30 December 2010

Santa Attack

Cyrus really really loves Santa. If he sees a Santa, he says "Claus! Santa Claus! HO HO HO!!!!!!!!!!" over and over again.

He was especially crazy about the Pope in his Christmas outfit:

And when he finally got to see Santa, Cyrus went right for the hat:

26 December 2010

What to do with the blog?

I'm considering what to do with this blog. It was created mostly to share random kid moments with our families since none of them are in South Dakota. I've developed a pretty bad memory, so I've enjoyed capturing the good, the bad and the ugly here on this blog. I wouldn't mind maintaining it for myself but I'd like to do something more personal next year and since my ex's wife likes to stalk me on the internet, I can't really do that on this blog. So, I can either start a second, more anonymous yet more personal blog and keep this one as it is, or I could say "bored housewives be damned, if you don't have anything better to do, READ ON!" and just make this blog more personal. I like the idea of not having two blogs, because I'm lazy enough about one blog. However, I also really like the idea of being able to be emotionally real anonymously. I'm real on here, don't get me wrong, but I have one more real step to take to work out my issues and I'm not sure I want my in-laws and ex-husband's wife reading all that mess. Just so noone dies of curiosity, I have to lose some weight, that's the step. Most folks would not be cool with being over 300 pounds. Personally, I don't care much because the alternative is very hard for me. If I eat healthy, I have random emotions come out that I really don't appreciate. I prefer to keep all that mess quiet and buried underneath some chocolate and french fries. Feeling a range of emotions isn't something I do. I've got happy and angry, that's it! If something else creeps in, it probably means I ate healthy for a week.

Anyways, for a multitude of reasons, it's time to just face it and let whatever emotions want to introduce themselves to me, go ahead and do so. I'm sure it will be hard and that's why I think the anonymity thing could be good. I'm sure there are a lot of other fat chicks in the world who are burying the same crap and maybe a few will read my blog while eatin' those Oreos.

As usual, the future is uncertain.

02 October 2010

Cutie Bootie

Me: "Cyrus! Where did that rash come from?"
Cy: *cranes back to look down at his butt* "It fun!!"
Me: "That's your bootie"
Cy: "It's a good one" *runs away*

10 August 2010

Oh, the Irony.

When I was growing up, there was always another Julie. Usually, there was another Julie R. I hated never knowing if someone was talking to me or some other Julie. So, I decided to name my kids odd names. In my opinion, Crimson has the oddest name. This is due to the fact that she has one of the most common last names possible. Her cousin Jasmine has had to be identified by birthdate once in the doctor's office waiting room because she had the exact same first, middle and last name as another child in the waiting room at the time. I figured with a name like Crimson, this scenario would NEVER happen to my child.

This is not to say that I've never met another Crimson. On the day Crimson was born, I met a two year old named Crimsun and 9 months later another Crimson was spotted in my small town in CA. I figured maybe it would be like Amber or Madison. Ya know, a random name that just all the sudden jumped in popularity for an unknown reason. My fears never came to fruition as I have never encountered another Crimson since 2001.

Until today.

That's right kids. In my dink town in South Dakota, there is another Crimson. For now, it's not a problem. This girl is about 2-3 years older than my Crimson. But it was brought to my attention that they have the same last initial. This means my poor daughter will have ANOTHER Crimson S. to deal with for at least one year of high school. Who knows, maybe they'll be buddies. Of course, being besties with another Julie is how I ended up getting called Velma in high school. Yup, cuz people like to be able to know which Julie they are talking to or about, right? *sigh*

Poor C. Who would have thought there would ever be another Crimson S in the same school some day...

18 July 2010

Random Stuff

Okay, California, I've finally settled on two things I miss about you. First, the constant availability of lebni and Indian food. Out here in SD, I have to wait about three days from the time I start making lebni until I can eat it. It is also far more expensive to make it than to buy it. Oh lebni, how I miss you. As for Indian food, my dishes are NEVER as good as the cheap-o Indian buffet. So sad.

Oh well, at least Crimson and I got to eat at the Chinese buffet last night for less than $15. Good times. We also went to the movies and the book store and Orange Julius. It was a good mom-daughter day. I saw Last Airbender with her expecting to suffer through it and I ended up really liking the movie. Go figure. I miss having mom-daughter day every day that she is here. She's been enjoying reading a lot and playing with her friends though. She's a great sister too. Cyrus and Rejeanne both spend a decent amount of time playing with her, but she says that it is hard to get Rejeanne to play.

We've also semi-purchased a different car. I say "semi" because it's really not purchased until the bank funds the loan. Until that point, they can take back the car. I actually know someone that happened to years ago so I'm trying to not get attached to my kids having leg room and me having a driver's side window with some A/C and cruise control. Hopefully I'll know by Friday if we get to keep it. If not, it will be like having a free rental. I'm thoroughly enjoying it and have this weird feeling that I'm going to have to give it back. I think I just feel that way because I haven't had a car loan since 1997 and it feels really awful. I don't like car loans. It sure is a cozy car though...*sigh*

I start the freakishly early morning schedule tomorrow. It's the only way I can work out and my back is very unhappy from lack of swimming lately. I think I have to be up by 5am for my new regimen. I hope I can do it because I'm starting to feel like I don't have a choice! My back needs love. At least I've lost 10 pounds since the 6th. That's bound to help.

11 July 2010

Cyrus and the Brownie

So, I decided to sneak some fat girl food this morning. Of course, this means I'm going to go eat a brownie in the restroom (don't judge).

I'm on my way to the bathroom and I very quickly and stealthily grab the brownie container and try to get into the bathroom without Cyrus.

He saw me grab the brownies and sped up to join me in the bathroom. I locked him out. Here's the conversation that ensued through the locked door:

Cyrus: "MOM!"
Me: "Cyrus"
Cyrus: "What is that?"
Me: "None of your business"
Cyrus: "Is that a brownie?"
Me: "Yes"
Cyrus: "Gimme one!"
Me: "I'm not giving you a brownie"

Cyrus runs away screaming. Thirty seconds later, he comes back:

Cyrus: "MOM!"
Me: "Cyrus"
Cyrus: "Let me in!!"
Me: "I'm not letting you in"

He runs away screaming again.

About a minute later, he comes back to the door.

Cyrus: "MOM!"
Me: "Cyrus"
Cyrus: "I want a brownie"
Me: "No"

Cyrus runs off screaming for a third time.

At this point, I'm done with my fat girl moment and feel bad about not sharing my brownie. I come out and find that his sister has graciously given him a piece of chocolate. Sometimes, it's good to be the littlest one.

03 July 2010


Dear Cyrus,

Does every day REQUIRE a poopscapade? I'm really sick of cleaning up your poop. I'm pretty sure your dad is sick of getting it out of the vents too. Are you trying to tell us something? You have now smeared poop more times than I can count on my fingers and toes. We surrender.

14 June 2010

The Cool Part of Autism

In the split second it took me to click the comment link on Flying Tomato's page, Rejeanne saw the critter in the fern. I've never seen someone find a hidden object so fast in my entire life. I clicked away from this image so fast, I would never have even thought she could have seen the picture, much less the dragonfly! How did I know she saw it? As soon as I clicked away, I hear Rejeanne say "Wormy the Butterfly under the tree". The second I heard her say that, I clicked back to the pic and said "Where is it?" and she hopped on my lap and put her finger right to the dragonfly, then ran off.

My child is AMAZING! :)

Here's the pic (somewhat cut off by blogger uploading for some reason) for the curious.

13 June 2010

Three Crappiest Days of My Life

If Cyrus doesn't magically potty train himself in the next day or so, I think we may have to keep him outside in a tent. He has decided that waiting until he's put down for bed or nap is a great way to let us think he is sleeping while stripping off his diaper, crapping somewhere in his room and playing in it! In the last three days, we have cleaned his ENTIRE room (including the vents) twice and the hallway once. Oh, and Rejie decided it was a great idea and slathered herself in poop and white out two days ago. Yesterday's pooptacular events took Cyrus about 30 minutes to do, and took us about FOUR HOURS to get completely cleaned up. Cyrus hasn't pooped in his diaper in three days. He waits until he's alone, then takes it off, then poops. Why can't he just yell "poop"??? Why does he have to play in it???? He's even eaten some. Yummy.

I figure he's either ready to potty train or he really, really likes to get covered in poop then sit in a bath. I'm going to just try to potty train him and use the "cold shower" method to clean him up. Apparently the cold shower has stopped many little poop monsters from continuing the parties during nap time. I'm also going to let him play with playdough for an hour before his naptime. Maybe that will get it out of his system?

Oh, this morning he also dropped his diaper and dropped a deuce on my bedroom floor. Of course, he picked it up and set it on Lee's leg because it was too hard to smear on anything. So, I guess really we've cleaned up five poop adventures between the two kids. Plus he peed on the floor 4 times and once in the drawer.

At this point, I have to say that I'm really really blessed to have a friend with a shampooing machine because we don't have the cash to have carpet cleaners come in here.

Cyrus' poop can also take the paint off the walls.

So, how happy is everyone that this post has no pictures? Does anyone have any advice on how to stop this madness? Should I rent the boy out as a tool of revenge? Will he do this in hotels during next week's road trip? Will my mother-in-law's meditation room survive the Poopulon? Should I take him out to choose some underwear?

I'm so sick of poop. First the giardia, now this!

11 June 2010


I'm pretty sure my friend's tree was struck by lightning last night! We had one of the most major storms I've seen in my entire life last night. Wind was over 70 miles an hour and the lightning was so bright I had to turn away from it because it was hurting my eyes. Super cool storm.

02 June 2010

Ebb and Flow

I know most people are terrified of change. They dread the unknown, even when all signs point to it being a good change! I've always been the opposite. I see change as this big adventure with an unknown prize at the end. Sometimes, the prize is a dud, but what fun it was to find out! I think this mentality stems from varying degrees of boredom and unhappiness. After all, if a person was totally happy with life, why would they be excited for change and all the unknown factors that come along with it?

I have noticed that as I become happier about life that I'm a little less excited about changes on the horizon. I don't want my relatively pleasant apple cart tipped. I used to face challenges and changes with this game face of strength that never wavered. No matter how unpleasant the change was, I was confident I'd find a way through it and come out better on the other end.

Right now, things are in absolute chaos. Nearly everything is in motion and for the life of me, I can't estimate where it is going to end up. I feel like this is one of those times in life where EVERYTHING will be drastically different by the end of the year and there is nothing to do except ride it out and see where it falls. This is the part of change I don't like. The kind of changes that happen *to* you and will happen no matter what kind of decisions you make to improve (or sabotage) the situation. Those unexpected, sudden changes that change not only your entire life, but the entire way you look at life. I feel one of those, maybe more than one, hurtling towards me, but I can't for the life of me guess what it will be.

Part of becoming a more mellow person in general is that I'm not as tenacious about things. When Life drops an unexpected bomb, tenacity is a big part of keeping things going on a good path. I worry that my ability to face the storms is lessened while my ability to reach out for support has stayed the same (that ability is nearly zero). So, what am I doing to make it right? This bizarre regimen of self-improvement.

Basically, I've decided it's time to regain some of the drive that I've lost. My drive was built on the aggression and anxiety of PTSD, so basically built in fear. Since my PTSD, while still lingering, is greatly improved and downright managed for the first time in my life, some of the upsides have fallen away (like my drive!). I've spent some time thinking about how to recreate the drive and passion that used to rule my life (in a rather unstable fashion I might add), without the fear as the motivator. Can you build drive and passion with happiness as the motivator? Or love or service? Heck, can you even build drive and passion at will??

I think it can be done. I don't think it will be easy for me because my drive was always about survival and an avoidance of homelessness. Life is about more than that for me now. I feel like I'm at a point where I need to cultivate a relationship with God that is about more than survival. I need to find my talents. I have no idea what those could be or how to find them. I'm keeping an open mind, trying new things, trying to recapture some old things that made me happy, etc.

So, I've just decided to try to live my life each day as close to this ideal picture of what life should be that I have in my head, and see how close I can get. After all, if you aim as high as possible and you fail, you'll still end up average, right??

26 May 2010

Recent Happenings

I wish I could find my camera! It's lingering around the house somewhere, but I still haven't quite figured out where. So there will be no photos of my most awesome-est of relatives.


My Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Megha came to visit us. I'm so glad they decided to drive about 20-24 hours worth of North & South Dakota highways just to hang out with us for less hours than they spent driving. That is some serious love right there! I haven't seen my Uncle Megha in probably 10 years. I have missed him so much. I miss my aunt a lot too, but I talk to her on the phone and saw her in 2004 at least! Rejeanne LOVED Megha the most but she interacted with Jeannie too. I can't believe how great she did with them since she had never met them before.

Maybe it's the whole namesake thing since she is named for my Aunt Jeannie. My aunt was named for a woman named Eugene (pronounced YOU-zhuh-nay) who I suppose went by the nickname Jeannie (which is smart if your name is spelled "Eugene" and you're a girl, no matter how pretty it sounds in French). My father also had a sister named Jeanne. So, between the two Jean type names, I decided to give Rejeanne her name, which is distinctly Quebecois and has a Jean in it.

My aunt and uncle went with the "ignore Rejeanne" strategy and it worked for them completely within about 30 minutes! Rejeanne seems to warm up the fastest to a new person if they pretend they don't even know she is in the room. I guess Rejie likes to feel like she's sneaking up on ya!

Rejeanne has been really coming out of her shell lately so hopefully she will treat her Nana and Grandma equally well during her two weeks in California! I was so pleasantly surprised at how taken Rejie was with Megha and Jeannie. It is good to have an Auntie Nana and Tata in your life!

(Edit: Poor Cyrus. I didn't even mention him! He had a great time throwing things at our guests, beating on them, kissing them and talking. Cyrus is Cyrus. We love that little guy!)

I think the only way this visit could have been better was if it was longer, if Crimson was here, and if I could have found my camera! I'm so glad they came and it gave me a reason to bake a quiche. I suppose I don't need a reason to bake a quiche, but it rarely happens otherwise.

19 May 2010

Rejie Speaks!

Rejeanne has been speaking the occasional sentence lately to actually communicate with us. She's also been saying "Spongebob" about 8 million times a day for no apparent reason.

Anyways, I start up Google Earth and Rejie sees the Earth pic as it is loading and this is what happens:

R: "MOON!!!!"
me: "No Rejie, that's Earth. Earth!"
R: "Moon!"
me: "Earth!"
Lee: "Well, it's kinda like the Moon"

Good enough.

17 May 2010

The Dream House

Thinking of my dream home, my thoughts go straight to Dome Awesomeness, of course! I’m pretty much obsessed with domes. (Even the ugly peanut dome in Vermillion)

It’s pretty unlikely that I’ll live in one because having a ton of circular furniture would probably make Lee nauseous.

If I do have a normally shaped house, I must have stairs like these:

With a library like this

or maybe this

I’m torn between a strictly Art Deco styled place

(See this link for a decent description of what Art Deco interiors entail. http://interiordesign.lovetoknow.com/Art_Deco_Style_Interior_Design )

Or a Mexican Folk styled interior

Or an Indian type decor

Or a combination for the first two, or the first and the third.

No pictures exist for such an abomination, of course. I doubt anyone would find it amazing, except for me!

I guess I like the lines of Art Deco and the brighter than life colors of Mexican and Indian textiles and art.

I LOVE whirlpool bathtubs, like this

But it would have to be twice the size. Same goes for this super cool shower. I like it, but make it twice the size!

I really want a pool table. Of course, mine would have to be super spiffy and/or unusual:

I plan on having a dome greenhouse full of orchids

A garden full of flowers

Orchards, especially cherry & apple

Raising peacocks…



Abyssinian cats…

And a fleet of dachshunds for protection (one isn’t scary, but imagine 20!)

13 May 2010

Autism Smackdown!

Every time I read a story/article/opinion like this one by Lin Wessels (weird that we have nearly the same last name, eh?), I get ANGRY. Now, before you all think I'm some meanie who doesn't have any sympathy for some poor woman dealing with an autistic child, I have one of those too. It's just this mindset as expressed in this article makes me froth at the mouth.

1. Using phrases that make it sound like the child is dead. (In this article, "Our only child was taken from us by autism.")

2. Using phrases that make it sound like life is kinda over. (i.e., "Autism already rocked my world. It is all of you who are not yet touched by autism whom I am trying to spare.")

3. Acting like autism is drastically increasing without acknowledging that screening has become a normal part of a two year old well child visit, when even 10 years ago, this was not the case (i.e."Chances are, at the rate we're going, one day in the not-too-distant future, autism also will claim your family. I sincerely hope and pray not, but the drastic incline in autism statistics - sad, but true - speaks for itself")

4. Outright fearmongering and placing blame on mercury in vaccines, even when the child is born after 1999 and thus should not have had any exposure to mercury in vaccines unless the parents did a flu shot (which most folks don't do for a healthy infant). Like this excerpt from the above linked article:

"According to his records, our son Sam has all the classic signs of regressive autism, meaning he was developing normally until one day something significantly changed.

Sam has undergone all of the genetic testing for autism to date. He has none of the known genetic biomarkers of the disorder. There are thought to be more than 200 biomarkers.

Sam repeatedly has documented toxic levels of mercury in his tissue and blood. He also has an overburden of testosterone. Testosterone inhibits the natural excretion of heavy metals, namely mercury. As we address both of these issues, our son progresses and improves slowly but surely.

These questions remain: Why our son? Where was he exposed to toxic levels of mercury other than his childhood vaccines? And if no one can answer these two questions, whose child is destined to be next?"

It seems like people are soooooo desperate to pin autism on something that they are willing to completely ignore hundreds of studies showing vaccines are safe in favor of the Wakefield study, that was later shown to have falsified data, that MMR vaccine is not safe.

Autism is not a death sentence. My daughter with autism is bright and beautiful and brings TREMENDOUS joy into our lives. Sure, it is difficult to have someone you love who has extreme difficulties in communication, but life is not perfect. No child is perfect. However, our daughter is alive and happy, even if she may not get the "normal" life path people expect when they have children.

With that said, it is my deepest hope that people will stop treating autism like a death sentence. I hope that people will face reality and stop blaming vaccines. I hope that more parents will vaccinate their children. I know lots of parents have many reasons for not vaccinating, and I respect their right to make those decisions. I'm just asking for people to make informed decisions based in science, not fear. The fact is that autism will not kill my daughter, but measles, polio, mumps and even chicken pox CAN kill our children, and used to kill many children not so long ago. I'm 33. I've been blessed to have never seen a death from measles, polio, mumps or chicken pox among my friends or family. With plummeting vaccination rates though, I think this rising generation of children will experience these deaths, mostly because of fearmongering and conspiracy theories about vaccines.

11 May 2010

Random Stuff

All For You by Sister Hazel makes me want to go twirl in a field somewhere.

I really, really, really want this Medical Record paralegal job in Sioux City. Like, really, really, really want it.

I like the randomness of Pandora internet radio. I just put in one song I like and it plays a bunch of random stuff it thinks I'd like if I like that song.

I really miss hearing The Cranberries all the time. I think I'm finally old since I find myself occasionally missing 1995.

I can get sucked in to family history research for HOURS at a time. HOURS!!!!!

I'm thinking about cataloging all the random itty bitty cemeteries I've been driving by in my random drives around the county and putting it on the internet. Sounds fun, right?? (Probably only to me. I get that a lot.)

I wish Rejeanne didn't hate having her hair brushed. I have delusional ideas about elaborate little girl hairstyles.

Rule #4987: Never believe your husband when he SWEARS there isn't a rogue dirty diaper somewhere in the house causing a horrible stench. Chances are he hasn't looked and you'll find it a week later when it occurs to you that he probably never looked. (It was behind a pile of books. Kid you not.)

My Uncle Megha, who was born and raised in India, has been writing stories about his family and youth in India. They are really interesting. They make me wonder what else he has in his mind that I never got out of him in the last 30 years. I can't wait to see him on the 24th! I haven't seen him in enough years that my husband has never met him. I'm pretty excited about this!

My SD bestie is moving to Wisconsin and I'm trying not to sit around crying about it! My lovely husband is on a campaign to force me to have a social life. This is from a guy with no social life. I think he just doesn't want to see me cry when Jessica leaves!

See. I told you this post was random!

04 May 2010

A question posed by the lovely Cannwin: "If you could land anywhere, ANYWHERE. Where would it be? Near family? In another country? Right where you are? What motivates where you live?"

Well, what has always motivated where I live in the past has been friends and cheapness. It’s rare for me to have both friends and cheapness as most of my friends have historically lived in California where things are decidedly NOT cheap. I’ve always hated SoCal. It’s this land of strangers who are afraid of each other. Full of people who don’t acknowledge their fellow human at all if it can be avoided. Always paranoid about the harm that lurks outside of their house and quick to call the cops or social services instead of extending a helping hand themselves. Too much focus on making money and spending money, as if life is magically better with a bunch of money. I think Paris Hilton is proof that it is not. There’s also traffic (HATE IT) and high rent and unreasonably high food prices considering most food comes from California!

So, for many years, my focus was to just not be in urban Southern California. I explored the desert, lived up by the Redwoods in far northern CA, thoroughly enjoyed Arizona but I would always run home to friends or family when things felt insurmountable out on my own. I’d stay back in SoCal for awhile and then move on again. Finally, I stayed in “the OC” (not the ritzy part, the 97% Hispanic part) and found a certain amount of tolerable since my ex was holding our child hostage in SoCal and I figured I should make an effort to stay there and suck it up for her well-being. I got to a spot where I was doing well considering my rent was $1400 a month (cheapest I could find) and then my back gave out a few times and it was back to broke and soon-to-be homeless. A great portion of my energy as a teenager and 20-some adult was devoted to simply not being homeless.

In that OC period, I met my husband, Lee. Neither of us likes SoCal even though we are both from there. We both harbor dreams of never making very much money but having enough to get by and own a place with more than a strip of yard. In CA, owning a house is a bit of a pipedream. It sounds like a nice idea, but neither of us would ever want a mortgage the size of a major lotto jackpot. So, life forced our hand with my gimp back to make some hard decisions to leave SoCal. I had to leave my daughter and Lee had to leave his friends and family. We miss people, but we definitely don’t regret it. We are certainly more broke than we’d like, but we don’t worry about being homeless and we’re happy. We are still amazed at how cheap food and land are out here. Lee loves winter (me, not so much).

I feel like I’ve found my home. I don’t ever want to live this little area of South Dakota. People are nice. They aren’t afraid of each other. People care about each other because it’s the right thing to do, even if you don’t particularly like your neighbor. It still has that sense of community. People have chickens (and peacocks!). I love it here and I’m never giving it up, even though I can make soooooooo much more money just about anywhere else.

Part of me still harbors ideas about moving around. Places on the list: Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Maine and last but certainly not least, New Zealand. I’d really love to live in New Zealand but I think I’d be content with visiting someday. If Northern CA ever finally secedes from the rest of the state and forms Jefferson State, I’d seriously consider going there, where I’d surely be the right wing nutjob of the state.

Anyways, here’s the official list of moves and why they happened:

1. 29 Palms, CA; Big Bear, CA; Corvallis, OR – youthful indiscretions
2. Phoenix, AZ – 4% unemployment rate when CA’s was 10%.
3. Arcadia, CA – living with the in-law’s for medical problems
4. Eureka, CA – moved there because they had 13 midwives and only 3 obstetricians and I was pregnant and afraid of doctors. Besides, if we were going to be broke, may as well live somewhere with insanely beautiful scenery, right?
5. Orange County, CA – my friend knew a dude with a garage for rent and I was in the beginnings of what would be a very, very long divorce.
6. Sioux City, IA – couldn’t afford rent anymore, so I followed a boy!
7. OC, CA again – middle of that same dang divorce again…
8. Vermillion, SD – got gimpy and remembered how cheap and pretty it was here. Oh, and hope for the future because they have a college :)

Hrm. Interesting theme. I guess I care mostly about jobs, price and natural beauty when making decisions about where to live.

Right now, I just want to grow stuff and have a sewing room and a basement. I'd like my kids to be able to raise an animal. Heck, I'd like to raise an animal! Totally reasonable goal for living in South Dakota :)

(Oh, and to Cannwin, if you ever want to lease option that house of yours, lemme know!)

20 April 2010

Bloggity Blog Blog Blog. You have been so neglected. I guess that is what happens when my mind is totally on other things.

I’ve been busy getting used to working again and trying to make sure I don’t bust up my back again in the process. My back has been known to lay me out for 7-20 days from simple actions such as loading paper into a photocopier, yoga, and putting my purse in a drawer. According to the doctor, there is nothing wrong with my back other than the fact that I seem to be amazing adept at straining it. I’ve been working on losing weight, but I tend to take a hiatus every time life throws too many shots at me at one time.

All the food I eat during the stressful times tends to negate the efforts from the mellow times. It has been a big process to try to learn to face life without a crutch. Food is really the last frontier. For the first time in my life, I know I can be successful with losing weight and being MODERATE about food. I’m actually excited about looking different instead of being afraid of it. I know most women are terrified of getting fat, but I’m terrified of not being fat. Being fat is kind of like having a shield of invisibility. Most people simply don’t notice you are there or are so uncomfortable with their own feelings about weight that they pretend you aren’t there. I know this makes a lot of fat folks depressed, but for the last 15 years, it has been a comfort to me. It has been nice to not have to deal with other people. It has been nice to not be approached by douchebags who can’t seem to look at my face when they are trying to hit on me. It has been nice to not care how many calories I ate or if I went to the gym. It has been nice to meet people who don’t particularly see me any different because I’m huge and that I feel safe around.

Lately though, I’m changing. Maybe the last year or so, I’ve started to feel uncomfortable in the fat suit. I’m starting to care about what I’m eating and why. I’m longing to do adventurous things I would have NEVER done before but that I’m afraid to do now just because of my size. I’m seeing the weight as a hindrance instead of my squishy armor that it has always been. Frankly, I’m not scared and depressed all the time anymore. I’m not as jumpy as I used to be. I’m not angry at the world anymore. I don’t hate my fellow man these days. I’m just different. I’m happy for the most part. I think my life is AWESOME and going so well. I want to have more children without the significant health risk of doing that at this size. All the sudden, my fatness has become a liability.

So, I’m slowly working on changing it. I have a master plan. Not just for the body, but for my life. I think I have this life thing figured out finally. I guess that feeling means something unexpected is around the corner, but I still feel like I can handle it. Strong, confident, happy…stuff I always wanted but never thought I would be. I woke up one day and realized that it had happened!

27 March 2010


I'm as happy for Spring's arrival as the rest of the state, but FIREWORKS??? It's 9:30pm and I hear fireworks outside. Either that or someone is slaughtering everyone in town with a very large caliber weapon. I'm opting for the fireworks.

If anyone in Vermillion wants to experience what life is like in a back bay environment or with some very large and choppy lakes, drive up Hwy 19 in the morning. It was shocking. It made my photos of the flooding on University look pretty minor. It's pretty cool to see the flood plains attracting waterfowl and just how different everything looks.

21 March 2010


Okay, so I found a job FINALLY! This is super spiffy news. Hopefully my back holds up and I don't have a nervous breakdown dealing with idiots on the phone.

Just for fun, I'd like to mention that I'll be working indirectly for a company that I've been boycotting for THIRTEEN YEARS! Which really just proves the point I've always tried to make, "I'm too poor for principles"

In other news, Kellie's grandmother is horribly ill and might die and the doctors don't even know what is wrong with her. If anyone could spare a little prayer time for Pat, I thank you for it. Pat is one of the few people in the world who cares deeply for people she hasn't met yet. She's a wonderful woman and been a beautiful example for me. She's kind and beautiful and has a soft spot for the underdog. She would give her last dollar to a homeless guy. I love her lots and lots. She's also the only family member my daughter has nearby that she can rely on and this is all happening at a very bad time for Kellie. I guess there is really never a good time to be at death's door, but this is especially worse.

19 March 2010

Family Legends

So, I stole this idea from here who stole it from here


(Most of these will be from my dad's family because my mom's family tended to keep their legends to themselves!)

1. My father joined the Navy at the age of 15 to serve in WW2. Legend has it that the recruiter told him he'd need his father to sign for him and pointed to a homeless guy across the street and said "Isn't that your father over there, son?". My dad got the guy to sign the paper for him. (I found this was true in military records!)

2. My father was forced to go by a different name in school than the name he was born with and used the rest of his life. (Long lost cousin only knew of him as "Uncle Charlie" but my dad's name was Louis)

3. My father was kept in the basement by his mom and step-dad because he wouldn't disavow his natural father. Said natural father was a bigger dirt bag than one would want to admit being related to, by the way.

4. Legend has it that my paternal grandfather's siblings included three nuns and a murderer.

5. My father's step-father, Malcolm, ran away and joined the circus when at the age of 12. He later became a semi-famous boxer on the East coast.

6. My mother's paternal grandfather, Jesse, was one of the first chiropractors in the US. He wrote two books that were never published, one on chiropractic and one on his childhood and healthful living. He lived to be 104 (if I remember right).

7. Jesse didn't believe in eating white flour or white sugar. He only violated this once a year on his birthday to eat apple strudel.

8. Jesse's first wife died from the flu leaving him to raise 2 & 4 year old boys. He left them with women called "the aunts" in rural PA and went about his business in Philadelphia. He was apparently quite the player, and even though he was married more than 5 times, he was still buried with his first wife, Belva. He said no other woman could measure up to her and that is why all his relationships failed. Personally, I blamed his temper :) Although, I like the sentiment about his first wife.

9. Apparently, my Swedish great-great-grandfather is the result of a 30 year old house servant hooking up with the 14 year old son of her wealthy boss. Supposedly, the wealthy boss built her a cottage to live in and raise her child.

10. One set of my great-great-great-grandparents (Jesse's grandparents) ended up hating each other enough to not only live separately, but they also both told the census taker that they were widows, even though their spouse was living separately just down the street!

And yes, 98% of my family legends are completely dysfunctional. I have a very colorful gene pool.

EDIT: My husband insists that I admit to being 12th cousins with Barack Obama. The End.

18 March 2010

Water, Water, Everywhere!

So, this is University Road. I'm not even sure it goes over the river right here. Two days ago, the left side was pretty much dry and we drove past here. Not so much with the drive-ability right now. Flooding is pretty dang amazing. I'm guessing this farmer isn't going to be planting anytime soon though! I put a couple videos of this up on youtube. The videos are even better! I might try linking to them in the morning. I'm a sleepy tree.

For the record, this is some dude's farm land, NOT A LAKE!

17 March 2010


Much to my surprise, they went ahead and did the IEP today and it went really, really well. As long as the discussions make it on to the final IEP, I think we are good! This is soooooooooooo great because we really did not want to move! :)

16 March 2010


So Rejeanne's preschool teacher called today to confirm the meeting tomorrow. When she did that she says "we'll be talking about the diagnosis and then we'll have the IEP in May". Um, WHAT!??! I told her May wasn't acceptable for us. We've been waiting coming on two years now for a diagnosis. What is the point of a diagnosis if no one is going to do anything? She kept sticking to May, I kept sticking to as early as possible. This is already approaching ridiculous!

Anyways, I told her my understanding was that this meeting was to go over the "recommendations" from the autism evaluation, which I (wrongly) assumed meant we'd be changing the IEP at the same time. Then the teacher says "Well, we can talk as a team about adding some goals if you'd like, but Rejeanne has not made any progress so far towards her current goals". No kidding? What a shocker. Who can believe an autistic child isn't making progress with 10 minutes of unspecified "direct services" per day in a preschool setting? I guess that explains why they haven't sent home the every 9 week progress reports we are supposed to be receiving.

I'm just wondering how far this will have to go for them to wake up and realize they have an obligation here and that I'm not the type to just sit around and let them do as they please without at least explaining the reasons behind it. I'm gonna try really hard to bring nothing but honey and sugar to this meeting but if that doesn't work, there is still some other options.


15 March 2010


I think Dante would have written about IEPs if they had been around back then. For those of you who haven't experienced this special kind of torture, an IEP is an Individualized Educational Plan. Basically, you get summoned to the school and you sit at a table with 4-8 people who are far more educated than you. They all stare at you while one of them explains to you in educator lingo what services they plan on providing your kid and then they tell you to sign it.

Well, that's how they hope it will go anyways. Frankly, that is exactly how the first one went. I was like a deer caught in the headlights and put a little too much trust in them on many levels. The end result of that was they said a few things that didn't happen and didn't make it into the final version of the IEP.

I happen to be one of those people who learn from their mistakes fairly quickly and have a knack for negotiating the murky depths of bureaucratic uselessness. I've spent the last couple weeks fine tuning the plan of action for this next IEP meeting and I still have a bunch left to do but I have to admit, this whole thing is looking good! Now, I'm still about 90% certain they are going to say "no friggin way! Have you taken your meds today?" when I tell them what I'm expecting them to do but I have such a ginormous stack of evidence to back my position that they may just cave.

My meeting is on St Paddy's day. It's a shame I don't still have my green pimp shirt. I'm sure that would have made a lasting impression on the IEP people.

11 March 2010

Jellyfish, Jellyfish, JELLYFISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The title of this post is a phrase heard in our house at least 6 times a day. Rejeanne is completely obsessed with jellyfish and butterflies right now. Here are some objects she yells "JELLYFISH!!!!" at:

Of course, this all started with Spongebob jellyfish.

And she can recognize a real jellyfish.

And the Jellyfish hat.

And she thinks my lamp is very jellyfishy.

And then she sees the logo on my tights and says "JELLYFISH!!!!" and we are like, "uh...not a jellyfish!"


But when ya turn it upside down...JELLYFISH!!!!!!!!! I love Rejie :)

09 March 2010

Temple Grandin

A few people have been telling me I should watch this movie that has been on cable lately about Temple Grandin. I had no clue who this woman was but I assumed she was a successful (i.e. more "normal") Autistic woman since it seemed to keep coming up in the context of Rejeanne's recent official diagnosis of autism. Now, these people who keep bringing up this movie are people who deeply care about Rejeanne so I have stopped myself from screaming "IF ALL CHILDREN WITH AUTISM COULD TURN OUT LIKE THIS WOMAN NO ONE WOULD HAVE MADE A MOVIE ABOUT HER".

I feel like the lack of official diagnosis for the last 18 months coupled with Crimson's more severe symptoms in this age range (and the fact that no one ever suggested she be screened for anything)has somewhat inhibited me from facing reality with Rejeanne. Also, the internet is overwhelming. I have never seen so much repetitive information on one subject in my whole life, while still not addressing in a simple, straightforward manner the nuts and bolts of what I need to know (what treatment is appropriate when, how to get it paid for, what are her rights for treatment, what should I expect from her, how do I discipline her, do I discipline her?, what are the outcomes of various therapies, what is the science behind them, is there a downside to trying ABA?, etc and then some).

One thing I'd like to know, where are all the adult autistic people? I know you all are there somewhere, but where? I'd like a chance to see the full range of outcomes and to meet some people who have lived this life already.

Another thing that is bothering me is the desperation levels of a lot of parents on the internet. I'm sorry, but Autism is not the worst thing that could happen to a child. It's really not. It's hard some days. It can be sad some days. Overall though, my daughter is unlikely to die from autism. She seems to be happy and enjoys life. Some of the crackpot stuff out there claiming to "cure" autism is frightening, as is the volume of parents willing to give these things a try without any science supporting the methods. Autism is not cancer but some people seem to treat it that way.

Even though I want (and will make sure that) Rejeanne receives age and skill appropriate services to help her achieve as much functionality as possible so she can be independent later, I don't have this burning desire to "cure" her autism. Maybe that makes me a bad mother or something, but I happen to like who she is. I just want her to develop the skills she already has and hopefully develop meaningful speech. I don't want to make her "normal" or force her to do every single thing the way experts/society/public schools think it should be done. I'm also one of those people who think it is okay to be deaf. I understand why some deaf people don't want to correct their hearing even when it is medically possible. We don't all have to be the same. It is okay to accept that we aren't perfect specimens of societal standards. It's okay to look in the mirror and smile at the funky bird staring back at us. Seriously, it's okay.

As for Temple Grandin, I may bite the bullet and watch the movie now that I have read an interview she did. She embraces the autism and works with what she's got to the best of her ability from what I can tell. Most importantly, she's not sitting around waiting for a "cure", and the rest of us shouldn't be doing that either.

Here's a bit from her interview posted on wrongplanet.net:

WrongPlanet.net:What do you think about curing Autism? You've said things like "genius comes from autism" but you've also supported the ABA.

Temple Grandin:Well the thing is, with a little bit of autism, you know, if you have mild autism, you'll get genius like einstein. Too much of autism, you're going to have a severely handicapped child who's going to remain nonverbal and if you don't do things like aba, they're not going to function at all. There is no way with any treatment they have that you're going to cure autism. There's basic abnormalities in brain development.

I would think in an ideal world, you don't want to have people who cant talk, but on the other hand, you definitely don't want to get rid of all of the autism genetics because if you did that, there'd be no scientists. After all, who do you think made the first stone spear back in the caves? It wasn't the really social people.

If we didn't have a little of the autism trait we wouldn't even have this building here today with all the electricity in it, your video camera, powerpoint shows... None of this stuff would even exist.

WP: So if there were something that cured all the autism genes, you wouldn't support that?

TG:No, I would not support that. because there is a point where mild autistic traits are part of normal human variation. Because on the other end of the spectrum you have Williams Syndrome, and if you look at the brain abnormalities, they're exactly the opposite of autism. the whole back of the brain, where the hard drive is--there isn't too much there. But all the social emotional circuits are hooked up so [people with Williams Syndrome] are hyper, hyper, social. I'm gonna bet you there's a lot of yackety yackety salesman that don't talk about much of anything who are Williams Syndrome variants. But then you get to a point where a person [with Autism] cannot talk, they're self inuring themselves, and they cannot live independently. That [is something] you would want to eliminate, if possible, but you would not want to get rid of all the autism genes because you wouldn't have any computers-- you wouldn't have any scientists.

I think this more middle road view of autism is the place to be. I think it is realistic, genuine and values the good traits and inherent personhood that seems to be missing in so much of the "autism debate". So, I'm going with the above.

02 March 2010

Change is a comin'

It would figure that literally the day after I nail down my five year plan, something happens that makes said plan seem much less nailed down.

I very erroneously assumed that getting Rejeanne diagnosed would somehow lead to her receiving proper care for a well-established medical condition. Oh, how wrong I was!

It turns out that South Dakota is not so much on the ball with this whole autism thing and they haven't bothered to do anything about funding treatment or laying out best practices for the school districts or anything useful at all!

This leaves me with a few options:

1. Apply for SSI/Medicare and wait til hell freezes over and hope for the best.

2. Put Lee on a diet, change his entire personality, then force him to join the military so we can get Tricare.

3. Find a job with the Feds and hope their insurance is similar to Tricare.

4. Move to a state that has sane coverage and/or better procedures in place, such as our fine socialist neighbor to the northeast, Minnesota.

5. Move to Sioux City, cross fingers and try to piggy-back off of Alisha's blazed trail of services for her son. This would let us still have USD as a schooling option & I'll have no excuse to not go see my old friends and cuddle all the new babies. Services for Rejeanne wouldn't be like MN, but it wouldn't be a junky waiver/lotto system and other kids in that district are getting ABA, so at least they acknowledge it is the only thing to do with empirical evidence supporting its use.

6. Give up on college for eternity and move to NH, the intentional libertarian stronghold in America (Porcupine!), which for some reason still cares enough about human decency to ensure autistic children get medical care. (Dear East Coast, why do you feel $20k+ is an appropriate tuition for a state school? You do realize that most folks think UNH is just as podunk as USD, right?)

7. Become a pimp.

8. Spend a great many months/years trying to convince the Vermillion School District to pony up the funding for 20-30 hours a week of ABA therapy just because it is the right thing to do (oh, and will save them $2 for every dollar they spend in the long run). While we wouldn't have to move (rockin'!!), I'm pretty sure they'd fight me tooth and nail on this one for at least a year. I'm not willing to wait that long, which means I'd have to raise an ungodly stink and call an advocacy attorney and probably sue them in the end. FYI, lawsuits take forever. Rejeanne would be 15 before it was done. (ok, probably 8-9 would be more realistic, but still)

If anyone knows a trick to scare the bejeezuz out of a school district to make them throw money at your every whim, please let me know. I'll also accept tips on getting them to just provide what is proven to work. Obeying my whims is not nearly as necessary as I pretend that it is.

Unfortunately, despite very diligent efforts on my part, it took 1.5 years just to get a diagnosis. At this point, every day she goes without the ABA, the longer she will need it later and the less effective it will be.

Please feel free to weigh in on which of the above options seems the most reasonable to you. While I acknowledge my pimp hand is strong, pimping and pandering is unfortunately against my morals these days so if you vote for #7, it's like voting for Nader.

Also, rich people reading my blog, you don't need that third Maserati. If you have that kind of money laying around, I'd like to suggest that my adorable daughter's ABA is a much better use of your cash. It's only $50 per hour. What a deal, right??!! Probably even cheaper than a Maserati.

Maserati = approx. $120,000
$120,000 in ABA hours = 2400

That would be a year and 8 weeks of therapy. From what I hear, that's about how much she'd need (provided she responds to it at all).

Hello? Rich people? *echoes*

Oh well. You'd think there would be at least ONE rich person who finds this on accident while surfin' the 'net on their jet while googling the price of the new Maserati GranTurismo. What the heck is the point of even tagging these posts with such things if I can't lure in just ONE generous benefactor?? It's because we don't live in Africa, isn't it?

24 February 2010

Crazy Set of Names

So, I randomly discovered a random set of siblings with some unusual names. I wonder if there is more of them or just these four!

Sundown Donny
Thunder Shadrach
Twilight Dawn
Twister Shaudy

Yes, those are their real names! I had a friend in high school whose real name was Dizzy, but I think these folks have him beat.

04 February 2010


I love pen pals, but random gifts in the mail might be even better! If you want to get in on this and exchange random gifts, you can sign up any time before the 13th. Do it!!!!!!!!!


01 February 2010

Cyrus and the Spoils of War

Cyrus was just out torturing his sister. I yell for him to get back in here with me and quit tormenting his sister. He ran in the room with a HUGE smile, holding his sister's diaper out for me. *facepalm*

Looks like the boy snatched the drawers right off her and took off running.

28 January 2010

Hollywood, really? Did ya have to??

So, uh, this is what happens when you complain about some minor side characters having the same name as your son. Don't do it people! Just don't do it.


Attention Psychologists

Lemme give you a little tip. Just because a large percentage of people take their mental issues out on their progeny, doesn't mean it is okay for you to assume it is happening or will happen. The fact is, some of us realized early in life that we don't want to inflict things on our children and have made a special effort to resolve as much as possible AND educate ourselves on how to properly raise healthy, well-adjusted children. No, really, some people put many, many years into this endeavor. I am definitely one of those people. So, when you meet me in the context of evaluating my delayed child and suggest to me that my past is probably contributing to her stress, without any knowledge of what my past actually is or what I have done about it, you're outta line!

Not only is it making some pretty broad assumptions but it feels like you're trying to blame me for my kid's delays. It also contributes to the b.s. idea people have that good parents raise smart children and bad parents raise problem/not perfect children. I was a very smart child. I learned to read around age 3. I was raised in a really crappy situation. Is my intelligence to blame for why people never believed that my home situation was crappy? I will be so thankful when my kids are old enough to tell people what a great mom I am. Maybe I look like I should be crappy on paper, but I know that my years of reading books on parenting, and therapy, and watching good families and getting to know my kids has turned me into a really good mom. Frankly, I'm offended that the subject even came up today.

15 January 2010

Hoar Frost

Cyrus has the best view in the house out of his bedroom window. Today, I just had to take a pic of the trees covered in hoar frost. The picture doesn't do it justice so you'll just have to take my word for it -- hoar frost is stunningly wonderful!

13 January 2010

What Gives, Hollywood?

Why do you keep naming random side characters after my son? Seriously, it's starting to trip me out a bit. You used to occasionally use Cyrus for a Persian guy, but how often are you putting Persian guys in sitcoms? Oh, what? Never? My point exactly. So, just off the top of my head, dearest Hollywood, you have used the name on some desi guy on some lame show (edit: it was The Ex List)that got canceled last season, used it on the Princess Bride dude on Gossip Girl and now on some rich guy's lackey on Caprica!

Is there no other foreign name that suits you, Hollywood? Wasn't it bad enough that my son had to live with people wondering if I liked Achy Breaky Heart *that much*??


Poor little Cyrus. I give him this awesome name that is both Persian and Biblical and it has turned into the sidekick name of the decade and attached to some questionable country folks on the Disney channel. Sadness is mine.

I probably should have just named him Lazarus.

11 January 2010

Healthy Outlets for Anger

I've made a commitment since about November 2009 to only take my anger out on Sanford Health collections people. Now, these poor people are only trying to do their jobs, but since the situation is so dang ridiculous and I could use a place to vent, I've chosen to vent on them!

It appears that the Sanford system doesn't like to follow directions from Medicaid. It would also appear that they aren't very organized. I had to take Cyrus to the E/R on a Sunday morning back in August because he had a high fever and was having trouble breathing. Since he was a year old and no urgent care available, I really thought the E/R trip was warranted! We get there and his oxygen levels are not where they were supposed to be. They gave him oxygen and a nebulizer treatment and a chest x-ray then sent us home with meds once his oxygen level was back to normal.

Am I totally off base for thinking that if a child has to be given oxygen on a weekend, the decision to go to the E/R was the correct one?

Well, Sanford keeps claiming they didn't get the referral from the pediatrician so they want me to pay the bill. I have a copy of the referral so I know the pediatrician did it. This last conversation with the collections people was ridiculous. Apparently, after I last went off one of their reps and paid a visit to the Vermillion billing office, a note went into their computer saying the bill was my responsibility, that I'm aware of that, and that the care was not emergent since my kid had been sick for three days. Um, WHAT??? He *may* have had a cold for a couple days, but nothing that made me think he needed a doctor. What part of "child had low oxygen level due to labored breathing" did they miss??

Anyways, poor Sanford Health is getting one final chance to get their act right. I'm faxing the referral I have up to Sioux Falls and requesting a full chart copy of Cyrus' medical records. If they screw it up or refuse to re-bill to Medicaid, I'm going to send the whole stack of stuff to Medicaid, and whoever the heck runs Sanford so I can get them audited and get some idiot fired. Oh, and I'm still not paying that bill.


10 January 2010

A Whole New Year

Sometimes, forces collude to change the path of life. I think the important thing is to just live in the present and roll with it. So, I’m going to make the best of this opportunity to grow in the unknown. I’ve actually managed to get excited about it! I feel like I came home from Cali to a whole new life. It’s weird!

Anyways, what I *did* come home to is Snow Mountain.

Lee was not gonna take that kinda attitude from the snow!

Of course, we had to dig our way in (luckily not through the mountain)


After 2am shovel job: