Saturday, November 2, 2013

Call to Mom's cell phone, Friday night, 9:08 PM

Mom: Hello Honey.
Teen: Where are you?
Mom: Home.
Teen: (slightly disappointed) Aren't you coming to pick me up?
Mom: I would, once I know the end time of your dance.
Teen: (a beat) Oh. It just ended.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Some (very belated) exciting news on Bumblebee

He spent 7 days of pre-vocation assessment at our county's Career Center. (Sorry, this was in Sept 2012.) Their goal: to help students achieve a safe, self-directed and independent future based upon realistic life choices and training.

During the assessment, students spend times at the different learning stations which represent the offerings of the Career Center. Student's interests, abilities, and aptitudes are identified for vocational direction.

Bumblebee really liked the bakery and culinary/food service. Bumblebee also said he liked building skills, and "driving the forklift," which is part of materials handling. We think he felt pressure to name four areas. Considering his aptitudes, his choices were narrowed to bakery and culinary/food service.

He is now in their Skills Discovery/Skills Training program. This program develops job readiness skills as well as life skills. He will be in a supportive learning environment. In other words, they will help Bumblebee get ready, both for a job and for life.

As he improves in skills, he can move up to Mainstreaming, and then Assisted Employment.

Bottom line: we found a safe place for Bumblebee to learn job and life skills.

Bumblebee enjoyed his year at the Career Center and will be going back there this year.

My music has been picking up again lately...m

It is amazing how cyclical the arts can be, or at least, appreciation for the arts. In in the Post-9/11 world, people initially were very strong in the appreciation of the arts, most specifically in the hiring of artists. In those month, many bridal couples told me how much they weren't going to let the terrorist win: not by being afraid of what's to come, nor by cutting back on the wedding they've always dreamed of having.

Still, the war dragged on, and those resolutions were tested. In 2002 and 2003, we started to see a decline in the arts, weddings were less elaborate. But then, I saw increases in 2004, 2007, and 2008. Unfortunately, from 2009 through this year it has been a long, steady decline.

So I was very pleased when in early July, I played at a new (for me) church, a Methodist church just about 1 mile from my house. The congregation is small, maybe 50-60 people, but I knew many of them.

Early August, I was in the recording session for our church's wedding musicians.

Mid-August, I was back at the Episcopal Church that calls me 2 or 3 times a year (I'm considered a "friend" of that church).

I will be playing a wedding next weekend: flute, violin, piano, and voice. The pianist, the Lady, has given us free reign for the prelude, and it will be all duets for flute and violin. I've had two rehearsals with the violinist, and many phone calls and emails, working out which arrangements of which pieces. Although that is a lot of time to spend on one wedding, I consider the time an investment. I really like the violinist and I hope that we can work together more.

So imagine my surprise when I just got a call for another wedding on the following weekend: also flute, violin, organ, and voice. The bride called because the singer and organist recommended me. The bride had two names of violinists from the singer. I recommended my violinist, especially since we will be doing the wedding a week before this one, and she was hired. We will be working with the Man, the other organist for our parish. The Man does most of the weddings and funerals for our parish. Since we have two churches in our parish, each organist is busy on Sunday.

Hubby sometimes considers my flute playing a hobby. Now he is starting to appreciate the income more.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What does Angelina Jolie's announcement mean to all of us?

Today, Angelina Jolie surprised us all by announcing she had a preventive double mastectomy. Jolie recently learned that she carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which sharply increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Her mother died of ovarian cancer in 2007 at the age of 56.

"My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman," Jolie declared in her New York Times op-ed article. "Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy."

All of which got me thinking about my own family history.

My maternal grandmother was in her mid-40's when she died of ovarian cancer.
My mother was 62 when an annual mammogram revealed a lump of 1 cm. She is now a 16-year breast cancer survivor.
[My sister was about 50 when she had half of her thyroid removed, the cancerous half. I know that's not in the same category as breast and ovarian cancers, but it is still cancer.]

I just had an all-clear at my annual mammogram and physical exams.

I haven't been tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene status. My mother said hers was negative. My next question for my doctors will be, should I get tested?

I know many women who have battled breast cancer, certainly well within the 1 in 8 women. I remember so many of those women having to decide whether to have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. My mother, and many others, survived breast cancer with a lumpectomy. Others had mastectomies. My dear friend Laurel had a mastectomy when they discovered a very aggressive cancer in her breast. She then had a preventative mastectomy for the other breast. She still died of breast cancer. So did Mary my neighbor, and so many more.

I found this excellent link regarding the pros and cons of preventative mastectomies.

There is a lot to learn, and many factors to take into consideration. Jolie's announcement will have a lot of women asking themselves important questions. I hope they take all the facts into consideration before they consider a double mastectomy. I wonder if preventive double mastectomies will become as standardized as mammograms? That is, will doctors recommend them and will insurance companies pay for them?

Not a very good Mother's Day

My knee started getting sore Sunday, Mother's Day, after lunch, and continued getting stiff and sore throughout the afternoon. I took puppy for a slow walk, thinking maybe that would help ease the joint. I lasted 30 minutes at a very slow pace, so slow that my pedometer didn't register the middle 10 minutes!

By evening, I couldn't bear any weight on my left leg, and some movements had me gasping in pain. I took some Tylenol for the pain. I barely made it up the stairs at night.

I saw my PCP this morning. He was able to move the joint in its full range of motion (but I was in tears from the pain), and declared that all the parts seem to be in their proper place and working. He believes there is inflammation in the knee, although why is a mystery.

He has me on an anti-inflammatory and rest for 10 days. If that cures it, wonderful. If the pain comes back, we will begin "the cascade of radiological testing." (Insurance companies will insist on starting with an X-ray, although the X-ray will not show us what we need to know.)

I was enjoying my walks with puppy, and the weather was just getting nice. I was 12 for 12, exercising every day so far in May and I was even dropping a few pounds again. Phooey to be sidelined.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fun with Math

I love to save money. I take advantage of sales, promotions, coupons, and whatever else I can to buy the best food for the least amount of money.
We also have a really great math teacher at our K-8 school. She hosted a "Family Math" 6-week class a few months back. The idea was to get the kids and parents to work together on fun math puzzles and problems. Kids got to see how cool math is, with some practical applications, and math skills were reinforced with the family.
Thus I decided to write our math teacher about my most recent shopping trip with the kids.
Dear Mrs. Math Teacher,
I thought you would appreciate these two grocery math stories from my shopping trip yesterday.
1. Least Common Factor sale problem.
One of Princess Imagination's favorite treats, Sparkling Grape Juice, was on sale at 2 bottles for $4. It usually retails for $3.99 each bottle. As I was picking up the bottles, I noticed a coupon on the bottle that said "Save $1 on any 3 bottles." I told Princess Imagination I wanted to plan my purchases so I took advantage of both sales.
I got 6 bottles for $12, less $2 in coupons, which is $10 for 6 bottles, or $1.67 per bottle.
2. Is "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" Sale the best deal?
There was a "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" sale on frozen shrimp. A two-pound bag of large, raw, white shrimp was $24.99, the second one was free. Nearby was a two-pound bag of medium, raw, white shrimp, on sale for $10.99, $5 off from the usual $15.99. A lady next to me was all excited to save $25. I said that is great, but I'm going to get my shrimp even cheaper than that. The "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" shrimp comes out to $6.25 per pound, but the other shrimp on sale comes to just $5.49 per pound. I don't care how big my shrimp is, but how little it costs per pound! (When I left her, she was still trying to decide whether to get the bigger shrimp or the smaller unit price.)
Also, yesterday was Tuesday, with a running store promotion of 5% off an entire order over $30 for seniors. I've discovered that if I have certain cashiers, they give me the 5% discount because I'm a loyal customer. So the additional 5% discount my grape juice was just $1.59 per bottle (only 40% retail) and my shrimp was just $5.22 per pound.
Oh, yeah, I love math.
Best regards,
The Mominator

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Time is relative

Pink  Ballerina, Princess Imagination & I were discussing something that happened in the past. To me, it was just a little while ago, a few months maybe. To Princess Imagination, it was "years and years ago." We finally figured out that it was in April.

So why did it feel fairly recent for me, and so far away for Princess Imagination? Pink Ballerina felt that Princess Imagination was just exaggerating. "Actually," I said, "it's because of your age."

I then explained that if we round off our ages, I am about 50, and Princess Imagination is about 10. That means, every year of my life is only about 2% of my life, my memory. It just wasn't that long ago. But since Princess Imagination is about 10, every year of her life has been about 10% of her life, her memory. Actually, even more, since children don't remember much of their first few years. So what happened in April is relatively so much closer to me in my memory, than it is in yours.

By the way, what happened back in April? We got a puppy!!!