Sunday, November 30, 2008

I am rich!

All I have to do is claim my millions! It's amazing how I have managed to forget how many people I've dealt with in foreign countries, who are now holding my share of millions of USD.

A friend of mine wrote on her blog regarding this very issue (she must have dealt with some of the same people I did - and our paths didn't even cross) so I decided the next time I'm notified of my forgetfulness (or otherwise nearly illegal activity) I would also share my information. After all, you never know who else is forgetting to claim their millions in USD! Just trying to be helpful...

I am sure that Dr. Ephraim James (who, incidentally, has a email address - must be because he's working under cover and doesn't wish correspondence to his employer email to be tracked) will do his utmost to ensure the safe delivery of my funds. I only need to re-confirm my legal name, contact address, telephone numbers (including cell phone), age, and occupation. I greatly appreciate his warning to avoid business dealings with the people I've been doing business with, as this is an illegal activity and could be cause for prosecution.

I just need to send the required information and within 72 hours, I will have my Swifte ATM card. Of course, I can fully trust his statement, "This decision is binding in accordance with Article 356 Act of the laws establishing this supreme office."

I just hope the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) doesn't realize that I don't really have a contract there...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Isaiah's "I"s (eyes)

The world through Isaiah's eyes is a wonderful place. When he sees the alphabet and names the letters, he almost always says, "And there's my 'I'" when he gets to that spot. It's become "Isaiah's I" to us now.

Isaiah was diagnosed with PDD-NOS, which is part of the autism spectrum. He may end up with an Asperger's diagnosis later but he was too young for that diagnosis now. He's a lot more sociable than a lot of children with an autistic-spectrum diagnosis. Isaiah is very immature for his age, but he's also very charming. He has a great personality and once we got past his "I have to do it this way" routines, he's mostly very easy to deal with.

There are times when he does challenge our patience and other times where he is the most charming child you would ever want to meet. I am so blessed to have been able to be in his life as much as I have been. I would not have wanted any of the last three years to have not taken place if it meant that I would have lost this wonderful opportunity with Isaiah.

Things he's done in the past include lining things up by size, color, or shape; insisting there was only one way to do something because he could not fathom any other path to the same result; not understood when people were laughing that they weren't laughing at "him" but rather at something that he did; having his own special language that only he understood - a language that he was so good at that he could repeat the same sounds exactly if you asked him to repeat something; not eating food because of the texture, or changing a like to a dislike overnight because of texture; had uncontrollable, inconsolable emotional meltdowns over very minor incidents; flapping his arms when he's excited (he still does this but says he's flying). I'm sure there are many other things that I've left out but I can't remember them right now.

Many children with an autism-spectrum diagnosis are very sensitive to touch, and Isaiah has been no different. He does not like to be touched by strangers (even unfamiliar family members) but will readily give hugs and affection to people he knows and has gotten comfortable with. He is very picky about how high we can fasten his coat or zipper, he doesn't like things around his neck, he doesn't like his clothes too tight, and he doesn't like the feel of certain materials. He also is very resistant to change, no matter how slight. If we tell him that we're going to do something in 1-2-3 order, and we suddenly reverse 3 and 2 now doing it in 1-3-2 order, he is very adamant that we have to do it the other way.

There are many things that are wonderful to behold through Isaiah's "eyes"...

Eating out:

We went to Outback Steak House Friday night. Isaiah was charming. He asked the assistant manager what her name was. It's Holly. He says Holly is a nice name and she thanks him. He says he's five years old and asks how old she is. She says she's 21. "Oh... well, I'm 5," he says. Twenty-one must sound really old to him. (hmmm... wonder what 52 sounds like...)

Later he asks her again what her name was and she very sweetly reminded him (many times). He said his grandma (that would be me) was cute. She thinks he's funny. We all got a good laugh.
During the course of the evening, he tells us his girlfriends' names (he has six or seven), tells Holly (and her manager, Brittany - who just happens to be Holly's boss) that he's a good singer. He's usually pretty shy so we figured he'd clam up and not sing, but he didn't.

I wasn't sure where he got the "cute" phrase from until I heard him say (in Rudolph-fashion), "I'm cute! I'm cute! She said I'm cute!" I thought I was hearing the movie.

A Game Called Racing:

Isaiah likes to play Mario Kart but he calls it "a game called racing" and he asks if he can play "a game called racing" - every time he mentions it. He wants to play the "dark one" and the "mushrooms" all the times (all the "times" means each time he plays it, not just one time).

Bryan doesn't know how to play a game called racing, so Isaiah says he'll teach him. Isaiah beats him. Badly. Several times. Finally, Bryan was able to beat Isaiah in one race. Isaiah looked at him and said, "you can play by yourself." It doesn't sound too comical to see it in print, but if you could hear Isaiah say it you'd know that he was none too happy that Bryan got good enough to beat him.

I need a hug:

Have you ever gotten onto a child and, in order to deflect the punishment, you suddenly hear "I need a hug" come out of his/her mouth? Isaiah is a prime example of suddenly needing a hug or a kiss. To be fair, he often wants a hug or a kiss anyway. He's a very affectionate child and I thoroughly enjoy his statements that he needs a hug. He probably knows that I need one, too.

I didn't hit a girl:

Isaiah sometimes has difficulty in school. Because of his developmental delays he's not as savvy as some of the other children. He's also not as mature as a lot of the children in his class. I was looking at the statistics on his classmates and Isaiah is among the youngest and the smallest of his class. There are even several girls who are bigger than he is.

Many times Isaiah will say something happened to him "yesterday" when, in fact, yesterday means any time in the past. If he says something is "tomorrow" he means any time in the future. When other children pick on him they often get by with it because they are more subtle and don't get caught. Isaiah remembers that they've done something to him and he does try to get even with them. He nearly always gets caught and then he gets into trouble.

That's how it should be. We don't want him to get away with things and when he gets into trouble at school, he has consequences at home.

Isaiah has had a problem keeping his hands to himself. One day, he came home with a note that said he'd hit a girl. I got on to him and explained that he's to not hit ANYONE at any time, but especially he's to NEVER hit a girl. If someone else hits him, then he's to tell the teacher, but not hit back.

He said he understood and he wouldn't do it again. The next day he came home and said he got into trouble for pushing someone. But, he said he didn't hit a girl. As if that made it all OK.

I think he forgot the first part of that - don't hit ANYONE.

"You make my heart happy"

Wouldn't that phrase just melt you? Isaiah told Amy that the other day and then he said, "And I make your heart happy."

Yes, Isaiah - you make our hearts very, very happy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A snake named Tortilla

And an alligator named Toad.

Isaiah has a vivid imagination. His teacher said that they look forward to his letter of the week show and tell. They never know what he's going to pull out of the bag. Have you ever met an alligator named Toad, or a snake named Tortilla? I hadn't either.

Isaiah told me today that Tortilla is a very good name. I agree, but I usually eat things named "Tortilla." I just can't tell Isaiah that.

Isaiah also has a stuffed dog named Shrek.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

401k and other money notes

With all the stock market turmoil lately, my 401k lost quite a bit of money. I'm currently putting 6% of my pre-tax money in the market. I just looked and my year-to-date earnings are -53.1% and a change of -1860.55. I've contributed $1606.47 and lost $1860.55. Yuck.

I decided that while I don't want to take the risk of losing 6% of my salary, I don't want to not contribute anything. So I changed my pre-tax contribution to 3% and my employer will still contribute 3%. Hopefully, that will make a little bit of difference in what I clear each payday and when the market rebounds, I can increase the 401k contribution.

I don't have much in savings. My goal is to get out of debt and save money as we do that. I can only rely on God through it all and pray for the best outcome. I am working on doing pay as I go only. I have used my credit card a few times in the past month but I've turned around and paid most of it right back off. Christmas will be cash only and very slim. The married adults with children are getting nothing; the unmarried adults are getting nearly nothing. The children are the only ones I'm spending money on and even then I'm not spending much. With three unmarried children and seven grandchildren, the money just won't stretch. Luckily, I purchased gifts for the girls several months ago, so they already have a good start. I think that will be all and then just give them a little - and I do mean little - bit of cash. The other boys will get cash, and not much of that. For Isaiah and Alexander things are a bit different. I have Alexander's purchased and ready to mail. I've got most of Isaiah's purchased. I just want to get him one more thing. Amy and Keith will get something small (Amy's is purchased); Shaun and Jenny are maybe getting a $25 gift card to Walmart. Tim/Kim and Stacey/Charles will probably get a hand-made card with candy. Aaron will probably get a $25 gift card. Even with very reduced amounts, buying for that many people is still expensive. I enjoy giving gifts and wish I could do more year round. But, this past year has been a big financial challenge.

Ron and I decided that we are not buying anything for each other. We are working on our basement and because of that expense, there is no extra. Ron is trading some of his music equipment for the labor and I was able to come up with the other $750 we needed. Amy contributed $700 towards the cabinets for the kitchenette. I'll have to pay her back sometime in the near future.

The next stage of the basement will come when we've got a bit more money. The extra cabinets will be nice to store canned goods and extra non-perishable items.

I'm not worried about things because I truly believe that God is in control. He's brought us through tough times before and I know He will this time, too. It's just a matter of trust and faith. I say don't sweat the things you cannot change and then I work really hard to practice what I preach to others.

Amy and I are going to go out on Black Friday but mostly for the fun of going. She’s not bought anything yet so she wants to see if there’s anything a better deal for Isaiah than what she’s got planned. She’s not going all out this year either. She’s bought Rex a couple of presents and we told her to not get us anything. She said to not do that because then I always feel sad. That is true, but it’s usually because in the past I’ve bought things for Ron and really put a lot of thought into it and many years he’s bought me nothing. He always said that we’d go get whatever I wanted, but what I wanted was for him to THINK about me and take some initiative. It’s not the same when you have to go buy your own gifts. My feelings were frequently hurt.

This year is different though. I know we’re not in a financial position to go do a lot of shopping, there’s really nothing that I can’t live without, and since he’s not driving or working, I know that it’s absolutely not possible for him to get out and go shopping. That would be totally selfish of me if I thought that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Great doctor news!

The infectious disease doctor said today that he doesn't believe he needs to see Ron anymore! Awesome! Amazing!

He said, "Wow!" when he walked in and saw Ron's foot. He also said that a heel wound on a diabetic is usually the "kiss of death" for the leg. Most wounds like Ron's end up in amputation.

God is so good! It's truly because of His grace that Ron is doing as well as he is.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Isaiah-isms

Amy got home from her class last night and was trying to tell me something. Each time she said it, she was either walking away, or the TVwas on and I couldn't hear her. She came back into the room and told mewhat she wanted to say.

Isaiah was in the tub in the next room so she was talking really quiet.
Amy: This is what I think Isaiah's big toy is going to be for Christmas.(shows me a cell phone picture)
Me: What is it? (after all, it is a cell phone picture)
Amy: (very quietly) It's a dinosaur that walks with a remote control. It's really big.
Isaiah: A dinosaur! I love dinosaurs that walk!
Amy: (laughing) Is there a book about walking dinosaurs?
Isaiah: Yes, I want that book.

I was typing up something and Isaiah saw the letters of his name. He said I was writing "Isaiah loves pumpkin pie and you fix it like this."

I decided I'd write down and save his instructions:

Bake it brown before you cook it. Cook really hard. The oven has to be on 20. It has to cook really fast. It takes 100 minutes. Then you can eat it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Silver must be a cheap paint color

I have seen so many silver cars on the road recently - and even more since I BOUGHT a silver car. We had a silver Explorer but my van was blue. Amy's Escape is also silver. My sister's new car is silver. LOTS of cars are silver. I have seen more silver Pacificas than any other color of Pacifica. Why????

I would have bought any other color over a silver one, but that's what was available. Why are so many silver cars available and not so many other colors? I know when Amy bought her car last year, it was also the only one available. When Kris bought her Vibe - yep, you guessed it. Silver was the only one available.

Maybe I'll paint it someday. The interior will go with any color. I think red would be nice.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blog Candy

I'd never heard of this before, but I have been on one link, going to the next link, and on and on. I don't remember where I started, but here are some sites for Blog Candy:

Friday, November 14, 2008

2 days down; Countless more to go

I've managed to change the dressing twice without gagging, puking, or showing extreme distaste. I know - I've changed it before, but those times I mainly stuck wet 4x4 pads, covered with dry 4x4 pads, and then wrapped the whole thing up in Kerlix. Now, I have to actually clean the wound, apply some gel stuff (Cara-something), add some Adaptic, 4x4 pads "fluffed" out to add bulk, more 4x4 pads for cushion, and THEN the Kerlix. Good thing I'm ambidextrous or it would be difficult to hold all of that in place while I'm wrapping the Kerlix.

It is very good to not have to worry about the wound VAC. Ron said it was easier to get into the bathroom without worrying about where the machine is, is he running over the tubing (that happened so many times), is the machine not too far away so he's not stretching the tubing, etc. It is also nice to not have to worry about the battery running down.

Of course, the fact that we are no longer being billed for this is a major relief! I'm afraid to add up all of the insurance statements, but I'm going to have to if for no other reason than my own morbid curiosity. I think the total for this machine is going to be in the $40,000 range. That will really be nice. It will take a while to pay off the balance but that's life.

What's important is that he's still got one!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No more WOUND VAC!

Even though the doctor thought that maybe he'd leave the wound vac on for a couple more weeks, he agreed today that the foot could probably do without it. The circumference of the wound has gotten considerably smaller and the depth is now only about 1 cm, which is less than 1/2 inch.

It will be so good to get that turned back in! Too bad they won't take back the brand-new, unused box of dressings that have had the tape pulled off. That's $350 worth of bandages that we just have to eat. None of the contents have been opened but the box has been. Oh well... maybe I can sell them on eBay for a fraction of the cost. I also have a couple of canisters. I am able to send back one carton of canisters ($275) and two boxes of dressings. Hopefully, they'll give us credit for them. Technically, I guess they'll credit insurance first and then the difference will be credited to our share. It would be nice to get the whole credit though. Even after their deduction for what insurance made them absorb, it would still be about $500 credit on our portion of the bill. That would be very, very nice.

Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy. Ron's foot could very well have needed to be amputated.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I think it's working...

Ron has been on Aricept since last week and he seems to have a clearer mind, not struggling as much to carry on a conversation. Praise the Lord! That is really something to be happy about. He still forgets things and gets things confused, but he definitely seems to be getting better.

He remembered the name of our doctor's nurse, and it's not a name that would be very familiar to him because she's relatively new. He told me that she called yesterday, which is surprising on it's own (that he remembered someone called) and what her name is. I was pretty amazed.

He said tonight that he feels like he's thinking much clearer. That's a relief! He may be (finally) on the road to recovery. He sees the orthopedic doctor tomorrow. Our home health nurse said his foot looks much better. We're hopeful that the doctor will discontinue the wound vac. That would be very nice!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Aricept - the wonder drug...

We hope.

Ron started on Aricept this week. I am not sure how long it will take before we see any improvement in his memory, or if we will see one at all. Maybe all we'll see is no continued decline of his memory functions.

According to their website, Aricept users could experience any of the following - which would indicate that it was working:

Symptoms may improve
Symptoms may not change
Symptoms may worsen slower than without ARICEPT

We will have to wait and see how this goes. The doctor gave him a 30 day supply to start.

Next month, maybe she'll start him on Topamax to see if his tremors improve.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

History has been made

I cannot say that I am surprised. I expected it. I am not happy about it, but as with the many other things that have transpired in my life, I will deal with it.

No matter which way the vote went, it would have been an historic election. First female vice president or first black (and white) president. It'll all go down in the history books.

I was sorry to read that Senator Obama's "white" grandmother had passed away. Why is it so important to differentiate between his "white" grandmother and his "black" grandmother? Both of my grandsons are of mixed heritage (I don't say race as we're all one race - human - but of different ethnic backgrounds). Should I refer to myself as their white grandmother? Should people refer to me as such? Or, how about my daughter? Is she Isaiah's "white" mother? NO, she is is MOTHER - plain and simple, just as I am his GRANDMOTHER and his "Mexican" grandmother is his grandmother. The mixture of his Hispanic bloodline with our Caucasian/American Indian bloodline is not an issue in our love for him - or his love for us - so should not be an issue to others. The same goes for Alexander. His other grandparents are Chinese and they love his Caucasian part just as much as I love his Chinese part. It's the totality of the person, not the mixing of the bloodline, that makes a person.

So, to say that Obama's white grandmother passes away does her an injustice. She was his grandmother. She didn't care about anything else but loving that child into adulthood. I would like to think that he loved her with the same unwavering love that she must have felt for him. It would be nice to think so.

I pray that God keeps His hand on Senator Obama as he assumes the role he has fought for. I pray that he allows God to lead the way and that he starts each day earnestly seeking wisdom and direction. I pray that his choices for cabinet offices, and any other positions where he has authority, are men and women of God. I know that is a lot to ask, but I believe that God is still in control. He knew the outcome of the election before the first vote was cast. He knows what tomorrow, and all of the tomorrows to come, will bring.

I pray that He continues to guide, protect, and keep my family and I safe in these troubled times.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Day tomorrow!

I will be so thankful when this is over. I believe that no matter who wins tomorrow that God is still in charge and things will happen in His plans, not man's. I did vote for McCain. Not because he's Republican, or because he's got Palin on the ticket (that was almost enough to make me re-think things), but because he's a better choice than Obama.

I won't resort to any mud-slinging, as I think that does nothing to make Christians look better. I am concerned that people are voting for Obama for the wrong reason - solely because he's black. Well, he's also half white. Big deal. His race makes no difference to me. I also don't really care if he's Muslim or if he's not. I care *if* he is that he lied about it. (According to Islam, he is Muslim. According to him, he's a Christian. Only God knows for sure.)

I care that he went to a church for 20 years and never seemed to be bothered by the message the preacher was giving. I care that he was bothered after it was politically correct and not beforehand.

I care that he calls an American flag lapel pin "that pin" instead of what it is. Why is he concerned that "that pin" might be offensive to some? Big deal. It's a symbol of FREEDOM for many, many more. Who are we catering to?

I care that he wants to re-distribute the wealth. Is he going to re-distribute his? How about the amount of money he spends on sending his children to private schools? I have no problem with him sending them someplace other than the public school system, but what's OK for him should be OK for others. Why not provide vouchers so parents can send their children to the schools of their choice - be it public, private, Christian, or any other religion.

I care that he is thinks illegal aliens should be allowed to get drivers licenses and be given citizenship. Why? Did they earn it? No. Didn't everyone else who immigrated to this country have to earn their citizenship? Why shouldn't everyone else have to do it, too? After all, if he wants everything to be fairly distributed (wealth, taxes, etc), then citizenship should be granted to everyone the same way it's always been done. Earning it. That would make it fair.

I care that he appears to be endorsing voter fraud with his ACORN contacts and endorsement. Is he afraid that he can't win honestly?

I care that he's flying a Cuban flag at his campaign headquarters. Last time I checked, he was running for president of the US - not Cuba. What gives with that?

I care that he was in the Senate for 143 days (give or take a few) and announced that he was running for president. I don't know of any place of employment where you can expect to go to the top in 143 days. What makes him think he's qualified to be president?

I care that he has ties to people who have very questionable backgrounds including Rashid Khalidi and Williams Ayers, among others. I care that terrorist groups have given him backing. Hamas, Khadafi, and others.

I care that there is so much negative about him that people are overlooking.

I care that the smear campaigns that both sides conducted will have a negative impact overall, no matter which party wins. I see the possibility of a long struggle ahead for all of us.

I got a note from a friend who said she had received notifications from reliable sources that if Obama does not win the election there will be riots in several cities across the nation. No matter which party wins there should not be any rioting or bloodshed. It just reinforces the "racial" lines and distrust. What would happen if McCain lost and those who wanted him in office started riots? Not good. Not good. It just makes both sides look bad.

Thank God that He is still in charge!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New photos and Isaiah's Halloween

I took a few of photos from my co-worker and created a couple of layouts at Cropmom. They turned out really cute and I'm very pleased with them.

Isaiah had a great time with his friends on Halloween. He dressed up as Woody from the Buzz Lightyear movie. Amy bought him a "horse" to ride. He looked so cute. I saw this haunted house on Cropmom's site and knew it would be perfect for use as a frame for some of his pictures.