Friday, September 28, 2007

After the rain, is sun.

I wait for Boss to return from his meeting.  I'd picked up a delicious smelling peach praline pie for his birthday today from an Amish market not too terribly far away.  It was still warm even. 

The sky is blue now, baby blue, with big billowy white clouds and some remaining splotches of gray.  It felt nice to feel the breeze through my jacket and the sun on my face.

Last night, walking Daisy, the wind was picking up and she was on edge.  I looked up.  The clouds were moving fast, dark gray flat fat clouds ready to storm down upon us.  She'd bark or how at every distant thunderclap sound throughout the early part of the night.  (I did get in the 'season premieres" of both Grey's Anatomy and Big Shot, just happenstance as I hadn't turned on the television for myself in months, I think.  "Eh" to Big Shot, which is an improvement over the way lame Men in Trees, and Grey's Anatomy wouldn't have hooked me if I hadn't already absorbed myself into the story line last year.)  Daisy asked to go back out, then panicked some again.  The storm really wasn't too bad, and I got her to pee in her "safe spot" before letting her race back in, ears washed off and ready for bed.

By morning, ah, light rain now.  I'd finally found some time, not driving not racing from this to that and do ten other things, but to think, to feel.  To feel a lot of what I've been stoic about lately, not dealing with, pushing away.  Missing M, feeling badly about the feis (got screwed up) last weekend, and, well, my dear really good friend for years who basically not only ditched on me last minute, which we talked about and I understand his viewpoint even if not agreeing with it, but then well, not even following through.  I've lost my respect for him; I feel done.  With that pain, with repeating that pain / situation with anyone else, with him even as a dear good friend (we were not dating).  The mystique has been diffused.

So we walked in the rain with no coat on.  I could smell the wet grass and earth.  I love the feel of a light rain on my face and skin and hair.  No allergy symptons in the rain, oh yeah, M won't be having allergy trouble today, than, either.  A little girls was wearing a purple rainslicker and a colorful backpack.  I pick up a perfect leaf of yellow and reds, smiling to recall the Talbot's fall collection ad where a woman with hair similar to mine had taken time out, not to "smell the roses," but to pick up a leaf.  The rain felt great.

I have more sensory perceptors in my skin per square inch than anyone else in my high school science class (re-tested as well, etc.), by quite a bit.  I seem to be more sensitive and aware of sensory-related items than other people do, perceive things just as strongly or intensely yet with less sensory input.  Those car noises when someone unlocks, or locks, their car remotely really jolts me, for one thing; I have to be very out of it in a darkened room for me to not wake up when the sun does.  A light rain on my skin in good temperature is very refreshing for me.  I like rain and water and such, anyway, but still.  I can get overloaded easily, to the extent that some would refer to it as having sensory issues.  Hmm, compared with others, yes, at least with some things. 

This can mean that I appear to not emote, or appear to not care sufficiently.  Sometimes, sure, it's not a big deal thing, so who cares.  I do believe that some people get all caught up with the little stuff that really does not matter, relax, chill out.  More so, though, if it's something noteworthy and I don't react strongly, it's likely that I'm overwhelmed, care and feel it perhaps too much, so that I've had to push some of the images and thoughts of it away some, deal with it an hour from now, or a day, break it down, prepare myself first.  Granted, during an emergency or crisis, I just deal and do what's needed, focusing on what can and can't be done, and what should and shouldn't be done, bam, bam, road block how do we go around, okay, let's go, done.  Most things in life, sure, I can deal.  I don't know how to explain this in any way that makes sense. 

I know when one of my girlfriends cherrily asked me on Monday (or was it Tuesday?) all about our fun time out of town, and yes, it was great to get away with M, who said when we both flopped down on the bed there, "I have no obligation to this hotel."  We laughed.  She meant "objection."  Sunday was thee best of the days there.  But my friend was not, well, there, and we'd screwed up reading the signs at the feis to the point that M actually missed half her dances.  All the good and the not good and preparing M for her trip, I couldn't face getting into it with her.  Besides, her real interest is always the dating angle, and even explaining to her that I"m friends and not dating someone is a pain.  It would hurt to talk intensely about it right then.

I started feeling a bit nauseous one time when I tried to read all of the various sensory issue descriptions Amy (journey with Sam) had sent me.  I am blessed to not have issues that he has (a whole slew of things, and severely so).  What a struggle it must be for him (and, of course, her in raising him and his brothers).  I am essentially a functioning, socialized, "normal" adult (even if I'vd missed social cues at times so now I search them out).  I understand him liking to sleep under his weighted blanket.  I can imagine the comfort it'd impart, and enjoy blankets and my cats, myself.  And colors.  M and I are both very visual, yet I know I learn best "kinetically," (in lab classes and dancing workshops, most anything), and she may as well but I'm not positive.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses. 

"Society" can be too overwhelming.  (I know some things I need to refrain from, Dave and Busters is a bit much for me, and emotionally/ visually such as avoiding the holocaust videos that Guido shared, as I get nightmares, and even at times, the Wednesday Heros that Kathi posts cuz I see the sweet face and fear, oh Lord, did this boy die, too?)  Let the more subtle, glorious natural sensory stimulators be enjoyed.  I like those best sometimes:)

I don't even know if anything I've written here makes any sense to a reader; I'm trying to comprehend it for myself even.  Maybe as my life eases some, that'll help.  Dad and M both more in routines and I'm not keeping us out 2.5 hours later one night for me to also take an Irish step dance class, but going HOME, to Daisy and for us.  Maybe that's part of it, too, sometimes, for the smaller things, anyway.  (I felt as if on remote some of the days going through the court crap with C a few years back, trying to focus on M, instead.)  I like to be open to feeling, to living.  Sometimes I have to just balance it out, in ways different from how many others do.

And by now?  Boss came down, looked at the pie then realized it had a big blue candle in it.  Uh-hoh.  I teased him, "Would you prefer to celebrate NEXT year's birthday, or this year's?"  It's a big one next year.  That was expectionally good tasting pie, too, with fresh peaches that just, ummm.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

thinking of M

I think of M.  The air last night was soft, as in warm enough yet not hot, and just humid enough but not drenching or feeling like a wall one slams into, but gentle, soft.  The moon was full, as if a gold coin hanging there in the night sky.

I'd pulled up the weather forecast for where she and her classmates are.  Rain for today, 50% chance, oh, and some rain last night, oh, good, they'd only predicted 15% chance for last night.  I run through my mind what she packed for rain gear, including a compact poncho.  A warm rain, high's still in the 80's F.  Then I had to smile, she wasn't camping last night, just the night before, their first night out.  Last night and tonight, they are in cabins or lodges, joining with another intermediate-level Montessori class.  How exciting, really.  Only so many Montessori schools in the nation go up to the Intermediate level, and M's never met other Montessori students outside of her own school (and her primary school which only went up through primary, i.e., preschool through Kindergarten).

Under that full orange-tinted moon and the soft air, was this the night they were listening to a folk band, and had folk dancing?  I'd wondered if some would make fun, particularly the boys.  M said, "No, though J asked if there'd be a banjo."  She didn't seem to realize that the style of dance she now focuses on (Irish dancing, both set and step dancing), is a type of folk dance.  LOL.  They'll all have fun.

Programs there include a geologic hike to "the" falls, salamander monitoring (oh, a bit of misty rain shouldn't hamper THAT), monarch butterfly monitoring, orienteering, weather observing and recording, and I forget what else. 

I miss her while I'm real happy she has such an opportunity.  I buy frozen edamame as we were out when she asked for my "pasta and edamame" (with shredded parmesan cheese) for dinner Monday night.  I think of this past weekend and feis, and upcoming ones.  Daisy sniffs around my vehicle after I get home (and let her outside), to check if M's come home, too.  I still didn't make it to my own dance class this week, which I've missed all semester just busy with Dad and M and the pets.  I had time to read part of the newspaper this morning, with Liberty and Indie and Daisy, as I'm not taking M to school (still on to Dad's temporary place before work).  And I check the weather.

This morning's forecast for M's site is only 45% chance of rain there, with percipitation not expected to get more than something like 1/4 inch of rain in an hour.  Pffft, they'll be fine:)  Only a chance of heavier thunderstorms.  Maybe that'll only come after they're sleeping tonight. 

I actually have a lunchbreak for me today.  Typically it's more along the lines of walking Daisy and feeding everyone, driving to M's school to drop off riding pants as we didn't know she'd have a makeup lesson that afternoon until after I'd taken her to school, while on the phone with AOL as I couldn't get AOL to "take" my change of payment credit card as my main one had a security issue, driving through a not horrible place for lunch for Dad and bringing it to him, or shopping for him or spending all of lunch with him, or whatever.  Today, I went by Border's to check out more specific definitions of autism and asperger's syndrome.  I saw a magazine, Bethesda, with an article on "Girls with ADHD."  Of course, I forgot all about what I'd gone there for, and skim-read this article.  Towards the end of the article, the last name of a doctor was mentioned along with a program to assist those with ADD/ADHD, so I had to go back through the middle of the article until I found her first name.  I wrote that down with the idea that perhaps I'll look her up for M.  I DO believe that this article described both M and me. 

Then I scanned other magazines.  In the midst of Playboys and other "men's" magazines, I noticed there was no Playgirl.  I hadn't planned to buy a copy, but I wonder if there isn't sufficient interest to also carry Playgirl, or?  There was a whole area for "women's issues," which seemed to include health and fashion, which I bypassed.  Vegetarian Times seemed intriguing, until I realized I'd never actually use these (or other) recipes.  I did enjoy the quick article on Chrissie Hynde that was included.

The barrista recommended the Giant Peach tazo tea (man on man I can taste why), and I wonder if M would like it.  She loves peaches, or, used to. 

Here, it hasn't rained today.  We could use it; I could feel some level of moisture in the air this morning, but not so much at lunchtime, and no rain.  There, where M is?  Primarily, I know she's enjoying being with friends (and others), some new friends, learning and doing new things in a new environment.  Happy autumn:)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

13-year olds (plaid pants and hiding behind tshirts)

The first school year gathering is an open house and picnic.  M was all excited, planning out her attire just as intently as for the first day of school.  Last year, her class had school that day, as their fall trip started on the next day, on what would have been their first day of school.  Few from M's class showed this year, how disappointing.  J and two of his sisters came, though, and I got a nice shot of M, J, and J's one sister / friends with M.  Nicely, that night, L and M got together for an ice cream and 2-hand practice (then M worked to teach me some beginning Irish step dance steps, in preparation for the class I tried out but won't work, M being both very patient and amused).

I thought M and J were paired as a team for fantasy football, but seems J was simply helping her out with information on the players to chose from.  "Mom, Mr. L says that girls are statistically better at fantasy football as they focus more on abilities and not on personal preferences."  I told Mr. L that M's actually asking me for the sports section of The Washington Post, and once wanted to watch television news for the sports.  "I did pick the one year when there are no football fans in the class."  Not sure that's a big hindrance.

Then J told M that J had thee same green plaid pants.  Md, J, and M, were to all wear plaid pants the next day, M and J texting, that night and the next morning.  "M, J's mother is probably leaving to drive them to school already, why don't you just call him?"  "Mom, no one calls any more."  Except then she calld Md, who changed from her red shirt so she could coordinate properly with plaid pants M would bring in for her.  Except the ones M wore were too short for school code, combined with a class meeting on said rules (some girls were showing up in sofee's), so M changed into the ones brought for Md, so at least she and J could coordinate.

Another night, J calls M, asking if she could come to a pool party at his house the next Thursday.  "Mom, can I go to J's house next Thursday?"  "Thursday?"  "Yeah, we have off school."  "Oh, right.  Sure.  What for?"  "I'll tell you in a minute."  J ends up asking M to not tell anyone else as he hasn't called said anything to anyone else yet.  A handful of youth went, and J's mother home, all active kids swimming and scootering and just having fun (as we left, J was sitting down low on his scooter, Md and school friend L and girl J were around, plus J's two younger sisters, M having gotten there earlier than others and leaving just a bit early for dance).

One night last week, OHBoy (who is actually 12) and M started hitting each other with empty water bottles after dance class.  Then they really started getting into it, in a fun way, sometimes hitting bottles against bottles.  I've never seen him interact like that, but after a bit, I did ask M (and him) to stop before it got bad, just in case.  (Many don't even know he's actually autistic; he's so highly functioning so to speak, and is physically adept and active.)  M won.  They had planned a rematch on M's back to school night as OHBoy's mother was going to take M home until I could pick up M.  Except another parent who lives much closer to me offered, also.  Sorry, M.  You'll still see him three times a week through December.

When I picked up M from riding to run her to dance then me back to school, M looked at my outfit and nodded, "I give you permission to wear this tonight."  I HAD chosen one of the new ones from this summer (that's really browns and fall-ish), so I would look somewhat okay during Back to School Night.  She liked the brown cap-sleeved sweater I'd shown her previously, a couple times, but she hadn't seen on me.  I laughed, "That's good, honey, as I don't have time to run back home, anyway."

M is in a group (of otherwise all boys) from her class who are planning the equivalent of their schools extreme race day event.  It's somewhat like a triathalon except it may include a different set of 3 athletic events (usually mountain biking, running, and something else as the school pool is closed), a big event supported by the whole school, with prizes.  PE teacher is assisting.  One boy suggested a water dunking pool (before they researched the costs).  Pros and cons were bantered about, along with who would be dunked.  The volunteer then was suggested to do it naked, and then jokes started.  M said she told PE teacher she was going to go check on some particular other work.  At first, he responded that, no, M needed to stay there until something was figured out.  M said she looked at him, said, "No, I need to leave now."  Then, PE Teacher realized, oops, this is juvenile boy talk, and told her to go ahead andleave.  If he had not, he'd be receiving a call from me.  He'd made a comment back to the one boy, putting that boy in his place so to speak (boy won't bring up that topic again), but it was still, well, something to avoid with girls around, too.  The other days, just brainstorming and work on the race itself.  She has done well competing in this in past years.

There are two boys in M's 4-hand figures team.  One is also a J, as is the older World Qualifier dancer, J, so I'll refer to this boy as J4H or 4HJ (even if he was also in M's 8-hand, I think).  4HJ and his sister, K, are twins, moved up from the home school dance classes.  They had their first feis this summer, starting at Novice.  Both did really well!  4HJ even got a first place, and then in the last local (Baltimore) Feis, tied for 3rd with M in Open Prizewinner in, hmmm, Treble Jig I think, and their 4-hand team won first!  These twins are both neat kids, are blending in comfortably, and are also in one of the performing troupes.   Monday night was a special show your stuff or get cut, Oireachtas Figures practice.  (M's 8-hand team, where M was paired with OHBoy or is that Choreography?, has not had a lot of attention, and they couldn't meet up over the summer to practice, and even though I see them as a team now, coming a long way, they got cut as a team that would take too much work this year so plan for next.)

After the teams were either cut or chosen, FiguresTeacher had an intense practice for the 4-hand teams.  4HJ was across from M.  FiguresTeacher stops everyone, as she sometimes does to focus on a particular step and moment in the dance.  When the boy (or girl in boys position) and girl are linking arms in front just so, they are to go right up against the chest of the one dancer.  FiguresTeacher paired with M, pushing for emphasis into M's chest wall (NOT the breast area, btw), talking repeatedly about the chest and needs to touch the chest.  "If you don't want anyone else touching your chest, put your hand there."  M was a mite red, and later I found out also feeling that fist.  4HJ, across from M and having to look at the teacher and M, all about chests, nervously pulled the top of his t-shirt into his mouth, chewing it a bit, turned away (as if embarrassed).  M didn't even notice.

FiguresTeacher later told us gathered parents that she could hear allof OUR giggles.  Then smiled and saidshe had to teach them correctly, which we all knew and agreed with.  Just, well, it was cute.

When were out of town last weekend, M got to spend time with her "adopted twins from Russia" classmates who'd moved.  They're quite athletic.  After some awkward how have you been's, they had fun.  Towards the end, the three were roughhousing.  I told the mother thatM really doesn't know any other girls she can do this with.

Whomever boy (or young man whenM's a young woman) M ever pairs with, will have to be smart, and physically capable, to truly match with her.  All in time, however:)  This both planning on wearing plaid pants the same day stuff is really cute, and that's just fine for now.

Tuesday morning I did change my shirt from the sloppier t-shirt I'd slept in, put on a bra and combed my hair, while I focused on being sure M was ready for her class trip and taking care of the animals.  I planned to shower and change afterwards.  We were at her school, taking her things out of the vehicle.  I had not heard further about a phone tree for pickup after the big trip, and I hadn't written down the names of the places (so I could e-mail C, as it's out of state, even though he was told the same info).  M realized I was walking outside, in public, towards Mr. L.  "Nice shorts," M commented, sarcastically.  "Huh?"  "I mean, nice pants."  They WERE nice casual pants, actually.  I just never usually wear them except at home or walking Daisy.   I had refrained from wearing my pink plaid pajama pants:)  "Ah, sorry M, so, is your mother embarrassing you now?"  She still let me give her a kiss and hug good-bye.  Later, walking by with girlfriends and a big smile, "Mom, can you please....?" 


Doug and our mom

Doug called me Monday afternoon, approximately our 5th conversation that day, plus a couple on Sunday, all of those primarily about my father and all the stuff going on with Dad those couple days.  Not this call, though. 

"Did you tell Mom about my latest, ah, medical incident?"

"You mean, your heart attack?  No."  Yeah, Doug had a heart attack not last Saturday, but the Saturday previous.  Nicely, rest and aspirin deemed him "okay," and he still went to physical therapy last week (and yesterday) just didn't do all the workouts.  He didn't really want word out about it.

"Okay, good.  Well, then, why is Mom asking me to lunch tomorrow?"

"I don't know.  I know she's pissed at me."  Pause.  "Wait, not saying she's asking you to lunch tomorrow because she's ticked at me, just saying that she is ticked at me."  Mom had e-mailed me last week, suggesting ideas for M (and I) with Mom for last weekend, and that she had an appointment in the town south of me yesterday so could we take care of an errand before or after.  I was a bit thrown, as M and I were actually, finally after 2 years of telling M we'd go to this almost-midwest town, going to go there for a 2.5 day weekend, our only summer vacation.  I was also SWAMPED, not a moment break from my alarm going off until my head hit the pillow at night, though I did send Mom our itinerary Thursday late, with a note that I think she'd forgotten that we were going there.  Mom DID call M twice over the weekend, asking about the feis and all, so that's good; she did NOT contact me.

Doug and I talked a few minutes longer.  I told Doug that Dad seemed to know (about Doug's heart attack) when I was by earlier that day.  "Oh, I told him."  Good, as I had assumed that'd be alright, and with Doug was my "fill-in" with Dad this past weekend, I'd told Dad this info.

I went in with Boss, and had a voicemail from Doug when I returned to my desk.  Hmmm, okay.  Apparently while on the phone with Doug with him telling me about his invitation to lunch with Mom, Mom had called him back to tell him not to let me know that she'd asked him to meet up with her.  Doug and I talk a couple times more that night, both cracking up at this, and me promising not to respond to Mom about Tuesday for at least another hour, even if I'd forgotten all about it until Doug called the first time.

Later, I e-mailed Mom that I'd been swamped, and that the errand would be too much on Tuesday for me, suggested another date for that, but I could likely still meet up.  Tuesday a.m., while M and I go one last time through her packing list for a fantastic school trip she was leaving on, Mom writes back, "Let's do it another time."  Phew.  "Sounds like a plan." 

Doug calls me Tuesday a.m., possibly nervous, "I just want to know what you told Mom about Dad.  I don't want to say something I shouldn't."  Gosh, I don't even know, I don't lie, but most things I don't go into much depth with Mom about.  Doug and I talked about some basics, though.  I think he was nervous.  "I figure if Mom asks me to lunch after 10 years, I may as well go."  I hadn't realized it's been quite that long, quick math, gosh, yes.  "I think you can give our mother 2 hours every 10 years."  He laughed, "Yeah, that's about what I figured.  Don't worry, I won't take over as Mom's companion."  "I am NOT Mom's Companion."  Growing up, Doug had been Mom's favorite, hands-down, I've heard her say it, seen her show it often, my relatives on both Mom's and Dad's side told me, as an adult, that they saw it.  Nicely I figured it out early enough that it was not Doug's doing, and he and I are and were fine.  They had a blow out when M was around 2 years old that isn't my story to tell.  Hmm, maybe it's been 11 years for Mom and Doug, then, not 10.  He had not seen her hair all white before.

I called him after.  "It was fine.  She just had this box of stuff of mine."  "Oh, right, I forgot.  With your birth certificate."  "My birth certificate, and [various items from childhood she'd saved for him]."  "Mom gave me mine probably 3 years ago."  We talked of the items, photos of him with our great grandmother, report cards, etc.  "She is just upset with you as she didn't remember you telling her you were going to [almost midwest town]."    "So she IS ticked at me."  "Yeah, you know Mom.  Hey, I'm not getting in the middle of a fight between you and Mom; I have enough issues going on."  I laugh.  "I'm not fighting.  She'd have to let me know she's upset first."  "She'll get over it in a couple weeks, or when she sees M again."  Mom being mad in the first place makes no sense to me, even with knowing that she was eager to see M, and M with C this weekend AND next as we switched in there, so I suppose it's dinner at Mom's one night next week (I'll suggest it).

Doug told me a couple times how many photos of M that Mom had, and how proud mom is of M, "She's her grandchild, and her only one."   I am happy for that.  I re-explained to Doug that that's really why I spend time with Mom, and ignore most of the little snipes and hurtful comments she possibly doesn't even realize she's doing some of the time.  It's not the laptop she bought M or other help, I don't and won't feel beholden for those things even if they are nice and helpful.  "I was really close to Grandma."  "Yeah, I know, and I wasn't.  I'm not close to anyone."  Hmmm.  I ponder this.  I was Grandma's favorite granddaughter (my disabled cousin one of her two favorite grandsons), and I so needed that, but how DID Doug feel?  Also, guess that NotWife really is no longer close with him.  "I want the same for M.  And they were the ones to help me raise her before C got very involved."  And, they are still there for M and involved.  And, Mom and (stepfather) Bob "need" M, too.  Like I try to have M visit with Dad now that things are better, tho she's always been close with Mom and Bob.

Mom and Doug did talk about Dad some.  In regards to how Dad is getting the money to pay for the repairs, Doug just told her that he wasn't going to discuss it (it IS Dad's business, not Mom's, who respected what Doug said), but it was Dad's money.  How much I help out Dad, yet how Doug was the one who lived there with Dad when I left at about age 12 (to live with our mother), Doug getting the brunt of it / things (he 3.5 years younger than me, not wanting to move away from his friends).  His progression of thoughts and actions re: Dad these past 3-5 years.  He did tell Mom those things. Etc.

Doug calls me back later.  "Robin, don't tell Dad I had lunch with Mom."  Oy.  I don't really get why, but whatever!  I'm glad that they did.

Doug and I both know that Beth is great to talk with, and keep secrets (even if she agrees with me that this not telling stuff like lunch dates is weird).  Who asked me not to relay about a medical issue with her husband, Len lately.  (He is improving, so yeah.)

And Mom and I have e-mailed a few brief times on other topics.  Thinking of M this past weekend and on her class trip right now which should be glorious and educational, spending time with and for Dad, getting cuddles from (cat) Billy and kisses from (dog) Daisy girl, supposedly doing laundry (Dads latest still sits in my vehicle), and getting e-mails from C who is "not very pleased" that M didn't call him Monday night.  (Like he can't be the adult and call HER, who I think didn't even remember, being busy unpacking and packing and homework somehow assigned Monday night with a Tuesday class trip planned, and a fit it in riding lesson as she'll miss her regular one for the class trip, and a special Oireachtas figures rehearsal with "chosen or cut" time.  Heck, I even asked her if she wanted to call C, not knowing he had told her to.)

See why I aim for some sense of normality for M?  lol  I am glad that Doug and Mom met up.  And, nothing I can or could have done for Doug in regards to his heart attack, but wish he and Mom hadn't both had those (it's my Dad and Doug who have both had a few mini-strokes).   Yeah, Doug and I discussed character traits and genetics we've inherited sometimes, too, lately.  Good and not so good.  Interesting to me is that Doug said a good thing from Dad was that Dad was always creative with Christmas gifts (including finding the right one for the person).

I do feel for Doug sometimes.  He wouldn't want me to fuss, though, just listen occasionally.

Tomorrow, Doug's rescuing two kittens currently living under a building on his work site, in part as his partner hates cats.  That's okay.  Doug's beloved dog has been gone several month now.  Doug is able to walk again but not to the extent that owning a dog would require.  Maybe two kittens are a good thing (at least I think so).

Mom's sister, Vesta (yes, I truly have an aunt Vesta), IM's me.  "Your mother says that M did great at her competition last weekend."  I smile and respond, and ask about my goddaughter, LOL (her granddaughter).


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

a few blogs and a funny cat site

Two blogs which I've greatly enjoyed reading, have new, improved blog sites / URL's. 

Please now visit Dan / DPoem here (yeah, I know, he keeps his aol journal going, too, which is good as this new one doesn't really like being pulled up on my computer):  The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind

and also visit "morphed into a New Yorker with a newer spiffy blog to boot," Jeff Zimmerman, here:  And I Am Not Lying — For Real  (he will not be keeping up his former one, which I have on my side bar currently and will, ultimately, update, along with these others).

Guido / Pharmolo has a third blog I didn't know about until today:  Tropical Cyclones  Weather fanatics and those NEEDING this information may be the only real niche here, but sometimes I'm an extreme-weather fan, and it's all good info focused, summarized, and qualified just in case.  (His other, public blog includes a touch of weather and snapshots of life on a northern Scottish Isle:  Northern Trip)

A blog new to ME, is Kellen's /irisheyes1929 AOL journal, Journal Tournament V  So much of life can be stressful (good and bad stress), so it's been a handful of moments of fun respite asking my friends these trivia questions and doing occasional searches.  (Hey, Kellen, I think I know the answer to #10!  Then again, being I only have 3 others answered thus far, I'm still not moving along too quickly.)

Ending on an adorable cat site a friend sent me: I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?  How can anyone not smile?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

our Governor is cool:)

After the Baltimore Feis, held in, gee, the suburbs of B'more, with a skipjack on the feis t-shirts (more of that another entry, great to see M!), with traffic jammed on 695, anyway, I figured I'd join (female) Friend again from Friday night at Saturday night's version of the Baltimore Irish Festival. 

I just missed "our" Irish dance schools show, heard it was great from audiences perspective, talked with some of them (who laughed that their first show means not entirely a cohesive group yet), and TCRG Ma (who introduced me to someone as "the mother of one of my almost-champion dancers") and her serious beau who bought me a Guinness when I'd asked for Harp but it was still good, and some ceili/set dance friends, etc.  Good food (a few potato dishes good for me the veggie), good drinks, and more great music.  Somehow I missed food Friday night, lol, staying too close to the stage in the rain for Black 47.

The Ceili Band played, but with time short, there was limited dancing.  I was fine with that, even if pegged to be a ringer (dancer she could call upon, among others), by the Caller. 

What the heck, I've heard O'Malley's March previous in the now no longer Mrs. O'Leary's Irish Restaurant and Pub, in the days of being "only" the Mayor of Baltimore or perhaps even before then.  It was a good show, M (and others) danced for the fun of it in front of them for the crowd gathered for some parade fundraiser or other event.  What I didn't realize was how geared to the audience that setlist was, with songs akin to The Unicorn Song, and one about growing up in a Catholic school.

Saturday night?  I knew he was cool, but dag, they were super cool, hot.  Maryland's Governor, Martin O'Malley is the lead singer and guitar player for O'Malley's March.  They hadn't performed in public in 8 months, according to him.  He did show up in belted, pressed black pants and not jeans (he may not have worn jeans in years past, either, not really recalling), and a black jacket over a black t-shirt, which, when uncovered, showed what great shape he's in -- someone called for his muscle shirt).   Martin himself seemed to loosen up and really be enjoying himself more and more as the show went on, at least 20 minutes over.  He dedicated one song to Jesse Winch, great musician who is part of the Bogwanderers and had played with the Ceili Band earlier.  It was a really rocking, goodshow! 

Their (band) webmaster borrowed M's digital camera from me and got these 2 shots (early in the show), which I'm grateful for (note the date stamp is inaccurate): 

Towards the end, Jim Eagen (fiddler on the right) and another guy played a fantastic duet, to which the rest of the band joined in for.  (Friend and I happened to end up sitting by his mother and grandmother, all quite proud.  He also played at a ceili Sunday, along with Myron, who was the emcee both Friday and Saturday nights for this Baltimore Irish Festival, meaning, the September one, as there is also a November one oy)  The encore was a version of, "I hope you have the time of your life," then Martin pulled up a guy named Dominic(k) who recited/sang a ballad about Baltimore, where the crowd pitched in every time Baltimore was to be said. 


Then Martin O'Malley himself slid backstage and squirreled off to the band truck.  Baltimore police officers were in force along with people who seemed to be Secret Service.  Back to his political life.  I somewhat followed Martin O'Malley's politics when he was Mayor of Baltimore, and more so when he started campaigning for Maryland state Governor.  I liked them, and him.  Heck, even now, he's trying to be certain that more middle class/lower middle class children have health care, and etc.  (Besides, who could truly vote for his opponent?)  I am on his campaign e-mail distribution listing (albeit I never did have the spare time to help out with it).  He was educated in Montgomery County, and really is a native Marylander.

So here is this smart, seemingly classy and yet sensitive to the needs of people, great leader of a clean-cut Irish guy (yanno, short haircut reminding me of BJ and Boss), having a lot of FUN rocking all out with a Celtic rock band.  I never realized our Governor is so hot.


Monday, September 17, 2007


I figured it can't be THAT hard, but the Rn wanted to be the one to teach us how to use the equipment that tests blood glucose (sugar) levels.  Fine.  This was going to be Friday, but I didn't know until the night before, as she didn't know, that her time slot with Dad was moved to close to my morning visit with Dad, but not early enough for me to do w/out advance notice to Boss, and not late enough for me to count as lunchtime.  I mean, I would, but she was apologetic and I was not needed.  She called me during her 10 minutes there (that trip), saying that I needed to pick up strips, also.  Oh.  Glucometers also need strips, apparently, gotcha, got them, fine.

So today, her appointment switched AGAIN, but doable, breakfast and lunch with Dad as she coming lunchtimeish, fine.  Naturally, he'd eaten a good snack, so the glucometer read high but she wasn't concerned as, well, he'd just eaten.  This was a long visit.  She's been really nice and we've communicated often.  She always tells Dad, who calls me or tells me, and she tells me things.  Great.  She concentrated more on showing ME how to work it, than with Dad, figuring I could show him more later.  Seemed fine, doable, great.  She told me that he could reuse the lancelets (the needle prick) a few times, change it, oh, every 4 days, but DO buy more.  I'd have just gotten more THEN.  Or all with the glucometer and strips with the cane, if I'd know.  But, fine.  I may not use the holder for them, that seems fairly unnecessary unless one has awkward/ big fingers.

Before I took Dad out of the physical rehabilitation center (his "discharge,") I had that nurse double check about the diabetes and testing and medicines and even insulin (which he hadn't had since the hospital, but still), along with oxygen.  No oxygen needed (the Rn said today his lungs were clear, great!), and no testing needed, just various Rx's.........  one is a pill that stimulates his natural insulin production.  This Rn was concerned, however, and asked the doctor.  I agree with the whole idea of Dad / I being able to verify his blood sugar levels just in case.  A degree of comfort there (and ,certainly it has to help a nurse feel good to help educate a family on diabetes management, even if his continues to be mild, will it stay that way?  This does help.)

Dad and I went over his mail, a variety of other things, and made him lunch.  I was trying to take him out for lunch, even a drive-thru, I didn't care, but he didn't feel like it.  Besides, he had the physical therapist coming in just over an hour or so.  Fine. 

Before he ate, I figured we'd try this thing again, check the new reading.  I wondered briefly if I could just shut my eyes when I do the price part, but, no.  With my eyes open, I still got,"Ouch." "Sorry, do you want to do this?"  "No."  "Ouch, Robin, this doesn't hurt whenever they do it."  Dag, it sure looks to me like how they do it.  I figured out how to get the little strip to stick out of this expensive digital glucometer, the little strips daggone expensive also, ready to suck up blood.  (The pharmacy was super nice when picking up his new meds, egads, they'd have run over $500., but she got me paperwork for applying for Medicare something, B or D, and he'll be on a prescription plan soon, plus I took down the phone # -- either Maryland or Montgomery County has a health care or pharmacy card applicable to EVERYONE, I got one and blessedly haven't needed it, but he wouldn't know where his is).

We got Dad "stuck," not a lot of blood, trying to squeeze the finger, get more.  That little lizard tongue-looking sucked up the blood.  Great!  Okay, now for the reading........  except, how do I get it to do that?  I pressed the buttons I thought I needed to press.  The woman didn't write anything down for me, nor had I.  I do need written notes, even if I learn kinetically.  I ended up having the glucometer spit out that test strip unintentionally, and then stick out a new one.  Ugh.  Dad wanted his lunch. 

These shouldn't be so difficult.  Medical science and technology has come so far, so many people in the U.S. (the world) have diabetes, this shouldn't be so difficult.

Heck, even his microwave which he uses without me, I can't quite figure out but I stay pressing buttons until it turns on for a while.  I can't program a radio station on my car radio (as it differs from my old car, and, well, it's not worth my effort to figure that out, and it's really not worth the effort to figure out how to reset the clock).  Digital stuff is fine, new advances in technology, fine.  But, it's not simple enough to actually work.  It's a pain.

This test was an extra for the heck of it testing, anyway.  I'll bring it into my work health unit tomorrow, and have the nurse re-show me.  Ultimately, I would like to know and should know.  I'd even like to test my own, well, except for the needle "lancelet" prick I'll try not to faint over (and I shouldn't really share anyone else's lancelet).  Or, I suppose I could try to decipher the instructions.  I don't usually tend to look at those things.  Too verbose and unclear, typically, who has the patience.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

rain songs / dance

"So, I hear Maryland's having a drought?"

Hearing: James Connolly by Black 47


(Yeah, the picture's way too dark, and the date on it is wrong, but that's from Friday night, September 15th, at Canton Waterfront Park.)

"So, I hear Maryland's having a drought?," Larry Kirwan asked us, a bit bemusedly as rain poured down off the platform over his head, "us" basically getting soaked.
He went on to say something akin to, then Black 47 arrived and all is well. Ah, we did need the rain. After, when he and the other great band members were hanging out, supposedly to sell cd's and t-shirts, I told him that the crowd really would have been larger if not for the rain.
Not that he seemed bothered. He'd also said he'd be in New Jersey today, which I would know if I'd had time to read the e-mail newsletter he sent out last week, and he promised to take the rain with him. Ha.
Today, same place (Canton Waterfront Park, Baltimore Irish Festival), a few of the Maryland Irish (step) Dance schools will perform, including the other senior troupe at M's dance school. At some point after a ceili band, including Billy McComisky (sp) and Laura Byrne (sp), well-known good musicians play, today's headliner will be none other than Maryland Governor, Martin O'Malley, back to his musician moments with his band, O'Malley's March. It's cool, windy, and dry out today. He'll get a good turnout
M's in a feis today. Thankfully, L's mother asked Sh and I if M could do a 2-hand with L for this feis. M's never been able to dance at this feis previously, as she's always been with C. Sh said she hadn't thought of signing M up, but would. So, yeah! AND, M's 4-hand Oireachtas-hopefuls team will get a chance to compete, also. Nicely, figures are at the end, so M's not dancing first thing for figures, than waiting all day for her regular dances.
This means I'll race off momentarily to run an errand for Dad, visit him (I do every morning now, plus often again later in the day), and then get to the feis in plenty of time to see and be with M.
Update: Southern Region requirements to move up to Preliminary Champion are one hardshoe first place, and one softshoe first place, in Open Prizewinner. M has that. M's Irish Dance (ID) school requires a first place in all four of the main dances (reel, hornpipe, slip jig, treble jig). Works for M.

It was the die-hards out last night. Still a respectful sized crowd. Friend and I ended up, by the end, right up front. Funky Ceili was, of course, at the end. Several were dancing (a guy near us looked as if he thought of joining us and combining his group and ours). I practiced a couple actual step dance steps M and Ma taught me this past week. This is why. This is why we dance.
It's not the fru-fru feathers or flowers in the solo dresses (ack, I dislike those, anyway, and what's up with the fake tan crap I hear is popular in the higher levels in some regions?). It's not about winning awards. It's not even just about the fun and joy and love of dancing. It's the culture. It's the sharing and camaraderie (sp).  We're not so oppressed at this point, that we will be kept from dancing, and celebrating life.  (Not that the full culture ever died, not that everyone ever stopped dancing -- one possible explanation for the Irish step dancers holding their arms so straight down by their sides, and their backs straight, is that the British soldiers could walk by windows and perhaps see jumping, but not obvious dancing.)

Larry Kirwan is also a profecient writer and politician, aware of many political global things, of course, including Ireland affairs. Black 47 played Downtown Baghdad, and a new one, Stars and Stripes. More current events. And they played James Connolly, with several moments of the crowd with one fist in the air, respectful, solidarity and all that. He and his band members play great music, fantastic stuff. I love it.
There are bagpipes and penny whistles and bodhrans, along with electric guitars and a rock-band style drum set. There is a celtic flair, and it's fun stuff. Larry Kirwan wears his trademark green suede shoes. He chides us for not singing loudly enough during 40 shades of blue "Philly did better than this. DELAWARE did better than this. Come on, Baltimore." And we responded again, loudly this time.
Yet, there are never moments when the "average" person is forgotten (and yes, he's not only for the Irish, but anyone who has been downtrodden and such, including current immigrants into the USA). That we CAN dance, that we CAN holdfestivals. That we CAN have a voice.
My Honest Tea today says, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead. To me, the band Black 47 is a bit of an icon, legendary, and quite personable, really. A good reminder that we're all worthwhile, and we can work hard, and enjoy a bit of life, too. Worth dancing to:) Here's to all those feising today. I sure hope M has a good time, and yeah, if she wins firsts, wow, but if not? It's okay.
She'll be with friends, and family, and dancing. That we CAN dance, is a good thing.

Sorry it's taken so long between entries, all. Been super swamped lately, back to work and Dad discharged from the physical rehabilitation center, both on the same day that M started school. Ack. But, it's all good, right?