Sunday, November 29, 2009

Autism and Alzheimer

A friend of mine wrote in his blog about how hard it is to visit with his Dad, who has Alzheimer's. (Birding with Kenn and Kim: Giving Thanks) . I have long, long maintained that when we find a cure for Autism, we will find a cure for Alzheimer's. Conversely, when we find a cure for Alzheimer's, we'll find a cure for Autism.

Living with folks with either sounds a lot alike. They forget who you are. They forget where they are. They say inappropriate things that they don't mean. They forget to eat. They eat too much. They sleep too much. They don't sleep enough. You know they want to express themselves because you can see it in their eyes. You can't tell what they want because they don't look at you anymore. They have receded into their own world and didn't take you with them. You rejoice for those tiny moments of cognizance--they are few and far between. It's hard to be with them. You grieve every day. Every single day.

So all you researchers out there: get cracking. Cure one or the other, I don't care which, but do it soon.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Back to That Eagle Scout

I created a mini-movie for FTD's Eagle Scout Court of Honor (COH) and finally found the time to upload it to youtube. Of course, in order to do that, I've had a new hard drive installed in the computer, so now my 6000+ pics don't slow me down so much. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to ditch the cruddy experimental movies. And now, with the new Canon, which shoots in HD at professional speeds, I have tons of geysers-going-off video. Sheesh.

I also tried uploading from youtube to here and here to youtube, with no luck. So you'll just have to click buttons for yourself.

Here's the link, I think:

I'll get that 40 minute video of Great Fountain up pretty soon. . . . .

Monday, November 23, 2009

And so it ends

Our park house on Jeffers Road is the first house ever built in the township. It was built by William Allman, sometime after he purchased the property from the US Government in 1834. By 1860, he sold the property to one of his sons Daniel Allman. He owned it until the 1910s. It went through several owners until 1940, when it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. William Nobbe. They were from Virginia, where they had re-habbed several old homes. When they moved to Toledo for Mr. Nobbe's job as an attorney with Owens Illinois, the largest glass producer in the world, they looked for a home they could work on. During the early part of WWII, they used it for a get-away home--it was the distance they could travel on Mr. Nobbe's gas rations. In 1942, they moved to the house permanently. They added indoor plumbing, heat, and a "spacious" bedroom with its own bathroom. The Nobbe's sold it to the Boston Family sometime in the late 40s or early 50s. Boston's sold it to the Park District of the Toledo Area about 1970 or so. DH moved in by 1975 and lived there with his daughter, who was about 7 at the time. We were married in 1983 and lived there until just before he retired in 2002.

It's an original structure with well established history and provenance. It's on its original giant oak timber foundation. And it's about to be torn down.

If a wealthy family had ever lived there, if it were a log structure, if there was any connection in any way, shape, or form to the Underground railroad, it would be saved. But just hard working farmers and others lived there. It's a simple frame house. Why the hell worry about it.

This is a shame and damn near criminal. The Park District says it's an attractive nuisance. Some asshole kids from Swanton burned the barn down a couple of years ago and got a ticket. Whoopie. So board the house up and let it go to ruins naturally. The District should have done some work on it after we moved out. But no. That would require foresight and creativity.

There really isn't an excuse for this. It's a tragedy. A real tragedy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Fine Art of Solar Drying

One of the things I miss most about Wyoming and North Dakota is solar drying. Every time I put a load of stuff in the dryer here in Ohio, I cringe. Out west, I timed my laundry days to be those days when I could get a load or two of laundry in the washer before I left for work, out on the line during my lunch break, and off the line after work. This year, it took a little more creative scheduling (no thanks to Ranger Jerk You-know-who). To make this work, I had to be scheduled at Madison, my all time favorite place to work. Working in West was exciting this year, but it ain't no Madison Junction. Not to mention, I couldn't make the solar drying thing work on those days.

I love that there are some folks who live completely off the grid. But I also love that I have access to electricity. I can flush inside because of electricity, read in bed without so much eye strain with electricity, and check with my FB peeps because of electricity. No, I couldn't live off the grid. But I sure wish I could live without the electric dryer. Of course, in the dead of winter, I can warm up my towels in the electric dryer, so it stays.

When we lived in the Old House on Jeffers Road, we had a clothes line. DH and I dug the massive poles up from a house I used rent in Maumee and transplanted them out here. I could only use it a few days a year, because here in NW Ohio, if you hang your laundry outside, it will come back in wetter than when it went out. Drat.

Our new house (well, it's now 15 years old, but play along) is totally in the woods and there's no place to put a line. The only place that has any amount of sun is in the front yard, over the leach field. If we put poles out, we'd hit something, so that won't work. I do have a mini-line on the back deck, but again, the humidity issue rules it out for serious solar drying.

When I was using the solar dryer at Jeffers Road, DH was the Park Manager. I quickly realized that hanging his undies out was well, tacky. And out west, I promised the family that I wouldn't hang any one's undies out on the line. My fellow solar dryer, Bob, got a chuckle out of that--but he didn't put undies out either. Rangers Pi, JR, and G had no such compunction. Turns out they all wear black undies. How rangeresque. Matches Kevlar, I guess.

There's something satisfying about using the solar dryer. It's a great excuse to be outside on a beautiful day and working at the same time. Of course there's the obvious benefit to the environment. I find it almost Zen-like--after all, I also try to make the stuff hanging out there create a pleasing pattern. (Sounds like I have too much time on my hands to me.) I also try to hang them in such a way as they fold nicely when I take them down. After all, I'm one of the laziest people in the world.

So here I am running the electric dryer yet again tonight. I hang blue jeans from hooks on the door to try to get them a little bit drier before I send all that money off to the Toledo Edison/First Energy folks. And I only put half loads in the dryer--turns out it's just as fast as trying to dry a whole load and there's less wear and tear on my textiles. That's all my poor old dryer can handle.

The most amazing thing about solar drying is that it's against the law in many places. What a crock. The first time I heard about a subdivision that zoned against solar drying I thought someone was pulling my leg--after all, I am the most gullible person in the world, too. But no clothes lines? That's like the most un-American thing I can think of. Next someone will zone against apple pie.

So I raise my clothes pin bag to those of you who lug the baskets to the yard or who find other creative ways to dry your ditties. Long live the clothes line.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rituals and Rites of Passage

It's been a day of both for me--working on the rituals associated with my niece's upcoming wedding celebration, then watching as my son's childhood friends climb in the car together to drive themselves home.

My sons will never drive--at least 'not never' in the near future. FTD, the older, has utterly no interest in even trying. I keep trying to convince him that he should at least have a clue how it's done. We have plenty of big empty parking lots around, but nope, he just doesn't want to try it. If I push him hard enough I can get him to go out and start the car for me. DD, the younger, would drive in a heart beat if we let him. But his impulsiveness is just so over the top that car keys and DD simply aren't a good mix. He's super careful on the tractor, and when he uses the driving mower he hoots and hollers like he's the Dukes of Hazard--very funny. I don't think he knows we can hear him.

But my sons getting those car keys is one of the rites of passage they will miss. And so will we.

My niece's situation is tenuous at best. The wedding celebration is scheduled for Saturday. Her beau is still in Texas and literally might not make it back up here. This has been the story of their lives--individually and collectively. The only thing the Elder Aunties of this tribe can do is be there when she finally makes decisions--the good ones and the bad ones. She so wants the princess wedding of which little girls dream, but decisions made many years ago come in to play now.

I'm one of those old fashioned girls who believes in the power and dignity of ritual. There's a comfort in ritual, including that nod to those who came before us and a thank you to those who love and support us now. Lots of folks poo-poo the ritual. They were often either "subjected" to it ad nausuem, or never exposed to any at all. Unless one has been through the ritual, it's hard to explain why one often feels "changed" after wards. I remember not a thing from the day of my wedding, but knowing that my friends and family were there for me through the process and on that day is sometimes the only thing that keeps me going. Bat Mitzvahs, confirmations, Cinco de Mayos, cotillions, graduations, ordinations, Courts of Honor, baptisms, first day of kindergarten pictures, weddings, funerals, handing over the car keys for the first time--all important rituals. All important rites of passage.

I grieve for my sons--knowing that they will miss many of the rituals of life. It makes it so much more poignant to me that those who are able to partake of the rites appreciate that they have these opportunities. Don't waste them, dear friends, don't waste them.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Back to Those October Random Thoughts

Here's the update on October's Random Thoughts:

The new Nevada Barr Book is okay. She's experimenting with other writing styles, and this one is okay for folks who like this style. It doesn't have any of her incredible, descriptive prose of the parks and without that, the story leaves me wanting. It's also about how poorly the juvenile justice system works--or doesn't work--and that's always hard to read. I know we all need to stretch our wings and try new things, but Nevada: bring back that rascally Ranger Anna!

We have 6 homes lined up for the Whitehouse Library Country Christmas Home Tour and yours truly is off the hook! Yea! I'd really like to do it some time, so maybe next year. That is if we get the basement finished, the upstairs, and well--same old same old.

Speaking of birthdays (we weren't) I got Tom a new brad nailer for his birthday. And I got me a new chain saw--cool. Don't have time to use either one yet, because of Niece's wedding plans, but soon. Speaking of wedding plans, K2, the groom, isn't here yet. Yeah, that's stressful. If he doesn't leave Texas in the next 2 days, he'll miss his own wedding. Swell. It'll be a wonderful, small wedding and much nicer with him here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Glass City Rollers

The Glass City Rollers--the new girls on the block. This is a flat track roller derby team from Toledo. Why am I interested? One of my nieces is the club president--that would be Sally Seam Rip-Her, whose number is 5/8. Get it? 5/8 inch seam allowance? Oy. Any who, we were really skeptical about "Sally's" interest in this. But it's turned out to be a lot of fun.

Flat track derby isn't nearly as rough as the old derby circuit. They have so many rules I'm really not sure what the girls can do--they can throw a hip, but no pushing, tripping, all sorts of stuff. The refs keep incredibly close track of what's going on on the track. A game is called a bout, and all of the skaters chose really horrid, punny names. I sat with my step-daughter, whom I'll call Betty Beehive, who sort of knows the rules. It took me all through the first half to get a grasp of the rules. Once you figure out how to watch and what to watch for, you start to see the strategy of it.

It wasn't gruesome, even though the bout was held on Halloween, and we'll be back for the next home bout. This was the Glass City Rollers (GCR) first home bout, and they only sold about 100 tickets before the bout. But they filled at least 800 seats, and the place was full. It really was fun to watch. I'm hooked.

Did I mention that the bout took place on Halloween? Crowds don't usually look like folks from the Rocky Horror Picture Show at bouts. In fact, I was amazed at how normal most folks in the crowd looked. I dressed up as Waldo, so people could find me. When I was Sally's age, I was directing a baton and drum corps for kids--good exercise, but not nearly as exciting as this deal. The next home bout for the GCR will be in December, and after the great publicity and fun at the last bout, I'm willing to bet the next one will sell out. Get those tickets early and see you there!