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What a busy but good weekend. 

I've spent most of it with my good friend Ann, whom I really haven't been able to spend time with much the last year, and her daughter Bethany, the bride-to-be.  Yes, the same Bethany that comes every other week and helps with the cleaning.  Or, some weeks, does what little cleaning gets done around here.  I love to spend time with Ann, and I hate that we go so long sometimes without seeing each other.  But she has a grandchild she takes care of and I have trips to hospitals to make.

The wedding is the 18th, and Ann and Bethany are trying to do too much all by themselves.  The bridesmaids and cousins and so on that usually help with this sort of stuff are out of town or busy, and Bethany doesn't have any sisters.  So I'm pitching in as the Crazy ole Aunt, and Thomas is helping because he doesn't have aything else pressing right now, and he also has a small stake in the wedding.  Well, maybe bigger than small.  He's the musician.  He'll be playing the piano during the ceremony, for the prelude hymn, procession, etc. and during the reception he's going to play violin music.  I'm hoping word gets around and he gets more "gigs" that might actually pay.  He's doing this one as a gift to Bethany and also Ann.  She's been really good to him over the years, and a happy, positive force in his life.

Pretty much all day Saturday I spent with them, forgetting entirely that Thomas had a Pizza party to go to and I was in the only car he likes to drive.  By the time he called and asked where was I it was too late to get home and him get to the party even reasonably late.  I felt so bad I took him to Ruby Tuesdays and We had their fabulous, cooked to order burger.  They will actually cook you an almost rare burger, the way I like them.  Thomas likes Medium rare, and that's not as easy to get as you think it is.  Nobody wants the liability of serving you meat that might still be pink.  But at Ruby Tuesdays' they let you be a grown-up and make your own decisions about meat. Then, as we were moaning about how good the food was, I sprung it on him that it was also a little bit of a bribe, and that I wanted him to come back to Ann's with me on Sunday to help with things like putting together favors and painting latticework for a backdrop, etc.  He didn't really need a bribe, he loves Ann too, and doesn't mind being helpful, but it was fun to go eat our bribes!

Sunday we did just that.  We spent the morning running around my house cleaning and doing laundry and the afternoon sorting flowers and putting together fru-frus and nailing and painting old lattice work (well, Bruce, Ann's husband, did most of the actual painting with a giant paint sprayer, but Thomas did lifting and toting and nailing and moving and such).  But we also had cake, left over from the bridal shower.  And Thomas left for a couple of hours to go practice at the Fret Shop with his medieval music group (Consort a L'Ancienne). So it wasn't only work.

Today for a while we're going back and helping cut and tie tulle for chair decorations, etc. When I say they were doing it all by themselves, I meant ALL.  They do have a caterer, and a cake person, and a florist for the live flowers, but most of the flower decorations are being put together right there at Ann's.  And thy bought a wedding gown, and bridesmaid gowns, but Ann is doing the alterations on the bridesmaid gowns, and sewing the flower girl dress.  I'm preaching at her about being able to delegate a little better, but it's too late now! So, once again, I'm glad I only have boys.

Still . . .

Jun. 2nd, 2011 09:44 pm
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I know it’s petty. Compared to how bad things were, complaining about today’s migraine is like someone who’s jst spent months with broken legs up in traction then complaining about a sprained ankle. But still, a sprain can leave you unable to walk. And today has been one of those migraine days where none of the various drugs or combinations has completely done the job. I keep trying to focus on the fact that this will be an isolated incident, as opposed to a four-days-a-week affair. I just hate that I’ve wasted most of a day not being able to think clearly.

I started reading Freakonomics today. It’s immediately interesting. Both of my boys have read it and raved about it. But it keeps being loaned to someone else before I can catch it. So I had to order it on PaperBackSwap. Which is okay, I have a lot of credits to use. I’ve been letting Mat order books, and he’s managed to order 17-18, but that still leaves me about 15-16 credits.

Speaking of, I got an App for it. (I love my new iPhone toy.) Now instead of logging onto the site and entering the 10-digit ISBN, I just aim my phone at the bar code, and it beeps and the book is listed! It is entirely too cool. I threatened to scan every book in my house, but I don’t want to swap most of them. I wonder if there’s a app for just scanning them into a spreadsheet or database?

Thomas and I also spent some time calming down Bethany. She’s getting married in a couple of weeks, and she’s about ready to turn into Bridezilla. Thomas is the wedding musician. He’s playing piano before and during the wedding, then playing violin during the reception. He played a few things for her today, and reassured her that at least the music would be beautiful.

ETA: There is a book database app, called iBook!  Scanning as we speak.


May. 10th, 2011 08:01 pm
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I just love living with all these physics guys.  Today Thomas explained to me, "No, antimatter is just normal matter, traveling backwards in time," as if anyone knew that, and that it didn't sound like something out of Star Trek.
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We (Thomas and I) just got back from Atlas Shrugged part 1. It was definitely worth seeing. It's condensed, you don't get much of the interesting side stories, (like WIllie is a more major charcter in the book) and back story (the three of the, Dagney, Frisco, and WIllie as little kids) so it feels a little rushed. But. I still liked it. I hear it's getting awful reviews. Everyone should see it to judge for themselves. The horror of the down-slide of society builds more slowly in the book. As one reviewer says, "The book boils the frog slowly while the movie throws the frog in the boiling water." But that's the usual nature of long book versus movie version.
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My friend Cathy recently had to run out at the last minute to buy black shoes because she didn't find out he needed them for a performance at school until that morning, when he walked into the room with his shoes wrapped in (unfortunately shiny/glowing) duct-tape wrapped shoes.

I wrote her today:

Sherron Lucile Ostrander to Cathy Schmidt Barnes
Just thought you might appreciate the fact that I had to go out and buy Thomas black pants and shirt. He has several black t-shirts, but they all say something clever and distracting. At least he owns a pair of black shoes!

Cathy Schmidt Barnes
Ah, but did you go out to Wally's at 6:30am because he needed them by 8? :)

Sherron Lucile Ostrander
No, it was not nearly that exciting! In fact, it went much smoother than I expected. Remember T has Asperger's, and generally doesn't wear anything with buttons. But apparently this fits in the "costume" category and since he knows he'll rarely wear it, he was more flexible.
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Today is my baby's 21st birthday.  I officially only have men for children now.  We're going to all meet at a restaurant and he's going to buy an alcoholic beverage.  Because he can, and that's a traditional thing for young men to do on this birthday, and the waitress Must card him or it won't be as fun, so we're going to a really strict place, where they even card ME from time to time!  And eat an expensive piece of red meat, and decadent chocolate cake with hot fudge and ice cream because that is Thomas's idea of a REAL celebration.  I haven't gotten him a present, because he hates surprises and he hasn't decided on anything.  I'm sure something will come to him soon.
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Saturday was just beautiful.  The kind of weather you wish it always could be.  Sunny, 74°, low humidity, very light breeze.  The kind of weather you could get out in and do some garden work and not get all sticky with sweat. 

So that's how I spent the afternoon, clearing out the flower bed.  Every fall the many trees in my yard "give" me plenty of leaves, which I leave (pun, tee hee) in the garden.  But come spring, the irises want their little rhizomes uncovered.  So Thomas and I raked and hand-raked and swept, and generally moved leaves around.  We couldn't just rake, because not only are the irises sprouted, the buttercups have been in full bloom for a while now, and are easy to break with a rake.  So you have to get down on hands and knees and pull everything from around them by hand. We used some of the piles of leaves (well, mostly leaf pieces by this time of the year, actually, well on the way to compost) to fill in holes, with old compost on top to keep them from spreading back around with the wind.  I also knew it was going to rain Sunday, which would help settle everything down.  We also dug up all the stepping stones, which have a way of sinking over a year or two, and build up the ground underneath and around them.  At one point we got tired and decided it was time for a break.  We sat on the front steps, drinking our Dr. Peppers, watching the cars go by.  It was practically a Hallmark moment. 

We found one of the Easter Lilies has sprouted.  It told it to hurry up, but there's no way it'll be big enough to even have buds by Easter.  So we have purple crocuses, three different types of buttercups, and purple grape hyacinth, and a little bit of white hyacinth already blooming.  The irises, a wild rose, and the day lilies are up and green, and the peonies and one Easter lily are up above ground.  The forsythia and red buds have started to bloom.  The maples and hackberry trees have buds.

So, what is it doing today?

Snowing of course.  Snowing heavily. With big flakes.  It's not below freezing, so the snow is melting as soon as it hits the ground, but it sure is wild to watch!
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It's been how many years that Kay Jewelers have had the jingle, "Every kiss begins with Kay"?  Thomas told me he just recently realized it was a pun. And he's usually so quick with the Puns!
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Yes, I mean you, my darling husband, and you, my dear son.

That load of laundry I just started washing?

That was the same load of laundry I started washing last Sunday before I left to go to Tennessee.

Anyone remember that load?

The load, dear husband, that I mentioned you needed to move from the washer to the dryer when you got your sheets out of the dryer? (Yes, I noticed that you managed to get the sheets out of the dryer and on the bed so that you could go to sleep that night.)

And you, dear son, whose room is right beside the laundry room, remember the last words I said to you before I left to go to Tennessee? I believe it went something like, "If I come home and that same load of laundry is still in the washing machine, both you and your father are in deep do do."

Let the beatings begin!
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Well, the great violin string tragedy might not have been a tragedy to anyone else, merely an annoying incident.  But around here, things have a way of taking on dimensions that just . . .

I don't know if I've told you that much about my younger son, Thomas.  He's Autistic.  Nowadays they call it Asperger's, but back when he was diagnosed, there was no such thing.  He's very high-functioning, and high IQ –which helps him intellectually compensate for things that come automatic to most people, and almost 80% of the time "passes" for neurotypical. He's one of the main reasons I ended up pulling the boys out of public school (another long and involved adventure that including me in the elementary school office snarling, "Give me my children! I can do this badly by my self!) and homeschooling for the next 12 years. Anyway with all those years of one-on-one and plenty of time to teach and practice real life skills (since he wasn't sitting in a school all day) he has just blossomed.  He looks so NT sometimes that it's just easy to forget he's not.

So, his A string has drifted off in such a way that it was making an unpleasant sound.  It could be tuned to "A" but was just off, in someway that Thomas couldn't quite make me understand.  I could tell that it was louder and brighter than the rest of the strings, and just didn't seem to fit in.  After several conversations, he made me understand that for him, this was a serious problem.  It made it painful to play the violin, in a NOT metaphorical way.  As with most autistics, his sensory input system just works differently from ours.  I told him to consult with his teacher.  He did, I was there, (I don't normally go any more, but I knew this to be a "new" situation for Thomas, and he'd have trouble breaking into the regular flow of the lesson to ask.  So I'm there to say, "Thomas has a question about his A string.") he got a long lecture on strings, their history, their makeup, etc., and in the end the pronouncement they were basically a personal choice, and also depended on the violin.  The same string can sound different on two different violins.  You can make sweeping generalizations about certain brands being generally "brighter" or more mellow, etc, but really, it's trial and error until you find the ones you like best.  No help, at all.

After the lesson we go downstairs to the Fret Shop and try to get a young man to help us, whose first piece of advice was, "you really need to get Phil (aforementioned teacher) to help."  Then we get more theory, and the guy plucks on the strings, notes that the A is louder, figures out what brand it is, tells Thomas that that is generally the most mellow brand and any other might make it harsher, finds out that the strings are almost a year old, tells us most serious string players replace their strings every 3-4 months, and we should tell Phil how old the strings are and get more advice from him, and come back later, since Phil's in another lesson. Another guy agrees with him. 

Finally I gave up.  I'd never had a shop try so hard to NOT sell me something.  So I say to Thomas, "Let's talk to Phil again at the Sunday rehearsal," and we leave.  We're driving and talking, and Thomas is trying to impress upon me just how painful it is, and I finally realize he's telling me he won't use the violin in the condition it's in.  It's that painful.  (And that changing back to the old violin this close to the Christmas concert was equivalent to changing all the music, because everything would sound different . . . You get used to having these sorts of discussions if you live with an autistic person with extraordinary hearing, for 20 years.)

So I just turn the car around and go back in and tell the boy (and now the manager's involved, because we're there a lot, and good customers —two violins, not counting the rental, and related stuff so far) that there must be string buying, today.  Luckily for us, Phil has walked down with his 2 students (yes it's an hour later) and the boy and I tell him the situation.  Phil, bless him, understands Thomas and the problem (that Thomas can't make the decision and I don't know enough to pick a string, and that the guys in the shop, who have heard Thomas play, and talked with him enough, especially by this time in this episode, to know how serious a musician Thomas is, and how sensitive his hearing is and are afraid to be the one to make the wrong decision on a string).  He asks Thomas more questions about the strings he already has, and what brands they are (the D&G are one brand, the A was another brand, and the E was yet another.)  told him to just try replacing the A with the same brand as the D & G.  And agreed with Thomas that the E string could also use replacing, but with the same brand, because E strings are the easiest to go wrong with, and the most unpleasant when you do.  Whew.

I don't know about you, but I now know more than enough about strings, and their brands, and qualities. 

Just to add it all up, it's an hour or so at home talking about the problem and establishing that he needs a string and help with the social interaction parts of getting one. It's 30 minutes into Huntsville to the Fret Shop, 30 minute lesson, an extra hour in the store, and 30 minutes to drive home.  Three and a half hours that I normally would have been at home, probably wasting my time on the internets.
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I love that I have the type of sons that I overhear, as dinner conversation, one of them say to the other, "Have I talked to you about free will and the Multiverse yet?"  And an earnest conversation ensues
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Not a bad weekend at all.  Got to see almost everyone except JennyLynn's crew.  Conversation, food, etc.

My mother told me I looked pretty.   That, in general I was looking good, that I'd just reached a pretty phase of my life.  Odd, but sincere.  I told her to not tell me when I passed out of it!

We left Thomas there to do yard work and such for a couple of weeks. He thinks he's working for steaks grilled out, which is fine by him, but she's going to pay him a little too.

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My boys are both Bouncing for Autism this month.

It's a joint fund-raising venture between the Autism Society of America, and the franchise chain, Pump It Up. 

The kids get pledges, and get to bounce to earn them.  Half of the money goes to the National ASA, and half stays right here locally.  It's a shameless fundraiser, but if you're curious, it's also a chance to check out two big pieces of my life, pictures included.  And if you choose to sponsor one or the other of them, that's sublime.

The boys' pages:

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Saturday was a lovely, long day, which included both the Walk for Autism, and the Moon Buggy Races at the Space & Rocket center. 

This was the first walk I've been to, and I was very impressed with the number of people and vendors there.  For the price of registration, you could get hamburgers or hotdogs from O' Charley's, and a bag of chip or two from another sponsor, and popcorn, and pizza, and smoothies.  And every body got a t-shirt, of course.  We didn't walk, I was just there to drop off some flyers and meet some people.  The boys seemed to enjoy the food.  Then we were there at the end so we helped with break down and clean up.  Lift those sodas, move those tables, wait! don't take the tent down until everything's out from under it!

The moonbuggy race was interesting, in a trainwreck sort of way.  The 'buggy' is actually something on 4 bicycle tires, with two riders, and the race is an obstacle course they go on one at a time.  Over fake craters, rilles, moondust (sand), and other uneven gound both uphill and down.  We saw three teams and not one of them made it to the finish without one of the drivers having to get out and push.  One team we didn't see race was wearing t-shirts that read, "honk if you see parts falling off."  Everyone was in high spirits.  There were teams from as far away as India and Germany, and as close as right here in town.  More info at<> Pictures from last year's race are at<>

Shelby was more awed by the missles and rockets and the space shuttle model.  They'd added a lot more since the last time I'd been there.  Since the course was all through the outdoor exhibits, we got to see all of that part of the Space & Rocket Center.  And since tickets run $30 each, that was quite a bonus.

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And God said, "Stand back, I'm gonna make it rain!"

Shelby and I were at HeartMender's Horse Barn, where he's volunteering and learning about horses.  Then one of the barn people (Debbie) said that weather was coming, from the direction of my house, but not there yet, and she was sending us home then, before it got there, or worse, between home and the barn and I'd be driving through it.  So we drove home and got there just barely before the storm hit and the sirens started going off.  This was moments before 5.  And neither Mark nor Thomas were home, although Mark pulled up right about then. 

I knew Thomas was on campus at a meeting for Aspergers students, scheduled from 4-5pm.  Mark said don't worry, the people in charge would keep all the group there, blah blah.  yeah right, I believed that.  So I was calling T's cell, and not getting through (there area lot of buildings at UAH where you can't get reception -- good concrete) and then about 5:15, right as we began to hear about an actual tornado being spotted not too far north of the house, and our area went from watch to warning, I got him.  He's in the car, half way home!  I (knowing I must not scream or be scary) apprised him of the situation, and said, "well, keep watching, hurry but drive carefully, and DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER NORTH!"

Of course, all was eventually well, that tornado kept moving north and and any others spotted weren't that close.  But the weather continued to be way too exciting until after midnight.

 I went ahead and went to my auxiliary meeting, since there was a long break between the first line and the next one coming across the Mississippi line.  There were four of us, the really hardcore moms.  We'd been calling around and I'd said that if I didn't actually see a tornado, I was going!  (What? I should miss an opportunity to be out of the house, without the boys and around other women? I think not!)  One of our AS sons, who is all about weather, was supposed to call if it looked dangerous where we were, etc.  Right about the time we were wrapping up, we looked outside, through one of the two floor to ceiling glass walls (we were meeting at a Jason's Deli), and it looked just like it had looked earlier at home.  So Linda called her boy the weather geek, and asked, "hey, uh,??"  He said it had been just really bad thunderstorms as it moved across Madison and into Huntsville, and had just that minute, as Linda was calling, started "producing rotation" and the sirens went off while they were talking (he could hear them, we could not) but that the danger was really just past us (barely) and headed for East and South Huntsville.  He instructed us to sit there a little while longer and wait for the rain to abate and then we could drive home.  (Well, I guess it was his area of expertise, and we had called, so acting as an authority figure to the moms wasn't too far a stretch.) 

The Epilogue:  Thomas read his email today and got the notice from the UAH campus warning system that they were now under a tornado warning.  That was Weds.  He read the message Saturday.  Working like a charm, I'd say.

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Tonight's my last night in Georgia.  I'm in Macon for one last night at Nanette's.  Tomorrow we will meet my sister Julie's family at the Dekalb Farmer's Market so she can give me the stuff I left at her house, then Nan and I will drive to B'Ham where I'll meet with Mat and he'll have to drive me to Madison.  That turned out more difficult to arrange than I thought.  Maybe I'll catch up what's happened, and why I'm in Atlanta car-less later.  But it's been great.  I've had fun. I've gotten back in touch with my best friend, Nanette, and we did some Cherry Blossom Festival stuff. I've gotten to know my sister Julie better, and to play with my nephews John John and Daniel, and niece Jessica.  Not to mention getting to go to the ASTA National Conference (ASTA=American String Teacher's Association) and watch Thomas and Consort de l'Ancienne play in a seminar T's teacher gave on teaching using Early (as in 11th - 16th Century) Music. Of course we got to dress in our costumes.  Thomas is on the far left. His teacher is on the far right.  You can't see everyone.
Consort de l'Acienne
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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.

My bud, T

Feb. 5th, 2009 10:06 pm
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Today I got to spend time with Thomas. 

After we met Bethany at the mall and gave her Shelby to take out to the horse barn, we went to Lowe's to look for a Kerosene heater for Mat and Rhiannon  No luck, but we spent two hours there anyway, touching the marble and tile and granite and looking at carpet possibilities. 

It was just fun to spend some TsO & SO time, with no one else breathing down our necks.  I don't have to keep explaining Thomas's sarcastic remarks to Shelby, and I don't have to feel guilty talking at my and Thomas's natural comprehension level.  It was a nice little interlude.  Shelby's adorable, but so are toddlers, and you don't want them around all the time either.
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Today I ate out twice!  Mother and Larry were on their way to Montgomery today, and called from I-65 as they passed into AL and invited me to meet them at the nearest interstate interchange and have lunch.  So I dashed over to Athens.  (20 mins, about the same distance as they were at that moment)  We met at Ruby's and had a pleasant lunch and conversation.  Then they headed on down the road.

I went with Thomas to his violin group.  Shelby couldn't go because when I got into the car I could smell him and indeed, he hadn't had a shower, and I wouldn 't let him go.  Personal hygiene is a struggle for Asperger's people, I'm not sure why, but it's fairly universal.  It took me forever to convince Thomas that boys just had to take a shower every day and it didn't matter how not dirty you thought you were, others would think differently.  He's really good now, mainly just because I wore him down.  Nobody's ever bothered to be insistent with Shelby, so now I'm in the wearing down process with him.

Then Beloved called just as we were in the parking lot starting to go home, to warn me that he wanted to go out to eat, just the two of us.  We met at the house so he could wash up and change, and went to . . . wait for it . . . Ruby's.  Not in Athens, here in Madison, but.  There's just not many non-fastfood places to eat that don't require driving into Huntsville.  Even then, the selection is not that exciting. But I was still full from lunch anyway, and just wanted a beer and to be away from the boys, having real adult conversation, with my beloved.  I'd have settled for Arby's if they sold alcohol.


Feb. 1st, 2009 11:21 am
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Did I mention how nice Saturday was for most of the day?

I was supposed to take Shelby and Thomas out to the horse barn at 9am. Which I was looking forward to, mostly. We don't ride, we just volunteer helping with feeding and bringing in and out horses and grooming and occasionally mucking stalls. But it is fun to be around these great, calm, friendly animals and be outside and the people at the barn are wonderful too.

It started out as just an experience for Shelby, a step toward his goal to be a horse trainer when he grows up. And it's a good thing we started small like this, turns out that in real life he's afraid of horses! He thought they were all "cute" like cuddly little stuffed horses.  surprise.

Anyway, I found out that Mark didn't have to leave to go to his cave until noon.

So, since Thomas can drive, I told the two of them that they were going by themselves.  And they went, and they both had a blast.  Thomas wasn't really just dying to go, and really didn't want to go if I wasn't going.  But you know, I just told them to go. They went, and they loved it.  Thomas loved it and is willing to go back.

So Mark and I spent the morning doing nothing together.  It was great.  (we saved the adult stuff for later)

Shelby and I drove out to a friend's house, where they distribute the food bank stuff foster parents can get once a month.  It's a long drive, about an hour & a half, round trip.  Shelby talked the whole time, and I just kept smiling, and thinking about how when Thomas was little it was the very same.  In fact, if it's just Thomas and I he will still talk pretty continuously, but not quite.

Then my darling got home, later than he expected, and covered in dried mud which need to be washed off...


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