Monday, April 27, 2009

What Matthew Sees

Life with an autistic person is always interesting. You probably know Matthew is non-verbal. He'll say a few words: Yes, No (generally NO), and he will somewhat answer your questions. But it's hard to know what he is thinking. Just the other day he appeared holding a small tubular container that held some icy blue beads. The beads had been used for a project last year and long since forgotten. But that day, to Matthew, the container meant something. I have not yet figured it out... my guess right now is it's something to do with Star Wars.
Last year Matthew came out with an old computer piece. It was a deal that you plug your memory card in and it would run something. It had no use to me so I didn't mind Matthew messing with it. But I couldn't figure out what he was doing. He would show it to me and hold it by the cord and I would guess... But I guessed wrong each time. Until one day I spotted him on the patio and he set the doodad down and stepped on it. He did it again, very purposefully and I finally figured it out. Remember the Ghost Busters ghost catcher? That's what he was doing. He was catching ghosts with this thing.
I've notice the same thing with pictures. We have a photo of Matthew playing and off to the side (barely visible) are some videos. He loves that picture... Why? Well, if you knew what to look for you'd see that one of the videos is Bill Nye (one of Matthew's favorite tv guys). There is another picture of Matthew that he likes to show people. But...don't look at the fact that it's Matthew in the picture, or even that he is dressed in his western gear. No, you are supposed to see that his jacket has stars on it--just like the Texas Rangers and his buddy Walker.
So today I'm sharing some pictures Matthew took. What was he looking at when he took the picture? Your guess is probably as good as mine.
And you can help me guess the meaning of that bead tube.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Finding a Job

A couple of things jumped out at me this week.

As unemployment figures continue to rise it's getting tough to find a job. On the radio I was reminded of a woman who, in February, asked President Obama for help finding a job and a home. (You can read about her at There is no doubt this woman is in dire straits and I feel for her, but she said one thing that really caught my attention. She said that she had been going to the Unemployment Office once a week yet they hadn't found her a job. I got the impression that this woman, like so many others, really do expect the government to find (and supply) them with jobs, homes, etc. Is this new government going to create "make work" jobs like the CCC of the depression?

I have about a young friend who is seriously searching for a job and hoping to return to college in the fall. This week she was filling out some sort of psych evaluation for a position and asked my opinion on two questions. The first was a true/false question: It is not my job to make sure a person is satisfied with the place of employment. She asked, as I did, "What the heck does this mean? Are they talking about a co-worker or a customer?" The second question was another true/false: I do not have to work overtime even if I have agreed that I am available. Well, talk about a rock and a hard place. Is the question talking about ethics or law? Maybe you see the right answer... I'm not sure I do. I feel for this gal but I also admire her. Instead of waiting for the government to find her a job she is filling out applications and stomping the streets.

If you are among the many out looking for a job I wish you luck. It's a challenging time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Things I learned this week...

If you or someone you know needs to have knee replacement surgery be sure to investigate "minimally invasive" version. This is what mom had last Monday afternoon. Saturday she was able to use the walker and maneuver through a gluten free fair we attended. This morning we looked back at her calendar for last year's other knee surgery. At one week she was barely using the walker. We can remember the details well because she attended Rebecca's graduation in a wheelchair and it was an exhausting challenge just to be there. This surgery recovery seems to be much easier on her. (No doubt we all agree that just knowing what the surgery was like makes us more experienced...but still it does seem a lot smoother.)

Second thing I learned...WOW! There are a lot more gluten free items available. Here I thought I was up to date on these things. We each came home from the fair with bags of samples. I also discovered that Cookies From Home has some delicious gf cookies. (Or as Rebecca said, "These taste just like yours mom.") I know, gluten free is the "hot button" word for the year. All I know is, it makes my life easier.

Third thing... Good grief... I have to admit that I like Joan Rivers. Never been much a fan for her type of humor. But she has been on the Celebrity Apprentice show. Never been much for that show either but these guys are raising money for their charities, not for themselves, and I got hooked. Each week there is great drama and lots of yelling at each other as the celebrities "try" to work together as a team. But mostly I have gained a new respect for Joan Rivers. Here she is 76 and out there working each episode at their task. Just watching it tires me. Will I watch her on that red carpet preview? Probably not. But I am enjoying her very personal side on this show.

Tomorrow Matthew and I are off in stealth mode to Flagstaff. If you see the silver bullet zoom past you on I17 it might be us.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hospitals & My Mom

Got to spend yesterday in a new hospital. What a difference between it and those downtown that are 50 years old at the core. The rooms are beautiful and large with a nice big flat screen TV. There's a computer within each room networked for the nursing staff for updates.
Mom had her second knee replacement. This doc used a less invasive procedure and expects she will be able to come home later today or tomorrow. He, too, used computers and was able to pinpoint the cutting area based on computer graphics. Too cool.
One other thing that really did impress me was that they were able to save the blood from the surgery, filter it and return it to mom. She got a whole unit (500ml), the nurse said some people get as much as two units. Of course the benefit of not losing all that blood is obvious for a quicker recovery.
So we're off in a few minutes to go see how she's doing. I really expect they will keep her one more day--after all she didn't get to her room until nearly 5 yesterday. But...I could be wrong. We're ready for whatever the doctor says.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter

Here is a very long eared jack rabbit wishing you all a Happy Easter. My mom took this photo recently when they were in Octave, AZ. Here in the more urban desert we see a lot of cottontail bunnies...not so many jack rabbits.
Lived in Arizona all your life and never heard of Octave? You are not alone. It's listed as an official ghost town. Octave saw it's heyday around 1900 as a gold mining town. Just north and west of Wickenburg it's a cool place to visit.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Taxes are Done!

Yea! It's not even April 14 and I am done... well, almost done... just need to double check a few numbers and then print and send! Whew!

I don't like doing the taxes. It's not that they are all that hard. Actually, even before I started doing them at home I didn't like them... It has something to do with having to gather all the pertinent information, put it in some semblance of order, and just lots of general sorting. I'm great at filing...just somebody else's stuff.

So taxes done, money transferred I can look forward to sleeping well tonight.

Oh, did you hear that the reason Obama bowed when greeting the Saudi king was because he actually lost his contact...or maybe he was just admiring the king's $500 Ferragamos :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Staples :)

People are always quick to complain when poor service is given. I believe we should applaud good service. Yes, I did this even before becoming a Mystery Shopper.
So, today I had to visit Staples. I went in last week and bought a memory chip for my computer. Unfortunately, I picked up the wrong one. But worse...I lost my receipt. Sheesh, would I be stuck with something that didn't fit any of our computers??? Anyway, we went back this morning. The gal was very pleasant, "Sure, go ahead and get the right memory stick and I'll exchange it." When I discovered they were out of the correct one she then offered to do a return. In this day and age when no one returns anything unless you have your receipt plus three forms of ID I was surprised. In no time we walked out of the store with a cash card.
As they say on the commercials, "That was EASY." Kudos to Staples.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Have you tried this program? It's a free version for modifying photos or art. I've seen it compared to Photoshop in some of the reviews. I can't speak for that, but daughter who took a class in the Adobe program, was able to jump right in and start playing.
Mom is going to be here for a couple weeks as she recovers from knee surgery and plans on using the tutorials so that she can further enhance some of her desert shots. (When she's here I'll sneak over and post a photo or two from her computer...) Try it out and let me know how you like it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Gluten Free Easter

Time to think about our upcoming Easter dinner. Our family has been following a gluten free lifestyle for almost 12 years. Even though son is the only one with the Celiac diagnosis the doctors recommend that we all remain as free of gluten as possible. (And yes, there is a genetic tendency--so especially important for daughter.)
Anyway, we'll be having the usual: ham, mashed potatoes (or maybe potato salad), assorted vegetables, the always popular fruit salad (made with cool whip, jello, fruit, etc.), deviled eggs and whatever else the family requests. For dessert I think we'll have my personal favorite--carrot cake. Yep, it will be home made and special made but it will also be good.
Most people who come for meals don't realize we eat without using wheat flour. In fact, last spring when we had the giant graduation party for daughter everything but the large Costco cake was gf. And even then we had many requests for the homemade cake.
Believe me when I say coming up with good tasting food took some time. I'm still tweaking recipes... but it can be done. Don't hesitate to ask me for a recipe.
And have a good Easter.


It's been a few years but Ramblin' Rose is back. If you know me, you might know that Rose is my middle name. And you likely know that I do tend to ramble. Such is life.
I'll be writing about every day things. Most will probably seems pretty mundane. We're not all that exciting a lot. But who knows?