Kiss The Fiddler

Ramblings, moments of humor, random thoughts, experiences, insights, simple wisdom, and whatever else I feel like sharing.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sweet Potato Salad

Here's the recipe for the Sweet Potato Salad I made for Thanksgiving dinner this year. I thought it was delish!

Cube into bitesize cubes about 2 pounds of red skinned sweet potatoes. Drizzle and toss with olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and roast in 450 oven until just shy of tender. Cool thoroughly.

The next day (or after sweet potatoes have completely cooled) whisk together the following
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons OJ
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely minced
2 green onions, green part included, finely sliced
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
This is gonna be the dressing for the salad. Pour over sweet potatoes.

Carefully remove kernels from one ripe pomegranate. Rinse to remove any white bits. Toss with dressing over sweet potatoes.

Refrigerate until serving time.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Verbal Processing

Until yesterday, I have put very little thought into the idea of verbal processing.

Yesterday, Kara and I met with Dr. Swierc, Luken's therapist. Dr. Swierc is a child psychologist. We've been seeing her to help us learn to more effectively parent our dear child. Anyway, yesterday we met with her to go over the results of some neuro/psych testing she did on Luken coupla weeks ago. Turns out, Luken has a significant weakness in verbal processing.

To quote, ". . . it appears that he has a specific receptive language disability which would benefit from educational services." Luken scored average on tests of intellectual ability and achievement. He's plenty smart. We know that. More quoting, "Luken demonstrated a significant weakness in verbal processing abilities, with a receptive language comprehension score that fell over 2 standard deviations below his other scores to the Very Low Range at the 1st percentile. In contrast to his specific difficulty comprehending verbal directions, he is able to produce language with a naming vocabulary in the average range compared to same aged peers. No significant weakness was observed in his attention and recall, on either visual or auditory tasks, both of which were in the average range." She goes on to recommend that Luken receive Speech Therapy.

Dr. Swierc gave us an example of what Luken hears when we talk to him. She said that he is able to hear, take in, process and appropriately respond to only 2 to 3 words of any given sentence or request we give him. If we were to say, "Luken, please don't chew on the Christmas tree. The lights on it could hurt you." he might only hear, "Luken, blah blah blah chew blah blah blah you." No wonder we think he is defiant. He really truly isn't understand what we say. I feel sad that I've been harsh with him for disobeying when he can't.

I sort of know what he's going through. I don't read text or print. I can read. Sometimes. When I can, I can only make sense of a few of the words on the page. I guess at the rest. I sometimes guess wrong. Sometimes the responses I give to written directions don't at all match what the text was asking of me. I get frustrated. I get mad. It makes me not want to even try. It's a lot of work to make sense of things in a world that widely relies on text. But I've done it. Sometimes. I earned a Master's degree with a 4.o GPA. I did it without reading. I sat in the front of class where I could easily see the instructor. I tried to take notes. Sometimes. I guessed at a LOT of things. And I wrote. I wrote what I thought they wanted to read. Anyway . . .

I hope that, with early intervention, Luken learns how to process the information that the world throws at him. I don't want him to go through his life having to guess at what people mean when they talk to him. It's hard enough to know what people mean, even for those of us that are able to hear, process and respond to the spoken word.

He's a smart spunky little kid. I know he's gonna make the best of whatever comes his way. He has lots of support. And I'm sad for him. I don't want him to have to work so hard just to understand. It's not fair.


too long

Too long with a migraine. Since I had a hysterectomy this past June, the number, intensity and frequency of the migraines I experience has dropped drastically. Yay!

That said, I got a migraine on Sunday. It's manageable during the day but around 4, it starts growing until it takes me out at the knees. I'm done. I need this headache to be over.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


i am depressed
it sucks
sucks the energy right out of me
makes it hard to breathe
want to sleep
for a long time


p.s. i get this way every now and then. it gets better. don't freak out.

Bad Attitude

Yup. You read that right. I have a bad attitude. I am feeling mean and angry and crabby and all sorts of bad about myself. Like, REALLY bad about myself. I am fat. I hate fat. I weigh 225 pounds. That's one hundred pounds extra. One hundred twenty five pounds that I used to weigh at one proud but not so sane time in my adult life. Hate pretty much sums up the feelings I have about my body right now.

So, I'm trying to change. My morning sugar was 87. That's good. I ate 2 poached eggs over green peas with salt and pepper for breakfast. And, of course, coffee with cream. Yes, cream. Always.

It's a good thing I have the Spreading the Love project to focus on.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Is it gaming or is it therapy?

The other day at one of Luken's therapies, the therapist was explaining to me the importance of cross body activities for Luken. Among these are crawling and riding a bike or trike.

Yesterday, during my second hand store rounds looking for pants, mittens and a pair of shoes for Luken, I happened across this toy bike/video game thing. It's called a SmartCycle. It connects to a television and has a little game thing plugged into it. It's intended to increase the activity of the child whilst offering educational games. After consideration of the therapeutic benefits vs. increased screen time, I bought the thing, took it home, and hooked it up.

Luken caught on quickly. He loves the thing! He will spend about 5 minutes at a time pedaling away on it. So ya, it has some therapeutic value. Plus, he's learning his ABC's.

Still, I feel kinda bad promoting more screen time for my toddler. And gaming. Sheesh . . .

It is what it is, I guess. A mixed bag. Kinda like the rest of life.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Anxious - a non-productive state of mind. Thought shattering, emotion frothing, asthma inducing panic. Non-logical, non-sensical, energy robbing path that leads to nowhere.

So, really, why do I keep going there? Enough already!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Lessons Learned?

Poor Fizz didn't have a good day today.

First he got too cold. His fur isn't very thick. When I let him inside after his breakfast, he was shivering and so I let him bundle with us on the couch. His feet and ears next to me were cold enough to feel through my blanket. Poor Fizz.

I decided to give him a treat to help cheer him up. I have him the last coupla bites of Luken's blueberry pancake with peanut butter on it. The peanut butter glued itself to the top of Fizz's mouth. What ensued was a frenzy of jerking, head flinging, slobber slinging and terrified licking. I took pity and scraped the pancake/peanut butter off the top of his mouth. I swear, I didn't mean to terrorize him.

A little while later, I heard Fizz wrestling with our other young dog, Belle. Crash, bang, boom! Then all was quiet. In this house, during the day, quiet usually isn't a good sign. I went looking. At the bottom of the basement stairs, stood Fizz. He was all hunched up, his tail tucked between his legs, a small pool of blood growing beneath him. Something was wrong. Now, I didn't know this, but evidently when male dogs get, uh, excited, their penis engorges and comes completely out of the sheath. I mean COMPLETELY out, even the swollen glans were out. That was shocking to see. And the blood . . . What on earth?

I hollered for Kara and gathered Fizz up and ran him to the vet. By the time we got to the vet, his "excitement" had subsided. The vet patiently explained to me that yes, when dogs are erect, the entire penis and glans comes out of the sheath. Still though, the blood was worrisome. So the vet examined him further. She found that poor Fizz had at least 2 puncture wounds on his penis about halfway from the tip to the glans. Oh, poor Fizz!

We were sent home with Fizz in a lamp shade collar, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory meds, and absolutely no dignity. Fizz spent the rest of the morning moping, trying to lick and crashing into things as he bumbled through the house in his lampshade.

Lesson of the day? Oh, take your pick. Beware the peanut butter. Wear a warm coat when it's cold outside. Keep it in your pants, or, uh, sheath. If you wave it around, somebody's gonna get hurt.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Is it me?

Luken's Child Development Center eval was today. It was a psych eval. 1. I know the man who did the eval. I think he's a mediocre fiddle player. I don't put much stake in his professional opinion. 2. This doctor spent 7 whole minutes playing and interacting with Luken before instructing me to play with him. 3. The toys we were given to play with were unfamiliar to Luken (a pink plastic baby changing station and bath tub with 2 naked baby dolls and various accoutrements). No cars or animals or things to climb or appropriately throw. 4. After less that 10 minutes of me playing with Luken, being observed by this doctor, he took me to his office to talk. 5. After an hour, he sent me back to play with Luken while he and his colleague discussed their "findings". 12 more minutes. 6. Then I am taken back to his office to hear the "findings".

These "findings? Luken is not autistic. Good! Luken is smart. Yes! I agree. Luken is creative. Yup. Luken takes pleasure in pushing my buttons. Sometimes. Luken is able to act appropriately in other settings. Sometimes. Therefore, it's a parenting issue. Fucker!

Don't get me wrong. I am relieved that the doctor didn't see any blaring problems with my child. Sort of. I see issues. Other people see issues. I know I'm not the only person who things there's something going on with this boy. Today's doctor suggested that it was all my problem. It's not. Yes, there is room for improvement. Lots. AND something is going on with him.

I am so frustrated.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thankful 13

Today I am thankful for the possibilities that life holds. Endless!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thankful 12

I work with the best bunch of guys (and a few gals but they're part of "the guys"). Being on the fire department has given me the opportunity to work with some really great folks. Thanks for that!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Oy, sickness . . .

I've been sick for a month. I have "walking pneumonia" or mycoplasmic pneumonia. I started today on a double long dose of z-pack. Blah. I feel like the walking dead.

Luken popped a fever last night. It was 103.8 earlier today. Poor kid is miserable.

We are all miserable.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful 10



DITL (day in the life)

starting at midnight because that's when this calendar date started

sleep peacefully. wake to screaming child. rush in to see what's the matter with screaming child. find out that child is screaming in pain - "owie legs, mommy." give child tylenol. rub child's legs until child falls back asleep. wake up with a start at about 2 realizing that i'm not in bed. look around and realize that i'm in child's room with child sleeping fitfully in my lap on the floor next to his bed. put child into his bed. wrap up in blanket next to child's bed and fall asleep. wake up around 4 to pee. go to own bed and fall asleep. wake at 5 when wife gets up. mutter unintelligible phrases. go back to sleep.

wake at 7 when child wakes. pour coffee. forget to drink coffee. fix child breakfast. clean up breakfast that child flings across the room because "it's not good". plop child in front of tv. shower. dress self. dress child. brush teeth. make an attempt at brushing child's teeth and give up. not worth all the screaming. find jacket that fits child. find both of the same pair of child's shoes. wiggle child's feet into socks and shoes. go outside to start the car. come in. feed dogs. put child's coat on. find wallet. find cell phone. put child's socks, shoes and coat on again. look for car keys and realize that they're already in the car. coax child out the door and to the car. buckle child into car seat. buckle myself into car. look for car keys to start the car. oh, right, car is already running. look both ways and back out of driveway. drive to stevi and deposit child at "school".

drive to missoula. find dr's office. wait in line. check in. wait in waiting room. talk to a coupla guys about the failed fire levy. look out the window at the smoggy missoula sky. follow nurse back to exam room. listen and nod. undress. put on figure flattering open back gown. wait. wait. wait some more. greet doctor. talk about moles. have mole removed. dress. find waiting room and exit through maze of beige hallways and closed doors. return to car.

drive to petsmart. get distracted along the way and go into second hand store. pick out a few things for my child. finish driving to petsmart. load cart full of dog food. follow terrified meow-ing and find terrified cats. they are waiting for their forever homes. feel sad. wait in line at checkout. pay way too much for 3 bags of dog food and 3 dog toys (christmas). call sweetie to see if i need to stop anywhere else in town.

drive to liquor store. browse. find expensive irish whiskey. choose less expensive whiskey. look around some more. pay. get into car and remember that i forgot to eat breakfast. dig around in car and find a bag of trail mix. eat trail mix.

drive south, past home, to child's "school". extricate child from block area. find both child's shoes and jacket. cram child's feet into his shoes. give up on the jacket. sign child out of "school". buckle child and self into car. drive home.

put child down for nap. make myself lunch. eat lunch! check email. climb into bed for nap. snuggle with cat until she gets up to eat. watch cat eat. watch cat vomit. roll over. listen to cat eat. listen to cat vomit. get up. clean up vomit. twice. watch cat eat. watch cat vomit. again. clean up vomit. again. call vet and make appointment for later today. send harassing texts to wife. laugh at the texts she sends back. send more harassing texts. pour diet pepsi. forget to drink it.

screw around on facebook until child gets up from nap around 1430. change child's diaper. play with child. answer phone. send more texts to wife. do "educational" activities with child on the computer. get cat ready for the vet.

load self and cat into the car. drive to friend's house to turn off her stove. take cat to vet. wait. talk about funny things dogs do. take cat into exam room. rub kitty's head when she gets a shot to stop the vomiting. talk to vet. decide to "give it until monday" and re-assess next week. get medication to give cat at home. pay. load cat and self into the car. drive home. again.

take cat into the house. look at the mess that i call a kitchen. turn around and walk out. it's too much. sit on couch and open computer. blog. chat with wife and child. discuss the weather. my child has icy cold hands from being outside. talk about my dr. appointment. talk about wife's dr. appointment. talk cat's dr. appointment. talk about dog's poop. roll eyes.

hear sirens. check pager. get boots on. find keys. tell spouse i'm going on a call. drive to fire hall. pull on bunker gear. haul fat ass into big red truck. hang on while joe drives like hell. laugh at crazy radio traffic. follow a parade of fire trucks who make a wrong turn. turn around with a parade of fire trucks. laugh at the parade. find the scene. check in. wander around trying to look useful. get cancelled (probably because we looked so good). wander back to big red truck. help turn truck around. ride back to florence. climb around on truck while fueling. pub flopping hose away (no, it's not that). tease joe as he backs big red truck into fire hall. climb out. peel off turn outs. talk with folks there about all sorts of very rude crap.

attend fire association meeting. laugh at inappropriate times. learn some touchy news. share my opinion too freely. find a chocolate stash and help myself. yummy. wander around fire hall trying to feel useful. decide to go home.

drive home. it's freezing outside. get home. wade through three wagging dogs. check in with sleepy wife. get something to eat. watch tv while i eat. be lap for sick cat. blog. think about day.

i am tired.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Oh, so there IS a reason.

I haven't been feeling up to par lately. I'm tired as hell and only marginally functional. I manage to get Luken to his appointments but have fallen behind on things such as meal planning/cooking and laundry. I feel like shit.

So, with Kara's urging, I went to my doctor. He thinks I have Mycoplasma Pneumonia. Thing is, it's not in my lungs, it's in my throat. Several weeks ago, my household got sick. Both Kara and Luken were given z-pack and they got better pretty quickly. I got sick but didn't bet much more than blah ugh sick so I never went in. Doc thinks that I got the bacteria at that time and it's just dug in really hard. So, while I'm not happy in the least about feeling like crap, it is good to know that there's a reason.

To bed!


Thankful 9

Today I am thankful that I have a good doctor and access to medical care.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thankful 8

Missed a day yesterday. Oops. Oh, well. Onward.

Today I am thankful for pancakes.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

On Sleep

Our house has a guest room. It's downstairs. It's quiet, warm and dark. I crawled into bed in that room yesterday afternoon and fell asleep. I slept until this morning. Again today I went down there and went to bed. I slept until evening. I want to go back and spend the night down there. It's like time stops when I'm sleeping there. Life stops. Not like when I'm sleeping in my bed upstairs. When I'm sleeping in my bed, I hear Kara snoring. I hear Luken whimper. I hear the dogs sleeping. I feel the cats crawling over me. I hear the truck that delivers the morning paper drive down my street. I hear the neighbor come home and leave again in the middle of the night. When I wake up after sleeping in my bed, I feel like I'm coming from the grey into the day. When I wake from sleeping downstairs though, I feel like I come through the void, through the silence into wakefulness. Sleeping in the dark warm quiet has an addictive quality about it. I NEED it! I MUST have more of it! If you can't find me upstairs, look in the guest room. It will be warm and dark and quiet and I will be there. Sleeping. Truly deeply sleeping as I haven't slept in years.


Thankful 6



Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thankful 5

Today I am grateful for my smiling little boy. He woke up last night at about 1130 because he was hungry. I gave him some yogurt and we hung out for awhile in the dark. He is such a sweet soul. And funny too! I am so glad he chose us to be his parents. He has changed my life in so many ways. I never knew my heart could feel so full of love for someone as it does for him. Luken is a precious gift and I look forward to each day with him.


Friday, November 4, 2011

The Curtain Comes Down

It's dark outside. And snowing. It's the end of the day. The end of the week. And the curtain comes down. I am deep dark depressed. I have a migraine and I've taken meds for it. I want to curl up in a warm soft dark place and be rocked. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. I want someone to rub my back and shoulders. I want to sink into that place where nothing else really matters. Just breathing in. And breathing out. Over and over again. Until the morning comes and the sun brings pink to the sky and my coffee pot crackles to life. Coaxing me out of sleep, that sweet dark place, to set my feet on the floor and start again.


Thankful 4

Today (and every day) I am thankful for my wife. So often, that goes unsaid. I'm glad that Kara stays with me even though I am not easy to live with. I am grateful for our commitment to each other and to our relationship. Together we face what life gives us, the good, the bad, and the in between. Together we figure it out. Together we raise our son. Together we collapse into bed each night exhausted. Together we face each new day and all the possibilities it brings. Yes, we fight. We butt heads. We disagree. But we learn. And we go on. I'm lucky to have her.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful 3

Today I am thankful for the larch on the mountains. Some people call them tamarack. Right now they are bright deep yellow among the evergreens. I really do have the best view anybody could wish for.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful 2

Today I am thankful that we saved our credit card points for the past 10 years so we can travel to visit my sister over Christmas. I am so excited!


We're Traveling!

I am SO excited! We're actually going away for the holidays. Turns out, we'll be away from home over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years! I am so excited!

We'll have Thanksgiving in Bigfork with Kara's family. Then we'll go to Great Falls to see my family over the weekend. That will be crowded and fun.

Then, the part I'm most excited about - Christmas! We're gonna fly to Portland and stay a few days with Larkin and her family before staying a coupla blocks away at the Marriott until the 30th when we fly home. I can hardly wait! Larkin moved to Portland in August and we've really missed her. The little boys will get to have Christmas Eve and Christmas morning together. After Christmas, maybe we'll go to the coast for a day. Maybe we'll go to the zoo or aquarium or well, the possibilities are nearly endless!

On New Year's, we'll go to Kalispell. Luken and I will go to FirstNight! and Kara will party it up with her huge extended family in the annual HagenFest.

When it's all said and done, we'll be ready to hibernate until spring.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Slowing Down

I need to slow down. There is so much to be done that I don't have time to slow down. I can choose do engage in slower types of activities. Like knitting. Or reading. Who am I kidding? I HATE to read. Shit I hardly can. Read, that is. So, ya, knitting. Knitting is quiet and methodical. And pretty. Well, the yarn is pretty anyway. Kudos to the gals at Mountain Colors for the beautiful colorways. Anyway, slowing down . . . Slowing down feels panicky to me. Strange, I know. Right now, Luken is in bed and the house is quiet. Kara is out for the evening. I should take the opportunity to purposefully slow down, right? But the kitchen is a mess. I need to clean the floor. The dog needs brushed. And the floor, did I mention the floor? All that crap races around in my head and even if I'm sitting staring mindlessly at the tele, I don't feel relaxed one single bit.

When I sit and ponder, try to slow the thoughts in my head, I feel depressed. I'm not sure what I'd rather be, slow and depressed or racing and panicked. How 'about somewhere in the middle.


Thankful 1

Today I am thankful that Hallowe'en is over and done with.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

It is my firm and steadfast belief that nothing good comes out of Texas.


Thursday, October 27, 2011


We went bowling today. All 3 of us. And I forgot my camera. But we had a great time none the less. Great family date "night".

Next time I will remember my camera.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


There wan an observer at Luken's day care yesterday. She was there observing Luken in a step to determine eligibility for special education services. When I arrived to pick him up, the children were sitting around the 2 tables eating their lunch. That is, everybody except Luken. He was rolling around under the table screeching. Yup, that's my kid!



The dogs' water stayed frozen all day today - even during the part of the day when it was in the sun. The weather is turning. The colors are almost over. It was a beautiful crisp day.

I drove up to Blodgett this afternoon and captured this picture.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hard Won!

You'll remember a couple months ago, (right after his birthday) I set up a reward sticker chart for Luken. I thought it'd probably take him a month to complete. He was excited about it. He chose the reward he would earn once he completed the sticker chart. The chosen reward: a Diego Camera!

It was slow going.

Weeks went by. Some days Luken earned up to 4 stickers. Sometimes we'd go days with no stickers. We talked about it every day. I was beginning to doubt.

But then, last week, I noticed that there were only a few empty spots! By the end of the day, he had done it! Luken had completed the sticker chart!

The next day, we went to Target to purchase the promised camera. He was intent and excited.

We walked through the dollar shelves, past the purses, past the girls clothes, past the baby toys, past the toy cars and dolls to the kid electronics section. There were blue and pink Fisher Price cameras. There were orange and purple LeapFrog cameras but no Diego camera. Luken had his heart set on a Diego camera. He decided that he'd rather wait and get his Diego camera in the mail than get one of the substitute cameras. So we went home camera-less.

I immediately found an ordered a Diego camera online. Luken came with me each day to check the mail. Then, Friday, there was a knock on the door. It was FedEx with a box for Luken! He immediately and quite excitedly opened it. When he saw the Diego camera, he shrieked with delight.

Now that he finally has it, he wears it around his neck most of his awake time.

He doesn't really understand the picture taking idea but he has his camera!

I'm proud of him. He had a goal and he stuck with it. What a kid!


Sunday, October 9, 2011


Oh, wow, I've been busy. I spent last week as part of the instructor team teaching a new class of Child Passenger Safety Technicians. This was the last step of my Instructor Candidacy. I finished it! Yay! I'm proud and glad it's finished. My mom came last week to take care of Luken while I was teaching. I couldn't have done it without her. Thanks, Mom.

Kara is working from home now. She has a cute little office set up downstairs in front of the window. This is a new set up and it's gonna take some getting used to having her around all day.

I don't know really what I'm writing about. Sort of just wanted to make a stamp in time. I'm feeling a bit out of sorts and tired. Depressed but I don't know why.

For the past year, we've been locking Luken's door at night. This keeps him from roaming the house when he wakes at night and destroying things (drawing on the walls, pulling down curtains, using scissors to cut upholstery, etc). For the past several weeks, he's been staying in bed at night. So tonight, I just closed his door. I didn't lock the lock at the top of his door. Might pay for this in the morning but we'll see.

Busy day tomorrow. I have a physical therapy appointment. Luken has occupational therapy. I see the chiropractor. We all 3 go see a psychologist (I don't like her). I have small group at church and have been invited to another group as well. It's a lot! I should go to bed so I can hit the ground running in the morning.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Just Holding On

The last month has gone so fast that it makes me dizzy. I haven't had time to really think about everything that's happened or process it or feel it. I think that today was Sunday. Yes, it must have been Sunday. I went to church. What I did yesterday? I have no idea. It musta been something because I woke exhausted. I wake exhausted every day. Every morning, the first thing I do is make coffee and look at the calendar to see when we have to be where.

This coming week, I am supposed to help teach a Child Passenger Safety class. I will be graded on it. I am not ready. I really wish that I could reschedule.

I am in so far over my head right now that I really feel I might drown. I need more time, more brains and more energy. We are flat broke. Scraping deeper every month. The stress just piles up. We face one thing, deal with it and don't get a chance to catch our breath before the next thing hits us. I don't know how much longer this can go on.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

breathe in. breathe out.

2 puffs albuterol
50 mg benedryl
.33cc epi
125 cc salumedrol
.33 cc epi
5 cc valium

add it all up and it equals a rocky afternoon. hope never to repeat it but very glad that everybody is gonna be okay. very thankful to the docs and nurses at our local clinic and the folks on the fire dept who came to help.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Church is not for Sissies.

Luken has been asking to go to church with me. So, after a week of talking about it, I took him. The first 5 minutes were okay. I could tell he was trying hard to be quiet. He simply could not. I felt bad for him. He wanted to stay for "the kids" (Sunday School). "The kids" happens after the church service so we first had to survive that. I have no idea what the texts or sermon was about. The two women sitting in our row probably haven't a clue either. By the time it was time for "the kids", Luken was so undone that he couldn't enjoy it. Poor boy. We'll try again in awhile.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There Was An Old Woman Who Swallowed A Fly

I kid you not. As I was walking around MegaLowMart today trying to find the cheapest diapers for my child, a fly flew up my nose. What, you say?. Yup, the damn thing buzzed up my left nostril. How rude!

I immediately tried to snort it out but to no avail. I was left with no choice but to walk around the store with tears pouring from my eyes. It didn't hurt. Ok, yes it did. Having something flying around on the INSIDE of one's face is not comfortable in the least. It hurt. The tears weren't from the pain though. My body lurched into overdrive secretion production. I clutched a tissue and tried not to panic.

Sneezing a couple times just seemed to make the fly mad. Or more panicked. Or hyper. At any rate, sneezing did nothing but make the fly crash around harder and faster inside my face.

After about 15 minutes (no kidding), I was able to blow my nose and evacuate the fly. I've never looked at a fly in a wad of snot with quite so much relief before. Well, I don't think I've ever seen a fly in a wad of snot. Anyway, the damn thing was still alive and I thought twice before wadding up the tissue and throwing it away. Was this animal cruelty?

So, ya, that really happened to me today. Don't I lead an exciting life? I bet you're jealous as hell, aren't you?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I got up at 630 this morning and have pretty much been running balls to the wall since. I'm tired!
Luken went to preschool this morning so I had a chance to work on the bills. Oh, the bills . . . They are many. It is scary.

Harvested in the garden. Got tons of cukes! So yummy!

Began painting the front door. It's gonna be green. For 7 and a half years now, I've lived behind a plain white front door. Boring! It's time to fit that. I chose a nice deep green and started in on that project. It's always harder and takes longer than it seems it will. This I know.

Went to chiropractor today. My neck is finally beginning to feel better. I am so glad!

Tomorrow Luken has his PT eval. Hmmmm. . .

Time for bed.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Here We Go!

So, ya, Luken has been dx'd with Sensory Processing Disorder. We go to OT twice a week, PT once a week, preschool twice a week and see a psychologist once a week. Wow! I'm exhausted! It's a good reality check for me that when I asked for help, people said oh, shit, yes! I feel bad that I didn't put the pieces together sooner.

We're seeing a surge in tough behaviors now that we've started therapy. He has periods of time when he can't talk. He's a great talker most of the time. Lately, when he gets maxed out or frustrated, he growls and rocks back and forth. Sometimes he jumps and flaps his hands and bangs his head. If I didn't know better and I just saw him at a glance, I'd think he was autistic. It's kind of scary.

He's being evaluated for need of services through the school district (here it's the Bitterroot Valley Education Co-op.) We'll see where that goes.

Stress! And kind of tough realizing that my child struggles. Well, I knew this. It's just that I can't pretend anymore. There is a degree of grief that comes with this.

So, here we go. Headlong into this new phase of helping our child to grow up happy. May the Force be with us.

Here is the OT's write up.

"Luken was referred by his physician for an OT evaluation tue to significant motor activity and difficult behaviors. At the time of testing, Luken was 3 years 1 month in age."

"History provided by his mother included the following information. Luken has considerable difficulty with sleeping and sleep has been an issue since infancy. He is not a picky eater, rather, the opposite. He will attempt to ingest anything, including paper, carpet, dirt, worms, and feces, unless he is supervised. [I supervise Luken quite closely. If I so much as walk away to take a piss, he becomes a danger to himself.] Luken is not yet toilet trained. His mother reports that he is moving and bouncing almost continuously. He throws toys and will hurt animals with no apparent awareness of the consequences of his behavior."

"The SENSORY PROFILE/INFANT TODDLER questionnaire was completed by Luken's mother. The results indicate that Luken demonstrates some significant concerns with sensory processing. The scores/results are as follows:
LOW REGISTRATION: DEFINITE DIFFERENCE (registration refers to awareness/the point in the integration process when he becomes aware of the stim) With Low threshold the nervous system responds frequently to stimuli because it does not take very much to activate the system.
AUDITORY PROCESSING: DEFINITE DIFFERENCE [as compared to typical children his age]
TACTILE PROCESSING: DEFINITE DIFFERENCE [as compared to typical children his age]
ORAL PROCESSING: DEFINITE DIFFERENCE [as compared to typical children his age]
"Some examples of these difficulties include avoiding contact with rough or cold surfaces, enjoys excess physical activity, finds ways to make noise, easily distracted, needs touch to gain attention."

"Evaluation/observations by therapist reinforced these difficulties reported by Luken's mom. Luken presented with increased motor activity, including running, jumping and climbing. Although he was able to successfully run and jump, control and motor planning were poor. He required objects including the wall or floor to assist him in stopping. [Ok, this one makes me laugh. It's him to a tee! The only way he stops is if he comes into hard contact with a wall, the floor or other heavy object.] Luken successfully could jump clearing both feet from the floor, but was unable to use the jumping or running skills combined with a purposeful activity. Imitation of various skills was occasionally completed successfully, however, Luken was unable to turn take at all. Eye contact was sporadic. Sensory seeking behavior was continuous throughout the evaluation, not only with the running/jumping movements, but loud noise making, crashing/bumping, as well as attempts to mouth various objects. Avoidance was present with many of the fine motor tasks presented."

"Luken responded positively to calming interventions including heavy work/weight bearing through the upper extremities, as well as deep pressure/tactile stimulation to his body and extremities."

"Luken demonstrated good verbal skills and indicated understanding of the directions or requests presented although he was not necessarily able to successfully follow them."

"In summary, evaluation results indicate some significant difficulties with Luken's sensory processing, resulting in decreased success and delays with functional skills including play and self care, as well as an increase in negative dysfunctional behaviors."

So, there ya go. My kid evaluated. Be open, Heidi.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today's signs and other stuff

I learned the signs for these words today.

New - with a cupped hand, scoop at the other flat hand.

Day - with one forearm flat in front of you, the other pointer finger traces the sun as it passes across the sky.

Outside - starting with an open C hand at eye level, close it, open it and close it again while moving it away from your face.

Wind - both open flat hands, thumbs up in front of you wave parallel as if in the wind.

Rain - both open 5 hands flick downwards from above your head to below your face.

Snow - like the "rain" sign except that fingers are wiggling

Sun - with a pointer finger, trace a circle above you then open that hand as the suns rays toward your face.

Luken and I visited 2 day care centers and 2 preschools today. I liked things about both of the preschools.

The first one seemed kind of cold. The kids there weren't interacting a whole lot. The biggest plus for me for this one is that Luken's main teacher would be a man. He would be placed in the 4/5 classroom because it's larger and more structured and has 2 teachers. The director thought he'd do better in there given his challenges than he'd do in the 2/3 room which seemed quite chaotic and small. Two mornings a week, Tues and Thurs from 8 until noon would be 150.00 a month. This preschool is 25 miles from our house.

The second preschool is in a church and run by that church. It's fairly mainstream Christian. The kids here were happy and engaged. The teachers, all female were also happy and involved. The children begin the day with learning a Bible verse and pledging allegence to both the American flag and the Christian flag and a prayer. Not sure how I feel about this part. Here, he would be in the 2/3 classroom until he is potty trained. Two mornings a week, Tues and Thurs from 830 until 11 is 80 bucks a month. This site is 30 miles from home.

The first daycare I saw takes drop ins. It's 7 miles from home. Run by a mother/daughter duo. The daughter teaches a loose preschool in the mornings. There are mostly little boys here and this daycare comes with high ratings from several teachers at the Stevi school as they send their own kids there. The kids here seemed happy and engaged. Most were younger than Luken though with 3 of the kids turning 2 this week. This site charges by the hour. So, two and a half hours twice a week comes to 96 dollars a month.

I really wasn't impressed by the second daycare so I'm not gonna say much about it.

Seems like Kara and I have some thinking to do, eh?



Luken's OT suggested that we learn more Sign. This will give him another tool. Now, when we tell or ask him something using our voices, often it will seem like he either hasn't heard us or like he is being defiant. Our OT thinks that he is simply overwhelmed by all the auditory (noise) stimuli that he can't sort out what we're saying from the rest of the noise. I have noticed that sometimes he will respond positively to signs than he does to verbal commands.

So, yay! We're gonna learn another tool!


Monday, September 12, 2011

More on Luken

People have been asking me about what it means to have a sensory processing disorder. I have lots of questions about it myself plus the emotions that come along with having a complicated kid. It's hard to think about and even harder to explain. I'll try.

Luken's brain is set up in a way that doesn't let him process all the sensory input that his life gives him. He has great gross and fine motor skills but absolutely no impulse control. He is constantly moving, trying to fill his sensory needs but is also constantly over-stimulated. His brain doesn't know how to let his body relax so he is continuously having body/brain conflicts.

Without one on one attention, he is a danger to himself or others. He will eat anything, whether it's food or not. He won't think twice about biting or hitting or otherwise hurting pets or others. He's very sweet when he can focus but the rest of the time, he is out of control. He has skills but can't control his use of them.

His first OT appointment was today. I learned a lot. Next week, our OT wants to take him to "the Barn" to do some work on a horse. He's excited about this.

It is tough. I hope our work with the OT and a psychologist will help. Something has to help.


Thursday, September 8, 2011


The smoke is heavy in the air here. Ash falls on everything and makes a fine, fine grit that is hard to wash off your skin. It burns your nose and mouth and throat. It covers the mountains and even the sun.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Kara and I took Luken to his sensory evaluation today. He bounced and jumped his way through the 45 minute eval quite happily. Chris, the OT, told us that Luken presents the classic behaviors and patterns of a child with a sensory processing disorder. She will work with him at least once a week (more when her schedule opens up) for the next 6 months. The things she said about what's going on in his brain make sense to me. I am so relieved that it's not something I'm doing wrong.
I am more than wary about someone giving my child a diagnosis at such a young age. If it were more of a medical dx, I wouldn't have an issue with it. Epilepsy, heart murmur, something that medicine can fix - that somehow feels different. I don't know why though. Guess I have some thinking to do.

I am looking forward to learning ways to help Luken live more comfortably in the world.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

What a Loser!

Loser! That's me. Yup. I put it out there on facebook this morning that we were painting our house and needed help. That part is true. Later, I posted a thank you for all the kind folks who came to help us. That part was false. Nobody came to help us. I posted the second part because I didn't want to be that loser that nobody shows up for. I don't want to be the kid who has a birthday party and nobody comes. I am that kid.

I know, grow up, right? It's a holiday weekend and people have their own lives to live. I am petty. Mostly I am tired and feel panicked that we won't get the house painted by snowfall (I saw some frost-kissed squash plants in our garden this morning). I hate asking for help because then I feel like I owe people. Plus, I've probably already used my share of help and then some this summer with all the sickness.

So, ya. Grow up, Heidi. Buck up and suck it up. You're a big girl. You bought the house, now figure out how to take care of it.

I'll be in a better mood tomorrow. I get to go to church and then a memorial service and then a hike!


Thursday, September 1, 2011


Also the size pants that Luken wore today. My baby is growing into a boy!



That is the number of nights that Luken has stayed in bed at bedtime (and all night through). This is unheard of! Kara must be magic.


Monday, August 29, 2011

My Heart Is Breaking

Something's happening with my sweet little boy. I think it's more than his being three. He is out of control. He does the opposite of whatever I ask him to do. The throws toys to hurt. He bites (me, the dogs, anything). He kick. He is generally acting out much of the time. It doesn't seem to matter whether I'm please and cuddly, reward him, take things away, put him in time out, spank him, or send him to his room. Nothing works. I am in over my head

I feel like I live in a jail. There are locks on the top of all our doors. We are ruled by his tantrums and fussing. Nobody is happy.

What happened. I love my little boy so much and it's breaking my heart seeing him so unhappy. I can't seem to break us out of whatever this is.

I have minimally researched Sensory Processing Disorder. It fits. Like REALLY fits. I actually wondered about that when he was tiny and would throw a fit if I used a different sheet on his bed or if the sheet had a wrinkle in it.
We have an appointment with his Pediatrician tomorrow to talk. I am at a loss.

He's screaming in his room right now because he threw his lunch on the floor. I just put it away and put him in his bed for a nap and walked away, locking the door behind me.

I cry more over him right now that I've cried over anything in a long time. I feel so defeated. I feel like I'm not going to survive until we figure out a way to help him. I am so used up. I just want to enjoy by little boy again. I want him to be happy.



After a hard day yesterday and a night of tears, I woke this morning to rain. The cool clean drops feel like kisses from God on my tear burned face. Thank you, Sky, for the rain.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Family Hike

Aren't I lucky?

Today was the perfect day for an afternoon hike with the family. We took kiddo and dogs up to the Bass Creek trailhead and hiked up to the log jam. It's a long hike for this fat mama and a long hike for a 3 year old. One website I found lists this trail as moderate in difficulty and states that it's 2.5 miles up to the log jam. Luken hiked most of the way up on his own. I carried him down while he slept crammed between my pack and by back. It felt like his 37 pounds became 50. Whew!

Here's Belle (swimming) and Fizz (waiting to harass her).

Luken enjoyed climbing on the logs along the shore.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

We had a great time though. We need to make it a goal to hike up to the pond a couple times each summer.


P. S.
Now, several hours after the hike, I can barely move. Oy . . . My EVERYTHING hurts!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Where there's smoke . . .

Yup, it's here alright. Fire season exploded around us yesterday. Every coupla years, there is a fire that is too close to Missoula for comfort. This year, it's the West Riverside Fire. Driving home from Hamilton yesterday evening, I watched the smoke column grow. I could tell by the smoke that there was extreme fire behavior. In my rear view mirror, I watched the smoke from the Saddle Creek Complex.

Yesterday was the kind of day that makes firefighters either nervous or excited. You can tell that the weather is shifting. The winds were erratic. It was Hot. And it was Dry! The kind of hot and dry that sucks the moisture right our of you when you step into it. Hot and dry like fine dust that burrows it's way under your skin without you quite noticing it until you all of the sudden feel like your face is on fire. Yesterday was like that.

Today, also hot and dry but not quite as extreme as yesterday, Larkin and I went to a spot where we could see the West Riverside Fire. It's burning near her house and she can see the flames from it at night out her bedroom window. We watched the fire planes drop slurry along the west flank of the fire. Great huge heavy planes that you think might just fall out of the air they move so slow. We saw single tree torching and several hot spots on the interior of the fire. A single helicopter was working with a bucket on a long line on a spot up by the ridge along the western flank. He made his circles: filling at the river, flying up and east, rising then heading west and up to the hot spot on the ridge, hover still to get the water to drop in exactly the right spot then a white splash and back down around to the fill site - over and over, around and around. We got hot standing in the dust along the road so although it would have been fun to stay and watch the air show, we left.

Tonight, the sky boasts several smoke streaks and smudges. Red and brown against the fading bright blue of dusk. The wind will decide if the smoke sinks in, smothering the vallies or if it disperses and lets us breathe.

This hot dry weather is supposed to continue until Saturday when there is a chance of thunder storms. We'll see.

For info on the afore mentioned fires, you can check here for the West Riverside Fire and here for the Saddle Complex Fire


Monday, August 22, 2011

On Leaving

My 2 best friends (aside from my wife) are leaving this week. Daye and her sweet kids are going home to Japan. And Larkin and her kids are heading west. This means that Luken's 2 best friends are also leaving. It's been a fun summer for him playing with Willow and Mac.

Daye is flying out tomorrow. I'd thought we'd get together for Willow's birthday. Nope. She will bring the car back today. I hope I get to see her before she goes.

I'm not sure when Larkin is leaving. We get to take care of Emma while she's gone.

I just feel sad. I don't want to say good-bye to either of them. This sucks!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Truth

I am depressed. I am fat and swollen and ugh. I have no faith in my abilities to parent my dear child. I am in so far under my head. I am out of shape. I am depressed. I want to sleep and eat and sleep. It sucks.

Reality Bites

Well, my kid bites anyway. Seriously, what's up with him? I missed him so much last week. I got home Friday evening and for the last 2 days, it has been nothing but biting, kicking, screaming, hitting, throwing things, tantrums, sassing, 100% defiance from him. WTF? It's as if he's decided to do exactly the opposite of whatever it is I'm asking from him. It's so frustrating! I feel like I'm not cut out to be a mom.


Saturday, August 20, 2011


I spent the last week helping to teach a class at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy. We taught Child Passenger Safety to 5 new MHP and an instructor. These guys were serious, polite and very professional. I am proud to have been involved in teaching their class. I hope they take their new passion for child passenger safety to the communities they serve.

Here are some pictures of my week.

A Trooper getting ready to install an infant only seat during a skills test.

Another Trooper working on a convertible seat during skills test.

A Trooper demonstrating the proper positioning of a Locking Clip during a skills test.

Pile o'noodles and some shelf liner. These are approved items to help attain the correct positioning of a seat and to protect the auto seat from the sometimes sharp edges of the child restraint.

MHP cruiser.

Me enjoying the breeze during a lunch break.

It was a good week.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summertime Means . . .

Smokey skies bring a big red moon. Gotta love summer fire season in Montana, eh?


Summertime Means . . .

Too many mosquito bites. Poor Little Bear!



We met Larkin and Mac at a splash deck today to try to beat the heat in the water. The little boys LOVE this! They spent most of the 2 hours we were there chasing each other around and around in a circle. I bet they sleep well tonight.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Growing Pains

I love my son dearly. Don't get me wrong. He makes my world go around. And he utterly defeats me. He has this defiant streak a mile long. He comes by it honestly but holy shit, it wears me out! Bedtime is a circus. He sleeps in a tent that fits in his toddler bed. The tent gets zipped shut and the zipper tied so he can't unzip it. It's the only way he will stay in bed. Trust me, we've tried giving him more freedom. It doesn't work. There are many tears about going to bed. I don't know if he's afraid or if there's something else going on. Even in his zipped tent, he manages to roll (with the tent) all over his room and knock things over, get wedged into stuck places or play with the radio. I'm at a loss.

Our pediatrician suggested a reward chart. Luken has been asking for his own camera. I don't know where he got the idea that there were cameras just for kids. At any rate, he wants one and asks for one almost daily. So I decided to make the camera the reward. In order for him to earn the camera, he must earn a sticker in each square. In 2 days, he's earned 3 stickers.

He has a chance to earn 2 "stay in bed" stickers each day. And he can earn as many "potty" stickers as he wants. Today, he only earned one of those. He is fully capable of using the toilet. He knows when he needs to void. He can be in charge of that. I'm not going to push, just offer or suggest. If he chooses not to use the toilet, okay. If he does, he gets a sticker. His choice.

He helped me make the chart and it's taped to the wall at his eye level. He talks about it several times a day. I wish I knew a way to motivate him to succeed. He gets so defiant about anything that his mama or I suggest that it feels like I'm beating my head against the wall. So frustrating!

Obedience is another thing we're working on. When he is asked to do something, I expect that he comply quickly, without fussing. Most of the time, he flat out refuses. Our pediatrician recommended that we implement time outs. Okay. Easy, right? Wrong!

I made him a "time out spot" that is easily recognizable and portable. When he is sent to time out, he must sit on the "time out spot" for 2 minutes. If he leaves the "spot" he gets redirected. Mostly we end up fighting about staying on the "spot" and there is lots of crying, thrashing, yelling and general fit throwing. There's something I'm missing. I'm open to suggestions from time out savvy folks.


Late Summer Saturday

It is late summer. It is hot and the grass is dry.

What better thing to do in extreme heat than to paint the south side of our house? Ok, so I wasn't quite thinking straight but hey, straight is over rated, right? Anyway, here's our house after I painted the wide board on the south side.

And, a close up to show just how bad it needs to be painted/stained.

All that work up on a ladder in the blazing sun over heated me. I drank tons of water while I worked but I still ended up with a fucking migraine. Now, an hour and a half after I came inside, my face is still bright red.

And here, because he's just so cute and I couldn't resist, is a bath time picture of my dear son.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Day in Haiku

five a m alarm
sweet wife gets up, gets ready
off she goes to work

i find sleep again
until my child wakes me up
get up, make coffee

coffee hot, creamy
hits the spot ev'ry time, ahh
caffeine hits blood stream

feed dog, get son dressed
breakfast - any ideas?
fruit, cereal, milk

mind numbing disney
keeps child busy while i clean
mush brain or fruit flies?

take meds, feel like crap
fibro, migraine, pure bull shit!
time to work outside

fizz is a clown dog
he sleeps in the garden shade
while i pick green beans

son runs past, bad fumes!
change poopy diaper - again
mom needs more caffeine

only ten a m
flat out, energy all gone
think i'm in trouble

phone rings, i answer
toy with telemarketer
brings smile to my face

thinking about food
grocery list: bread, eggs, fruit
quick trip - buy lunch too

pinch finger, yell "fuck!"
bleeding, it will turn black, blue
quick, put ice on it

sky filling with clouds
eyes scan for smoke in mountains
the air seems heavy

finally, nap time
child protests, cries, screams, yells, kicks
calm, quiet - please come soon

appointment at three
third birthday well child check-up
smart boy growing up!

to the fair we go
horses to ride, food to eat
animals to see

long day! we did lots
dirty, tired, home we come
welcome warm shower

colors clouded sky
sunset kissed the mountains high
quiet settles in


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My friend Daye came to spend the day with me today. I feel like crap but I had a really good time with her and her very cute kids. We hung out, watched Shawn the Sheep, weeded in the garden and picked raspberries. There aren't many people outside of my family whom I'm comfortable being around when I have a migraine. Daye is a pretty special friend.

Sierra, our Early Head Start teacher came over this morning. She commented that Luken meets or exceeds all the developmental tasks on the developmental scale they use! I'm a proud mama.

I wish that one of the developmental milestones was being potty trained. Luken pooped on the potty twice today. Then, during his nap time, he "finger painted" with shit all over all his blankets and his bed. Mercy! He knows this is naughty. Why does he do it?

On a funny note - Luken told me today, "Mommy, I have a big long penis!" I had no idea it started this young.


Monday, August 8, 2011

It's Here

Fire season, that is. As I was driving to the highway this afternoon, my eyes were greeted by a tall column of black smoke coming from the ridge line across the valley from me.

Here's what the paper has to say about it.

Be safe out there, folks.


Sunday, August 7, 2011


I lost a friend this morning.

When Kara and I got together, she had a pair of Huskies. I liked them but from a distance. As our relationship grew, I learned to share my life with these 2 spirited K-9's. They destroyed the flowers in my yard. They slept at my feet. They took me for hikes. They taught me about unconditional love. Several years ago, we lost Giza to cancer. And last night, we lost Rhys.

Kara and I had been sleeping but we both heard it at the same moment. We knew what it was. The seizure started at 0138. Kara laid on the floor next to Rhys while I ran around getting a blanket, finding the phone, getting dressed, doing all the little things that seemingly needed to be done. I donned a glove and poked 5 mg of Valium inside Rhys's rectum in an attempt to make the seizure stop. I checked her pupils. They were blown. The seizure went on and on until stillness finally came at 0209. We smoothed her fur and wrapped her up in some soft flannel.

We woke Luken and talked to him about our good dog, Rhys and how she was dead. He simply said, "Rhys is all done being our dog." He asked to see her several times this morning before she was buried.

I'm sad and I will miss her. I'm glad I got to be one of her people.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

I'm a Freak

But we already knew that. It's been hot. In an attempt to keep the temp inside our home below the boiling point, we close all the windows in the morning when it's still cool. Be evening time, it's very hot outside and quite warm (no, quite warm doesn't begin to describe it. It's fucking HOT) inside. I've noticed a pattern. The hotter it gets, the more anxious and panicky I get. I HATE the still hot air. It feels like I can't breathe. It feels like death. If I turn on a fan and blow the hot air around, even though it doesn't cool things off, I feel SO much better! So ya, I'm a freak. Can't deal with still hot air. It's gotta be moving.

True at night too, I have to have the windows open, even in winter.

However, if it's windy (any more than breezy), I freak out too. What's up with that?

Here's a picture of a real hotie. Freaky, yup. But yowza! What a hottie!


Friday, August 5, 2011


We went on a hike up Bass Creek today. It was the perfect day for a hike.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Too Long Gone

I've missed my blog. I have a terrible migraine at the moment but I have so much to say. I'll come back and start blogging again tomorrow.