Friday, November 07, 2008

It's Been a While.....

Ok, so what have we been up to???? A whole lot of the usual, basically.

Schooling is, well..... It's going. Some moments are better than others. (Yes, I mean MOMENTS, seeing as it can go well one moment, and the next, we're fighting.) We're on lesson 25 now, with 15 more to go in Nov. The rest must be done, and the quarter test finished and graded, by the end of Nov.

We had our first appointment with our new "therapist" on Wednesday. It was an "intake" as my mom would term it. Basically, Ligia spent 45 minutes having Scott and I fill out paperwork and asking us for more detail about our concerns with Tay. Then she called in Tay and went over 3 goals she'd set for our family (and Tay in particular) for the coming couple of weeks.

1) Reduce "Dangerous Behaviors": cut down on the fighting, slamming doors, throwing temper-tantrums, and take a voluntary time out as needed. (This goes as much for Scott and I, as for Tay.)

2) Express feelings and emotions APPROPRIATELY (again with the stop fighting). Talk things out, instead of yelling and fighting. (Also again, for Scott and I as much as Tay.)

3) Personal hygene: brushing teeth and showering without arguements, and keeping room tidied. (This goal is solely for Tay, really.)

Ligia (the therapist's name) said she'd contact the guy who FCSA works with to set up an appointment to have an educational assessement done for Tay. She said he or his office would call us to set up this appointment, hopefully within the next week. Once we get that assessement done, we'll set up regular appointments set up for Tay to go in and talk to Ligia (pronounced "Leesia") and work on her behavioral issues. Potentially this will include getting her into the "Yess" school next semester, if her educational and behavioral issues merit it. That's a possibility, but not a certainty yet.

*****

I've done well, the past 2 days, keeping in mind that I must keep my temper in check. Yesterday, Tay spent the first hour and a half of the morning being a right little pill. But, I kept my temper, and calmly told her to go to her room till she could come out and treat me respectfully. At one point I did almost lose it when I got upset over her calling me retarded.

(I put in Christmas music, of all things, to chill out to while she was in her room raging. To give me something lighthearted to focus my mind on instead of getting worked up by Tay's screaming and yelling at me from her room. She came out, saying that she was going to act responsibly and respectfully, and proceeded to start ranting about the Christmas tunes and how anybody who listens to Christmas music this early in the year is retarded.) Suffice it to say, I sent her BACK to her room, and when she came back out, I started telling her how badly she'd hurt my feelings by calling me retarded for listening to Christmas songs. I also told her that as she was determined to be so darned disrespectful of me, she was going to eat cold cereal for breakfast, instead of the coffee cake I'd been making. I wasn't going to allow her to have that special treat, if she was going to be disrespectful of the person making it: ME.

After more ranting and raving on her part, she was sitting there at the table, grumbling about how I kept repeating myself over the schoolwork (if she'd let me finish a thought, I wouldn't have to repeat myself over and over and over -ad nauseum- again, as I told her). And, right about 9:30, evidently it got to be too much for her, how I wasn't arguing back, or letting her rile me, and she suddenly just crumbled. A weeping, blubbering mass of tears. Me too, for that matter, considering she started apologizing profusely (and sincerely!) for being so mean and rude and disrespectful to me all morning.

I wish today had gone better, but it didn't, really. Less arguing from her, less disrespect in the form of rude names and such, but the fact of the matter is that she refuses to try, and then gets all pissy when I insist that she's going to find the answer for herself, and I'm going to keep drilling her and grilling her till I'm sure she understands the concept. She'll sit there, having read something out of her history or science book not 5 seconds before, and insist that she doesn't know the answer to a very specific question regarding what she's just read. I won't accept that. And even while it may be hard for her, some of this stuff, I'm not going to let her get away with playing stupid. I get that it takes more effort, and I may have to break things down even further than the science or history books do, but that doesn't mean I'm going to simply give her the answer and not expect some honest work from her as well. Sooner or later she'll get that, but for now she's still fighting me every step of the way. *sigh*

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As for that coffee cake, I made a Gooey Butter Cake using a Pecan Spice cake mix, but the vanilla filling. YUM!!! Not QUITE as good, though, as almond flavored filling with a yellow cake mix crust, or pumpkin filling with spice cake crust.

Here's the recipe for those who haven't seen it before:

Gooey Butter Cake

1/2 c butter, melted
1 box cake mix (yellow cake, for the basic)
1 egg

Mix those ingredients together and press them into the bottom of a lightly greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan.

1 (8 oz) box of cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 c powdered (confectioners) sugar
2 eggs

Beat these ingredients together till smooth, then pour over crust. Bake at 350 deg. F. for 35 to 40 minutes or till puffed up and lightly golden-brown. Don't burn it. It will NOT test done as normal cakes do, and should in fact still be rather gooey in the center. Allow to cool completely (if you can stand it!) before cutting. Smallish pieces are best, as this cake is VERY rich. Good for a decadent breakfast treat, or dessert any time of day. *wink* (Serve with a glass of milk, for washing down that richness!)

To change it up for Thanksgiving, substitute spice cake mix for the yellow cake mix and add a 15 oz can of pumpking pie filling and an extra egg to the filling mixture. Baking may take just a BIT longer with this addition. Top each slice with a pecan half, before serving, and a dollop (or squirt) of whipped topping if you'd like.

Paula Deen has a bunch of suggestions out there in the WWW somewhere, on how to change up this lovely cake a bit, including this pumpkin version.

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I've been needing to cook out of my stored food, the past two weeks. We wound up with a check that didn't get cashed when we thought it had, the check-book got a bit messed up because of it, then the check was cashed later and it really fouled things up, so we had a bit of a SNAFU with our checking account. Well anyway, that messed up our finances a bit, and it meant that last week's grocery shopping couldn't total more than $25 for the week. Fortunately I HAVE been stocking up for a while now, and I had food stashed away that could be cooked up to provide extras, and some leftovers frozen for quick suppers. Tomorrow's shopping is going to be SOMEWHAT slimmer than I like to do, but I'll be able to get a bit more than last week. Which is fortunate because we DO need things like fresh fruits & veggies, and we're now out of ground beef & chicken breasts. But, 2 weeks on stocked food certainly isn't too bad! We've still got plenty of food we could be eatting, if only I could persuade the hubby and kiddo that soups and vegetarian meals are more acceptable. They're not to that point yet, though. *sigh*

But, it was nice knowing that I could get through a couple of slim weeks with what we had in the pantry and freezers, and only need a loaf of bread, a couple of onions and cabbage and a bunch of apples for the fresh stuff. If I could find the time to bake some bread, I wouldn't even have to shell out for THAT. (It's the rising time that's getting me lately, I know I could get it all started with no problem, but hockey and such other responsibilities are meaning that I wouldn't be home at the time it needs to be punched down and seperated into loaves before the second rising. The last time I tried, I lost track of time and by the time I got home to my dough, it had collapsed after rising TOO much the second rising, and I couldn't salvage it.) As for baking bread on Fridays, it'd take up too much table room, and I can't kick Tay out of the kitchen long enough to do the bread mixing and kneading. The couple of times I've needed bread products, this past week, we've made do with cornbread muffins. Which are good, but don't go well with all different types of things. (And simply can't be made into sandwiches.) I'm REALLY in the mood to bake Cranberry bread, though. *drool* Maybe next Tuesday, when I've got Veteran's Day off.

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Speaking of Veterans, Dad had to have surgery this past Monday. He had 2 hernias (matching, on opposite sides of his groin) that needed fixing. It was, fortunately, an out-patient matter and he was back at my Aunt & Uncle's place by the end of the day. He's back in Spokane now and staying with Mom's oldest Brother and Sister-in-Law. Fortunately he gets along well with my Uncle and Aunt, and he helps out around their little "homestead" while he's there. He'd planned on being there long enough to get his storage trailer unloaded and the belongings rearranged into his home-trailer, but now it looks like he's going to be spending the winter there in Spokane.

My Aunt Norma Sue also had to have surgery on Monday. Apparently she's got Glaucoma related to her diabetis. She had surgery on one eye last year to relieve the pressure from the Glaucoma, but was having problems with SOMETHING leaking, so the Dr schedualed her for another surgery to repair the problem, and to graft in some skin from her thigh to cover the spot that was having problems. I'm hoping to call her back tomorrow to find out how she's recovering. Last Sunday was her 72nd birthday, so she's not young by any means. (She's the wife of my Dad's now-deceased older brother. She lives in the Dallas TX area in the home she occupied with my uncle, and her older son -my oldest cousin on that side- now lives there with her.)

So, prayers for the continued recoveries of both Dad and Aunt Norma Sue, if y'all would.

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Last but not least, the election: While I've got a couple of qualms about our new President-Elect, I'm pretty reasonably happy to see that he won the election. And I'm happy that the whole process is over for a few more years. This one dragged on for FAR too long! My prayers are that President-Elect Obama is emotionally and morally prepared to lead our country into and through the coming depression and the ecological hardships our country and our world now faces.

The hubby was considerably less than thrilled that Obama won the election. Scott, unfortunately, listened avidly to all the fear-mongering that's gone on toward Obama. While I admit to lingering concerns about Obama's stance on gun ownership, I think that he all-in-all will be able to lead our country much better than McCain could have. And while there are obviously still folks in our country who aren't quite ready yet for a president of African-American heritage, I think Obama's got a much better chance of surviving the next 4 years than McCain has. And between the lack of honor that Palin showed in her attitude at rallies, and in her speaches to the press, and McCain's age, I'm pretty sure we would have had the unfortunate reality of Sarah Palin winding up running our country with not nearly enough experience, and a tendency to incite hot-headed feelings in her followers toward those who don't believe the exact same way. So, all in all I think we're in for a hard time, but not nearly so hard with Barack Obama as it would have been with McCain and Palin. (And now, having seen Sarah Palin's behavior as Vice-President Candidate, I'm highly unlikely to vote for her as Governor, if she comes up for Re-election in that stance. But there's also some evidence that a great many other Alaskans were just as disenchanted with her behavior while she was the VP Candidate. We'll see if it's enough to keep her from getting reelected.)

Anyway, I've had to hear a couple of snippy comments about how Obama's going to beggar us with taxes now that he's going to be President. To that, I reminded Scott that Obama's wanting to raise taxes on big business and folks who actually qualify as wealthy in this country. Those folks, and those companies, have gotten away with reduced taxes for a LONG time now and the "trickle down effect" that was supposed to help our country has been shown to be a load of balogna. Instead of taxing us "little guys" (because Scott and I will NEVER qualify as rich in OUR country), Obama wants to tax the "big guys" and reduce some of the strain on the rest of the country through that. Hey. Good! About damned time the CEO's raking millions (billions?) per year are taxed on that money, and about damned time Walmart was taxed, and Exxon, and BP, and Conoco Phillips..... I'm glad that there's somebody gearing up for the Presidential office who doesn't seem determined to give his cronies platnum parachutes and tax the poor and lower class of this country to do it. We'll never qualify as wealthy. Hell, neither of our dad's would ever qualify as "wealthy" by the standards of our country. So why Scott's worried about the rich getting taxed while the poor finally see a break...... *shrug*

I've also had to listen to some really freaking stupid comments on the fact that Obama's African-American, the balogna-supposition that he was actually born outside of the country, and the equally bogus supposition that he's Muslim based on the fact that he attended a Islamic school in Indonesia (where it's required by law, from what I understand?). I'll be so happy when the guy can actually get into office and flex his political muscle and show folks like my hubby how much bull that all is. And, as Sharon's said, I hope Obama takes on the mantle of greatness and proves that he's got the mettle to pull our country through the messes the current president has heaped upon us.

Oh, and FWIW, over at Gina's Blog it was mentioned the importance of writing to Obama and congratulating him on his win of the election, and giving him some advice, as his constituents and supporters through it all.

(EDITED TO ADD) I just sent this letter to Barack Obama:

Congratulations Mr. Obama, on your win in the election. I wish you all the best in your first term as president. I would like to tell you what I hope you will put some energy toward as President for our Country.

1) I greatly hope that you will endeavor to see that ALL Americans, rich, poor and the rare middle, are provided equal and EXEMPLARY medical care. I hope that this will include birth control and annual gynecologecal check-ups for women, and compassionate counceling for rape and incest victims, including abortions should they chose that route.

2) I hope that you will guide our Nascar-addled culture away from the desire to own a car, each and every individual one of us. I hope that you will encourage a rebuilding of our rail system, both trans-continental and light rail (trolleys or metros?).

3) I hope that you will encourage a major restructuring of our educational system. As the Mom to an 11 year old girl who was being passed from one year to another in an attempt to make her somebody else's problem, even though she should have been held back (and I advocated STRONGLY for that), the public school system is a shambles and our children are only falling further and further behind the rest of the world. Too many are graduating without even knowing how to spell the basics, because we've gotten away from TEACHING the basics. And our teachers should be encouaged to be the best they can be, and to be strong in purposefully HOLDING back those who might otherwise fall behind. (To be passed on to the next year does NOT mean a child is succeeding, it often means a blind eye has been turned in their direction.) I homeschool now, by the way.

4) I hope that you will push VERY strongly for rebuilding our nation's bridges, levees and dams, public buildings and public works. My workplace is a library, we're seeing SUCH an increase in the number of people who utilize our services as the economy worsens, I hope you will continue to support funding for such services as vital to our country's recovery.

5) I hope you will push for a build-out of energy producing "industries" such as wind, solar, hydro-electric, and geo-thermal. I know that nuclear is something you're enthusiastic about, but there is no SAFE way to EVER TRULY dispose of nuclear waste that won't endanger our children and our grand-children for a million years to come. Hydro-electric, Geo-thermal, Wind and Solar don't bear that same burden of disposal.

6) I hope you will encourage a return of support (on the local level, not the governmental funding level) for small farmers. I hope you will include the Victory Garden movement in this, even to the point of planting a vegetable garden on White House property and even rolling up your sleeves and working in it yourself, now and again. And meeting a portion of your family's grocery budget from that same gaden. A White House clothes-line would be a great factor as well, to encourage the rest of the country to put up a clothes line for home usage. But, esp. our family run farms. We need to move away from the mono-culture that farming has become, that is pressed upon us by such big businesses as MonSanto. We cannot be forced by big business to give up our right to grow our own food and save our own seed from year to year. Farmers need to be encouraged, not subsidized and condescended to. And the monopoly on food processing should be broken, to allow the farmers to get a TRULY fair price for their products!!!!

7) I hope you will consider that our founding fathers wrote the Second Amendment to protect the average man's right to own and operate fire-arms with the eye toward a dictatorship that may first try to remove those arms from our homes, then try to remove other rights, once we no longer have the ability to defend ourselves from dictators.

To now, we have not had a revolution to oust a dictator or tyranical official, but you've shown that a massive grass-roots movement IS possible, though your movement was peaceful. I hope that you will respect that we have the right by GOD to defend ourselves from a tyrany and will not impede that right by attempting to enforce a removal of gun-rights from the average (civilian) person. I'm afraid that if you did so, many people in this country would revolt against YOU, when my hope is that YOU will be the person that reunites this country after 10 years of divisive behavior by elected officials.

President-Elect Obama, my thoughts and prayers are with you as you begin to worry about the hardships facing our nation.

Thank you for listening to my hopes.

Blessings to you and your family, and my condolances for the loss of your grandmother.

I sent this letter through Change.gov.

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Anyway, I think that pretty well covers it for now.

Have a Blessed Day!

4 comments:

MeadowLark said...

More later, but briefly, you have a crapload on your plate. Congratulate yourself for handling it so well.

1) Have you tried Grandmother Bread? If you have a Kitchenaid, it takes 5 minutes to mix, sits for an hour, takes about 2 minutes to punch down and shape, rises for an hour, bakes for 30 minutes. It is very good and even Husband made some. That's how easy it is. I start it when I get home at 5:30 and it's done no later than 9. Not sure if that would work schedule-wise for you.

2) I made something out of the blue from a cookbook tonight and it was so delicious we all just shook our heads and said WOW. Who'd a thunk. It's a coffee cake with fruit filling and it's amazing. I'll get it posted in the next couple of days in case you want to try it.

Anyway, we have a lot of thoughts we share. thanks for stoping by my place. That song makes me cry as well.

Peace to you, my friend.

peppylady said...

Sound like your life had it moments but in all sound like you are handling them well.

Coffee is on.

barefoot gardener said...

Sorry things are so tough with Tay right now... hopefully the therapist will be able to help.

Tori_z said...

Good luck with the schooling and the 3 goals set by the therapist. I hope they help and things start going smoother soon.

Hope your Dad recovers quickly.

Hope your aunt heals up nicely and they can stop the Glaucoma doing too much damage. If they can minimize the damage then they should be able to keep it under control and prevent it from taking away her sight. If they caught it soon enough then any damage done is easily reversable... Even if it means regular hospital trips the rest of her life to keep it that way.