Monday, September 28, 2009


Thanks to a good staff at the dentist's office, Connor was able to stay calm enough to not need to be sedated at all :)

The tech was very friendly & smiled a lot. She explained everything she was doing, and let Connor hold a mirror so he could watch what she was working on in his mouth. She also let him hold the suction wand, even let him turn it off & on, and she'd guide his hand to where she needed it. All this helped him feel a little in control.

I sat down by his feet & held his legs. He was still shaking & quivering quite a bit - in no way relaxed, but he did a great job holding still & keeping his mouth open.

When the dentist was working on scraping the plaque of his teeth, he joked with Connor so that Connor even laughed!

This really was a great experience for Connor. There were no fillings necessary this time around, but hopefully because of what happened today, he WON'T need the full IV next time!

I'm so proud of him!!

Dentistry Dealings

I'm taking Connor to the dentist this morning.

On the mom-end of things, I absolutely hate having to have Connor sedated - it scares me to have him under. He has done this before, so it's not the first time, but still. Ugh.

We gave him a bunch to eat last night, because he can't eat until after the appointment. Since he has such difficulty with even being there, we have to have him sedated and then the dentist does everything at once. So if he has a cavity in each quadrant of his mouth, he's getting them all done today :/ I don't know if he will or won't, it's been a couple years since his last visit since it's so traumatic for him.

The thing with Connor is if he knows what's coming, he can deal so much better. Contrary to what you or I might want, it actually helps him a lot to see the needle, to watch in the mirror while they do what they need to do. If the person tells him what they are doing just before they do it, Connor can manage better.

If he needs a shot in his mouth, the best way would be for the dentist (or whoever) to show Connor the needle and say, "I need to put this in your cheek. It will hurt, but just for a little while. Then it will be okay."

You don't want to ask permission of Connor, because of course, he'll say "No." You just say, "here we go" and then do it.

Last time Connor was so anxious he needed 3 different kinds of anesthesia, winding up with the IV drip to put him completely under. He fought it so hard (not falling asleep) that it took quite a bit extra. The next day, he was throwing up all day to get all the stuff out of his system. :(

We also had to explain to the insurance company the need for the additional drugs, but the guy approved it once he heard Connor was autistic. I will try to make sure they include that information on their billing to the insurance this time around...

And I need to remember to bring bubble-gum flavored toothpaste. He's watched a Sesame Street thing on going to the dentist, and the kid in the show gets a bubble-gum flavored cleaning. I don't think our dentist offers that flavor (?!?) so I have to bring something to follow Connor's expectations. The more we can follow what he's expecting, the easier it is for him to deal.

Wish me luck & prayers are always appreciated!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Not doing that vaccine

The vaccine for H1N1 (swine flu) apparently has Thimerisol as the preservative, which is more mercury than is safe to ingest by our FDA standards, for say, tuna.

I don't trust the results of the studies done by the pharmaceutical companies that claim their preservative has no link to autism. One court already awarded some parents who happened to have a lot of information on their child's health before & after receiving vaccines, who then was diagnosed autistic.

Since we don't fall into the high-risk categories, and the current strain of H1N1 does not appear to be as bad as last year anyway, we won't be doing a flu vaccine. We will continue to eat healthy, exercise & get enough rest. We will wash our hands a lot, and stay away from sick people as much as possible.

The latest counts I saw were that the 'normal' flu has more deaths attributed to it than swine flu. Since we typically don't even get THAT flu, I think we're okay.

I'm going to guess a lot of parents of kids with autism do not go get vaccines anymore either.

Revenge of the Popcorn

I like popcorn a lot. I always have. While my absolute favorite is probably the Boy Scouts fundraiser - chocolate-covered toffee popcorn - I mostly eat my stove-top version.

My dad used to make our popcorn on the stove by shaking a covered pot back & forth across the electric burner. The shiny-bottomed pot wasn't used for much except making popcorn.

Years ago - I think we were in the condo still - Lee's mom had a corn-popper pot she was going to toss. I think it's an antique - but it works so well! It has a crank on the top to turn the paddle that sweeps the bottom, which is concave so the kernels are in the middle. I only use a small bit of oil, and then pop away.

I just salt the popped corn, and a large bowl winds up being about 250 calories. That's a LARGE bowl as in Tupperware big orange bowls.

In any case, the corn popper has little vent holes, just a little bigger than the circumference of a popcorn kernel. Last weekend I was popping corn, and a kernel escaped through one of these holes, and landed on top of my foot, getting wedged between my skin & my croc-style house shoes.

Once I felt it, I tried to shake it out, but it only wound up getting wedged further, a little deeper and a little deeper down the shoe. I finally kicked off the shoe, but not before the popcorn had its revenge on me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Back to School - college edition

We brought Diana back to school tonight. She didn't have quite as much to move in this year, since it's still the same room as last year. We only had to move back in the stuff she'd brought home for the summer. She's already set up to do the same job she had last year & she's starting with 17 credits this term.

While Diana got her disbursement check & her books, Lee & I dropped the stuff off in her room. Then we headed out to get some dinner & do some grocery shopping.

Ugh. Too much traffic! I'm not used to it anymore!! And waiting in restaurants?! We don't do that anymore either! The first place we tried had a 45 minute wait. Forget that. We looked at a pizza place, but as Diana's a little lactose-intolerant, that's not the best choice for her anyway. We wound up at a Mexican restaurant, which is typically not Diana's favorite. However, upon checking the menu, they had more vegetarian dishes than we'd ever seen in a Mexican restaurant (with tofu, yet!) so we gave it a try. We all ate our fill & Diana took a couple of boxes home for 'linner' tomorrow (she'll probably sleep in).

Then we took her grocery shopping. She got a cart full for $98, saving $60something from 'regular prices.' That's enough food for the month for her - and she gets an allowance with her funding for about $300/month (I know - that's a LOT of money for one person). Diana will also get a case of Top Ramen for $5 at Winco Foods next time her friend Raidy goes there to shop. She doesn't just make Top Ramen the regular way - she has recipes for Pad Thai Top Ramen and all kinds of other stuff :P Frugal!!!

She had already been teary all afternoon - she was weepy when she said good-bye to Connor after he got home from school, & she was misty-eyed at the restaurant when we discussed setting up her schedule to balance schoolwork & fun stuff, etc. In fact, the only time she wasn't upset was when she said good-bye to Trevor. He was trying to comfort her by putting his arm around her - from three feet away. LOL. That's the Asperger's shining through - you know you're supposed to do something physical to be comforting, you just can't bring yourself to get close to do it :P

I just called Diana when we got home - she was already all gung-ho for going to Raidy's house to play Beatles Rock Band. Her friend, Nori, was there with her, and she was excited to be going out. This is a lot better than last year, when she basically spent the first weekend alone and a rather scared about going to college :) This time around she already has people she knows, she has the church youth group, and she is the 'old hand' at the apartment. One of her new roomies is a friend of Nori's since 2nd grade, and another is a girl from China, only here for 12 days so far. We haven't heard about the 4th roomie yet. Good stuff. I think she'll settle in a lot faster this time :)

Trevor is attending our local community college again - he's working toward his AA with an engineering focus. He gets to finally take a CAD class again, which should help his GPA. He had not yet gotten his financial aid letter, so Lee went with him today to figure out what was up with that - Trevor is not the only one. The college has implemented a new computer system, and most kids still don't have their award letters. Lee also had Trevor go to talk to the Special Needs counselor. They set up regular tutoring and note-taking for Trevor, and the woman encouraged him to join the engineering club & apply for student government.

There are also some jobs still available for work-study, which would be great for Trevor. When they went to talk to one of the guys offering work, he described it as "working outdoors, sometimes in bad weather & wearing a poncho, doing planting, landscaping, etc. Would you be okay with that?" Trevor's response, "Well, I'm already doing that stuff and NOT getting paid!" (because we are slave driver parents - muahahahah!). The guy took that as a good thing though, so if Trevor gets back to him as soon as the award letter comes, he might have a work study job! Yay!

During the summer, neither of the two had jobs - Diana worked her butt off last year during school & did very well, so we figured she deserved a break - she still did the Girl Scout Day Camp and helped around the house. Trevor had a couple of interviews, but didn't manage to land any jobs - however, he has been doing some work for Donna & Jim's company with redline corrections on the computer & I guess he's doing fine with that. He can still continue that and do school & the work study. If he doesn't land a work study job, he'll be going back to volunteering - most likely at the Boys & Girls Club again.

Both kids also did some lessons on the online program I'll be using at my job. Diana has been doing the Algebra, while Trevor's been going through the Life Skills lessons. I wanted them to let me know of any problems they encountered so I'd be better prepared to work with my students. Diana is taking Algebra this term, so she was happy to have a stress-free way to practise. I just wanted Trevor to be working on something productive. :)

So there's the update on the college kids. I'll post on Connor's stuff next time :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dinner with Robert

We met in Grants Pass last night to have dinner with Robert. He's in Medford for his company. It's a 1/2 hour north for him (unless you get lost..) and an hour south for us.

Doing their gang signs - must be an old boy scout thing...

General Silliness (salute).
We did a lot of laughing & talking. Lee confused the waiter well.

I like the blue/khaki theme.
After dinner we took a walk along the river, into town, back to the river, across the bridge, through the park, and back over the other bridge.

Inspecting the sculpture of the attacking cat.

Sasquatch walk.
After the bums tried to get money off us we called it a night. Hope you make the sale & can come back again soon, Robert. And thanks for dinner :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Scary & Sad

Special Ed teacher stabbed & killed at a Texas High School

This is the exact kind of environment I've been working in for the last couple of weeks.

The kids are usually fine, but they can go off for any reason - many things a typical person would not be aware of at all - using words like "don't touch" or "No" will cause some of the students to 'lose it' and act out aggressively.

You must constantly be vigilant to recognize the signs that a student is becoming agitated. The staff carry radios to be able to get help if necessary.

As it is, I was more or less thrust into the classroom, not really knowing any of the protocols or any of the kids. I had to rely on my own knowledge of behavioral issues based on my experience at home with autism. It also helped I had gotten that training with how to escape & evade. I have been pinched intentionally, but not enough to bruise me. I have also been shoved unintentionally - just because most of the students outweigh me by 30-100 lbs.

You might ask how the student in the article got a sharp object, but we are teaching these kids how to feed themselves, and we're using forks to do it. We all carry keys, and anything really sharp (knives, scissors, etc.) gets locked away, but people forget & things get left out here & there.

As this incident happened first thing in the morning, something could have happened on the bus or at home before coming to school & the staff wouldn't have a clue.

I don't know if the student in the article was also mentally handicapped or not. As I understand it, the kids at my new program will not have the mental disability. However, they will be Kindergarten through 8th grade, and not as big as the high schoolers I've been working with these last few weeks.

I'm wondering if this will have any effect on the way our classrooms are currently set up. I can't think of anything else, except maybe more staff, to prevent something like this from happening again...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fun Diana thing

There's a website called FML (teens & 20's view this a lot - you can figure out what the acronym means) where people can post incidents showing how awful their life is. It's like a text version of funniest home videos, but maybe not so family-friendly. They have recently included illustrated FML's. Diana sent one in, and it was featured today. Published again!

Click the comic to see it larger.

If you want to see it full-size, click on this link:

Disclaimer: Diana knows this site is visited by trolls - people who post really negative nasty comments. Please don't read them - they would depress you. Don't worry - Diana won't read them either. The people who like it enough will go to her site to compliment her more directly :)

She was just happy to have her comic viewed so much.

TOPS Rally 2009

Last Saturday we had our local area rally for TOPS in Klamath Falls. It's about 3 hours to drive there, so we left EARLY (6:00am).
People do little skits and stuff, but most of the rally is acknowledging the accomplishments of the various clubs (I think we have about 200 for the southern area of Oregon).
The last time I was in this lecture hall, I was getting instructions about financial aid with Trevor. We were at OIT campus.

The theme was "TOPS is Classic and Kruisin' to KOPS" - hence the classic car.
We entered our name tags, a poster, and a decorated shoebox in the contests. Our poster & shoebox both won 3rd place :) We also won 1st place for most new members in a chapter.

The biggest win for us though, was Lee. He had the most weight lost for an individual male in the whole of Southern Oregon with 51.75 lbs (from beginning of this year to end of August). He wasn't there to get his award, but we all applauded him at our meeting on Thursday. :)

Then we had our 3 hour drive home, with a stop at Denny's for dinner because we were hungry! I got home around 9:15. Long day!! But fun :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interesting work

Since Labor Day weekend was over, I've been working in a different position than the job I just got not long ago. Turns out another gal that does the job I used to do, only at the High School level, is recovering from foot surgery. She can't really do the duties of her job yet.

I had been getting to know the school & my new teacher, but we still did not have students assigned to us yet (they have to go through Mental Health & jump through hoops in meetings, etc. before they're assigned to our classroom). I was working on decorating the room and such - learning the computer programs and reading & math stuff so that I could jump in once the students started arriving.

Anyway - as that gal was having to ice her foot after taking her student out on a walk, I was called on Labor Day (Labor Day! 4:00pm!!) at home, pretty soon after we'd gotten in from Portland by my supervisor. He told me the situation, and asked if I could go to work at the High School on Tuesday. He wasn't even sure what time I would start & had to ask his High Schooler kid... So I said okay, sure. Glad to help.

I get there on Tuesday morning to find I'm slated to work there until the 23rd - wow. Wasn't expecting that! Then I find out the gal I'm replacing was not asked if she was okay with the exchange (she went to do my job, but now she's sewing for the occupational therapist).

I am working with BIG kids with behavioral issues, pretty low on the mental level, and actually putting into practise the training I recently got to 'evade & escape' if necessary. So far I'm injury-free, but now the kids are starting to getting colds, and that always hypes up the behaviors :/

But, I'm in there at least until the 23rd. If my actual class starts getting students, however, I'm supposed to go back there. There is someone from my old job who knows a lot of these big kids, and she's been told she'll replace me when I need to go - I'm glad about that.

As it is, Connor has a dental appointment at the end of the month & I'll need to take a day off for that - they have to put him completely under and then they do everything at once. The following day I have a full day training for my job, so those are already two days they will need to get someone in to cover for me :) I hope I'm already at the 'real' job by then.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Labor Day weekend - Monday

Our last day of the weekend, we had until 11:00 to check out of the hotel. We opted to go ahead & relax, let Connor get some more swimming time in, and take it easy.
Since Diana wasn't going to be ready to check out until around noon, we decided after we'd packed up that we would see if we could take in another new thing in Portland.
Here's the view from the Pittock House Mansion.
It was a bit hazy & rainy, so these aren't way clear.
There's that tower with the express elevator to the 30th floor Portland City Grill restaurant.
and panning a bit further to the right...
So this guy started the Oregonian newspaper. All those newspaper guys create mansions, huh?
A side view.
This is the front view.

And here's the walking trail that takes you all the way to the zoo (only a couple of miles). It's a switchback that is pretty steep, actually. We didn't do the whole thing.

Then we went to get Diana. We tried to stop for Indian food on the way home, but they were closed for Labor Day (doy). We went to Chili's instead & that was fine. Then the 3-hour drive home & that's the end of the Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Labor Day weekend - Sunday

Sunday didn't go quite as planned. We had intended to go to the OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science & Industry) and it IS a way cool museum. It's just that when we arrived, the overflow parking was already overflowing and there was a backup of three blocks of people trying to get in there. Needless to say, that many people are not going to make for a fun outing with Connor, so we ditched that idea in favor of going to Lloyd Center again, where we still saw people from the anime convention - here's another Link, for instance :)

Connor appreciates outdoor fountains pretty well.

And the ice rink in the mall.

But what he really liked was the hotel pool. When OMSI didn't work out, we asked if he wanted to ride the train so we could take him to a different museum. He said, "No tunnel." He was pretty emphatic about it too, so we asked, "Train with tunnel, or hotel?" He answered "Hotel."
I watched him in the pool while Lee took a nap. I got to rest when Lee took him to the Family Fun Center (much like the one on Brookhurst near the Skating rink once upon a time).

Labor Day weekend - Saturday

Lee dropped Diana off around 5:00 am. She was greeted with "OMG it's Link!!"

Lee, Connor & I went sightseeing around - starting with Fort Vancouver in Washington. This guy is making, not biscuits, but turkey & mushroom ravioli :)

In the blacksmith's shed. They had 4 forges. Pretty cool. Connor was interested a long time here.

I'm in the jail!!

My guys walking downtown - we wore our matching yellow shirts :)

Black mage, yo.

We stopped by Diana's convention to check out the costumes & such. She was popular with other people wanting to take photos with her. It was a bit much for Connor, so he kind of hid in the corner.

Speed Racer & Trixie!

In Pioneer Square, where you can catch all four of the MAX lightrail trains. Two go east/west, the other two go north/south. It's free all through downtown from Washington Park & the Zoo, all the way over to Lloyd Center mall.

The big tunnel was not Connor's favorite part - He let go of the arm strap & sat close to us until we were out again.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Labor Day weekend - Friday

We had Friday off from work & school, so we headed up to visit Daniel at George Fox University. He was just getting done with his cardio workout for PE. We liked how he had all the bike gear :)

Um.... you're not supposed to be climbing on there...

Yay! A dorm room!

A lot of girls greeted Daniel as he showed us around campus....

At the Claim Jumper restaurant. It opened about a year ago & I'd seen the sign from the freeway. I was happy I got off at the right offramp :)

My kids love me :)

I DECLAIR!!! (don't worry, we split it 4 ways - only 550 each calories that way)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Diana as Link from Zelda

Diana has spent the last few weeks working on this costume. She did everything herself - I just provided mentoring.

She ordered the wig & had to trim & style it. The boots are just a good find at Ross. The sword was a wooden one that is spray-painted.

She is using plain leggings, and then she modified the collar on the mockneck shirt. She sewed the tunic, hat & arm guards. She also bought a eyelet-maker, and did all those as well (it comes with an anvil!). They have leather laces.

The ears were also special ordered. Pretty cool, huh?

Oh - she also has lost about 7 lbs to get ready for this because "Link doesn't have a muffin-top."

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My new classroom

My corner, with the desk I built. A definite Olympic theme at the moment.

From the front door aimed at the middle of the room.
From the front door toward my corner.

From the corner opposite the front door.

You can see just the edge of the door on the far left - the desk on the right corner is the teacher's. She made that cool flag quilt :)

View out the door.

Our classroom is on the right. We're going to need decent umbrellas when it rains...