Friday, August 28, 2009


They finally started turning red this week! Yay!!

I noticed Wednesday, but was in denial, that the plants are not looking really healthy. I am now 99% sure as to why.

My tomatoes have blight. Yes, blight, as in Irish Potato Famine blight. Who knew it attacked tomatoes, too? I read in the local paper that it was just down the road (literally- they interviewed a gardener who lives in a section of town approximately a mile from my house as the crow flies) about three weeks ago, and prayed it wouldn't find its way here. But it has.

I yanked out the worst hit plants and threw them in the trash, as well as all of my cucmbers, which never really took off this year. I made sure I picked up every spare leaf and everything, too. The reason I did not yank out all the plants is because there are still a few decent-looking tomatoes on some plants left, so I was thinking of leaving them for another couple of days, in hopes they'd turn red. Now that I've been reading tons of stuff online about blight, though, I think I'm going back outside in the rain tonight, detach those green tomatoes, and trash the rest of the plants. Hopefully Sunday will be somewhat decent (screw you, hurricane Danny!) so I can get out there and give the garden a good lookover, to make sure there is no trace of tomato anything left out there.

The plants have to go out with the trash, and not in the compost, because blight is a fungus. You do not even want it on your property, much less in your compost that will eventually be sprinkled all over new plants, because you've just screwed yourself and any future plants. This year, bascially, has been a perfect storm for blight growth here in NJ- the fungus normally hits a couple of places, but between the fungus itself travelling, according to one site, up to 40 miles, and the enormous, Biblical amounts of rain we've had this summer, it's been prime season for growing any kind of fungus.

Well, at least I'm not alone- I heard a while ago Michelle Obama had tomato blight in her White House garden, too! Apparently it's far more common in organic gardens than in those that use various chemicals. Geez, you try and do something right...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Frank went to daycare this morning. For me, the day has been an exercise in frustration.

I spent the morning off and on (I had to come in once in a while to cool off and get water) trying to dig out a few bushes in my front flower beds. Three of the four I wanted to dig out are in the bed I want to clear out and designate as my rose garden. The other bush is in a different bed. (There are three more bushes in addition that are in a different bed, too.)

I got two dug out. Two. I am so pathetic. I did also manage to clear out what was left of some scraggly ground cover in the rose garden, but two bushes? Also, the soil's so incredibly rocky; I've never seen anything like it! I had a few boulders I had to clean out today, one of which weighed more than my son! Part of the reason it took me so long was because I kept stopping to toss rocks out. My rock pile is going to be ten feet tall by the time I get done with this crap.

I have to get some serious dental work done. I went to the dentist Monday, and it turns out I have four cavities. Two of them are easy, and I am getting them filled tomorrow. But the other two are on teeth on either side of the bridge I have. Basically, this means I'd have to get the brdige removed, get the cavities filled, and get the bridge back on...OR get a dental implant. This would mean I'd get the bridge out, and go to an oral surgeon to have an implant drilled into the bone in my jaw. :o Six months after that (have to allow it to heal, I guess), I'd go to my dentist, and he'd basically just screw in a new tooth, and that would be fine for life. The teeth anchored to the bridge now will basically just keep degrading, which my dentist who put the bridge in ten years ago had told me probably would eventually happen, so I can't say I wasn't warned. So, all around, while the getting of it sucks, eventually, it sounds to me like the implant would eb the right answer.

My insurance, it seems, does not cover implants at all. When I asked why, the rep whom I spoke with simply said, "That's what your group decided on." WTF??? As my husband said when I told him, "And people say we don't need health care reform."

So, now, I don't know what to do. I have an appointment for a consultation with an oral surgeon next week, and, as I've said, I see my dentist tomorrow. I plan on asking exactly how much this whole thing is when I do go, and I will be telling him point blank that my insurance does not cover it. Darrel said he'd check if he could get me on his insurance, if his covers implants, but his open enrollment isn't until December, and from what my dentist said, I don't think I can wait that long to have all this done, because the teeth on either side of the bridge will probably rot out by then!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A day in the life of a toddler with Sensory Processing Disorder

8am- I wake up. I need my diaper changed immediately if not sooner because "my butt hurts!" Even though there is no visual evidence of a diaper rash.

8:05am- I get dressed. First, though, Mommy must rub Aveeno cream on my back because "My mosquito bites hurt and itch." Even though all visual evidence of them has disappeared two weeks ago.

8:15am- I ask Mommy to please take the tags out of the t-shirt I've been wearing at least once a week for the past six months because, "the tags hurt". Mommy carefully cuts the tags out and waits for me to start whining because the ragged edge hurts. Miraculously, it does not.

8:16am- I eat my breakfast- a Lender's bagel in the microwave on high for 20 seconds. No, not toasted- bagels are not toast! Bagels must be soft and chewy and warm, not rough like toast!

8:55am- Mommy and I arrive at the dentist. Mommy gets a cleaning. I freak because of all the noise- the thing that sucks saliva out of Mommy's mouth is too high-pitched, as is the thing that actually cleans her teeth. Oh, and the thing that dries out the inside of Mommy's mouth? That's pretty darn terrifying, too- it just sounds scary, and I have no idea why. Mommy seems pretty relaxed, but I don't know why. Wait, Mommy did tell me this, but if she thinks I am letting that dentist guy put his hands IN MY MOUTH and count my teeth, she's got another thing coming. Oh, good, the dentist is a smart man- he decided not to try it, and gave Mommy the name of a dentist who specializes in kids. I don't know why he bothered- I am not letting any strange person do the stuff in my mouth that that guy did in Mommy's mouth today!!

10:30am- Shopping, whee!!! Mommy lets me help her push the cart. We buy all kinds of fireman stuff for my birthday party with my friends! Mommy bought special hats that look like cones. She stands looking at them for a long time before putting them in the cart. I see a cool red plastic fireman hat and ask hopefully if I could have it. Mommy beams at me like that was a wonderful idea and says yes. I wear it around the rest of the store and in the car on the way home. She says we have to be careful with it because I will wear it at my birthday party! I don't care- I like it now! Mommy mutters under her breath something that sounds like, "At least there's one hat you'll wear without screaming."

11:10am- We arrive at the haircut place. Oh, crap. I knew this was coming- Mommy started talking about it over the weekend- but I really hoped she'd forget. I hate haircuts- the place is so loud, especially when the haircut lady uses those loud things near my ears to cut little tiny hairs. The comb feels scratchy on my scalp, and the water bottle she sprays my hair with ("That makes your hair easier to cut," Mommy says.) is just COLD and feels like needles! The place is kind of fun to wander around before the haircut- they have video screens and stuff to play with- but the minute the lady comes to get us, I start crying. I can't help it. I wish I never needed another haircut. I cry through most of the haircut, but about 3/4 of the way through, I notice that the video on the screen in front of my chair (It's so high up!! What if I FALL??) is interesting, so I stop crying so I can hear the video. When the haircut is all done, the lady brushes powder all over me, yuck!! It stinks and it makes me sneeze! Mommy says it helps get the hair off me so it doesn't itch me all day long. Can't they get it off me a different way? Once that's done, though, Mommy picks me up, sits down, and hugs and squeezes me tight, and rubs my scalp for me. Aahhhh...that's so much better. Then we go and get a toy from the machine, pay for the haircut, and come home.

12:30pm- We're home. I sigh and sit down on my nice couch and take my shoes and socks off because my feet are hot, and watch Dora and Diego. Once they're done, and I eat some applesauce for lunch, Mommy brings me upstairs, changes my diaper, reads me a story, and puts me in my crib. She has a good memory- she even remembered I need my socks back on to sleep- they're already in the crib, waiting for me. I can't sleep without them, no matter how hot it is- my feet feel too open without the socks holding them in!

****************'s now 2:30pm, and he's been in for a nap for about a half hour. This afternoon, we're going to the library, which he likes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


It's not just for toddlers anymore! Although they certainly fuel the cranky, if my toddler is any example. And my toddler is generally possessed with a more sunny disposition than the average toddler. (I'm not making that part up, either- his daycare providers, who have a lot more experience with toddlers than I have, tell me this all the time! *proud Mommy moment*)

I have a headache. I forget if I mentioned it yesterday, but Tylenol, etc., has only put a dent in it. I am thinking of looking around to see if I have any more of the Great Drugs I got sent home from the hospital with two and a half years ago. (I barely took any of them for the pain issues I had then, and have rationed them out since then for serious pain things, mostly headaches because I am an absolute baby when it comes to headaches.) The problem is, they take the pain away, but they also zone me out, so I have to be careful when I take them. Two and a half one could say I am an addict if one prescription has lasted over two years!

It's been raining again, which furthers the cranky right now. It's rained so much this year, things are damp and moldy that never were before. Also, I think I am one of those people who gets down when there's not enough sunlight, because I do notice a trend with that- I have more problems sleeping in the winter, and more difficulty waking up in winter, for example. During summer I am pretty consistently sleeping seven to eight hours a night, which is really quite good for me, and have generally awakened by about 6:30am, mostly without an alarm.

Frank, I think, is on the way to outgrowing his nap. On the one hand, this will make scheduling activities easier, because we won't have to plan around that. On the other hand, I do enjoy having that two or so hours of quiet time in the middle of the day!! He's pretty consistently napped only for about an hour and a half per day over the last week or so, and awakened earlier in the morning than he did at the beginning of the summer. Based on what the daycare people tell me, this is about average- in the class he is moving up to in September, according to the teachers there, about half the kids nap and half don't. He starts transitioning to that class next week, so tune in late next week for that drama. (Actual quote from him on the subject Thursday: "I don't want to go to preschool. I want to stay in Miss K's class.")

Now that my husband is home, I think I am going to look for those Good Drugs. (I don't like taking them when I am the only responsible adult in the house.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Field trip!

Frank's daycare had a field trip scheduled for the Turtleback Zoo in West Orange, NJ this morning. I hadn't been there in probably 25 years; truthfully, last time I was there, it was pretty sad and dumpy, so I never bothered trying to go back.

I woke up to cloudy and overcast weather, so I called the daycare- yep, the trip is still on. Awesome. I wouldn't have wanted the task of trying to explain to Frank why we weren't going somewhere he's been excited about for three days.

It was SO HOT!!!!! I think the temperature was in the low ninties by the time we left the zoo at noon (on the non-airconditioned bus), and it was incredibly humid. The bees were terrible, too. It was a helluva way to find out Frank's diaper bag had a spill inside it...probably of "Grover juice". Frank and his little friends all had a good time, though, which was the important part. We've been home for four hours now, and had planned on going to the library when he woke up from his nap this afternoon, but neither of us is feeling terribly ambitious right now. Nor are we at all curious to see if the thunderstorm that blew through here a while ago has broken the heat at all.

On another note, I have red tomatoes, at long last! I'm going to eat my first one shortly. :) The one cucumber and the several green beans I've eaten out of the garden this year have been tasty, so I'm looking forward to the tomato.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Funny child moment

Proof that my son is truly mine (and my husband's): He has this little laptop computer like thingy from Little Einsteins. He was sitting on the couch with it this evening while I was making dinner, and trying to figure out something on it. He began to talk to it!

"No...I want 'O'!...Dat's not 'O', dis is 'O'! What do you mean? No, I don't want dat, I want dis!"

It was pretty darn hard for me to keep from giggling at this. I can just picture him in a few years yelling at the TV with us while watching a sporting event!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My sister

My little sister is 30, which is seven years younger than I am. We've never been what you'd call close, not only because of the age difference, but because we're pretty different personalities. I've always been overly responsible- as the oldest child, especially after my parents divorced when I was 12, it was my job to pick C up from daycare after school and bring her home. My brother, B, who is three years younger than I am and had a tendency to be a bit flaky, would make his way home, usually with a friend or two in tow. Once we were all home, I had to call Mom at work to notifiy her we were all home, then get the two of them a snack and oversee them while they played. (B, again, usually had at least one friend with him. His friends seemed to feel that our house was The Hangout. One of the most common visitors was best man in his wedding two years ago and sold me a car last year!) I sometimes also had to start dinner.

When C was 12, I really have no idea what she did- I only know what she didn't do, because Mom would call me at college and complain to me about it. "She doesn't clean her room, she doesn't do this, she doesn't do that..." Um, yeah, she's not my kid, don't complain to me, I always wanted to say. But I am and always have been A Good Girl, so I always listened and commiserated.

The closest I ever came to rebellion was my freshman year of college, first semester- I basically didn't study much at all. I was free to do whatever I wanted, without my mother being all over me, so I went out for pizza and bowling and hung out chatting with friends through all hours. (I was never a drinker, though- growing up with an alcoholic father cured me of that urge rather young.) Yeah, that was great, until I got my report card for that semester, and the hell that was my life at that point cured me of that- I did well for the rest of college. Not great, but well.

My sister rebelled, oh how she rebelled. She drank, smoked, and snuck out of houses at sleepovers with friends to take the bus into NYC. And she got away with it all, even when people found out about it. People made excuses for her, too!

My sister graduated college, to hear Mom tell it, by the skin of her teeth. My mother said they "let C out of school". Whatever. Three months after graduation, she had a decent job with benefits. (It took me, being all responsible and stuff, nearly a year to land a job with benefits. Yeah, me, with my medical history, lived without health insurance for nearly a year. That's a rant for another day, though...)

C quit that job six months later, without another one lined up, because it "sucked". (Yeah, try working an assembly line in a perfume factory, like I did summers while I was in college!! Or two jobs at once, like I did most of that time as well. It could not possibly have sucked more than that.) My father called me and told me to call my sister and "talk some sense into her". I started laughing. "Dad, number one, the deed is done. Number two, she's never listened to me in her entire life- what on earth makes you think she's going to start now???" C worked as a waitress for the next year or so and quit when she had a nervous breakdown. (Side note: just once in my life, I would like to feel like things would be taken care of if I had a nervous breakdown.) She worked another couple of jobs, including one somewhat related to her major at Big Time Clothing Company in NYC, on Fifth Avenue, no less.

She quit that one two years ago and went to grad school, in art therapy. I snorted when I found out. She's started and quit so many things in her life, my first thought was, "She's never going to finish. It'll be too much work for her."

She finished, graduating this past May. I don't know what she's been doing with her summer, but she leaves in nine days to go to Namibia, to do art therapy on a volunteer basis with kids there. (I hope she brings a vat of sunscreen- she's fairer than I am!)

Maybe, at age 30, she is finally growing up? I hope so. All I know is her entire life, she's gotten away with behaviors that would have gotten me reamed out at half the age she was, and people have always made excuses for her. Hell, people still make excuses for her.

And me? I've always done my best to do The Right Thing, and have always been overlooked as a result.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New baby!

One of my friends had her baby on July 29th! She just sent out the birth announcement email today. He was six pounds and some ounces, so, even though he wasn't due until, if I recall correctly, mid-August, he seems to be fine.

Hm, I never heard about a baby shower, now that I think about it...maybe she didn't have one?

Either that or we're not as good friends as I thought we were, because I wasn't invited.

Monday, August 10, 2009

RID Convention

I had a great time! One of my co-workers picked me up at my house Saturday morning and we met the other two co-workers at another house. We left there at about 10:30am, and pulled up in front of our hotel in Philadelphia at about 12:30pm. We were able to check in, even though check-in time is posted as 3pm. (This is my experience with conventions: hotels know when they are hosting one, so they generally try to have everything ready in time for conventioneers who show up early.) It took us a fair bit of doing to get up to our room- the elevators only worked if you inserted your card key into a slot in the elevator, and two of our keys didn't work! We went up, we went down, but we never hit our floor, fifteen. It was very frustrating. Of course, it took us that long for it to dawn on us that, hey, maybe the keys weren't actually working. Once we figured that out, and got new keys, we were able to find our room and get in just fine.

I had every intention of going to a workshop that afternoon, I really did. But my three coworkers were talking about going sightseeing, and, even though I've been to Philly several times before (it isn't that far from north Jersey), I blew off the workshop and went sightseeing! We went to the Art Museum, but didn't go in. The museum is famous for its front steps- Rocky Balboa ran up them during a sequence in Rocky. There's even a bronze statue of Rocky waving his hands in the air at the base of the steps. People line up to get their pictures taken with Rocky. (I did not stand in line; I just took a picture with two random dudes in it.) We also saw a wedding party getting their pictures taken in front of the museum. It's really quite pretty, and I could see why they'd choose that. (Heck, when Darrel and I went to London, we saw a wedding party getting pictures taken at the Tower of London! Yeah, nothing like starting out your married life at a place notorious for its executions.)

We also went and wandered around a bit near Independence Hall, and we went inside the new structure and saw the Liberty Bell. Two of my coworkers had never seen it before.

We ate most meals while in Philly at Reading Terminal Market, an indoor marketplace with all kinds of eateries. They were pretty cheap, too!

Weird thing that happened Saturday night: at 1:41am (yes, I blearily looked at the clock), someone knocked on the door. W got up and went to the door and looked through the peephole. "Who is it?" she snapped.

"Room service," came the reply.

"We didn't order room service. Go away!" W snapped. The thought blearily crossed my mind that maybe we should call the front desk and tell them, but we didn't. Yes, I know, stupid. The next morning, W went to the front desk and told them.

Room service ends at 10pm.

Apparently this is part of a scam- people sneak into the hotel and try to break into rooms this way. Scary, and I keep trying to reassure myself that if I were the one to go to the door, no way I would have opened it, but I'm honestly not sure. W gave a description of the guy, and they do have security cameras, but I really don't expect them to find him. W told the front desk we were scared: "He knows there's women in the room now, what if he comes back? We want more security on our floor." They did provide that- I saw the guys in uniforms wandering around.

As for how did he get up to our floor in the first place, when you can only work the elevator if you have a key? I bet he just wandered on an elevator with someone else who had a key. I saw plenty of people doing that.

Sunday, we were up early and at our first workshop at 8:30am. We had a lunch break 11am-12pm, and then back into the same workshop until 2:30pm. Break again, then workshop 4:30pm-6pm.

Monday, there was a business meeting 8-12, which I had no intention of going to, so I met my college friend, G, for brunch. He picked me up on the corner nearest the hotel and we headed for a diner nearby. The diner turned out to be closed, like grass growing through the broken pavement and vines creeping up the sides of the building closed, so we ended up at a Friday's for lunch, at 11am. It was good to see him; we don't get to hang out nearly often enough. Back to the hotel for workshop 2-5pm, then dinner at Maggliano's, across the street from the hotel.

I bought a shirt for Frank from one of the exhibitors- I got it specially made for him. It says his name in fingerspelling on the front, and has a soccer ball, basketball, and a football picture under his name. On the back, it has the manual alphabet. :) It's a bit big for him, but hey, he'll grow. ;)

Tuesday, another business meeting 8-12 (how can business take up eight solid hours???), so coworker P1 and I went sightseeing while W and P2 stayed at the hotel to relax for a while. P1 and I walked towards Independence Hall and split up there- she went to the Jewish Museum and then back to the Art Museum, this time to go inside, while I went to the relatively new Constituion Center. It's a museum devoted solely to the Constituion. I spent about two hours there, and could have spent longer! It is a history geek's fantasy come to life, seriously. I bought Darrel a shot glass there, and some post cards for one of my loyal readers. *waves at Deb* I wandered around that area a bit, and headed back to the hotel for workshops 2-5pm, and 6:30-8pm.

Wednesday was our last day. We were up early and packed, and in our final workshop at 8:30am. When we broke for lunch at 11am, we ran back to the hotel, got a luggage cart, and handed it all over to the bellhop and we checked out. The bellhop labeled it for us and put it somewhere it'd all be safe. We ran to Reading Market, grabbed something quick, and ran back to the workshop, which finished at 2:30pm. After that, we went back to Reading Market again to wander around a bit more, then back to the hotel, got P2's car, loaded it up, and left at 3:15pm. Dropped off P1 at her house, then drove to P2's house, where W and I got W's car. W then drove me back to my house and headed west to her house. I walked in the door at 6:15pm. Frank smiled at me. "Hi, Mommy!" he said. "Dragontales is on!" I can see he was traumatized by my absence.

Before we'd left on Saturday, Darrel had commented to me, "Driving down and rooming with three coworkers? This could end really well or really badly." I am pleased to say that it ended really well- we got along great the whole time! We were even polite when we saw Toxic Former Coworker during a few of the workshops.

I'm looking forward to the Region 1 convention in Albany next summer, and the national convention in 2011 in Atlanta. :)

Pictures will, of course, be forthcoming. We are getting a new computer, and I am waiting for the new computer before I upload all my new pictures. Hopefully Darrel will have time soon to put it all together and set it up!