Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Cute PRE-Christmas Pics

Still from the Facebook upload last week. Haven't 'processed' the stuff from our weekend trip or the good Christmas morning stuff yet. Soon...soon...patience. Besides, I have to get the most out of my content. Waddya gonna do? Besides, pictures of kids are ALWAYS fun.

Bennett is sick today. Poor little guy. Sounds like he has a chest full of phlegm...sucks. You can't give kids his age any Mucinex or anything. Hopefully he'll cough all that junk up soon and be done with his illin'. He's been sick a lot lately...but that, actually, is about the most normal thing about him being 2 years and 2 months old. They get sick a lot.

Anyway...on to the pics...which are all technically 'PRE'-Christmas Day, actually. A smattering of Pre-Christmas events, the 'Layton Christmas Party' and the 'Lilly Thanksmas'. 'Thanksmas' is what I call our new tradition of my Mom and my Step-Dad coming up from Arkansas between Thanksgiving and Christmas to celebrate both holidays. Just occurred to me though...I did not bake a turkey. Dammit...completely forgot. Next year.

OK, now...REALLY on with the pics this time...


Saturday, December 26, 2009

And to All...

Hope you all had a nice holiday yesterday. Ours was OK. I'll certainly have more to say than THAT but we are packing up for a weekend trip to another section of Jen's family, so there isn't time.

I loaded a few photos into Facebook from the various Christmas events we've partaken in over the last week or two, and I will be adding more of course, but it was all I had time for. A small taste for those of you who do NOT have Facebook, the photo above was from when my Mom was out here. The below is one of my personal favorite photos of the entire YEAR.

Again...Merry Christmas to all and to all a good rest of the holiday weekend.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Will to Keep Going

We struggle with that, in all our lives, in the face of many of the obstacles that we each are confronted with. Not all of them involve our disabled children of course. For some, it's their job that is a nightmare, or lack of one. For some, their relationship is disintegrating in front of their eyes. For some, it's the betrayal of a friend or family member. For some, it's receiving a diagnosis of a deadly disease. For some, it's an injury that prevents them from ever doing the things they loved to do before.

Point is, we all have these enemies to face, these chasms to jump over, these mountains to climb. Many of you are fortunate enough to have Faith. That's a powerful, POWERFUL ally to have in your arsenal of daily weapons. I envy those of you that have that. I, at present, do not.

But I do have some weapons, and one of the most powerful of mine is all of you. You, who read these pages, who clickety-clack the occasional words of encouragement. You who always offer some advice, relate an anecdote, or just bestow upon me the much under-rated 'Attaboy'.

Last week I received a private e-mail from one of you. It was so touching to me I asked the sender if I could share it, while keeping the sender's name anonymous. Consent was given, and for that, and a lot of other things, Oh Sender of the Aforementioned E-mail, I thank you.

Because THIS is the type of thing that really motivates me. That supports me. That keeps me propped up. That gives me the will to keep going.

Dear Ken,

You know, I really believe in the power of early intervention. And ever since I started this job six years ago, I have really tried to figure out ways that the program could meet the needs of parents and children.

I thought because I shared in the struggles my families were going through, that I was listening. Your blog has taught me that I haven’t been. I’ve been looking for solutions (which has its place), but I hadn’t ever really just stopped and listened. Not with my “early interventionist” hat on, but as simply another person. Wow is that hard!

I have to confess, your blog hasn’t always been easy reading. The rawness of your emotions has challenged everything I deal with on a daily basis. In the “helping” profession, we want parents and families to accept what’s going on and get on the bandwagon already so that we can hurry up and fix things. Or, if they can’t be fixed, then at least maximize potential (or any other of the thousands of euphemisms we use so frequently).

There are times when I have read your thoughts and responded with some rather horrid thoughts of my own. And was astounded to find those reactions there, lurking just beneath the surface. I started wondering how often those thoughts have affected how I work with the families in our program. With the ones who are taking too long (in my opinion) to accept things and move on.

The conclusions I have come to are that early interventionists as a group, and myself in particular, do not give families enough room to grieve. After all, we have an agenda and deadlines to meet. It’s a delicate balance, coming into someone’s life and home and trying to figure out when to push and when to just sit back.

From you I have learned that the most important thing to do in trying to support a family going through such tragedy is to learn to look at things from their perspective, to ask how we can help, to let them set the pace even if it differs from ours.

Anyway, I know that I am not the same person I was as a result of reading your words and, as I train new staff, I hope all this self reflection can result in positive changes for other families. You have wondered several times whether you should be so explicit about your emotions in your writing and I want to urge you to continue doing so. It takes so much courage to be that real about something so personal. And it has taught me that what I think someone should be feeling is not what they necessarily are feeling so I’d better ask. And then I’d better be prepared to hear the answer.

Thank you Ken.

Pretty nifty, don't you think? It was very special to get a letter like that. They don't often find their way to you. So I'm glad the sender allowed me to share it. It's stuff like this that I gain strength from, stuff like this that inspires me.

Enjoy your Christmas Eve's and Christmas Day everybody. I will be struggling through mine, but that's OK. I've been struggling for quite a while now, and I'll get by. I'll figure out a way to walk the tightrope and not fall off, I'll manage to grab on to a few nuggets of coolness to remember down the road and I'll focus as much of my attention as I can on my kids. I should be able to quiet the enemies outside my castle walls, at least for a little while.

Hope you all find a little nugget of joy in each of your stockings.

Take Care and Merry Christmas...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Been a Wee Bit Busy of Late...

But now I'm back, ready to get serious about Blogzilly again. Got lots to talk about...you know how it is, I use this as my own cybernetic shrink. I works dee shit out in my head by purging it into the printed word and funky pictures. That's just how I roll. Come to think of it, I can't remember a time when I was NOT an open book, whether it was in a conversation one on one, or on a blog open to the public.

There are some who have noted in the past that I actually use that Open Book Policy as a sort of shield. It's an interesting theory...and one that might have some merit. Constantly barrage someone with whatever I choose to, of a deeply personal nature, and that someone or someones are not only satisfied by that and push no further to ask me about things I do not want to share, but they then leave the experience believing that I have pretty much spilled it all.

Maybe a part of that actually is true. There are roads I don't go down, some by choice, some out of respect, but no one ever assumes that since I would go down so many roads that other people would not go openly, whether in conversation or in a blog. So maybe it does create a 'buffer'.

I dunno...that's complex shit. And I'm in no mood for complex shit today.

So...there's a handful of things going on that I want to go over. I'm holding back a couple for personal reasons. So there, I admitted it. No need to guess anymore...yes, I am creating a buffer. I guess it isn't that complicated after all?

On the home front, Carter, my five year old, just got something called 'Fifth Disease'. Gotta admit, yet another thing I had NEVER heard of before. EVER. It isn't serious, just a virus that kids get, but it causes this god-awful looking rash...poor little guy. He feels OK now, so even though he was home from school yesterday he's back today, once the rash shows he is past the contagious part.

I do not know yet if Bennett caught it or not. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he has not.

Speaking of Bennett, he's doing OK. No seizures, though honestly I don't really expect any. Tumor causes seizures. Tumor removed. Seizures gone. That's the way it SHOULD work, though I know in many cases it doesn't work that way sadly. In Bennett's case it seems that it is working out just like that though.

He's still very delayed cognitively, but improving. It's funny...last Friday or so he just started exploding with jabbering, something he hadn't done since long before the surgery. Something just clicked in him I suppose, because since then it's been non-stop jabbering, with a HUGE range of different sounds, consonants, vowels, etc.

No words, but it does give me cause to hope that maybe it's gonna happen soon. I do hope so, for his sake more than for anything else. I want the best for him. As any parent would. As any parent should.

Other than that, we're doing what most people are doing...trying to get shit ready for our kids for the upcoming Christmas and trying to make the best of it. It's hard. In my hand of the remaining three cards that I'm not playing right now (the stuff that is serious that I am not willing or able to discuss openly at this time) this simple act of making the best of it is going to be very hard for us. We have a great deal on our collective minds.

It's funny...we had hoped that as we turned the corner into 2010 that there would be a significant change in our lives, that things would start to 'look up'. When we would say that to each other, the wife and me, it was always in reference to Bennett. And so, I guess you could say that in that way we are blessed to not have the mountains to climb with him for 2010.

Scratch that. There are still mountains. But we have stronger legs.

We weren't anticipating any of the other stuff, and so moving into 2010 there is a chance that the coming months may even turn out to be more difficult than 2009 was. It's a wait and see thing for that. Quite frankly, I still intend to make the attempt to change some things and try even harder to not get sucked deeper into the Depression Vortex.

So far I have a pretty good grip. If I can avoid putting a screwdriver through my hand like I did LAST Christmas Eve I should be able to hold on for a while.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Weekful (Sorta) of Kubricks (Part 3)

OOPS! Forgot to set this to go live this morning!

Today we continue taking a look at the Kubrick figures that have been added to my collection over the course of 2009. Some are old, only added this year, some are new. All are cool. That never changes.

First up we have a couple of chase figures from The Matrix trilogy. The Architect and the Keymaker. Both were hard to find, but got them this year at a good price. Thus completes is my Matrix Kubs collection, by the way.

Next, since we are in sort of a miscellaneous movie Kubrick mode, the 2-pack of John Connor and a Terminator-ish Bearbrick based on last summer's Terminator: Salvation. A movie I have still not seen. Wasn't a lot of time for movie-watchin' this past year.

Next a set of three from Tim Burton's holiday classic, A Nightmare Before Christmas. Still need a set or two to complete that set, but picked these up for a good price. Nice to have Sally finally.

Another film I never saw was The Blair Witch Project. And to think that this Medicom toy company saw some value in making a set of Kubs based on that film is astonishing to me. But they did, and I picked a set up this year at next to nothing.

Lastly we have a 400% Kubrick. Sometimes they take one of these 3-inch Kubrick figures and blow it up to mammoth size. They call it a 400% Kubrick. Original, huh? They've done it to quite a few figures, though I don't have very many of them. Mainly because the beauty of the Kubrick, to me anyway, is in its small size. But, when they do icons like Darth Vader or Indiana Jones, I can't say no.

That's it for today's stuff. Tomorrow? Yup...more of the same bullshit.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Weekful (Sorta) of Kubricks (Part 2)

Today we continue to do what we'll be doing all week...taking a look at the Kubrick figures that have been added to my collection over the course of 2009. Some are very old, that I just happened to be able to get this year, some are new. All are cool.

Well, I think they are anyway...and that's all that matters.

First up we have some samples from the Kubrick Spawn line. Gotta be honest. Never liked Spawn. Thought the comic book was pretty bad, frankly, and I was into comics then. But truthfully there were a lot of VERY successful, yet very badly written, comics in those days. That wouldn't prevent me from getting their Kub counterparts though, I just have waited to get these DIRT cheap. Still have a ways to go to complete the whole set, but again...patience...

Next up, since we are in superhero mode, let's look at some stuff from Watchmen. Now Watchmen? GREAT book. One of the greatest of all time, in fact. The film adaptation from this past year of the comic? One of the greatest comic book ADAPTATIONS to ever see film.

Medicom released six main characters from the Watchmen film, and you can see those here. Here in the states, they came out as two 3-packs, shown below.

Of course, I had to rip these right out of the packages and start shooting. Here are the six loose. I screwed up Nite Owl though, his cowl is crooked, and Rorschach's hat is too, but what the hell...

There is a 'chase' (which means hard to find and way too expensive) figure of Dr. Manhattan in full suit. But frankly? I have enough suit Kubrick figures...I can easily make my own.

While we are still on the subject of the superhero, how about this? An EXTREMELY cool electro-plated Silver Surfer from The Fantastic Four that K.S. just outright GAVE to me as a gift. What's better than a shiny Kubrick figure? A FREE shiny Kubrick figure!

Last but not least, here is a cool Disney superhero I recently re-acquired. The Rocketeer, one of my all-time favorite pulp hero designs. Ever. But I could go on and on about pulp stuff until I am as blue as Dr. Manhattan, so I'll stop there.

That's it for today's stuff. Tomorrow? Yup...more of the same bullshit.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Weekful (Sorta) of Kubricks (Part 1)

Lots of stuff has been going on. Lots of stuff. Some good some not so good. But I have nary the time nor the will to blog about it for the time being. Every time I try to blog about something 'serious' I just end up with a giant pile of crap.

So, since I also have this unbelievable need to actually keep this thing updated, I feel like trying to get caught up on showing off some of the many, and I do mean many, Kubrick figures that have been added to the collection over the course of 2009. Just gonna write up a week's worth tonight while Carter is at his Karate belt ceremony and I am here with Bennett, and set them to go live the rest of the week. That way I can stay focused on all the other stuff I gotta do this week.

Many of these are thanks to a good buddy who knows who he is, who has sort of taken it upon himself to be my Kubrick Savior. He watched out for stuff I might want or need, keeps me posted on stuff, and helps me get my hands on it for a lot cheaper than I normally would have to pay through, say, U.S. eBay and other type places. Anyway thanks K.S., you know how much I appreciate you 'havin' my block', so to speak.

Anyway, on with the updates.

This set of Kubs (as we Kubrick figure fans like to call them) is from Where the Wild Things Are. Based much more on the look of the film than the drawings of Maurice Sendak, these came out a couple months back.

There is a boxed set of a different version of Max packed with a Be@rbrick figure, which I actually did just get from BigBadToyStore.com for a nice cheap price, I just haven't gotten around to photographing it yet.


A Beautiful Blank Page

Christmas is over. That sound you hear is my sigh of relief. The tree is not actually down, as the opening image suggests. That was a tem...