Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I have just been seething with undifferentiated anger since Sunday morning. Don't want to go into what set it off. I'm upset about certain things I've never received help with, that I've done all by myself for many years, to the point where I've felt pretty much like a single parent.

I know that falls under the heading of "problems of the middle class". I'm sitting at a computer in my home, writing this. We have a decent house in a decent neighborhood. We have money in the bank and food in the refrigerator. I know I have an easier life than a large percentage of the world. And it's not that I'm not grateful for these blessings. I'm just mad at certain people who have been perfectly happy to let someone else take the lead and do all the work on certain issues.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Toots is a curious combination of teenager and toddler. We estimate her emotional age to be about five or six, with a chronological age of seventeen. Lately, possibly because of her recent med changes, she has been acting closer to her age when she's with us. It's been pleasant.

When Lew brought her home last night for an overnight visit, she had a variety of school papers and artworks to show us. It was rather disconcerting to see a paper "award", complete with Mickey Mouse, bestowed for good behavior in school.

Remember, she's in eleventh grade.

Friday, May 25, 2012


I went to visit my mom down in New Jersey for a few days. We mostly just hung out, went out to eat, did a little shopping. My mom is very happy to see me. We've got other family, of course, but with my dad and my brother gone, I think she feels that in a way I'm all she's got left.

She doesn't think she'll ever get over the loss of my brother. She said that there are mornings when she wakes up, and for a moment doesn't remember that he's dead. Then it all comes crashing back.

Monday, May 21, 2012

This and that

Lew and I visited Toots at the hospital last evening. We were sitting in the canteen, with two other families in the room. One family, the male teen patient and two women, was having a heated discussion. It seemed to involve the boy having or not having taken care of a pet when he was last at home. He was angry and accusatory, and whatever had happened was not his fault. (Cynical me: what else?) The women were upset. Later, before we left, I saw them in the hallway, without the boy, and offered my empathy. We agreed that we all keep doing the best we can. Sometimes it helps to know that others are in the same place.

I'm going to visit my mom in New Jersey tomorrow morning, for a day and a half. She is recently returned from her winter in Florida. A whole thirty hours of being someone other than a mom and a wife! Bliss! Well, maybe that's overstating it, since there are many poignant reminders of my dad and my brother all over the house. But at least I get to step outside my life for a little while.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What a world

A school club to which The Ninja belongs had a bake sale this week. Bake sale! I like baking! I started thinking about making brownies or my famous Snickerdoodles. Imagine my dismay when Ninja said that home baked goodies weren't permitted for bake sales. Everything had to come from store-bought packages.

What are we coming to?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Intriguing offer

I received an offer from a company called eFoods Direct, to try out and review some of their prepackaged meals. I'm definitely interested. Last year, in the aftermath of a storm, our power was out for four days. Fortunately, the weather was warm, and we did have a gas grill that worked, so I can't say we suffered. However, it was difficult to put meals together. If that happens again in our area, it would be great to have meals that could be prepared simply by boiling a pot of water on the grill.

I'll let you know how this turns out.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Racehorse knees

The Ninja started physical therapy for his painful "jumper's knees" again this week. Last night, he was at kickboxing class, doing situps, when he had a "kind of pain he hasn't had before" in his right knee. Different part of the knee, more intense. He couldn't put weight on it this morning. Off we go to the ER, our happy home, again this morning. Tendonitis, no fracture, NSAIDs as needed, keep going to PT, no gym, karate or MMA for a week. Phooey.

I told Ninja about how racehorses with knee problems are often put down, because the chances of recovery are so slim. Promised him we wouldn't shoot him like that. At least, not over his knees.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Yes, my husband did make the Stuffed Baked French Toast. He also made oysters on the grill for me, with Toots' help. It was a nice day. To all the moms out there, I hope you also had a good day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Just so you remember

Don't forget that this is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Safety first

I forgot to mention that The Ninja's karate dojo is instituting a rule that everyone must wear a face mask with their helmet when sparring. I know this is in response to Ninja's concussion. Sure that not everyone is going to be fond of this rule.


If someone in your house is preparing brunch on Sunday (preferably someone other than you, if you're the mom), here is a good recipe. My husband may be making it for us here.

Stuffed Baked French Toast

12 slices Italian bread
8 ounce package cream or neufchatel cheese (you probably won't use all of it)
6 eggs or equal amount of egg substitute
1 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

The night before serving, place 6 slices of Italian bread in a 9" square baking dish. Spread each slice with a good amount of cheese.Place a second slice on each. Mix the other ingredients together and pour over bread. Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Enjoy.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Walking in the rain and making plans

On Saturday, Toots and I participated in the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) walk at Jones Beach on Long Island. About 20 staff, 3 girls, and 2 parents walked as the Children’s Hospital team. Lots of staff, consumers, and family members from many agencies, lots of enthusiasm, and free lunch at the end. It would have been fun….had it not rained in torrents during a good part of the walk. I had picked up disposable ponchos at the dollar store the day before, but Toots didn’t want to wear one. Well, I took advantage of one, and the others were used also…..the plastic covering helped somewhat, though I still got pretty soaked, and Toots got very soaked. But we finished the entire walk, all 5K. Went all the way to the turnaround spot and walked back. I can’t even recall when I last walked so far.

When it was over, I needed hot coffee and some food that wasn’t a hot dog. Toots and I went to a diner, and had a good talk over our meal. I think her new medication may be helping her focus her thoughts and plan for the future. She actually sounded realistic in her thinking (although I remain skeptical that she will be able to handle a post-secondary program). Toots definitely wants to stay in school and graduate (with Mom cheering inwardly at hearing this!). She doesn’t want to just get a GED, because “you can’t get any kind of a job with that.”

Toots also talked some more about getting an apartment, either by herself or with another person. She asked how much government funding would be available for her. I told her no one could predict that at this point (pending the results of the election). But I am so pleased that she is at least considering her options in a rational way, rather than just fastening on the goal of being a rock star.

Maybe we are seeing some actual progress. Maybe, just maybe, she is maturing.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Does it ever let up?

We have had a rough week with The Ninja. He has been engaging in something new - cutting class. He skipped out of periods 6 and 7, this past Monday and Wednesday. He almost had me believing his story about Monday, that he was in the Counseling Center having additional individual testing. But, mom thought, why was that going on if he already had his triennial review testing done last month? For Wednesday, he tried to convince me that the teachers had accidentally marked him absent. Yeah, right. That's in keeping with the dodge from last year, when he claimed that he had handed in homework assignments that his teachers had forgotten to enter in their books.

So, after some stern talking yesterday, Ninja admitted that he cut these two classes to join his friends in the cafeteria during THEIR lunch periods, and then took his own regular lunch time as well. (Steam coming out of mom's ears.) Little Mr. Social Butterfly. I've always been glad that Ninja is so good at making friends. Until now. Grrr.

So, his consequence is that he loses the use of his XBox for two weeks. Two weeks for two occasions of cutting and lying. He says he doesn't care, but we know he does.

The thing is, you can run but you can't hide, in his school. We get an email and a robo-call informing us of his absence from classes. How knuckleheaded can you get?

This had better stop happening. He says it will. Stay tuned.

On the other hand, he and we could have many worse problems.