Tuesday, July 31, 2007


as if I needed any reminders....
I'm not as young as I used to be.

Surgery was not fun.
Hard to convince myself I really needed it when I felt great just before. Well, maybe not great. Tired, but fine. And then afterwards, eeek. It's been a miserable few days. Kenny is fretting, but things are slowly getting better.

Mom and Dad stayed until Sunday. Mindy sent pizza. Missy ran the kids. Thanks to Sue for the flowers and Donna and Lisa for the cards & gifts.

I'm on the mend now, hobbling around, but off the pain meds. Hoping to go into work for a couple of hours tomorrow, if all goes well.

Thanks for the prayers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Baseball. Ahhh....the crack of the bat, the dust flying from mitts, the voices in the dugout, "Humbabe...atta kid, get a stick, drive one somewhere, let's go Black Jack, Zach Attack, feet, feet, keep your nose on it, let's go 2-1." There's nothing better.

Here are the Cubs playing for 3rd in the Yakima Tournament. If not for one call, they'd have been playing in the championship game. They lost this one, a squeaker.

Now, as far as prayer...
Okay, I must be doing it all wrong.
I mean, I get that thing about God's will.
Really, I do.
And I do believe it's best for me.
Except that horrid little voice in my head.
It says, "But, wwwwhhhyyyy can't it go MY way, just sometimes?"
And I try.
I really Try. (See the capital T?)
But, as we know, trying and doing are not the same thing.
I struggle a lot.
I'm a self-confessed control-freak.
And yes. In my more irrational moments, I really DO believe I know better than God.
Read that again. Do you see how insane that is? But it's really true. Sometimes I think that if I could only sit down with him and EXPLAIN it, well, He'd HAVE to see it my way, right?
I think it's safe to say I'm no where near that acceptance stage.
In fact, I think I'm going backwards. Was in anger, now jumping back to bargaining.
Little deals with God. Little tests. Looking for signs.
I'm sure God thinks I'm hilarious.
And pathetic.
And blind.
So I sincerely hope that none of you are looking to me to further your spiritual journeys.
Well, other than being able to kind of shrug over at me and say, "Well....I know it's not THAT!"
Glad to be the Goofus example.

Kenny Jo is growing like crazy in so many ways. I don't talk much on here about the challenges he faces every day as he battles his autism. And I don't talk much about the anguish and heartache and exhaustion that comes from raising a child with "special needs." God, I hate, hate that phrase. Makes it sound as if we met those "needs" that it would get better...or that it's like other people have needs, too, these are just a little "special." Bull puckey. It's a disability. Kenny doesn't have special needs. (Well, he does, we all do.) He has a disability. His brain is not wired like other brains. And it can be sheer hell. Why am I talking about this. It's another of those things...people think they know what you mean. They have no clue. And I haven't found words to describe it yet. And all those pithy little poems about being selected for this because you're such a great mom or all the joys of Holland....blech. Nice sentiments, it's true. And some true things in those poems, yes. But your glasses have gotta be pretty, no make that NEON, rosy in order to believe that's all there is.

It's similar to when Dave would mention the short-term memory loss. He would literally be on his way to a meeting and forget to go. Not four or five feet from his destination. Then people would say, "Why'd you miss the meeting?" And Dave would say, "What meeting?" People laugh and say, "Oh, I forget things like that all the time. Ha, ha, ha." And I'd want to scream. Oh? You do? You forget. We all do. But most of us remember having forgotten when someone mentions it. Instead of "What meeting?' we'd be saying, "Oh, crud, I missed the meeting." Can you imagine how scary it would be to have no glimmer? And to know that the erasure of that memory was caused by a beast, growing and throbbing in your head, a beast that will eventually kill you? And that there is probably more and worse to come? That eventually this thing will take not only your memories, but your thoughts, your body, your dreams, your very life? People try to make light of things, but it's not very funny when you think about it that way, is it? Not when every twinge, every headache, every word you can't come up with might be the harbinger of the end. Not when you have to find a way to live under that, to make some sort of peace with it, to give it its due, but not let it take over.

Not very many people really understand. Same with autism. Especially with a kid who's doing well, like Kenny. Our UCLA consultant years ago said, "These kids on the borders often do the worst. They are at the highest risk for depression and suicide. Some kids can eventually function as "typical" kids. Some don't make a lot of progress, but aren't really even aware that they're different. Kids on either end learn to cope better. Kids in the borderland know they are different and are bothered by it, sometimes devastated by it." Makes me wonder about what is the right thing to do. I don't have the answer to that. I can only do the best I can with what I know, and pray it's enough.

Anyway, I vacillate between trying to give people the understanding of what it is we live with and keeping my mouth shut. I tend to choose to celebrate Kenny's successes. His struggles belong to him, and it's not up to me to put them all over the internet. But it leaves people not having a clue about what daily life is like, either. So it's not really fair of me to be all mad at those generic people who say well-meaning things. The well-meaning kinds of things that are actually hurtful.

Well, aren't I just Miss Merry Sunshine today. If you've come for a daily dose of Vitamin D, you're in the wrong place. Today, we're pushing cod liver oil. Heavy and nasty, but probably good for you in small doses.

My quote for today. I always pick one that illustrates what it is I need to learn today.
"It requires less character to discover the faults of others than is does to tolerate them." -- J. Petit Senn

The puppy is growing fast. We love her dearly already. She's sweet and smart and a bit sassy. Duke tries to sit on her with his chest. I think he wants to see if he can hatch her.

Kate and Zach spent the last two days devouring the new Harry Potter book. I had to wait my turn. Had to buy two copies of the book or I might have few surviving children! We heard not a peep from them for the last two days, but last night, after I threatened to steal their light bulbs, Z finally finished, and he and Kate stood on the stairs for an hour.

It was way too late. They needed to sleep, but I could hear their earnest voices talking. The laughter, the "ah-ha!" moments. They had travelled to a place separately, and brought their journeys together. I peeked around the corner. They were standing on the stairs, each on their way to bed, stopping as they passed each other, Zach on the way down, Kate on the way up. Their heads were leaning in together. They were sharing the memory of a magical place, and I believe, creating a magical place of their own. All evening they relished in the fact that they knew what had happened in the Deathly Hallows, and I, muggle that I am, was not in the know. They brandished sly little grins at the dinner table, exchanged little looks and clapped their hands over their mouths lest they say too much. It was priceless. So I watched, at midnight, their heads bowed together, their eyes bright, their voices hushed, soft light shining from their hair. I tip-toed back to bed and let them stay up way too late, reminiscing about Hogwarts.

And if you're wondering if my bed is made...it is...and as you can see, I've got lots of company. Two-face is on the other side, you can't quite see him in this picture. I have at least these three with me every night. Sometimes Macky joins us, too. So, you see, Cathy, that issue about which side of the bed is moot for me. I'm lucky to get a sliver of EITHER side!

And surgery is Thursday. Should be pretty routine. My mom and dad are here. Bob and Mindy are in Washington DC. Bob and Judy are leaving to help their son move. Mom and Dad have to leave on Sunday, so pray please, that I'm well enough to manage what needs to be done by Sunday. Because, if I'm not, I have to do it anyway.

Thanks for listening this far. I know I've been pretty pissy lately. Sorry for that.

You know, there are angels everywhere. A friend of Val's, Patti, who graduated with Dave, has a clarinet that Kate can use! Hooray! Now we'll see if we can get Group Health to help pay for some of the wisdom tooth removal.

Lots of love, and thanks for putting up with me. I'm pretty cranky lately, aren't I? But I'm Pressin' On!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I'm over myself.

Zach's team won by 8 in Yakima today.
The puppy didn't throw up in the car.
Kenny PASSED the writing section of the WASL.

I'm going to bed before anything blows up.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Poor, poor pitiful me

Yeah, if you’re not in the mood for a pity party, just hit “next blog” right now. I’m worn out. Sick. Sick and tired. And sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Dave used to tell me, “You’ve gotta save your strength, Shell. All this will go away. Probably right when you really need it. You’ll be left holding the bag, Shell. And you’ve gotta find a way to do it.” As many times as I wished I could take on his battle, as many times I wished it was me. That many times he told me that I had it far worse. That he was scared for me. Not him. Me. Not our kids. Me.

Getting the picture this is a selfish post? Yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever typed the word “me” so many times.

I never really believed that I got the short end of the stick. I had Dave after all. How much more could I ask for?

Today. I believe it. Short end of the stick. Holding the bag. And guess what’s in the bag? Puppy shit.

Yeah, that’s my own fault, too.

I guess it occasionally catches up to me. All the lies I tell. “Yes, we’re doing fine. Thanks for asking.” “Yes, busy, busy. We’re going to baseball tournaments, getting ready for Peach Basket, boys are learning to drive.” “Oh, yes, we find a way to keep moving.” “Oh, yes, we’re busy.” “Thank goodness for all the support we get.”

True, all of it. But only part of the truth. The rest is ugly.

I’m tired of feeling alone all the time.

I’m tired of carrying this huge weight on my shoulders.

And it doesn’t do any bit of good to complain. Someone has to fix dinner. Someone has to clean up puppy poop. Someone has to get Zach to practice, Kenny to BDAD, Kate to Peach Basket. Make appointments to get wisdom teeth out and braces on and well children checked. Someone has to get the dogs to the vet. Rent a clarinet for Kate. Fix catcher's masks and lace football gear. Go to work. Someone has to teach them to drive. Someone has to clean the bathrooms and shampoo the carpet.

Don’t get me wrong. The kids help. They do dishes and mow lawns (well, except today…today I did it. Part of why I’m pissy) and wash clothes and vacuum and dust and mop and feed animals. I really only do bathrooms and folding and cooking. Oh, and the nagging. I do that. The continual nagging. That’s my job.

People used to say, “Hang in there.” I’d smile. And then as soon as they were gone, I’d scowl, spit, swear or something else ladylike. “Hang in there?? Like I have a choice!!” Yeah, still there. That’s still me.

The bigger things are worse. The decisions that matter. The examples that must be set. Someone has to teach them how to be responsible. Someone has to teach them to recognize what’s right. Someone has to teach them that when someone says “No” they must hear it and believe it and respect it. Someone has to teach them to say that “No” themselves, even when it’s hard. Someone has to teach them to open the door for smaller, younger, older, less able people. Someone has to teach them to take a phone message. Someone has to make sure they are challenged, but not beyond their abilities. Someone has to make sure they have a chance to participate and find the things they love and still have time to do nothing. Someone has to help them learn what it means to be a friend. Someone has to teach them to value hard work. Someone has to know what to say to them when their play lost the game. Or when their supposed friend says something cruel to them. Someone has to teach them to stand up for what they believe in. Someone has to help them find what that is in the first place.

The biggies: Faith, Love, Respect, Belief, Honor, Courage, Compassion, Humility, Honesty, Commitment.

And today, I’m not up to the task. At all.

My perspective is skewed. I’m feeling taken advantage of in many different areas. People seem to forget that it’s not as easy for me as it is for them. I don’t have a husband to watch the other kids or the dogs. So I have to drag them along or pay for a kennel or whatever. Not to mention people seem to forget that I have all the same expenses they do, but only one income. Actually, no income in the summer. But whatever. It’s my fault. I’ve gotta get some backbone.

But, truthfully, I let it happen, because it keeps me from being lonely.

Because everyone that has a life to go back to….well, they did.

And here I am.

The lady at the licensing place today. She remembered me. The last time I was in, to renew the VERY overdue tabs on the van (I mean, who gives a crap about tabs when your husband is dying?), and she really talked to me. In five minutes. Might have actually been what triggered my many melt-downs tonight. I mean, sheesh. Only three people let me know they remembered Dave’s birthday last December, and one of those was his mom. So I’m getting used to going it alone. I get it. This is how it is. I’m getting used to it. And also getting used to perpetuating the myth. And all that. There are a lot of nice people in Walla Walla. This lady is one of them. Made me feel worse instead of better, but at least it was real.

Maybe it’s the withdrawal from morphine and vicodin. That’ll do it every time.

Whatever it is, it’s not fun. And I feel like screaming at everyone.

Or just screaming.

No. At everyone.

And lest you think I’m a completely selfish, ungrateful bitch, I do want to say, THANK YOU to Mindy for taking me to the hospital and staying with me and for picking up my sick dog at the vet and Bob for watching not only my kids, but Denise’s, too. And staying an extra night to be sure I was okay and the kids were okay. Thank you guys….so much. And of course, Denise, who left me her kids (and money to feed them) and then had to come right back to get them when I got sick. And Mom and Dad who came when they heard I was in the ER. Dad, thanks for fixing the plumbing quirks and hanging the curtain rod. I can’t believe I’m whining when I have you guys. I know many aren’t this lucky.

I do.

But it still sucks.

At least today it does.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sick Puppies

Sorry for the delay in posting.
Good to hear from you, Sara! You're the one that got us started on this puppy road! Hugs to you and the girls.

Went to Lewiston this week for Zach's baseball tournament. They played great, two great games, but couldn't pull off a win. The third game they got blown out. Then the fourth game they played the Bruins, an upper level legion team from Walla Walla...and they beat them! Hooray!

We took the puppy, but she had to spend the night at the vets before we could, because she got into the cat food and made herself soooo sick. Thursday, I took Zach & Sam back to WW for driver's ed, and picked up Kenny & Luke. Took the puppy to the vet, and went back to Lewiston. Mindy took Amy & Kate to Cinderella and for pedicures. Then Friday, Alazar took Zach and Sam to driver's ed and back. Then Mindy brought the girls and the puppy. Whew! All together, all happy right? Wrong. I got sick Saturday night. Threw up 30 times in about 10 hours. Mindy and Kenny took me to the ER. Gallstones. Ick. Plus a high white count. So, back home now, meeting with the surgeon next week.

Can nothing ever go simply for us? Guess not.

But until I started getting sick, it was a great time! Mom and Dad are here helping out. Denise & Darren & Jake came and got the kids.

PS. In the middle of all this somewhere, I bought the kids a car...a Toyota 4Runner. It's cute. Old, but cute and runs well. Pic coming soon. First thing the boys did was put a WW Football sticker on it!

Hugs to all...

Sunday, July 08, 2007


thy name is:
Geyer's Baby Koda Bear

Sorry...she's a girl. We call her Koda and she's a German Shepherd. She is as sweet as they come! Duke loves, loves, loves her. Except when she tries to take his chew toy. Then he quickly puts her in her place.

I do think I'm insane. But so far, very worth it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Moving On

Okay, so who am I kidding?

I get up in the morning, Dave's toothrbrush is still thre in the drawer next to mine.

His is lime green, incidentally.

I could give you a thousand other examples, but this one seems to say it all.

Speaking of not facing things...Kyle would have graduated from high school this year.

I'm pretty good at this ostrich thing, eh?