Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fast things and slow things (deadlines and walking)

Where to start...Did you ever read a deadline incorrectly...but it was  good thing?
I had to get this grant thing done, and I was just about ready last night, for it was due today- the 31st, the last day of the month.  Uh Oh, the deadline looks like its the 30th.  That's really odd, it definitely said the end of the month.  Well, I thought, I hope they accept it tomorrow because its almost midnight, things are not printed out, and I'll probably find mistakes when I proofread tomorrow.

I've been working really hard to redo this grant... first I found we have to ask for a small grant, not a large one, and then, bombshell at the end of last week- a space offering- starting NEXT WEEK.  Mind you, not the greatest space on earth, but I can't really not accept free for a year in a very desirable location.  However, it needs some renovation, and the restroom is innaccessable to people who can't use stairs- as is a lot of the space.  Its a also a shared space- good in that its shared with people who do music and art classes for kids- our users, bad in that we have to figure out how to divide it.

So now to ask for different things from the grant, and try to consult with other's in the organization... well, not a lot of consulting happened because teacher people are rather busy this time of year.   I went to bed a bit late.

I woke up early (I heard my son before 7 am), but I got up because I had to turn in the grant- and that required a lot of printing, and also because my son says he wants to walk to school, and that takes almost an hour.  And then it hit me.  The deadline is not August 30, its SEPTEMBER 30- the last day of the month.  Small grants are turned in later than large grants which are due September 1st.  I have a whole month to figure this out better.
On the other hand... we have the space, in theory, next week.

So, what did I do today?  I walked my son to playcare the "other way".  This entailed walking on a road that was closed for construction.  I figured, how bad can it be to walk through a little construction in our village?  We can always walk in people's yards.  Of course I allowed my little star to wear shorts, so walking in other people's yards where there was likely to be poison ivy was a bad idea.  Well, walking through construction can be a bad idea also.  First we had to wait for dust to settle after a small construction vehicle passed us.  Then we had to squeeze past a large truck that dirt was being dumped into on the other side.  We paused to watched the digging from a relatively safe vantage point (my son loves this) until it stopped.  At this time another truck came to relieve the first one of its load. The road wasn't very wide, so we stepped in the ditch, but we were still belched with dust and diesel fumes as the trucks moved by.  Yuck.  I decide we'd have to abandon the "other way" until construction was done.  They are putting in a sidewalk we think, so perhaps it will be nice in the end.

I dropped off my son, and walked back up the hill to see about getting science toys related to magnetism from the college for Friday's event.  I was well rewarded with an electromagnet, a magnetometer, some magnets, and a bunch of other things. On the way home I stopped by the post office and our little store.  They've started carrying Wallaby yogurt cups.  Its not cheap, but I can see us spending some money on it.

At home, since I don't have to do grant things today,  I've been mowing the lawn.  The batteries for our electric mower are not doing well.  The original battery was losing its charge so we bought another one that has never been very good.  I think the original one is still better.  Unfortunately the company that makes our mower has now moved everything to Canada, and shipping batteries (or spare parts) from there is very expensive.  We think the battery we ordered from Home Depot has probably been sitting around and is as old as our original.  In any case, we have limited strength on these batteries and we are still trying to get the highest grass (the grass that grew while we were in CA) mowed.   So each night we quickly run down the batteries.  I ran them out without finishing the job just before it started to sprinkle.  I imagine we'll get it under control soon.

At least I'm strong enough now so that I don't have to use the "drive" option on the mower- that really runs down the batteries. We got the mower with it because,  I'm pretty weak, and I really needed it to begin with.  It's nice to know I'm stronger now.  I wonder if I will have to build up strength every summer, or if I manage to lift weights all year that I will keep that strength.

About strength- did I mention my little star seems to be a bit stronger now?  Monday he asked me if we could walk to school instead of bike.  I figured I had enough time, so we did.  Yesterday we went on this long long walk all morning.  We were able to walk far enough to get to some local trails that do a loop between our neighborhood and the highway.  I believe I got some exercise. We must have walked at least two hours, and I was so pleased that we got to walk in the forest.  Its  a nice little patch that has lots of old growth trees and logs, and surprisingly little poison ivy.

My little star talked about moss covered stones- there were lots of moss covered logs, stones, and forest floor.  Sometimes before bed I sing him this song because I like the tune- it goes:
Rose, Rose, Rose, Rose,
When will I see thee wed?
I will marry at thy/my will sire
At my will

Ding Dong, Ding Dong,
Church bells ring on an April morn
Carve your name on a moss covered stone
On a moss covered stone

An apple, a peach, a plum, a cherry
Anything to make us merry
Hey Ho Nobody Home
No Meat nor Drink nor money have I none
Still I will be merry...
(I'm not sure if the last verse is actually one verse or two or if they even go with the first two exactly since I am combining sources, but the tune is the same.)

Anyway, I always thought the moss covered stone had something to do with a church and was like carving your name in a tree.  But after my son brought it up, I thought, no, this song is about a tomb stone.  In fact I think it might be comparing getting married (albeit, possibly against your will) to dying.  

I'm sure my son doesn't even try to understand the words to the songs- if he's anything like me, he won't get the real meaning of most songs until he's adult or has studied the time periods they come from.  He's not singing with us much anymore, but it is fun to hear him singing to himself sometimes because he combines all the songs.

He claims he wants to walk home from playcare too.  He asked me on Monday, so today I said maybe we could walk part way.  At first I thought it was ridiculous to think he could walk home, all uphill, after a day at playcare, but he does take a nap there, and we do generally have to get him some exercise before bed if we want him to sleep at a reasonable time.  So maybe he does have the energy.  If I have the time, all the walking can only be good for me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Is my little star autistic?

This post about that I continue to be slightly worried that my son is somewhere on the autism spectrum.  But when I start to worry, I think that it doesn't really matter.  My son is what he is, and I love him; I can't really imagine him any other way.  If we find out some day that he has some diagnosis we'll work with it, just like any other parent has to do.

On friday I picked my son up at play care. As is often the case, he was playing by himself in the sand box.  (Sometimes I find him playing "with" other kids at the water table, so he's not always by himself.) He's getting better with potty training (though he had an accident today), so instead of having an accident as soon as I got there (this has been happening a lot), he got out of the very questionable squatting position he was in and sat on the corner of the sand box.  I let him play a bit and lo and behold he stayed dry.  Progress?

There were two other kids on the other side of the sandbox, kids in his class, kids who have been there since he started in December.  They were playing together making a sand castle.  One child, P, has long, almost blond hair, and is a girl who wears a lot of pink.  The other child, C is black, a boy and has short african type hair.  My point is they look nothing alike aside from brown eyes.

I asked my son who he was playing with in the sandbox.  The two kids of course heard me and P mentioned C's name.  My son then said C's name.  So I asked him about the girl.  He said her name was Z- Z is a boy who hasn't been in his class for at least a month.  This lack of knowing the kids names is typical.

We had a conversation about how C and P looked different.  The only difference that seemed salient to him was that their shirts were different colors. I asked him what color P's hair was.  He said brown... OK, sort of- its kind of a dirty blond.  I asked about C's hair.  He said brown... sort of- I mean if black is brown.  I asked who had long hair, and he figured that one out- with coaching.  He also seemed to think he had long hair.  He doesn't, but he might think so because his Daddy is always cutting it when we think its too long.  I didn't bother with the skin color. If he didn't notice that, well thats a good thing at this age.  I asked him if P was a little boy or a little girl.  A little boy he told me.  Well, I don't think kids his age necessarily understand gender yet, so I told him she was a little girl but not how he was supposed to figure that out.  I don't really think gender differentiation at a young age is very positive anyway.  Still I didn't feel like I'd really given him much help in differentiating people's faces.  Even I can't really describe how faces are different to me.  I really think he need's some professional coaching here.

And then I read this blog that had a piece on the new findings about siblings have a higher chance of autism:
"Drilling down into the things that we know are early signs of autism -- interest in people, responding to their name, responding to other people, smiling at other people."  
The quotation is cited from an NPR piece  that Ozonoff who directed the study.
NPR article

OK, I'm guessing Ozonoff means that autistic kids LACK interest in people, etc.  That's my son mostly. He does watch other kids, so I guess that's some interest, but its not like he wants to interact with them!  Sometime he responds to his name.  Often he ignores you, and it seems quite deliberate.  He's certainly not likely to respond to people other than me and my husband without a lot of effort on the other person's part.  He smiles when he's happy, but I wouldn't exactly call it smiling at other people.

And then someone suggested that maybe he had dyspraxia.  I looked it up.  Well, only a few symptoms fit him, so I don't think he has that.  You see, the person hasn't really every heard him talk except when I prompt him.  Rest assured the boy talks just fine without prompting at home and when he gets comfortable with people or a situation.  It just takes a long time for that to happen.

So really, my main concern is that if he needs some early intervention, that he gets it.  Obviously (to me) he's quite functional right now, but that doesn't mean he won't have trouble later on.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The danger of reading a good book

So I returned from vacation and didn't write anything.  The reason is simple.  Anathem. I started reading Anathem before I left CA, and I wrote how it was kind of hard to get into.  But then I got into it.  It's amazing.  And its 1000 pages that I had exactly 14 days to read (or so I thought).  Anathem was not just some brain candy action scifi book.  I enjoy those.  Adventure and new encounters with strange situations that include interesting worlds.  Plucky heros and heroins outsmarting the bad "guys".  Of course these thing are part of Anathem, but there is a lot more to it.  There were parts to it that made me slow down and think about philosophy and math.  There were detailed descriptions that clearly the author had worked hard to create something physically realistic and interesting.  It was  a book that made you slow down to read it, and made you think you were exercising an academic part of your brain.  I still read it too fast- after all, I had other things to do, and the electronic copy was due to EXPIRE.  It seemed that as long as I kept the file open it didn't expire, but I was not able to check on when it should expire, so I'm not sure if I got some extra time out of it or not.

The book is certainly worth a reread (in PAPER copy).  I don't know if I missed a plot point or really one last thing was never resolved.  However, most of it was, enough that the ending was satisfying.  In any case the book has my resounding recommendation if you are a little bit geeky and like the science fiction part of the science fiction/fantasy genre.

And now I can get back to working on my projects.  Good books are dangerous and get in the way of doing other important things (for me). Not to say I have COMPLETELY neglected other things.  In fact, Friday night and Saturday morning I was making hoop gliders with kids.  I haven't done a ton of outreach activities- that is, I've done some, but I always feel slightly inexperienced if I am in charge, and don't necessarily look forward to it all the time.  I usually see it as something that should be done, something I can do, and something I'm reasonably competent at.  I think I've changed my mind finally.  I really ENJOYED my time with the kids on this, and I felt very energized and inspired afterwards.  I look forward to the next activity.

I think I just feel more competent now.  I also really enjoy watching the kids be little scientists.  They find ways to improvise and try new things that I just find so inspiring.  Its not the same as when teachers talk about how they like the Aha moment when a student figures something out.  Here its the moment when I see a kid being creative, trying to go about something in a different way than perhaps I had expected or explained.  To me, that is the interesting and inspiring moment. Its the moment that says this kid has curiosity, an open mind, initiative, and creativity, and I am encouraging these things by bringing in some materials, some constraints, some possibilities that they take run with.

Oh, and we are not getting a space for science play this fall because... the money really exists better in the spring and at the same time, we really need more publicity, fundraising, organization building first (have to change the grant a bit for this).  I feel that after a space exists all our time will go into running it rather than those other things we need to do.  Of course now I had to do all those organizational things I've been neglecting- and feel less competent with.  There is always time to grow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A slow day on CA time in OH

We are still on CA time... I think.  I finally got myself to bed last night slightly before midnight, only to discover my little star's light was ON.  He was sitting there playing, and of course immediately burst into tears when he saw me.  At least he knew he'd done something wrong.

I should have been suspicious because he had said that it was time for me to leave after I'd sung a few songs.  Usually he does not ask me to leave.  I should have checked to make sure he was lying down, but he'd seemed pretty sleepy.  We had heard him kicking too, but assumed he was still in bed.  Not.

He seemed in a good mood despite all this, and I think he woke at about 8:30 this morning, which is closer to OH time.  We finally got out of the house at.. well, some time before eleven this morning.  I decided we would BIKE into the city to attend a moms2moms gathering... if it existed.  I wasn't sure if I had the right week, or how late they would be there.  But the weather was nice for a bike ride, and I feel this need to be healthier/stronger.  Somehow I thought I could handle going  up the hill to get home at the end.  I've done it a few times, but only once after a long bike ride carrying my little star.

So we biked into town.  I was a bit worried about this since I've never biked with my little star in traffic.  However, by using side streets I mostly managed to avoid traffic. We finally reached the place at noon.  Nobody was there, so we headed back, checking out a playground on the way.  Little star refused to use bathroom facilities three times on the way back, so he really was testy... and so was I.  The bike seat makes the bike very tippy, and its very hard to get him in and out, so I insist on  doing it exactly right.   Anyway, we did finally make it back home.  At least all the bathroom stops gave me some rest.  It was about four miles on the bike trail plus a few miles at either end, so probably 10-12 miles round trip.  I got my exercise.  I still haven't mowed the lawn.

By the time we got home, and I gave him lunch, he used the potty, etc, I finally got him to take a nap... at 4 pm.  I suppose that's about right for CA time.  Hey, at least I GOT HIM TO TAKE A NAP.  Me.  At home. In his bed.  And he didn't even have much exercise this morning since he mostly sat in the bike seat.  So I hope the nap (as late as it is) sets a precedent for nap taking at home.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

back home: suburban village life

We had a charmed trip home from CA.  Our flights were not turbulent.  They were on time.  Actually our longest flight got in early. My little star did well, and he even took a nap.  We actually had to WAKE him up to put his seatbelt on for landing.  He even stayed dry in his diaper.

I began reading The Seventh Tower, which I think is meant for kids, but I quite enjoyed it.  Yes, my little star was so well occupied I got to read.  He spent a while just singing to himself.   Anyway, it was one of the those books that was hard to put down, and I am now trying to figure out how to get the last three volumes.  Our library appears to have only the next two of them.   I broke my rule of starting a series before having all the volumes, but that was because the first three were just there begging me to start.

We drove home without any rain.  (In the past it always get rained (or snowed)  on us when we park in never never land at the airport).  My little star began singing to himself on the journey home in the car and it was quite enjoyable because he has a very cute voice right now, and he was totally mixing all the songs he knew together.  We got home early enough that we went out for dinner close to home.

Our house survived and looked even a little bit clean inside.  We were pleased to find our new neighbors checking out their house.  They are not really new neighbors- they just lived on the other side of the block.  That is, between their old house and their new house almost across the street from ours is some woods, probably filled with poison ivy.  In any case, although they lived nearby, we rarely saw them because it still was too far away.  I am very pleased they are moving in as they have a daughter a year or two older than my little star and an older son.  We also found out that another house up the street will have a two year old next year.

So I have my hopes up for finally having a "neighborhood".  What I mean by that is some idealized version where when we go out to play we see other kids and families.  Maybe our kids will even play with each other without a "play date".  Maybe we can have some neighborliness that happens more than a few times a year. Like last night: we noticed the lights were on in the house and stopped by... and so did some other neighbors who had friends over- it was like a big impromptu party in the empty house.

Well, you never know.  Its good to have a vision to work towards.

Today, we seem to be on CA time- that is we got up really late and didn't seem to get much done all day.  I was going to mow the lawn (OK just part of it)- which is high, but not yet ridiculous, but it was rainy.  So I checked out the gardening. My gourds look GREAT.  There are some really pretty green-yellow ones right in the front on the trellis they are sharing with the anemic "hardy" kiwi plants.

The happy gourds are a good thing because my garden looks terrible.  I did manage to harvest a few cherry tomatoes, a tiny bit of green onions, a little basil, a few poles beans, and an enormous cucumber (one of many).  Its mostly weeds beyond that except for two blooming sunflowers.  Oh, I also took an orange pumpkin with squash beetles on it.  It looks kind of damaged by the beetles, so I just left it out to look pretty in its round orange color.

I noticed some enormous vehicle damaged our front yard by the road in front of the gourds.  The truck seems to have tried to turn and gone way off the road, sinking deep ruts into our lawn that slopes down from the lawn. The rut had a puddle that did not disappear.  Perfect for mosquito breeding.  Impossible to mow.  And its not the first time. Big trucks really should not be on our narrow street at all.  Funny thing is, the street really isn't that narrow.  Two cars can pass with no trouble.  I think the problem is that it has NO shoulder and its raised.  When the trucks try to turn they, of course try to avoid the culverts on the other side of the street... and end up on our lawn.

Friday, August 12, 2011

End of Vacation

We finally celebrating my birthday with this enormous "american" chocolate cake.  It was about five layers, and the smallest slice was almost too much for one person to finish.  It was quite enjoyable.

My husband made his very wonderful yeast based waffles and impressed the whole family.  They were very good (as usual).

Its the last day of vacation, and my little star is finally comfortable enough with the grand parents that not only did he spend a lot of this morning with them, but grandma got him to take a nap in about ten minutes.  I am VERY impressed.  He didn't even have any physical exercise this morning.  However, he did get to feed the chicken, weed the garden, look through grandpa's drawers in his office, and type his own name on the key board.  He also did not protest when I took him to the potty this morning, and later he let grandma take him there and produced.

I got to read the NYT and our local paper (on line), and am now beginning to read Anathem, highly recommended.  The premise is quite interesting, but so far I'm finding it hard to get into because the author chose to use a lot of unfamiliar terminology made up for his world.  I know that's part of establishing the fantasy world, but for me its rather distracting, and seems to take a way from imagining the setting and what is going on.  I find myself skipping or at least skimming long descriptions because its too hard to figure out what he's describing when I don't easily know what all the words mean.  I just want to get to the "action". (By action, I don't necessarily mean movement, it might just be thoughts or conversation).  I'm assuming it will get better with less of this, or all this weird terminology will start making sense.  Usually it doesn't take more than 50 pages for me to get into things, but I hope it will happen soon.  I've been kind of in a rut reading the same authors for a number of years, so I was hoping to break out of that with this book.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Real Vacation things

No interesting thoughts today.  I'm just writing about vacation because what we did yesterday was what people do on vacations.

We went to the BEACH yesterday.  We don't get to do this very often, so its a big treat.  My son loves the water and the waves.  We don't swim yet, but we sure do wading, and he gets wet.  I love to watch him in the water with his dad.  My husband swings him up over the waves and they both look so happy.

I take my little star into the waves and we run back, or I pull him up, but I try to avoid picking him up much because its hard on my arms.  So I walk along the beach, and watch them, or hold his hand.  His grandpa and aunt were there too taking him into the waves.  We stayed for a few hours.  It was slightly overcast, so the weather was wonderful- not too hot or cold.  There were no shells at the beach, but that was alright.

We stopped at In and Out burgers(?) for lunch.  The californians were proud of this, but I'm not exactly sure why they thought the concept of  a limited menu takeout fast food was so interesting.  I think they were proud that it started in CA.    They were also proud that they knew about the "secret" menu- you can ask for things that are not on the menu if you know about them.  Like Veggie burgers.  So, yay, you can get a veggie burger, I thought.  This is good because my husband, and generally myself don't get fast food beef burgers.  I knew my son wouldn't eat any kind of burger.  We got him french fries and I had a banana for him.  I didn't feel so great about this because that's NO protein for him.  I figured we could offer him part of the veggie burger.

But then it turns out the veggie burger doesn't have a patty in it.  Its just lettuce and tomato.    Nobody else seemed disappointed.  I guess they already knew?  Perhaps that's why they don't advertise them on a menu. We had got a milkshakes too.  Now, I haven't had a milkshake since I was a kid- once.  I didn't like it that time, and haven't bothered with one since- I mean its not like they are particularly good for you, and I'd rather have a real dessert.  Well, this one tasted mostly like chocolate ice cream so it was pretty good.  Too bad my son wouldn't try it.  No protein for him.  He didn't seem upset, and made it through the rest of the afternoon- probably because it was too much fun- we figured if he didn't fall asleep on the way there (as he did to the In and Out), that he'd fall asleep on the way home later and get his nap in.

In the afternoon we visited Balboa Island and my little star not only got to ride the carousel, but his daddy took him on a small ferris wheel. (I was worried I wouldn't like the ride down- which is too bad- I never had the chance to ride one when I was little (I think), and I think I would have liked it then.  My little star quite enjoyed that.  He also liked the ferry ride over to the island.  I was surprised to realize he'd never been on a boat before.  I have been remiss.

On the way home I thought maybe my pants were irritating my legs.  So I took them off.  Major sunburn.  I forgot to put sunscreen on my legs.  I rarely wear shorts like I did at the beach, so that was asking for trouble.  I haven't had sunburn since... well last time we went to the beach in nice weather almost two years ago.  Perhaps next time I will learn.  Luckily my little star escaped sunburn- he has slightly darker skin, he's been exposed more this summer, and I had put some sunscreen on his face.

Today we relaxed at home, and I actually got some work done while he took a nap.  Yes, my husband magically got him to take a nap again!

Monday, August 8, 2011


So I've been (and still am) on "vacation".  Yesterday I actually got to read a book.  It was my first experience with an e-book for fun.  I got it out of my library and read it on my computer.  I think an actual book still has advantages.

If I'd had an actual book, I would have been able to read it on the airplane.  I had downloaded some books, but Adobe had not authorized them yet, so I was unable to get them authorized on the airplane, and thus had no book there.

If I'd had an actual book I could read it any time on the airplane, not just when we were above some altitude.

If I had an actual book, I could read it anywhere in the house- like the bathroom when my son takes forever on the potty.  I could also just leave it lying around on the table, on the couch, or outside, where- as I don't feel to comfortable doing that with the computer.

On the plus side for the computer- I was able to retrieve two books that were on hold when we were very far from our local library.

So vacation: my mother in law took me shopping for shoes for the wedding we were going to attend.  I realized I had nothing appropriate the day we left- whoops. I think she and my sister in law were more into the "shopping" aspect than I was.  I found some shoes pretty quickly, but they wanted to keep looking more.  That's how I ended up with two pairs to choose from for the wedding.

I also wanted some everyday shoes- slip on hiking boots (yes, I know that doesn't exist, but I think that's what I want so I was looking for anything related... or maybe just like hiking boots).  Sketchers unfortunately are not sized in anyway to work with my orthotics.  The light hiking boots didn't seem to work perfectly either.  If dress shoes are not perfect I don't really care since I hardly ever wear them, but my every day shoes need to be a good fit.  So I gave up on that shopping- by now I figured my companions were tired of me trying on shoes and saying, it's really not right.

So as for vacation... for the first time we were able to put my little star in his own room- as the space was available and he's old enough... sort of.  The space is downstairs kind of far from things, so my husband has been sleeping with him.  I do miss my husband, but what this means is that my husband gets up with him and I sleep as late as I want to!!  You know, like 7 am CA time.  My son has actually been sleeping until close to 6 am, which, for CA I consider to be rather reasonable.

My husband has also (after the first day) managed to get my son to NAP in his bed!!  The process is helped by my son's utter exhaustion from the jet lag, lack of naps previously, etc.

Saturday night we went to a lovely wedding that ended around midnight.  My little star impressed people by being so overwhelmed and tired that he would first- sit calmly and watch the live music (quartet) intensely for about an hour before dinner.  He does like live music.  Then after dinner, he sat and watched the dancing (after we gave him earplugs- it was very loud).  I took him on a little walk, but then we came back and he watched for as long as he possibly could before falling asleep on our laps.  Everyone thought he was so well behaved.  Really, he was completely overwhelmed and tired.  Though I think he really did enjoy this new experience. It was kind of nice to have him sleeping, his head in my lap.  I missed doing that a lot with him when he was little, because I was so tired, that when he finally slept I had to it away from him.  I seemed to be unable to sleep with him.  In this case I didn't need to sleep.

  My husband's cousin was a beautiful bride and a terrific dancer.  She met her husband at dancing classes so there were all these amazing dancers to watch whenever latino music came on.  It was a lovely wedding.  Although my son slept during the dancing, he managed to stay awake for the whole hour ride home... and get up at 6 am as usual.  I didn't have to get up until later.  And then I gave him breakfast sending my husband back for more sleep.  Then I took him to the play ground.  We've been taking him every morning before it gets hot out.  When I got back I was so tired I took a very long nap, and my husband took over the childcare.  It was lovely.

So there have been more vacation elements than I expected.  The food has been great (and just appears usually), and I don't have to get up at 5 am.  The airplane trip was not the greatest- the turbulence made me feel awful, but at least the second flight was much better.  Usually, for unknown reasons, my son has a charmed day every time we take the airplane.  Well, this time he did not, but as he is older, we survived without a meltdown anyway.  So, all in all it was OK.  My husband's new ipad, was helpful, but not the addictive draw we thought it would be for him.  The episode of Sesame St I downloaded for him, only held his attention for a bit more than five minutes.  This was probably because the sound quality on earphones on a loud airplane was frankly, terrible.  And he was in one  of those moods.

The only good travel toy I got (apparently) was some bristle blocks.  Even that didn't work until the end of the flight.

Well, I hope we can get to the beach today.  Except for the wedding we've just been hanging out here. That is OK so far since we can walk to the playground, and my little star's been quite enjoying the kiddie pool.  But its starting to get old. Its been a little harder here to get out of the house because we don't have a car of our own, and we don't know our way around here.  The car seat is in one of the cars, but the car is now always here.

I turned 40 the day of the wedding.  I imagine we will celebrate the birthday some time soon.  It was nice of my facebook friends to wish me happy birthday.  Anyway, the day before my birthday I came down with this pain in my  hand that I am pretty sure must be arthritus.  What is that!?  I could barely hold my son's little hand.  I took some ibuprofen, and after about a day and a half it disappeared.  I'm quite worried about this.  The condition does run in my family.  Am I destined to deal with this the rest of my life?  What set if off? Hormones?  The weather? Thank goodness it went away for now... and it seems to be mostly in my left rather than my right hand.  Forty  must be too old.  One of my friends said she was just going to stay 39 and have yearly anniversaries of turning 39.  I don't think that will fool my body.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

More "vacation" prep.

I thought of one more important reason our trip does, in some sense, resemble vacation: My mother in law likes to cook for us.  Food is good and plentiful and I don't have to make decisions.  Helping out is my choice, and there are many other helpers around.  Of course my in-laws do have some health issues, so I really shouldn't count on this.  Still, the food has always been a very positive aspect of a visit.

In preparation for our "vacation", I also did some garden harvesting.  The garden is so lame this year that I only got a bunch of cucumbers (that I had to give away), and a small amount of not very big potatoes.  As I dug, I kept coming across ones that were already munched on.  How had they been munched on so quickly?  Additionally, we've NEVER had such a bad pole bean and bush bean year.  There were only a few to harvest- and they were just not right.  Even the zucchini didn't grow.  I got exactly one before the weeds took over.  Admittedly it was in a slightly shady spot, but in all other years, I never have to weed zucchini, and I always get more than I need.   Last year I got more than I needed so in fact I still have some frozen grated zucchini, so I'm not exactly disappointed.  Additionally, I suppose its a good thing the garden is so lame- I have no regrets about leaving it for ten days. Squash, tomatoes, peppers... nothing is ripe.

I went to the athletic center for the last time.  Missing a few weight lifting sessions will reduce my strength substantially.  I'm getting used to this problem.  Even missing one  session seems to be a problem.  I guess I need to be more active outside the gym so that missing something like that is not such an issue.  At least my little star seems to be strong enough to walk further now.

My little star had another "out of sorts" type of day at school.  I kind of figured he would since his morning before we got to school didn't exactly start out too well.  His teacher seemed a lot more surprised at his behavior than I was.  She described a rather extreme melt down, and how she'd had to be very firm at nap time (I with I had that authority!).  Welcome to my world on some days.  She was worried he might be sick and had taken his temperature.  Of course she found nothing... then again he might actually be coming down with something.  That would be rather bad timing.   On the plus side, he actually used the potty at school, something he did not do yesterday.

Did I mention, yesterday I finally heard from the author I working with.  I last wrote to him JUNE 23, and said something like, here is what I have for you, tell me if you need any changes or if I need to do anything else.  And by the way (I did not say this), my contract suggests I will be done JULY 15.   Now he wants two things redone.  I will do it- I mean if you are doing a small part of a book, you have to make it fit with what the major author needs, but I did explain to him that I was leaving on a trip very soon, so I wasn't sure when I would get it done.   I've already met MY deadline that I mistakenly believed was July 15.   At least he did not have the audacity to give me a deadline.  Perhaps my attitude needs some revision- perhaps this is just how the publishing industry works all the time, but it seems awfully unprofessional to me.  If I get asked to do anything again by these people at least I will know what to expect.

And the last thing- I finally got an insurance quote for a science play space, and its not too bad- its like the cost of insuring our house.  So then I started running numbers (it was the last one I needed) for how much it will really cost to run the  space.  I tried different paid memberships and different working memberships.  I was hoping to equate 1 hour of work with $10 of pay like Ithaca hours, but I think that's going to make our memberships too expensive.  I don't mean they are too expensive, I mean they will be perceived as too expensive, and it will be bad publicity.  Or we just need a LOT of working members.
I'm not sure what numbers are realistic, but it looks like I'm talking of about 10% of our population base needs to be members.  I'll have to look into if that is reasonable.

Now to back up my computer.

And that's without paying anyone- yet we really do need one person (I guess that's me) in charge.  As a volunteer position though, its just bound to get short shrift- even by me.
Maybe we can a get a sponsor to pay a salary?? Ha Ha.  People pay for stuff, not salaries. I'm not sure why this is.  We can probably get a grant to pay for somebody to do "programming", and that should help us to offer it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"vacation" preparation:shopping

I'm getting ready to go "on vacation".  You don't really get a vacation when your main job is "mommy".  Going "on vacation" really means, you have to worry about more stuff than you usually do- like how am I going to keep my little one quiet on the airplane, make sure he eats and sleeps well enough in a strange location, and is reasonably behaved?  Will I have to get up on Ohio time in CA with my little star who will be three hours behind? If I have to get up at 4 am, will I be able to stay up late enough to have dinner with everyone? There IS a slight "vacation" thing about it:  Daddy (if we are lucky) will take a bit less time working and a bit more time "daddying".  And there is the possibility than the grandparents will spend a bit of time with my little star.  Still, the term "vacation" is a bit up questionable.  And yet, it is fun to go somewhere new.  I hope we can take little star to the beach again.  He so enjoyed that last time.

So I went shopping.  Oh, yes, the big shopping trip to... Kmart.  It was Kmart or Walmart in the land of centrally isolated OH.  Walmart because they are showing green tendencies or Kmart because they (as far as I can tell) don't seem to have as big worker issues and try to force their way into places and put everything else out of business (or at least if they did, that is long past in my memory- and they did seem to be able to coexist with down towns).   Also Walmart has such a big buying power that they are able to force their suppliers into lowering their costs so much that... well, I don't always think lowest cost is always best.  Truth is, both stores have cheap stuff from... probably some place that doesn't pay their workers much in any case.  Anyway, Kmart won out today.

I got my little star some swim trunks.  The last pair I got him was at a large local consignment sale where it seems like that for everything I bought I later found that it had a problem that I had not seen.  The plastic little workbench toy was missing a high proportion of the tools, but I couldn't tell that since it was all wrapped up when I bought it.  The two part coat I bought had one of the snaps that holds the inner sleeve to the outer sleeve missing.  It hadn't occurred to me to look when I bought it.  The swim trunks... well somehow I didn't realize the elastic was shot- they just seemed big, which was OK, I bought them last year for this year.  Now, I've been telling my little star, no swimming until he's potty trained, but he's getting more trustworthy with the potty, given that I tell him when to go, so I think I'd feel OK with him in a pool...just like I let him in his car seat with underwear.  In any case, I think he'll want a bathing suit if we go to the beach or he plays in the kiddy pool in CA.  It occurred to me that this might not be a great time to get a swimsuit in OH, but luckily there were some in the clearance section.  I even managed to find one with fish and not disney.  One reason I did not take my little star with me was that I was worried he would pick something that I would be embarrassed to be seen with him in it.   I was, as expected, unable to find him fun underwear that was not disney or something like disney.  I guess he'll just have to wear colors.

One of the things I thought I might consider was new shoes to replace the ones I love but are now... well after ten years, not respectable because part of the lip around the toe broke and disappeared.  These are the best shoes ever because they were leather slip ons, and I could wear them walking (they had enough support) and in my garden... everywhere.  My orthotics even fit into them.  I have a similar looking shoe my sister gave me a few years ago, but its not as comfortable, and its sort of suede, meaning the garden does not do great things to them.  My hiking boots lately have not been very comfortable- neither my heavy duty ones nor my light duty ones.  This problem is perhaps because they are also ten years old.  Anyway, Kmart only sells heavier shoes/hiking boots to men.  And, in my town, apparently, famous shoes has the same issue.  Obviously, not the best places for shoe shopping, but I wasn't really looking for a high quality shoe- just something to get by with in CA so I wouldn't need to bring lots of different shoes.  So women don't need real shoes anymore?  We don't do heavy walking, working outside, etc?  What's up?

Have to go pick up little star.  He left in a bit of a mood- I think the no- nap yesterday was a problem.  I guess even half an hour is better than nothing.