Thursday, January 31, 2008

Please watch this...

Forty cents goes to Autism Speaks, to help find a cure/therapy/etc. for autism. This is not an urban legend & is verified on Snopes.

The band is Five for Fighting (who I like even better now for supporting research this way).

Video to support Autism research

Thanks!!! Watch it again!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow Play

This is Connor & Diana's "Blinx-man" (after the x-box game with cat heroes).

Diana buried Connor in the snow...
He escaped.

When they came in, I just threw all the snow stuff in the dryer. Two hours later when they went out again, only the gloves were still damp. They just used different ones.


Sunday morning, around 9:00, snow began to fall. Now, it's been spitting snow here & there over the last week, but nothing was sticking. Even though it had rained all night, this snow was coming down so fast & thick, after a while it did stick.

After an hour, the grass was much lighter.

After two hours, Connor was ready to go play outside in the snow.

Our house is on a hill, and all day we watched people driving on a very slippery slope. Some would keep the brakes on, slide about 10 feet, and then ease off the brakes to move again in kind of a cycle like that.

Lee went out to try help clear the road for some neighbors, but even after the road was scraped, they still couldn't get enough purchase to get up. One neighbor just left his car down the hill.

We have eggs, milk, flour... I don't need to go anywhere!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Make Up!

Connor found Diana's mascara yesterday. He didn't come & show me anything, I just noticed the make up on his face, shirt, hands, etc.

He 'cleaned up' in the bathroom with the tan striped towel (it washes out easily).

So he got a bath last night.

I expect most parents would have a very different reaction to ours if their (almost) 10-year-old boy decided to put on mascara.

With us it was more along the lines of
Me: "Okay. You need to take a bath tonight. What is on your face?"

Connor: "Make up!"
Me: "Are your eyes okay?"

Connor: "Yes. All finished. Go Mommy."

Me: "Okay. You will take a bath tonight."

Connor: "Okay."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Geocaching Can Save Your Life!

News Article

A couple of hikers were out on Mount Hood here in Oregon. They got stuck in white-out conditions and wound up having to build a snow cave to spend the night.

The next day, they found a geocache while working their way down the mountain. When one of their cell phones worked again, they were able to tell rescuers about the cache, and using the GPS location & the clues from the cache, rescuers were able to determine the location of the hikers.

Cool beans!

It must have been a pretty easy-to-find cache or they were really, really lucky!

Article from BeliefNet

I get an email daily from I usually just like to read the little inspirational quote. Some I like enough to share with others. Typically, I don't read the articles, but I always read everything I can about Autism. This is very close to what we have with Connor. He's a little more advanced than her son, but you get the drift.

What They Forgot to Mention
Although I was expecting hardship, I found surprising joy in my autistic son.
By Sandy Sotzen

I remember the day of my son’s diagnosis of autism as if it were yesterday. The tone of the doctor's voice, the silence in the room, the words “lifelong disability, no cure, I’m sorry” still sting when I allow myself to reflect on that day. But I have paused on occasions too numerous to count and thought, Someone should've mentioned that this would be part of the package when my child was diagnosed with autism.

Someone forgot to mention that I would listen to my child's simple utterances or attempted approximations as if he was a world leader giving the speech of a lifetime. I could never have imagined the worth of a single word despite the fact that I may never hear it again.

Someone forgot to mention that when my son was finally potty-trained at age nine, there would be few people who could understand the significance of such an accomplishment, and even fewer with whom I could actually share it. Accomplishments of any size, their true worth known only to me, would bring quiet celebrations between my son and me.

Someone should've mentioned that autism is messy! Wallpaper's meant to be shredded, bathrooms are designed to be flooded, walls are bare in order to smear stuff on them, washable paint really isn’t, and more food will actually be crushed and dropped than eaten.

I wish someone would've mentioned that autism is extremely expensive! Doctors, therapists, medications, supplements, conferences, and sensory equipment are only the tip of the iceberg. I could not have guessed that my child's disability would allow people to cross our path in life who otherwise would not have, and that such people would willingly respond to a child in need.

Someone should have mentioned that each time a child with autism initiates or engages in a reciprocal hug, that feeling that you had when you held him for the first time comes back time and time again.And they forgot to mention the day my son was diagnosed with autism that the triumphs over this disability would far outweigh the tears, that laughter would eventually ease the sense of loss, and that sheer faith would allow me and millions of other parents to fall into bed exhausted each night, only to get up the next day eager to discover what else they forgot to mention.

Monday, January 21, 2008

General Silliness

As you can see by the date, this is a few weeks ago. After we got Trevor off to school, we spent a lot of Epiphany undecking the tree.

This year, we brought the tree in a little too soon. The needles just fell off as soon as you brushed against them already at Christmas.

Once the decorations were off, Connor & Diana had all kinds of fun running their fingers along the branches to make the needles drop off the tree.

Then we swept them, and then vacuumed them.

Lee snipped off the bare branches and it was pretty easy to contain all the mess to one corner since nothing dropped off the tree pole anymore!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Season Four of Atlantis

I previously posted about Stargate SG-1 and when it finally left the air after 10 years. This Stargate spin-off was not "as good" as the original to a lot of people. There was a definite following with Richard Dean Anderson as O'Neill in the original series.

This season, I think some of the folks from the original show have come over to Atlantis - writing-wise.

It seems a little lighter, with more character development now. More relationships, etc.

A big change was bringing Amanda Tapping over from the original show. She doesn't get as much screen time now as she did, but I'm sure she'll be more involved over time.
They have also added Jewel Staite (from Firefly/Serenity) this season, and she's fun as well.

One thing I love about these shows is that my kids also enjoy them so much. Trevor catches it at college and Diana watches it with us.

My favorite character is McKay (looks annoyed), the Canadian, he's played by David Hewlett. We also like Ronon (the tall guy with dreads), played by Jason Momoa. He's getting the best lines now.

Teyla (Rachel Luttrell) is having a baby soon, and there's a whole plotline about her missing people and the father of her child.

And then there's Col. John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan), who is the cool, soldier-guy who doesn't play by the same rules as everyone else.

I hope this series can last a long time yet - I see it getting better and more fun to watch. Plus I don't know how things turn out every time. Occasionally someone gets killed off -- that's why there are two new characters this season (not that that means anything - Daniel Jackson in SG-1 got killed more times than any other character in TV history I think...he was killed or presumed dead 20 times!).

I look forward to Fridays on Sci-Fi :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Held Hostage by Karaoke

One of my responsibilites for Girl Scouts has been housing the Karaoke machine our local service units bought about 5 years ago. It basically lives in my closet, and I just check it out to leaders when they rent it ($10 or a new Karaoke disc).

A couple of weeks ago, someone needed it for an event, so it got returned this week. Yesterday I set it up again to check and make sure everything was working as it should.

Connor got interested. He likes to hear his voice over a microphone anyway, and he can read the words off the TV fine - he's not as comfortable with the tunes though, so he needed someone to sing with him.

I don't typically mind singing along (if anyone remembers the year we lived in Garden Grove & we had a party with a Karaoke machine, it pretty much turned into what Lee called "the Tina and Carolyn Show"). However, I *do* have better things to do on a Saturday morning than sing through 12 songs in a row by the Barenaked Ladies! In particular, we had to sing "If I had 1,000,000" repeatedly, since it's a 2-part song. Connor sang the green lines, and I sang the blue ones and we sang the yellow ones together.

Diana & I went to Wal*Mart last night to check out their selection of Karaoke CD's because we wanted to find one with the Pet Shop Boys. Connor has kind of hooked into "Opportunities" on YouTube, and we felt he'd be okay singing on his own for that one since he knows it so well. But they didn't have it, so we settled for a couple of other discs, one with "Build Me Up, Buttercup" which Connor also really likes.

This morning though, it had to be BNL and If I Had $1,000,000. *sigh*

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Amanda update

She sprained her foot and her ankle. She'll be going to school in a wheelchair.

I told Diana to remind Amanda to bring her cookie order form with her, so when anyone asks, "What happened to you?"

She can say, "I was on a Girl Scout camp and fell & sprained my foot & ankle. Would you like to buy some cookies?"

We're not above going for the sympathy sale....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Rob wanted a little more info about the yurts.

These are the ones our Oregon State Parks use. They have a porch (the one Diana is sweeping is obviously smaller than the full-yurt photo). They all have a picnic table & fire ring close by & parking, of course. The cover over the porch is great in our all-kinds-of-weather campgrounds.

These yurts also have heating & swamp coolers. The little dome on the top opens up for a breeze, and there are screened "windows" under the canvas flap you see on the left of the door - there are 3 windows.

The doors lock, and the campground gives you a key.

They have a futon & bunk bed set up, so you can sleep 5 in beds - there's room for a couple more on the ground if you bring pads & sleeping bags for that. There were 3 chairs and one table in our yurt as well. We were able to put the table between the bunk bed & futon, with a chair on either side to play Apples to Apples very easily.

They cost about $30 a night depending on where you are. I love them! So much easier (and warmer & dryer) than tent camping! W00t!

They are often set up in a 'village' with a bigger yurt for meals/meetings/movies, whatever. The picture at the bottom of the Saturday post is in the big yurt. I think there were about 6 yurts in our village. We just reserved the whole thing for the Girl Scout camp. There was a restroom for the yurt village, but if you wanted to take a shower you had to go out into the regular campground to do that at their bathrooms (5 minute walk).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Kamperdoodle 2008 - Sunday

Sunday morning, we packed up our gear, Diana swept & Mary took out the trash. We were the first ones done with clean up & check out :)

Then we headed to the beach to do a little more geocaching & play on the beach. I found a cache near here & the girls tried to escape the waves (they got caught though).

This is Erica from Debbie's troop. She's holding the Breast Cancer Travel Bug from the cache we're at - her other hand is on it. She really got into caching and helped me find 3 more ;)

MY girls were still playing at the beach (with a couple other troops & their leaders). And they had to change their pants when I came back to get them...

While Diana was changing in the van, Mary came around to the side of the car when a group of guys came up to their car in the parking lot & Mary yells, "Diana! Are your pants on yet?" before she opens the slider door. You should have seen their heads whip around.... Diana was already completely dressed, by the way.

Then we got Subway & came home. Ta Da!

Kamperdoodle 2008 - Saturday

Saturday morning after breakfast, it turned out most of the girls had some kind of homework to do this weekend, so they did a little study hall. The other girls played music and had fun with board games.
After lunch a group of us headed into Bandon to go and sample Cranberry Sweets treats, shop, and do some geocaching.
I like the wine jellies at Cranberry Sweets, so I got a bag of those for me, and some regular cranberry ones for Lee. (Diana also likes the wine jellies...)
This spider sculpture is in front of a store with metal crafted stuff. Funny.
Diana is leading everyone along (not very noticeable to the muggles, huh?) with the GPS in hand. The clue said "hope you are enjoying Bandon" - lol.

And then this is where Amanda stepped wrong and wound up either spraining or fracturing her ankle! My first time as a GS leader having to go to the hospital.

She kept up a good front for a while (we didn't know she'd hurt herself), but after the pain got too intense, we took her in.
Her folks came & got her and her gear. Poor Amanda!

Kamperdoodle 2008 - Friday Night

This is at a pizza place in Coquille where we stopped to get soda & use the facilities.

Diana & Amanda HAD to get a photo with the little car here, because it's the exact same plastic car that was on the playground at their elementary school! (minus the motor & vending machine part).

Then Mary had to fly in the spaceship - Amanda is being lost in space.

We arrived at our yurts around 7:00 or so after loading up at home and stopping at Taco Bell for dinner.
I wound up in the yurt with the girls because all the other troops were so small, the leader yurt would have been the only one with people sleeping on the ground. Three of us had 3 or less girls, so we bunked with them.

I had brought a game I got at Christmas called "Bananagrams" which turned out to be as popular as Uno (which no one remembered to bring). We also played Apples to Apples with some girls that came to our yurt to visit. Got to bed around 11:00 I think. It poured all night, but we were nice & warm in the yurt.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Diana's Long-term Art Project

I can't link the video quite yet - it has to be in a different format to put here.

Now, personally, I think this whole thing was pretty ambitious. This is not a format she's used to using, and it's very different drawing comic pages vs. doing flash movie. The closest I can get to describing it would be a stop-frame animated movie. She had to draw each frame individually and consistency is something you acquire over time.

She had about 2 weeks to do this, and she had decided on a full-length song to do her flash animation. A 30-second piece would have been a lot easier, but once she got going, she wanted to finish it.

Overall, I'd say she spent over 80 hours on this. If you want to leave a comment here, I'll relay it to her. In her words, though, she's "a total noob" at this kind of thing. :)

Here's the link for now:

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Back to School

This afternoon we brought Trevor to the Amtrak station in Eugene to send him back to school. He's taking the train, which is about a four-hour trip, and then he can grab a taxi back to school.
I mentioned before that OIT has a support system in place for kids that need it, but Trevor hadn't qualified for it because his grades & test scores had been too high. Well, now they're not -(not going there). However, he should be able to utilize the program this term.
I'm wondering if there's a way he can petition to keep his scholarships, if he's much more successful this term. It will prove that he really DID need assistance from the get go. He had been on an IEP (individualized education plan) from Jr. High on, because of his Asperger's Syndrome. Because he had a LOT of support with staff and his parents, he was able to get good grades. His scholarships require a B average & 15 units per semester. He can bring back the GPA, but I don't know about the units.
I really think it was a losing set up for him. Without any support and on his own completely - was really asking more than he could manage. Part of his autism is a delayed maturity. In many ways, Trevor processes emotional and behavioral things much closer to a kid of say, 14. No one in their right mind would send a 14-year-old off to a college with no support.
Now, once we found out the support system was NOT available, it really was Trevor that insisted he could manage by himself. I wanted to keep him home (have him attend community college here). Lee wanted him to have the chance to prove himself. Trevor was the deciding vote there. He was 18, and really, it's his money.
So now we have to play the parent card again. This is his 2nd chance. If he can get into the program, focus and be successful, great. That's what we want. That's why we're letting him go back. This time around, we will insist on more contact. Last time, we let him initiate so he wouldn't feel smothered. We're just gonna go ahead & smother this time.
This is his do-or-die term.
Good luck, son.
(and I had to drive home in SNOW from Eugene - ugh!)

Friday, January 04, 2008


I've been attempting to ebay a Kitchenaid mixer.

This is a $375ish machine, but they start the bidding at $4.99 sometimes.

I go ahead and bid up to $50. Maybe someone will be silly and forget to check the auctions and I'll get one for less than $100 with shipping.

I've been using the Krups mixer I got for my wedding almost 20 years ago. Good little machine, but it's dying.

Wish me luck!

The Del Rey Cafe

We took Daniel here to show him the "big food."

This is a hole-in-the-wall kind of cafe close to the North Umpqua River. They are currently having some difficulty with business, because there's construction on the bridge that goes over the river to the nearest freeway exit & the community college, so the bridge is closed.

These folks rely on that freeway & college traffic, because right now Hwy 99 just dead-ends there. It's not so bad on the college side, since the freeway onramp & offramp are there. But on the Del Rey side, it's a 3 or 4 mile drive from the freeway (and Shari's just opened at that offramp).

In any case, there was a story in our newspaper recently, telling of the woes of the poor Del Rey Cafe. So we decided that Sunday morning to go there to help support them.

#1 - bad idea. All of the town had the same idea, turns out. They were crazy busy. #2 - We found out about the big food. Diana is having a Cinnamon Roll. Daniel is shown with my biscuit. I only ate about 1/3 of it. Then I was full. Diana managed to polish off that whole cinnamon roll, but then she barely ate anything the rest of the day.

It wasn't all that busy when we showed up, which was fine. Seems like they are holding their own - I'm not sure when the bridge will be done, but I'm glad the Del Rey is managing.

We decided to NOT sit under the huge heating fan thing in the corner. It was kind of scary looking.

This was just cute, so I put it in. Connor has Dutch Bros. tattoos on his hands. Diana put them on & he is very happy to have "heart hands."

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

3 out of 4 ain't bad - And Happy New Year!

Today we took Daniel (who arrived to visit yesterday) to hunt for four geocaches around town. The first one, at the library was as elusive as it's been since we tried to find it over a year ago - I think today was the 4th try on that one *sigh*

However, we were able to find all three remaining caches in a row. The first was close to Lee's first job here, hiding in the base of a streetlamp.

The second was in a retaining wall, but I ran out of juice on my camera, so I don't have a shot of that. But we grabbed a Travel Bug that is trying to get to Pawni, India, so we'll have to move that along - I think maybe to a cache closer to the freeway?

The third was a good find today - it's along a nature trail by our grocery store, and in the summer, a lot of transients "live" there. However in the winter, it's not so bad - plus all the underbrush being dead made it easier to locate the bin. We even finally dropped off the Travel Bug we'd had since, oh, MAY! We traded it for a Anaheim DUCKS keychain that people are supposed to hide in caches by duck ponds - and then take photos of the duck pond to help log the journey. Since we were right next the grocery store, I could get batteries for my camera & fulfill that part of the cache request. Now I have to find another duck pond cache....

The Front View & New Year's Eve

I've had a couple of shots from inside the house of Diana's window painting.

I thought I should post how it looked from outside.

With & without the curtains drawn.

Diana is trying to avoid her dad's hand coming at her in the bottom photo...

For New Year's Eve, we went over to Rocky & Sue's place for Pizza & tasty homemade caramel popcorn - yum!

We watched the Simpson's movie & celebrated the New York New Year (at 9:00) because they have little kids and don't get to sleep if they stay up too late!

We came back to our house & still had munchies & wound up staying awake to Pacific New Year too. We toasted with Sparkling Cider & Lee banged a pot outside to wake up the neighbors that weren't already roused from their slumber by all the fireworks being set by yet the other neighbors! Fun! Happy New Year!

A little snow

You'll have to click on the photos to see the actual snow. It only made a thin crust on the grass before it was gone again.

Maybe about an inch on cars.

On the bottom photo, that's just the neighbor's tarp, not a nice pile of snow.