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It’s True…

…you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I’m loving my new job.  It’s been an awful lot to learn and I wasn’t sure I could do it but I haven’t been fired yet!  ha!  I’m not crazy about rush hour in a construction zone but I’m doing it.  I’ve also had to take on those nasty round-abouts.  I’m happy to report I haven’t caused an accident (yet)!

I spent a few hours at my All School Reunion last weekend.  I didn’t see one person I graduated with but I really enjoyed seeing my family and others that I went to school with.  It was a bright spot to see a past favorite teacher of mine!  My significant other ( that still sounds so odd to me) joined me and passed the family inspection…and they his.  I wasn’t worried but he was nervous.  Nice to have that behind us.

My sister said something to me there that got me thinking.  She said “You have really had a lot of changes in the past year.  You know what?  I have!  I began dating, I’m living a lone now, been to a concert, taken up camping again and started my new (second) job. I certainly never expected any of this at my age!

To all that have asked about my “kids.”  The girl is adjusting.  Some days are better than others.  I try to see her every week.  We often go to the library, sometimes a movie and sometimes dinner.  She seems happy, for the most part and the calls to me have diminished greatly!  AMEN!

I had a really interesting update on the boy today as I had inquired.  It appears he has been complaining that he can’t call long distance.  Hmmm? What?  He has a pay as you go cell phone so I immediately came to the conclusion that he doesn’t want to “waste” his money on a phone card any longer.  I was correct.  Here’s the kicker though.  He complained about not being able to have the snacks he wants.  They are making him have healthy snacks and he doesn’t like it.  So….the county is going to contact the Ombudsman because his rights are being restricted!!  They will fight for but not for keeping a family in tact?  What is this world coming to?  Just when I think  nothing can surprise me, it does!  And what makes it even more confusing is that things are handled so much differently at the girls home and they both run under the same laws and regulations.  Go figure!

Just a quick, uneventful update today and to tell you all that I hope you’re enjoying your summer.  As always, it’s goes by way too quickly!

Shine On!

Jill

This One’s for you SJ

Once in a while, I get really lucky.  I mean, I’m lucky everyday to be surrounded by people that support me while I’m trying to find the right path to parent my special needs kids (OK, adults).  But this last weekend, I got to send a few moments with a very special friend at my All School Reunion.  I truly wish we’d had more time together.

She’s a grandma that has a special needs granddaughter and oh how she loves that girl!  I hadn’t seen her in over 40 years but I follow her on Facebook.  She posts darling pictures of her beautiful, and I mean beautiful, girl.  I delight in her granddaughters achievements as if she were my own.  That’s what we, as families of special needs children do, we celebrate our children together.  SJ cheers mine on too.  It’s a wonderful form of bonding and support.

SJ gave me a compliment so big it made my heart melt.  She told me that some days, my blog is the only thing that gets her through what she, her daughter and granddaughter have to endure.  I know it’s only in a small way but I am glad I can help.  Parenting or grand parenting special needs children is Not For the Faint of Heart.  Let me tell you something about SJ.  Her granddaughter is very lucky to have her grandma whom loves her so much!  She is a special lady that will love and support that girl no matter what.  And that, my friends, is better than any “specialist” out there.  Trust me, I know.

That’s not to say I know more than the specialist but I do live the life.  It’s the one thing the medical and mental health communities can’t do, unless they have a child like we do.  Sure, they can offer support and advice and I always appreciate it but there is always something missing.  It took me a long time to realize it’s because they don’t walk in my shoes.  One can describe symptoms and behaviors but unless one can truly feel the impact, no one, not anyone, can honestly understand.  No one can understand that we fave daily battles and how we have to choose to overlook some.  We’re not spoiling our children, we’re surviving to the best of our ability. We don’t have all of the answers.  We just do the best we can. No one can understand the sense of isolation family members of special needs children can endure. And on the other side of that coin?  No one can fully understand the “small” victories that we appear to be over zealous about.  But we get it.  We parents, grandparents and other family members get it.

SJ and I agreed on the importance of support.  Sure, education and social understanding have increased over the years.  Are they where they need to be?  No.  But the great thing is, we are never too old to learn.  Or to share our stories so that others may not feel the isolation or lonesomeness.

SJ, thanks for sharing your story with me.  Thank you for lending me your support and friendship.

Shine On!

Jill

 

My Mother Did It.

First of all, I never called my Mom, Mother.  I don’t know why but Mother always sounds so harsh to me.  It’s kind of like calling me by my entire name when I was doing something I shouldn’t.  I knew I was in trouble!

It’s one thing I did differently than my mom.  She always called her mom, mother and her dad, daddy.  I think it may have been a West Virginia thing but I’m not sure.  I just couldn’t follow suit, even though she never asked me to.   Mom and dad were always mom and dad and that’s what I wanted my kids to call me too.

People that have known my mom and I always tell me I laugh just like her.  Or they will stop in mid conversation with me and say something like “Oh my gosh!  That was Becky talking!”  It always makes me smile as then I am reminded how my mom is always, always with me.  She is a part of me.

My mom had a “signature scent.”  It was Youth Dew by Estee Lauder.  I loved it back then.  It would linger in a room for hours after she left.  And if she was wearing it, she was usually dressed to the nines and going someplace very fancy.  One time, it was the Governor’s Mansion!  How excited we both were shopping for just the right dress and shoes.  The shoes were very important!  We lived in a very small town and had to drive an hour to Duluth for any clothes shopping.  Glass Block was always the first choice. My mom was a very contemporary, classy lady for a small town gal and in my mind had wonderful taste in clothing!  If I was lucky, we got to have lunch there too.  It was a lovely place to eat. I felt like I was at the Ritz.  I’d wear the same scent all of the time.  My mom did it and so do I.

 

I do a lot of things like my mom.  I am proud of that fact because I liked my mom.  Of course I loved her but I liked her too.

Why am I thinking about all of this today?  I’m up early to make potato salad before the real heat of the day sets in.  My mom did it that way so I do too.  I boiled my potatoes and eggs and set them to cool.  Well, I’d planned to let them cool.  I don’t know why but my mom always liked to peel her potatoes when they were hot.  So that’s how I do it.  But I don’t like it.  I always plan to let them cool completely but I never make it.  As many times as I burn my fingers, I just can’t stop.  It’s the way my mom did it and I have to do it too.

What things to you do that your mom did?  Are you like me and wonder why you continue with something she did that you don’t like doing?

I think I’m a little melancholy this morning.  I’m making “her” potato salad in “her” big, yellow pyrex bowl.  I miss my mom.  But I can feel her here with me this morning and that’s a good thing.

 

Shine On!

Jill

Finally!

I’ve lived here just shy of 4 years.  I’ve complained about my bathroom walls almost as long.  I really didn’t mind the color so much but once my towel bars got ripped from the walls, the holes have been nagging at me to patch them and paint them.

I hate painting. I mean, I really hate it.  It’s not a hard job it’s just that I’m a really messy painter.  I’ve been trying to really talk myself into getting it done, seriously, for two years.  It’s the only thing I really procrastinate on.  I’m a get ‘er done kind of gal.  Not with painting.

I’ve used up every excuse in the book.  I don’t work again until next Tuesday and am applying for a second (third?) job so I figured it was now or never.  I couldn’t get to sleep until after 2 this morning.  I awoke at 6.  Does that give you any indication about how much I stress about painting?  I know. I’m a dope.

At any rate, I got started around 7:30 this morning.  I knew if I delayed, it just wouldn’t happen.  Thanks to a new brush from a friend, I didn’t even have to tape.  That saved so much time and aggravation, I just can’t thank her enough!

I’ve managed to get it all cleaned and scrubbed now, sans the vent in there.  I haven’t been able to find a way to get it really clean.  Have any of you had any luck with that?  What’s your secret?  I’m in desperate need of advise. I digress, I’ve cleaned up all of the paint tools and have two walls to paint in my kitchen area.  I’m hoping to tackle that tomorrow.  Although, if I can’t sleep again, I may just do it tonight!

I’ve got a movie date with the girl tonight.  I’d love to take a nice, hot, leisurely bath right now but I just can’t mess up the bathroom!  Isn’t that the way it always goes?

*As a side note:  I took the plunge last week and canceled my cable.  I hopped in the car to return the equipment yesterday, feeling pretty proud of myself that I got it all disconnected by myself (I am electronically challenged among many other things).  Once I got to the store, the young man scanned my equipment only to discover I didn’t have the cable box rather my DVR.  That’s what the thought of painting does to me!  Well, at least that my excuse for that little blunder!

 

Shine On!

Jill

The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!

Things went very well last week.  I had meeting with the girls work and new home.  Nice things were said about the girl by all entities.  A few highlights:

The county case manager said “She is the only client that makes me laugh.  Every. Single. Time.”

Work loves her because she is ALWAYS ready and willing to go to ANY job site if they need her.  She’s very flexible and does a great job!

The house manager adores her.  I’m so grateful as I adore the house manager.  The manager has a brother in a group home so she really gets it!

This week, the sky has fallen.  The girl is an emotional wreck and it makes me a wreck too.  A change in meds and living in a new environment have caught up with her.  It literally breaks my heart when she calls me crying but I know this is just an adjustment period so I’m doing all I can to be reassuring, without letting her take backward steps.  The tears are usually over something minor ( i.e.her plastic cups got broken) but quickly escalate into what she considers dire circumstances.  This is NOT uncommon in this type of situation.  It’s hard but we will get through it, one day  at a time, together.

I try to stay busy.  Well, Monday I was REALLY busy.  Busy doing nothing!  I did get a few holes in the walls filled in but that was it.  My wonderful friend scored me two gallons of paint for a total of $5.00 so now I have no excuses not to paint.  I really hate painting.  I’ll get it done, by summers end.  I’m getting way too good at procrastinating painting!  Did I mention that I really hate painting?

I went to my new job today.  I actually can say “I went to the office today!”  It’s been a long time.  I’m lucky to work for such a wonderful woman.  We laugh a lot and were mighty proud of ourselves when we actually got her computer hooked up and running.  Lot’s of giggles in the process.  Well, we did have a little help with the internet but it wasn’t anything we were doing wrong!    Whew!  Next up?  Hooking up her fancy, dancy printer/fax machine. After checking the cords for a USB cord and not finding one, we finally concluded that one had to be purchased separately.  Imagine our delight when it was confirmed that we were right!  Wish us luck!

For the many of you that ask, I have not heard from the boy or anything about the boy.  It’s hard.  I just pray for him every day.  HE will keep him in his arms.  Thank you for caring.

Hope you’re week is going well!

Shine On!

Jill

It Could Only Be Me

It’s a good thing that long ago, I became OK with self effacing humor.  It’s pretty much how I’ve gotten along in this crazy world.  I had a situation yesterday that had me, once again, miffed at myself.  But once again, I just chose to laugh and in the end, I had a reward, albeit a strange one.

As you know, I’ve gotten myself a part time job this summer.  I’ve spent a few hours today training for it.  Yesterday, however, I had to get my my fingerprints taken.  A simple task, you say?  Well, it was me so of course, that simple task took me 2, yes,  2 hours.  How you ask?

I took off with my GPS leading the way. I knew it wasn’t a terribly difficult place to find but I knew I would encounter some major construction.  Betty (I fondly call the GPS lady, Betty) guided me a long and announced there would be a six minute delay.  I was prepared not to rush.  I’m usually quite a patient driver.  I made it through all the curves and managed to dodge any cones that came dancing my way.  Betty alerted me to the next left turn that I needed to take.

She specifically told me to take a right onto Buzzy Ave.  and pre-warned me it was a turn-about.  Now, anyone that knows me, knows I DESPISE turn-abouts!  I am convinced that someone very intoxicated came up with that idea!  At any rate, I drove up and made my right hand turn, assuming Betty really meant Business Ave.  I was right and all was well.  Well, until I got into the place and announced I needed my fingerprints.  The young man politely asked for my paperwork.  Good Lord.  I forgot my paperwork!  So, I grudgingly got back in the car and headed back home.  Thankfully, the traffic wasn’t as heavy on the way home.  I did, however, encounter a most unusual site that had me smiling all of the way  home, even though I was questioning my sanity.  More on that later.

I arrived home, ran in and grabbed the paperwork and set off, once again.  This time, Betty announced a seven minute delay.  I arrived back at my destination (seeing the same site I’d see going the other way, again)!  This time, I proudly walked in with my paperwork, only to be greeted by the same young man asking me if I had a check or a money order.  WHAT????  I had no idea.  I let out a big sigh, went back to the car, went to a neighboring store and purchased a money order.  Back I went, excited at the prospect of getting my prints done and being on my way.

Only, it wasn’t that easy.  I never knew giving finger prints could be so difficult.  He patiently instructed me to roll my fingers this way and that, to clean them with hand sanitizer and he cleaned the scanner countless times.  Again and again and again, I cleaned, rolled and he cleaned.  Again and again and again, they wouldn’t take.  Finally, I got one that worked and I nearly leapt into the young mans arms with joy.  I had it now!  Or so I thought.  I did it so many times I was ready to cry.  I sighed.  I shifted feet.  I tried to make jokes.   I’m sure I was dewy (mom always told me, horses sweat, men perspire and women get dewy. )I asked if I was the only one that had this much trouble.   I think he was lying when he assured me I wasn’t.   Near the end, I mumbled that it was much easier when they used an ink pad for finger printing.  Then I felt really old and stupid as I don’t think he had ANY idea what I was talking about.  I so appreciated his courtesy and patience as we persisted along.  I finally completed a full set of prints!  I was so excited to get on my way and I thanked him over and over!

Back in my car, I started down construction highway and once again, I spotted a huge work truck traveling the same path for the third time.  His passenger was all skin and bones. Literally. He gave new meaning to the term skeleton crew.  Yup!  The man driving had a life sized skeleton in the passenger seat!  I wish I could thank him as he made a very annoying two hours bearable and gave me a good chuckle.

I hope you find something to laugh about today and everyday.

Shine On!

Jill

Niggling Thoughts

I seem to be on a roll with things that are just nagging at my brain.  Most times, for me, it’s easier to write them.  I hope you don’t mind indulging me on this dark and gloomy morning.

I made a post the other day about being thoughtful before we implicate ourselves into the business of others.  My direction was for those with special needs, i.e. developmental delays, autism, mental illness, etc.

I was reminded of another sector of people that are often criticized too and it made me feel badly.  Those are the people that suffer from physical difficulties that we often cannot see.  Perhaps someone has chronic pain or they have labored breathing.  I know my Mom suffered from the latter which made it very difficult for her to walk at a “normal” pace or it may have required her to stop and rest for a few moments.  Many times, there was no place to sit so she’d stop where she was in order to catch her breath and regain her strength.  I admired her for even attempting to continue with her daily constitutions.  I mean, why should she or anyone else with physical ailments continue to live their live to the fullest?

Sadly, what happens all too often is some people have to made snide comments to the person.  Sure, I’ve been frustrated a few times when I’ve been in a hurry but I stop and remind myself that not everything is as it appears.  I try to always remember that everyone has a story and I am not privy to their personal information.  I just need to be thankful that for today, I am not suffering and to say a little prayer for those that are.

On another note. This one may start a fury of feelings.  I understand I may be alone in my thinking but that never stops me from throwing it out there.  My hope it that it can start some honest conversations.

I’m a big fan of America’s Got Talent. I also watch a lot of clips from other talent based TV shows.  Many of them are featuring special needs people with talents that are amazing.  These people are gifted beyond measure!  They are often highlighted on YouTube, Facebook, the news or  some other social media.  The first thing that is always mentioned first is  that the person is autistic, deaf, blind,developmentally challenged, well, you get the idea.

Now, here is where I struggle.  I am glad these people are not being hidden away like   has so often happened in the past. I believe it has a positive affect on helping society, as a whole, understand that they are more like us than they are different.  It’s about time!

Here lies my problem.  Why can’t we just let them perform, judge them on their talents and THEN tell their story.  What’s the difference you ask?  I believe they should be judged right along side everyone else for their merits not because they are “different.”  Let people see them as they are!  Beautiful, talented, wonderful, loving people!  They are not less than anyone else!  Let their talent speak for them, not their challenges.

I may know what you are thinking.  But Jill, they open up every act with some a “sob” story. They do it in the Olympic broadcasts too.  And I take issue with that also.  Why can’t we just meet them, watch them and then hear about their life story.  I mean, everyone has a story.  Why do we need to know everything about a persons life before they take us on a magical tour of their talent?  I guess the point I’m trying to make is let’s make it about their talent and nothing else.

I don’t know.  I hope you all understand what I’m trying to say.

Shine On!

Jill