Thursday, May 28, 2015

Apraxia, blah blah blah

Hi. Wow. It's been a while, huh. And this will also be a lame short entry. 

Don't have the full report yet, but we did neuropsych testing on Nea again. She's nearly 11 now. The last time was four years ago, in first grade. Since she's about to go to middle school, it's that time again. And we will do it again in high school, sophomore year, to make sure her accommodations will be current for college.

Short version: working memory is still a big issue. She also has vision tracking problems, which no doubt are apraxia-related. Should have gone to that seminar I skipped. Damn. Contacting the people I know who ran that, though, so I hope to obtain a copy of the presentation. Or at least some names of decent eye doctors.

Another thing on the summer's to-do list: get a better hearing test for Nea. Have the name of an audiologist recommended by a friend. 

The party never stops. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy House-versary

Gosh, well, happy new year. That’s a bit embarrassing. I’ve been, um, busy.

So, 14 years ago we bought this house. It was almost a 100 years old at the time. Now it’s well over. It was built in 1908 or 1910, depending on which source you believe. We are finally getting to the point where all the work N does on it is “nice to have” instead of “really, this needs to happen.” We had a visitor come look at the house recently. He grew up here with his 8 brothers and sisters, and a cousin who stayed for a few years.

I felt a bit bad. There’s little left of the original layout. The floor is mostly original downstairs. None of the original closets or stairs remain. His parents came by maybe 10 years ago, so we’d heard some of the history already. They lived here 30 years, from the 1960s to the 1990s. We’ve had other former owners (from earlier) come by, too. It’s a house that inspires loyalty, it would seem. Certainly the garden has undergone at least as much change, too. It had hardly anything when we arrived. Just a few large trees, a couple lilacs. Not much else.

Anyway. If you would like some stylish shoes like these, here’s how to get them. Buy an old house. Work on it constantly for years. Wear the shoes a lot. And that’s about it.

Yes, I did take this photo last summer. When there was grass. It's not like I don't have blog ideas. I just don't seem to prioritize the time to write.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book hoarding

I know about real hoarding. I’ve seen the TV shows. More personally, I know a woman who deals with real hoarding at her mother’s houses (there are two). The attempts to clear out one house and get it on the market. The citations from the village. One house condemned. Fix it up before the village tears it down. Hoarding spilling into the yard. It’s painful just to hear the stories. They did eventually find the body of the cat they knew had died several years ago. But the struggle never ends, because apparently it’s very difficult to cure hoarding behavior.

Then there’s pet hoarding, which is awful. Our guinea pig rescue group just took in 50 pigs from one such situation. They aren’t well socialized, so they are hard to find homes for.
Hoarding in my family is much more manageable. My mom has 50 or 60 jars of jam in the basement at any given time. Nice, tidy hoarding.

My hoarding centers around books. I finally went around and did a rough count in our house, out of curiosity. I did get rid of a few hundred children’s books last summer, so that helped a little. Plus we have two Little Free Libraries within walking distance, so sometimes I can stick a few books in there. Granted, sometimes I have to bring a new one home, too. It’s only fair.
Starting upstairs, Boo is a minimalist and a big re-reader, so she only has her 50 favorites in her room. Nea is a bit of a hoarder of everything, plus she’s the downstream book-catcher from the older sibling, so no surprise that she has circa 650.

The master bedroom has 175 in a bookshelf, and 130 on the floor/nightstand. Yes, that looks just as well-organized as it sounds.
Ok, so we have a couple book-free rooms. The sunroom and dining room have none. There are only 5 of the most used cookbooks in the kitchen. The other cookbooks are in the living room, with the gardening books and some kid books. Total living room – about 450.

There’s some board and early childhood books I couldn’t bring myself to give away, boxed up in the basement. Let’s say 300.

And that leaves the study. N finished these bookshelves awhile back. There’s books in the cabinets underneath, too, where the board games were supposed to go. Yup. That’s another 1260 or so.

Grand total? Just under 3000 books, roughly. That’s in the realm of normal. Right?
Oddly, I find myself at the library at least weekly.

I did some navel gazing not too long ago and decided that my need to be surrounded by books appeals to my most optimistic and pessimistic hopes and fears.
Best case scenario: I live a life of leisure and have time to read for hours a day!

Worst case scenario: society collapses, and all technology is lost. It’s not safe outside and hurrah! Nothing to do but read all day and wait for the end! See, now where will all you e-book types be then, huh? That’s right. Pillaging the library, fighting over Danielle Steele and Louis L’Amour paperbacks. Ha. Suckers.

Friday, October 24, 2014

bookie book talk

I'm not sure why I get so much pleasure out of this, but look! My library books match what I claim I'm reading, visible to you on the left.

Guess which one is for my work book club. Nope. Wrong. Guess which one is for my best-ever book club. OK, you may have gotten that one right. Maybe.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Kale Salad

A fine late-season salad, from my friend Beth. I know kale is ├╝ber trendy right now, but try this salad. It's super good.
Kale Salad
1 bunch of kale - curly is best
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. roasted sunflower seeds
salt & pepper to taste
2 T olive oil
1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
2 T honey
Cut kale away from stalk and chop finely. Toss kale in bowl with cranberries & sunflower seeds. Drizzle olive oil first, then add salt & pepper. Mix well. Then drizzle honey & lemon on salad and again, mix well. The more you mix, the softer the salad.
Beth says, "I sometimes make this salad on Sunday and eat it all week at lunch. It never gets soggy."

this image is from here

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Raising Monarchs

Say hello to Owen

Sometimes new hobbies just show up overnight, don’t they? There was discussion on Facebook about finding and raising monarchs, and I was bemoaning how I planted some milkweed two years ago and still hadn’t found any. Next thing I know, a friend drops two caterpillars off, and she and I find two more in my garden immediately. Then I found a bunch more. Then I gave some to friends to raise, since I figure if you are trying to save a species from extinction, you should definitely recruit members to your cause.
If you’d like to learn more, I highly recommend this book: How to raise monarch butterflies: a step-by-step guide for kids by Carol Pasternak.

Here’s who we found, in order of appearance in our lives:
  • Owen
  • Rosie (taken by the Nash family)
  • Daisy (taken by the Slusher family)
  • Sophie-Robert
  • Izzy (taken by the Long family)
  • Smally
  • Junior One
  • Junior Two
  • Stuccy
  • Beanie (Raised himself outside. Made a chrysalis on our bean teepee. Given to my dad as a birthday present.)
  • Buck
  • Timber
  • Flash
  • California (from an egg!)
  • Johnny Test (also from an egg! Born today!)

Junior One, Junior Two, and Stuccy
And a swallowtail named Ziggy. Still in chrysalis at press time. Rescued off some dying dill in my garden.
It’s amazing how quickly they grow up. From a tiny egg-dot to a caterpillar almost the size of your little finger in two weeks. At that point they eat around the clock and can finish off one and a half milkweed leaves a day! And those are big leaves. Then another 10-14 days in a chrysalis and VIOLA (ha), a butterfly that’s ready to party.

Beanie, cleverly hiding among the pole beans. That's him in the green with golden accents.

So go plant some milkweed. The flowers are pretty and smell nice and will attract all sorts of strange insects you’ve never seen in your garden before. Surely you have a bit of room behind the garage?

 Bon Voyage, Sophie-Robert!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Reading with apraxia

So, Nea is 10 now. She's having a great year at summer school (ESY). Finally a teacher who is teaching! He's reading real literature with them and introducing new concepts. He's doing fractions and teaching them about improper fractions using visual representations. Then he made some YouTube videos to show us parents what that means! Unbelievable.
This is, shockingly, Nea's 7th year in ESY (we skipped last year because we were traveling). And it's the first year I'm not disgusted with what a waste of time it is. She has always enjoyed going, though, and she gets a little speech therapy every week (45 minutes, half of her school year IEP amount), so we kept sending her.

At home we've been reading Junie B. Jones, gearing up for a book club with Nea's best friend, who lives across the street. Nea is reading chapter books! There was great rejoicing! And she's very excited about book group. Let me just tell you, when your friend helps motivate your child to read, that's the best kind of friend. Thank you, Beth! You are a gem.

Some people don't like Junie B. Jones books because they are written in the voice of a kindergartener with poor grammar. Poor past tense verbs, etc. What gets me is that the teacher doesn't know the difference between "good" and "well." So annoying. But if we weren't reading this book, I wouldn't know how well Nea understands adverbs! So instead of reading what the book says ("So listen very careful."), Nea reads, "So listen very carefully." And my heart sings.