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Yesterday was just great!

I was dreading ti in a way, because I just really needed a day off, where I didn't have to drive anyone anywhere, etc.

But we had a social trip to the Birmingham Art Museum planned with the AYANA group, and Mat was going to meet us there, and Rhiannon was going to catch a ride back home with us.

We all met in a parking lot to arrange vehicles, and Shelby wanted to ride in a van with a couple of the other young people who'll talk cartoons and sing with him.  In fact, if there's any other option, Shelby wants to ride with anybody else but me.  Different's always better, as far as company (audience) goes, Shelby's world.

That meant that Rhiannon and I got to talk and catch up while Thomas worked on Physics homework for the 90 minute drive.  That was nice.

Everyone met up at a B'ham Shoney's (all you can eat breakfast buffet until 2pm on the weekends!) and eating and more talking ensued.  It was really good to get to talk to the other moms, especially since our monthly meeting was one of the things I missed last Thursday.

Meet again at the almost completely empty museum and tour around for hours and hours.  There was something going on at the colosseum and it was the first beautiful day we've had in forever, so there were only a hand full of people there besides us.  That was great in that we got to see wat we wanted when we wanted, no one in front of us, etc.  It was bad in that the museum guards had nothing to do but follow us around and remind us that even just pointing at something in a picture was forbidden, if our finger got to within 12 inches, and since they were so present, that meant about 2 feet, and I just kept getting warnings.  Mind you I never actually got within 12 inches, let alone actually touched anything!  But it was fun and enlightening anyway.  i love to go to museums with Rhiannon, because she's very knowledgeable about art and history, and religion, and she doesn't mind answering questions, and doesn't treat you like an idiot when she answers them.  Also, she and I like to really study the stuff, not just trot through a room glancing at the shiny stuff.  Most of our group left about 3:30, after some group photos, but our family of five closed the place down at 5pm.

Over to Mat & Rhi's for Physics homework! Thomas's teacher uses an online system, which makes it possible to give weird deadlines like 11pm Saturday.  Thomas was having trouble with one, and needed Mat's help anyway, so they got that one almost done when the rest of us mutinied and insisted on food.

Since I was paying, we went to an amazing Chinese restaurant.  Not buffet.  We got way too much food, so lunch today will also be fabulous.  And we had live music!  A young lady playing something stringed, that was as long as a piano (and lay out on a table in front of her), strummed like a harp, had maybe 8 strings?  And makes traditional sounding Chinese music.  Gu Qin? Very nice.

Eventually we all waddled back to the kids', where Thomas finished up the Physics, and Mat begged for someone to play games until Shelby agreed to play chess.  Even with Mat helping Shelby, that was over in five moves.  Then Parcheesi, which took longer, but still Mat won.  By that time Thomas was through, so they all three played some card game called munchkins, which is all new, and apparently aimed satirically at both Magic and D&D.  It was hysterical just to listen to. And of course, even though Thomas gave him a good run for his money, Mat won.  Then they played three rounds of some smash brothers video game, and the big news was that Thomas won a round.  Of course, Mat won the other two.  Now you can guess why Mat has to beg people to play games with him.  He wins.  Irritatingly consistently.  No matter what the game, and often even if you've been playing for years and this is his second game!  But since the games were raucous and fast moving, and Shelby's a good sport, and Thomas knows he's just playing Mat to see how long he can hold out, everyone had a good time.

Of course, by the time I got some coffee in me and called a halt to the games it was nearly 1am, which meant I wasn't in bed until almost 3am.  But I got 6 hours of that really good kind of sleep that you get when you're really tired from an excellent and happy day.  So I got up at a decent hour and feel just fine.  The teenagers, of course, both slept until noon and are dragging around here like bears disturbed from hibernation.  wimps.
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Okay, this is just sinful.  There is no just no other word for it.  I went out tonight with all the kids to a Mexican Restaurant. Mat graced me with his presence for a while today.  It was wonderful.  We got all caught up.  Then he went over to get Rhiannon, and Thomas and Shelby and I met them at a local Mexican Restaurant.  It was much too tasty.  I believe that my stomach is actually distended.  Somewhere after the sopapilla, when I was trying to enjoy my second Dos Equis, I realized that I was full in a way I'd never been full in my life.   I just knew that if I tried to send one more sip down my throat, chaos and destruction would ensue.  I had to abandon 2/3rds of a beer just sitting on the table.  No one but Rhiannon was old enough to drink it in public, and she's just not the beer type. 

So now I'm sitting here, miserable, and almost asleep, because I stayed up until 3am last night reading Fledgling.  An interesting Vampire mythology so far.  I'm not sure if I loveit or not.  I've read about half the book.  It's written in a pretty simplistic, first person POV.  The narrator is supposed to be a 53 year old vampire "child" who's been severely injured and thus remembers nothing before waking up trying to heal.  Thus the simplistic style.  Like I say, interesting, but I'm not sure if it's one I'll keep.

ETA:  I just realized that with tags like 'sin' and 'vampire' this entry should be a lot more exciting than it is!
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Turned out to just be mostly long and boring.  (Should have made Min pick me up on her way to DragonCon. *g*) 

Mark left Friday morning for "Pupfest" --a caving/camping outing every Labor Day instituted by a caver named, you guessed it, "Pup".  It's a big thing, peole come from 3 or 4 states, and one flew in from Canada. And he didn't get back until late Monday, and I just missed him horribly.   More than I anticipated.  We're usually just fine for a few days apart (remember I spent a good deal of the summer in TN), but this time, even tho Thomas was here, I just felt lonely.  Maybe it was the last straw for too many days spent apart this summer.  Appearantly, he missed me too, because the highlight of the holiday was Monday night, just the two of us.

And I didn't just sit around all weekend.  I was busy doing "fun" stuff, it just wasn't distracting enough.

On Saturday, Thomas got me up fairly early for a Saturday.  I'd mumbled something the day before about bookstore.... So we spent the day doing the "girlfriend" thing (if your girlfriend is a geek).  Best Buy, Hobby Lobby, Barnes & Noble, The Fret Shop (they sell violins, etc.). 

And in the middle somewhere, we ate out at a little restaurant called the "Wild Flour Bistro" which was not what I was expecting, and way more expensive than I was expecting, but what the heck.  I thought it would be a little specialty cafe, maybe feature bread products, or not, sort of like The Atlanta Bread Company, but not a chain.  But it was very fancy, real table cloths, hovering waiters, and entrees like 'Rack of Lamb.'  We both had Prime Rib au jus (the special) and desserts. He had Keylime cheesecake, and I had a hot fudge and Grand Marnier sundae with pecans, real whipped cream, and a cherry.  I had both the house red wine (forgot the name) with dinner, and coffee with dessert.  Both were excellent.  you can tell oodles about a restaurant by the coffee.  And the bathroom was spotless.  I may get Mark to dress up and go with me sometimes.  

Thomas was embarrassed about being under-dressed, but I assured him that the restaurant experience just wasn't what it used to be, and most people would be causally dressed. And it was very early, so we were one of the first 2 parties there.  (I was "business casual" but he was just khakis and a Tee.) Not long after a group of four walked in with their shorts and tees, looking like they'd come straight from the yardwork.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not as much of a snob as that sounds.  I just come from a time when going to a restaurant was a treat, a special occasion, worth getting cleaned up for, not just something that happened 4 days a week because no on has time to cook.  And if you were going to (knowingly) pay those kinds of prices, dressing for the occasion makes it just that much more special, and worth the money.

And Sunday my older son graced us with his presence because he needed me to go to the phone store with him to get a replacement for the phone he'd broken.  I was glad to see him, and find out about classes this fall, etc.  I just wish he came for more reasons than need.  We all miss him.  And Rhiannon manages to find time to visit with her family.  It's difficult to watch him struggle with things that I could show him the easy way for, if he'd just ask.  And yes, I have to wait until he asks.  Remember how well you listened to all that unsolicited advice your parents gave you?  No matter how many times or how I say it, I can't convince him that independent does not mean the same thing as alone.  Far from it.  Knowing when and how to ask for help is a key part of achieving maturity. 

Mat spent a good amount of time complaining about money, and lack there of.   Which I'm NOT helping him with, since he's in financial straits because made a series of bad decisions that he'd been warned were not going to turn out well, and still insisted on. Ever since he was able to talk, my method of discipline was "natural consequences" because, turns out, that's Life's main teaching tool, as well.  I'm not going to just throw him to the wolves, and he knows that.  He knows that if it gets THAT bad, he can come to me.  Or he could come to me now with a reasoned arguement or proposal for loan or raise in allowance.  But I am not going to offer that.  And he knows that he created his mess, and that his parents, like the future "Real World," expect him to figure it out as best as he can.

Anyway, since he was talking budget shortfalls and all, Thomas says, "Oh mom! We need to help him save money by taking him out to a restaurant for dinner tonight."  That Thomas, he'll do Anything for a meal out.  I gave him the eye, because Mat and I both knew that Thomas cared nothing about Mat's money problem, except that it would be useful to help him get to go out the second night in a row.  I really didn't care, so I told Mat to ask Rhiannon and come up with a restaurant, since she has dietary restrictions (gluten free) and they're both vegetarian.  We ended up at Applebee's.  It was good, and fun.  And if you're there and don't know what to get, Applebee's makes an excellent onion soup.

But the highlight was Mark coming home.  As I was not falling asleep Saturday night, I actually considered going with him next year.  Yes, I'm actually contemplating camping.  I must love him more than I thought.  But I am NEVER repeat NEVER going into a cave without being sedated to the point of unconsciousness.  I will NEVER love Anyone that much!

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Well, my D-I-L-to-be took Thomas's senior Portraits. 
Trouble is, I love them all, and have to choose!!

Please help.  There are numbers at the bottom of every photo, just comment with numbers

Thomas the Elf:

Thomas the Suit:

Thomas the Graduate:
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Last Saturday we had the 1st Annual ASA Easter Egg Hunt and Picnic for children on the Autism Spectrum and it was so gratifying!  We had a final count of around 20 kids.  Some of whom had never been able to hunt before (one was 14!).  Most were pretty young, tho, under eight.  They were all candy-sweet, and their parents were unbelievably grateful and happy for their little ones to have this opportunity. The Easter bunny was there (some nice pictures), and Rhiannon did face-painting, and Thomas and his friend Matt (not my son) had an egg-dyeing area, and there were two giant blowup things, and coloring, and foosball, and some other games before the hunt.  Afterward we ate a potluck picnic (inside at tables), and gave out prizes and treat bags.  And there was a TON of food left over.  Everyone was just heart-warmingly generous and wanting to help with everything.  It was truly a blessed afternoon.  I felt wonderful to be a part of it.  Everyone needs to have this kind of renewing experience occasionally.  Some pics here:
More to be added later
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Another crazy, busy day.  But good. 

Woke up late for mine and Thomas's doctor (psychpro) appts, got there late for mine, but really early for his, and she just sees us at the same time really, anyway, so it was okay, we were still both done before the next patient was there.  She's just monitoring meds really, anyway.  I've had better and worse depression for 25 years now, and it's really really under control, the government and Blue Cross just won't let me prescribe without that medical license... alas....  And basically the same with Thomas.  I go in and tell her what's going on (anxiety-wise, there is no drug for autism) and she and I decide what to keep or change.  But she's one of the better medpros I've known (and I've known more than a few dozens). She treats me like I have a brain, and the right to make decisions about my own body, and trusts me to know myself and be honest and aware about myself.  She keeps me up on new drugs/articles/clinical experiences she's come across and together we decide what applies.  I respect her, because she respects me.  Same with Thomas.  She sees at least 10, maybe 15 patients a day.  I have only Thomas.  I am an expert on Thomas.  And on Autism.  And she uses that resource.  Unlike many many doctors who must always be not just right, but omnipotent.  Yes, I meant to be ranting about medpros at 3AM.

The monthly Asperger's mom's support group luncheon (something I didn't start out in charge of, but somehow have gotten to be) went well. Nobody new, but a good group of ladies with things to ask and things to offer.  Our token dad, Tyler was there, and he always makes the lunches more interesting.  Actually, counting Thomas (my Aspie) there were three men there.  I convinced Mark to meet us there for the first time.  He ate, and left before anyone else so he could get back to he office, but it was nice to have him there, and have him hear other parents talk.  And good to prove to a couple of the ladies that I really do have a husband and didn't just make him up.  He never comes to anything.  There are women I've known for years in that circle, and also through homeschooling, that have never met him.

After lunch, somehow Thomas and I found ourselves at Books-a-Million.  Don't know.  One minute we were driving home, the next we're standing there with books in our little hands.  I really must get back to my Booksaholics Anonymous meetings.  I'm a charter member, with permanent gold club status.  I still have a pile of maybe 12 books that my mother passed on to me from the last time I was home, and some others I've bought that I sill haven't read, and all the unread fanfic out there....

Also Mat was here this afternoon/evening, in town from UAB.  He hung out, and ate supper with us, then Rhiannon came and picked him up to take him back to her parent's house for the evening.  They'll go back to Birmingham tomorrow.  They don't spend the night here.  I'm disappointed, but I understand. and Mark doesn't want them to -- the whole seriously Catholic thing.  So they stay over at the cool parents house.  Ah well

So now, I guess I'm unwound enough from the day to go to sleep.  I just have to have time just to myself, in the quiet, everyday.  And mostly that doesn't happen until everyone's gone to bed. 
sherron0: (SnowDragon)
Where the heck have I been?  It's been busy busy busy.

The Alabama Strings Teachers Asooc. Honors Strings Orchestra Festival took up all one weekend, the 1st-3rd. It was fairly incredible.  Young people from all over Alabama came.  They saw the music for the concert Thursday night for the first time, for 2 hours.  Then they spent all day Friday and Saturday morning rehearsing, studying, and playing music games.  Then on Saturday afternoon, they performed.  I was just bowled over.  I could not even emagine that they could sound that good.  I'm not sure now what all those other instruments tey have in an orchestra are for.  Just kidding, of course, but just with Violins (playing two different parts), violas, cellos, and a bass you get an incredibly beautiful, complex sound.  I have an album of photos, at:

Then the next weekend was the field trip to the TN Aquarium that I wrote about. My semi-daughter Rhiannon took all the lovely pictures for me.  There are a lot of beautiful photos of jellies and such. Rhiannon retains the copyright on everything, however.  While she is fine with sharing them online she would like them not to be reposted or linked to or sold.  Thanks. bum.php?aid=70634&l=61960&id=639455257 bum.php?aid=70723&l=ee89f&id=639455257

And of course, this was all worked into the usual busy schedule of school, and a little socializing, and cooking (well, microwaving), and all that stuff you have to keep up on.

Then the Thanksgiving madness we all get.  Thanksgiving is the one time of the year when people travel hundreds of miles to see people they haven't seen for a year and realize that once a year is way too often.  No, actually I had a good time.  Most everybody was there, and of course the food is always good.  Thomas played violin for everyone. Mat interviewed his Grandpa for two and a half hours. 
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The Asperger's group that Thomas is in went on an expedition to Chattanooga to the Aquarium, families welcome, so I got Mat  ([profile] iskmiirik) and Rhi to come with Thomas and me (Mark was, of course, in a cave).  There were 17 people in all in our group.  It was just fantabulous. We met at and ate at the Mellow Mushroom, just a block or so from the AQ, then walked down.  I had not been there since they built the new building, "Oceans" and added Penguins there, and added Seahorses in the main building.  We spent our entire "free" time in the Oceans building, then joined everyone else for the Behind the Scenes tour -- very educational, and fun too. Then we took some group photos, and the group split up.  We went back to see the Sea Horses, since we hadn't even got to the main building yet!  Then a tour through the gift shop, dinner at a Cracker Barrel, and finally home, exhausted.  Even tho I wore the comfortable shoes, my feet, knees, and back hurt.  I'm just not used to standing all day anymore.  But it was worth the tired.  And the getting up way too early to drive up there.  Plus it was a real treat to spend the day with Mat and Rhi.  We never have time to relax with them anymore.  Hardly ever even see them.  whine whine.


Oct. 31st, 2007 07:59 pm
sherron0: (red boots)
Thomas and I got up while it was still dark to drive to the Birmingham Art Museum. One of the other moms from Franklin School set up a high school field trip and got us a discount ticket to the special exhibit from Pompeii. She also set up an afternoon tour with a docent of some other art, but we couldn't stay for that because of violin lessons. So we just got to do the Pompeii part, but it was definitely worth it!

First we stopped at Mat and Rhiannon's to say "Hi" to Mat and get Rhiannon to come with us. It was great to have Rhiannon with us. I miss her too, not just Mat. It was good to spend the day with her. She sees things that others miss, so it's really fun to do things like museums with her. She and Thomas are probably two of the top ten most interesting people I know. So it was a great morning.

We lingered at all the pieces and exhibits. We were still only about 2/3 of the way through when someone back-tracked to tell us that the rest of the group was already in the cafe eating. Rhiannon and I just looked at each other like -- "what fools! here you are, with your one chance to study treasures from across time and the ocean, and you rush through to lunch." So we just finished the exhibit with only a few minutes left to grab a postcard from the gift shop and view a room of Asian art before we had to leave. And we stayed until the very last possible second.

In fact, we had to just dump poor Rhiannon out on the street in front of the apartment so we could grab Thomas some eat-in-the-car pizza, and get back in time for violin.

By evening our feet really hurt, and I was too exhausted for anything but I wouldn't have missed any second of the whole day for anything.


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