Friday, November 27, 2015

I Forgot To Tell You

Zach has six actual socks right now. Not even six pairs. Literally, six socks. He's been in this sock size for three years. At the time, we got him about 30 pairs. I did that knowing he'll be in this sock size for a few years. I didn't want to have the same sock issues I have with his father. Apparently, that was unavoidable.

He's known for a while that he's short on socks. If he said something, I would have gotten him more socks. I even has a pack in my hand in front of him a couple of weeks ago. I put it back saying "Nah, he has plenty of socks". He didn't say a word.

We throw them out as they get holes in them. He's also lost some. It's reasonable that he needs new socks. It's not reasonable that he expects me to just know that. Of course I came to this revelation on the night before Thanksgiving. We don't shop on black weekend. We used to work retail on black weekend at a place that sold toys. I'm not going to do the black weekend nightmare for a pack of socks.

He's gonna have to wait until Wednesday. Why Wednesday? Because we grocery shop on Monday and have the holiday shop at school on Tuesday. Mixed in with other things. There simply isn't a time sooner. So he goes one more week with three pairs of socks.

Josh does this too. Josh will offer to do and fold laundry when he knows there is at least one sock with a hole in the laundry basket. I always find out about his need for socks. But he's always down to four pairs when I do! Why does he expect me to know at all times if he needs new socks, jeans, underwear or sneakers?

Why does Zach ALSO expect me to just know when he needs new things too? I can't just know, you have to tell me. If they told me before it became a big problem, I could shop sales. That saves a lot of money.

Josh used to do that with groceries. Things like his shower stuff. We have an excel spreadsheet. We highlight in yellow what we need, orange to check the sales, green if we normally check the sales but have a lot of, and blue if I have a coupon for it. Hardly anything was in orange. But I got tired of him being completely out of deodorant and it not being on sale that week. So now that sheet is almost all yellow and orange. If it's on a good sale, it's in the apartment later that day!

It's one thing I appreciate about my dad. He lets my Mom know when things are running low. Because of that, she saves a lot of money shopping sales and using coupons. I'm happy to make sure my guys have these basic necessities, but I need to know about it before it gets critical.

Josh wears jeans and sneakers to work. He goes through the jeans and sneakers very quickly. He can't have them be in poor condition at work. He needs to look professional. I can't make sure he looks his best for work if he's forgetting to tell me when he needs something replaced.

When Zach was a lot younger I put out his cloths for him. I had a good feel for what he had and what he needed. Now, his drawers are unorganized and he chooses his cloths himself each day. He has a laundry basket in his room that his cloths don't always make it in. It's possible he didn't tell me because he didn't know he was short on socks.

He's always wearing socks. It wasn't until Wednesday night when we were doing laundry that we found out. I decided to count how many socks he actually has. I only found two socks in the wash!
With starting out with so many pairs I thought he'd at least still have six pairs.

 "If you see something, say something" is generally good advice. It's not just about calling police over anything suspicious. If you see something that is wearing out, say something before it's unusable! It's officially the holiday shopping season. Chances are that underwear, pants, shoes, and/or socks are on sale now. If you say it now, it's a lot cheaper then if you say something on January 2nd. It might not have a hole yet, but you can see the rip forming. Speaking up now is better then waiting until that hole is there and the jeans can't be worn.

Yes, that's an actual example! Josh's sneaker history would require it's own blog post. If I'm drinking wine when typing it, it would be a funny blog post too. Like father, like son, "Mommy, I forgot to tell you..................................".

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Complicated Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. That makes this year's post very hard to write. I've already covered the following:

1. Anger over stores being open
2. Traditions
3. History of Thanksgiving (which every adult American recites in their sleep on Thanksgiving-eve because we've heard it so much).

I've been asking myself, "what's new to say?" Most Thanksgiving traditions are similar. I thought about posting recipes for our Thanksgiving foods. Then I remember that no one cares when I post recipes on this blog. The only recipe that was popular was my Lo-So Pasta Vinaigrette recipe. That was popular in France. We all have our own recipes for favorite holiday meals. My Mom's are basic. They are good if it's your first time hosting Thanksgiving. But their OUR family recipes, not yours.

That led to another train of thought. Recently, I have considered going to cooking school. I could never handle actually being a professional chef. But, I think it would be a fun experience. It's hard for me to experience stuff. Life is scary. Experiences are scary. What if the kitchen for the cooking class is on the second floor or higher? I needed a note from a Psychologist to get my college classes in classrooms I could get to. A kitchen isn't a generic classroom. You can move a Human Resources class. Not a cooking class.

I'll talk about how it's the first Thanksgiving Josh is working. Luckily, he'll be done in time for dinner. I don't mind grocery stores being open on Thanksgiving. Target and Kohl's have no excuse. But, food is a major part of Thanksgiving. I can understand grocery stores being open for a while.

Perhaps my "what to say" dilemma shows one of the many reasons Thanksgiving is my favorite. Routine is comfort for someone with OCD. Traditions are comfort. I enjoy it because I know what to expect. I know who will be there without asking. I know what the food will be without asking. It's one of the few things that are predictable in my life right now. I need that!

There is this graphic on facebook that reminds people that there is no point to posting pictures of your Thanksgiving dinner. For the most part, we're eating the same thing. But that's not completely true. I'd like to see pictures of those special sides. I've talked about ours, Stuffed Mushrooms. These are the sides that are unique to your table. Most of us have Turkey, cranberry, rolls/bread, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Usually, there is also some form of green bean casserole. It's the other stuff that are special sides.

I guess we all have something complicated about Thanksgiving. A person that you have to be nice to but don't actually like. Food you are expected to eat but don't actually like. A stressful trip. Having to be apart from your family's celebration. Making conversation with someone you have nothing in common with. There will be at least one awkward moment.

My biggest complication is the tip toe talk. I'm quirky and proud of it! I haven't accomplished much and I sense I'm done accomplishing all I'm going to accomplish. There won't be another kid, a house, or a job promotion. The next big moment in my life will be death. I would be a very boring person without my quirks. I'm a literal and honest person. I can't talk about religion and politics with many people. Those I can talk about these things with are calming to be around. So what does an honest and literal person add to a polite conversation?

At the moment, "I'm thinking about going to cooking school". Not a night class thing. The cooking school for soon-to-be professionals. Of course, I stop making sense when the next question is "why?" I tend not to make sense without giving too much information. I don't do subtle. I've tried. It didn't work. So blunt, honest, and literal it is!

Luckily, one relative that's coming crochets. Instant safe topic! We can only talk about how big Zach is for about an hour. After talking about my cousin's last year of college, it's on to work talk. I'm out of that conversation. We could make a drinking game out of the food compliments though. That's only a good idea if we can all stay over. My Mom is a REALLY good cook!

Friday, November 20, 2015

To Protect Or Reject: Syrian Refugees

I've liked the Occupy Democrats page on facebook. Lately, they have been making some good points.

1. You can't want to reject Syrian refugees if you've ever said the sentence "All lives matter!"

2. Why do conservatives believe outlawing gun violence won't prevent gun violence but outlawing abortion will prevent abortions?

3. We don't blame Christianity when someone like Dylan Roof shoots down African American worshipers in South Carolina. We don't blame Christianity when an abortion doctor is gunned down. So why blame Muslims for ISIS?

4. The real enemy isn't Muslims or Christians, or Judaism, or Atheism, it's extremism.

5. Republican Party 101: They love the fetus, starve the child. They love the soldier, abandon the vet,
They love the corporation, rape the worker. They love the bible, ignore the verses. Any Questions?

6. Picture of George Bush saying: It's Obama's fault that I invaded the wrong country on false Intel and handed him a middle east on fire.

There are more but they all have me thinking. Should we let the 10,000 refugees into the country or not? Bottom line. Obama isn't doing nothing to ISIS. He's drone bombing them like crazy. Declaring war is a whole other step. That would legitimize ISIS. They want that.

Bottom line on the refugees? There are a lot of other ways terrorists can enter the country without being accepted as a refugee. It's the same argument gun rights people use. "People would still get guns illegally. If they wanted one, they'd get one." Terrorists who want to be here and wreak havoc will find a way to do it.

Which brings me to a side note. I always wonder why suicide bombers just do it. They never say to the person telling them it's a wonderful thing "then why aren't YOU willing to die? Why aren't YOU the one wearing a bomb?"

Yes, in 10,000 people there are probably a small number who if not are terrorists yet are at risk for becoming terrorists. I do support the NSA monitoring all refugees and some sort of check before accepting the refugees. Having every director of every major federal agency having to personally sign off on each one is foolish. They are too busy to thoroughly verify the file in front of them. They are more likely to robo sign and take the risk. That's not doing it right.

The refugees are looking to avoid dying. We are so far removed from what their lives are like. We have become a selfish society. It's not right to reject ALL of them. We aren't tossing out the Christian terrorists in the country already. That group includes Westboro Baptist Church among many others.
They are just as harmful as Muslim extremists. But there will be Muslim extremists in there so we have to have a way to figure out who they are.

All lives do matter. Why is a fertilized egg more valued then a starving one year old? Why are Christian terrorists treated better then Syrian refugees? Do conservatives really think that they will keep terrorists out of American by refusing Syrian refugees? That's stupid!

Friday, November 13, 2015

With Each Stitch

It's been about a year since I started attempting to teach myself how to crochet. It's been four months since I learned how to actually do it correctly. It's also been three months since I learned how to knit. I know I'm doing it right because this time I have two excellent teachers! With each stitch I have learned a few things.

1. I now know how to do about the same amount of things for both knitting and crocheting. I actually find myself in the mood for one craft or the other sometimes. I didn't think they were this different.

2. Early on, I wasn't certain how to know what craft to do for which project. I am finding that naturally works itself out. Example, I crocheted Fall, December, January, February, Spring, and Snow hats for myself. But, crochet leads to more very small holes in the project. It still will keep me warm, but I worried about the frigid days. I am making a hat with heavier yarn. I decided to knit this one because knitting doesn't have tiny holes in stitches. It's also an opportunity to learn how to make the pompon.

3. Once I start you almost have to pry the hook or needles out of my hands. It helps that I work on multiple projects in a day (see 5)! Luckily, most of them I can do while talking to someone or watching TV. These are the mindless projects.

4. These projects have become sources of comfort for me. Having a project with me helps. Even if it's just in my backpack at my feet. I need that. On the most stressful days, time for these projects makes a difference!

5. OCD makes this interesting. I have 3 crochet projects and 2 knit projects going. I keep thinking of what to do next to avoid a break between projects. Then I can't stop myself from starting them.


A. Travel project: Blanket for Josh, sewn together squares in a Granny Style but no accents inside which is typical of granny squares.

B. Ripple lapghan for me: I started this project to practice a ripple. I will be making myself a full ripple blanket soon. I wanted to get the stitch right. I work on it a little but mostly stopped it when I started Zach's blanket.

C. Zach's stripe blanket: 40" out of 70" is complete. It's a stripe pattern with tassels. It's a great opportunity to learn how to make tassels.


A. Squares for a checkerboard blanket: I'd like to give this to my parents. But they don't want me to make them things. So this is another blanket for us. It's grape and navy with a soft yarn. Maybe they'll change their minds when it's done!

B. The Bulky Hat: The yarn I made the other hats with is an average weight for hats. But, as I think of those bone chill single digit days I wanted something heavier. It requires more then just a row of the same stitch used in the blanket squares. I'm enjoying the challenge.

I get something out of each stitch. I'm a long way from completing all of these projects. But the challenges they all bring make me happy. Busy hands calm me. It's why I love cooking too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Seeing Red

I rarely drink coffee. When I have coffee, it's almost always made at home. That's why the red cup controversy confused me. It started a few days ago. I started seeing things all over facebook about conservatives being against Starbucks for making their holiday cup generic instead of Christmas themed.

Personally, I think Starbucks is doing the right thing. As the entire country is cloaked in red and green at this time of year, we can't forget that there are people in this country that don't celebrate Christmas. What Starbucks is doing is offering a compromise.

Making cups red are making things special for the holiday season. People who like the special version of everyday things should be able to appreciate the nice touch. But those who don't celebrate Christmas shouldn't feel isolated either. They aren't forced to drink from something with a wreath, ornaments, Santa, or candy canes on it. Even snowflakes and snowmen become a Christmas thing with red as the background.

I found that out when decoration hunting. I had to buy my January and Winter decorations around this time of year. I searched for a lot of clear, silver, blue, and/or white. Generic things like a snowman without a red and green scarf should have been easy to find. It wasn't. I eventually found what I needed, but it was almost impossible to find something without even a little red and green in it.

I'm sure there are a lot of people who consider themselves conservative that aren't offended by these cups. I haven't actually read anything by anyone who WAS upset about these cups. I see a lot defending these cups. But, I haven't seen anyone AGAINST the cups being just red. However, it's not just on facebook. CBS did a news story on it. I didn't see it, but I saw the commercial for it. So there are some religious extremists against them. I have stopped listening to religious extremists. They are toxic. Maybe that's why I was confused about why a red cup without a Christmas symbol was a big deal.

At the heart of this is the retail battle of the season. Do you say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays"! Religious extremists expect to hear "Merry Christmas". But someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas might be offended if they don't get a "Happy Hanukkah" instead. Some people only celebrate the new year. It's weird saying "Happy New Year" before Thanksgiving. I prefer "Happy Holidays" for two reasons.

1. Everyone in America celebrates  the New Year. Saying "Happy Holidays" applies to everyone. Even if they only celebrate the New Year, it's way less exclusionary then a specific holiday. No prejudice. No exclusions. If someone also celebrates another holiday, "Happy Holidays" covers that too.

2. We should be saying "Happy Thanksgiving" now anyway. "Happy Holidays" at least doesn't exclude Thanksgiving!

I understand that some people hate how commercial Christmas has become. I said it last year in my "Unforgettable Christmas" post. There are two Christmas'. A religious Christmas and a commercial Christmas. If you are very faithful, you want to keep Christmas as a religious holiday alone. It's one thing to not like it being called "Xmas". It's another to try to force the nativity, advent, and Angels on people who aren't that religious but enjoy the holiday.

It's a cup. In then end, it's the same thing inside it now that was in it in May when it was it's normal color. It's ironic to me that there are people that would rather pick a fight over a small thing like the lack of a Christmas symbol. Instead they should just enjoy all the good things this season has to offer. Instead of getting all heated up because there isn't a wreath on your coffee cup, look up and enjoy the wreaths hanging on doors. The real thing is better then a picture. A picture on something that is going to end up in the trash within a few hours anyway.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

This Is Disturbing, GM!

Last August, my Dad gave Josh his car. It's in my name, but that Buick Regal is what Josh drives. It's old, but it runs well. It technically still runs well. It just might ignite on fire within 5 minutes of the engine being turned off. But I didn't hear that officially from Buick or GM yet!

There is an article in about a recall. This wasn't the article, but it's the same recall.

After reading about this my anxiety kicked in. I went to the GM website. The had a link to Buick where I talked to a representative. After providing Josh's VIN number, they informed me of the following:

Yes, that car is being recalled. We don't have a remedy yet. We'll send a letter when there is a remedy. We don't know if it's safe to drive or not. You have to ask the mechanic at the dealer.

Flash to the next day when Josh called the dealer's service department:

I don't even know the recall you're talking about. Oh, there it is, in my email. I won't know if it's safe to drive until we get the remedy.

This is what could happen. A leak could form in the gas tank. If it does, thanks to erosion, it could burst into fire five to fifteen minutes after being turned off. That means anything near it could catch fire and people too close or in nearby structures could die.

No one has died yet. A couple of structures have burned down. But, damage overall has been minimal. So they take their time. Why do a large number of innocent people have to loose their lives for this to be taken seriously? Oh, right, lawsuits. There is no urgency if they aren't being sued for a lot of money. Frankly, a murder charge is more realistic in that scenario. They know people could die right now. It's a risk they are taking. It's murder if it happens.

But the court won't see it as murder. Corporations are human enough to force a religion on people. But not human enough to be properly punished for, say, the corporate version of a Ponzi scheme that ruined the economy. Or for not rushing to get dangerous vehicles off the road. That car is so old instead of a recall they should just offer a free upgrade!

Thanks to Hobby Lobby, businesses are people. That means they need to answer for their crimes just like people too. Not someone low on the ladder, but, the dumb ass who went for cheaper materials to help the profit margin. The inferior materials now risking lives.

That's disturbing but common. People's lives are in danger whenever they turn these cars on. But the makers aren't formally saying anything because they don't know how to fix it. Wouldn't the "remedy" be to replace the gas tank? We are in complete limbo before anything can be fixed. Yet Josh has to move quickly as soon as that engine is off. Great idea! take the dude with a hip replacement and make him run for his life whenever he gets to work or home from work.

Warning: don't leave an empty parking space next to you. Your car can burn if one of these ticking time bombs pulls next to you. Most owners don't know about this recall. We haven't gotten letters yet. So no one will do something different unless they read that article or this blog post. Even then, we don't know what to do! The last ignition recall simply said to not have other keys on the keychain. Okay, we can do that, but that's just too simple to work this time.

Zach used to ride in that car. After reading about this recall, we've changed things. Zach can only ride in my car. Josh only drives where absolutely necessary. At the pizza place his boss is letting him use the restaurant's truck. I drive everywhere else.

My main concern is that he has to start the car twice sometimes to get it going. That can't be a good sign when the recall has to do with an ignition problem!!! When exactly will this letter arrive? It could be Monday, It could be Monday, October 24, 2016.

It's disturbing that companies put lives in danger. They take their time announcing a recall. They take their time sending out the letters! They take their time forming a remedy. His car wasn't on any previous recalls. Neither was the GMC Envoy he used to drive. It seemed like they were the only two NOT recalled by GM!. So I'm not surprised now. But it's mostly disturbing that Buick and GM won't be held accountable for what happens in the time it's taking them to solve the problem. There is no hurry until enough people have suffered.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

You've Been "Ghosted"!!!

So there is this thing kids do usually at this time of year. The best way to explain it is a month long mischief night without illegal activity. They run to a friends door and leave candy and a note that says "You've been Ghosted (insert name of recipient here)". Then they ring the bell and run away. You can do it any time during the year but throughout October it's most popular.

A few years ago, I was walking with a neighbor when she was walking her dogs. We saw some middle school kids doing this and asked about it. I knew older elementary kids would be ghosting. But, I thought first grade was a little young. About a week ago, a couple of first grade parents were talking at pick up from school. They had taken their kids ghosting.

After that, I knew it was possible Zach would want to ghost. The addresses in our apartment complex are confusing. The parents in the class have our address. But, finding even our outside door can take a while. We usually tell expected guests to call when they get to the complex and we will walk them over. Only three classmates have been to our apartment. Only two are close enough to ghost. I didn't see Zach getting ghosted.

This morning, Zach asked if he could ghost those two friends. I included a girl that lives very close but has never been over in the ghosting preparations. While he was in school, I gathered candy. I got mini jack-o-lanterns from a party store too.

You are supposed to ghost in the evening but we did it around 4. The first friend wasn't home. The girl was second. The door opened and closed. The note was on the door but nothing was taken. So we went to the friend he's been playing with (mentioned in a previous post). THAT friend caught Zach. So they tried the girl who lives across the street from the second boy again. Without success, it was homework time. At about 7, when dinner was almost done cooking, Zach got ghosted.

The note on the package said "You've been ghosted by someone in (x)". The "x" stands for his grade and teacher. There are two first grades in his school. This narrowed it down to one of the kids in his specific class. The only one who's been here is the second boy he ghosted. The girl is in the class too. The first boy has the other teacher. It can't be him. I suspect it was the second boy.

But, it could be the girl. Zach wasn't subtle with hiding. They do have our address in the class list. Her house borders the apartment complex. She may not have been here. But, she might know how to read the addresses. She can't be ruled out completely.

It was a fun thing to participate in. I loved watching Zach's face while he did it. With both boys, we included their sisters. Zach plays with the sister of the first boy sometimes too. She's older and has gotten ghosted herself from classmates. The other boy has a two year old sister. I didn't want her to be left out.

I like this a lot better then mischief night. You aren't making extra work for someone. It's a nice surprise. It's also fun to guess who ghosted you. It's easy to get left out of house traditions when you live in an apartment. It's easy to get forgotten. I'm glad that Zach was included on both ends of this.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Year 2 of 13

As Zach was graduating from preschool in June of '13 I did a couple of blog posts on Graduation and transitions into Kindergarten. At the time, I said that K - 12 are the most important years of our lives. Before then, we are preparing for that time. After then, we make our decisions based of who we became during that time. Zach is in year 2 of the 13, first grade. Now that the year is more settled, I have seen the changes.

Last year, I let him play in the front after school. He got out at 12:30. Now, he's in school all day. He'll play in the front for a little bit, then he moves to the playground in the back. He plays with who's there. On average he plays for 45 minutes after school. He plays with kids of all ages. He plays like the boys played when I was in elementary school.

It's not just at school. There are a couple of friends real close to us that he plays with. For one of them, we have been able to see him playing in his yard from our apartment. That's how close this kid lives to us. They are friends now. So sometimes there will be a knock on the door. 12 year olds play with them too sometimes time. They play until dinner when homework is done. As long as there aren't any after school activities.

Raise your hand if you had a friend like that when you were in the most important 13 years of your life:

**********hand goes up high***********

Tonight there is a family activity at his school. We are going. We went last year and it was fun. After hearing we are going, a couple of friends asked about it. It's going to be fun for everyone. It's the kind of thing that makes this town so special.

We don't have busing in this town. This means parents are more likely to know each other. More likely to know the adult in charge for play dates. Kids are more likely to walk home together. For some kids, they only get to play with certain friends after school before it's time to leave. So they get that energy out.

When I take Zach to his tutoring, it's at the middle school. You can clearly see a large number of kids hanging out playing on the grass out front. Others, are playing basketball on the court in the back of the school. It's like what they did in elementary school but without the parent supervision. They are in years 6 - 9 of the most important 13 years of their lives. The games and topics of conversations are very different, but some things haven't change.

He's in year 2 of the most important 13 years of his life. His life now is very close to what mine was like at his age. I love watching the changes he's experienced since school started. He's developing those friendships with staying power. Some will fade after high school graduation. Some will stick most if not all of his life. In the meantime, "send him home when your mom calls you in for dinner."

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Missing Garden

In past gardening seasons I have talked about my garden at least a little. I realized today it has been a very long time since I did a garden post. That's because the garden has been a casualty of Josh's layoff.

Zach got me a mum plant for my birthday a month ago. My Mom treated me to mums on Friday. Finally, it looks like MY garden!!!!! There hasn't been much to blog about this year because there hasn't been much in the garden.

I had pansies in the Spring along with hyacinths, tulips, and daffodils. I don't know if I can afford pansies next spring but there won't be any hyacinths, tulips or daffodils. That's because they are bulb flowers you plant now in our area. With such a tight budget I decided they aren't worth it this year.

It might be exciting to watch them sprout. But they don't bloom until just before I get the marigolds anyway. Marigolds and possibly pansies will be fine. I had daisies in the spring. If I can, I'll get them too. But with our current budget my goal is enough for our regular marigold display. Zach would need two and I would need four. As for mums next year, that might not happen. Just like it almost didn't happen this year.

I'm also hoping to get a whole-season plant for the pot by the stairs. What I mean by whole-season plants are those annuals that come out in early May and last until the frost. They are there for almost the whole gardening season. They are also my best bet to have some garden even on a tight budget. It helps that they are usually $2 each and we still have 8 - 10 bags of potting soil in the garage.

What also helps is all the perennials I planted last year and the year before. They might not flower for that much of the season, but at least they are pretty!!! I love my annuals for their long-term blooms. But perennials mean there will always be a garden even with a very tight budget.

I miss my garden. I still care for what's there, but I wasn't able to plant as much this year. I LOVE planting! Not just anyone's flowers, but my own. To a Gardener, there is something special about planting something you know you will be the one to care for.

There are a few plants I have removed from the garden plan for the future. These are the plants I didn't miss this year. I'd rather have the budget go towards crochet and knitting things. When I get that budget back, eventually.

Josh and I have been talking about his job situation. Where is he happiest? What are his strongest skills? We came to one conclusion. Retail might have sucky hours and even suckier pay, but it's where he's happiest and where his skills are the most appreciated.

It is possible to make a reasonable amount it retail. He even has the experience for it now. It's about the right job in the right company. I asked him to research places before sending a resume. No "open on Thanksgivings" unless they are a grocery store. "Open 24 hours" are physically too much for him too.

It's his Customer Service skills. He LOVES helping people find what they need. He loves learning about new people and interacting with customers. I suggested he design a resume highlighting those skills. It's a talent a lot of places look for. It might be our ticket back to budgetary balance too. I said in a recent blog post that God makes these very bad phases last two years. It's been about one year. Now we are working out how to get where God wants us a year from now. Hopefully, that includes a lot more planting!!!

I miss my garden. It looks sad this year. Thank God for my decorations!!! It fills the emptiness. I didn't realize how badly I need those mums until I had my hands in the soil with my legs wrapped around the pot. It's a spiritual experience for me. When I am planting flowers, I become a completed puzzle. I am literally and figuratively the most grounded at that time, in that moment. I have always thought the garden in general was a necessary expense. But when we had to make more cuts, I was willing to compromise. I realized it was necessary to at least scale down the size of my garden.

What did I learn for that scale back? That some of what I planted I'm better off not getting. But that two flowers I absolutely can't live without................literally.................are Marigolds and Mums. Just seeing either of them eases my anxiety. I felt fine most of the season. Because I had my Marigolds. Then September hit, when I usually start getting mums. THAT was a game changer. Thanks to my Mom, I am myself again. I am exploring how necessary pansies are. They only come out a month before the marigolds. I am weighing if I can make it that month. I'm currently leaning to "not at all, they are Spring winning the fight against a stubborn Winter every year!!!!!"

It's a reset. In our first year in this apartment, we only had Marigolds and Mums. I have other flowers this year. But in October of 2007 we only had decorations, Marigolds and Mums in the main garden. Today, we only have decorations, Marigolds, and Mums in the main garden. Back then, I literally based the rest of the garden plan around them. Now, I find myself doing the same. I also find myself asking God for a lot of answers. It seems like God speaks to me through my garden. It's where all the signs are. .

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Zach's Frustration

Zach is struggling to learn how to read. He's one of the youngest in his class. Developmentally, he's actually not that far behind where he should be. But the frustration makes me want to cry. He's struggling like I did. Just in a different way.

The classroom books are in letters. He's on letter C. Most of his class is on higher level books. He notices. Sometimes he doesn't even want to try because he feels he'll never catch up. Other times, he works hard to get it right. He's memorized some words, but sometimes has trouble sounding out words.

His teacher is excellent with encouraging him. The town recommend he try this tutoring program for ten weeks. In June they tested at-risk kids and thought this would benefit him. Only 8 kids per time slot got in. The first 8 with the paperwork submitted. I delivered it to the Board of Ed office on the day it was in the mailbox.

Select teachers in town got into a special class run through a NJ college on the Orton-Gillingham method for phonics and spelling. This tutoring is part of that class. His classroom teacher was one of them. His tutor is a different teacher in town though. His classroom teacher was very happy to hear he is in this program. She strongly feels that this will make a difference for him. He's also been tested by a Reading Specialist at school. It's likely he'll need her. But not confirmed yet. We both feel this will help him too.

He's a stubborn kid. He wants to be able to do everything. He has days where he's unwilling to do things he struggles with. Because he doesn't think he'll succeed at them with practice. Other days, he works hard to figure things out.

I do what I can to help and comfort him. But he needs to figure these things out. He needs to learn how to deal with not knowing how to do some things and disappointment. It's painful to watch. But it's a necessary life skill.

It's good to catch the reading trouble now. Reading is so much a part of every subject starting in the third grade. It will effect his overall school success if he continues to be behind in reading. All I ever ask from him is that he try his best. Sometimes, he tries so hard he throws the book down on the bed and cries. But Mommy is here to hold him.

Last week, he was crying and kept trying to run away from the school the tutoring class was held at. It was the first day. Today is the second class. He's mad at me for making him take the class now. When he's older, he'll thank me for it. But for now, it's a frustrating struggle he needs to work through. It's painful to watch when it's just too much and/or too hard for him.