Friday, December 30, 2011

A Blog Dedicated to...

There are some amazing autism blogs out there. One that I read on a regular basis is Diary of a Mom. Jess has helped me understand my granddaughter in ways I may have never thought of through sharing her insights into her family's journey in Autismville.

Another is Autism in a Word. Jeneil takes us through a journey of hope and faith. She fills my heart and my soul.

I was finally able to get my daughter to read one of Jess' entries and I do believe she is hooked. She suggested I write a blog about autism from a grandparents' perspective. Duh! What does she think I have been doing all these years?! To write about autism exclusively is not something I believe I could do, though. There is no shortage of material but I am not versed enough in the things that would help others the way the other blogs do.

There is not one person who has been following all these years who doesn't know that my Isabella is my heart. She is the source of so much joy and love. We love each other unconditionally and I don't see that changing.

Bogging has taken a back seat since facebook but, once again, I will try to get back into it.

Many blessings to all in the new year. g

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ho, ho, ho - Not

It's that time of the year again. The time when a jolly, old elf dressed in red passes the space/time continuum to visit all little girls and boys around the world leaving them gifts their little hearts have been yearning for.


This time of year is supposed to be a celebration of God becoming man so that we might never be able to say to God, "You just don't understand!" He became human so that He would become a sacrifice so that we might live with Him forever, sins forgiven.

Every time I see a Santa or a Simpson decoration on a lawn it pierces my heart. When I asked my precious granddaughter what Christmas is and she said it is a time for presents; when I told her it is Jesus' birthday and she was horrified and said, "No!" my soul was screaming out at the lies our children are told!

I will never go against parents' wishes and tell a child that there is no Santa Claus. Indeed, if they have Santa as a "by the way" and have a Christ-centered message, fine. However, I could not tell my children there is a Santa. I explained about Nicholas and his generosity. My daughter, whose father was big into Santa, tried to get me to believe. My husband wanted to do Santa but we didn't and my son says he never missed it. Actually, when he was around eleven, a friend of his was very angry that his mother had lied to him by teaching him Santa is real!

After discussing Christmas with my friends, I find that we agree that we would all have a wonderful time with the season if gifts were not involved. I can not afford to buy anything right now. Himself is willing to go into debt to make sure our children have something under the tree and we will get something for Isabella. Why do we have to have this pressure?

Now that I have spouted my Christmas phooey, may I now wish for you that the wonder, beauty and sacrifice of Christmas will be the center of your celebration.

Blessings from my home to yours, g

Thursday, November 24, 2011

ABC Thankfulness

Apples! They have been a blessing in my weight loss journey as I cut them up or microwave bake them with cinnamon and plain Greek yogurt.

Brothers. I love them and they love me.

Chocolate, dark chocolate

Dining. Isn't food delightful?

Experience that I can pass on when it is good and learn from when it is not.

Fun - something I didn't allow myself enough of when I was younger and what I cherish now!

(the)Girl, my lovely daughter who needs to find some filters to her comments (the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree) but who loves me.

Handicapped Parking for my dear mother-in-love who has such a hard time getting around.

Isabella! No surprise there. She holds my heart.

Jesus - the only reason I am alive today.

Kilometers because they are shorter than miles...

Laura, my bff

Mama B., my mother-in-love.

N - the town I live in. It has been good for my family to live here. It has a small town feel even though it is densely populated.

Opportunities to serve - I wish I could do more.

Precription medications that help people to be healthy physically and mentally.

Quilts made with love to keep us warm.

Reunions that heal broken hearts.

Sisters - the one God gave me through birth, the one I got through marriage and the ones I got through friendship.

The Boy, my son who is always surprising me - sometimes in a good way and sometimes not but I love him.

Unbearable joy - the kind that makes me feel like I am going to jump out of my skin! It doesn't happen often but, when it does...

Velcro - this invention has made many a parents' life so much easier!

Worship - something I don't spend nearly enough time in.

X - when doubled, girls, along with a "y," boys!

You! It's so nice to have you stop by.

Zebras - one of my favorite prints since I was a small child.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 18, 2011


Isabella's birthday was lovely. We spent it with her great grandmother and one of my kids' cousins, ate pizza and ice cream cake and opened lots of presents.

Once again, thank you for letting me vent (not that you had a choice!).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Watch Out

If you don’t want to hear gripes, I suggest you visit somewhere else. You have been warned.

Tomorrow is Isabella’s birthday. Six years old!!! My baby is growing up so fast. Did we have a party for her yesterday (Saturday) or today? Never mind a party; did The Girl plan on coffee and cake over the weekend? No. For weeks, we have been asking my daughter what we are going to do for Bells’ bd. Nada, zip, nothing. She told us today that she wants us to all go Dutch treat to dinner tomorrow – a school night, when she doesn’t get home from work until six and Bells needs to go to sleep by eight the latest.

I could just spit I am so t’d off. I know it seems that I am overreacting. A little back story may be needed here: Himself and I have been watching Isabella on a regular basis practically since she was born. Most of the watching has been done by moi. If Bells is sick, I am the one who calls the bus driver and I take care of her. When Himself is off will get up with our girl and let me sleep in whilst he gets her on the bus.

This isn’t so bad, right? Multiply it by 180 school days a year and with me being the one who has to do 95% of the running around including visits to great-grandma and play dates on days off, library visits when the temps are high in the summer, birthday parties, dance when it is available…are you getting the picture.

All I asked was for was cake and coffee to be planned by my daughter!!! What does she do instead? Who cares!! I am right and she is wrong. Period. Right? No? Ugh. I just had to get that off my chest. I may be wrong but I am still t’d off. On top of that, Bells thinks she is having a big party at a “bouncy” place (The Girl just told me this this evening). I don’t want her to be disappointed but that ain’t going to happen.

I’m done with my griping. I’ll end with a cute pic of the little girl who makes it all worthwhile. And she is sooo worth it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Where Did Twenty-Four Years Go?!

Twenty-four years ago today, Himself and I were married. Say what? I look in the mirror and wonder where that young woman disappeared to. When did my grandmother replace her?

Since that fateful eve, I have given birth to a son, welcomed a granddaughter, buried two grandmothers (one of whom was my best friend)and a father-in-law. Buildings have come down and wars have been fought. We moved into a house and have nearly lost it to the economy and our own fiscal foolishness.

Good things and bad have come our way and gone from our hands; many tears have fallen and many laughs have been guffawed. We have survived an autism diagnosis and watched our grandbaby triumph and fail.

There were times I thought we wouldn't make it; kindness and cruelty have come from my lips with, it seems, not enough of the former. Still, we stick around.

About my grandmother looking back at me from the mirror: she was my best friend, a woman I wanted to emulate. If I am going to age to reflect anyone, I am glad it is she, whom I still miss every day.

Happy anniversary, Himself. Let's try a little harder.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday, Sunday

Nearly every Sunday during (American) football season, my son's friends fill my living room and watch the games together. Truth be told, I like it. I would like to have my living room to myself but seeing them enjoy each other is worth the bother.

Unlike other wives, I am not a football widow. I like the game and understand it. The Boy started playing when he was seven years old but my interest was piqued before that; long before that. I, gail of the great Atlantic northeast, am a Seattle Seahawks fan! Yup, the entire country stands between me and my team.

There is really no reason why I got into that other than Sundays in autumn are all about football. And church. Period. Also, I want to get some entries going.

Trying to figure what to write has been so difficult. Do you really want to hear about my tantrum last night when I couldn't take what was going on any longer? Or about how I am disappointed that The Girl isn't taking Isabella to the free special needs dance classes? Or that I am sleeping a lot, probably because of fibromyalgia and the stress of having to be up very early with Bells to get her ready for the school bus? Or that I need some time to myself and haven't been getting it? That I need a visit with my bff in the worst way?

Why would you want to hear about any of that?! I don't even want to hear about it. I am not liking myself very much right now but that will pass.

Let me leave you with this: Maybe you will forgive me when you can't get this out of your head!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Life Goes On

The last few weeks have flashed by in a whirlwind. The Girl and Bells moved into a new place close by and we helped with that. Exhausting for all involved and we are hoping for the best. Establishing Isabella in her new schedule at school has been difficult. Instead of being in the contained classroom all day, she has been entering school with the "neuro-typical" (N.T.) class (e.g. regular kindergarten class) and doing all her specials (library, phys. ed., music, etc.) with that class whilst doing her academics in the contained (autism) classroom. Her teacher from last year and the child study team leader felt she was ready for this. However, our nearly always happy girl has shown anxiety like never before. Fortunately, her child study team leader saw her crying when she was leaving the gym one day and Bells was able to express that it was too noisy and too many kids and whatever else was bothering her. As a result, the team leader was able to ascertain which specials Bells felt comfortable. Things are going a bit better now. Maybe one more week will show a greater change. I want my happy girl back.
(Isabella with her greatgrandmother) Yesterday, I gave Himself the day off and went to a wedding and reception with some friends. You know, I just might make a habit of this! We have gone to so many wedding receptions because of the number of children his friends have that it tends to get old. He is older than I am and some of MY friends' children are of marrying age now. If he isn't friends as a couple with my friends I will probably go the weddings by myself! With all that has been going on, I am beat. When you don't give in to the fatique of fibromyalgia, it will bite you in the bum. Today has been a true day of rest as in staying in bed until mid afternoon and doing no work at all. It's a crazy balancing act but at least I am not experiencing a lot of pain. Yea! (That was last week when I didn't give in! Flat on my back and sleeping for a day but that's okay.) All in all, life hasn't been all that bad. Our bellies are full, we have clothing on our backs, a roof over our heads and a loving Father in heaven who meets all our needs. Blessings to all, g

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's Been Going On (An Update)

Boring title, eh? I’m kind of out of it so hang on and be patient.

If you are viewing this on blogger, woo-hoo! I'm not locked out any more!

Presently, I am taking care of Himself and The Boy who both had their wisdom teeth removed yesterday. Today is a little better probably because they are sleeping a lot from taking pain meds. (yea, meds!). Besides taking care of them, I had to bring Isabella to school and my mother-in-love to the doctor. The nap I took this afternoon was delicious.

I bright spot in my life was my recent meeting with another blog buddy! I was so excited to meet “S” and we had such a wonderful time. She was traveling through my state and stopped on the way home so we could spend a little time together. It is wonderful to not be disappointed when meeting people I have know virtually for years. I have been blessed in this department. S warm and intelligent and someone I would be proud to call friend.

As for Bells, school is a lot different for her this year and she had a rocky start. She seems to be calming down and enjoying herself. She is with neurotypical students in the beginning of the day and for specials. How I love that kid – even though she can be a brat…

As of last Friday, I have now lost 35 pounds! Weight Watchers is a very good plan if you follow it. I also rejoined the gym where my son is a personal trainer. Other people pay and get a half hour. I don’t pay and get grumbling and maybe fifteen minutes. Remind me of why I let him live here?

This past year I have taken up knitting and crocheting. My gram taught me when I was a child but I didn’t have the patience. In knitting, I have made a number of scarves and prayer shawls. A prayer shawl is one that you pray over the person you are making it for. I now give them for baby and bridal shower gifts. They seem to be appreciated.

Hmmm, what else…I really want to be here blogging. Really! It’s that same old thing, though. I don’t want to write about nothing. I’m popping in to keep in touch.

Blessings to all, g

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Won't Forget

A rerun for several years...

It was a beautiful day much like today. Temperature was around 70 and school had just started again after a long summer break. I had just finished an exercise video and was about to start the treadmill when I turned on the tv. Instead of the regular programming the station was showing a view of the World Trade Center which was expelling billowing, dark gray smoke.

I called Himself at work to see what the buzz was there since he was in the travel industry. They thought it was a small plane gone astray just as one did at the Empire State Building many years ago. While we were talking, a second plane went into the other Tower and I screamed, "OhmyGod! OhmyGod! OhmyGod! It was then we knew we were being attacked.

After hanging up with Himself, I tried to go on the treadmill. Was it shock? A need for normalcy or routine in my world which had just been turned upside down? I can't tell you but I remember that I couldn't stay on that machine but, instead, sat riveted to the television.

I called my sister and gave her office the lowdown. I called my parents, brother, friends and told those who hadn't heard yet to put on their tv's. What channel, they asked. Any channel.

Thinking about bioterrorism, I went to the nearest supermarket and bought twenty-two gallons of water and two gallons of bleach for purifying water. I then filled up my gas tank and told the Arab attendant to be careful. Next was a stop at my dd's home. She was a mess but I knew that her friends were on their way so I went to The Boy's school.

The Boy was in the lunch room and I explained to him and his friends what was happening as calmly as possible. They didn't seem spooked so I asked my boy if he wanted to stay in school and be brave for his friends. He said yes. As I was leaving, I stopped in at the nurse's office. I told her I didn't know what was the right thing to do. She told me that, yes, I did know. I immediately went back to the lunch room and took my son home.

Himself was not permitted to leave work until three that afternoon. We had to turn off the television despite the fact that I didn't want to. It just wasn't good for our boy to watch this over and over again.

Living close to a very busy airport we are quite used to hearing planes going overhead at any time of the day. One of the most eerie parts of that day was the silence of commuter jet traffic and the roar of military jets and the pulsing of helicopter rotors which occasionally swept by.

We had no idea what was to come next. All we knew was that we were together, God was and is alive and well and that His eye was/is on us.

Truth be told, I don't remember much else about that day. I was helping to care for a friend who was dying of cancer and had to compartmentalize everything to be able to cope. In the following months, I became anorexic (not for the first time), my son graduated from sixth grade, my dear friend died and I went into an eating disorders facility for three weeks to keep from dying myself. However, on September 11, 2002, the trauma hit me big time. I kept expecting the same thing to happen. It didn't, thankfully, but the PTSD Alien Hunter speaks of was and, I believe, is still rampant in these here parts.

On this fifth anniversay, I sit here and wonder when the next attack will occur and if it will happen in the same places. Could my son cope with watching a site in NYC smoking and burning for two months again? I don't care what your political leanings are but I believe this administration has strengthened our security greatly. Our borders are still porous and that is a problem we need to deal with. Whether or not we belong in Iraq will not be discussed on this site and I will immediately delete any posts referring to it.

One of my greatest fears is that we, as a nation, have become complacent. Yes, we have to get on with our lives. However, there are people who complain about taking off their shoes before hopping on a plane and many who no longer fly their flags like we did five years ago. The taxis in NYC are honking their horns loudly again unlike the control they showed for what I believe was months after 9/11.

One good change has remained, though. We say, "I love you," much more freely than we did five years ago. We are much more aware of how fragile and finite our lives are. This is a very good thing.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Moving Right Along

We had Isabella’s IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting recently and were thrilled to learn that Bells’ teacher and the child study team feel Isabella is ready to enter kindergarten. In the morning, she will enter the school with an NT (neurotypical) class and then go to her contained classroom with only three other students! All her specials (art, music, phys. ed., etc.) and recess will also be with the NT class! This is a wonderful improvement and we are thrilled with her progress.

The Girl is concerned, though, that Bells is noticing when NT kids her age and older say hurtful things like, “Why does she act like a baby?” She isn’t where they are socially yet and they don’t get it. Breaks a mom’s (and a Booboo’s) heart.

We are in the dog days of summer and autumn can’t get here soon enough for this cool weather girl. Ragweed must be blooming because my whole household is hurting. So thankful for air conditioning.

We’ve been invited to go down the shore for a few days with our dear friends. Himself is so excited. More than two nights away from my bed is difficult for me but I will do it for him. Ugh.

I’m down 30 pounds now! Twenty more to go. Feels goooood!

Last week, I spent five and a half hours with a 91 year old learning all about her life. It was so interesting! I love seniors, do you?

What’s going on in your world? I really want know!

blessings, gail

Friday, July 15, 2011

Another This and That

It has been way too long so I am going to just jump right in.

It looks like blogger is behaving so let's keep our finders crossed.

Last month, Himself and I walked a 5k with friends for The Sharing Network which organizes organ and tissue donations. I have been a registered organ donor since I was in college. We can't take it with us, right?

Within a week or two of the walk, the person who organized our team donated her kidney to a dying stranger so that another stranger would donate one of their kidneys to one of my friend's friends. Got that? If you don't match the person you know, you can donate to someone else and your person will get a kidney from someone else who did the same thing! The person she donated to is healing, no longer dying, and her friend is coming along. Is this beautiful or what?

Got a phone call today from a friend whose son, also on the spectrum, is a friend of Isabella's. For the last two days, since our play date, he has been obsessing over his "best friend ever," Bella, and how he misses her. He wrote her a love letter in chalk on the sidewalk and has been making cards for her. His mom finally had to call so he could talk with her and ask Bells why she didn't sit with him on the school bus with him! Bells told me she hurt his feelings. (In her defense, she is one of the first kids picked up and he is one of the last.) Both of them were able to express themselves so well! Two children who started out non-verbal! Hopefully, this will be worked out but I am impressed at how far they have both come this past year.

Speaking of Bells, I went with her and The Girl to a neurology appointment the school wanted her to have. Along with the autism diagnosis, she is now officially diagnosed with ADHD. Duh. We could have told you that two or three years ago. Bother her parents and her uncle have the condition. Shiney things are very distracting...

Heat. We are experiencing heat in the great Atlantic northeast - as is much of the country. We do not like heat (yes, that is a royal "we") We don't dig it, enjoy it, tolerate it well or long for it in the cold of winter. Himself dreams of retiring to Florida - ha! See ya.

I don't remember whether or not I mentioned that The Boy passed his exam and is now a certified personal trainer. He is so much happier doing this than working in a liquor store moving boxes of product around all day. We are so proud of him.

Well, that's all I've got in me for now. There's so much more but it has been a long, long day. Blessings to all, g

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Give Up

Blogspot/blogger is giving me agida. Please join me at wordpress:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blogger Issues

I have been faithfully visiting your sites but have been having a problem leaving comments. It seems that blogger isn't recognizing my account! Hopefully, this will straighten itself out. I also have a wordpress account and, when I post there copy it to this account.

Hope all is well, gail

Friday, May 27, 2011

Oy, How did that Happen?

My day was planned out perfectly: bring Isabella to school, stop at the library, weight watchers meeting, trip to an outlet area for new "unmentionables" and maybe a new dress for our niece's wedding, maybe a trip to Trader Joe's and then, blessedly, a nap!

But nooooooo! As I pulled into the drop off area at school, I noticed I was the only one there. The district didn't use all its snow days so we have a four day Memorial Day weekend. No one told me! Isabella was confused but dealt with it. "Is school finished?" "For this week it is, honey."

After a week of congestion and coughing (allergies?), Bells could have slept in this morning and this upset me. I hate to wake her up when she is in a deep sleep. That might have bothered me more than having my plans upset.

We went to the library, one of Bells favorite places, and then to weigh in but not stay for the meeting (another pound and a bit - just over 21 pounds!) and then we went to see great grandma. This was a good thing as she adores her little pigeon (pah-jink-ah in Slavish) and she is pretty fond of me, too. We all packed into my car and went to the outlets together. Isabella made out the best with sandals, a swim suit and a dress. I got two tops and a skirt - only $10 each! -and I got a lovely top for my daughter, too. Nothing for the wedding and no undergarments.

We had a bite to eat in the food court and went back to great grandma's where we waited for himself. He ate the gyro we brought back for him and then we drove up to where The Girl works so Bells could go swimming.

Are you tired yet? I am! Himself went home and I went to get some stuffed cupcakes and then home to cook. Ugh.

Since dinner, I have, basically, been sitting in my recliner fooling around on the netbook and "watching" mostly mindless tv.

Now, my perfectly planned day is another example of God's sense of humor. "Man plans and God laughs?" Had everything gone according to plan I still would have taken Isabella by her mom but then great grandma wouldn't have had her usual Friday visit. My mother-in-law adores Isabella. My girl brings great joy to her and this was a hard week because it would have been my father-in-law's birthday. I am so happy we were able to bring joy to Mom

As for tomorrow, I am afraid to make plans! Truthfully, all I want is to sleep as long as possible and stay in bed until I am good and ready to get up! If someone gets in the way of that they had better look out. If Mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy!

To my American friends, let's not forget the reason for Memorial Day even whilst we enjoy our bbq's and whatnot.

blessings, g

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Walk in the, uh, College Campus

Yesterday, we walked for Autism Speaks. The organization is not perfect but it a big help for families dealing with the autism spectrum.

As the team captain, the weeks leading up to the walk are stressful to me. I did nowhere near as much fundraising through sponsors as I did last year as I was paralyzed by what I saw as the immensity of it. It really isn't a big deal but, in my mind, it was of gargantuan proportions.

Last week, not only did my fms flare but my ibs decided to come along for the ride. Ugh. I am so thankful that I was able to nap and function well enough to do what I had to do.

Our team Isabella came out beautifully! The girl wanted pink but I put my foot down and we settled on orchid (pale purple). A couple of the guys were not thrilled but real men do wear purple!

How wonderful it was to have both our side of the family, Isabella's dad's side of the family and dear friends join us in support of our girl! Even my mother-in-love, who has issues with her legs, joined us in a wheelchair for the second year in a row! It was wonderful to push her along the 1.6 mile route.

After the walk, most of us broke bread at a local eatery and continued our fellowship and good time. Our girl, Bells, did so very well. We couldn't be prouder.

Will we walk again next year? As long as children are newly diagnosed, we have the strength and we are able, yes. Will I get all worked up? Probably. Let's just hope I start earlier and get more productive with corporate sponsorship!

blessings to all, g

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day and Such

It is just after 10:30 PM this Mother's Day of 2011. It was a good day.

Himself and I grabbed a bite last night - although we had to leave because the place we chose was so crowded I got overwhelmed and we had to take the meal to go. It was better at home anyway!

After church, I started to prepare the meal I am going to serve my parents when they visit tomorrow. We so rarely get to see each other and I want to have something special for them. Sunday afternoons are usually for napping but we had to go to Himself's mom's house. It was so good to see everyone there.

Isabella, at age five, is the oldest of the great-grandchildren. Her cousin Giuliana is just thirteen months old and cousin Tyler is just four weeks old. My poor Bells was so upset at not being the center of attention. When I picked up Tyler, the look on my girl's face was like I had put a knife through her heart.

We sometimes expect to be able to reason with our girl as we would an NT (neuro-typical) child but often we can't. What is going on in her mind; her intelligent, wonderful, complex mind? How does she process what she sees and hears? Is she acting like a brat or like a hurt child unable to understand that our love for other children will never take away from our love for her?

There is a very loaded question in the autism community: if you could take away your child's autism, would you? Some say a resounding, "No!" as if you are insulting their child. Those who are on the spectrum and can answer for themselves often say no.

For the parents and families of people with autism who can not communicate or are afflicted with anxiety and frustration, there is often a resounding, "Yes!"

Would I take away Isabella's autism if I could? Get back to me in a few years when she is no longer an adorable five year old; when other kids can hurt her more than they can now; when she realizes she is "different." I'll let you know then.

For now, I will love her and hug her and joyfully swim in the wonder of her hugs and kisses and her requests to sit with me, sitting so closely I can't tell where she begins and I end. I will hope that she never stops calling me Booboo replacing this special name with the generic names grandmothers go by because Booboo makes me feel special. I will walk to raise money to help others on the spectrum. I will advocate and go to meetings at school and support my daughter as best I can on this journey.

I am not a saint. I am a tired, worn out mom and grandmother not always trying my best but doing what I can when I can. There are times when I just sit and play on my netbook or watch tv and knit. I give myself permission to be lazy whenever possible. Thankfully, my best is good enough for Bells. And that is what matters.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dribs and Drabs

It's hard to come up with a title for a post when I have no clue what I am going to write about so I will leave that until I finish.

After meeting some wonderfully interesting new people through the Five Minutes for Moms blog party, I find that not writing seems lame. If all the other busy people I visit can find time to write why can't I?

It is not really about time. It is the fear of boring people to tears. Hmmm...boring to tears...what causes that...yawning? I digress...I like to digress...

Life in my little corner of the great Atlantic northeast is rarely boring. Three to four days a week I take my grandbaby, Isabella (Bells or Boo to me most of the time) to school. Morning is not my favorite time of day so this is an effort. After that, if my fms (fibromyalgia) isn't kicking my bum causing me to have to go back to bed for a couple of hours, I try to get some work done. I don't often succeed. You see, I have an aversion to housework. I say it is because I am a perfectionist. If I can't do it perfectly, why do it at all?!

I am the team captain for our Autism Speaks walk next month. By this time last year, I had a team of about fifteen and had raised hundreds of dollars. My team is only around six people right now and I haven't even raised $200. This is very discouraging.

~heavy sigh~

Quite a bit of my time has been spent helping out mother-in-love. Yes, you read that right. I love my mother-in-law. She is 85 and in poor health and I am the only one in the area who doesn't have a full-time job. I don't mind. It is a labor of love.

Too much time is spent on my netbook. 'nuff said about that.

For the last few months, I have been enjoying a study of the Old Testament that a friend teaches and have started a study of the gospel of John with another friend. It has been quite some time since I have been in a Bible study group and this is a great development.

My eyes are tearing up. Bored to tears....I won't put you through any more mediocrity. Just know that I want to stay in your lives and will keep up as best I can.

blessings, g

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Girls Just Want to Have Fun!

A few years back, our church started something called "cell" groups. These groups encouraged open, intimate relationships. Our all women groups became very close for the most part and age didn't matter.

Currently, we don't have enough female leaders to have women's cells (the men are hooked up just fine) but we still have close relationships.

One of the ladies recently turned 40 and a friend decided to have a get together to celebrate. Only five in all could make it so it turned into a dinner party. The hostess, being a foodie and gifted cook, prepared an outrageously delicious meal of risotto, shrimp in garlic sauce, mussels in a lovely red sauce and a beautiful green salad. Two of us baked chocolate confections for dessert. Oh, I am so glad I saved up my weight watchers points all day!

Although the dinner was fab, the best part of the evening, to me, was the laughing. Oh, how we laughed. Some people probably think that a bunch of "church ladies" would be boring but, trust me, had you been a fly on the wall, you probably would have had a grand time, too! We stayed so late that Himself called to make sure I was okay! (It was a dark and stormy night...)

This particular night was important to me because I tend to isolate - especially in the evenings. The hostess made a special call to me instead of counting on the email she sent out to see if I was coming. This kindness nearly made me cry. My self-esteem is not always all that high.

Ladies, hold your girlfriends close. They understand like a man can't. Nurture your relationships and don't take them for granted.

Have a blessed week, g

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A to Z Meme

Haven't done a Meme in a long time so here goes:

A. Age: 54 - Oy, when did that happen!

B. Bed size: Queen but love a King

C. Chore you dislike: ...all of them?

D. Dogs: Happily, none.

E. Essential start to your day: sleeping in...

F. Favorite color: a certain shade of green and lavenders and aubergine

G. Gold or silver: silver

H. Height: Was 5' 1 3/4 inches all through junior high and high school and grew to
5' 2 1/2" ion my 20's. The women in my family tend to do that.

I. Instruments you play(ed): In my dreams, I can play piano...

J. Job title: Chief cook and bottle washer.

K. Kids: A daughter and a son, both grown, oh, and my husband...

L. Live: The Great Atlantic Northeast!

M. Mom’s name: Marie

N. Nicknames: My hubbie sometimes calls me Fudd.

O. Overnight hospital stays: Oy, there are quite a few but I'll just mention giving birth to my babies.

P. Pet peeves: Improper grammar,e.g. using adjectives instead of adverbs when appropriate and "I" instead of "me" when appropriate.

Q. Quote from a movie: "Illusions are dangerous people; they have no flaws." the new Sabrina

S. Siblings: older sister and two younger brothers. The youngest brother is fourteen years younger and he is half son/half brother!

T. Time you wake up: as late as possible

U. Underwear: Wish they were nicer - figure I'll splurge when all the weight is off.

V. Vegetables you don’t like: brussels sprouts, asparagus, "baby" corn

W. What makes you run late: Nothing if I can help it.

X. X-rays you’ve had: Sooo very many

Yummy food you make: Just about everything I make! I can cook AND I can bake.

Z. Zoo animal favorites: zebras

What about you?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ready for the Weekend

Oy, what a long week! Isabella spent two days home from school with a cold. Thankfully, it didn't turn into anything worse like her mom had.

Saturday mornings are my time to sleep in and make up for the energy I expend during the week. Fibromyalgia doesn't respect that have "places to go and people to see." If I didn't have Saturdays to recharge I would be layed out and unable to do what I have to do.

I am blessed that my fms is not totally debilitating. Some people sleep up to eighteen hours a day!

Next week is spring vacation and The Girl (my daughter who is a nanny) has most of the week off to spend with Bells. Yea! A week off for me!

It is supposed to be 80 degrees this Monday. Not good! Already the pollen count is high. Those who have been around a while know that hot weather, pollen and humidity are not my friends. Yuck.

I realize I am jabbering without a destination but, if I wait until I come up with something "deep" or amusing it might take a while.

Oh, Team Isabella walks again for the Walk for Autism Speaks. If you would like to donate, please email me and I will give you the information. We raise nearly $3000 last year!

Hope ya'll have a great weekend, g

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party

I'm joining the Ultimate Blog Party from Five Minutes for Moms!

To get aquainted, my name is gail and I am a mom and grandmom in the northeastern USA. My life is full and busy looking after my home and my five year old granddaughter, Isabella, who is on the autism spectrum.

Currently, I am organizing, for the second year, our walk for Autism Speaks. Last year, our team raised nearly $3000! I even painted my nails blue for the occasion!

In January, I joined Weight Watchers and have taken off 14 pounds of the 50 I hope to lose. My treadmill has been dusted off and, I am happy to say, it is getting a work out. I am tired of being frumpy Booboo, as Isabella calls me.

Finding new recipes that are appealing to my family and are WW friendly has become a mission in my life. I will be happy to share.

Looking forward to meeting new "friends" through this outreach.

Blessings, gail

Monday, March 28, 2011

Light it Up Blue!

April is Autism Awareness Month. April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. On this date, homes and landmarks around the world will be lighting it up blue. My porch will have a blue light, the Empire State Building will shine blue, oh, so many places will shine the light on the need for people to understand the fastest growing healthcare crisis in America, maybe the world.

Please read this letter to President Obama and leave a comment so that he can see how important it would be to the nations, the world, to light up the White House blue: A Diary of a Mom Letter to the President-

Thank you so much, gail

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Catch Up

Well, daylight savings gave us an extra hour of light today. It was nice but what a drag for the moms trying to get their kids to go to bed on time; especially special needs kids who have issues with melatonin. Oy.

The annual walk for Autism Speaks is coming up soon. I am overwhelmed with even thinking about putting it all together again: sponsors, contributors, walkers, t-shirts - ugh! Will anyone else step up to be Team Isabella's team leader? Nah ah. Double oy.

My mother-in-love is not doing well. Having my father-in-law around until he was nearly 95 makes me think Mom's 85 years is young but that is not the truth. Congestive heart failure and bad arthritis make her so uncomfortable. We all want her around for as long as possible but have to accept reality; life is frail. Oy, oy, oy. At least my parents are in great health. Phew.

I am pleased to report that Isabella is still progressing more than she is regressing. She actually recited the eleven months of the year whilst clapping! (She left out November.) It is thrilling to see that she is learning things that neurotypical children her age are learning. We had a phone conversation earlier that made more sense than any other we have ever had. She was able to relate to the fact that tomorrow is a school day. Me: "Tomorrow is Monday, Boo." Bells: "I know that." Hooray!

Yesterday was about the 28th year (less the three they moved out of state) I celebrated St. Patrick's Day with my bff and her husband. The corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and soda bread were good but the company was great. I have been blessed with a number of people I can call "friend." So many of them are around for only a season. However, L is the one who I know will always be in my life. Another hooray!

Living in this part of the great Atlantic northeast is very expensive. Himself wants us to make plans to move to a state we can afford to live in. Leaving my grandbaby behind is not an option as far as I am concerned. The Girl doesn't want to move. What to do? Hope God gives us perfect wisdom on this. It's so hard.

Well, that's about it for now. What's up in your life?

blessings, g

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oh, no, not again...

Something I might not have shared with you in the past is that, in the past, I have suffered from crippling panic attacks. It has been a while since I feared them but, this past week, that has changed.

Out of the blue, this past Tuesday I had a full blown attack. It popped up, seemingly, out of nowhere. I was so thankful that Isabella wasn't with me as I have no idea how she might have reacted to her Booboo freaking out.

What does one of these attacks look like for me? The pressure in my chest makes me fear a heart attack. Sometimes some pain in my left arm almost convinces me. I tend to feel very hot. I believe I said out loud, "Oh, dear God, help me!" I left my seat in the living room and walked to the kitchen where I held on to the counter for dear life and remembered my training from the Claire Weekes book Hope and Help for Your Nerves .

Self talk:

You are having a panic attack
You have survived them before.
Accept that you are having this panic attack
Your heart is a very strong muscle and it will not explode.
Breathe and float through it.

Sounds too simple, right? Well, it took years for me to be able to work through this. Still, it is a horrible experience.

Why am I talking about this? Why do I talk about most things? To get the word out that we are not alone with our ills and heartaches. I could write about only rosey, wonderful things happening in my life and you could say, "Oh, what a lovely life she has!" Well, I do have a pretty good life but it is not all flowers and butterflys! It has ugliness in it. However, I always have hope.

Hope. How glorious is hope?! I know that this earthly shell is temporary and that I have a heavenly home being prepared for me. When I get there, I will not have panic attacks or fibromyalgia or weight issues. My Isabella will join me there and her autism will be left behind. My grammy, whose Parkinson's stole her expressive face, will greet me with her smile. Oh, what a wonderful hope!

Life has been tough lately. My mother-in-law is in poor health and I am the only one not working full-time so I need to be available to her for doctors' appointments. The Girl needs Himself and me to care for Isabella when she is not in school. Two things that have probably brought back the panic attacks.

Things will get better.

Blessings, g

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Update and a List

After talking with the school bus driver and the aide, it seems that Isabella and A have been "fighting" and that necessitated the change of seats. Nothing was as sinister as The Girl interpreted and I am glad to report this.

As the driver and aide said, I don't care if they have autism, girls will be girls! Amen.

As for a list, I don't believe I have ever written a "bucket list." This is not a bucket list, just things I would like to learn to do:

- a martial art - My brother and I were discussing krav naga, an Israeli form, and it sounds interesting.

- how to play the piano - I know I have mentioned this before and have done nothing to move towards this goal.

- how to fly a helicopter - Yes, I have a problem with heights but still want this.

- how to increase and decrease in knitting and crocheting

- how to control my eating all of the time

- how to be less gullible

- how to dance ballroom style (I've two left feet)

I'm sure there are many more I can add to this list.

What is on yours?

Thanks to The Writer's Kaffeeklatsch for the inspiration for this.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Hurting Hearts

My daughter called me this evening to ask why "A" doesn't sit with Bells on the bus any more. Truth be told, I didn't know this. Isabella was obsessed with A and we have had a play date and A came to Bells' birthday party.

When The Girl asked Bells why, all she could say was that A is now sitting with L who is mean. "Is L mean to you, Baby?" "Yes. She makes this face(makes an ugly face) at me.

Although our Bells has come so very far this past year, it is hard to not be able to get the whole story from her. I know I can ask the bus driver and monitor on Monday but this leaves the entire weekend for my daughter to feel badly and fear that her baby is hurting.

Our girl has been going through some changes lately. She is still loving and sweet but she has learned how to throw a wicked tantrum and can shed crocodile tears with the best of them.

On the positive side, she is progressing socially and educationally. We are seeing an improvement in fine motor skills. Her school saw fit to get her physical therapy because, well, she needs it! She falls down a lot and bumps into things. (Yes, we did get her eyes examined.)

Last year, my dear daughter would say, "If only she could tell me what she had for lunch today." This year, our girl can tell you what she had for lunch and who did what during lunch!

Maybe next year we will be hearing what is going on on the school bus in detail from our dear one.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Here We Go Again

In my little part of the Great Atlantic Northeast, it is hit or miss with snow. We are currently experiencing the third significant snow fall of the season. School was canceled a day in advance which is practically unheard of in our small town.

As you may or may not recall, Himself is a BDO or Behavior Detection Officer for the TSA at a major airport. He usually wakes up at 2:30 AM for his 4 AM shift. His drive is usually under fifteen minutes but I suggested he and a few of his buddies get a hotel room at the airport. The worst of the storm is supposed to be during his commute time.

So, The Boy and I are here in our warm home, he in his room probably playing video games and I in my living room,alone,typing this entry and watching an HGTV show I recorded. Ah, bliss. There is a knitting project and a new book on the floor beside me and I am content.

Being alone is fine with me. As a matter of fact, I covet my time alone. Himself doesn't get it and has gone as far as to suggest to at least one person from church to spend time with me so that I wouldn't be alone. Yes, I enjoy time spent with friends and family. But there is nothing wrong with being comfortable in your own skin at times, right?

Isabella is doing well. Can those of you who have watched her grow believe she is now five years old?! She is tall an beautiful and a delight. At times, she tries my patience so that I am sorely tested. Overall, though, we are still happy each time she comes home from school.

Hope you are all content and comfortable in your home and in your own skin.

blessings, g

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Major Events Not Withstanding

I always seem to wait to write until I have something important to say. Then I look at other blogs that just say a few words here and there and they can be delightful!

Having such long lapses in my posts is not my ideal and it bothers me. Through blogging, I have met so many wonderful people around the world. I have been able to express my thoughts, dreams, disappointments and triumphs.

Here's to trying to keep in touch more often through this delightful medium!