is so busy trying to unscramble what he's reading, and focusing so hard on trying to make that left eye take information that he can't really process what he's reading. This also leads to eye strain, which then triggers his horrendous migraines.

Great!, you say. You know what's wrong! Now how do you fix it? Jamie has to start what's called "vision therapy" to retrain his left eye. Only problem is, they only do it on Mondays, and they're closed during my normal lunch break. I'm going to try to take him on a later lunch hour than normal, and just hope that traffic isn't too bad on the way there and that they don't take forever to get him in to start the therapy. If it takes up too much time, I fear my boss will decide to go ahead and can me and not wait until January. Until then, keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tomorrow I Be 32

Having reached the age of 32 (well, one day away, anyway), I can't help but think, "Wait. This is 32? Shouldn't I feel older, wiser, and at least partially like a grown up?" The only difference between the way I feel in my 30's to the way I felt in my late teens and at 20 is that now, in addition to worrying about bills, food, my job, the economy, etc., I now have the worry of "how the heck am I going to support my kid?" Shouldn't someone in her 30's feel a bit more, I don't know, settled, by now?

I feel like everyone else my age has gotten their crap together by now. They know who they are, what they want to be, most have found a partner in life and have at least some sort of plan for their lives. Me? Well, if I make it successfully through one day without breaking down crying and get half the things done on that particular day that need to be done, well - that's success for me. I kind of feel like Dorothy in the tornado. There's nothing sturdy to hold on to, I don't know where I'm being blown to, and I certainly don't know what's going to happen next. I feel like everything is out of my control.

Part of this is because I've had a totally craptastic couple of weeks down here. Let me give you a recap:
  • Last week, instead of getting the raise I was really hoping for and desperately needing, I was instead told that I'm on probation and I'll find out in January if I still have a job.
  • I found out my request for an appeal with Jamie's insurance has been denied; which means that starting next month, I have a 923% increase in the copay amounts I have to pay for Jamie's doctor visits and medicines. What was once costing me less than $20 a month will now cost me a little over $200. That's money I don't have, folks.
  • I came to the realization that - between soon-to-be-higher medical costs for Jamie and my own bills, there probably won't be any presents at Christmas this year. I know that Christmas isn't about presents, it's about Jesus, and family, and love. But - oh - how it hurts to know I can't give Jamie what he wants this year!
  • My roommate informed me she's going back on her agreement with me to share bills and split rent until we're out of school and will be moving out when the lease is up at the end of January. She's going back on her word because she's more broke than I am, which a part of me can understand. However, this puts me in a major bind because -
  • I've discovered it may be next to impossible for me to find a place for me and Jamie to live on my income alone. Due to the credit crisis and economic woes, all the rental agencies around here have restructured their income requirements for being able to rent a house. They now require you to have an income at least 4x that of the monthly rent. Even though I'll have school money at the beginning of January to use for a deposit, first month's rent, etc., the rental agencies don't count that as income, so I'm hard pressed to find a place that will even let me rent, much less finding one in a good neighborhood, in good repair, etc.
  • Due to the above, and wondering if we'll have enough $$ just to rent a house, I had to break Jamie's heart and tell him we couldn't go back to NYC on spring break to see Uncle Joel like we had been planning on since last November. Jamie really loves Uncle Joel, and was eagerly anticipating seeing him again. But with our finances up in the air so much right now, I just don't see how that trip is going to be possible.
  • Dad's being a butt, calling me and harassing me about not coming to see him often enough, then hanging up on me when I answer his questions in ways he doesn't like, and
  • I'm failing my Spanish class. I'm so tired, and stressed, and freaking out over everything that I can't concentrate on all my classes. The Spanish is the hardest one for me to absorb, so it's the one that falls out of my head first. I think I'm doing fine, then I go to take the test and bomb. I got a 62 on the first test, and a 55 on the second. It will be a miracle if I can raise the grade up to a C at this point, much less straight A's like I usually have.

However, I keep reminding myself that things are not as bad as they could be. We have a roof over our heads for now. There's still food in the pantry. Although it's uncertain if I'll still have a job in the future, I do still have one for now. Those who have read my last few entries know that God is good, and Tiffany rocks, so Jamie still gets to go on his field trip. In fact, this weekend he's excited about getting to go pick out "yummy never-touched-a-peanut-in-it's-life food" and packing his bags for the trip. Things could be much worse. It's just that, I don't know, I thought that I would have gotten to a point where life was easier by now - I'd know where I was going and how to get there, I wouldn't still be trying to juggle so many balls in the air. Heck, I never expected I'd still be single at this point in my life, either. I guess I took it for granted that I'd have a partner in life by now. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm learning that there really isn't any difference between how you feel in your 30's from how you felt in your teens. And there's no "magic age" when you finally grow up. And just because you have a kid(s), it doesn't mean all of a sudden you have the answers. I think mostly it means you just have more questions.

So, sorry for being such a downer today, folks. I just needed to unload some of this stress, anxiety and what-have-you while ruminating on the status of my "adulthood." I'm not meaning to whine or have a pity party, I just felt like if I didn't get some of it out of my head and down on paper - wait, um... on the computer screen, my head would explode, or at the very least I'd start consuming copious amounts of alcohol. If I ever get it figured out, I'll let you all know. Peace, love, hugs and kisses to you all!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Praise God and Thank You Tiffany!

So, some of you who read my blog read my latest rant, and may have read a comment from Tiffany, a super awesome lady I met at church and with whom I have maintained sporadic contact, offer to provide for Jamie to go to camp. Now, I can be a pretty proud person and stubbornly refuse help even when I desperately need it (c'mon, my first full sentence was "me do it meself". That set the tone for the rest of my life). However, when it comes to my kid, if I truly desperately need help and it's for his benefit, I'll suck it up and ask for help. So when Tiff offered, I wanted to graciously decline. But then there was Jamie, and Tiff pretty much told me she wouldn't take no for an answer. So I tearfully, not a bit of pride in me, accepted her generous offer. Thank you, God, for hearing my prayers for help, and Thank you, Tiffany, for helping me. You should have seen the huge, radiant smile on Jamie's face when I told him he would, indeed, get to go on the trip. Lots of love and hugs to you, Tiff! And love and thanks for your patience to my readers who have read my rants!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oh, I'm Mad and Sad!

I have been doing a lot of ranting lately, dear readers, and for that I am sorry.  But my latest mad and sad item is really bad (why do I sound like Dr. Seuss?).  Anyway, Jamie’s school has an overnight field trip for 5th graders.  No, I’m sorry, let me correct that – the ENTIRE DISTRICT has an overnight field trip for the fifth graders.  They go to a ranch and spend three days and two nights observing animals in the wild, testing water quality, hiking, canoeing, doing some real hands-on science stuff.  BUT – and here’s the part that pisses me off – the ranch is refusing to guarantee its food is peanut or tree nut free, AND is refusing to supply any alternate food for Jamie because “it isn’t in its contract” with the school system to do so.  I’ve already contacted the Texas Dept. of Ag that overseas the school lunch program, and since the food is not in any way associated with the school nutrition services, they don’t have to provide an alternative lunch for Jamie.

 

Jamie could have gone if I had sent a cooler full of food with him, and the ranch would have supplied a separate table for him to sit at and supplies for Jamie to wipe down the table, BUT – here’s another thing that has me mad and sad – the economic downturn has hit me really hard, and Jamie’s health insurance co-pays increase 923% (that’s not an exaggeration) next month, so I can’t afford to send a cooler of food with him on the trip, so Jamie can’t go.

 

Poor kid is being punished because of something he can’t help.  I asked the assistant principal if Jamie would be the only one not going, and she said “No, there will be some not going because of discipline problems”.  Excuse me?!?!  The only other ones not going are because they’re in trouble?

 

I’m no Pollyanna.  I of all people should know the world is not fair and that sometimes things just downright suck, but it breaks my heart that Jamie is being punished for something he has no control over, and is missing this opportunity to go ramble in an honest-to-goodness Texas ranch for three days with his friends and go hiking, canoeing and learn about nature actually out in nature.  This goes beyond suckage.  And the real kicker here?  The ranch they’re all going to is a Christian fellowship camp in the summer that advertises its “openness” and “welcoming policies for all.”  HA!  What a crock!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Double Feature

Suffering from a severe case of school burnout and work-related stress, I took the weekend off.  I didn’t turn in this week’s Spanish homework that was due Friday night, purposely put out of my mind the Social Research exam I was supposed to be doing this weekend (it’s due tonight at 11:55 p.m.), and just plain didn’t care about Speech outlines and Racial/Ethnic Groups quizzes all due this weekend.  My head was ready to burst, I felt like if I had to read one more paragraph, I’d start crying.  So, I played some major hookey this weekend.

 

Instead of doing all the responsible things I should have been doing, I took my kid to a double feature.  We had some discount movie passes I’d picked up a long time ago, and Jamie had saved up money he’d earned doing chores, so we combined the two to see “City of Ember” and “Eagle Eye” on Saturday.  We used Jamie’s money to pay for the matinee showing of “Ember” and used the discount passes for “Eagle.”  Both were very, very good movies.  Although, at the beginning of “Eagle” there was some language that, had I been aware of it beforehand we would have chosen a different movie.  Jamie really liked both of them (yet another sign that he’s maturing past “only cartoons”), and couldn’t decide, when asked, which one was better.  He also enjoyed the fact that there was a little over an hour between the two movies where he got to use his quarters to play in the arcade.

 

Yes, I should have been doing homework.  But I just can’t bring myself to care.  I had a blast with my son, and got to spend some precious time with him while he’s still in the stage where he actually LIKES spending time with Mom.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Drunk Pumpkin

A high school friend with whom I've recently been e-mail corresponding sent me this picture; it was so funny, I just had to share it!

Speaking of halloween (well, sort of), anybody have any cheap costume ideas? Jamie can't make up his mind what he wants to be, halloween approacheth, and I refuse to buy a costume. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I Love This Article

I gotta say, I love this New York Times article. Read it, and I bet you’ll love it, too!

***For some reason, the link above doesn't always show up. Just put your mouse anywhere over the words "this New York Times article" and click, and it will take you to the link.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Little Boy's David Beckham Dreams

Jamie has been prattling on about how he wishes he could meet David Beckham at the game on Oct. 18, or see some of the Houston Dynamo players whose autographs he'd gotten before. I had to explain to him that the tickets we got are not VIP tickets like we had for the tournament here in San Antonio. Oh no, I couldn't afford those (besides, they were all sold out; I looked). Nope, we have nosebleed section tickets, way up high in Section 201. I explained that most of the up-close action we'd see would be on the view monitor (if they have one). He was a bit disappointed, but - in true "Jamie-style" - was just grateful to be going to the game. I have such a wonderful son!

We had a scare last night at Jamie's soccer practice. Even though Jamie has played keeper for more than SIX seasons, they keep putting him in as striker. For those of you not familiar with soccer positions, the keeper (or goalie, or goalkeeper) keeps the ball from going in the net. The striker (or forward) is the one who tries to put the ball in the opposing team's net. The striker does a LOT of running (at least, he does in the U11 age group, when they're still learning about passing and team work). Now, one would think that coaches and trainers, upon being informed a child has asthma, would choose a position OTHER than the one that involves the most running; a position that actually involves short bursts of activity, rather than one long, sustained effort; a position that the player has more than THREE YEARS of experience in playing. Nope. Striker it is. And last night, Jamie had his first asthma attack on the field. His team was playing a scrimmage against another team from the same league. Jamie had the ball and was heading downfield to the opposing team's net when he suddenly doubled over, started coughing and gasping, and couldn't breathe. He was able to get off the field and over to his bag to take his inhaler, but even after he was able to fully breathe again, he said his lungs hurt. He said it felt like someone had kicked him in the lungs and left him all bruised inside.


I really worry about him. He loves soccer, but with episodes like this, and Texas' wonderful trend towards Air Quality Alert Days when Jamie can't even go outside (which means no games, no practices), I have to wonder if his soccer days are limited. Which is such a shame because he's so darn GOOD. I think if his downward trend continues, I'll take him back to his allergy/asthma doctor and have them give me their medical opinion about him continuing to play soccer. Then, based on the doc's recommendations, I'll talk to his coach and trainer about whether or not it is wise for Jamie to keep playing striker.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's Beckham, Baby!

I didn't really have the money to do it, but I did it anyway. My birthday is in about 3 weeks. My dad made me promise I would buy myself something completely impractical that I really really want for my birthday (he deducted a hefty amount from the big chunk of cash I owe him). Today, I was checking my e-mail and saw that the Houston Dynamo MLS (Major League Soccer) team has a home game on Oct. 18. That's the Saturday before my birthday. Then I noticed they're playing the L.A. Galaxy, the team that Mr. Hunky-and-Oh-So-Adorable-and-a-Really-Good-Soccer-Player-to-Boot David Beckham is on. So I decided my birthday present to myself is taking Jamie to see an MLS soccer game in a big huge stadium. Jamie has been bugging me to take him to see the Houston Dynamo ever since they played in an exhibition tournament here in San Antonio, and he managed to meet several of the players and get their autographs. Just about every week, he'd ask if we'd be able to drive to Houston for a game. I had to keep telling him no.

So today, when I picked him up from school, I casually mentioned that I had a secret.... and said nothing else. The. Whole. Way. Home. By this time, Jamie was squirming in his seat, just dying to know what I knew that he didn't know. Then I just casually mentioned he was taking me to see the Houston Dynamo for my birthday.... He whooped and jumped up and down. Then I mentioned who they were playing and who is on that team. The child SCREAMED like someone had just killed him.

I think Mommy earned some major cool points today. What do you think?

Monday, September 29, 2008

TOO FUNNY!!!!!!

Must see TV, indeed!

No, That Isn't a Cat Screeching, It's Jamie Practicing Violin

I was able to find a reputable music shop that rents violins (and 100% of the rental price goes towards the purchase of a violin), so on Friday, Jamie and I went down and got him a violin. Despite the fact that he has not had a single lesson, he insisted on trying it out. Now, I kept trying to tell him he needs to wait until he actually has some lessons before he starts playing because he doesn't want to develop any bad habits or accidentally damage the violin or bow.... to no avail. He's so excited about this that he insisted on digging out the DVD and CD that came with his lesson book and dove right in. The dog ran from the room and hid in his crate; the neighbor's cat that is always in our yard started yowling; and Jamie sawed away with a huge grin on his face. I finally convinced him to put it away, his first lesson was only a few days away, he could wait that long without dying, etc. etc. etc.

I now feel sympathy for what my mother went through when I first started learning the flute at my older sister's knee. Please, let us all pray he improves with practice! LOL

Thursday, September 25, 2008

An Improvement (of Sorts)

I called the special education specialist at Jamie's school today. Now, Jamie does not fully qualify for special ed services, however there is some crossover with special ed on what Jamie needs to be academically successful (this is where the whole "fish tank" thing comes in). Anyway, Mrs. G. told me she had already conferenced with Jamie's teacher, who had sought her out because of my insistence that Jamie is supposed to be allowed to go to the fish tank, even though his teacher couldn't find it. Apparently, the school was a wee bit lax this year in putting out the lists of students who are allowed (i.e., required) to go to the fish tank for tests. The stipulation that Jamie is allowed to go to the fish tank is in teeny, tiny little letters on his IEP, in an apparently out-of-the-way place on the forms, buried down deep where his regular teacher never saw it. Since she couldn't find it in his IEP, and didn't see his name on a list of students allowed to go, she assumed he was not supposed to go. For that, I will forgive her (a little. Although, if I had a student who was a good kid, didn't cause trouble, and was obviously ADHD, and both he and his mother repeatedly insisted the kid was supposed to have been allowed to go, I think I would have investigated it before now instead of insisting over and over again that he wasn't. Then again, I'm not a teacher who has to deal with 21 rowdy 5th graders all day everyday, so maybe I wouldn't).

Anyhoo, it seems the fish tank battle is over... Now, let's see what we can do to get the nurse's office situation cleared up!

On an unrelated note, anyone know where I can get Jamie a 3/4 sized violin in good repair at a not hugely expensive price? Jamie wants to join the orchestra at his school, but I don't have the $$ available to buy him a new violin. Anyone have any suggestions?




Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm Angry! (Warning: Rant Enclosed)

I am very angry at Jamie's new teacher. Even though it is documented in his school file that he gets migraines and has a note from his neurologist stating that Jamie must be allowed to go to the nurse at the first sign of a headache so he can take his medicine and wait in a quiet, dark place for it to take effect, she wouldn't let him go when he told her he had a headache. This has happened more than once, which then resulted in me having to go pick him up early because he wound up with migraines so bad he was crying. Then she had the gall to send a note home that she felt Jamie was missing too much classroom time by going to the nurse's office. I fired one back stating that - considering his asthma, G.I. problems, migraines and allergies - he'll probably be spending a lot of time there, just like in previous years, and so long as his grades weren't affected (which they aren't), I didn't feel it was a problem to let him do what the doctors have stated he needs to do. She didn't like my reply at all.

Not only that, but it is also documented in Jamie's file about his ADHD, and that he must be allowed to take tests in what they call "The Fish Tank". Basically, it's just a quiet room where there are no distractions. The class had to take a test one day when there was a substitute (which of course means the class was more rowdy than usual). So Jamie asked if he could go to the Fish Tank to take the test, and the sub showed Jamie a note his teacher had left stating Jamie was not to be allowed to go to the Fish Tank.

Furthermore, Jamie has reported to me that she is often very derisive towards and dismissive of him in class, especially when he asks a question about classwork, can't get one particular student in his class to leave him alone, or needs to go to the nurse. Jamie has never had a major problem with any of his teachers in the past. Sure, there was one who didn't seem to "get" Jamie at first back in third grade, but by this point in the school year they were good buddies.

I've sent notes to school explaining about his migraines, reminding her to look at his Educational Plan on file in his records about his ADHD, telling her to look in his file at his notes from the G.I. doctor, the neurologist, the psychiatrist, etc., and to please follow their instructions, to no avail. I'm supposed to have a conference with her sometime soon, and I will definitely address these issues. If that doesn't help, my next step is to go to the principal. If need be, I'll demand that he switch classrooms. But, geez, Louise, this woman is pissing me off!

Friday, September 05, 2008

I LOVE IT!

peggy hill, king of the hill, sarah palin, alaska
see more famous faces look-a-likes



“ Palin scares the crap out of me because her platform requires no real thinking either, and plenty of blind obedience. Gays are deviant. Books are dangerous. Abortion is murder. Evolution is wrong. War is right. And all it takes to win with a platform like that is charisma." debauchette qtd. on Electronic Pastures




I also found this little gem there. Lurve it!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hectic Day, Hectic Weekend

Today after work, I get to pick up Jamie, rush to Wal-Mart to pick up the itty bitty tubes of toothpaste and toiletries we have to take with us on the plane, then be home by 6 p.m. for FedEx to deliver Jamie's new bed, which will lie in its boxes (all five of them!) in the garage until such time when I am able to drag it into the house, put the damn thing together and stain it. Luckily, we have a large second living room that is all but empty now which will act as workshop and staining center. Also luckily, Jamie's room has a set of double doors on one side we can use to move the bed in in one piece.

But I digress. I also have to do a quick load of laundry, pack our bags, gather up all 500 (it seems) prescription medicines Jamie takes on a daily basis, give the dog a bath (so he doesn't stink Rachel out of the house while we're gone), fix dinner (it may just have to be pizza night!), put Jamie to bed really really early, do homework, then crash for a couple of hours until I have to get up at 2 a.m. to get ready for the taxi to come at 3:30 to take us to the airport by 4 a.m., the dictated 2 hours prior to our 6 a.m. flight to Chicago, where we get to wait for three hours until catching our connecting flight to Cincinnati. Whew! Did you like that run-0n sentence? I'm thinking it may be easier for me to do what I did before the New York/Kentucky Thanksgiving trip - just not go to sleep that night while I get everything else done, then sleep on the planes.

Anyway, I hope you all have a fun and safe Labor Day Weekend!

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Been Too Long

Dearest Readers:

I apologize greatly for my absence from the blog. I’ve been “trolling the blog roll” every day to catch up on what everyone else is doing (beautiful boy, Lydia and Geron!), but I haven’t really felt compelled to write anything. I’m afraid I’m suffering from a severe case of pre-semester start-up laziness. Because I increased my school load back to full time hours and Jamie has moved into a higher level of competition in soccer (ergo, requiring more of a time commitment each week as opposed to last year – 1 ½ hr. practices 3x a week and games on Saturdays and Sundays this year, instead of 1 hr. practices 3x a week and a game only on Saturday or Sunday, not both, like last year), I have been reveling in my freedom and have spent my free time out and about with my boy rather than sitting in front of the computer to blog.

We do have some news for you, though. This weekend (Labor Day weekend, to be exact), Jamie and I are flying to Cincinnati, OH, for the (insert my last name here) Family Reunion. Jamie is quite excited as many of these people he has never met – well, at least not to his recollection. The last time I attended this particular family branch reunion, hewas still in diapers and barely able to walk around by holding on to the picnic tables and chairs! We’re flying out at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, and not getting back home until after 11 p.m. Monday night. I’m going to make Jamie sleep on the plane to catch some of the zzzz’s he’ll miss by us getting home so late. I would have booked an earlier flight, but I saved more than $200 by doing it this way. I figure one time getting to bed late won’t hurt him too much.

Nothing too exciting to report, other than the fact that Jamie is now wearing shoes that are only about 1 size smaller than mine. Seriously! I now steal his socks all the time because I like his better than mine. Maybe I’ll just start buying my socks in the boys’ department, too.

Love, hugs and safe travel this upcoming holiday to you all!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Another Layout and 300th Post

This is another layout I found that I like very much. In fact, the more I look at it, the more I like it. However, I'm continuing with my layout tweaking project and ultimate poll where you, dear readers, get to help me finally decide which layout to use.

In the midst of everything, I didn't realize that my last post (that update on Jamie) was my 300th post here on my blog. I cannot believe I've already reached 300. Geez, I talk waaaay too much! LOL

Things here continue much as usual. Jamie has soccer "boot camp" all this week. He'll have soccer practice each night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. this week, regardless of 100+ degree temperatures and/or rain. The only thing that will cancel practice at this point is lightning. Looks like momma will have to be sure to bring the sunblock, LOTS of water, and the rescue inhaler!

I'm inhaling as many books as I can before my new semester starts August 25. I didn't get to read much during summer session, and I know I'll be super busy this fall. I just started reading David Eddings. I finished all of the Belgariad, and I've now started the Mallorean (sp?). I really really REALLY want to get my hands on the new Stephenie Meyer book "Breaking Dawn," but cash is in short supply. I'm ordering a copy the second I can afford to splurge on a new book, though. I'm dying to know what happens!

Friday, August 01, 2008

About a Boy

 

Got a call yesterday from the allergy/asthma doctor.  She had good news and bad news.  The good news was, Jamie has not developed any new food allergies.  But this good news also further perplexes me, as this means I now get to move on to the neurologist to see if his migraines have a connection to his stomach pains (which continue, unabated).  Joel’s girlfriend Leah had a suggestion that I might want to have him tested for an allergy to a substance found in wheat gluten; only problem is, I don’t remember the name of the substance (it starts with an “s”).  I’m sure it will come to me, and I can take him back to the allergist to have him tested for that one particular enzyme.  Now to the bad news – Jamie is even more fatally allergic to peanuts now than he was before.  True, it’s always been a fatal allergy, only now, it will apparently kill him even FASTER than ingesting peanuts or tree nuts would have before.  I guess it’s time to increase my diligence, as I’ll now have even less time to recognize any warning signs (if there are any) that he’s going into anaphylactic shock and administer his Epi-Pen.  So that’s the update on Jamie’s health.  I’ll post more when I know more.

Tweaked Again

What do you think of the further tweaks?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tweaking

So I tweaked the font and link colors a bit, as well as made the text areas a little more opaque. Did this help the readability issues any, or do I need to do more work?

I figure I'll put up a new template once a week; I'm thinking a week is enough time for my "regulars" to peruse the new template. Then, after I've exhausted my supply of templates I like, I'll use the handy new "poll" feature here on blogger to get everyone's input on which background they liked best. Now, if you guys choose one I decide I don't like after all, I probably won't use it. But, hey, I still want to have an excuse to try out the poll feature, so please vote anyway!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Changing Things Up

Those of you whom have read my blog from the beginning have probably noticed my blog looked exactly the same as it had when I first set it up.  I was really getting tired of looking at polka-dots, so I decided to change things up a bit.  Jamie and I both love to look at the stars and are both fascinated with all things outer space, so I decided to change to a space theme.  I didn’t like the stark melancholy found in the moonscape blog layouts I found, but I did love the colors and image of this wormhole.  I’m not sure how many times I’ll change my layout over the next few weeks; I’m experimenting right now.  I also am playing with waterfalls, nature scenes and travelscapes.  Your input and opinions on the various layouts are welcome.  Once I pick a layout and stick with it, then I’ll put all my links and stuff back on the blog.  It’s just too much of a pain in the arse to try to keep re-adding the links, only to change the template again and to add them back on again.

 

Maybe my desire to change things on my blog has to do with the fact that things are so humdrum and normal back here in the real world.  I’m working the same job that I’ve worked for going on three years.  This is a record for me, let me tell you!  Normally, I get bored with a job before now.  My longest running job before this was when I worked for the newspaper back in _____town.  I don’t know if my being in my current position for so long has to do with the great people I work with (now), the crappy job market, more maturity on my part, a realization that I do NOT want to be jobless and back on government assistance, or a combination of all of that.  For whatever reason(s), I will have been in my current position for three years come October 3.  I expect to be here for at least a couple more years while I wrap up my undergrad degree and weigh job prospects in towns where colleges and universities offering an MA in Sociology, then apply to programs, etc. etc.  So it looks like Jamie may just get to go to middle school in Texas for a while, too.  I tell you what, though; I’m so tired of the heat down here, I’m even considering programs in Alaska just to get me back to cold and snow!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More News

Even though I haven’t posted very recently, I’ve been keeping up with the comments on here.  Joel’s observation about bullies is one I had thought of, but have ruled out.  Quite a few months ago, the main ringleader at Jamie’s school transferred; there also were some rearrangements among the “power clique” at Jamie’s school.  This happened at about the same time Jamie wised up about showing his emotions too openly at school (i.e., giving the little snot noses in the school what they want – a reaction).  These events all combined with the result that Jamie is now popular.  Yep, and not only is he popular, but he now hangs with kids who back him up and treat any bullying offenders to withering looks and an instant decline in social status.  How on earth I have a kid who is popular I’ll never know – maybe it’s the jock thing.  At the end of the school year he was teaching several kids how to play keeper and striker at recess; maybe his “mad soccer skillz” stirred up respect and admiration.  Maybe the fact that he’s 10 years old and so fit he already has a “six pack” had something to do with it.  For whatever reason, my child is now well-liked and unbullied (thank you, Jesus!).  So I ruled that out as the cause of the migraines and the stomach pains.

 

Anyway, we went to see the Allergy/Asthma doc on Monday.  She confirmed he does have a coughing-variant, activity/athletically induced type of asthma.  He now takes Advair twice a day and uses his rescue inhaler 20 minutes before sports, recess or especially strenuous activities.  It seems to be helping.  Soccer practices start next week, so we’ll see how he does then.  If he starts having episodes during practices, I’m to take him back to the doc for a reevaluation and see if he needs a different type of rescue inhaler or an increase in dosage.

 

Jamie goes on Friday to get his blood work done to see if he’s developed any new food allergies.  I’m hoping something simple like that will explain the stomach pain and vomiting.  If not, then it’s back to the neurologist to see if he has developed what’s called a “stomach migraine.”

 

Love you all, and I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Update

Got a call from the Gastroenterologist.  All tests came back normal.  While I am thankful that there is nothing drastic going on, I’m still frustrated and frazzled because I don’t know WHY Jamie is having stomach pain.  The next step is to take Jamie back to his allergy doctor (who is also an asthma doctor, so we can figure out how to control his newly-discovered asthma issues) for a complete work-up and testing over all foods and all other allergens to see if this is causing his stomach pain.  If that doesn’t shed any light on anything, it’s back to the neurologist to see if Jamie is experiencing some sort of “stomach migraine” (yes, they are real, just rare) in addition to his other migraine.  They are caused by the same triggers in the brain, but no real clue as to why.  As always, I’ll keep you informed.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Grrrrrrr!

Still no news. I was supposed to receive a call on Friday regarding Jamie's tests, but since everything was closed up for the holiday, no one called. I finally got impatient and called the doctor's office today, only to be transferred about 20 times until I landed in the nurse's voice mail, where the outgoing message sweetly informed me to "leave a message and I will get back to you within 24-48 hours." Grrrrr! As soon as I know something, you'll know something.


On another note, it finally rained here today! San Antonio is about 13" BELOW average for the year, so the rain was very welcome and appreciated!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

No Answers Yet

Well, we went to Corpus Christi yesterday for Jamie's endoscopy and biopsy. The doctor said he saw nothing that immediately jumped out at him as explanation for Jamie's pain. He saw some irritation, some redness and swelling in the stomach, and what looked like "long scratches" up and down Jamie's esophagus, but nothing that would conclusively point to a cause. So, the doctor took three biopsies and two cultures for bacteria and hopefully they'll call me Friday or Monday with some results. If not, I'll press for more tests concentrating on the lower part of Jamie's intestinal tract, as his pain is lower than the stomach (in the belly-button area), as well as take him back to his allergist for testing to see if he's developed any new food allergies. There's also a possibility this could be related to the migraines he's been getting, so a trip back to the neurologist may be in order. I'll post more when I know more. Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts as we try to determine just what's going on. Love, hugs and kisses.


One funny thing yesterday was getting to see my kid stoned off his gourd on valium before the procedure. They gave him some liquid valium to calm him before they administered the anesthesia, and it was quite funny to see him staring off into space, pointing at things that weren't there, and mumbling to himself about stuff nobody could understand. The triage area for surgery had individual TVs the children could watch while they waited their turn. Apparently, Scooby-Doo is even more hilarious when you're stoned off your rocker!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Breathing Room

I took Jamie to the doctor (again) on Saturday for a cough he's had for more than six weeks. He'll start coughing so hard he can't breathe. Diagnosis? On top of everything else, Jamie has now developed asthma. [sigh]

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I've Been Tagged

So, Fish tagged me to complete the following Meme:

1. Write the title to your own memoir using 6 words.
2. Post it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who tagged you.
4. Tag 5 more blogs.

My memoir would be entitled Planned Chaos: Single Parent by Choice

I now tag Annie-Lou, Lydia, Mama Tooz, Animal, and Suze.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Update on the Health of a Small Boy

Things are not going so good down here, folks. Jamie went to his pediatric gastroenterologist yesterday, and I'm not at all encouraged by recent developments. We went down there and took the doc Jamie's test results stating that he was positive for H. Pylori (that nasty little bug we'd discussed in an earlier blog post). The doctor made a few noncommittal "hmms" and "uh-huhs" at that. The he asked Jamie again where his stomach hurts when he has pain. Jamie showed him (near the belly button). The the doctor asked me how severe the pain seemed to be. I said, "Bad enough that he's literally on the floor screaming, curled up in a ball, which prompted me to take him to the E.R., where he had those tests," I said, pointing to the lab results we'd brought down with us.



Then the doctor starts poking around on Jamie's stomach, and gets a funny look on his face. He turns to me and, rapid-fire, starts asking me questions. "Does he have headaches? Has he been vomiting? Has he been less energetic than usual?" Of course, the answers were "yes, yes, and yes". Then he says, "okay, I'm ordering a endoscopy and a biopsy. My first opening is in two weeks, and we need to do it then. We should not wait."



Am I missing something here? The more I think back on things, Jamie didn't start having his migraines until after his stomach issues started back last year. Jamie has either thrown up or almost thrown up every single day for the past month. Jamie does not run around with as much gusto as he used to, and he is still tired when I wake him up in the morning, no matter how early he went to bed the night before.



Naturally, I ask the doctor what's going on. And, of course, he doesn't give me any answer other than a noncommittal, "I want to check some things out." Grrrrrr! I know, I know, doctors don't like to scare their patients (or the mommas of their patients) with "maybes". But still, he's freaked me out more by his reaction and complete change in his demeanor from previous visits. Also, it doesn't help that - with so many close family members who have died from some form of cancer or another - that possibility is always lurking in the back of my mind, a dark spectre that haunts my dreams and constantly has me checking over my shoulder.



Another thing that doesn't help is that, as the nurse explained to me, I can't be there with Jamie when they're doing the endoscopy. I can't stay with him and hold his hand. I know he'll be asleep, but I would still rather be there with my baby while they do the procedure. Sitting there in the waiting room will be torture for me. Then, the nurse just HAD to run down the list of possible things that could go wrong during the procedure. For liability reasons, I know she was required to inform me before the procedure, but still. Can you please not make me more paranoid than I already am? Please?



I know there are several of us in the blogosphere who have some serious family and/or health issues going on right now, but I would appreciate thoughts, prayers, positivity, whatever you want to call it, on July 1. Love you all, and you are all in my prayers.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Too Smart for His Own Good

Jamie's last day of school was this past Wednesday. His daycare doesn't start until Monday, so part of his day he's been home alone and the other half of the day he's been playing at a friend's house down the street (where parents are home). For him to be able to go to his friend's house, he's had to spend a specified amount of time doing house work before he can go play. Yesterday, Rachel made the comment that she didn't see much difference in the state of Jamie's bedroom. So today when Jamie called me to tell me he had worked on his room the designated 45 minutes and was going to go play with Josh, he hit me with a whammy. I asked him if there was a noticeable difference in the state of his room. He replied, "Yep. And I even have evidence!" The little stinker got my digital camera and took "before" and "after" photos of his room!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Are You Effing Kidding Me?!?!?!?!?

Further proof, folks, that right-wing conservatives are ruining the world can be found in this news story. Apparently, a bunch of nincompoops saw a Dunkin' Donuts ad with Rachael Ray in it, wearing a scarf around her neck. So, a whole bunch of dumbf#cks started protesting, saying her scarf looks like a kaffiyeh - which MUST mean she's endorsing extremism and terrorism. Are you effing kidding me??!?!?!! Really??!?!?! You CAN'T be serious!

Now, I don't much care for Rachael Ray (there's just something creepy about anybody THAT perky all the time), but there is no way in hell I would confuse a fashion accessory with terrorism. Come on, people! Get a life, find something to do other than look for boogeymen under every rock and in every stylish accessory! Oh, no, I can't wear those earrings! Someone might think I was supporting suicide bombers! No, I can't wear that necklace; someone might think I'm endorsing the killing of innocent bystanders! Good grief, people. Please, I beg you, get a new hobby.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Strange Similarities in Appearance...




When perusing the news reports today, I noticed a strange likeness... Do you see it too?




Brigitte Bardot....


Aughra...

Hmmm.... Who knew a former screen siren would grow up to look like a Muppet from one of my favorite movies?