Taking the Scenic Route

Zora stir crazy already.

3rd January 2011

Zora stir crazy already.

Zora is trying to convince me that “my neck (throat) feels all better” so I will take her out of the house.

I have all these plans of cleaning, exercising, and generally getting back in gear and illness is derailing the plans. I am trying to refuse to be on the sick list, but my droopy eyelids and total lack of energy is fighting me. After spending yesterday afternoon in the ER,  pray we didn’t pick up anything new, and that nobody else gets sick. I am not sure that it is working though.

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2nd January 2011

First ER visit (that I can remember at least)

Waiting in the ER. It is Sunday and the only Urgent Care clinic doesn’t take Healthwave, so to the ER we went. dx: Strep Throat.

Highlights of the visit: The prisoner in the orange jumpsuit & his guards waiting nearby, the “visit to the hospital” coloring book & stickers, and a red popsicle after the throat swab.

Upon taking her meds, she declared “YUCK! It must be for grown-ups, not kids.”

Poor miserable Zora.

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31st December 2010

And the year ends

dropped glass broken, bleeding son who won’t keep the band-aid on, overflowing toilet from the girlchild’s overuse of toilet paper, spilled food, whining about everything, laundry & dishes mountains. I hope next year is better than this one.


later…It is better now that Zach is home from work. Everybody is happier. Honestly, I am thankful to only have “normal” kind of “bad day” problems, because there are much worse kinds of days to have.

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12th November 2010

Just a little snow during our evening.

After a week of the kids being sick and grumpy, missing everything on our schedule from Sunday to some of the Thursday events, by Friday everybody was totally stir crazy and the kids were poking at each other. It had progressed to “witching hour” insanity by 3 in the afternoon and it was looking to get even worse. I knew there was a respite event tonight, but we hadn’t signed up for it. I called them to see if there was any chance of dropping the kids off, and they had space. THANK GOODNESS! Zane was so ready to go he started getting dressed when he overheard me asking, and both kids were totally dressed, on their own, within 10 minutes. Then I made them go outside to kill some time before we went. I don’t know that I have ever seen Zane so ready to get out of the house before. :laughn1:

Zach and I first went to Walmart to get some much needed windshield wipers, and decided we really needed to do something “nice”, needed a break so badly. We ended up going to Il Vicini’s, sitting in the window seat, sipping coffee. As we sat there it started snowing, which added a feeling of otherworldness to the evening. It was so nice and peaceful. Eventually they stopped bringing us coffee refills, so we went home and snuggled on the couch and talked. By the time we picked up the kids we were feeling better and the kids were happy and worn out. Zora went to sleep about half an hour after we got home, and Zane another hour later.

Respite care is such a God-send.

posted in Autistic Life, ROCKO, Stress, The Kids | Comments Off

7th January 2010


A few hours after the previous post, Zach found out he was going to be unemployed again.

Although it isn’t good news, and the actual work he did was good and he enjoyed learning new systems and improving his skills, the work culture was terrible and we won’t miss the stress that caused.  Working with a bunch of (married) guys who talk endlessly about how much they are irritated by their families, who they want to sleep with given the opportunity, sports, slamming current and past employees, passing around old (often offensive) YouTube videos and internet “jokes” (and thinking they are new, PLUS, nobody else is allowed access to do this and they pride themselves on shutting down anybody who tries), and a workaholic manager who’s sole personality trait seemed to be “angry little man” (even with it wasn’t something to be angry about) it really isn’t much of a loss.  And really, why would IT guys complain about coworkers who aren’t computer savvy.  Isn’t that why they have jobs?  “Not a Good Fit” (official reason) is the understatement of the year.  There was no way he was going to “join in” in such negative conversations.  (and no, I am not mentioning the company’s name, so please don’t ask)

Plus, we get to spend more time together, which is always nice.  Our house will get cleaner, and we will be able to do more things, like using our membership to Exploration Place, etc.

He has been interviewing through much of his time there, and although nothing has come up yet, we are hopeful.  It is heartening to see a 10-fold improvement in the number of jobs out there compared to this last summer.  We expect to get unemployment, and we have the craptastic health insurance through the end of January (plus a medical flex spending account), so we will be doing lots of dr. appointments next week for the adults.  (Zane has insurance on his own, and we should be able to get it for Zora without a problem…before this job, it was just held up because I hadn’t sent in the birth certificate yet).

So, I am a little stressed, but have faith that it will work out for the better in the end.  It is just going to be a rough patch right now.

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4th May 2009

The Plant is Home.

#124 The Plant is Home. When I came into Zach’s work one day and saw the barren cubicle, I decided it needed a plant. Zane picked the planter, I got a few plants and the kids and I worked together to plant it and then took it to his office that evening when we picked him up. Well, it came back home today when Zach joined the ranks of the unemployed. Yeah. Bad day.

posted in Stress, project 365 | Comments Off

2nd April 2009

Dealing with Anxiety

Zach refuses to take meds for anxiety, which sort of drive me crazy (ironic, isn’t it), but I understand and support him. After much discussion, we have decided we are going to make a concerted effort to exercise more, including Yoga & Tai Chi type things, and start practicing meditation.

By “coincidence” (I don’t believe in coincidence) there was a show on one of the science channels about a mummy found, that talked at length about Buddhist monks and their mediation practices (the mummy was a monk), and showed the scientific evaluation of how meditation helped control breathing, heart rate, etc. and how dramatically it could help. That sparked a search for a local place to meditate at, which lead me to the discovery of several places in town. However, all of them were strongly Buddhist (and I think one was Hindu) and we aren’t comfortable with that. We both appreciate Buddhist thought, but it is because there are a lot of parallels to Christianity that we find inspiring, but we aren’t Buddhist. We are Christian.

I have always thought of meditation as a form of prayer, and I don’t feel comfortable praying to anybody except God. There are a lot of calls to meditate in the bible (“Be still and know that I am God” is one that comes to mind first, and Jesus’ going off to a quiet place to pray at length is another). After some more searching, I found two websites that offered Christian meditation information/education. Christian Meditation and World Community for Christian Meditation. The latter appealed to me more, but the first one seemed a little more like “Christian Meditation for the Clueless”, which we are right now. I know you don’t need anything to meditate, but I thought the more guided meditation would be a good set of training wheels while we learn how to do this, how to quiet our thoughts better. I can do it in short bursts, but not for an extended period of time, at least not without my thought going all over the place. The closest I get is when I zone out during knitting. So, we got some of the mp3 downloads from the first site and are trying that. (some of the downloads are bordering on offensive to me, but most of them look good. I guess I will find out. lol)

I also found this cool Yoga-type video that I want. It is called “Yoga Prayer” and the following line in the description caught my attention: Ryan seamlessly harmonizes prayers like Psalm 84, the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis, and the Beatitudes with vitalizing yoga postures to create a uniquely powerful spiritual practice. (IMO, the Beatitudes are among the most important passage of the bible, and the Prayer of St Francis is one of my favorite writings ever). I had just gotten “Yoga for Inflexible People”, so I will do that for a while until I get a little more physically able to do the stretches (I can’t even touch my toes right now, so a lot of the stuff is just so far beyond me at this point there really isn’t any point until I get into better shape), but this is on my “list of things to get” when I am ready for it. I saw some other aerobics tapes “for Christians”, but many of them look too dorky for words, and this is coming from somebody who actually bought a Richard Simmons tape along with the Yoga..inflexible tape. lol.

posted in Health, Stress, Zach & Jennifer | 1 Comment

30th October 2008

The Viewing

We barely had time to shower before Zach had to leave for the viewing and the babysitter came for the kids. Kirsten had a friend and babysitter that was finishing up a Special Ed degree and had a special interest in autism, and she was happy to help out. She was great. She couldn’t get there until after the family viewing was to begin, so Zach went ahead with one of his siblings, and I stayed behind getting Zane and myself ready and waited for her. The plan was to leave Zora with her, while I took Zane for long enough to see the body, and maybe a little longer if he wanted to, then bring him back to the hotel to play with Zora and the sitter, and I would return to the viewing to be with Zach.

I was still finishing up when she came, and helped get Zane dressed as I gave directions. I realized when I was giving directions that I never left the kids with anybody besides my mom, but I was too worn out and stressed to really let that thought settle much.

We went to the viewing. It was the first time I had seen a lot of the family. Zane did pretty well, under the circumstances. He was a little sensory seeking…leaning, pulling out to swing when we held his hand, but overall, did really well.

We slowly made our way to the front, and eventually, I had Zach take him up to see Papo, with me holding his other hand. We showed him Papo, and that he wasn’t breathing, and that he wasn’t moving, and that he felt cold and reitterated that it was because his body was broken, but his inside alive part was with Jesus in heaven and was happy. We stayed as long as he wanted to stay and just held him. When he started getting antsy, we asked if he wanted to go, and he did.

As we walked away from the casket, he started tearing up. We sat down in a pew with him and asked him “What is wrong?” (we weren’t sure if it was too high of level question, so we waited a bit for him to answer before rephrasing) He finally said “I sad” We asked “What makes you sad?” (“what” is easier for him than “why”). He mumbled “Grampapa-Papo”. We asked “Why does Papo make you sad?” He said “Papo is Dead”. He got it. What a bittersweet momment. It was important for him to understand, and I was relieved that he got it, but so overwhelmingly sad at the same time. We hugged him, and then asked if he wanted to go back to the hotel to play nintendo and the babysitter and Zora, or if he wanted to stay here with us. He wanted to stay, much to our amazement. Minutes later, he fell asleep. Almost passed out he fell asleep so hard. He was all twisted up like a pretzel and when I tried to untangle him, he twisted back up again, so we just left him on the bench to sleep and stayed within visual range of him the rest of the evening. He woke up, almost crying, three times, I stepped back over to him, hugged him and reassured him, and he passed back out again. He stayed that way until we got him up to leave.

As anybody who has ever met both Zach and his Dad knows, Zach looks astonishingly like his dad. We even heard Jennifer (the widow), comment, in reference to Jim’s body, that “Zach looks more like Jim than Jim does” and it was true. I don’t know what the deal was, but you really had to look to see Jim because the make-up or something was a bit off. You could see him, and you could kind of see his father (Zach’s grandpa) in him, but it really didn’t look like him as much as one would expect.

One result of the resemblance is that Zach had people coming up to him who didn’t know him, but instantly knew he was Jim’s son. A few of them didn’t realize he wasn’t the “doctor” (Zach’s younger brother, from the second marriage…we had to keep pointing out Hayden to them), and seemed a bit surprised that he had another, older son, but everybody from Jim’s office and those he had known a long time all knew who Zach was. (it seemed to be the church people who were more surprised). I do have to say, you know that you eat out a lot when you get waitresses and waiters come up to you saying what restaurant they had worked at when explaining how they knew Jim. That was sort of funny.

His workmates were amazing. They stood and talked to us for a long, long time, and pulled other workmates over to introduce each other to Zach. All of them knew who he was instantly, and quickly remembered even my name “the other Jennifer Z***” (Jim’s wife and I have the same name…which got sort of weird at times during the week because I kept hearing “my” name called all the time). It became very apparent that he talked about us at work a lot, and very little at the church. He spent a lot of time at work, so that felt really good. Heck, I even got baby gifts from his workmates, even though I had never met them at that time. They had many stories and fond memories they shared (including that they finally bought him his own clippers so he would quit stealing the cake knives from the drawers to go out and landscape the grounds around the building). It was clear that they were devastated by his passing. Truly. I think they knew him better than we did, and hearing about him through them was so comforting. He clearly had a family with his colleagues. They also put a wreath on the door and took pictures of his office, and the building (his dad was a partner, so his name was on the building) to give to us (and the other siblings). It meant a lot.

There was a LOT of family there, including Jennifer’s family whom we hadn’t seen in a long time (since Christmas 2002 for some, and the sibling’s weddings for the others). Sandy had brought a big batch of pictures of Jim from when they were kids, and Zach got to really look at them for a while. That was particularly neat for him.

Another thing that happened with some frequency, was people who came up to him, assuming he was Jim’s son, and then telling Zach how he had changed their lives. Including a woman he helped to leave an abusive marriage and start her life over, and a multitude of other people who’s lives he had changed for the better. He had counseled them and was a force of good in their lives. That was a side of his Dad we never really knew about and were particularly grateful to know about. Zach is the same way, and has always been very generous to those in need (often giving to the point of sacrifice to ourselves and our family), so to see that trait in his Dad really made me smile.

It is so weird to be at a funeral like that, where you are so happy to see some of the people whom you have connected with in the past but haven’t seen in ages, but to have to do it under such awful circumstances. It had me grinning and laughing in joy one minute, and choking back tears the next.

When the viewing was winding down, Zach talked to the mortuary director to thank him for all he had done. He told Zach that his Dad must have been something really special because he had never, in all of his years of doing this, seen so many people come to just a viewing. (with no memorial service). And it was really big, especially considering it wasn’t in a community like I grew up in. (in small towns, viewings and funerals are naturally much, much larger because everybody knows everybody and is affected by the death of somebody in the community)

The viewing, over all, was very healing. We learned so much about his dad and were so grateful for so many sharing their stories.

Near the end of the viewing, the line finally letting up, Jim’s sisters comforting Jen.

Although Zane had changed positions after one of his awakening, this is the view of him at the end of the viewing. We picked him up and went to talk to Jennifer for a bit, then went back to the hotel. I couldn’t believe he slept the several hours we were there. This really wiped him out.

posted in Autistic Life, Death, San Antonio, Stress | Comments Off

23rd October 2008

We are in San Antonio now

We drove straight through and arrived at 3:30 or so, but didn’t get settled until 4:30-5am.  We got up at 8am and went down to breakfast and met up with Aunt Joyce &  her husband.  We are following them to the airport this afternoon to help pick up Sandy &  Bob, Wright, Mead, Cady and Lauren who are all, amazingly, arriving on the same flight.  About 2 hours after we pick them up is the family viewing, then we don’t know if we are going to the house, or hanging out with the family.

This morning Zach’s brother-in-law picked him up to go to the family meeting with the minister.

posted in Death, Papo (Z's Dad) & Grammie, Stress | 3 Comments

22nd October 2008

The next few days

We finally got a person at Hertz that was willing to help find us a car before Thursday so we could get there on time. We leave Wed at noon, or earlier if they are able to get a van/car/whatever seats 4 people here sooner.

The visitation/viewing is on Thursday evening
The Burial is on Friday morning, a military burial
The Memorial Service is on Saturday morning at the church

The hotel is supposed to have free wifi, so I should be able to check messages and maybe post if I feel up to it.

If anybody wants a link to the funeral home obituary, leave a note. If I already know you, I will send you the link. If you know my mom, she has the link too.

posted in Death, Papo (Z's Dad) & Grammie, Stress, Zach | 1 Comment

  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 22 years, 5 months, and 2 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 18 years, 5 months, and 6 days old
  • Random Quote

  • Well, my version of “teaching God with science” would pretty much look something like taking genuine science textbooks that teach real science and writing YAY GOD on the back inside cover with a glitter pen.

    In other words, the instant you start altering the SCIENCE in any way, you’ve lost me.
    — Hala, an online friend

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