Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bad blogger

Yes, I admit it. I am a bad blogger. I always say I will try to post more often, then fall short on my goals. So, I am going to make a promise to post at least twice a month. I can't ever seem to manage the daily or weekly, this will give me the option to increase the amount of posts without committing to something I fail at. I can post more then twice, and can fulfill it by even posting twice on the same day. (ok, maybe it's cheating but twice a month is twice a month) So here is post number 1 for this month. Hoping to be back soon ;) I forgot to say my sweet girl Cassie had a miserable tube removed today and we are all cheering for her!!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th family fun

We shopped for sausages, hot dogs and potato salad ingredients on Saturday. We thought the traffic flow might be a bit less, and due to the fact the salad is always better made a day ahead of time. The traffic was so horrible, the trip to the store which on a good day takes 15 minutes to drive there, and maybe an hour to shop if we take our time, was unbelievably long. The store was so crowded that at one point it took almost 15 minutes just to get from one aisle to the next. We finally got out of the store and it took nearly 30 minutes to get home. One of the clerks told us Friday was even worse, and by Sunday (from what my cousin told me) the food was nearly gone. Oh the joys of living in a tourist town.

Our family BBQ was held at Tess's ex, Brian's, home nearby, he has a bigger house, awesome grill, and big back yard.

Tess made her famous dill potato salad on Sunday, photo to come later since the one in my phone is horrible. It aged overnight, and was joined by a wonderful melon basket (much larger than we actually needed), hamburgers, hotdogs, a variety of sausages, and black and garlic stuffed green olives, along with a variety of chips, a bit of cottage cheese, and supposedly some maple smoked beans. I say supposedly since they were still in the microwave being reheated when Tess was packing up the food at the end of the night. Oh well, no one missed them.

While Tess was making the melon basket Cassie and I were playing a dress-up game on the computer. I will find out what the website is, I think even adults could spend some enjoyable time playing dress-up. She loved having me choose the outfits, accessories, etc. She kept telling me to choose the items I wanted since the character was ME! She is such a funny girl. She also wanted to take me on a tour of the house. It is her dad's house we were at, and I have been there dozens of times. What a silly kid. Her sister was horrified that I had "seen" her bedroom, since it was such a mess. (actually for Athena it wasn't all that bad)

We then discovered the olives, black for Cassie, and garlic stuffed green for me. The garlic stuffed ones were from Trader Joe's, provided courtesy of my "sis" Patricia. I think they are the best olives EVER!!! Brian, Tess, and I made them disappear rather quickly ;)

Tess then took the hamburger and put her spin on it, making wonderful savory burgers from simple ground beef, and started the grilling process. She is amazing with a BBQ, and the burgers, sausages, and hot dogs were cooked to perfection.

By the time we had finished eating my back was way past the point of surviving a walk to the beach and back sandwiched around sitting on the sand watching fireworks, so when Tess and Brian were taking a run to the store I hitched a ride back home. I am so glad I did, even though I missed seeing the girls set off their fireworks, I enjoyed the fireworks extravaganzas on TV accompanied by music. The fireworks ended about 10:30 pm here, but the neighbors, and nearby homes ended theirs around 1:15 am. So I really didn't get all that much sleep, evidenced by my taking a 2 hour nap this afternoon.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cassie the farmer

My daughter, Tess, took Cassie and I out for Chinese lunch today. We had a nice relaxed and delicious lunch and took our time getting back home. Cassie decided since school is out she wanted to come to grandma's house for the afternoon. That was around 3:30 pm.

After playing with necklaces for almost an hour, trying a pile of them on at one point and looking like a gypsy. She then tried making "pendulums" of them and swung them back and forth and said, "Grandma, this is like a clock." She tried about a dozen different ones, she also tried a couple of bracelets, finally deciding some of them were a bit heavier and swung a lot better than the rest.

We drew and colored birthday cards for my friends Jerry and Patricia's daughter Meg. We had a lot of fun and put a lot of love into them.

Next we decided to open (again) a package that had come from my friend Yamiko. She went through the treasure trove of stickers, oggled the beads, and decided which kitty picture was the cutest.

We also massaged each other's feet and legs with lotion, and snuggled for a bit.

After doing all the activities she could do on the floor she decided she wanted to check out some games on FaceBook. She clicked on my traps in MouseHunt and Ghost Trappers. She was delighted to find a new game from the creators of GT, Diviad, it is called Alien Visitors. She laughed, and ooohhed and aaaahhed looking at the cute aliens I had caught.
She asked me if I had any more fun games and I told her we could go check on my farms on Farmville, and she kept herself busy for a couple of hours. She laughed most at clicking on the various animals who were "ripe" and watching the farmer and dog running from one side of the farm to the other. She then discovered she could move the animals, trees and other landscaping around and rearranged both my farms. She also discovered there was a "storage" option and put a lot of the things I had out away. In fact she loved it so much she asked her mom if she could play it at her house too. Tess told her she had her own farm and would get it all logged in and ready so Cassie could play with it. I figure if it took her a couple of hours to move all the stuff around I ought to be able to get it all back in place in an hour or so.

She left for home at about 8:30 pm, and was laughing and telling her mom all about our adventures. It was a busy, and wonderful day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wow, it's been toooooo long

Okay, I swear I am going to try to be a better blogger. It's not that I haven't had things going on interesting enough to post about. It's more like I have been too lazy to put my thoughts into words.

The most recent adventure in our family's lives was "Outdoor School." My daughter, Tess, her ex-husband and kids dad, Brian, and my oldest granddaughter, Athena, went to outdoor school for a week. Well, okay, it was just five days. Last year the fifth and sixth graders went, this year just the sixth graders.

Tess and I ran around like freaks trying to get food donations, and cooperation and assistance since she had, once again, volunteered to be the camp cook.

Last year there were 185 people. No one had arranged for a camp cook. None of the parents, who had volunteered to help serving meals wanted, nor were able, to cook for that many people. Tess, however took it all in stride and prepared food, 3 times a day, with very few supplies, and no spices. She is a spicy cook, so one afternoon she drove the gravel road about 15 miles round trip to get her herbs and spices and gallons and gallons of water and stuff to flavor it with. It's not that the camp doesn't have water, it's that the water is sulphur smelling, and kids just won't drink it.

This year she coordinated efforts with the people planning the camp and put together her list of proposed meals, looked at what they had already been promised, and figured out how many of this and how much of that would feed the 85 people for five days. I have no idea how she does it, but she is so good at cooking, food prep and menus I know she got that particular cooking gene from some alien somewhere. I would have fainted if it had been me in her place, or passed out from exhaustion and everyone would have starved to death. Not my girl, in fact this year the managers of the camp where it was held wanted to hire her to cook for some summer camps. The problem with that is she wouldn't see her girls, and summer is time for them to get the momma-time they miss out on during the school year.

While they were away at outdoor school, Tess's step-sister Kori and I were responsible for Cassie, my youngest granddaughter. She is 7 years old and in first grade, so it wasn't like we had her all day. However, Kori got her and her wheelchair to school each morning and delivered her to her classroom and left for work. I went at lunch time and catheterized her and made sure she was doing okay. I then went back when school got out to pick her up. For most people that would be a fairly easy task, for me (with a bad knee, hip, and back) it was a huge undertaking. Her classroom is quite a distance from the school entrance and the handicapped parking isn't exactly near the front door. The first day I got to her classroom just as they were starting their reading circle time, and Cassie wanted me to wait until the story was over. After about 20 minutes we finally took care of the things I was actually there for. When I picked her up after school I got her into her carseat, and one of the parents helped me get her wheelchair into the back of the Jeep. I headed off to work for a couple of hours with Cassie in tow. Fortunately I had arranged to have her with me, and the customers at the shop I work at were completely charmed by her sweet inquisitive manner. She sat at a table used by customers and staff, drew, colored and generally entertained people.

Needless to say the lifting and moving took a major toll on my back, knee and hip. I ended the week in the ER getting pain meds and spent the next week in bed, recliner and pain. This week is going better, but the strain on my back certainly was hard on me. I wouldn't trade the wonderful time we had together for anything, but I would like to be rid of the pain. The rest of the week when I picked her up we came back to my house and played, watched Mickey Mouse, and talked about all sorts of interesting things. She told me she had just found out she was Kori's niece. I asked her if she didn't know Kori was her aunt, but she said she knew that it was the niece part she had missed somehow. She has an amazing imagination and often tells me about the new idea she has for how she can fly, or what she can do to make her legs work so she can walk. She seems to accept her "disability" well most of the time, but conversations like that just break my heart.

Ending on a happy note is a good thing. Last week one of the days at school was pirate day. Tess always makes sure the girls have appropriate costumes for spirit week and other "themed" events. No one had told Tess it was pirate day and as she was wheeling Cassie into the school everyone was asking, "where's your costume, Cassie." As you can imagine Cassie was very upset and sad by the time she got to her classroom. She always is the center of attention and everyone looks to see what fascinating costumes she has. Tess promised her she would make her a pirate costume and be back really soon. So Tess called me as soon as she cleared the front door of the school and I got work on making her a "pirate" necklace. Tess frantically went through Cassie's clothes and finally settled on making her a pirate dress from one of the Christmas dresses (red check) and if you know Cassie you also know she is the pink princess and rarely wears any other color. Tess tattered the edges of the dress, both layers, and made her a vest from a T-shirt, found a sash, and boots. She then visited the nearby (I mean practically next door) Pirate Pastry Shop and bought her a pirate "do rag," an eye patch and a tattoo. She grabbed the Big Pirate Flag from Cassie's room and rushed back to the school. Needless to say her entire class gathered around her cheering for "Pirate Cassie" when she emerged from the bathroom in her new garb. The necklace I made using little purple skull beads and a skull key. Cassie told everyone it was the special key that opens all the pirate treasure chests. There was a special pirate assembly complete with people in costumes patterned after "Pirates of the Caribbean," and of course a treasure hunt (scavenger hunt style). The wonderful principal of the school was Cassie's escort. He whispered to Tess, "I know where all the things are hidden so she won't miss out on anything," and away they went gathering their loot.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The adventures of Mommy, Grandma and Cassie: The Pink Hair Caper.

This week included a major celebration in our family. Cassie is finally back at school. This is her first time back since the end of October (right before her surgery). She had home tutoring to keep up with her class, but actually being in the same room with your friends is so much different. She also is being mainstreamed this year so she is in her regular classroom all day instead of being in the "options" class half the day. Progress is measured in small steps some weeks, but this was and is huge. A lot of credit goes to her teacher, Ms. Hunt. She is not only a wonderful teacher, she is a kind and compassionate person. Her first day back included her favorite outfit, Leopard spot long-sleeve T and matching tights (pink with spots of course), matching skirt, bright pink cowboy boots, topped by her faux black leather jacket, and her fuzzy pink vest. Of course this is all set off by her pink wheelchair. Naturally she wanted her hair sprayed pink to match. She loved her pink hair so much she couldn't resist rubbing it on her cheek, which in turn colored her cheeks a lovely pink. Once the boys in her class discovered her hair was pretty much a giant chalk-like crayon they all patted or rubbed her head on the way past her. Pretty soon the entire classroom had pink spots, smears, etc. all over the place. Momma brought a cupcake cake for all of them to share after lunch, and juice for everyone. She was the hero of the day, but Cassie was the star. On the way home Cassie said, "Momma, I want my hair dyed with the stuff that doesn't rub off." So, of course, we acquired the necessary equipment and proceeded to dye Cassie's hair PINK. I have included documentary evidence. ;) We really have no idea how long it will last, but it wasn't all that hard to apply. Cassie was very patient in spite of the fact 6-year-olds don't enjoy sitting still wrapped in plastic wrap for 1/2 hour while the dye soaks in.

My friend Jeremiah, upon reading the title of my post about this on Facebook asked, "ooh.. new RPG video game? I want pre-order info!"

I told him, "LOL, sure Jeremiah!! That'll be $49.95 (isn't that the going rate?) LOL, just check out the photos hun ;)"

To which he replied, "Yup!! can I download it straight from a site? LOL"

So I told him, "Will have to get my daughter and son-in-law to write the code first LOL"

As you can see I take myself seriously, I really hope you will also. Of course Cassie also told me, "Grandma, for my birthday I want to get pink dye and you get purple dye and we will both have pink and purple stripes." She also asked if I could do hers and she could do mine. LOL

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Holiday blur

That is the best description of the past month, a blur, confusion, fun, festivities, family, the usual holiday insanity in short. We planned our family gathering for Christmas eve, with as little last minute cooking as possible so Tess could have a good time, too. She and I made a last minute trip in search of the perfect gift for Cassie. When I say last minute I mean the 23rd, and really a last ditch effort to find what Cassie had asked for. This was sandwiched in between sewing on wild "rave" style legwarmers and kitty ears for the older girls, Athena and their cousin Kat, and making a custom marble pouch for my son-in-law Eric. Tess and I had been trying to figure out where and how to find a "bike" for Cassie. Those of you who read my blog realize Cassie is a paraplegic, so a bike she could ride without using her legs was crucial. We searched hand-powered bike for kids online and eventually found a forum where someone else with a child with Spina Bifida had been told about something called a PlasmaCar. On their website was a link for finding where you could buy them "locally." Well, there was a toy shop listed within 20 miles of us, of course they didn't have one anymore. So the next closest place (roughly 70 miles away) was a cute little toy shop in Albany, Frogs and Pollywogs.
We got lucky, the store had a PlasmaCar available, one, only one. AND they were kind enough to hold it for us after hearing our dilemma. It took us about an hour to leave town, and another nearly two hours to get there, but it was worth the drive. The smile on Cassie's face on Christmas eve was worth all of it.

Was our celebration perfect? Was it a festival of fun, food and family? The answer to that is a resounding YES!!!