Friday, September 21, 2012

Spur of the moment

It was a spur of the moment decision. A chance to make a memory and I jumped on it. We had been hearing for days about the space shuttle Endeavor heading to LA to become part of museum. But first it was going to grace the northern California sky. It was to fly over the capitol at 930 this morning. I was literally getting Drew out the door to head to school when the enormity of the event overtook me. I sent Scott a message that we were headed down town. Called Drew's teacher and told her he would be late. So we loaded up. We got downtown about 815 and heard on the radio that the shuttle had just left Edwards AFB and was headed toward us. I managed to find some 1 hour parking and hoped I would not have a ticket when we got back. There were people scattered around the back of the capitol and Drew and I took up spots. I chatted and Drew ran off to check out the turtles and fish in a nearby pond with other kids.
Here is Drew waiting. about 915 people started coming out of office buildings and waiting. One lady was talking to her husband who was on a near by roof top. 930 We heard the shuttle was flying over Stockton 937 it was over Highway 99 in Elk Grove HERE IT COMES!!!! I was so focused on making sure Drew saw it I forgot to take pictures. OOPS. We saw it momentarily before it disappeared behind the other side of the Capitol. WHAT A GYP! Would it come back? The crowd starting disperrsing. We waited. And were rewarded. The pilot flew back over our side. It was huge - but I was shocked at how small it was. Once again I forgot to snap a picture. I was in awe of this incredible machine that had orbited the Earth 4671 times, went on 25 missions, traveled almost 123,000,000 miles, spent 296 days, 3 hours, 34 minutes, 2 seconds in space, and docked with the International Space Station 12 times and MIR once.

This is what we saw the first time it passed by  Pictures courtesy of KCRA.

We were here somewhere.

This is what we saw the second time.

It was memorable and to share it with Drew was wonderful.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This is what i post every year on this day. May God bless and keep all those involved.

9 years ago I was driving my son to school after a dentist appointment. We were listening to the radio when the announcer announced someone with really bad direction had flown a small aircraft into the World Trade Center. WOW that is crazy I thought. We kept driving. A few minutes later the announcer came back on and said - it happened again - another plane had hit the other tower and it was a commerical aircraft carrier. WOW that is even crazier. Phil asked me what it meant. I had no idea but I assured him (with the confidence that every mother has in moments like this) that everything would be all right and he was safe.

I got him to school and walked in and told the secretary something crazy was going on and she needed to find a radio. I explained what we had heard on the radio. At that moment all of her phone lines started ringing with concerned parents. I hugged Phil good bye and said I would see him after school. I remember calling Scott on my way home and telling him he needed to find a way to get some news. This was 9 years ago before constant, instantious internet news coverage.

I went home and turned on the TV. My sister called (or maybe I called her) we sat watching the TV trying to figure out what was going on. We were 60 miles away from each other and it was one time in our life that I truly felt close to her. Our parents were on the way to DC on vacation. They were driving. My cell rang and it was mom. Amie called Dad on her cell. One most of my vivid memories is my sister yelling "OH MY GOD it is going down" as the first building fell. We watched in horror connected by that phone at what was happening before eyes. We begged them to come home. Finally they realized this was major. They were driving and only had our accounts and the radio to go by. They did turn around and head for KC.

The other day I was talking to Phil about what he remembered. He recounted what happened as the school day continued. I remember fighting the urge to go get him and bring him home (that safe haven every parent feels about their house for theirchild). As Phil and I talked the other day it hit me. For his generation, this is the first "I remember where I was when...." they will have. He was the about the same age I was when I had my first one of those moments,John Lennon being shot. Somehow, now that memory doesn't compare to his first of those memories.
I remember that day, 9 years ago wondering about the world my child was growing up in. 9 months later we adopted Andrew. He doesn't remember a world where you don't have to take your shoes off at the airport, or packing all your liquids in your checked bags. This is the first year I have exposed him to what happened that day. I wanted him to maintain his belief that the world is inherently good as long as possible.

I pray for Phil, his generation has VERY few of the "I remember where I was..." moments. I hope for all of us there is never another day that causes such fear. But like my friend Allan said... If you give into the fear, you let them win.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Where have I been?

Where have I been? Let's see....School started so trying to get Drew back on track has taken time.  Scott is starting to recover and looking forward to his new bike being here in a couple weeks - that makes one of us.

Mainly I have been.... OPENING MY TRAVEL AGENCY!!!! I got my final approval last week and have since been working hard to get all of my certifications lined up and registering for all the companies that i want to do business with.  Each one has different criteria so that has taken some time. But we are up and running. I have my Disney, Universal, Sandals/Beaches, Princess Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line tests done.  But that doesn't mean I am limited to selling just those packages.

I have the ablity to book car rentals, hotels, air, you name it I can book it. so for a weekend get away or a colorado vacation or a 117 day trip around the world on Princess I can get it done for you.

I am doing a travel blog right now check it out Destinations By Cathy 

I am posting travel goodies as well as deals.  If you see something that catches your eye leave me a message of click the envelope in the upper right hand corner and I can get back to you in 24 hours or less.

Wanted to share my business cards - what do you think?

The back says but it won't let me put it on here for some reason:  

Why do you need ME as YOUR travel professional?

...Expert Insight on Family Destinations
...Save YOU time and Money
...Personalize YOUR vacation
...Be there when YOU need ME

So that is where I have been.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

so you want to be a travel agent....

I decided I wanted to have my own home based business as a travel agent. I have wanted it for a long time. I actually wanted it 25 years ago but wasn't at a point I could be a travel agent then.  So I decided it was time.  I knew there were rules and laws and fees to pay.  What I didn't realize is what a racket the state of California makes it to do this.  Actually this is for any business but travel consultants have EXTRA hoops to jump through.

I started researching. Here is what i found.

First fee I found was at the California Insurance commission.  Yes you read that correctly.  INSURANCE COMMISSION.  Because I offer travel insurance I have to pay a fee to register there.  PLUS I have to be fingerprinted for the California Department of Justice as well as the FBI.  So there is another fee.  BUT since I don't have to take an insurance test of any kind i have to go to a LIVE SCAN place like UPS to have my prints done.  Another fee.

Then I keep researching and find I have to have a Seller of Travel license from the Attorney General.  OK this one I understand.  10 page application plus a fee.  As I am filling it out I discover the HIDDEN FEES.

There is a large one time fee to pay into the Travel Consumer Restitution Corp.  This is a Corporation that refunds travelers who fall for the if it seems to be good to be true vacation schemes. Haven't figured it out exactly but it sounds like they had a great lobbying group behind them. I can't turn in my Seller of Travel request with out that number.

Then as I go further in the SoT I find I have to have a trust account in my business name. So I call the bank.  They tell me I need proof that I am a registered DBA before they can open any business account.  Back to Google.  In California it is not called DBA it is called Fictitious Business name.  Great how do I do that?  You guessed it yet another fee.  So Drew and I head down to the Department of Finance to pay the fee.  Guess what not only do you  have to pay a fee for that THEN you have to run an ad in a newspaper for 4 weeks to show the DBA and make sure no one else has it registered - you guessed it another fee to run the ad.

While I am there, the lady tells me I need to file for a business license even for a home based business. According to what I have read a business license is to cover things like street maintenance and wear and tear on sidewalks from customers - as a home based business I won't have that.  But guess what I have to have the license anyway.  I have a couple weeks to get that one turned it. It can wait.

Back to the trust account.  Off to the bank I go.  I explain the situation to them that even tho I don't accept checks and there is no cash in my business (except my commissions - which go into yet another account) the state of California requires me to have an account just in case someone writes me a check even tho I don't take checks and am basically a middle man. Someone gives me a CC # to give to a travel company and I never see that money. BUT I have to have an account that has the word TRUST in it that I can never ever touch. That account number and bank have to be on the SoT application as well.  Are you following that one? Thank Goodness for the patience of my Wells Fargo Banker who helped me figure out how to do this for the least amount of money.

Oh yea and then there is the fee to belong to the OSSN which is similar to IATA and CLIA so I can get a travel number so I can do business.  (that fee I understand)

Per the state I can't do business until everything is approved and set to go.  So on all my forms I put September 1 as my start date. It can't get here soon enough so I can start making some of the fees back.

It will be worth it in the end but WOW California you could make it a tad easier!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Destinations by Cathy

Yes you read that correctly.  I have opened my own travel agency.  I realized that I could do what I was doing for the other agency but on my own terms.  I contacted Disney and talked to some one from inside sales.  She told me that I had been given incorrect information and that I could indeed become my own agent for Disney - and other places.  After all how did the other agencies get their start?

So I contacted the State of California and they walked me through what to do to be legal in the state.  I had to have a travel agent number so the inside person at Disney told me who to go to for home based because I don't make enough yet to qualify for IATA or CLIA (the big two in the travel world.)  I am a member of OSSN and have a TRUE number.  So I guess I am open for business. Still have to go get fingerprints tomrrow.

So I am now in business for myself.  I own my own travel agency!!!!!!

Destinations by Cathy is open for business.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Protector/for my boys

When Phil was little, before Scott, it was just us.  From the time he was two until Scott and I started dating,when he was seven, all we had was each other.  We had several songs we would sing to each other at different times.

Last night, Drew was having a rough time.  He was scared.  He has a fear that he can't over come.  He is scared of gollum from Lord of the Rings.  I can't say it is irrational because we all have things we are scared of.  This is his.  It is a paralyzing fear.  When Phil was scared as a kid I sang him a song - this was before the days of YouTube and Ipods.  he had to endure my voice.  (Sorry Phil).  I hope both my boys know that Nothings gonna harm them when I am around.

Last night when Drew was so scared to go down stairs the song came back to me.  I played it on my phone and sang to Drew at the same time.  He was finally able to go down and do what he had to do.
After he came back upstairs he said "thanks for making me brave mom"  That is what a mom is to do isn't it?

This song will be true for my boys for ever and I hope someday they sing it to their children. I like this version better because the first time I saw it Barbara Streisand was singing it to her son.

Love Mom

Sunday, July 29, 2012


There are 70 wedding pictures on FB.  I am trying to wait and put them together in a slide show and unveil them at once on here.  If you want a sneak peek do a search on Phoenix images on Facebook. Or wait a week and I will get creative.

There is no rhyme or reason to this post.  I realized that i had not posted in 2 weeks and so much has been going on - just life but just life can be exhausting.

We have seen an increase in Drew's anxiety level - he is getting very nervous about school starting.  He has the same teacher but there are some unknown factors in his life so that makes it hard.

I have lots of inquiries about vacations especially Disney ones.  booking one today.  That makes me happy.  Disney World has a great deal right now - FREE DINING for dates in September, October and  December.  Also a wonderful deal on a California Coast cruise with many of the Pixar characters.

Scott is recovering well.  Most of the road rash is gone.  His knee looks pretty bad and so does his ankle but his head has healed pretty well.  the most visible sign of the collision is the bright pink cast he wears on his right wrist.  It is due to come off August 15.  He seems better recovered than Drew and I.  Mentally at least.  The thought of him getting on a bike again TERRIFIES me.  I wish he would take up long distance running.  for some reason that doesn't seem as scary to me.

The newlyweds are back from Estes Park and had a wonderful time.  They seem to be settling into married life pretty well.

lots more but time is short.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

the first wedding photos

And now the moment everyone has been waiting for.  Here are the pictures from our wonderful friend Bill Keslar.  He and his wife Lori have known me since I was 3.  We have been most fortunate to have him record very memorable times in our lives.  It would not have been the same without him this past weekend.Wedding slide show

I held it together through out the whole wedding BUT when I saw him singing THIS to her during the first dance I LOST IT!!!!!

We did not dance to Tupac.  We danced to THIS.  Not sure if anyone cried.  I was too busy crying and looking at my wonderful son and the man he has become.

The only damper to the day was THIS.  But that is for another post.  The weather was HOT, the bride beautiful, the groom handsome and this mama PROUD!

The kids went to Estes Park on the honeymoon and had a great time.  But the got a dose of reality when they were driving home.  Phil's transmission went out about an hour from home.  So the car was towed to the mechanic, and while Betsy has a job interview in the morning Phil will be dealing with that..

I remember when I was young and people would call my mom "Mrs. Wolff" she would reply "I am Nancy.  Mrs. Wolff is my Mother in Law"  Now someone can say that about me.  Not sure how I feel about that.

I will post more pictures when the are up.

Free Dining at Disney World in Florida

Now through Sept. 29, 2012, buy a non-discounted Magic Your Way Base Package for 6 nights and 7 days at select Disney Moderate, Disney Deluxe or Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts at the Walt Disney World® Resort for arrivals most nights Sept. 30 – Oct. 4, Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, Nov. 9-15, Nov. 23-29 and Dec. 10-13, 2012, and get the Disney Dining Plan FREE!*
Or, buy a non-discounted Magic Your Way Base Package for 6 nights and 7 days at select Disney Value Resorts for arrivals most nights Sept. 30 – Oct. 4, Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, Nov. 9-15, Nov. 23-29 and Dec. 10-13, 2012, and get a FREE Quick-Service Dining Plan.
Booking Window:
July 12 – Sept. 29, 2012
Travel Window:
For arrivals most nights Sept. 30 – Oct. 4, Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, Nov. 9-15, Nov. 23-29 and Dec. 10-13, 2012
Sample Pricing:
Buy this 6-night, 7-day package with FREE Disney Dining Plan for $86 per person, per day, for a family of 4, at a Select Disney Moderate Resort in a Standard Room for stays most nights Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, Nov. 24-29 and Dec. 10-13, 2012, for a total package price of $2,421. That's a savings of $1,017!
Or, buy this 6-night, 7-day package with FREE Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan for $69 per person, per day, for a family of 4, at a Select Disney Value Resort in a Standard Room for stays most nights Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, Nov. 24-29 and Dec. 10-13, 2012, for a total package price of $1,922. That's a savings of $701!
*Prices based on 2 Adults, 1 Junior and 1 Child. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same package. The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Tickets valid for one Theme Park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use. No group rates or other discounts apply. Advance reservations required.
Offer excludes campsites and 3-bedroom villas and is not valid at Disney's Art of Animation Resort - Little Mermaid Standard View Room.
Excludes gratuities and alcoholic beverages. Children ages 3-9 must order from children's menu if available. Some Table-Service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase.

Email me at travelnwithtink for more information.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

RIP Sheriff ANDY

I love Andy Griffith.  I loved Mayberry.  I wanted to live there.  Everyone knew everyone, watched out for each other, had their disputes but got over being mad.  I found this on Youtube.

So take down your fishing pole and sing along as a tribute to the Sheriff of Mayberry.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

old friend first talk

Before Andrew was born, I belonged to an online adoption group.  We were in various stages of the process.  Some were waiting, others matches, others had just gotten their babies and some were old pros.  These women had been through everything with me when my mom was dying. I had been through a lot with several of them. One evening a friend named Karen posted her husband had died that day.  It was horrible to read something like that hand not be able to do anything.   I left the board as adoption left the forefront of my life.  I stayed for about 5 years after Andrew was born.  We became a VERY close group even though we were spread across the country.

Introduce Facebook years later.  I started to reconnect with some of my old adoption friends.  I was so glad when I found Karen on FB.  We always knew we would have been drinking buds, life long friends and that our boys would have been dangerous together.  We reconnected.  But we only talked through the IM part of FB.  She has been a very encouraging source on my quest to be come a travel consultant.  She has also been my first client.  She booked a trip to DisneyLand yesterday.  She is taken her almost 10 year old son for his birthday in December.  We had a couple details to work out and we needed to talk.  She called and we talked for almost 2 hours.  It was like we had been friends for ever.

It used to be that you wanted to put a face to a name, I have wanted to put voice to a face.  I see her pictures on FB and I see her son growing up!  We have decided that we need to go somewhere that we can meet in person.  WE are thinking Vegas - because of their motto and we don't have to worry about anyone finding out what trouble we get in to!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My kind of traffic jam!


I did it!

Last night I told you that I had earned my Disney Travel Agent Ears?  Today  I booked my first Disney vacation for a client and good friend.  I think that makes me an official travel consultant! What do you think?  AND my business cards came today.  It says I am a travel consultant.  I think that backs up my claim.

Drew and I got all the errands done this morning.  Tomorrow the house sitter comes to check things out.  AND we start packing.  One stack for camping, another stack for Kansas.  Worried about the stuff that needs to go to both.  Guess Sunday night and Monday I will be doing laundry and making yet more stacks.  It feels never ending at this point.

I am getting excited to see my wonderful son marry his best friend.  I have so many feelings going through me.  Proud,  happy, melancholy, nostalgic.  Phil says there is a pool going to see who cries first, me or Betsy's dad, Bruce.  Any thoughts?  Contact Phil if you want in.

I am really tired tonight.  Been a busy day.  Gonna go up and veg and see what bad reruns are on the tube.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Plans changed

Well after I posted my post this morning plans chnaged DRASTICALLY! For the better but it did mess up my week.

I got a call from Cheryl the owner of the travel agency I work for.  She let me knwo that it was time to begin Disney College of Knowledge!   I wanted to get it done before we left so  I sat at the computer ALL day and got it done!  Drew didn't want to go anywhere today because his tics were acting up.  So we stayed home I finished my course and Drew watched TV, watched a couple little videos on Disney with me.  I took a couple breaks to swim.

It is OFFICIAL I am a Disney Authorized Travel Agent.  I thought I knew A LOT about Disney.  I breezed thru the Disney World stuff.  I was most fascinated by Adventures by Disney.  I had heard about it before but had no idea how impressive it was.WOW!!! That is something to look into for everyone.  I am going to blog about them exclusively in the next couple days but check out this link for a sneak peak.  This has got to be the most impressive set of guided tours for families (they also have adult only versions) I have ever seen.

Talk soon

My lists have lists

How did we get to 19 days until the wedding???? Someone tell me where the time and my planning skills went!  I sat down yesterday to make my to-do list.  Stop mail, mail stuff to home office, pick ups scripts, call caterer, call cake decorator, order clothes, get camping equipment checked out, grocery shop, order clothes, change date of house sitter.... It goes on.

All of a sudden I had to make a grocery list for camping, a list of what needed to be replaced or added to camping gear, what clothes to pack for both trips. How do lists end  up with sublists?  I draw the line at microlists for the sublists.

I am slowly crossing stuff off the master list.  But adding to the sublists. How is that possible?

Not sure if I mentioned that Scott is heading to San Francisco for meetings on June 25 and 26.  Which is why there is some urgency to get everything done in the next four days before we go camping to unwind before getting wound up again.  The latest plan is for Scott to take the train to SF on Monday.  Tuesday Drew and I will pack the car and head to my haircut.  As soon as it is over we head to SF.  Meet up with Scott and go to the hotel.  We leave at 645 Wed AM so it made the most sense to stay in SF.

I found this great site  PARKSLEEPFLY  In searching for a hotel in SF I found many charged to leave your car when you fly out.  This site has great deals on hotel/parking combos.  It was going to be MEGA bucks to stay at a hotel and then put the car in airport parking.  Most hotels only allow a 7 day park your car and fly then they wanted to charge 8-15 dollars a day after that.  When I found this site I found a room AND 14 days of parking for 109.00.  I like that price.  Granted it is not the RITZ but the reviews indicate the rooms are nice and clean and it is only for one night.

Thinking about a quick trip to Disneyland in August.  My friend Elaine is going to be in SD with her family and is going to drive to Anaheim to meet us.  I am so excited to see the new CARSLAND and Buena Vista Street.  Lines are reported to be horribly long but I can get around that.  Not focusing on that until after the wedding but I think after all of this I (we) deserve a couple days of down time - don't you?  Besides it is really for my clients that I am going.  So I can give them my honest opinion of the new attractions. (SURE)

Well the items on this list won't cross themselves off.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I have a job

I have a perfectly legit reason for not blogging the past couple weeks! I have gotten my DREAM job. YES you read that correctly.  I have a job and it is my DREAM job.  I am now a travel agent.  More importantly I am also a Disney Authorized Travel planner.  What could be better for me than that?

I am working for a company called Galaxsea Travel.  They are a brick and mortar travel agency out of Monroe NJ and have about 200 agents around the country. The company has been around more than 20 years and I went through one heck of an inteview process to get this job. I think the website needs a bit of work. But that is just me. This is there Disney link.  I am able to book all travel, domestic and international.  Wanna go to Sandals or Beaches let me know. Ski trips, Mexico, Vegas, Hawaii, Europe.  I can help you all the way. I still have some training to do but as of now I can officially a travel agent. I get to sign my tax return that way next year.  So time to start thinking about your next getaway.  My business email is

I have been asked why a travel agent in the days of the internet.  Surprisingly more and more people want a travel agent.  No one has the time to search for deals.  Not only that it is my JOB to know the best deals.  I get to handle the details and make your final destination the best trip it can be.

There is no extra cost to the consumer to use a travel agent.  You pay the same rates whether booked through a resort or through a travel agent.  The nice thing about a travel agent? I have a file with your likes and dislikes and you ALWAYS get to talk to the same person.  ME.  Can't do that when you call Disney or Sandals.  You and I have a relationship, I am not some random person who got your call in a queue and you are not some random reservation number.   If something goes wrong or you forget your travel documents I am there for ya babe!

So let me do the work for you and make your next vacation - where ever you are headed a trip of memories.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I get to earn my ears!!!!!

I am in a state of shock.  It only took till I was 45 for my dream job to come up as well as being ready to graduate from college.

I got a lead on a job a couple weeks ago and had my final interview yesterday.  I was hired to be a Disney Authorized Travel Planner!  I will be able to book any and all travel but I will have the certification from Disney to work with them.  That is HUGE.  I also will have training to book cruises, Sandals and Beaches resorts as well as any domestic and international travel.  I have helped so many friends book trips and give them tips and have other agents profit from my knowledge.  Now I get to profit from doing what I love to do.  Help people see the world.
What could be better than these memories for anyone?

Drew is thrilled because we will be getting to take trips to Disney.  Scott is thrilled that they can be tax deductions.

I will be working for a great company.  Please think of me for any travel plans you might have.  To Disney or anywhere else.  My new email will be

next up bridal shower pics.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

what a week

This has been the ice cream week.  Leatherby's opened in Elk Grove.  It is an old fashion ice cream parlor.  Tuesday Drew and I were the second customers in the location.  Drew wanted to take Scott back so we went back Saturday night.  Here are picutres of the sundaes we shared this week. Drew and I split the hot fudge banana split on Tuesday and Saturday he had a plain hot fudge sundae.  Scott claimed he only wanted a couple bites of my Black and Tan on Saturday -but for an engineer he sure doesn't understand the meaning of HALF!!!

I am headed to Kansas Tuesday. For some reason i am a bit nervous about this trip.  Not sure why.  Drew and I are heading to see Phil graduate from college, attend a bridal shower for Betsy thrown by Phil's Godmother and my mom's best friend.  I will also get to meet Betsy's parents. I am super excited about all the activites.  We have so much planned. Wed I am going to Lawrence with Phil and having lunch with the Seabury Mom's from when Phil went to school there. Haven't seen one of them in 4 years and the other in 2 years. Thursday we are are going to Lego Discovery Center in Kansas City. We will be eating lunch here.  Friday Betsy and I are taking Drew to the zoo. Friday night we are getting together with several of my dear high school friends at a local hang out from our high school days.  Saturday is graduation.  Hand the tissues.  Sunday is the bridal shower.  Monday I collapse.  Drew and I head home on Wed.

Scott has plans while we are gone to CLEAN DREW'S ROOM.  He is also going to go see a stage of the Tour of California.  I will try and post as I go but it may be a long post when I get back.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Jayne Houdyshell

We got wonderful news this morning.  Scott's aunt is a Broadway actress. Her name is Jayne Houdyshell. Hereis her IMDB. HEre is her IBDB   She has been on so many things you have probably seen her.

She was nominated for her second Tony.  Her first one was in the Play WELL.  She was up for Lead Actress in a Play.  This time she was nominated for Featured Actress in a Musical.  She played Hattie Walker in the revival of Follies.  Here is a clip of her performance.

We are so proud of her.  Watch the Tony's June 10.

double edge sword

Since Drew has not been in school the tourettes has calmed to a manageable level.  He is sleeping in his own bed for the first time in ages.  He seems more relaxed.  I have noticed that some old behaviors are popping up. He gets frustrated more often, no matter how active we are he complains of being bored.

Yesterday as we were doing school work I mentioned that he would have to go to the school that afternoon.  STAR torture (err testing) has started and Drew has to do it just like every other kid.  As the time progressed, he started complaining of a stomach ache. And the tics increased.  I assumed it was theatrics about not wanting to do school work.  I sent him up to get a shower and get ready for OT.  When I went up he was laying on my bed complaining of his stomach.  I went to feel his head and he screamed don't touch me! He said he felt like he was going to throw up.  I went for the thermometer and as I was walking back I heard the unmistakable sounds.  He threw up all over my bed.  UGH.  I got him cleaned up, bed cleaned up and called the school.  About an hour later Drew perked up and felt better when he found out he didn't have to go.

This morning I mentioned he would be going this afternoon and bit later his stomach started hurting.  He has not thrown up this time.  Anxiety is a powerful thing.  When we talk to Drew about attending school next year he is receptive to the idea.  He has no issue going to OT and Speech.  There is something about being in that classroom that has him upset. I will be going to the class with him this afternoon to reassure him.  This is something we need to figure out but not sure how.

Tomorrow: why do psychiatrists not accept insurance - not like I have 12,000 a year just lying around to pay them.  I know the answer but it is a vent.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Yes I know it has been a while.  Yes I know I am not being a good blogger.  Yes you can assume much has been going on in my world.  Too much for me to concentrate on my blog.  But I am back and I hope you missed me.  Drew has been receiving home and hospital for the past couple weeks.  Trying to ease him back into the idea school is safe.  He has been going for OT and language therapy.  His classroom teacher has been coming to the house a couple days a week to work with him on school work. I have noticed the longer he is away from the class the more issues we are having.  He will be going back next year on a trial basis.
I am fortunate that his teacher understand that learning can happen AWAY from the brick and mortar so she has no problem when I pull him for a day to do a tour or activity with our homeschool group.  It is actually the best of both worlds.

We are gearing up for Phil's graduation and wedding. Drew and I leave next Tuesday and will be in Kansas for a 8 days.  Much planned.  Drew is very excited to see everyone.  WE get back the 15th and are having a party for Drew's 10th birthday on the 19th.  Drew has been a real trooper about how everything is so centered on Phil right now.  Phil's birthday, graduation and wedding all in a 2 month period.  We are not doing much for Phil's Bday.  I will just throw some money in his checking account. Easy.

I do have a new Mixbook give away coming up this week. Everyone has weddings going on and needs guest books.  So they are allowing me give one away on my blog.  Look for it in the next few days.

I haven't posted pictures of Drew lately so here are a couple from a family portrait sitting we did a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

feeling vindicated

I am so over public school.  We had Drew in a class for ED (emotional disturbance).  Several years ago when we home schooled he was having lots of emotional issues.  WE found out later it was because of his age and not being able to verbalize what he was feeling so he acted out.  So we made the mistake of trusting public school.  The end of his second grade year all he did was sit in a class, play legos, color pictures and watch movies.  This year there has been more learning if you could call it that. The teachers did the work for him and he just copied what they wrote.  They claimed they talked about it with him and wrote what he said. UMMM no boss will ever do that.

I am now aware there are some kids in that class who have severe issues who should be in a different class.  But I have also found out my gut feeling about Drew is pretty spot on.  He can read and he can read well.  He doesn't like to but he can.  He can also comprehend what he is reading.  He can do math and do it at a 3-4 grade level.  right now I am working with him on learning to write a paragraph.  He did know how to do that before I turned him back over to public school but since it and other things were not used they were not retained so in many areas I am having to go back and reteach.  I have also discovered he can't think for himself.  I asked him to take his spelling words and make up a sentence about them.  He had no clue about how to do it.   So baby steps over the next few months to get him up to where he should be.

I am already seeing improvement in attitude since he is no longer in public school.  His fears have abated and he is sleeping in his room again.  The tourette's is still there but not at the intensity it was when he was subjected to daily bullying and fear.  The admin has chosen to ignore the issue. They say it would happen in a Gen Ed class as well and I have to just accept that is the way things go.  I will not accept it and it is not the way things go.  I don't home school because of religious beliefs I homeschool because California schools are broken and no one wants to fix them.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Christian Version of Weird Al

This song made me smile today.  It is by the Weird Al of Christian Music.  Hope it makes you smile too.  Happy Easter.  And FYI - it is OK to celebrate the Risen Christ as well as the Easter Bunny.  I think God wants it that way.  Why else would it be all right to eat pork to celebrate a Jewish man who has risen from the dead to save us all from our sin.  And yes I am a Christian who attends church regularly.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

the dog the cat the fight

I knew Scott's trip out of town was going too smoothly. Mrs. Murphy's law had not kicked in but I knew it was coming.  Yup it came and hit full force last night.  Drew and I made a run for Chinese food about 515 last night.  We  picked it up came home and I went to feed the animals.  I looked at skippy and realized his eye was swollen shut and bloody.  CRAP.  I called the vet praying that there would be an evening appt so it would not be considered and emergency appt.  Nope all evening slots were full.  Bring him on in they said but we have to charge the emergency rate.  Double CRAP.  So off we go to the vet with our Chinese food still sitting on the counter.  

Get to the vet and a tech takes Skippy for a triage.  Then we are taken in to a room with the vet.  She has me hold a light while she stains Skippy's eye. Right along the edge of the colored part of the eye is about a 3/4" deep gash.  Cat scratch.  Deep.  She offers to send us right to UC DAVIS vet clinic for surgery and grafts. Expensive.  TRIPLE CRAP.   I reject that offer. She gives me the 300.00 option.  2 forms of antibiotics, 2 pain killers and a serum made of Skippy's white blood cells to fight infection.  Do it I tell her.  She then tells me there is a chance Skippy could lose his eye.   Drops must be administer  every 4 hours around the clock.  Set your alarm.  EXPLETIVE inserted here.  90 minutes later another tech takes me into a room and I see Skippy in his cone of shame.  I am shown how to administer all the meds.  We get home to luke warm Chinese food that we eat as I set alarms on my phone every four hours.  Finally Drew and I hit the sack at 1030, me knowing that I will get 2 hours of sleep before the blessed alarm.  

I have made it through all of the first day doses.  Skippy can open his eye a bit.  He is very clingy and very touchy. I am very tired and very touchy.  We go back to the vet on Sunday to see how things are doing. 
I hate Mrs.Murphy's law. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

we are making it

We are plugging along.  Drew seems pretty receptive to what we are doing and so far has done his work with out any fights.  He is reading on my Nook, computer time, writing letters.  Even though next week is technically spring break I am going to have him working.  He seems so far behind where he should be.  Tomorrow I take him to school for an hour for his language therapy.  He is not too happy about it but he needs to maintain his therapies.

I am ready for my hubby to be home.  Single parenting is not for me.  I don't know how my mom did it when my dad traveled.  she also worked full time and had 2 kids.  We head for SF next Wed for Drew's last appt with the Tourettes doc.  Scott and I will go in a few weeks for a wrap up and discussion on where we go from here.  Up until today the tics have been pretty level.  they are there and noticeable but not the intensity as when he was in class.  Today they seemed to be higher in frequency.  Not sure why.

I know I need to post pics because it makes blogs more interesting but just haven't done it.  I can post pics of a snoring dog if you want.  Think Skippy needs his aednoids out.

Monday, March 26, 2012

first day

Today was the first day back to a homeschool regieme.  We are still working with the school to get the Home and Hospital teacher worked out.  i didnt' want to let Drew go with out schooling until this was worked out so off we went.  First up.  Computer work on Synonyms.  then some math review.  Then a BREAK.  We are using  I will be doing a review of it in the next couple weeks.  It has some great points and a few things i am not too keen on.  We headed to trader Joe's and to grab some lunch.  While we were driving I asked Drew if he was all right with returning to doing school at home.  He said if it kept him from being hit and teased about his Tourette's he was all for it. WE came home and he read me Henry and Mudge get the Cold Shivers and then i introduced him to a long term project.

He loves Pokemon.  So I  have him designing his own card game.  He has to come up with the characters, their weapons, powers, who can battle who etc.  He seems to like the activity.  The main thing this time around is that I know now to keep it interesting and change up the activites so Drew does not get frustrated or bored.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

can't say much but

Because of reasons that be disclosed we have gone back to homeschooling Drew. For the time being the district will be sending a teacher to the house but last time that was a mitigated disaster. So I have decided that I am going to start working with him to get him caught up.

This is the only way we know to keep him safe.  His tics have already become manageable and he is not having the anxiety issues.  He is sleeping better since his doctors made the decision to "home and hospital" till the end of the year.

When I was questioning a couple weeks ago he could not tell me what a synonym or an antonym were. HE can't identify a noun, verb or adjective in a sentence.  These were things that he COULD do before he went to public school but since it is not reinforced it is gone.  They say he is working a third grade level but he can't write a paragraph, no papers come home from school or academic progress reports other than his report card.  I find it hard to believe he has an A+ in science when he has never brought anything science related home or even talked about science class.

I will let the H&H teacher come to the house because I have to but it is going to be really interesting.  We are looking at all options for next year.

time 4 learning

As a member of Time4Learning, I have been given the opportunity to review their program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. For more information, check out their standards-based curriculum or learn how to write your owncurriculum review.

stay tuned

Saturday, March 03, 2012


Thursday Andrew and I made our trek to San Francisco to meet his Tourettes doctor.  It was an adventure to say the least (the VERY least) But I am happy to report that we made it home.  I get to fight a 100.00 fine I got because I thought the stupid MUNI subway read both of our tickets but apparently it only read Drew's.  When you get off the subway during busy times there are cops waiting to ensure you didn't ride for free.  I didn't ride for free but their stupid machine shows I did.  HUMPH.  Now I get to ride a letter explaining what happened and hope that they waive my fine.

This Doctor does not see the Asperger's in Drew.  so back to square one there.

We get to do it again this Thursday.  Yippee. Yesterday we had a great day.  In the morning we met with CHILL - our home school group and learned about wind and made kites and listened to stories about wind.  While all this was going on  my phone was sending alerts about the real power of the wind in the way of tornadoes that were ravishing the south.  Wish we could have taught about that.  Then home we went.

Last night we went to see The Lorax.  Wonderful movie.  I can't believe it was never on the read list to Drew.  We read so many other Dr. Suess books but not that one.  Bad Mom.  But I will be rectifying that soon.

Today drew is enjoying some down time watching movies while Scott is out for his ride.  ME?  I am supposed to be doing my final Statistics paper for my class.  That is a blog post unto itself.  And I will be so glad when it is over this week.  Scott is also going to the National Homemade Bike show this today.  Not sure what that is but I am skipping it.

I did get my grocery shopping done this morning.  I love that Bel Air allows me to place my order online.  They pick the groceries and when I get there I push a button tell them I am there and they bring the groceries to my car.  Can't get much simpler than that.

I am also preparing for the IEP meeting we have Monday.  Yet another blog post.  Drew does see an audiologist Monday afternoon.  There are several docs waiting to see those results.  I have to make sure I take all the information to the appt. so the results get sent.

So here I sit at my computer doing everything possible to avoid writing my paper.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I am back

I tried the world of Word press but it was not for me.  I thought I wanted to be a blogger of deals and steals but I want to come back to my little corner of the world and blog about me and Scott and Drew and homeschooling ( yes the H word) and Phil and Betsy and life and love and all things me. This is where i belong.  I have to figure out how to put some of the other blogs posts on this site so i don't lose them.

Where do I start?  We have been fighting the wonderful world of bullies and drew getting beat up and dealing with the school for not telling us.  Drew is asking for home school again.  He is tired of it and wants to feel safe.  We meet with the school again on Monday for an emergency IEP and I think the will be seeing things my way for the end of the this year.  I can file lawsuits with the best of them.

We are also finding that Drew may have APD (auditory processing disorder).  So off to the audiologist we go Monday afternoon.  Tomorrow Drew and I are off to San Francisco to meet with the Tourettes doc at UCSF.  Scott and I went last week and now Drew gets to go three times then a plan of action will be put into place.  They are also putting us in touch with an Asperger specialist at UCSF to help as well.

Wedding plans are on course as far as I can tell.  They tell me when they need something.  but otherwise i stay out of it.  Safer that way.

Scott is getting ready to run a half marathon.  His goal is to finish in the top 10 my goal would be to have fun and finish.  I have started going back to the gym.  well until the doc benched me because I tore a muscle so now I am waiting for the all clear to go back.