Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Many people tonight will be going out and drinking heavily and ringing in the new year with a hangover.
Not my style...
I will hang out, listen to audible books, knit on the new sweater, and try to keep the boys from killing each other during the commercials.
I look forward to 2009, new President, Thank God! Hopefully a shoulder that will work well for me again. I keep working on that, P.T., Pain and Torture. A year where, hopefully I can convince my oldest that a bath is not evil and that it will not kill him. (Really Sam, you stink.)
I could wax philosophical about the new year, but it is really hard to focus on goals and new resolutions with Hannah Montana failing her driving test in the background.
So... My hope for everyone out there is that your new year is safe, that you remain comfortable in your world around you, and that you embrace your inner geek. We all have one, accept it and move on!
Be safe, we'll see you on the other side of midnight. Happy New Year!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
"Thank the good Lord the children are going back to school Monday, they are ready to kill each other!"
Of course, this Friday was not that Friday... That is still a week away. So we have done our best to deal with the stress and the irritation in the home. We are failing, miserably.
They have new video games, those are always good for distraction. This is the reason that I have not posted in a while. "Spore" has entered our world. This version of the game is PC based, and because I refuse to get my children their own computer, I have not gotten near a computer until now.
I have, instead, finished some knitting projects, and started some new ones. I will admit to finally scraping my brother, Eric's, Skull hat. I give up, I hate it, I avoided even looking at it -- enough, I ripped it out and will send the k2p2 watch cap to him with some coffee beans and no apologies about the crappy hat that I could see in my mind, but could not translate to yarn. Don't worry, I'm not bitter. Really.
I am happily starting new socks (of course, I always have socks on the needles) from yarn that I dyed myself and I will be working cables into the pattern. They have just been started. See?
Icky photo, sorry. Not much to see yet, I'll post more pictures later when I'm farther along.
I also finally started my Alpaca, fair isle yoke sweater a la Elizabeth Zimmerman. The sweater will be a cardigan, I am just starting the ribbing. See?
And here are the colors that will be in the yoke. See?
And here are the kittens that have done their best to attack every bit of yarn that I've touched for several weeks. See?
Why do all of my children look so angelic when they're sleeping?
Friday, December 19, 2008
I went to work.
So once again, I remember that I control my attitude, not anyone else's.
Unless I duct tape their mouths.. naw, bad attitude comes out with the stomps down the hallway.
To be fair though, now that Christmas vacation has started the boys are quite happy.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Guess what? School is not always available to everyone. A good job is (as many of my friends and family are finding out) not always there to have.
Tonight I am thankful for my children's chance for an education. I am thankful for my job with a company who care more for my safety than for their schedule. Tomorrow I'm planning on going in to work, remembering that I am blessed...
Convincing my children that they are blessed to go to school may take more time, if you know what I mean.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
In early June 2008 I had started embroidering some new dish towels for my kitchen. I was taking my time completing them, you know, working on them in between knitting projects.
July 5Th I broke my shoulder, really, really badly. That's a totally different post.. I'll share later, I promise. Anywho, I could not do the sewing at all.
I did manage to knit. Addicts are like that.
But yesterday I finished the set and here they are! Aren't they pretty?
And these are my Goddaughters' new slippers (and funnily enough, their feet as well!)
I'm still working on my brother Eric's hat.. I finished one for him, just a normal watch cap, but the skeleton one had to be ripped back... again... I think I've figured out how to solve my little issue with that blasted hat, but then again, I've thought that before. More on that later.
Sam's Socks will probably be done tonight! and I will start my new pair for myself! I will be using some of my own hand dyed yarn (as she rubs her hands together in anticipation) Also, I have promised myself, after Eric's skull cap is done, that I can start on my alpaca fair isle yoke cardigan a'la Elizabeth Zimmerman. My senses reel everytime I smell the yarn. (yeah, I really do smell it! Heady stuff!)
Lastly, we here in the Pacific Northwest are getting hit with a very cool snow storm, well, several of them actually, so here are the boys out in the snow. I caught the picture of Sam as he was coming in from the cold.. Poor kid, all he wanted at this point was hot chocolate.
Friday, December 12, 2008
"He stepped on my hair!"
"Only one hair!"
"It was 36 hairs!"
"You were laying in front of my bedroom door, your head was in the way!"
"I can lay in the hallway in front of your door if I want too!"
"Mom, Sam bent my finger back!"
"Your balloon touched my balloon!"
"You stood right in front of me with your balloon!"
"Mom, Ben ste..."
"That's it! Both of you, to your rooms... Separately, your own rooms, not mine! No talking!"
My boys have been in the corner so often lately that their foreheads are developing points... I am considering repainting their rooms with bars...
Ben comes out a few minutes later.
"Where is my harmonica?"
"I took it from you the last time you were in your room"
"I want it back!"
"No, you want to play it while you are in your room being punished, because it annoys your brother... go back to your room"
Ben has a wicked and subtle sense of humor he does....
Are you there God? It's me, Mom...
Thursday, December 11, 2008
What kind of an assignment is write a paper with a subject that starts with the letter "H"??
Exactly, Pam, exactly my point!! And the upshot is that my boy was feeling like he was the cause of my irritation. I walk a fine line, because I do not want to discount his teacher, but how do I make sure he doesn't feel like a failure? Sam's teachers are all really great teachers. I really like them all, and they really like Sam. That being said I think that any teacher that learns to teach to Asperger's students, will be a better teacher to all of their students, neurotypical and non-neurotypical alike. Three pretty easy rules:
First, treat them with respect. As much as I've seen written that Aspie's don't get sarcasm, I have to disagree. In my personal experience (and this is not just limited to my children) I have found that even if the child cannot name the tone of voice, they understand if they are being talk down to. Try speaking to the child as if they are a business associate, a co-professional if you will, a partner in their education even, the results will be amazing.
Second, people with Asperger's have a large sense of self, they understand their own autonomy long before most of us. For example, when Sam was being tested for Asperger's, his speech teacher asked him if he had a girlfriend. (He had just turned 8 years old) His response?
"That's a personal question, and I don't have to answer that!"
Okay, what 8 year old says that? What 18 year old says that? So again, understand that the normal, "Because, I'm the teacher and I say so" attitude will not fly. Unfortunately this doesn't work at home much either.. but I can say it a little more often.. I'm the mom...
Lastly, be specific. Really, you cannot over explain yourself, about what you want from them, about assignments, about the needs of the other students. If you do over explain yourself, don't worry, they will tell you when to stop.
Remember the most important question you can ask a student is "Why?" They will tell you! Another case in point, today, my husband got a call from an aide in Sam's class... it went like this..
(aide) "John, Sam is refusing to go to math class, please talk to him"
"Hey Sam, what is wrong" (said John)
"Hey Dad, (not upset, by the way) I can't go to math, I can't find my spiral notebook for math"
"Do you know where it is?"
"No, I can't find it in class, maybe one of my other teachers has it"
"Well, you need to go to math, can you use some other kind of paper?"
"No, it would feel funny"
"Well, give me a solution Sam, how about a different spiral notebook, like a back up if you can't find the normal one?
"Yeah, that would work"
"Okay, get another one, and go to math."
"Okay, bye Dad."
So, the question "Why" is really, really important. He wasn't refusing to go to math because he just thought it'd be a great idea, he was missing the proper equipment (in his eyes).
The notebook was left at home, by the way.
So... here is a shout out to all of the teachers in the world today! You all work way too hard.
To Pam, who teaches special Ed, Rock on my sista.. really, thank you for getting it, and doing it, and repeating it... I have only run across one teacher in all of my kids education that really wanted nothing to do with my children, was really hostile about my kids. All of the other teachers have been interested, giving, and stretched way too thin to even think about learning how to handle special cases.
MORE MONEY TO EDUCATION!! NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND DOESN'T MEAN PASSING TESTS, YOU JACKASSES! IT MEANS LETTING OUR TEACHERS TEACH OUR CHILDREN HOW TO THINK AND REASON!
As Elizabeth Zimmerman once said, "Someone help me down off of my soapbox, please".
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
My youngest son, Ben, is really very good about getting homework done. As I've said before, Ben is very wolverine like. If something needs to be done, no matter how distasteful, he does it, with a minimum of fuss. Ben may growl about it (and frequently does) but ultimately, it is work and Ben is a worker. He feels the power and joy of a job well done, he would just rather the job is outside, say in the yard, or garden, then inside doing carry over math or writing exercises.
Sam is another matter.. Sam has the typical Asperger's idea and philosophy of homework.. "What's the point?"
It just repeats what has been gone over in class (math) or is vague (reading/writing classes) and frankly homework, is school work, and school work belongs at school. Clear defined territory here folks!
I am evil. I am unyielding, I am demanding, I am Sam's personal homework Nazi. I actually expect him to do the work! Someone shoot me now! Someone remove this horrible affliction from my eldest child! What, figure out my own prime numbers? Write my own answers? Read my own book and record my journal.. you want me to read the book so that I can answer questions about the text. And you're going to read the book I'm reading so that I cannot fake the reading?
What kind of horrible monster are you?!?!
To be fair, I need to define a lot of assignments for Sam. The assignments are not always clear to an Aspie. Case in point, this week Sam has to write a paper on a subject beginning with the letter "H". This is all of the information he has to go on. Oh, except that it needs to be a page long, and it is due Friday, and that he needs to bring the first draft with the last draft to class.
To a person with Asperger's this is a Hell assignment. (I wished he'd have chosen "Hell", that would have been fun) Without clear definitions of what the paper is to be, there is no clear direction to go. I spend my time prompting. What does the house look like? How do you feel when you come into it? What colors are there inside?
You're not going to get a philosophical, lyrical paper about the comforts and joys of home. You will get a description of each room and where the video games are kept. Oh, and he will try to say as little as possible to make up that page. Why can't someone type up questions to ask about the subject and have the student fill it out in class? What do kids with Asperger's do when they do not have parents like me who are going to graduate all grade levels again, because there is not one ounce of work that doesn't have some prompting, if not all out assistance from said parents?
Honestly.. is it supposed to be this difficult?
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Today, was hair cut day. So...
"Sam, when we're done with homework, I'm cutting your hair"
"Yep, your hair is long enough for me to put in curlers"
"Mom!" said as he starts to sideways steps toward the back door.
"Sam, come on, let's get the homework done and out of the way and then finish the hair cut."
"I'm NOT getting my hair cut today.. tomorrow, 5:30 works for me." (he really said this... not an exaggeration)
Now right here, being the wise mother I am. I stop the arguing, redirect to the homework.. not wanting to get into the power struggle of hair cuts..
"I'm not getting my haircut today mom.."
"Let's finish this math"
"Fine, ... (mumbled) I'm not getting my haircut today...
So homework is done.. I'm hot under the collar (hey, you can only stay wise so long when someone keeps repeating "I'm not getting my haircut today""I'mnotgettingmyhaircuttoday" "I'mnotgettingmyhaircuttoday" .. you try it.. then we'll see how wise and reasonable you are..)
I stand up, say "That's IT! HAIR CUT NOW! NO TV OR GAMES UNTIL IT IS FINISHED! PERIOD!!" Yeah... I yelled it.. see the preceding paragraph..
So I grabbed the spray bottle, and started spraying the child's hair... while he ran. Luckily this produced the laughter I was hoping for..
"HEY, I'm not the cats.. "
"You're running away like one"
(grab child's hand, pull toward kitchen, push down into seat)
At this point, Sam calms down and realizes that the hair cut will occur and everything is coming along quite nicely. We are talking, and he is only occasionally saying ..
"It itches... it itches... it itches... it itches... it itches..."
Then the unthinkable, his head zigs, while my scissors zag and..
"You cut my ear! Damn it Mom! " (this last said, kind of testing like...we are approaching the teens, after all..)"Ooo, yep, I did.. mea culpa guy."
"What does that mean?"
"My Bad.. in latin"
This, thank the good Lord, caused him to laugh.. actually laugh. Two years ago this would have taken hours to recover from, he would have hidden under a blanket and spoken to no one. Our boy is growing up..
"Is that BLOOD?"
"Ah son, you ever hear the term, 'Here's your sign'? I just cut your ear with scissors, there will be blood.. head wounds bleed copiously"
"What does that mean?"
"A lot.. usually said with an English accent.. it sounds better that way"
(more weak laughter)
Also, luckily, his father called from work as this happened and Sam yelled.. "Mom cut my ear!" Dad's response? " Oh, Sam Gogh"
More hilarity. We have sophisicated humor here!
Now, do not think that I have not offered to take these children to the barber shop.. I have, often pleading.. ("Please let momma pay someone else to go through the torture of cutting your hair. ") but the idea of dealing with a hair cut and not being able to immediately jump into the bath is more than they can bare.
To be really fair, Ben, the younger, is so much more stoic about these things. He doesn't want the hair cut, but he sets his jaw, flares his nostrils and barely audibly growls as I cut his hair.. Kind of like giving a hair cut to Wolverine..
"Watch the ears.. BUB!"
Anyone need a trim?
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Something that SHOULD make you realize just how good you have it!
Washing Clothes Recipe
Never thought of a 'washer' in this light before. What a blessing! Imagine having a recipe for this!
Years ago an Alabama grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe: This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook - with spelling errors and all.
Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water.
Sort things, make 3 piles
1 pile white,
1 pile colored,
1 pile work britches and rags.
To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.
Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrench and starch.
Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch.
Hang old rags on fence.
Spread tea towels on grass.
Pore wrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water.
Turn tubs upside down.
Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.
Oh yes... I am thankful.. this was my grandmother's life for 12 years after she married my grandfather and moved to the cattle ranch with no electricity or running water.. and my mother was 10 before the power and water came.. so she got to help in this process. And because Amuma (Basque for grandmother) came from the south, the spelling is perfect. John even teases me because I sometimes say warsh. My mom says it every time..
I always remember when I have to wait in a grocery line, and I've said it to many of you, we are blessed that we do not need to grow the wheat for our bread, or raise the cow and slaughter it for the hamburger. The vegetables and fruit that we pick up and buy today, 70-80 years ago we would either have to grow ourselves, or would have never even heard of.
What is 10 minutes of waiting in a long line, with a poor checker who is stressed out, trying to go faster so people don't get nasty about the wait, compared to a whole season of growing and butchering to get a years supply of food that was much more sparse that what we have now?
Oh yeah.. and 100 years ago, my body was the height of beauty! All those size 4's were considered consumptive, and a risk to marry. There were books out to help skinny people plump up! Take that Twiggy!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
So this morning, my friend Amy (remember the one I promised I would throw the load of laundry in for --first posting people!) called me to let me know that PortlandParents.net had a posting... about me.. WOW! THANKS! I'm all verklempt. Okay, here it is:
Where the Heck is Kafooster?
November 17, 2008
The Queen of Kafooster is a wickedly funny mother of two energetic boys. Her post about the “insignificant booger” is a must-read. She’s a great Portland Parent who we’d love to keep tabs on. And if Obama doesn’t fix the US, we’d be happy to move to Kafooster, wherever that is. We just need to know what kinds of clothes to pack.
Of course, the funny thing about the Obama comment, is that my friend Ana, who convinced me to do this blogging thingy, told me, when I called her to say that I was caving in and starting a blog, "Great! The economic crisis will be over by tomorrow night!"
That's an inside chuckle that I thought I'd share... With an extremely long sentence that may not be grammatically correct..
Seriously though, if you are following along (and I am shocked that anyone is) you should be aware of the meaning of Kafooster.
According to the "New Dictionary of American Slang":
Kafooster: Useless talk; babble; bulls**t (family site, remember?)
Yes, (sigh) I know, I have a slang dictionary. I warned you that I was Hermione-ish. I freely admit it, I have been addicted to words for a very long time. You will recall that while I was running for the Office of Queen, I never denied that I inhaled them.
So now you know, Kafooster is not so much a place, as a state of mind...
Which reminds me, please remember to read and agree to the Mental Health Disclosure before continuing to read this blog.
Really, it's for your own good.
Monday, November 17, 2008
This is the fob whose key chain connection broke, whose maker said that it would be $75.00 to replace.
Sweetest of husbands said, "I bet you can knit something around that!"
This is the cover, over the fob that opens the door and turns on the engine of Chelle's car.
This is the key chain that now holds the yarn covered fob, that opens the door, and turns on the engine on Chelle's car.
This is the cat that tried to help...
$75.00 for yarn...
Saturday, November 15, 2008
as for the blogg'in I'm not sure its an all together good idea to unleash the babbling of our family on the world with out some sort of help line available.
please keep this in mind.
Eric makes an excellent point, and because I do not have the capital needed to open up a call center large enough to handle the call volume that particular help line would create, please read and agree to the following before continuing to read, and/or visit the "Queen of Kafooster" blog.
I, the reader, hear by understand and agree that I, the reader, am solely responsible for all physical, mental, and emotional reactions that reading the "Queen of Kafooster" blog may cause. I, the reader, understand that the writer of the "Queen of Kafooster" is not always entirely balanced and can occasionally write something that may cause uncontrollable rapid eye ticks in the reader. I, the reader, also understand that said rapid eye ticks may never go away. I agree to stop reading immediately if my eyes start to burn out of my sockets, or I suddenly develop a rash on any area of my body.
Futhermore, I understand that because the writer of the "Queen of Kafooster" comes from a family equally unbalanced, any comments and/or babble left by members of said family are also void from any litigation.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The kids are out of school today (weird in the middle of the week) and they have homework to do (including the elder.. damn I wish the testing would have lasted longer.) So I am about to become the EVIL mother figure that insists that all math be finished before the television is turned on. SIGH!
You would have thought that at least one of my children would have become the Hermione Granger that I was in school. I was actually a cross between Hermione and Daria from MTV. Strange combination, I know, but hey, it worked (works?) for me. I can say without a doubt that the people who love me, actually love me for who I am, everyone else slides away from me sideways with a look of "My God! who, or what is that?!"
I have been told, more than once, that at first meet many individuals have really not cared for me, (I'm being nicer than they were.. this is a family blog) but then later came to love and adore me (one said "couldn't live without me", how nice and warm and fuzzy is that?)
So I categorized myself with mushrooms.. at first glance, ick. But after stroganoff, how can you do without? --Still, not for everyone. Yep, you heard it here first, I'm like a fungus, I grow on you... (Sorry for that, it just typed itself.)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
So the boys are sitting at the computer table watching Mario videos on Youtube, and I walk by while Sam is picking his nose and, unthinkingly, wipes the booger under the edge of the computer desk... eeeww.
So I three finger thump the back of his head and give him the evil eye, and he returns a blankly confused look to me. I say nothing, just walk into the bathroom, grab a Kirkland brand wipe that I keep in there for the little boy splashes (remember those?) and walk back out to him and hand him the wipe..
"Wipe that off now!"
"Wipe what off?" said with another blankly confused look
"You just wiped a booger underneath the edge of the computer desk, wipe it off."
"Oh Gawd mom! Nobody cares about an insignificant booger!"
"Oh my gawd Sam," (says Jordan, Sam's best friend) "INSIGNIFICANT BOOGER, say that again!"
Really... you can't make this kind of thing up.
That my DH (darling husband) and I still have our jobs.
P.T.-- Physical Therapy.. I know, normally known as pain and torture, but I broke my shoulder in July and if I don't do this everyday my arm hurts more!.. (and yesterday I sort of forgot that , and am paying for that today..) ahem
Someone else cleaning out the cat box... I am always thankful for that...when it actually happens. Again, ahem (said with a slightly more hint-like tone)
My friends.. all of who (whom?) are incredibly cool, much like me. (no, really I am!)
Sock yarn.. oh and most any alpaca yarn (Sock yarn that has alpaca? Hold that woman back boys!)
And lastly, that this month, for whatever reason, my oldest boy's school is doing testing and he doesn't have homework. This is the greatest of all right now, because, honestly, I don't think, what with going back to work for the first time in four months this last week, (remember the shoulder?) I could have taken the "But this is so pointless!" comment as he melted out of the kitchen chair like a Dali painting.
So speaking of Alpaca sock yarn, and my oldest boy Sam. I'm working on socks for him now out of paca-peds tie dye.. his choice, God bless the boy, he loves color. I love that about him. When I made him a sweater for kindergarten, he chose a rainbowy color. At first, he chose pink, I nixed that, not because I had a problem with it, (I thought it was cool) but that I didn't want him to be beat up on the very first day of school ever. When I told him that the rainbowy color would be really bright, he said, with a very solemn face, "It's never too bright for me, mom." I'm glad that he hasn't out grown that. I hope he never does.
here they are. in progress, toe up, k2 p2 ribbing.
The cats really like two socks on circs because there is always a sock to attack while I am knitting on the other one.. sigh.
ERIC! I really am working on that hat of yours, but I've ripped it out, like 18 times. I am not even kidding, and the original idea of shadow knitting it? It is so not working -- so I am working on a skull hat, and a regular k2 p2 (that would be knit 2 purl 2) ribbing watch cap too.. I will get that bald head of yours warm soon. I promise.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
This morning, while I was doing my swipe and swish (google "The Fly Lady" for an explanation people) my wooden toilet seats, with the brass hinges finally gave out. I was elated.. finally I get to buy new toilet seats.
Now, mind you, I bought these 4 years ago, because, the little boy splatters are not nearly as see-able on the wood as on the white. (Come on, I'm a busy lady!) but the brass hinges were the real mistake... guess what happens to brass when it meets little boy splashes...
have you guessed yet?
Well, let's just say the Statue of Liberty is the same color of the hinges... if you get my meaning. Not wanting to spend money on the reconstruction of the hinges (well, it isn't the same as the Statue of Liberty, is it!) I decided that new toilet seats are in order.
But not just any toilet seats.. no! I wanted the cheesiest toilet seats possible.
I went to Lowe's first, and while I was speaking to Ana... long distance (I love the "no charges for long distance" thingy on the cell phone) I discovered that the toilet seats there had way too much class.. so I went to Target and found them!
Isn't that great! Now I can tell if the boys have flushed the toilet without lifting up the lid.
Who am I kidding? PUT THE LID DOWN? REALLY?
I have a theory. The reason that toilet seats are never put down by men, is that the mother spends the first 18 years teaching the young gentlemen to lift the seat up. (Please, momma doesn't want to sit in that at 3:00 am again.. okay sweetie?) So.. there is no time for the "seat going down" training before they move out...
So I live in Hillsboro, Oregon. Close to Portland. When people ask me, "Does it really rain as much as they say out there?" I just say... yes. Yes it does.
Today the boys and I were taking full advantage of the down pour. There has been some construction on our street lately and the workers have left a pile of asphalt in front of the storm drain, (these things are really, really important here in Oregon, take my word on this.) and this gave the boys and I a perfect opportunity for some really excellent puddle jumping (wading, really) see...
Now Eric... I really wanted you to know that I'm doing my very best to teach your nephews how to really, really take advantage of a nice big puddle. Sam has got it down, he was using his hands to scoop water onto his brothers back.. yeesh.
The pile of laundry is on the entry way rug to prove it.
I'll put them in the washer right away Amy.. I promise! Right after I finish another row on Sam's sock.. really..