MyGuy and i have been married a LONG time, as you can see from the photo.
  And the wedding wasn't exactly storybook perfect.  i mean, what sort of crazy bride ASKS her bridesmaids to wear white?  And doesn't demand the groomsmen match?
  But i wanted "girls in white dresses in blue satin rayon sashes."  And no one imagined the whole church, not to mention all of my dad's huge family, would turn out to see my parents' daughter married, so obviously it would be a small wedding, which no one would see, so it wouldn't matter what anyone wore.

  But weddings, though you never forget your own, only last a few hours.
  How long the marriage lasts is another matter.
  This post is not about condemning anyone who has not made it to the long time.  Heck, i once  thought i'd never make it to six weeks married, to ten years married.
   i know people who have been through worse and kept each other.  i know people who have not encountered, seemingly, nearly as many difficulties and yet lost each other.
  i've read statistics that, of couples surveyed five years previously, the happiest today are the ones who were most miserable then and stayed together.  My own informal surveys bear this out.  Except for the widow who was abused, the ones who stayed together tell me it was more than worth the effort.

  i am convinced that for every long, happy marriage there are many divorces, or even murders, that could have taken place.  And by that i mean within that one marriage.

  If i were sitting shoulder to shoulder with you i would share some of the difficulties we've been through. Since i'm not, you may want to find someone else to share with, either your own experiences "making it to here," or finding out that that person's path hasn't been as smooth as it looks.
   One thing that helped me was listening to that hick Bible preacher when he was teaching Malachi 3, about marriage.  He said that a woman's submitting is more about a woman's responding, not about being a doormat.
  If you prefer to not think about it Scripturally, think doing the relationship mindfully, being friends, respecting & paying attention to each other.
  i realized that i hadn't been responding to MyGuy.
  And i realized that "for better or for worse" was, maybe not entirely, but, in large part, up to me.

Nightmares of an Autism Mom

  When Max was a tiny toddler, newly diagnosed and uncommunicative,  i first had the dream.
  In real life, we often let him run around in just a diaper.  In the dream, he was dancing away from me, wearing just the diaper, into a twilight downtown alley.
  He wouldn't return to my calls and i couldn't run fast enough to catch him.
 There was no one around to help me.

  In the nightmare and in real life, he is a happy person.   But it's still hard to reach him.  And it's harder still to determine what he wants, in an everyday sort of way.
  Refusals, he has down cold.

Max, In and Out of the Dream

    When Max was five, i got involved in a game with Boom.  i kept telling myself, i need to go check on Max.  After this next turn, after THIS next turn. . .
the driveway, slightly earlier in the evening
   When i finally did, Max's movie was over, the front door was open, and he was in the driveway with a stranger  The stranger was restraining him from taking his tricycle back into the street.
  At twilight.
 The man yelled at me, and i deserved it.  And the thought still gives me chills.

  Max was what we call a "runner" at that time, and we hadn't taken proper precautions.
  The bolt went on the front door that very night.

No Longer a Runner

  Somehow in the years since we've gotten (mostly) past the runner stage.  He will run from what he considers an unbearable situation to the car or his classroom.  We know where he's headed; we never used to be  able to figure that out.  This is how he tells us, when he has no words, that the situation is not supportable.  We haven't been able to impress on him about staying with us or even necessarily watching for traffic.
  He is better about the traffic, though, in that he remembers.  Sometimes.  Not enough to make a mom's mind easy.
  But then that would be 100%, wouldn't it?

  And i have an uncommunicative twenty-one year old  happily dancing into his own world without me.
  But he doesn't dance away so often now.  And it's always in his clothes.

The Sea or the Lake? About Relationships

  This week i had to wait at the college library awhile.  i browsed some academic fairy tale books while waiting, put two back as WAAY too academic, and checked two out. The one with a bunch of  articles is fun to skim through, but i'll be reading in more depth  the one which looks at fairy tale women as archetypes of stages of a woman's life.
  Anyway, one of the articles is about Hans Christian Anderson, which has encouraged me to take another look at our volume of Hans Christian Anderson tales.  Some i've read, others skipped over.  i've learned that his  "The Wild Swans" is a much richer story than the folktale of the same name/type, for example.
  But anyway, while reading it, i shared aloud one of the lines with MyGuy.
  "The sea transforms itself
more in an hour
than a lake does
in a year."
  MyGuy said the strangest thing.  He said, "That's why I like lakes better."
  And i responded, "Funny.  That's why i was gonna say i like the sea better."
  (You should know, we're living with the furniture in roughly the same arrangement i put it in over 20 years ago, to just get it inside.  i had planned it thoroughly on paper first, but i never meant it to be a permanent configuration!  He says it's working and there's no need to change.)

  Incompatibility.  Grounds for a Great Marriage.
It's a book.  The authors, married over 40 years, say the only things they have in common are their kids & grandkids.  i know the feeling.

  Once i wrote a long essay about all the fantastic things i wanted to do, all the exotic places i wanted to travel, and ended by writing, "I'll probably end, though, by marrying some stick-in-the-mud businessman who is married to his job anyway."
  More recently, i told him that i am his kaleidoscope falling down the seacliff and he is my stick-in-the-mud businessman.
colored pencil sketch,
loosely based on web photo of Welsh coast
  But he's no  businessman, though quite competent. He's a computer techie.  And he's hardly stick-in-the-mud, but he is subtle.
  Like a lake.
You have to look closely to see
the nuances of the change in the lake. 
  It can be fascinating.
  i'm in.

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Hot Relationship Tip; Say Something Nice,  from An Occasional Harangue

Answers to Trivia Tuesday, Nome Serum Run

1) What disease was the serum needed for?
                   diptheria - everyone vaccinated?
2) In what year did it happen?
                   1925. There were two deaths before the end of December, 1924.  Diptheria, which is highly contagious, was first diagnosed January 2o.  On the 21st, a town council meeting declared an emergency.  Word went out by telegraph on the 22nd, but it was January 27th before the first musher received serum to transport.
3) What other means of transportation was considered for the delivery?
                   Airplane.  Despite the vehement recommendation and editorials of the publisher of the Fairbanks newspaper, a dogsled relay was chosen.  The planes available were biplanes, open to the air, with water-cooled engines, and their pilots were in the Lower 48 for the winter.
4) What was the official death toll?  Should this be considered the total?
                  Even the officail number is apparently hard to pin down.  The doctor in charge estimated it at "5, 6, or 7," but thought the number would actually be 100 or more above that.  The Native community was most heavily affected, and they felt no need to report the deaths of their children to the whites. 
5) What annual event memorializes this?
               The Iditarod Trail Sled Race, held in March, is in honor of this and other brave feats of mushers.
6) Balto was the lead dog on the final leg of the relay.  What was the name of the lead dog on the longest, most dangerous leg of the journey?
               There were 20 mushers with their lead dogs.  Balto, leading Gunnar Kaasen's team, ran the last two legs, a total of 53 miles.  Perhaps it's natural that the team greeted by the desparate townspeople should receive the fame.
               However, Togo, leading Leonhard Seppala's team, ran 91 miles.  Part of his trek led over the frozen Nome Sound, an arm of the sea.  None of the other teams covered the sea, though they did run on frozen rivers.   

The first run arrived February 1.  Another relay brought more serum, under similar harsh conditions, and, bowing to editorial pressure, a flight was attempted.  That batch, however, apparently never got off the ground.

Wordless Wednesday

Moon over the Neighbor's Yard
Taken 1/10/2012
with Nikon Coolpix P80
f2.8; ISO-400;exposure time 1/2 second

Trivia Tuesday

Many of us have heard of Balto and the Great Serum Run to Nome.  But what do we really know about it?  And how much of what we know is so?

1) What disease was the serum needed for?
2) In what year did it happen?
3) What other means of transportation was considered for the delivery?
4) What was the official death toll?  Should this be considered the total?
5) What annual event memorializes this?
6) Balto was the lead dog on the final leg of the relay.  What was the name of the lead dog on the longest, most dangerous leg of the journey?

You can read the entire, fascinating story in the Wikipedia article, from which i have drawn my answers. Some people don't like Wikipedia, and it does have its limitations as a source.  But how many sources offer an article assessing its own reliability?

Watch this blog Thursday, January 20, for the answers.

Life on the Computer Farm - The Internet is Back!

haystack monitor & keyboard on desk
toolshed monitor on left, with keyboard on tray
Notice anything strange about this photo?  There are two monitors and two keyboards.  There are also, though you may not see them, two towers and two mice.


Words on Wednesday - 4 Things i'm Reading

Slowing down a little, but still reading away --

 - i've reread an old favorite, our book club selection, The Screwtape Letters.
 - i think i can say i'm still enjoying Mornings on Horseback.  But it's somewhat less interesting now that TR's father has died.  i thought i admired the man who was our president, but not nearly as much as his dad.
 - a slim book of Peter Marshall sermons, New and Collected Sermons, formerly Apples of Gold (photo).  i rather think the main reason sermons are considered dry is because of the typesetting style. i read elsewhere that Catherine Marshall, when she tried to get his sermons published after his death, battled the publisher over plain paragraphs or something more like the cadence of his speech.
- and an Agatha Christie novel, or rather novel-like story collection, The Labors of Hercules.  (Surprisingly, it helped on a Jeopardy! question the other night.)

DVD/MTM/Signs of the Times

The upgrades to our Computer Farm have left me temporarily unable to access my blog from home, so i'm using my friend Sharon's laptop to publish this draft.  Thanks, Sharon!

So i've been watching too much old TV recently. But i did have a lot of fun with things like, i used to have a dress with a collar like that! Their dish drainer is just like ours - and 3/4 of the ones in the stores today. And - May have been different in NYC, but girls hardly ever wore pants around here in the early 60s.

We had Season 4 of The Dick VanDyke Show out from the library for six weeks. (checked out then renewed once.) Then at Christmas MyGuy was given a Best Ever collection of Dick VanDyke shows. We haven't seen those yet, but i have been comparing which episodes are on that set with the ones in Season 4.

My tastes do not match the tastes of the people who made the collection.

Now every episode of this series is cute & funny, even the waste of airtime one where Sally is embarrassed about her rich boyfriend, but dumps him - not because he's a mortician, but because he treats the help like dirt - before Rob & Buddy can tell her he's married.

But The Impractical Joke (a friend of Buddy's gets Rob to disassemble his phone, then Buddy brings all sorts of hurt on himself awaiting Rob's imagined revenge) is far more deserving of a Best Ever spot than either 4 1/2 or the inaccurately named The Allen Brady Show Goes to Jail. Those seem to have earned a place as Best Ever mainly because of guest Don Rickles.

They're good, fun shows, but not great ones.

Oh, and i would dearly love to see again the one where Rob & Laura discover that the person who married them wasn't really entitled to do marriages, so they need to get married, because they aren't, and the guy they choose to perform the ceremony doesn't want to, because he's never seen a couple who obviously so do not belong together.  That is one of my all-time favorites!!!

And then there's the third Season 4 Episode on the Best Ever collection, Don't Bathe on Saturday Night. Like the other two, it's cute, not as good as others in Season 4.  i suppose i don't mind  having it on our collection.

But we like to watch the Behind the Scenes stuff and voiceover commemtaries. i kept getting angrier and angrier as i did.

The story involves a failed attempt of Rob & Laura to take in a show and have a night in a nice hotel. But Laura gets her toe stuck in the plumbing, and she's locked in the bathroom.

The producer had promised Mary Tyler Moore a Laura episode. Even doing the voiceovers in like 2003, he didn't get why she wasn't happy with his special Laura episode.
Which had her offscreen hollering lines as in a radio show for 3/4 of the program.
While the guys in charge tried to console her with the thought that, while she was offscreen, she would be giving all the men in America a treat, allowing them to imagine her naked in the bathtub.

Am i the only one who sees a problem here?

This was 1964. Everyone blamed Mary's lousy attitude on the fact that she was quitting smoking that week. Rob Reiner yelled at her (not knowing it was in front of sponsors) for her uncooperative attitude. Later they apologized to each other and Mary even sent Rob a peace offering gift. (He said she deserved every word of it, but he should've taken her into her trailer to do it.)

Even in Mary's accompanying interviews, she blamed her temper on the smoking thing.

i say it was MTM being classy. And preserving her reputation as not a prima donna.

i told MyGuy that in 1974, she would've refused to do it.  My thought was, the climate of the times had changed.   He told me that in 1974 she had her own production company and was calling the shots.

Which actually is the best revenge anyway.

What's in a Name?

i've been using pseudonyms in this blog.

i explained about how i chose some of them in my post, Confidential or Private?

Some, like Max for our second son, short for Maximum Smile, are working well.

Some, like MyGuy, for my husband, the father of our kids, nearly so.

My friend tells me that i really should not use FB to designate our oldest as Firstborn because so many people think of FB as "Facebook."

Ok. After consultation with our son, he will now become Boom, as in short for Boomerang Kid, the college grad now living reluctantly at home again.i don't guarantee i've caught them all, but i've attempted to change all previous references to FB to Boom, for Boomerang Kid.  That fits because he's a college grad who's lived on his own, now reluctantly living at home again until he can make it independently.

And while i'm at it i think The Perfect Corgi, newly named TPC on this blog, will become Puppy. Much simpler, and it's one of the names i use for her anyway.

Puppy is about love, not age, anyway, so my 11 year old corgi is truly a puppy. (Now where have i heard 11 years old before?????)

Drawing Fruit

 This is a quick simple art project i did with the guys in our Sonshine Sunday school class yesterday.  They are teen/young adult.  The class is designated for developmentally disabled, though i prefer to think of it as a calmer alternative for those who do not wish to participate in the hectic, adrenaline driven kids service.

Beginning with real fruit, i traced the object on plain cardboard.  (Okay, actually, the orange was too far gone for that sort of contact.  i used a Bob the Tomato!)  Here you see the cardboard shapes on orange cardstock.

Next, we cut out the cardboard shapes, traced them on plain paper, and colored solidly in yellow.  Of course, you'd use whatever the lightest main color of the fruit  was.
Or this could be painted or done on construction paper the color of the fruit. eliminating a step.

But fruits are not solid color. Looking at the banana, we also saw brown, black, and purple.

So we added those colors in the places we saw them.

We did similar things with the orange and apple.

If i had realized the short attention spans of the kids, we would have used good paper at this point instead of newsprint!

Then we would have continued to doing it again on better paper.  My mistake - at least for these kids, go straight to the good paper! If we had, then then we might have cut out the fruit and glued it into a nice arrangement on colored paper.
No, our group did not make it to the finished product above!  But they did enjoy drawing the fruit.

Thanks to Laura Tesdahl of TheSketchpad Art Studio and Artistic Designs Framing Gallery for the idea.

A Boy, A Puppy, and a Crate

Puppy Pile

  On the last Sunday in September eleven years ago, Max and i drove two hours to meet the puppy i had prayed ten years for.
  Small, sturdy, sound temperament, raised with a large, happy family of children, knowing nothing but  boisterous love.
  We met The Perfect Corgi (Puppy), her mom,  and her nine surviving littermates.
  That's her, licking my face above.  (We nearly came home with her brother Bright Eyes, on the right, also.)
"We choose each other!"
  For whatever reason, only the two of us made the trip.  Since i did not want to be responsible for both Max, who was at a very difficult period of his life, and a new puppy alone, i chose to return on Thursday for the puppy.

  In between, i bought the Puppy Kit: bowls, leash, collar, grooming supplies.  The Crate.

  The Crate is a medium size dog portable crate.  Puppy still enjoys sleeping in it, and sometimes i use it so she can travel in the car.  i actually confined her in it at night until she was 5 or 6, though she really didn't need it so long.  These days, the door is off.

  But i get ahead of the story.
  The first lesson was, Max, you do not get to toss Puppy into the crate whenever you are done with her.  Puppy is alive just like you are.  You can hurt her.  Unfortunately that did happen, but Puppy was not hurt badly.  Max was not hurt at all, and one incident was all he needed.
    The next lesson came with an almost comic dilemma.  Max loved The Crate.  He wanted it for his own.  Not Puppy''s.

  So, i ask you, what should i have done?
  It is well-known in autism circles that people with autism respond well to pressure in some, especially stressful circumstances.  A quick Google search just now yielded 400,000 results.  Temple Grandin found pressure so helpful she developed a special  hug machine to retreat into (photo included).  Apparently Max was receiving a similar benefit from shoving his head and shoulders into TPC's crate and upending rocking chairs over himself.  (Hug Machine brought 5,200,000 Google results.)

  But both for the dog's comfort and the family's overall well-being that crate needed to be TPC's retreat.  The first two weeks we had her, she preferred to be either on me or in her crate, comfort spaces.  We could not allow Max to shut her out.

  So, what to do?  We couldn't find instructions at the time to build a Hug Machine.  The cost of one was prohibitively expensive.  We considered, and rejected, buying a larger crate, to use either doorless or with the door inside out, just for Max.

  Actually, if we had the liberty to consider only Max's best interests, i still believe that's what we should have done.  A crate of his own that Max could fit himself entirely into.
  But we couldn't consider  things just that simplistically.  i couldn't go to the pet supply store and LIE about this huge dog i don't have.  i probably would have taken him to try a crate on for size.
  Can you imagine a quick trip to  CPS?
  Because Everyone Knows that the only reason to get a dog crate for your kid is to put him in it.
  And Everyone Knows that confining a kid in a dog crate is cruel.

   Max survived that stage without either hug machine or crate. And he learned how to behave around a puppy.  They are hardly the boy and his dog picture perfect image, but they are, in their own way, much attached to each other.
  And anyone want to toss in suggestions for handling this better?

A World of Acceptance

i love it when other people put things into words that i'm having trouble with.
Like Natalie.
i met her, online only, through The Arc of Indiana, as a young adult with autism successfully advocating for herself and autism.
i'd like this blog to grow up to be somewhat like hers.  (not identical twins by any means!)
MyGuy guiding Max
in the construction of the Desk to Last a Lifetime

Natalie's January 2 post contains A Challenge for all of us.  It's attainable, but something to think about and stretch to reach.
i encourage you to go visit Natalie, read and sign her challenge.
Then live it.
God bless you.

Wordless Wednesday

Playing with the Crop/Winter Dreaming
 Original shot
MyGuy at Whittington Beach Park, Big Island, HI

 Crop 1, for screensaver version

 Crop 2, for fun

Another original shot

and a crop of it.
i'm ready to go back.. . . .

But we can't go in the water there.
 The surf will take us to Australia.

Life on the Computer Farm - New Kid on the Block

  As i type on duckpond, there has been a metamorphosis behind me.  The playroom TV is no longer just a TV.
  No, we invested in a  family Wii game.  There's a whole 3 game discs, mainly, so far, played byBoom, though i have to admit it's a lot of fun to crash Flo all over Radiator Springs.
  MyGuy got it set up for us.  i don't think he's taken a turn at the gaming yet.  And the point was a family activity, especially somethng we could do with Max. 
  Max has resolutely refused to have anything to do with it.
  The Wii-world is a whole new thing to me.  Apparently there's a whole online world too, though i'm not sure how much we'll get into that. Boom can set up the Wii store account if he wants one, i guess.  We'll just see if we need one otherwise.
  And see how to get Wii into the position we meant it to be.
  Because like a lot of twenty-somethings, Boom did not need another media outlet all his own.  (Though i'm glad he can enjoy it.)