Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Me at 45

Forty five has felt like a bigger birthday. You know, a time-to-check-a-new-box on forms type birthday. A time to reflect on the past and consider the future.

My day:
At 6:30 am I rolled over and mumbled, "Have a good day Pops."
"Happy Birthday Jude." Oh yeah, thanks!
I snuggled in with my two brown labs and went back to sleep.
Ki drew a pic of the family and gave it me while I was still mostly asleep.
Morning card from the kids with a huge sticker "#1 Mom"
Calls, texts, emails and cards from friends.
A trip to the zoo with kids and friends. The zoo was uncrowded and the animals were ready to show themselves.
Home to find a card in the mail from a friend that I had parted ways with a few years ago. I have known her for over 30 years. Our lives are different now, she has no kids, but our history is shared. She is interested in reconnecting, and I am too. She only lives a few miles away.
Granny asked about 10 times, "Whose birthday?"
A nap!
Out to dinner with kids, Granny and Pops. Great food.
Great gifts from Pops, kids and Granny. New pajamas, a high-end pencil sharpener that will sharpen any sized pencil, pastel drawing pencils and paper, earrings, necklace with kids initials, tickets for the family to go see the production Wicked.
On the couch to watch Tuesday night tv and cuddle kids, Pops and puppies.
I am grateful for the people in my life.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I am coffee

This was posted by ML williams, author unknown.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how
things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to
make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and
struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water
and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the
first, she placed carrots, in the second, she placed eggs, and in the
last, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil,
without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the
carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and
placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it
in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asks, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She
did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter
to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she
observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter
smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What
does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same
adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went
in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to
the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been
fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but
after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the
boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" She asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on
your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but
with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the
heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a break-up, a
financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and
stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and
tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot
water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water
gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the
bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the
situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are
their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level.

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make
you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make
you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything;
they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The
brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't
go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was
smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling
and everyone around you is crying.

As I look into the dawning of my 45th birthday in 15 minutes-I think the last sentence sums up how I want my life, and children's lives, to be summarized. For the most part, I am pretty content with it so far.

Granny's Physical

This week I finally took Granny in for her physical.
It is always interesting to hear her interact with other people. Similar to how it is to listen to your own kids interact with others. What is she going to say in response to that question? Does she know the answer to that?
I hear the vague, content free comments and answers I recall from patients I've worked with in the past.
She is "cute " now. What I mean is that she sounds sweet, tries to be funny, is endearing. I remember saying to other adults in the past, "Your Mom is so cute!".
The thing is, my Mom was not a "cute" type of person. She was the one who was smart, coo and had a fabulous wit. But not "cute". That is not my Mom.
Docs and others are so dense about short term memory impairments. I told him she was having pain in her left shoulder. While he examined her she kept saying, "I don't remember my shoulder bothering me." Directly following that he asked her other questions. How was her stomach? Any difficulty with bowel movements? Any skin lesions? Now why would you ask her and expect her to be a reliable historian when she has no recall of her shoulder bothering her.
He then went ahead with the standard mini-mental exam.
Q: Do you know what year we are in?
A: 2000 something (she had just written twice, 10 minutes earlier with my cuing).

Q: Where do you live?
A: Well, with her (pointing to me). Just temporarily.

Q: Do you know Judy's address?
A: Redwood City. (I said "Good job Mom!")
Q: Do You know the street?
A: No.
Q: Do you know the phone number?
A: No. Well I never call there. (A good point, who calls themselves. But I am 90% sure she also would not have been able to come up with my cell phone.)

Q: Do you know the name of the recently elected President?
A: It was the guy. (I again gave her credit for that. A very good cover of an answer.)

I also know she could not have provided the month or day or approximate time of day.

But she also played with Ki tonight as Ki directed her as the new employee in her make believe restaurant. She snuggled and tickled and chatted with Aj. She played along with Wheel of Fortune, and she still does pretty well. She played fetch with Java 350 times. (Okay, it just felt like it was that often.) She washed, dried and folded laundry. She was worried when she realized I have birthday upon us, that she had no gift. She did the dishes. She did the cross word puzzle from the Chronicle. She played solitaire with her cards.
I once worked with an amazing neuropsychologist and he told me that individuals with dementia who are kept in the same environment and routine can do amazingly well, because it is all so hard wired in.

This is what it is right now. I am not so sad at this moment. Just reporting. A couple weeks ago when I wrote about her I found myself in an abyss. I lost a whole day and ended up cancelling a bunch of clients and exhausted myself crying.
Part of the journey I guess.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Birthday Party for Aj

For the last 2 or 3 years I have not had a birthday party for Aj. It just felt too scarey. What if kids wouldn't come? What if Aj unhinged and became wacko guy at the party. What if the kids said unkind things about him? This year I told myself I had to do it.
Aj is at his best when playing a sport. He suggested bowling. Great! He even had a good idea. So I carefully hand selected a group of boys that seem to enjoy Aj. I also invited a boy that Ki is good friends with who has also played a bit with Aj. That way Ki would have a partner. A total of 10 kids came (mine included). Pops was an absolute champ and managed to hold down 2 bowling games going at the same time. To stand back and look, you'd never had known my guy had any issues. It was the most "typical" and uneventful party for a 10 year old boy. It was fabulous. Aj had a great time, as did his guests.
I am so pleased. No maybe I should have a playdate again for him.....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A good day

Two new boys, both under three. Darling, beautiful boys. One a returning family I adore (I saw the older brother). The other a new family with a Mom I really like. I like all the Moms I work with. But some I would want to, you know, be Facebook friends with, or go out to coffee with. Another little guy also under 3. We did a facilitated play date with him and a "typical" peer and it went really well.
And one little guy has met all his goals and this was his last day. He is a very smart 4 year old. I printed out a certificate for him. He LOVES my laminator, so together we laminated it for him. It's always a bit sad parting ways with the kiddos when they reach their goals and discharge or end their GGRC time. Kind of like moving to a nearby town. You know they are close, but you also know you won't really see them anymore.

Diane Levinthal of Social Strides spoke this evening at SEPTAR. She spoke and showed a film about educating upper elementary kids about their peers who have social challenges. It was all so well done.
She is a great clinician-I highly recommend her for evaluating and treating social skills. www.socailstrides.com

This week I also had the chance to get to know a couple of Moms better. We shared tears and joy and hope and visions for the future.
This night as I prepare to crawl into bed, I feel grateful to have met and been involved with so many amazing women.
Peace to you all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Book Fair

This week is the book fair at school. Pops took the kids after he picked them up.
Aj too distracted to pick out a book.
Ki picked out one:

IRONMAN & HULK special edition comic

It even comes with a poster

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weekend on the Eve of 45

Spent the weekend at a condo on the beach in Pajaro Dunes with some of my bestest buddies who were celebrating my upcoming 45th birthday. All of us Mommies and all of us know what IEP stands for. A much needed break for all of us. Some brief reports of weekend events.

Friday: drive over, dinner out, grocery shopping and fire side time with SH.,
SH., SH., full of grace. She is grace embodied.

Sat morning greeted us with 80 degree heat in mid-November. Needless to say we had packed for the usual November beach weather of fog and cold.

After roasting on the sun beaten deck. SH. finally excused herself and commented, "I am going to go put on my bathing suit top now. You know, the one that looks shockingly like my bra." She returned with her "bathing suit top" on and was much cooler. Later she took the kitchen scissors and crafted a pair of shorts from her jeans.

Dear JE. continues in her Martha Stewart groove. She arrived with fudge made that morning and lemonade made from her own fresh lemons and simple syrup.

BE. arrived. But her bag did not. Evidently remained on the sidewalk at home. So no Advil or pajamas or toothbrush or clean underwear for her.

SA., thankfully, did arrive. She thought she might not as she spent the morning in the Urgent Care with one of her sons who had stuck a Tic Tac in his ear and needed to have it extracted. (Evidently, one is not supposed to stick the kids head in warm bath water and melt it out as I would've thought). Tic Tac Jack lives on.

We waited, but Patty never did arrive. I'd still like to meet her.

SH. and I each got 1 hour long massages. mmmmmmmmmmm. so nice

Wine was opened and shared by guests starting at 1;30. Later, me, the designated non-drinker out buying Champagne. Not the best situation as I don't drink and have no idea what to buy.

Wednesday and Saturday is a twice weekly schedule for some.

JE, and BE enjoyed the sunset then went skinny dipping in the pacific.

BE. found her ex boyfriend on Facebook.

SA told others, wrote on Facebook and still thought she was in Carmel. We informed her that she was in Watsonville, not Carmel However, since that is not nearly as great sounding as Carmel, we told her she should leave her Facebook entry as is.

Sh couldn't find the Advil on Sunday.

Cheese fondue for dinner.

Firelight warmth at night.

I proudly doned my Birthday Princess tiarra.

JE left at sunrise on Sun. We shared a moment in the orange glow before she headed for home and my head hit the pillow again. The view of the beach and estuary from the master bedroom is a joy for me. I sleep with all the blinds up so I can awaken at various times in the night and morning and take in the vast view.

Yummy egg scrambles for breakfast. Good coffee, too.

Time to read 2 magazines, finish a chapter in my book, listen to good music, sleep and walk on the beach.

Love ya gals, thanks for the love, laughter and peace.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Beautiful Boy

My big boy turned 10 yesterday. Here is at dinner with pops and Ki. Granny and I were on the other side of the table.

Aj had a soccer game at 8 am. While his team has never won a game-today while playing half back he scored his third goal of the season. Oh joy!

Pops and I shopped last week and found a great Warriors jersey for him, a CAL sweatshirt and a Warren Sapp Raiders jersey. Aj likes his jerseys and pro sports teams. Warren Sapp is retired now, but he is currently on Dancing with the Stars. Aj loves that show-so jersey was a big hit. The Warriors jersey included pretend tickets to a game. Pops and the kids and I will go to a game in the end of Dec. Aj is already planning which route to drive and what transportation options to consider. And the CAl sweatshirt-he loves CAL. We had Granny give him an alarm clock that looks like a pro football score board. Also 2 remote control cars.

For dinner we went to Sneakers. Aj got to watch the CAL and USC game on a TV at our individual table. He got to eat his bacon-cheese burger and cookies & cream milkshake.

I love that little boy.

My puppy is well

A pic of her when she was SO sick. She's herself now.

New vocabulary

jennyalice and squid both have tremendous vocabularies. But I taught jennyalice a new word. Squid, you'll have to let me know if I have bulked your vocabulary with this one.

FARTLEK: pronunciation: fartlick. I am not sure if that is how the Swedish pronounce it. But that's how we pronounce it. 'Cause it's a fun word to say.
definition: when Aj runs from repeatedly from one end of the house to the other. Or from one end of the cul-de-sac to the other.

For a more reliable source see copy of Wikipedia below.

Fartlek, which means "speed play" in Swedish, is a form of conditioning which puts stress mainly on the aerobic energy system due to the continuous nature of the exercise. The difference between this type of training and continuous training is that the intensity or speed of the exercise varies, meaning that aerobic and anaerobic systems can be put under stress. Most fartlek sessions last a minimum of 45 minutes and can vary from aerobic walking to anaerobic sprinting. Fartlek training is generally associated with running, but can include almost any kind of exercise.

Hence, Aj is in excellent condition.

FYI:it is also not in the spell check for blogger

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sad about Mom

My Mom's dementia continues to worsen.
I think she may be lonely, bored and possibly depressed.
The following is a minimally edited flow of my disjointed thoughts.
My intelligent, captivating, humorous, Mom is faded. She is unknowingly annoying and trying. She works to be helpful to the family and still is able to do so by doing laundry and the dishes, with occasional mishaps. She makes the same inquiries every few minutes. I don't even try and converse with her. It is too difficult as she can't undertsand the point I am trying to make or has no ability to recall prior information into the conversation. The kids both enjoy and resent her presence. I am left to mediate between her often well intentioned comments and behavior and the rude and sometimes angry responses of my kids and husband. I am horribly ashamed to admit that I, too, am often short and rude with her. Something she never was with me.

I don't think anyone who reads this ever really knew the beauty of her.
Mom was a new near genius intellect. She never completed college and yet she was one of the most intelligent women I know. She worked as a budget analyst. Before retiring she was the Budget Analyst for the entire naval air station of Miramar in San Diego. No small feat. She was quick witted and thoughtful. She lived all over the country as well as in Japan and France. She loved to travel. Her support and her home were a haven for a few of my teen friends who lacked such warmth in their own homes. Until she moved up here a few years ago, she was still the house little kids wanted to go to play. She has a wonderful way with kids of all ages. Something I clearly inherited from her. She was independent an swore she never wanted to be a burden to anyone. She put me thru college and graduate school. She postponed retiring until 67 or 68 in order to do so. My Dad has never given me a penny. (With the exception of a nice sum of money to help with my wedding.) She can still do the New York Times crossword puzzle in a heartbeat. She use to knit beautiful, intricate sweaters for me. She loves her animals. She loves me and my kids and would go to the end of the earth for us. She taught me I could do anything I wanted to and I believed her. She gave me unending support and love. She was humble. Maybe too much so. She had friends who were educated, undeducated, gay, straight and a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Impressive really, for a women who is 83.

So I know it easy to look at her now and my crazy life and think I need to put her in a home. But now you may better understand how hard that is.

And how painful my own and my families frustration with her is. How guilty I feel.
Professionally and spiritually I know that in terms of being with her it is about enjoying the moment you are in. This feels hard when it I don't make the time to just be with her in her moment and space. I need to recognize that it will be the same comments it always is. Not to cringe at the repetition of her comments about how pretty the flowers are, the nice color that car is, or how unusual the clouds.

She was the Mom most women wished they had. I am who I am because of her.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The 44th Presidental Election from the kids view

At 3:00 I picked up Ki from school and she informed me that Marack (with an M) Obama had won. Evidently, her friend Ryan told her. So I knew the results long before the rest of ya.
My kids are enamored with President Elect Barack Obama. I am not sure how this came about exactly, but I love they way they lean and that they are paying attention.
Ki told Pops she likes Marack (see prior) because he has a cool name. "It has ROCK in it."
Aj wanted to know what the ballot said exactly.
"Does it say 'Go Barack' or 'Obama for a change'."
He worked to sort out that Barack was to become president.
"So George Bush retires and Barack Obama starts on New Years Day?"
He climbed into bed and sighed, "I love Barack".
I just remembered I have an Obama shirt that is too small for big ol' me. But I bet Aj would love to wear it!
This is an amazing and hopeful day in world history.

Java Dog

After having an IV for an additional full day, Java came home from the vet tonight. Pops brought her home and my anorexic puppy gingerly loped in wagging her tail and sniffing for food. She is on 3 medications-2 antibiotics and 1 anti-diarrheal. We'll never know what she ate. At $1,000.00 this was an investment-but we are all glad she is home. Pet lovers beware of the always eating retrievers!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Java update

Poor Java. She spent the day at the vet getting IV's and then Pops picked her up to bring her home for the night and then he takes her back to vet when it opens in the am. She has an IV line in her paw that she was chewing on. So, the poor dear came home with a funnel around her head (Queen Ann collar). Still no eating or drinking allowed. I can hear her gut churning and she has bouts of diarrhea. A very tired, sad and sick doggie. Love you Javie, be well.

My Puppy is sick

A picture of Java the dog playing with The Dog Whisperer, Bob. Bob LOVES the dogs. She looks like her happy, perky, goofy self here. But she is not well now.

Java dog was up with non-stop vomiting in the middle of the night. Pops drove her to the all night emergency vet. She has pancreatitis. Which means she ate something not meant for dogs and we are unsure what. This is not a surprise given she is the typical non-discriminatory eating lab. Pops brought her home for a few hours last night after she got meds for pain and nausea. This am back to the vet for IV fluids all day. Currently she is not critical, but she needs to respond well to fluids and have her body right itself or we could be in trouble. Such a sad and very sick dog this am. Pasted below is some info on pancreatitis in dogs.

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas caused by leakage of active digestive enzymes into the pancreatic tissue. This causes various clinical signs but most pets affected by acute pancreatitis have abdominal pain, depression and decreased appetite or lack of appetite. Vomiting and diarrhea occur in many dogs with pancreatitis. In severe cases of pancreatitis there may be signs of shock or total collapse

Most dogs with pancreatitis benefit from fluid therapy designed to keep their electrolytes within normal ranges. Low potassium levels are a common problem in dogs with pancreatitis but high potassium levels can also occur and are more dangerous for the dog. Keeping a dog well hydrated makes him or her more comfortable and aids in the recovery from pancreatitis, as well.

Send warm and healthy wishes for Java.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween Fun

Me and Bea

Mali as butterfly

Lucy as a penguin

Aj as Iron Man

Ki as a red Power Ranger

Thanks for taking the pics jennyalice

Election Time

Last week the kids and I burst out of the car to run to school before the bell rang. Suddenly Aj jumped into someones front yard and began kicking a MCCAIN/PALIN sign and yelled, "I hate John McCain!". I quickly tried to squelch his aggressive protest. Evidently they have been discussing the election quite a bit at school. As well, Aj is obsessed with watching the news and is very current for a delayed 10 year old. Now I know he is a democrat.