Feb 25, 2011

Wishbone Day 2011

Gotta get me a yellow t-shirt!

That's The Boy towards the end after the monkey's standing on their heads and the pretty pink ballerina. He's flying in the 3-photo pool scene.

Somebody needs to tell him he breaks easily.


Feb 24, 2011

Third Police Officer Killed In Less Than One Month

Officer David Crawford

For the third time in less than one month our city has endured the loss of yet another police officer. Another man hunt. Tempers flaring in the community.

Racial tension in this city didn't need any more stressors.

Two of my clients had loved ones stopped at gunpoint buy 5-6 officers, frisked and questioned the morning after the shooting. Both boys were badly shaken according to my clients. One boy has cerebral palsy and told his mom he was afraid to reach in to his pocket for his identification when he was stopped on his way to the catch the bus for work. There were five rifles pointing at him and five white officers.

"Mama, I thought they would shoot me if I put my hand in my pocket." he recounted later. My client and her husband, a local minister, begged their son to let them drive him to the bus stop but being "very independent" he refused. Why was he stopped? He fit the description of the shooter. He was young and he was black.

According to his mama who was still teary and frightened, however, he didn't fit the description at all. "Couldn't they see he had cerebral palsy? Couldn't they see he couldn't walk right?"

Fortunately, for every innocent young black male and every innocent police officer still out there the shooter was found. A 16 year old 10th grade high school student who bought the gun for $140.00 on the street. As officer Crawford approached him with his notebook while investigating a nuisance call, the teen simply shot him in the abdomen 4 times. The officer never had a chance. He leaves behind a wife, a daughter named Amanda and a 25 year law enforcement career.

The Genius who lives in a condo less then 5 blocks from the crime scene watched the aftermath from her bedroom window snapping photos of central command which was staged just off her living room balcony.

I am concerned about the upcoming summer. Tempers have a tendency to flare during those hot months.

And our community is already irritable enough.

Keep us in your prayers. All of us.

What A Difference A Day Makes

Diaper Wipes: Not Just For Baby Bottoms

This week I had a vivid dream. I'll spare you the details but long story short there was a local emergency which necessitated the evacuation of our home quickly. In my dream I looked around at my emergency supplies (anyone who has been following this blog knows I'm a survival type personality since childhood) realizing I may have to leave the emergency supplies behind. In the dream I kept thinking over and over, "Brasilia was wise to make emergency backpacks."

Brasilia is my neighbor and kindred survival soul sister who I've mentioned many times in past posts. If she doesn't have something I do. We drive her poor husband insane with our "finds" like lugable loos and solar showers. In addition to her survival treasures she has 4 grab and go 72 hour backpacks. One for each family member.

I shared my dream with my friend Mama Mia Maria who totally surprised me. "I already made a backpack for each family member. And they are red so we can be seen easily."

Wow. Apparently, I am a very slothful survivalist.

After the third person e-mailed asking me what to put into these 72 hour emergency back backpacks I did a little research and sent out some suggestions to them. In researching sites I was surprised to discover that the Mormons are instructed to have a 72 hour emergency backpack on hand. I'm not Mormon so I have no idea how long this policy has been in place.

I found some interesting new to me web sites like SHTF where I was a little surprised by this sobering tid bit:

"Mountain House Freeze Dried Foods has announced that their supply shortages will remain until at least the summer of 2011, but may continue to be extended as demand for their emergency preparedness food products is rising well beyond what they’re facilities are able to produce. Distribution to smaller distributors has been suspended."

Mountain House is probably the most reputable supplier of emergency foods around.Even an amateur survivalist has heard of Mountain House.

Long story short I'm gathering things for our bakcpacks and encourage you to as well. I think anyone who was fortunate enough to be able to bolt out of their front door this week in Christchurch would have loved to have been able to grab a 72 hour backpack on their way out.

I'm not listing what you should put in a 72 hour backpack. You can gather more than enough suggestions by doing a google search yourself. I will suggest that while you are individualizing your family's back packs, however, that you pack around these five areas:

*Water *Food *Hygiene *Medical *Identification

And don't forget your pet. They need a backpack as well. Although, if I were you I'd free the hamster if I had time.

Having been to a third world country more than once living without electricity and running water I will suggest one of the things i found MOST valuable as did everyone on the team who kept borrowing mine...

Diaper Wipes. They may be your only means of washing under severe conditions. I am putting a bag of diaper wipes in every pack.

I realize it's difficult for us Americans to think outside of our comfort zone. We are rarely without electricity. It is generally restored within days. Even during the Florida hurricanes when our grocery shelving empties out in 3 hours it's usually stocked again after the 24 hour bluster. Except of course if you are involved in a Katrina like situation. The Artist volunteered in New Orleans for over a year after Katrina, mucking houses, working soup kitchens, living in a tent. Nine months later when her team re-located the soup kitchen to another parish they found a decomposing horse in a tree and a grocery store meat locker. The grocery store was gone. The meat locker still contained the meat. It was 100 degrees in the shade. Use your imagination...

The Artist before Katrina in New York City:
Photo by Lois Greenfield

The Artist ( on left) after Katrina in New Orleans.

From tutu to Hazmat suit

What a difference a day makes.

Feb 20, 2011

Indepedence Day Challenge Update

I mean seriously. It's been so long since I've done an update I'm not even sure what I was supposed to be doing. So I have to go back to the last update to refresh my failing memory.

Plant Something: The weather has been gorgeous here and I have had a fairly uneventful 4 days to work in the yard. Mostly weeding, clean up and hauling in dump mulch. BTW now is the time to haul dump mulch while it's cooler. I have a cautious respect for the steaming mulch mountain during the summer bake and don't want to be found deceased face down in it from heat stroke. I love what it does to my soil. I love that it is the only thing that has interested earthworms in hangin' out in my back yard. I love the way it smells. I love that it is free. I love it. Want to marry it.

So I weeded and mulched the vegie beds and weeded and mulched half of the above herb garden. In the process of weeding the herb garden I found 6 cilantro plants I didn't know survived and transplanted them into the vegie beds. The Artist HATES cilantro but it is one of my favorites. The circle of green between my garage sale bird bath and discarded McDonald's outdoor table is garlic chives. Where I live you can not grow regular chives so these make a good substitute. In the background I have a pot of mint, pot of bay and pot of ginkgo. I'm still looking for the pot of gold. Although I hate Lemon Grass i planted an heirloom variety I bought from Bakers Heirlooms this weekend.

Yesterday I planted green bean, cherry tomato, cilantro, and heirloom sunflower seeds.

In the meantime my broccoli and Swiss chard seeds sown about 2 weeks ago have popped up

Broccoli and swiss chard seeds planted in Sept are finally showing signs of life. It was a very cold winter here so it was slow going.

The coffee is looking healthy:

Harvest Something: We've been enjoying tomatoes from the garden which have done well in the cold. Lemons and grapefruit have been plentiful.

Preserve Something: Been squeezing lemons from our tree and freezing the juice. Given away tons to friends, family and neighbors.

Waste Not: Giving the clothes dryer and my electric bill a much needed break from the winter workout and hanging clothes out. Making bibs from discarded t-shirts. Been saving ruined clothing to create a " bag of rags." I'm fed up with paper towels. Fed up with waste. Which brings me to recycling. There is no curbside recycling where I live so it's a matter of accumulating cardboard, glass, junk mail, cans, etc and then hauling it to the dump. No it is not convenient for one as busy as I am but we have been much better about it. Lately when we bring our recycling to the dump we have been loading up with my beloved mulch. Trying to conserve gas by consolidating trips.

Freecycle is my bestest friend ever. I will be forever grateful to Mrs. M for introducing me. As I continue to purge clutter from my home in hopes of achieving a minimalistic life style I just advertise it on freecylye or put it to the curb. In my neighborhood it generally takes 5 minutes to disappear forever. And if you are in need of something you can find ANYTHING on Freecyle if you are patient.

Want Not: I am determined to perfect scavenging, bartering, re-using, re-pairing, and re-inventing. I buy at thrift stores. The expensive plant name tags in the first photo were a find from the Weigh n' Pay. It may not seem like much but every penny saved ads up and in this economy it's fast becoming a necessity not a luxury. I have an emergency food supply that I add to and update routinely.

I like what the author of The Independence Day Challenge says under the Want Not category regarding storing up for hard times:

"The reality is that every nation, every government agency concerned with the security of its citizens, assumes that most people will be able to handle a short term emergency or service disruption themselves – but most of us can’t. There are people who simply can’t prepare – they lack the ability to do so. But if you aren’t one of them if you can do even a little, you can make sure that when help is offered, it goes to the people who truly need it. Moreover, you can make sure you are there and able to help others when it is needed. "

During crisis the average grocery store clears it's shelves within 3 hours. How will you feed your family? And don't just think about your family. What about your neighbors. The elderly? The infirm? When you're storing up keep them in mind as well. I will never forget during Hurricane Francis when everyone in my neighborhood lost power except my side of the street how difficult it was for my older neighbors. Everyone was irritated by the inconvenience but they were plain worn out. What if the power didn't come on for weeks? Months? What would you do? How would you cook? Do you even have a manual can opener?

We live in a land of excess and have developed a false sense of entitlement.
It's a mirage that has been there for decades. Only recently have people begun to recognize it for the illusion it is.

Develop Community Food Systems:
The Artist and The Genius do much better in this category than I do. Being single and unencumbered helps. When you are a single, working mom the last place you want to drag you and your kids to early on a Saturday morning is a farmers market when it is not close by and parking is a nightmare. I try to pick at the local hydroponic farm when the kids are in school if I'm not working. When I can i pick produce in the grocery store that is from around my neck of the woods not from Guatemala or Mexico.

So, there's my update. Now I'm off to try a new recipe for a homemade dry laundry soap. I don't feel like melting, stirring and pouring liquid soap. Sounds crazy? Honey, when those grocery store shelves clear out in 3 hours not only will I already know how to make my own laundry soap I'll already have the ingredients on hand.

Think about it.

Feb 13, 2011

Do Chickens Have Teeth?

The Boy tells me he got to hold his friends chicken today.

"He has 5 girl chickens and one boy chicken."


"No. Actually he had 2 boy chickens but they had to eat one because they didn't have enough food."

Dear Lord.

"My friend said it was a good chicken."

I'm sorry they had to eat it then.

"No. I mean he said it was good with barbecue sauce."

Oh....well three cheers for the circle of life.

"Do chickens have teeth?"

No, they have beaks.

"What can you do with a beak?"

Well, you can catch insects in the yard and eat and crack seeds.

"Did you ever have a beak?"

Of course not. I'm a human being and human beings don't have beaks.

Mom! You're 58 years old! Did you have a beak a long, long, long time ago when you were young. You know, before there was any color and everything was black and gray?"

Are you referring to black and white movies?

"Yes. When you were young a long, long. looooong time ago before there was any color and everything was black and gray did you have a beak?"

No, because I was never a chicken but if I was a chicken I would peck you on the head right about now. Go to bed!

And we wonder why some animals eat their young.?

Feb 10, 2011

B-12 Deficiency?

Certainly one has to blame this fatigue and the senior moments on something. Actually, I was informed not too long ago that I have a significant B-12 deficiency. I bought the sub-lingual B-12 pills and have to admit that I noticed a SIGNIFICANT improvement in my daily fatigue level. That is until I realized over the past two weeks that I've forgotten to take them. This week has been horrible. The Boy is getting his Pamidronate infusion at the hospital this week and today I slept next to him in the infusion chair the entire day.

Yes, I started taking my B-12 pills again.

Or did I?

Gotta go pop some B-12.

Too tired to post.

Feb 6, 2011

Monster Jam 2011 ( in a nutshell)

Pouring rain for 2 solid hours at this years Monster Jam created lots of mud and lots of fun!

The Mom

The Genius

The Artist

The Teenager

The Boy

The junk food

The Crashes

The Cammo

Interesting innovations to combat the elements

Maximum Destruction wins with a stellar performance:

Making The Genius VERY happy

The End

Feb 2, 2011

Head Like Rock

photo from Google Images

So today I pick up The Boy from school and because I am on the phone long distance checking on a friend who had hip surgery I don't notice the principal on the other side of my rolled up window. I nearly jumped out of my skin.

"The Boy had a little accident."

I assumed since the above statement wasn't followed by, "and the paramedics are on their way" or "he is being transported by EMS to the ER as we speak" that he was fine.

I'm old. I'm an experienced pediatric nurse. I am completely brain dead so I generally don't panic at much of anything. I did as a young woman/nurse but I've aged. Like the petrified forest, the older i get the more it takes to rattle my branches.

So as we walk to the clinic where he is being held I hear the story of someone pushing him down in the bathroom. A bathroom that The Boy was not supposed to be in and he hit his head because of this. Remember those words. "he was not supposed to be in."

I am immediately relieved that it was a blow to the head because the kid has a head like a cinder block. Yes, I know he has OI type #3 and yes he had skull fractures as an infant in the hospital but he has hit his head so many times over the past 11 years that he has a calcified hematoma on his forehead. And talk about learning something new every day! I never knew that hematomas could calcify until his precious pediatrician pointed it out. What a patient man he is.

After the 3rd or 4th blow to the head in toddler hood ( because The Boy thinks he's Evil Knievel), the Pediatrician quit sending me for skull x-rays because they were always negative. I devised a safety rule for school and sitters at this point.

If there is a lump on his head, apply ice and observe. If there is a dent on his head call 911.

It has served us well.

So I see The Boy standing in the clinic with an ice pack on his head and his beloved, saintly teacher, Mrs Needs-To-Be-Canonized at his side. He has a tiny little puncture wound on his head that bled like he had been decapitated. I told Mrs. Needs-To-Be-Canonized that head wounds always bleed profusely and once you wade through that blood you're usually surprised by the smallness of the actual wound. She informs me her boys head wounds never bled like this. I reminded her they probably weren't as hyperactive as The Boy.

I left school feeling sorry for the teacher and the principal. I told my family if I was offered a million dollars a year to teach I would prefer to live in poverty.

I never even asked who pushed The Boy down because it didn't matter to me.

On the way home, however, I got the entire story from The Boy. It seems Attila pushed him down. "You mean Attila who I've warned you to stay away from because he is very, very strong and doesn't realize his own strength ?" I have to say at this point that I just love Attila. He's like a giant bull of a boy. Sweet as a teddy bear and as strong as an ox.

The Boy, however, wants to slam Attila for pushing him. I am not buying it.

"Let's get to the point shall we? You were in a bathroom used my the older kids that you were not allowed in and this is when you encountered Attila?"


"So you were injured basically because you disobeyed because if you had not disobeyed you would not have encountered Attila? Correct?'

He had to admit it. Ah Ha! Victory! Only in my mind, of course, but victory nevertheless.

So then I launch into my obedience vs disobedience speech and all the while I hear The Boy's Big City behavioral therapist ringing in my head like a bad case of nausea inducing tinnitus..."WHY ARE YOU INSISTENT ON USING LOGIC WITH THE BOY? HE WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND LOGIC! NEVER!"

Of course the man is correct. When you adopt special needs children with reactive attachment disorders, oppositional defiant personalities, birth traumas, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah, they really do not respond like children nurtured and bonded since minute one. And you can't make them respond like children nurtured and bonded since minute one. Big Mama will tell you that!

So we change the subject.

Did Mrs. Needs-To-Be Canonized wear gloves in all of that blood?" You know the nurse in me HAS to know.

"No, " he replies "She's not smart like that."

And with that statement I began whooping like a lunatic. I cannot stop whooping with laughter. And because he loves Mrs. Needs-To-Be-Canonized he adds, "you know she has no nursing experience."

No nursing experience? Did those grown up words actually come out of The Boy's mouth?

Who cares? Bwaaaahahahahahahha! I whoop whooped even louder. I was whooping like a Pertussis victim. I could hardly breathe. Whoop!


So we change the subject again. "You know Boy...if we were pioneers and you were a Native American your name would be, "Head Like Rock."

He likes this. "What would the Teenagers name be!"

You mean the teenager who has just had a colossal melt down in the school parking lot because she hasn't been the same since yesterdays yet again horrible seizure?

"Grumpy Bull."

"The Baby?" he squeals.

"Happy Feather!" Although I have to admit since we have been weaning The Baby off of the Phenobarbital "Squirrel on Crack " would probably be more fitting.

photo from Google Images

"And you mom?" He is enjoying this.

At this point I'm stumped. The only words that come to mind are "crazy" and "babbling."

"Babbling Brook." I reply.

I have to explain that a brook is like a small stream. The pee problem comes to mind.

"And babbling?" he inquires.

"That's what crazy people do."

Thanks to Head Like Rock, Grumpy Bull and Happy Feather
i qualify.