Monthly Archives: May 2012

Happy Birthday, Mommie Fail


This is Gabe at chuck e. cheese for his birthday in 2009.

Sometime last week my facebook status read:

Saturday is Gabe’s first birthday party (with other kids)…. We’re BOTH looking forward to it…

…and we were.  This was his very first social event amongst his own peers, some from school and some from the birthday girls’ other friends and family.  I was so, SO excited.  He talked about this party almost every day in the weeks leading up to the day.  He’d say that him and (I’ll say Helen) were going to do this, were going to do that, until I realized that he never mentioned anyone else.  So, I started to bring in the idea, “Honey, you know that there will be other kids there, right?”  “Remember Gabe, this is a party.  There will be other kids from your class there.  Helen will have her family there,” and so on.  He never gave me a hard time, never said he didn’t want to go, still talked about the party.

So, the party was held at Chuck E. Cheese.  Gabe loves to go there and has been there several times, enough times to be comfortable there.  We’ve been there mostly on weekdays, after school and the place is pretty tame.  We’ve also been there on weekends when the numbers of running, screaming kids multiply like nobody’s business.  Still, he never seemed to have a problem.  THIS day, however, there was a problem.  A BIG problem.  I could kick myself in the ASS because I let myself be lulled into the illusion of normalcy.

Mommie Fail:

On that day, Gabe started to say that he was going to sit near me.  He said that he was going to play the games that were near me.  I kinda did get the impression that he was getting nervous but I told him it would be okay and of COURSE I was going to be right there… which I WAS going to be right there.  How involved I was going to be in his activities I was going to leave up to him.  Then right as we pulled into the parking lot, he asked me if I had headphones.  Again, I saw a red flag and I chose to ignore it because, well, we never used headphones for him, but I knew that he used them a couple of times in school.  I just said, “You know we don’t have headphones.”  I don’t know.  I look back now as if I could have done something, but really, we would have still gone inside.  I kept telling myself that he was really excited and looking forward to this party.

Oh shit.  I know I shouldn’t beat myself up over this, but I should have known what it was going to be like inside this place, on a Saturday, at a birthday party for seven and eight year olds.  I was so looking forward to this being a normal, great milestone for my kid.  Okay, I will just list the conditions that awaited us.

  • A very busy Saturday.  There were kids running around, screaming and it was just too overwhelming, even for me.  I did mention that we’ve been to chuck e. cheese on Saturdays but this was crazy.
  • The reserved area for the party, nay several parties, was situated right in front of the stage and speakers, blasting music.  I mean, BLASTING.  This is something I did know.  I’ve seen parties there before.  Again, kick me.
  • Flashing lights and several monitors going at one time.  Again, I know this yet I didn’t think of it being an issue.

Any one of these is pretty annoying within itself, but I did not think of the effect on my son, let alone ALL of these at once.  I feel like such a horrible mother right now.  We’ve been getting really good, positive feedback from school and the social skills groups that I, plain and simple, let my guard down.  I let others, Gabe, and my desire for just a normal life interfere with protecting my son.  Monster Mom.  I was actually looking forward to his next birthday and the possibility of being asked for a party… AND thinking that chuck e. cheese was a good idea.  Oh Nooooo.

I found the table for the party and brought Gabe to at least show our faces and say, “happy birthday” to the little girl.  I spoke with the parents and they were really understanding about the whole thing.  I urged Gabe to say hello, but he was totally shut down at that point.  Sigh.  Attempting to teach manners through a sensory shut down?  Yeah right, hello?  Hello?  Then we left.  All he did manage to say was that he wanted to go to a “nice, quiet place,” so I took him out to the car and we sat there for a little while until he started talking more to me.

The blessing of children is that they will look into your soul and love and trust you no matter what.  He just said, “I told you, mom!”  Yes Hunny Bunny, you did.  I assumed he was talking about headphones because, really I could’ve used them, too.  I know that this is a learning moment for me and I am still soaking up that lesson.  People will say to learn and move on… and I will do that.  But part of that lesson is reflection.  Absorbing how my actions or non-actions affect those around me, especially when I make decisions regarding my precious boy.   It was our first such party and I guess that in the future I will need to do some research to scope out the situations…. Yeah, my kitchen will be my Situation Room where I plan my strategies.

My New Strategy

chuck e. cheese is not a good idea for Gabe’s next birthday…… period


Expresso & Coffee Guide

I’ve gotten pretty stagnant with my coffee choices lately, even as my coffee and spices post and the follow up to that, are still to this day being viewed.  I made a really bad decision, at a really bad time, to purchase a Keurig coffee brewer.  I give it a 100% rating for convenience, but it’s mighty expensive to keep the coffee flowing as compared to old fashion ground and perked coffee in a coffee pot, or coffee maker for that matter.  Anyway, just as I had packed up my brewer for storage to start perking my coffee, DH started bringing home the K-cups for the Keurig.  I had to literally unpack my Keurig that was sitting by the door to the basement.  This sudden interest from my husband was intriguing and it’s still going on today.  Intriguing because the guy is a pretty fugal fellow and this coffee is mega expensive, well, for us.  He insists that he only gets the ones on sale, but even the sale price is too expensive in my book.  I think he likes to be able to make fresh coffee all by himself in the morning as opposed to the instant that he had been drinking.  The man refuses to learn how to do anything in the kitchen… sad.  It must be in the man-genes.

I believe that people have been lured into thinking that $4.00 for a cup of coffee is pretty much the standard.  Think about it.  Even if a bag of express beans cost $8.00 or so, the amount of cups you can produce from that single bag is pretty significant amount.  I can’t quote numbers here but use your imagination.  People today, especially the young people, have no idea what a coffee pot is.  Am I being dramatic?  Maybe, but I’d be willing to bet that a majority of these kids have never had a perked cup of coffee, let alone brewed a pot of it.  So freaking SAD because there is no coffee better tasting than a properly perked cup of java.  Google yourself “perked coffee, perking coffee, old fashioned coffee… etc.” and you’ll start to get an idea.

So, one day he comes home with “Italian Roast”, which is expresso.  Now, while I am Italian and love expresso coffee, it must be served with Sambuca AND lemon slices or lemon juice.  Traditionally, at least in our house, it was either anise liquor OR a slice of lemon rind.  Once I combined these two flavors, I just could not have it any other way.  After I discovered dark Sambuca, THAT became my liquor of choice.  Well, this is a pickle.  I can’t have expresso in the morning with my breakfast, that’s just wrong.  Today I got the brilliant idea to gather up some expresso recipes for coffee drinks and found this page at Expresso & Coffee Guide.  The list is pretty long, and just keep scrolling down for recipes that have missing links (which is almost of them).  The recipes are written out at the bottom.

I’m sitting here right now enjoying some Italian Roast coffee as a mocha coffee something, made with my Keurig, honey, cocoa powder, nutmeg, and a tiny bit of sea salt.  Next I have to figure out a way to incorporate a caramel, but sugar-free then I can get rid of the honey.

Introductions, Please.


Okay, like I said yesterday, I am amazed every day by how much my little guy is learning and implementing.  Well, last night he hit me with another one.  So, every night the last thing we do is snuggle.  This used to be for extended periods of time that are now whittled down to just a couple of minutes, give or take, and we talk.  Sometimes it’s longer if we have lots to talk about and sometimes it’s literally just enough time to satisfy his need for snuggling.  Little Drake (my little nickname for him) has regularly been asking if his father will be in school on his social skills group night and every time I have to say yes.  This week Big Drake just has to hand in a paper and is free, so I said he was going to come.  LD got so excited and informed me that he was going to, and this gets tricky to relay here because he can’t express himself well yet and his exact words are nowhere what they should have been.  He basically expressed that he was going to introduce us as, “Mr. & Mrs. Dragon (insert surname, the real one here).  I definitely was NOT going to remind him that I’ve been there the whole time and have been speaking with the supervisor and interns on a weekly basis.  I just told him that I was looking forward to it.  His smile was bright and his eyes were big.

I’m just so proud of my little man!

His Name is TONY, Dad~!


First and foremost, this is amazing to me, and that I caught on to it.  This morning we were free to head on over to our diner for breakfast.  I say “our” diner because this is the one that DH has the school discount for.  He always goes there to, 1:  Support a local business, and 2: the school discount gets him 15-20% off the bill…. also, it’s very close to us and that’s a plus.

So we were there today, waiting for our breakfast and I sort of hear, on the peripheral, a conversation happening between the hostess and a man.  I don’t see them, but she calls him ‘Tony’ and all of a sudden Gabe pipes up (he must have been listening, too) and blurts out, “His name is Tony, Dad!”  He was so excited.  I still don’t really know who the guy is and just let it go and never turned around.  I mean, give those people their privacy, right?

So then later on the manager comes over and he says hello.  He always says hello.  Then Gabe says, “Hi, TONY, how are you?”…. and blah blah’s of other stuff he talks about, but then it just clicked that my little guy, who’s been talking to this manager like forever, but I guess without knowing his name, picks up on his name, then immediately uses it in a greeting.  How cool is that!  Now, this might seem trivial to most of you, or all of you; but it’s a pretty BIG damned thing for me. First, I feel so blessed to be able to actually see this in action and then put two and two together, myself.  Usually my boys are out together, but without me to  save some money here and there, but big guy wanted us all to eat out this morning.  Second, part of Gabe’s disability is that his social skills are/were practically non-existent.  I can’t wait to tell the supervisor of the social skills group… I think it’s working!  It’s so wonderful to see this progress in action and taking hold. This coming week is the last week, but then it starts up again when the summer semester at the school starts.  Gabe is also starting to hold the doors open for me and even gesturing with his hands and saying, “come right this way”…. LOL.

Oh, another biggie thing happened at breakfast.  Gabe made an actual egg sandwich all by himself…. what?  Up until now, he always refused a sandwich and has not had eggs in a very long time, since being a toddler.  Out of the blue, he orders an egg, then proceeds to make a sandwich with the toast that was served.  I suspect that he saw me modeling that behavior because I always get scrambled eggs and rye toast, then make a sandwich out of it, which I also did today.

Okay… I just wanted to write that down.   Every year he is making progress and it’s pretty exciting.

Oh hell, am I too “mothery” and not realizing that he’s growing up and can do a lot more than I thought?  I’ve been told that I baby my little guy and I try to keep that in mind, but there are still a lot of things I won’t let him do by himself.  I have no other children to know what is supposed to come next, and then I see all these new things… Just wondering.

Milestone Time


I’ve been pretty lax in documenting Gabe’s milestones and they have been slowly but surely coming.  This morning, after about forever, he declared that he was going to keep his clothes right side OUT when taking them off.  After he took off his pajamas and underwear, I said, “Oh, wouldn’t it be cool if you could do that with your socks?”  (holding… breath…)  Then he just whipped off his socks from the toe, keeping it right. side. out.  (BIG exhale)  I was so proud of him this morning, so carefully taking off his clothes, getting ready for school.  

Wow, I’m wondering where this is coming from because just last week I tried to explain to him about keeping them ride side out and he seemed to disinterested to the point that he physically left the room.  You just never know when, where, or how something is going to sink in.

Forever in Love


With “Forever in Love” by Kenny G. playing in the background, I lie on my bed with tears swelling in my eyes.

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing.  It’s beautiful.”

“Oh.  But why are you crying?”

“I don’t know.  I am wondering what would have been if we were more of the romantic type of couple.”

“Oh.”

“But we’re not wired that way, as a couple, I mean; and for myself, as myself, I never really got the chance to find out.  But I can lay here, listen and cry.  I cry because it moves my soul and I would love to live out my fantasies of expressing myself just like this music.”

First off, the above is an imagined conversation I had tonight with, I guess, myself, or not myself.  It could’ve been a real one, but if it were, it wouldn’t have been this one.  The music was real and probably instigated this whole thing.  sigh.  We know we love each other, we are secure with that… but is that supposed to be enough?  I’m not so sure.  I am secure in this relationship and I would never do anything to destroy that trust we have in each other, no way.  Is there anything wrong with having romantic fantasies about ones’ own husband?  Nope, and that’s definitely sexy in a marriage; but I don’t think it’s a good thing if they go unfulfilled… or at least trying to, or at least just go through the motions and let the person experience it for real.  But if that cannot be, I must think and possibly over analyze.

What I think is that priorities for relationships change.  That’s for sure.  I’ve seen it with my dad after the passing of my mom, and I saw it in myself even before him, after my divorce.  The freaking irony of it all is that the exact type of person I was attracted to back in the nineties, would’ve been totally wrong for me in this, my present, the life I am living now.  I married serious.  I used to be attracted to funny guys with an insane funny personality, but smart, intelligent, possibly even play an instrument, be in a band or something.  I had found one such person.  His name was Dave.  For the moment I forget his last name, but that’s probably for the best, because I’m writing about him now.  He was a huge hulk of a man, very tall, long hair, looked like a biker dude, but very shy, playful and gentle.  He was super smart and we’d play word games back and forth over aol chat.  I love word games, puns, rhymes, etc. He was a bass player in a band, and I also forgot that name.  He turned me on to Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s “Blue on Black” and I had even learned how to play it on the guitar. When I lived in NJ, I actually drove down to Smithville, single girl on a Sunday, to see his band play in a bar.  I only had enough spare change to buy one drink.  I got along so well with his friends, and we really, REALLY clicked.  Oh crap, did we really click.  At the end of the night, or afternoon, because of the drive I had back, we stood close to each other, with me standing on some steps, while he stood at the base of them… THAT’S just how tall, but we never kissed.  We stood there for a long time, but he was too shy to even kiss me. Damn! Wow!  I left, then he never invited me back.  We kept in touch, though.  I knew that he was a family man, so if anything had progressed with us, it would’ve been toward marriage and a family.

Well, two years later, out of the blue he invites me down for the weekend so he could cook a gourmet dinner for me.  We made plans, I even started to accumulate little culinary gifts for a basket for his cooking pleasure.  I also knew that if I went down there, we would “do it”, and consummate the build up of desires and emotions that forever had occupied the outskirts of our correspondence.  We had little scenarios of romantic nights under the stars.  Anyway, right about then I started talking to my now DH.  We had a few emails and telephone conversations.  We made arrangements to meet, just on the Saturday of my weekend away.  For those of you who don’t know, and that’s got to be ALL of you, DH has incredible timing.  Always working out no matter if it looks to be a bust all along… Always.  SO.  I was in a dilemma because I knew that DH’s goal was to eventually get serious, leading to marriage.  I also knew that my friend in Smithville had no future, professionally.  I mean, he had no goals and that threw up a red flag, it always had but I never had to contend with that.  My newfound morals at the time forbade me to go on with this weekend.  I had already had it in my mind that it would be cheating, but it really would not have been, technically. Maybe I just didn’t want to have to disclose that if anything got serious, and I knew that I would have to, and I knew that the chronology would not be be optimal, DH is a math major for God’s sake!

Big exhale… Wow that feels better.  But do you see how priorities change?  They always do and I think too many people don’t recognize that and just go with it.  Everything happens for a reason.  First husband divorced me because he felt himself calm down a bit from being this outrageous self centered ego maniac  and he didn’t like it.  He felt that I was the reason, so he had to get rid of me.  Problem solved.  Of course it’s not as simple as that as a marriage never really crumbles because of just one person; but basically, that was the root of it.   Wow… marriage breaks up because the man finds a bit of peace and it throws him for a loop….

DH is the love of my life, for better or for worse…. mostly for an abundance of bliss and I really mean that.  We have something that nobody else has, nor should they.  I’ve made my choice.

My Apheresis Donation


Temp:    99.0

Pulse:    96

Hemoglobin:   13.9

Blood Pressure:   128/94

I was pretty impressed with my hemoglobin count.  Wow.  Last year it was at a high of 14.0, this year I’m not eating a lot of red meat, which is what they say is the best source of iron and for donating.  Red meat is starting to disagree with me, so I’ve drastically cut it down.   I think the only red meat I’ve had in the past few months was one hamburger this past Sunday.  Still, I’m not saying that it’s the best thing to do; not even sure that it’s the best thing for me, but it is what it is.

So, I got to Rahway Hospital, otherwise known as Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.  I really dislike it when they change the name of hospitals.  My husband was born at RAHWAY hospital. I know, I’m being irrational but there is so much history there and they go and change the name.  I digress…

Anyway, got there early and headed for the cafeteria for the Seattle’s Best coffee they serve there.  What I should have done was have something to eat (and you’ll see why), but I only had 15-20 minutes until my appointment.  They also have free wifi, and I’ve been known to publish posts while sitting right there.  Getting there early allows my body a chance to settle from the drive, as well.  I’ve been rejected from donating before because of my temperature being a little elevated.  By the way, having coffee right before having your temperature taken does not help at all.  Luckily, I brought from home a large water bottle of iced tea I started to guzzle when the technician reminded me that hot coffee = a no no.  Yes, I was being difficult.  Apparently, a lot of donors were being “difficult” that day.  At least she was laughing.

Everything seemed as normal as I remembered it, and I was able to give double units of platelets.  What I didn’t realize is that because it was approximately  a year since my last platelet donation, this time was like my first.  The body sort of gets used to it with time, and by that I mean this:  Your initial donation usually has, um, side effects, and everyone is different in this.  The most common thing to happen while undergoing the procedure is a tingly feeling in your lips and face.  For this, they give you TUMS, calcium supplements, which really does alleviate that feeling.  When donating, they use an anticoagulant such as sodium citrate.  A very good post with information is here.  I had a very good  phlebotomist this time and was reminded of the time at a different hospital when the phleb. messed up both of my arms and I could not donate at all that day… got me really mad because it was quite a drive for me during the end of the day commute craziness.

Everything went along pretty normal, and I went straight home.  Don’t think that after this you can go on ahead to a lively evening of fun, or even of just being out.  Again, everyone is different, but I get very tired and need to rest for the rest of the night.  What was different for me this time was that I really got sick.  I can’t say I was dizzy, but I was nauseous and had a headache to the point that I thought I was going to toss whatever cookies I had in me, but didn’t.  This persisted on into the next day (yesterday) and again, this morning still had a slight headache, but a cup of coffee fixed that right up.  Now, I don’t want this to discourage anyone from donating component blood, but I felt I should document it here because I really think that it’s due to the possibility I didn’t eat well enough before my donation.  Like I said before, I’ve not been eating a lot of red meat lately and for lunch, the meal right before my donation, I just had chicken soup and soy nougats that are supposed to have a lot of protein in them.  So, I don’t know.  Afterwards, I was so nauseous that I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything.  So maybe this should be the “CAUTION” paragraph.  Please make sure that you prepare yourself properly before a donation of platelets, or any component blood.  For whole blood they just tell you to drink a lot, and that’s important for platelets, too; but maybe because this procedure is much more involved that we need to be aware of and do more for ourselves, and for our own good.  Don’t act tough.  Don’t act stupid.  Taking care of yourself is cool.  Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you could do.

The following has not been researched:  Okay, something else I learned yesterday which was a shock; and this applies to all women out there.  I found out that if you’re not an already established platelet donor, all women are rejected from donating.  Something about what women carry and are transmitting to recipients of, I think, just platelets but really not sure.  The tech really didn’t explain it very well, so if anyone knows, please, PLEASE, let me know.  I tried to do a search, but so far getting just articles about the normal reasons women (or anyone) can’t donate like if you’ve gotten a tattoo in the last 12 months, or if you’re pregnant, or if you’ve been out of the county… etc.  You know, I don’t get the pregnancy part.  I’ve been pregnant and they still take me, albeit because I’m an established donor, but then the reasons a woman who’s been pregnant can’t give ARE pregnancy related.  Again, the content of this paragraph has not been researched…. yet.

I’ll keep ya posted.

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