Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer's New Normal


We're finding our footing for the summer, the "new normal" of a looser schedule with different activities.  We have more flexibility for some things, but we still have Safety Guy's tutoring three days a week.  Scouts continues once a week, and the usual weekend pleasure of going to church.  The best thing is sleeping in a little more (no early bus to catch).  The most difficult thing is reteaching the kids how to make good use of their free time.


I think I spent a good chunk of the first week telling Princess Yakyak that it was her job to amuse herself, not mine.  Safety Guy is pretty good at occupying himself, but he's more of a solo act to begin with.  PYY has always been a people-person, preferring to play with someone, and if enough people aren't around, she's Mommy's Girl.  The problem is, Mom is more of a solo person like Safety Guy, so sometimes I have to remind my favorite little Cling-on to go find something else to do besides ask me for attention every five minutes.  We seem to be reaching equilibrium now, thankfully.


Tomorrow we'll be getting a family membership to the local pool.  I can see we'll be there a lot this summer.  The kids can have sun and fun and hours of exercise and diversion, and I can sit in the shade and draw.  Last summer I got an amazing amount of drawing accomplished while watching the kids at the pool.  I think I'll start bringing my own chair there, though.  I am not a sun-worshiper or a heat-lover, so the aluminum benches in full sun on concrete are a total non-starter for me.  The wood benches in the shade are not any more comfortable (they're just two slats of wood across a couple uprights, very minimalist), even if they are cooler.


Safety Guy's anxiety medication seems to be working, although it's hard to tell how much of his recent calmer demeanor is due to the med and how much is due to school being over for the summer and he's finally relaxing from that constant anxiety.  We saw his pediatrician yesterday, and I like this doctor more every time we see him.  Dr. L. agrees that we may be seeing the benefit of the med and the lack of school stress at the same time, and he's willing to see us once a month to adjust the dosage if necessary between now and early fall.  He understands that returning to school will be a huge stressor to Safety Guy, and brought up the fact that he may need a higher dosage to smooth the transition.  A doctor that GETS IT.  Thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Success!


Last week our Safety Guy got his final report card of the year.  We're so proud of him - he got his highest marks all year for the last quarter, including pulling his math grade up from an F to a C.  That's HUGE for him, and welcome confirmation that deciding to send him to Sylvan Learning Center for math help was the right decision.  The encouragement and success he's having there with math seems to be carrying over into his other classes as well.  He's proud of himself, too, which is wonderful.  Way to go, Safety Guy!

Princess Yakyak had another great marking period as well.  She's more of a natural student than her brother.  Many things come easier to her than to him, but she has her own areas of difficulty where she has made really good progress this year.  Good job, Princess Yakyak!

I'm still a little apprehensive about our son's upcoming seventh grade year.  Mostly it's the social stuff that concerns me (that's always the 500 lb. gorilla in the room as far as Safety Guy is concerned), although I'm sure the tougher academics will be an issue too.  I'm also very curious to see how Safety Guy handles taking French.  He learns by ear very well, so I'm willing to bet that acquiring the accent and speaking will be much easier for him than reading/writing the language.  And, I won't be able to help him unless I learn the language right along with him (there's a good chance of that).  I took Spanish for many years, and I was hoping he'd pick that foreign language option, but I left the choice up to him.  I have visions of him acting out Inspector Clouseau, since Safety Guy loves the old Pink Panther cartoons and the newer movies with Steve Martin. . . .

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Frozen Lemon, Key Lime, and Almond Joy Pies

My sister-in-law Jennifer made the most wonderful dessert for us a few weeks ago - Frozen Key Lime Pie.  She shared the recipe with me, and since I seem to be constitutionally unable to leave recipes alone, I decided to try to make other flavors of pie based on her recipe (my addition to the Key Lime and Lemon flavors was the sour cream; the Almond Joy was my own invention).  The lemon and lime recipes are essentially identical, with the only difference being the flavor of juice used.

FROZEN LEMON PIE

8 oz. tub non-dairy whipped topping
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
6 oz. lemon juice
two graham cracker pie crusts
extra whipped topping for garnish

Combine the whipped topping, condensed milk, sour cream/yogurt, and lemon juice in a mixer until fluffy.  (You can add a couple drops of yellow food coloring if you want.)  Divide the filling between the pie crusts, cover and freeze.  Before serving, set out for half an hour.  Slice and top with extra whipped topping (optional:  white "chocolate" candy shavings or chips are good on this).  Serves 12.

To make Key Lime Pie, simply use 6 oz. of bottled key lime juice in the above recipe.


Frozen Almond Joy Pie is a bit different.  Here's that recipe, for anyone interested:

Frozen Almond Joy Pie

8 oz. non-dairy whipped topping
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Oreo or other chocolate "graham" pie crusts
1/4 cup toasted almond slices
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/4 cup toasted sweetened coconut
extra whipped topping

Combine the whipped topping, sweetened condensed milk, yogurt/sour cream, coconut milk and vanilla until fluffy.  Divide the filling between the two chocolate pie crusts, cover and freeze.  Set out the pie for half an hour before serving.  Top each pie with some extra whipped topping, and half of the toasted almonds, chocolate chips, and toasted coconut.  Slice and serve.  Serves 12.


I think I'll have more fun with this recipe - I want to try to make Creme de Menthe, and Raspberry, and I'm sure I'll think of others as I go along.  Maybe Mango, or Pina Colada. . . .

Friday, June 24, 2011

Family Celebrations and Trains

 Kayuta Lake (west), from the Adirondack Scenic Railroad

Last weekend my whole family took a train ride.  The occasion was my parents' 45th anniversary, my parents' birthdays, and Father's Day.  My sisters and I were able to plan a family reunion-type trip on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, a picnic at our place, and to give my parents a night at the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles, NY.  It took quite a bit of juggling to coordinate, since my sisters and I live all over New York state and (in my youngest sister's case) North Carolina. 

Trackside waterfall, south of Kayuta Lake.

My sister Tracey is a wizard at organizing things, so she handled all the logistics of reservations, payment, and meeting times.  I handled the picnic.  My other two sisters provided the moral support (Debbie) and littlest grandson for my parents' diversion (Kelly).  Of course we had to let my parents in on the surprise, so they could plan for it - we gave them the card with the trip outline and brochures in March, when we celebrated their birthdays.

Heading back to the train after lunch.
That's Safety Guy in the black T-shirt and shorts.

You may wonder, why celebrate with a train ride, hours away from where they live?  Well, my father is a lifelong rail fan and model railroader.  As long as I can remember, every family vacation has involved a train somewhere in the U.S. (everywhere from Chattanooga, TN, to Silverton, CO, to the sugar cane fields of Hawaii).  We joke that when my parents designed and built their house 14 years ago, my mom got a custom house with a big basement, and my Dad got a custom basement with a house on top, because the basement was designed specifically to accommodate his model railroad layout and workshop.  And, in spite of my parents' travels to ride trains all over the U.S., somehow they had never ridden the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, which starts about half an hour from where I live now.  So, we took a lunch excursion train on Father's Day from Utica to Forestport NY, and had lunch at The Buffalo Head Restaurant before making the return trip.

 My Dad, enjoying the ride in the open car.

We had a wonderful time.  The weather was perfect, and everyone got to the station on time from their various hotels and homes.  The cousins were happy to spend time with each other, and my Mom had her youngest grandson to play with in the air-conditioned passenger car.  My Dad spent most of his time in the open car of the train, with his camera.  The ride was very pleasant - I love being on trains almost as much as Dad does, and Safety Guy is a railroad lover too.  All the kids enjoyed the freedom to move around the train once we were under way.

My littlest nephew, not quite 2, pointing at the Amtrak train that pulled in
while we were waiting to board the Adirondack Scenic.
He's train-crazy, too, so he fits right in.

We eventually wound up back at our house for the picnic.  The weather stayed nice, so the girls could hang out on the swing set.  Safety Guy and his littlest cousin hung out in his bedroom, with more toy cars than little M. has seen before in his life, I'm sure.  The men supervised my husband barbecuing chicken and hot dogs, and the ladies talked.  It was a pretty idyllic summer evening (at least until we had to pry M. away from Safety Guy's bedroom when it was time to leave!).

 My Dad talking with one of the railroad men on the train.  
He loves to chat with the various rail personnel he meets on these trips.
Someday I'd like to pay for him to ride in the engine of a steam locomotive.

After dinner, my parents drove down to Skaneateles for their special overnight stay.  My sister Tracey and her family headed home, while my sister Kelly and her family took Debbie back down to my parents' house.  There was lots of driving involved for everyone but us, but no one seemed to mind.  There were no older child meltdowns, only one toddler meltdown, no driving delays, a perfect summer day, a nice train ride, plenty of food and fun and family time - it couldn't have been better if we tried.

 My littlest nephew, playing with the Thomas the Tank Engine train 
that we gave him that evening as an early birthday present 
(and as a consolation prize for having to leave Safety Guy's bedroom, lol).
Oooh, wheels!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Misspent Youth (a.k.a. Raised On TV)

Hulu and Netflix have been immensely entertaining for me lately.

I've been on a nostalgia kick, which I know has been a bit of pure self-indulgent escapism.  After a real pressure-cooker this past month, I finally sought refuge in a series of blasts from my past.  I've been relaxing with some old friends:  Johnny and Roy, Steve and Danno, Reed and Malloy, and assorted other cops, doctors, nonconformists, rebels and superheroes.

Memory is funny.  There have been quite a few times I've remembered something from a particular show/episode, and upon watching it now (25-35 years later), it's interesting to see how what I remember from my childhood differs from what the scene actually showed.  Sometimes I've reversed the P.O.V., and other times my mind combined elements from two scenes in an episode into one composite memory.  Strange.  Very often I remember stuff exactly the way it happened, though.  Why do I recall some things accurately, and not others?  I wonder if any psych student with too much time on their hands, a love of classic TV, and a need for a research project ever looked into the science of memory this way? 

I'm also amazed at what my parents let me watch when I was a kid.  They enjoyed cop and medical dramas, and I was watching some pretty gritty ones when I was too young to really understand what they were talking about:  prostitution, murder, drug abuse, promiscuity, mafia/gangs, racial tension, medical emergencies, child abuse, and PTSD (before it was a named syndrome), among other issues.  Whoa.  I suppose it's a mercy that so much of it went over my head.  Watching those shows now is like a history lesson, sociological study, and second childhood, all rolled into one.  I can hardly believe what's on TV now, and that parents let their children watch ANY adult shows, given the language, violence and sexual content that would have been R-rated when I was a kid and young teen, and is now common prime-time fare.  It's enough to make me want to put blinders on my kids for the next 10 years.  And our son wonders why we're so adamant he won't have internet access in his bedroom EVER.

Some things that have struck me about these older shows, watching them with grown-up eyes:

How seldom anyone wore a seat belt, even first responders.  That just boggles my mind.

The total absence of child safety seats and seat belts for kids. 
I think of my sister and I running amok in the back seat of the car, on those huge bench seats, sitting on the floor and making tents out of our blankets and napping, climbing into the back of the station wagon (back and forth, until my parents gave us an ultimatum to "SIT DOWN AND STAY THERE!").  It's a miracle we never had an accident - we would have been thrown around like rag dolls.  Thankfully (now), by the mid 70s my parents were wholeheartedly behind the enforcement of seat belts, and we were duly tethered.

The common appearance of smoking EVERYWHERE.  Ashtrays all over the place, people lighting up all the time.  I remember hating that smell as a kid, an aversion that only got worse after my grandmother died of lung cancer after a lifetime of smoking (I was 7-8 at the time).  I am very grateful for New York's tough smoking restrictions in public spaces now.

How stinkin' huge the cars were.  My first car, an old '69 Chevelle, was big, but it was by no means one of the bigger land yachts.  Remember when three adults could sit comfortably in the front seat of the average car?  When a back bench seat was almost as big as a twin bed?  And it was still not big enough to keep my sister and I from bickering and fighting on any trip longer than 10 minutes.

The constant subtext of Vietnam.  I remember seeing the nightly news updates about the war when I was too little to understand, and I even remember seeing broadcasts about the Tet Offensive and the fall of Saigon, but I had no idea as a kid what was really going on.  (Ditto for Watergate - it was a big word all the adults talked about, but I had no idea of its importance.)  So many popular shows referenced the Vietnam conflict.  I wonder, since I watch so little prime-time TV now (actually, I watch virtually none except PBS occasionally, and The Big Bang Theory on DVD), do they reference Afghanistan/Iraq the same way?

How communications were much more difficult before cell phones.  I suppose that's a "Duh!" but it stands out to me now.  Related to that, I notice the total lack of personal computers (and the quick reference they provide in all situations).  Heck, in some of the shows I watched, the computers still worked on punch cards, and took up big cabinets.  I didn't get to use a PC until high school.  There are watches now with more computing power than the computers I saw on TV as a kid.  Safety Guy watches some of these shows and marvels at how inconvenient and/or low tech so many things were.  I feel like he's used to jet planes while I still remember the Model T.

Now I'm making myself feel really, really old.


Memory lane - quite a trip.  I suppose I could say, "Travel with care, you might be surprised what you see."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Endings and Beginnings


The June Marathon is almost over, and I'm not sure if I'm relieved or not.  Well, okay, I'm relieved that the unrelenting busy-ness is winding down, but I'm not sure I'm ready for summer vacation yet.  The kids are more than ready, of course, but I'm less prepared for the change in routine and the prospect of a summer refereeing between the kids.  My only hope is to keep them busy.  Wait, didn't I just say I was ready to be done with the busy-ness, that it was winding down?  And my only hope to maintain my summer sanity is to inflict it on myself ON PURPOSE just to keep the kids occupied/distracted?  Something doesn't add up here. . . .

Anyhow, we'll have a couple weeks or so of pure summer break, with nothing scheduled before some summer activities start up (a summer enrichment program at the school, Boy Scout camp for Safety Guy, and VBS).  I'll be buying a family membership at the local pool, and I'm sure we'll spend hours and hours there this summer. The end of our kids' first year in public school is a welcome event, and the kids did well.  Our son "graduates" from sixth grade tomorrow, and will officially be in junior high.  (I'm looking at the next couple years with a certain amount of trepidation and concern - this age is rough for most kids, and I'm not sure what to expect from Safety Guy's trip through Junior High Purgatory.)  The end of his grade school years; the beginning of his junior high school years - a bit scary for me, and for him too.  Although he's counting down the years to get his drivers' permit already.

We've had a nice, rainy day today, after a dry stretch.  Everything got a good drink, after an early morning sound and light show that woke everyone up.  The next few days ought to be quite humid, which is not my favorite weather, but the garden will love it.  The daylilies are budding nicely, but the tomatoes and peppers are sulking - they want more heat than we've had.  And, better late than never, I finally planted some containers on my deck with lettuce, basil, cucumbers, and bush beans.  Maybe the moisture plus some heat will jump-start those late summer crops.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Art Show at UCCC

Here are some photos of my art on display at Union Center Christian Church in Endicott, NY.  My work will be there for another few weeks.  All photos courtesy of my friend Hope Spicer, unless noted - thanks, Hope!!

Three small works - Green Whirls, Sunset Illusion, and Reflections.

Two large vases (Leaves On The River, and Teal), 
with a large asymmetrical tea cup and saucer.

Hope, working with the tripod - and a wall of mixed pieces.

 The community mosaic project, just getting started.
Doesn't look like much the first morning (Pentecost Sunday), does it?
We made a huge amount of progress when I was there last weekend.  
With the help of some wonderful kids and friends that evening, we almost finished it.
I'll post a better picture next week, 
before and after grouting.

The Pentecost painting (my photo).


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Doctors, Aspergers, Chickens and Eggs

Which came first?  The chicken or the egg?  Or in our son's case, the anxiety or the raised blood pressure?  We've been sorting out that issue lately, and I'm thankful that we seem to have found a doctor at his pediatric office that understands what's going on, and what our son has been dealing with as far as anxiety issues and Aspergers.  The anxiety issue came to a head last week when during a school physical Safety Guy's blood pressure was sky-high.  It didn't help that he had just had gym class and had a problem with another student picking on him.  The school nurse is great, and had him go first for his physical, rather than making him wait while the other kids went ahead of him.  The doctor seeing the kids is our daughter's soccer coach, so he called us personally to let us know about this issue.  So an appointment was duly made, and a long, busy, stressful weekend that was not good for any of our blood pressures came between the physical and the appointment.

(Flash forward through a bus trip to NYC for a Yankees game for Safety Guy and his Dad and Aunt T., the Scouts marching in a big parade, our daughter going to a soccer game, and me going down to UCCC for the art show.  It was beyond too much for Safety Guy - it fused all his circuits, and he had a mega-meltdown after the parade. . . .)

We had a really good appointment with the pediatrician yesterday.  Safety Guy was comfortable with this doctor (who was new to him), and the doctor was friendly and easy to talk to, and took both myself and Safety Guy seriously.  After some good discussion about SG's Aspergers, activities, interests, anxiety triggers, school issues, calming methods, and sleep routine, he suggested that we try a mild anti-anxiety med for him.  I'm not surprised that he needs this, with our family history of anxiety and depression.  Safety Guy is okay with the idea of taking something, too - the anxiety has been a real problem for him this spring and has been getting worse, and he's happy that this might help.

I think we'll be able to work with Dr. L., and I'm very, very relieved - the first pediatrician we worked with in this practice after our move was distinctly uneasy dealing with his Aspergers and his anxiety issues, and was unhappy that he was taking something for his anxiety at that point.  We eventually discontinued that med due to a mild side effect that was nevertheless a problem, and went med-free for a year. Now, though, we realized we needed a doctor's opinion and help again.  Dr. L. had no trouble discussing our son's issues, and interacted very well with him too.  I hope this can be a good working relationship as our son moves through his teen years.  After last week, I realize more than ever that we need professional backup to help our son.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My First Art Show!

 Three Moons, mixed media (acrylic and marker on canvas board), 5" x 7"

Tomorrow is my first solo art show - I can hardly believe it!  A selection of my work will be at Union Center Christian Church in Endicott, NY, from tomorrow through about July 10th.  I'll be there tomorrow night, during the Pentecost service, helping with the mosaic project I designed last week.  I'm really looking forward to seeing friends, and working with the congregation on the mosaic.

 Sunset Illusion (left) and Green Swirls (right), 
mixed media on art board, 5" x 7"


Monday, June 6, 2011

A Painting For Pentecost

 Pentecost, mixed media (acrylic and Micron marker)
18" x 24" gallery wrapped canvas

A few days ago I finished the painting commissioned by Union Center Christian Church, in Endicott, NY.  It's simply titled Pentecost, and represents the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus' disciples, an empowerment which He promised would occur after His Ascension.  The Bible records the event, called Pentecost by the early Christian church because it was 50 days after Easter/Passover, in Acts 2:

 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of 
them were filled with the Holy Spirit. . . .

I also used one of my favorite scriptural images, the Living Water, which is another name for Jesus Christ.  The image of water also occurs in baptism (symbolizing repentance, death to sin and rebirth), but here I was mindful of Jesus' conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well as he traveled from village to village, preaching and teaching (from John 4):

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Those two images combine in this painting, and I tried to suggest life and motion through the swirl of the colors and the fine lines drawn over the paint.  I enjoyed working with the bright, intense colors.  It's not meant to be a realistic image, but a suggestion of possibilities, an echo of fiery grace reaching down and cool mercy rising up.  There is purposely no recognizable central figure to receive the blessing - the fire and water are the focus, and any believer, from any time or place, could be imagined as the recipient of the Lord's gift of His Spirit.

Friday, June 3, 2011

How To Give A Scout Master Heart Failure

How to give a Scout Master heart failure: 
Step 1, The Scout Master starts teaching the boys how to properly use an axe.  He demonstrates, gives the safety lecture, and supervises each boy as they try to hack a piece of wood.
Step 2, He gives an axe to our son. 
Step 3, He watches Safety Guy raise it high (and at 6' tall, he can raise it HIGH) and bring it down hard - and miss the wood and bounce it off his ankle, on an angle so that the blade is away from him and he just knocks himself with the side of it. 
Step 4, The other Scouts watch the Scout Master freak out, while our son thinks it's no big deal.
Step 5 - The Scout Master decides our son can practice this skill with a hatchet instead of a full-sized axe from now on. . . .


(And, the next time our son says, "I almost cut my leg off at Scouts today," I'll ask more questions and won't think he's exaggerating.)


Yep, some motor skills just aren't gelling for him yet.

We told this story to his OT at school this morning, during his CSE meeting, when she told us his visual-motor coordination is lacking. Yep, we've noticed.  (Since he walked into garbage cans at the mall when he was 2, we've noticed.  That's one reason he had over a year of vision therapy, and receives OT now.  Times like this make me wonder if PT might not be a good idea too.)

#SafetyGuyLivingUpToNicknameFAIL

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Small Things Are Big Things

A new, small painting, as yet untitled.

Tomorrow is our son's CSE meeting, to go over his progress this year and work on his IEP for next fall.  I didn't think I was nervous about it, but I realized today I may be a little anxious after all.  It's hard not to be nervous when a group of education pros are going to summarize your child's progress for the year, and make recommendations for his first year of junior high school.  (Eeep!  Junior high??  When did THIS happen??)  I'm curious to see what they'll suggest for him academically next year.  I'm not sure how they'll assign him to classes, but we'd like to see if they can make it so that he's not with the same bullies for every class like he was this year.

We had a conversation with Safety Guy a couple nights ago, late, after his sister was in bed.  He came downstairs and approached me and said, "I'm not trying to be mean, but I'm still upset about you putting me back in school."  We talked, and he tried so hard to tell me what he's upset about without getting personal and mean about it to me.  We've heard quite a few diatribes from him over the past 9 months, about how I've given up on teaching him, I'm lazy, I just want time to myself, I just want to go get a real job and make money, I don't care that he's being bullied - all very hurtful comments. 

There is quite a bit of good in this situation.  I'm impressed that he tried to bring up a sensitive, difficult topic without being hurtful.  I mean, his Aspergers has most often in the past meant that he shoots from the hip with his criticism, without regard for how it sounds to the recipient of his comments.  Being careful of someone else's emotions and trying to respect their point of view is totally foreign to him.  I'm equal parts gobsmacked that he's trying to talk about this reasonably, proud of him for making the effort to have an adult conversation, and heartbroken that he is still upset and doesn't fully understand why we had to take the step of having him and his sister return to public school.  We explained our reasons to him again, and included in the explanation the fact that my health issues were really interfering with my ability to teach both kids.  He got a bit upset part way through the conversation, then pulled it back together and listened.  I don't think he really gets it yet, and I'm sure we'll be having this talk again, but I'm still totally impressed that he's even trying to have this discussion, that he initiated it and WANTS to work it out between us.  I'm sure on any EQ (Emotional Quotient) scale he'd still score well below average, but I can see that he's making progress empathizing with others, and it's encouraging.  Hopefully someday he really will understand, and forgive us.

Random Thursday


Random comment 1:  I went to an aquatics store today, one that specializes in ponds and koi, but also carries all sorts of tropical fish as well.  The owner is quite a character.  I spent almost an hour there, looking at his setup and his fish and supplies, and listening to him talk.  And talk.  And talk.  He definitely knows his stuff, and his fish stock were well cared for and reasonably priced, so it wasn't like I didn't enjoy seeing his store, but I could tell he was quite happy to have someone to talk to.  Anyone.  It's a good thing I didn't have to be anywhere else quickly!

Random comment 2:  The weather has been totally schizo this week.  It was around 92 two days ago, and it's in the mid 60s today.  We went from humid and stiflingly still, to so windy the trees looked like they were doing aerobics.  Now we've got a frost advisory for tonight.  Really??  And what's with the ultra-high pollen count?  My car is coated with a greenish-yellow dust, and my sinuses are in full-scale revolt.  I'd welcome a brief rain to wash the air, except that we had 15 inches of rain last month, and it's nice to have dry weather and not sink up to my ankles in the back yard.  I guess I can't have it all.

Random comment 3:  I finished the painting for Union Center Christian Church.  Sometime next week I'll be down there delivering it, bringing the other paintings and ceramics for the show, and getting the mosaic design drawn on the framed board.  That will be a BUSY day, but I'm looking forward to it, as well as to visiting there on June 12th to help with the mosaic project.  My first one-woman art show - I still can hardly believe it!  I hope they like the painting - at least, I hope that more people at UCCC enjoy it and approve of it than dislike it and think the church wasted their money.  I hope they take the blessing of the art in the way it was meant.