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!)