Monday, January 30, 2012

Certified Waiver Option Providers

That's a whole lotta government speak.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we would soon be interviewing folks to serve as our sons' certified waiver option providers.  Here's the back story.

About 10 or 12 years ago, a friend asked if our kids were on The List.  I said I have no idea, what's The List?  This, said she, is The List your kids with special needs must be on in order to get care (a place to live) when they become adults.  It was her understanding that in order to get services you had to be at the top of The List (TL).  So.  I said how do we get on TL?  She said call your case manager at the County Department, which in our case is now called the Lucas County Development Disabilities Board (LDD.)   I remembered that long before that, we had contact with LDD, because our kids are adopted through another county agency and they connected us.  At least I think that's how we met, but it might have been through the county's special ed pre-school program.  Quite honestly, those days are a blur now.  There's no learning curve for this.

I spoke with caseworker Susan, who said that TL is indeed the roster of folks who need various support services, either as children or adults.  Our kids lived at home so for the time being that aspect of their lives was okay.  But what if?  we keel over and die? we are medically incapacitated? we just plain get too old to care for the boys?  Then what do we do?  Enter Certified Waiver Option Providers.

Lucas County Children's Home
In the long ago past, children with special needs were shipped off to homes, usually before they entered school.  Parents were told that it would be best for the child and best for the rest of your family.  This was the norm, and was considered the Best Practice of its day.  But its day came and went.  Many brave parents took a stand and said, "We know how to best care for our children, and that means they should stay at home with us."  A radical concept 50 years ago.  Children with special needs were 'out of sight, out of mind.'  My very best friend had an older brother in this situation, and we were BFFs for 4 or 5 years before she told me about him.  How unimaginable today. The other part of that story was you had to disown your kids when they turned 21 in order for them to receive any services and they had to go to a Home.  Talk about adding insult to injury.

But then how to care for your children at home presented its own set of problems.  Lots of problems.  Every thing from school to babysitters to diet to medical supplies to diapers to transportation, you name it, it was a problem to over come.  I thank God everyday that other brave parents fought those battles and came up with creative solutions.  And if not solutions, then at least systems to work out the problems.

For us the problems that remained were school and transportation. (The alleged director of special ed in our district was known as Cruella deBeck.  It's the perfect mental image of the witch.) Our school battles were legendary. Our battles have helped some of the kids who are coming up now, although since every child is different, there's no "one good solution".  We still hear from families who are struggling, trying to squeeze out every bit, every minute of good stuff for their kids, while they can.  I could write for days about our school struggles, which continue to a lesser extent these days.  Lesser because we're getting tired of fighting the system. Sad and true.

Transportation is our other problem.  While there are services available, we live 30 minutes from anywhere.  So that's a minimum of an hour in the car, with two screaming kids with autism.  It simply wasn't worth it to put up with that, in order to see someone for a 15 or 30 minute appointment.  The payback just wasn't there.  And to do any of that after school was totally out of the question, because our kids used up every molecule of 'good' that they had at school.  By the time they got home, their 'good' supply was completely depleted and they were running on fumes.  Add to that, our kids were always the first kids on the bus and the last ones off.  Not a good situation for anyone.  Even now, FTD gets on the bus at 6:35 a.m., and home at 4:15 p.m..  How many able-bodied and minded adults can stand that kind of day?

Back to our story.  When I spoke with caseworker Susan those 10 years ago, she said yes, both boys are on The List.  I said so what now?  She explained that all of the folks who might need services, who are known by the LDD, are placed on the list, taking into consideration the child's age, severity of need, and parent's ages. So our kids are lower on the severity side of things, but DH and I are way up on the age side.  As I was talking to Susan, she said, "Some of the parents of our clients still have their adult children living at home and the parents are in their 60s!"  I said, "Um, DH is now 61 and I'm 47, and the boys are 10 and 12."  She said, "Oh, honey, you just shot right to the top of The List."  Whew, the safety net was out.

And now here we are, ten years later.  The boys made it to the top of the list.  (Bittersweet, because it means someone who was receiving services has passed away.) And given that our current alleged governor is trying to get rid of Big Government, he's eying the services for people with special needs.  Jerk. Our new caseworker Bill is pushing us to get lined up with services, in case Gov. Asshole gets his way.  We're hoping that folks currently receiving services won't have those services cut, which Gov. A-hole also suggested.  Jerk.

So now we have to make some decisions.  None of these are binding for all time, but if we can get a good fit now, it will give the boys long term stability.  We worked with Bill to create profiles and current needs of the boys to give to providers. Several have responded to our inquiries, and we've interviewed a couple. 

So to make a short story long, we're hoping to find 'friends' for the boys at this stage of the game.  More on that later.  Gotta go pick one up from school now, he says he's sick.  Tired and weary is more like it, I imagine.

(P.S.  I'm not using the real names of caseworkers and providers.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Little Birds and Big Fabric

The past couple of days I've been messing with the little birds, primarily pine siskins, and big fabric.  I also spent hours on the phone and found out that I do in fact have a little unemployment compensation coming, which translates to a trip to the long arm quilter (LAQ).  Yea!

Sneaking up on the siskins out my bedroom door.

Just a few of 'em.

A little chicka dee dee dee stops in to visit, but he was kinda camera shy.

And a Tufted Titmouse, posing for Bird Butz Bob and Loopy Dave.

See, he does have eyes.  Love the black black black eyes of titmooses.

In honor of this week's Squirrel Appreciation Day, here's one of ours.  Damn pesky squirrels.

The Pine Siskins are a Big Deal for some folks.  Around here, they're just another winter visitor.  They breed up north, and come down south here for the winter.  Lots of folks get all excited about the 3 siskins at the Window on Wildlife or at their feeders.  We had 65 of the buggers on our CBC count day!  We haven't seen numbers like that since that day, but we do run 20 to 30 anytime there's thistle seed out. And dang those buggers can eat a lot of thistle.  And given that they show up right outside my bedroom windows, I can retain my title of World's Laziest Birder.

Since I got the word that I'd have a small infusion of cash, I've been busting my hump to get some backings lined up for UFOs.  I'm not really fond of working with big stuff, which is why FTD's log cabin quilt is still over there on the sofa, not on his bed.  Arg.

So sit back, get a cuppa and enjoy my little tour of current/UFO projects and other stuff.

This is the fabric I'm using for DD's bed skirt. He wanted plain black, but I wasn't up for that.  Late late late one night I remember that I bought this at a shop hop, not knowing what I'd use it for.  Ta daaaa!!  But, as you have figured out, I didn't have enough.  A frantic web search turned up 2 vendors with some in the shop.  I chose the cheaper one, and of course, she didn't have quite enough either, but I said send what you've got.  I also picked up some Lionel train fabric, a bison panel, and the most adorkable Moda Christmas panel.  Check out NUTS AND BOLTS Fabric shop in Edgemont, South Dakota!!  I ended up piecing some pieces for the bedskirt, and cut and sewed the muslin for the part that goes between the mattresses. Got it done late tonight, and DD is sleeping on it even as I type. I hate sewing big stuff.

Random pic out my window.  No snow.  Sigh.

The ages old Badlands Quilt in front, FTD's log cabin quilt in the back.  I got the backing cut for BL quilt and will take that over to the LAQ as soon as the check clears.  I have no idea how to have this one quilted...... I'm leaning towards over all stippling.  Whatdoyathink?  Honestly, I need your opinion!  I hate cutting big fabric.

Lessee... these are for which project?  ...oh, yeah, the stripy quilt. That will to to the LAQ, also. That will get what ever stitch is cheapest done for the quilting. I hate ironing big fabric.
 And now for a cute surprise!!
BadAmy and I hit the antique shop a few weeks ago, because I needed a small table for FTD's room, so I could move the one from his room to DD's.  BadAmy was looking for..... I don't even remember what.  But look what jumped into my basket!!

It's so freakin' cute!!!! Seriously, it's called Thread-a-matic!

And it works! So if Mr. Ritis (you know, Arther?) ever deems my old hands worthy of hand sewing again, at least I'll be able to thread the needles.  And it was sooooo cheap!  Score!  I did find a table and also scored a hat box from the store where DH used to work.   I have a few hat boxes, all from stores in the Toledo area.

What is this for?  Dang, I can't remember a thing lately. . . I'm sure it's for something big, and I hate sewing big bindings. Oh, yeah, FTD's quilt.  At least I finally picked out the fabric and got it cut and sewed.

Next, I love the bags bird seed comes in, and wanna make grocery bags from them.  Any idea what type of needle and thread I should use?  They're so purty. I've seen them on etsy, but really have no clue what to use.  I did think about colored duct tape....
So there's my life this week.  I wish it were really this simple, but in fact we have a couple of extended family things we're working on.  The good news, I have a wonderful extended family.  The bad news, we all suffer from illness, bad fortunes, and general malaise that comes under the heading "Shit Happens."   The good news, we have birds that sing and warm, wonderful quilts to snuggle up in. Life is good.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Random Catching Up II

More randomness . . .  and wondering why my pic on the side bar grew 4 sizes when I changed it the last time.  That's totally over kill. . .  

1.  I'll be starting physical therapy to see if I can get my left Achilles tendon back to normal.  Apparently I messed it up sometime either late last summer or early in the fall. . . but when I went to the otho-surgeon in early November to see if some miraculous procedure has been developed to fix tarsal coalitions (no) he mentioned that it looked like there was long term damage to my AT.  Crap.

I went for a little walk in the snow today, across from our house, feeling the need to test out my ankle again.  Not a great snow, but at least it's snow.  We got maybe an inch, with maybe 3 more expected over the weekend.  We need to get some, so folks get excited about Whitehouse Winterfest on Feb. 11.  We have several entries for the Snowy Night Light Parade, but no sleds yet.  Drat.  Maybe this bit 'o' snow will help.

3.  Remember this mess?  I made these strips from a batik jelly roll that I won at a retreat.  I'm not much of a batik kinda girl, and I thought these were just so-so, but hey, they were free!  I used the stash from the Three Bears Quilt to add enough material for a single size quilt.  I took the strips to YNP with me, thinking that if I needed a break from Parkadise, I could just idly sew the strips together.  I had interesting projects to sew, so I ended up bringing the strips back.  Yesterday, I sewed them all up in no time flat (I mean really, really quickly!) and now it's ready for the long arm quilter (LAQ) over in town.  I had planned on using a sheet for the backing, but have since found out that sheets are made quite differently from sewing fabric and it boogers up long arm machines.  Okie dokie.  Anywho, this might end up being a charity quilt, since the only cost I'll have in it are plain muslin backing, batting, and thread, and of course the quilting. I spend a ridiculous huge amount of time deciding which strip should go where last spring.  Then I stacked the strips and rolled them up.  When I sewed them together I just sort of when willy nilly... sheesh.  Anywho, it looks okay.

4.  More from the crafting-kids corner. FTD's class made these for presents at school--how cute is that?  He said he hand sewed the tubes closed, and I'm guessing he helped stuff the them.  I'll have to do some dissecting to see how long the tubes are.... talk about cute and simple.

5.  But here's the real goodie!  I've had this old chenille bed spread since one of our Mom's passed away, so it's been quite a while.  Every now and then I get an idea of how to use it, but don't have the time or energy to pull something off.  Yesterday, it all came together in the cutest dang pillow ever!  The design is the part that would be on top of the  bed pillow, so there's only one of these motifs.  The other motifs are bigger, and will need more finessing to fit a standard pillow.  I might just cut it down and sew a new back to the chunk that's left, to make a mini-quilty thing.  We'll see. 

6.  Lessee, today (well, last night as I couldn't sleep due to a mini-head cold) I remembered that I have some black train fabric, which I will use to make a bed skirt for DD's new bed.  He wanted straight black, but I wasn't quite ready to go there, even tho I did get him black sheets (and grey flannel ones).  I don't have enough of the fabric of course, so I spent a good while trying to find some online.  It's on the way, but there might not be enough, since the shop I found was nearly out.  Crap.  I did find one other shop with some, but it's $2/yard more. Drat.  I hope this doesn't end up being a really long term project.  I want to get it done before March 11~~All Things DD Day!

7.  I also finally picked out and cut fabric for the binding on FTD's quilt.  Tomorrow is FNSI, and I'm hoping my niece can come over and help me shove it thru my machine.  If not, another girl friend can come over next week sometime. Yea.

8.  Other project yesterday and today was putting the holiday stuff away in the basement, knowing that All Things DD Day is only 6 weeks away.  Most of the party will be in the basement, so a-cleaning we will go.  Since the Man Cave isn't done, or even close to it, there's all sorts of construction crap all over the place.  Maybe DH will get a wild hair and do some more work on it . . . .  and if there's a miracle, he'll clean up the mess he makes, too.  If that actually happens, be on the lookout. . . .

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Random Catching Up

Time for one of those rambling posts covering all sorts of stuff you aren't interested in....

1.  Still waiting to hear from my boss about work next summer.  As with the past several years, I'm also curious about a couple of parks that are within a day's drive from here, because....

2.  We will be interviewing 'certified waiver option providers' for the boys next week.  Letting go is hard.  It will be a good thing, since DH and I will get more free time, but handing the boys over to strangers is still scary.  Wish the fam and friends would get certified....

3.  Trying to get some sewing time in.  I'm doing a free quilt-along block of the month (heretofore referred to as either the QAL or the BoM for you non-quilty types).  The BoM is a free class from Craftsy.  My first blocks are done, and I'm quite pleased.  The plan is to do 2 new blocks each month, and ending up with a lap quilt in December.  I'm using up Christmas stash, and am making 2 blocks of each type.  Depending on my mood next December, I'll either make one giant quilt or two smaller ones.  If I do that I'll keep one and donate one to the Whitehouse Library for a fund-raiser. 

Anybody else doing this one?  Nice instructor, easy directions, cute project.  And FREE!  (Thanks to several of you who suggested links for me.)

I also signed up for a mini-quilt swap this morning, thru The Quilting Gallery.  I've never done this before, but I've seen what so many of you are doing with swaps, that I thought I'd try it.  This is a one shot deal, so if I don't like it, I'm done, and if I don't have time this summer, no one will be disappointed.  Any body doing that one?

January block 2
January Block 1
New organizing idea.  Each quilt or project is now in a zippered bag from which linens come. This is the Christmas stuff.  Since I had to buy all new linens for the boys, given that we upgraded them from twin beds to fulls, I had lots of bags.  I've also been stashing them, knowing they were too good to pitch, but having no idea what I'd do with 'em.  Now I know. Win.

4.  I dug thru my patterns looking for the new doggie coat one I just bought. You'd think it would be on the top of a heap since it's brand new and with several other patterns (yeah, 99 cent patterns at HoAnnes a couple of weeks ago), but noooo, I can't find the damn thing for the life of me.  By the time I do, my neighbor's doggies won't need the coats.  I did find a table runner pattern, one of a yearly series.  I decided to do the February one, and set to work.

Lemme tell ya, the directions sucked.  I'm so glad I didn't pay full price for the pattern.  Good thing I knew what to do, otherwise I'd have a huge mess on my hands.  I did get one finished.  Now I'm curious to find the couple of other patterns in the series that I own and see what kind of mess those will be.  I'll post a pic soon.  It's okay.

5.  I made a mess of mug rugs that I'll give away at Girl Scout Service Unit Meetings. Why, do you ask, would I do that?  I got suckered into being the Training Consultant (a volunteer) for my local Service Unit--the Little Turtle unit of the Maumee Valley Region of the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio.  I'm the training nazi now.  My job is mainly to be sure as many our our volunteers get trained as possible. Turns out in our SU it's pretty easy.  Yeah.

Part of the reason I'm doing this is. . .

6.  My word of the year is Mentor.  As in "to mentor" and "be mentored."  I have talents I can share, and things I want to learn.  So there ya go.

7.  Found a couple of other random pics I wanted to share.  This is one is the sum total of wrapping trash we generated at home this year.  I make super-simple bags out of Christmas material, and in the past 15 years or so, I've amassed quite a collection.  So much beautiful fabric, so few places to use it.  The bags satisfy my love of new fabric, and solve a ton of other problems.  The best thing, and one that I didn't anticipate is that they are sooooo quiet!  Easy to wrap without having to be quiet and thus detected by the snoopers, and so quiet to open.  Since FTD has big time noise issues, it's also a bonus.  In the past, I've given away bags for fun.  Lots of folks have asked me to sell them, but I'd have to charge so much it'd be silly.  And then it would be work, not fun. By the way, the bag shown here is only about half full. There is cardboard, but that all goes into the recycle bin. Win-win.

The other pic is of a really cute thingie DD made at school.  I've seen this before, but never got around to making one.  

  How's that for random? 

Monday, January 9, 2012

And We Go On

Services for Ranger Margaret Anderson will be tomorrow afternoon.  I've had a weird sense of euni since her murder, partly because I'm so far away there's nothing I can do, partly because I've been re-winding all the times that DH or our family were in some type of real or perceived danger, and partly because life goes on for the whole rest of the world, while it screeched to a halt for the Anderson family.  After my Mom died, I was pissed/annoyed/dismayed that the rest of the world didn't come to a halt.  The whole rest of the world remained the same for those folks.  Seeing people do normal everyday things irritated me.

And yet, here I am, doing the normal, everyday things of our life.  Very unsettling place to be emotionally.

So the normal stuff I've been doing includes a sort of clean out--the Living room is almost back to it's wonderful serene state, and most of the Christmas things are being put away.  I have a bunch of winter stuff that I leave out.... snowmen, cardinals, several sets of lights in funny places.  Okay, not so funny, but still up for us to enjoy until we start enjoying those longer days of spring.

And for many, many folks in our neck of the woods, the total lack of winter so far has left everyone off kilter.  We're all waiting for winter.  We're currently in a stretch of 50, yep 50 degree days.  It should be 25 or something.... yuck. I must say the only time I didn't complain about it--in fact appreciated it, was yesterday, when we took down the train layout at the Toledo Zoo.  My son, DD the Younger, is a rabid rail fanner (even now, he's watching train cams, and plotting which model train engine he should buy ~~read Mom buys~~for him. ("Mom," says he, "it's a limited edition!")

So here are some pics of train layouts and displays from this winter.
The magic starts here, at the WPA built Museum of Science at the Toledo Zoo.  As well as the Great Hall, where we set up the trains, there's a balcony meeting space, and a fantastic auditorium.  It's a marvelous building.

 Entrez vous
Part of my section (on the top) that I call "Silent Night, Holy Night."  The Star-on-a-Stick is new this year. I really like it.

Three of my 6 churches I used this year.

My little Polar Bear family.

Da bears.

These are some of the folks who make up the O gauge division of the Swanton Train Club.  Dan C., Kurt B, Larry W,  the O gauge 'suprintendent', Jerry, and DD the Younger.

A view from the balcony.

Bird's eye view.  We run 6 tracks on this layout.  I think it's 12 by 26 this year.  We'd like to make it 8 feet longer!

Behind the scenes.... time to put stuff away...... it takes 5 people 5 days at 6 or 7 hours a day to set it up.  A day and a half to take down....

You should see all the wires underneath. In addition to the wiring needed to run the trains, nearly each building on the layout has it's own plug.

Heavy duty transformers, called ZW's run the tracks.  We use one for each of the 6 tracks.

The skeleton of the section I help decorate.

Ron M. is the Chief Electrician and Bottle Washer on the crew.

And now, I'm just sitting and enjoying our tree with just the lights on it.  The sun is shining brightly in the windows surrounding it, so it rather glows all by itself.  We'll take it down... soon... and put it on the back deck for the birds to use for cover, as they hoover up the seed we put out for them.

So if I neglected to tell you before, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ranger Margaret Anderson

I've been able to fight back tears, until I read this:

By Bruce Barcott from the Seattle Times:

Guest columnist Bruce Barcott writes about his gratitude for Mount Rainier National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, who was murdered on the mountain on New Year's Day. She was protecting the mountain and possibly averted a more serious tragedy.

"The Ranger Who Protected Mount Rainier from Greater Tragedy

I didn't know Margaret Anderson, the Mount Rainier National Park ranger shot and killed on New Year's Day. But I know what she died protecting. And I wish I could thank her for saving the mountain.

For many of us in the Pacific Northwest, Mount Rainier isn't just a national park. It's sacred public space. We go there to play and we go there to pray. Young mountaineers test their mettle on the Emmons Glacier. Elderly women stand and lay their hands on Rainier's old-growth cedars near Kautz Creek. Young couples hike into the backcountry at Indian Bar. Mothers take daughters snow camping at Reflection Lakes.

Memory is Rainier's most powerful attribute. We live in a place where family history is often thin on the ground. Here in the West there aren't many ancestral estates. Our family migration stories aren't traced to the Mayflower, they're traced to last week. Amid all that transience the mountain offers a place to connect with permanence, to create the personal back stories that bind us to the land. Every day hike at Sunrise, every car-camping weekend at Ohanapecosh, every Paradise snowball fight forms a tendon that ties us to our chosen home, and to each other. On a busy day in Seattle, when the clouds part and Rainier reveals itself, the mountain doesn't just come out. It opens the memory album of the mind.

There's no irony in the name Paradise. Rainier's most popular visitor destination sits at 5,400 feet, more than a mile above Puget Sound. Virinda Longmire named it in 1885 after witnessing the breathtaking wildflower bloom of its subalpine meadows. But the place lives up to its name not by flowers alone. Because it's accessible by car, Paradise draws a comically diverse mix of people in the parking lot: World-class climbers gear up next to flip-flop-clad Aussies and Sri Lankan immigrants who have driven up to touch snow for the first time in their lives. It's Paradise for everyone, open every day.

This is the mountain that Margaret Anderson was protecting.

The weather has been gray and depressing for weeks around here, so when blue sky and sunshine showed up last Sunday, New Year's Day, a lot of folks piled into the car and headed for Paradise.

One of those people didn't have snow play in mind.

When trouble finds people, sometimes they go to the mountain. As a young man, I often hiked into the backcountry to try to sort out my life. It did me a lot of good.

Others are not so fortunate. An old friend of mine, a former ranger at Mount Rainier, once told me that one of the toughest parts of his job was finding suicides in the Park. "People come up here for a lot of different reasons," he told me. "Sometimes they want it to be the last place they see."

When Anderson responded to a traffic call on New Year's morning, she had no idea what kind of trouble was coming up the road. A blue Pontiac had just blown past the tire-chain checkpoint at Longmire. She set up a roadblock about a mile away from Paradise.

We have no way of knowing Benjamin Colton Barnes' intent. But the evidence suggests. This was a troubled 24 year-old Iraq war veteran, possibly suffering from untreated post-traumatic stress disorder, a gun collector, with a history of suicidal thoughts and erratic tendencies. He'd allegedly shot four people at a party a few hours earlier. In his car was an arsenal of weapons and body armor.

Barnes might have gone to the mountain to think things over. That's a generous reading. Some have speculated that he planned to flee into the woods. But the road from Longmire to Paradise is a 12-mile dead end in winter. And 5,400 feet up Rainier in January is no place for criminal flight.

Once Barnes reached the parking lot at the Jackson Visitors Center, there would be nowhere for him to go. But there would be an estimated 200 innocent visitors and park employees around him.

Maybe he'd have taken his own life quietly. Maybe he'd have forced a suicide-by-cop situation. But in this post-Columbine age, it's hard not to imagine the darkest possibility. Though she couldn't have known it, I believe that Margaret Anderson positioned herself between Benjamin Barnes and a possible mass murder at Paradise.

The story's tragic denouement has been well documented by Craig Welch, Steve Miletich and other Times reporters this past week. At Anderson's roadblock, Barnes stopped the Pontiac, drew a shotgun, and pulled the trigger. Rescuers were unable to reach her for an hour and a half, because Barnes unloaded on anyone who came near. Then he fled on foot into the snowdrifts and mountain streams that would ultimately claim his life.

Spree killers murder more than people. They desecrate a geographic space. They rub dirt on our memories. Last year's mass murders changed Norway's Utoya Island from an idyllic retreat to a place of haunting sorrow. Nearly 50 years after the fact, it's impossible to pass under the University of Texas Tower in Austin and not recall, if just for an instant, Charles Whitman and the day he turned it into a sniper's nest.

That's why I wish I could thank Anderson. By responding to a common traffic stop, and laying down her life, she diverted a killer and allowed Paradise to remain paradise.

On clear days, when the mountain comes out, none of us has to look at Mount Rainier and be reminded of mass murder. We can look and see beauty, adventure and a symbol of our connection to this place. We can look and think of Margaret Anderson. And say a little thanks."

Bruce Barcott is the author of "The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier." He lives on Bainbridge Island.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It Just Keeps Getting Worse

2012 is 5 days old.  And three Peace Officers have been killed in the line of duty so far.  What is wrong with us?

Puerto Rico Police Department, Puerto Rico Sergeant Abimael Castro-Berrocales
Puerto Rico Police Department, PR
EOW: Sunday, January 1, 2012
Cause of Death: Gunfire
United States Department of the Interior - National Park Service, U.S. Government Park Ranger Margaret Anderson
United States Department of the Interior - National Park Service, US
EOW: Sunday, January 1, 2012
Cause of Death: Gunfire

And now an officer from the Ogden UT force has been gunned down.

In 2011, 164 officers were killed in the line of duty.

Taken from the Officer Down Memorial page at:

When DH was working he was an Ohio Certified Peace Officer.  That means he had police powers in all state and local law enforcement operations.  He could have been called in on a federal case under the mutual agreements that exist between agencies.

He wore a loaded side arm to work every single day, whether he was patrolling from the vehicle, on foot, on horseback, or if he was doing more mundane tasks like mowing or re-building a bridge.  He had to certify at the firing range 4 times each year, which he did with flying colors.  (Only one other person in Lucas County scored higher at the range and he was also a ranger.)

One of my dearest friends once said to me, "Well, it's not like he was a real cop."

What part of real gun, with real bullets made him "not a real cop?"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January Clean Out Days

It's something that affects so many of us.  When I was a kid, I remember my Mom waiting for the January White Sales.  Nobody in our house got new linens or towels except in January.  For me, I wait for the plastic tub sales.  I've got my 'out-west' stuff in the good tubs, and even left them in the cargo trailer this year, instead of lugging them to the basement.  I supposed I should go check for mice....
Every time I pack it, I take pics hoping to find the perfect arrangement. I'm getting closer....
This year,  we have to get the paperwork under control.  I've been saying that for years, but can't convince you-know-who that he is a full-fledged paper hoarder.  We do need to keep lots, since both boys have IEPs, MFEs, SSI, all sorts of crap.  And just as soon as I say we need 'that' piece of paper, it's the one I finally just got rid of.  I'm beginning to start scanning those papers, but I still can't bring myself to get rid of them.  (Which reminds me, time to back up the computer.......) (Also, anybody using one of those ScanDesk things from TV?  But wait there's more.....)

I have mostly selfish reasons for wanting to get the paperwork under control. I want our living room back.  It's a fabulous room.  Big, grand, filled with light. It should look like this:

But since I got home in October, it's looked like this:

No, the tornado was a year earlier... but thanks for asking.
Leave my DH home for just a few days and he can make more heaps of crap than I can ever imagine.
I miss the peace and quiet and tranquility of the living room, so I started looking for another place for the paperwork.  Well, duh.  How about the "office"?  It's actually the "laundry room/office" but with the boys doing their laundry at the laundromat these days, and my sewing stuff downstairs, lemme see what we can do with this:
I moved out a darling little drop leaf table and ta-daa the table from the LR fits exactly!
I've got several problem areas--problems because no one else who lives here is apparently capable of putting anything where it belongs when they are done.  You'd think they'd get tired of looking for their stuff, but no.  Anywho, I keep trying to find ways to make it easier and easier.

Problems like HANG YOUR COAT UP!!  Oh, sorry for yelling... that's apparently the only way anyone here hears me on the subject of coats.  When we designed and built the house we added this cute little coat nook.
Hat collection is kinda 1980s.... it will be changing, but I haven't figured out how....
But with 4 adult sized people, it isn't quite big enough.  We moved from a house with a closet, yep a closet, so we made sure we had lots here.  The biggest one is full of cool, old clothes
Really old, vintage family clothes, re-enacter clothes, ball gown, prom dresses, and a Santa suit. That's the way we roll.
Aren't closet doors just the grandest things? Instant tidiness.
and a few things we need.  But now I realize that all that cool, old stuff has to live somewhere else. I priced archival quality boxes and that ain't gunna happen. I'll have to settle for archival quality tissue paper to wrap the clothes before I put them in plastic boxes.  Some of it will go to the local museum. Anywho, I'll put DH and my coats in the good closet and assign half of the nook to each boy.  Whaddoyathink?

Oh, and if you're casing my house, as BadAmy believes, you're going to be disappointed.  We can't even give most of our junque away!  More on my progress after I actually make some!