It’s been A Week

29 10 2011

[Post-edit note: this blog post is long and boring. I am apparently too tired to be entertaining. If you want to hear about infusions, by all means read away. If not, you aren’t missing much.]

So let me tell you what’s been going on around here.

A week ago Friday, I had the opportunity to design someone’s wedding flowers. It was fabulous and fun (and I unfortunately neglected to take pictures) and kind of stressful. I mean, it’s only one of the most important days of a person’s life. Get over it, right?

Anyway, I blocked out all of Friday to work on them and ended up spending some time on them Saturday morning as well. I heard the bride was pleased, which is always a good thing.

Later on Saturday, I had rehearsal for a choir I was singing in on Sunday for a special musical fireside for Relief Society. Lots of fun, but lots of kid juggling at the same time.

Sunday was the fireside itself—except I forgot to say I was also playing a bassoon solo. Correct: you don’t hear that every day. I was a little [lot] stressed, seeing as how my performance chops (not to mention my reed) were not exactly up to par. However, it went fine. According to the compliments I received, there are a lot of closet bassoon lovers in my stake. Who knew?

Monday bright and early we dropped off Eden and Colby at my friend’s house (Tami, you are a saint) and took Zack and Rainbow to Seattle Children’s for their tri-yearly pamidronate infusions.

I should probably mention at this point that Zack came home from the neighbors’ house Sunday evening, minutes before I had to leave for the fireside. He said, “I think I broke my hand.” Not exactly the words I like to hear any time, but in particular when I’m already freaking about playing in front of a chapel full of people.

Let me digress here. We get a lot of “I think I broke my fill-in-the-blank” around my house. That general anxiety about breaking bones whenever anything painful happens is part of living with OI. (Maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel like a better mom. You be the judge after you hear this next part.)

I had him wiggle his fingers. I had him bend his hand. It hurt. I asked how it happened.  (He over-rocked on the rocking chair and went forward, catching himself along the the top of his left hand knuckles.) I said, “Well, let’s tape it together and put an ice pack on it and see how it feels in the morning.”

(Okay, yes. I am ashamed.)

When we got to the hospital (way late–thank you 520 Alaskan Viaduct closure or whatever it was), they were able to call up an orthopedist to look at it before we started. He said, “We’ll splint it now so you can do your infusion, then come down for an x-ray.”

We got Rainbow hooked up and going with hardly a squeak. (It was more of a yell: “OWW!”)

Zack, who has extreme anxiety about needles, did famously. During our last infusion, a child life specialist came and helped us come up with a coping plan for him. Unfortunately (especially for how well Zack was doing), they were unable to get a line in. They tried five (5!) times; they got it into a vein each time, but each time Zack’s body went into super-panic mode (fight or flight!) and his veins clenched up and blew the line. FIVE times. Since the infusion takes four hours each day for three days, we decided at that point to call it quits and add another day on the end.

But it wasn’t really quits, because Zack still had to go down and get an x-ray and (because it was indeed broken) a cast. Despite breaking a rather large number of bones in his 11 years, this is first cast.

The next day they put an anti-anxiety med in with his pre-infusion Tylenol. It definitely didn’t seem to help, as he screamed much more and was visually more upset and anxious than the day before, but they were able to get a good line in.

As per usual, I didn’t handle infusion week all that well. Tired, unfocused, and on the cusp of getting an awful cold, I don’t know that I’m ready for Monday and Halloween. I still feel like I’m suffering from a bit of stress-related ADD—I can’t seem to get anything accomplished other than reading books (and that, my friends, isn’t entirely productive).

Mrs. Olsen sent me a lovely package (I should have taken a photo of the goodness) with lots of delectable food stuffs that I have been living off of for two days. Can I just say Pie in a Jar = Heaven ?

This evening I was able to go to the temple, which I must say was a great way to round out the crazy week with some peace.

And the little camera comes through for me again.

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Down the Drain

16 10 2011

Last Sunday during our weekly family chat, I told my family about Colby upstairs, singing along to a CD. He has a great sense of pitch and loves to sing, but words are hard for him. If things start getting too fast, he likes to insert a favorite word and sing it loud and proud. He’s done this a long time—I remember when he only had about five words. One was ‘dolphin’, which he said, ‘fee’. We heard a lot of songs about ‘fee’ for awhile.

Anyway, he had been singing on Sunday, “Drain! Dra-a-a-ain!” My brother asked, “Did he have a bad experience in the bathtub?”

They don’t know about the drains? I thought.  

It’s amazing I’ve been so remiss in mentioning it, since it takes up a lot of time and attention around here.

Colby loves drains. Not bathtub drains. Not sink drains. Storm drains.


This picture was taken at the beginning of September, hence the bare feet and warm-looking sunshine.

Colby and I go and “see the drains” almost every day. He gets off the school bus with a big smile on his face—not because he’s reunited with his mama, but because he knows that’s when we go do our rounds.

It’s taken me a long time to figure out what he finds so fascinating about them. And I might be wrong even now, but watching Colby with the drains for months (we spend about 1/2 hour a day with them) I think I might have hit on it.

He doesn’t usually look at them the way he is in this picture. He walks by them, six or eight feet into the street, with his head looking over his shoulder and tilted to one side. He’s looked at things sideways and through the corner of his eye since he was very young. It’s called scanning, and it’s a marker for autism.

One thing Colby has always liked are lines (or “lions” as we sometimes call them) and things that open and close. He’s slightly obsessed with garages. I could buckle him in his car seat, hand him the garage door opener, and he’d be content for an hour. He’ll line cards (or blocks or dominoes or anything with a uniform shape) up and then choose a set to be the doors. He’ll slide them different ways, experimenting with how to open and close them.

When he started getting excited about drains, I thought it was simply the lines that he liked—the grid pattern. Also, he’s always liked water, so I thought that might have something to do with it. I noticed, however, that even though he enjoyed seeing the water go through the gutter and down the drain, he liked them just as well without water.

More completely unscientific observation on my part led me to connect the drains with more than just the lines of the grid.

If you look at the picture of the storm drain, you can see how within each line of the grid, the metal is angled in order to get the water to flow down and inside instead of right over the drain. I noticed one day that if you look at it out of the corner of your eye as you walk by, the angled parts appear to open or close (depending on which direction you’re walking).

Figuring it out doesn’t make me understand it, but at least I feel like I’ve unlocked a little portion of the mystery that makes up my sweet redhead.

What is this thing I’m standing on?

9 10 2011

(Adapted from a post I wrote for ANWA Founder & Friends)

I’ve been thinking about this post for a couple of months now. I’ve been wondering about this blog lately. Do I keep going as I’ve been going, or do I “take it to the next level?” In another blog (The Meanest Mom) I read recently, she compared most blogs to crock pots–a mish-mash of things all thrown in together. To make a “successful” blog, she said, you need it to be about one thing.

You need a platform.

I’ve read blogs about gluten-free cooking, blogs about design, blogs about writing, blogs about cancer, blogs about hobby farming, blogs about down syndrome, and blogs about books. Each one is written by a person (or persons) with lots of experience on their topic.

I tried to think of a platform, something I could be known for. Three of my fours kids have Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare genetic disorder that makes them break bones easily. I’ve written about it on my blog before; in fact, when I look at my blog stats it’s one of the posts that is hit by search engines most often. I could write about that.

I’m writing a book–a Regency romance, actually. I could write about that.

I’m ward choir director. I could write about that.

I play the bassoon. I could write about that.

There are half a dozen things that I feel ‘expert’ enough to write about. (The book writing one? Yeah, that’s the only one I really don’t feel expert on. Along with the Regency period. I’m learning as I go.)

But the problem is, I don’t really want to write about bassoons or choirs or OI or the landed gentry.

The reason I started my blog three years ago had nothing to do with ‘gaining a following’ or ‘getting my name out there.’ The reason was quite simple. I wanted to make my family laugh.

I live hours away from everyone, and only see family two or three times a year. A blog makes it easy to share things with them despite the distance.

I’ve tried starting other blogs. I have a writing/book blog (sorely neglected). I have a being-LDS-and-getting-divorced blog (not even really begun). I’ve realized, though, that I don’t have the energy to do them all and still write my book.

For me, the answer wasn’t expanding and posting more in my platform-specific blogs. (Honestly, right now I just need to focus on finishing my dang book.)

I also discovered something else as I tossed platform ideas around in my head: I blog better when I stick to my original platform. I blog more and I enjoy it more when I’m simply trying to make my family laugh.

Someday, I’m sure, I’ll need to revisit the platform discussion with myself. (Maybe after I get my first draft finished.) I saw Liz Adair at her book launch last weekend and she reminded me about seasons, and how there are times and seasons for different things in our lives. I think I’m starting to figure out what I can handle in this season.

And it begins with inside jokes about Idaho and absurd things people say and pictures of my kids.

So what’s your platform?

*Photo Credit: Boots by Alexander McQueen, photo from the Museum at FIT

Cheap Art

8 10 2011

I debated on the title of this post. “Trashy Art” might make people afraid to click on the link. “Recycled Art” was a better option, but the good it might do to the earth to have these bread tags and cardboard hanging on my wall instead of in a landfill is, honestly, negligible.

So I titled it in the truest way possible: cheap art. I want to thank all of you who answered the Call for Submissions way back when. I can truly say if it weren’t for Mom, Monique, Kristen, Nancy, Greg, Rachael, Sandi, Mandi, and anyone else I might have forgotten (and if so I’m sorry–I need to do better at record-keeping) this wouldn’t have been possible. Well, it would have, but just not nearly so soon. It takes awhile to gather hundreds of bread tags, surprisingly enough.

Please excuse the messy table. And speaking of the messy table–I found one at a thrift store. When I get it finished I can kiss the functional-but-not-visually-pleasing card table good-bye.

I think the piece (listen to me, talking all arty) reads better in real life. It’s big and colorful, which is just what I wanted.

And due to my many generous donors, it only cost about $10 (and a few hours) to make. That’s really  what I wanted.

A Word of Advice for Newlyweds

7 10 2011

A heart-shaped mat is always a bad idea. Trust me on this one.

Unless your husband bears a remarkable resemblance to Zach from “Saved by the Bell.” Then you might possibly get away with it.

Eh. Nevermind. It doesn’t work even then.

Random Parking Garage Shot

6 10 2011

Sorry, folks. No witty repartee today.

 “We’re so happy to be going to the doctor!”

Another reason to carry a camera in your purse: capturing precious moments like this one.


5 10 2011


Despite what appears to be photographic evidence to the contrary, I don’t really like Justin Bieber. (Sorry, Becca!) I made Eden take this picture of me because my cousin loves Justin Bieber–especially if her Facebook posts are honest. (You’re welcome, Becca!) I offered to take one of Eden with him, but thankmyluckystars she isn’t really into pop stars yet. It can wait for several more years (or never) in my opinion.

Another reason I had Eden take a picture of me with Justin (and maybe she should like him because–see? we’re on a first-name basis) is because what I really do like are cardboard people.

Not actual people who have the depth and personality and fakeness of cardboard. No, nono.

I mean cardboard cut outs of people.

Like this.

See? It isn’t a recent phenomenon. This is me, Ken Garff, and my brother Tylito half a lifetime ago. I couldn’t find the one where I was kissing Ken on the cheek. And, hey–I’ve still got the same haircut!

Seriously, though, I think there is a huge untapped market here. I want several of me to send with my kids when they go to college. They could set me up by the door with a motion-activated voice recording. “Love you! Have a good day!” “Remember who you are!” “Don’t forget to buy toilet paper!” and “Call me.”

I think I just figured out how to make my first million.


4 10 2011

I had an errand to run the other day at the Parks and Recreation office. The city recently renovated the building and repaved the parking lot. As I pulled in, I noticed about eight parking spots close to the entry. Six of them were vacant. They all had this sign:

I parked (somewhere else–my KIA minivan is not exactly fuel-efficient) and started walking toward the entrance when I noticed several handicapped parking spots.

Farther away from the entrance than the fuel efficient spots.


We see who you like, Washington. And it apparently isn’t handicapped people.


The Birds are at General Conference

3 10 2011

 I am hereby declaring this Pictures from the Little Camera Week.

I normally shoot with a Nikon D-something-or-other. I love my camera, but I don’t take it everywhere. It’s just too big.

A couple of years ago for Christmas, my mom got me a little Nikon Coolpix. I keep it in my purse and use it for spur-of-the-moment times, like other people would use a cell phone camera. (My cell phone is from like 1988, so it’s not good for things like that.) I even had to check it at the temple front desk the other day because I’d forgotten to stash it in my car.

I uploaded the last six months’ worth of photos to my laptop and got the idea to post daily this week. I’m at an interesting place in my blogging. I’m sure I’ll figure it all out and post about it later, but for right now I just wanted to blog. Because that’s what I like to do.

 Since General Conference was so wonderful and inspiring this last weekend, I decided I’d post this picture I took while waiting at a stop light. I have kind of a thing for birds sitting on wires–and please read that thing as not-in-a-good-way. I’m just not a big bird fan.

A Bird fan? Yes.

A bird fan? Not so much.

Anyway, last year when I posted another birds-on-a-wire shot, my mom commented about how my great-grandma used to always say, “The birds are having church.”

When there were a large number of birds, my dad changed it to, “The birds are having General Conference.”

Hm. Maybe you have to be a Mormon.

Anyway, happy October! I’ll be here all week.