Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Confessions of a Spiritual Lackwit

I feel like I'm in a place in my life where I am slowly moving forward. I know that having more energy than I had heretofore helps a lot with that, although honestly, this week has been a struggle, since I do feel like I'm "down with something vague". Various of my youngsters are feeling the same way, so it is probably not just my imagination.

As a mother, I can see that my kids are growing up and my relationships with them are changing a bit. They are challenging me! It's not always easy but they aren't shy about calling my crap crap, and so I'm trying to work hard on the virtues of gentleness and patience as I parent them through their teen years. I tend, by nature, to be loud and blustery and they don't. like. that. I'm working on it, though. Really, I am.

Sometimes it is hard to be patient with all of their various issues.

We had a big family meeting about meal times over dinner last night. One of my goals it to pre-plan my dinners and lunches, so that I know what's on the menu in advance. This is a shift from having a "pantry full of food" and deciding each day what's going to be for supper.

The problem is, various ones have sensory issues and as is common with so many ASD people, they can. not. eat. food. they. don't. like.

Which leads, too often, to me being a short order cook. I've tried many times to reign in this tendency, and am making that effort once again. The other alternative is that I make the "picky ones" get their own food which results in ill-nourished grumpy kids living on pizza and breakfast cereal. Since I quit buying frozen pizzas, and now that my son is gluten free, we are struggling a bit more with this issue.

[Please, no comments about what you do that works so well to get your youngsters to eat vegetables. If it's out there, I've tried it and it doesn't work well at our house. ASD people are different from Neurotypical people. Hunger will NOT motivate an ASD kid to eat whatever's put in front of him/her. This has been my experience and it holds true for others as well. I asked this on a "Parents of kids with Autism" list and we do, indeed, many of us, have this struggle in common.]

But, glory to God, we came up with about 15 meals that I can prepare and that my family members will ALL eat at least enough from to fill their bellies. That's progress, so we'll be eating the same 15 dinners over and over again. But that's more than having only seven different dinners, so I'm grateful.

This, in the long term, will make calorie counting much easier, will it not? I'll have each meal figured out and just have to plug in those numbers to my daily tally.

Yes, I said it. I'm counting calories these days. I joined an organization called TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) which is a weight loss support club. It's all very "club-like" with Minutes being read, pledges being said, etc. We even started the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. But the group of ladies (most of whom are at least one or two or three decades older than I am) are all very gregarious and funny and welcoming, so I'm glad I joined.

And I've been working on doing a better job on the domestic side of things. That's always a struggle for me, but I'm trying. House work is insanely boring and I'd rather, always and forever, be reading a good book or perusing the internet. But, that work must be done, eh?

I'm sorry I grossed everyone out yesterday. I did not mean to. I honestly thought the whole dental crown incident was hilariously funny and in some grand way I figure that being a sinner and all that, I deserved to be shoveling through that which is such a good metaphor for my sins.

I'm also working on re-establishing my Bible Reading habit. That's a struggle, and it seems perhaps there's some spritual opposition helping along my own laziness and spiritual lackwittedness. But struggle I must so struggle I do. Numbers is SUCH a boring book!!!! I find that I don't much care for the Old least not the dryer parts of the Pentateuch which I studied to death in seminary, and about which feel like I've already gleaned all the good nuggets therefrom. Fight, fight, fight!

And so it all goes.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Adventures with my Stupid Tooth: Edited Verson due to TMI complaint

In the past few years I've had two root canals and two crowns put into my mouth. This makes a total of three (yes, weak teeth is another one of those celiac things, apparently). And crowns are not cheap. In fact, I was in pain for over a year because I needed TWO root canals and could only affford to do one per year. But all that is in the past now.

Well, a week ago, I had made a crock pot fudge lava cake for my dd's sleepover, and while I was eating a small portion of that gooeyness, I lost one of my crowns. This was the SECOND time this particular crown had come loose, much to my dentist's astonishment. It's rare to lose them once. It's ultra rare to lose them twice.

I'm ultra-rare, but we already knew that, now didn't we?

So, the crown was gone.

Down the hatch. And as the saying goes, what goes in, must come out.

So, I waited upon it's joy-filled returned to the land of daylight.

Today, I took it to the dentist to sterilize and re-insert. I asked them what they did, and she said: "Soak it in bleach for 10 minutes and then in this stuff that will KILL ANYTHING in on minute, but we leave it in for ten."

OK, I feel better now. It's no longer the "poopy tooth" , it is now the DEATH TOOTH. Or perhaps we can call it the "Crown of Death". Yeah, I like that name.

At any rate, I thought it would be a quick "squirt some cement on it and stick it back in" procedure, but NO.

The inside of my crown had to be scored, and also, apparently my tooth stub.

How, you ask, does the dentist score a tooth stub?

Using a SAND BLASTER, of course. No lie. I'm not exaggerating.

It was all on an itty bitty scale...but it was, indeed, a sand blaster and they were squirting sand into my mouth.

It was like a dust storm, followed by a hard rain (the rinsing), and when the tech accidentally blew air down my throat, that was the tornado.

Bad weather in my mouth today.

It was a bit more involved that I had anticipated it being, but the crown of death is firmly cemented back into my jaw...until it comes loose again, I guess.

An those, my friends, have been this week's adventures with my stupid tooth.

At least there was no actual PAIN involved.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I remember getting on a bus that day. It was November 2, 1982 and the bus was departing from in front of the SBB Bahnhof (train station) in Basel, Switzerland, headed for the airport in Mulhouse, France. (I could be wrong...but that's what I remember).

It was gray. I remember thinking that perhaps I'd never see this place again. I had the urge to kiss the ground and say goodbye but I did not do that.

I have no memories of the transatlantic flight, but I guess I must have some of flying in to New York City because I can't see pictures of the Statue of Liberty without choking up.

Of course I was excited. I was also scared out of my wits. I was coming to America and heretofore it was not my home. From now on it would be.

I remember flying from New York to Boston and the being picked up by a friend of my parents'. We stayed with them that first week. I've been to Boston in the fall! (unlike Larry the cucumber in the Pirates that don't do Anything song!)

That first week was a mixture of fun historical visits to all the places in and around Boston that every American should visit if they get a chance, and mind boggling culture shock. My face literally hurt from speaking English full time that first week.

I was twelve and a hot European mess of a twelve year old, at that. The girls in the family we stayed with were so smooth and cool and preppy and American. They wore their hair curled and their bangs had "wings". They wore makeup!!! I was in shock. I was middle school Swiss grunge and only a decade too early. Seattle in the 1990's would have loved me. They tried fixing me up with makeup but I felt like a hooker with a bit of powder, blush, lipgloss and mascara. It was all so "junior high".

Since it was November, there were lots of Christmas things on display in the stores already, and the movie ET was popular. So it was this weird ET Christmas theme in ALL the stores. ETs in Santa hats were everywhere. I was very underimpressed with the crassness of it all and missed St. Nicholas and all the old world traditions.

That fall was pretty in New England. We were there for a week, then my dad found an agency that let people drive other people's cars across the country, so our family squeezed into a Beemer to drive to Tennessee.

So theoretically I've been to PA and such places that are between Boston and Nashville, but only on the interstate.

That was November and I was out of school until January when the new semester started. I remember taking a placement test, and of course was placed in my age-level grade which was actually a grade higher than what I'd been in in Switzerland. I found, once school started, that the academic side of things was mind numbingly easy.

The social parts, not so much. I was so overwhelmed and confused. Culture shock can do that to a kid, you know. I cried in school on more than one occasion. I could not tell one African American person from another at first because I had just never been around any black people before and I did not have the neural connections to distinguish facial features at first. I got better at it, but being plunked smack dab into a cross cultural situation where I couldn't even read the white kids' body language and slang, the added confusion of there being subcultures was just a bit much. I did not understand the anger, resentment and hatred I felt radiating at me from the black girls at my bus stop in the projects. And I certainly did not always understand their slang. We lived in an old house owned by an inner city church, so where else was I to catch the bus, eh?

When I was at school, the kids called me JAP. I had no idea what this meant but I did know it was some form of insult. I asked my mom what JAP meant and she said it was short for Japanese, a derogatory term used during the WWII era. That made no sense whatsoever. Oh well.

Now I have figured out it probably stood for "Jewish American Princess" and I think it was in the context of these Nashville kids trying to figure out how it is I came from Switzerland of all places.