Friday, July 30, 2010

The End of Myself

Summer is supposed to be a restful time for the homeschooling mom. Perhaps a vacation, time to get materials for the next school year organized. A time for getting the house cleaned and ready once again. A time for fun and games. Family time. Rest.

Such has NOT been my summer.

I am utterly exhausted. My house did not get the deep cleaning that I wanted it to get. We NEVER go anywhere. Car trouble necessitated that we spend any and all extra money on repairs and I even cancelled a planned trip to a monastery that I was looking forward to.

What, you ask, HAVE I been doing all summer? Well...taking kids (mostly one kid) to various doctors. It's been several neurologist visits, it's been psychiatrist visits, it's been another EEG (and because those are "sleep deprived" I am worn out for DAYS from one of those), it's been therapist visits which are horridly wearying in their own way.

And the problem is, for some reason I get emotionally worn out from all of this. Especially going to a new doctor. So when we had our first visit w/ B's new neurologist, I had my own anxiety issues to deal with over it. All was fine, everyone was wonderful and I'm quite adept at getting downtown and finding parking in "hospital row" (Louisville has at least 4 different hospitals all clumped together downtown: U of L hospital, Norton, Jewish and Cosair Children's Hospital...that I know of, not to mention entire buildings full of doctors) now that the newness of it all has worn off, but the learning curve is NOT something I enjoy.

And the kids are bored out of their wits. It's been a summer full of playing on the computer, reading books, and the occasional board (bored) game. And sometimes trips to the pool. The pool is almost right outside our back door here in the apartment complex. Just far enough way so that it's not directly behind us. So that is one nice thing. But for the younger two at least, I have to accompany them-so it's one more thing for me to squeeze in to my harried schedule.

So, yesterday was particularly bad, schedule-wise. I offer it to you as a sample day of my summer: Got up, did morning stuff which included cleaning up the kitchen-blech, then I got on-line and placed my order at for household stuff. Then I got dressed and dashed out the door to go to Costco and Walmart. M came with me. We listened to a John Michael Talbot CD in the car. That was nice. So, shopping. Then I looked at the time, and realized that I had barely enough time to drive home, unload the food, let M put it all away (it's nice to have teenagers!) while I dashed out again w/ B for a doctor's appointment. So that is what we did.

I literally ate nothing but chocolate for my "lunch". So not nourishing and not the type of physical energy I needed. We dashed downtown and made it barely in time. Had doc appointment, then headed over to drop something off at the neurologist, a block away. That chore done, we headed home again.

Of course this leaves me tired. I'm ready to rest and get something more nutritious (which I do), when someone informs me that I'd promised a library trip. So I did. So we went/dragged to the library. The younger kids wanted to swim, so I said library then swimming. But by the time we got home it was raining and the pool was closed. Thank God for small rainy mercies.

So by now it's almost time for making dinner. I am exhausted, and still have vespers and choir practice. I'm really too tired to go, but I really need to, and it would be time for myself, yadayada. I don't regret going to vespers and choir, but it WAS very long...almost 3 hours all together. But the music we sang! was worth it.

So, all this to say that the house is a chaotic mess, we still don't know for sure what all is wrong with B and why she has these strange involuntary movements (movement disorder specialist is scratching her head and doing some more research before she gets back w/ us) I'm still trying to find time to grade last year's school work and get things in order, I have TWO kids with birthdays next week and so on and so forth.

In a nutshell: I am at the end of myself. I'm done. I'm out of energy. I've reached my limit. I might as well die on this cross so that I can be resurrected with Christ. Metaphorically speaking, or spiritually speaking, or something.

And so some semblance of myself carries on. It will be interesting to see how this next school year unfolds. I'll probably start week after next, or the week after that. Lord have mercy, I need grace.

And the solution is NOT to enroll them in public school. That would cause more problems than it would solve. Really it would, so please don't leave any comments to that effect.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Black Lace Mantillas

Hello all,

I have found some beautiful lace for large black lace mantillas. If anyone wants to buy one, the cost (includes shipping, the cost of the lace, the cost of the edging, and a bit for labor) is $22.50.

My email address is alanasheldahl {at} gmail etc.

Go ahead...take the traditional! D-Dog-Double-Dare. ;-)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Stuff I've been Doing

Yesterday, I got a bee in my proverbial bonnet to do some sewing. I decided to challenge myself and create a pattern from a garment I already own, which is getting worn out. Here's the pattern. Unmentionable. Modesty will not permit me to post a photo of the final product, but suffice it to say, I'm VERY PLEASED w/ how my garment turned out. I bought some light blue satin and some coffee colored lace, and some embroidered organza. So I have enough fabric to make several garments. Pretties.

And my youngest desperately wants to take a cake decorating class, so she's been watching how-to vids on Youtube, and today she baked a cake (her first) and she and I frosted it together, and practiced royal icing roses and leaves. Obviously we are rank beginners at cake decorating, but she and I both had fun and are looking forward to getting better, and taking a class soon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How it went

Pediatric Neurologist visit survived. Another EEG next Monday. A follow up w/ Neurologist's colleague who is even better w/ movement disorders in a week and a half. Blood work to do, MRI films to retrieve from other hospital, Opthalmologist appointment to make ("nothing is medically insignificant") and I'm taking an odd bit of comfort in the detail that the doctor we saw today has a limp and a cane like Dr. House. Will soon be deep in medical debt and that thought does not panic me anymore. The words "Neuropsychiatric" were spoken in the context of what types of disorders are going to be investigated.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Ok, stressy week. Yesterday was Bethany's psych testing, which went really well. Our follow up results appt. will be in a couple of weeks.

And doing the psych testing means our Flexible Spending Account (health care money, in other words) is on a bright red EMPTY now. I hate the fact that we can't put more than "a certain amount" in there, and with the medical needs of our family, we spend more than that every year.

So from now on, we get to find a small car payment's worth of money(actually two small car payments or a nice new car payment) fir our 20% copay for medicine into our family budget. I'm so glad we aren't paying the full amount. That would be like a mortgage payment on a nicer house than I've ever owned. I guess this is one reason I don't have a house.

Makes me want to weep.

My new mantra: "theLORDprovidestheLORDprovidestheLORDprovides"....said in a slightly panicky voice.

And that doesn't include our part of the doctor visits yet to be made.

Neurologist tomorrow. Those initial consults are always more expensive than follow up visits. Again: Must remind self: "theLORDprovidestheLORDprovidestheLORDprovides". Yeah. Now I feel so much better. I'll feel better after the fact, when I have a nice story to tell, I suppose.

Meanwhile, I had a ginormous cavity drilled a week or so ago, and now my teeth back there are just oh. so. sensitive, and threats of the root canal that my dentist mentioned, that would be in my future if my tooth is still painful are filling my head (filling...HA! no pun intended). I think I'd rather suck on a clove of garlic and make it go away myself, than need a root canal. I can't afford one. And I REALLY can't afford the cost of a porcelain crown. Really. That's like eight hundred bucks. I don't want to think about it. I really don't.

So, I guess I'll go make a honey-sweetened blueberry pie with my youngest, who wants to learn pie-making, instead.

And later I'll go to vespers and pray.

And life will go on.

And my feelings are just my feelings. And they will go away.

And the roiling drama inside of me will calm down and life as we know it will not come to a screeching halt over any of this. Really, it won't.

The Lord will provide. He always does, you know.

Monday, July 05, 2010


Had fun contra dancing tonight. Danced most of the time with my husband, although one is technically supposed to switch partners with each dance. No one cared. Really.

This is our second Monday night out dancing. We are getting better, and can now add an extra twirl to our swing. Mostly. Unless we are crashing into someone else. Ha ha.

Wow, wow, wow. Who would have thought, just a few years ago when I was SO SICK with my fibro, that I would be dancing and going to the zoo all on the same day.

Glory to the Lord.

Saturday, July 03, 2010


I'm sort of hoping to go to the Jane Austen Festival next weekend. It's going to be at Locust Grove, here in Louisville.

I will be out of my depth.

Dreams of going in full Regency costume fill my head, with Regency Wes at my side, of course. But that will have to wait until a year from now.

For this year, I will go as a gawker, I guess. Next year, I hope to be a member of the Jane Austen group (can't remember what it's called exactly) that puts on the festival, with all attendant joys and duties.

So, today I found a hat at the thrift store that I can remake into a bonnet. Alas, it is not authentic straw, but at least it has the "look" and I can practice/play around with it.

I also picked up some old sheets that will serve either as practice dresses, or muslins, or some-such. And a piece of satiny stuff (a curtain) that I can envision as a Spencer.

Knowing of course that none of this stuff is period correct. I guess I need to start collecting patterns and reading blogs, etc. And getting serious about this stuff. It can be done.

Here's a nice blog I just discovered, thanks to a good friend sending me the link: Living With Jane. Check it out if you are into Regency Costuming or sewing, or stuff like that.

When You Bake a Pastured Chicken

When you bake a pastured chicken, you are going to want some veggies to go with it.

Veggies are filling, and so you have leftover chicken meat.

Left over chicken meat is great in a summertime chicken salad.

In order to make the chicken salad, you must produce some lacto-fermented mayonnaise.

While you are making the lacto-fermented mayonnaise, you realize you have egg whites left over.

Leftover egg whites can be used in a meringue.

Meringue reminds you of your grandmother's chocolate meringue pie.

While the blender is busy making mayonnaise, you get busy stirring up some homemade pudding with your farm fresh raw milk. You make a pie crust with the lard you got from the farmer, and pop it in the oven.

When the chocolate pudding is done you determine that it is lumpy and you want to put it through the blender. In order to put it through the blender, it has to be washed.

You wash the blender, blend the pie filling, spread the meringue and pop the pie in the oven.

All this from-scratch-kitchen-work is exhausting and you need some energy. You make some chicken salad, eat it and realize you don't know what to cook for dinner.

You look in the freezer.

There sits another pastured chicken...

Friday, July 02, 2010

The Raisin

by my daughter, Bethany Sheldahl, age 16

Once upon a midnight thunder, while I pondered full of hunger,
Of the many things forgotten at the store,
While I nodded, dearly wishing, suddenly there came a swishing,
As of someone gently squishing, squishing at my chamber door.
'Tis some visitor', I muttered, squishing at my chamber door.
Only this, and nothing more.

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December
Where there was no grape to have - no more
And no apricots, no plums (unless you count the dried-up ones
Which never do make me say 'yum'), Ah, no fruit; only raisins

You may be wondering why I say a raisin is not a fruit
This is why: because it looks like something
That was scraped off a boot - very disgusting
Not a food which I was lusting
But there was no such time for wishing
While there was a squishing, squishing at my chamber door
Nameless sound, forever more

But, as I was dearly wishing
Still persisted the sound squishing
Louder, louder the sound grew
Until through the window flew
A stately box of sun-dried grapes
Coming through my curtain drapes
"Grapes?" I wished aloud - and heard an echo
"Grapes," the squishing sound replied
Squishing past my curtain drapes

Not wanting to be rude, I asked
"Raisins, why have you the task
Of coming here to me?"
Alas, no reply, though I could make out the printed words "Eat Me!"
"Eat you? Why, that is preposterous!" I tried to reason
But it was the raisins' season
So to be polite I choked one down
But instantly appeared a mound
"What do you torment me for?'
Quoth the raisin, "Have some more!"

"I will not!" I answered, with resent
But the raisin was persistent
And sadly, I said nothing more
Quoth the raisin, "Have some more!"

Was this to be a waking nightmare?
For many a time, in my dreams
Squishy raisins muffled screams
"Be you real or fright of darkness?"
This I asked in uttermost starkness
But the raisin said no more

Now surely this was much too scary
To be real, I reasoned fairly
As I pinched myself and tried to sleep it off
When I was awakened by a choking cough
Raisins, raisins, all around me
Multiplying, they surround me
And I hear a squishing cackle
From the raisin - "Have some more!"

Now the raisins never leave me
Day and night did they bereave me
Day and night forevermore
Always screeching "Have some more!"

Thursday, July 01, 2010

All That Stuff That's Not Food

You know what I'm talking about. The toilet paper, shampoo, razors, deodorant, paper towels, dishwasher detergent, vitamins, batteries....that sort of stuff. At our house we call it "household stuff" and we try and try and try to keep a separate budget for these items, but it's just so darned easy to mix them together because they are there at the food store.

Or else we try to shop au natural...say from from the farmer and at the Farmer's Market, and we keep getting sucked into that big place no one likes for this "household stuff".

I know you go through it, too. Such anguish we all suffer!

Well, suffer no more my friends, I found a solution for you!!!!!

It's a shopping web site. Very nifty. You can order this stuff and they get it to you in 1-2 business days. AND NO SHIPPING!!!!!

And the prices are good. And they have coupons. And a wider selection of toothpaste than Walmart, for instance. No more having to go all the way to Whole Foods just because I'm out of my favorite flavor of Tom's of Maine Toothpaste. Ha! And Alice's price is better.

So, there you have it. Check it out. I just placed my first order and now when I go food shopping, I won't be plagued with the need to buy non-food items as well.

And if you lump these sorts of things together in your budget, also has coffee and tea and snack foods and the like.

Just thought I'd share.