Friday, August 29, 2008

Simply the Best

Better than all the rest! That's right folks - we are the champions. The proud winners of the "Largest Zucchini" category at the annual Massey Agricultural Fair. I knew it was a good sign when we brought it in and everyone said "WOW". She weighs 18 lbs (sorry Gaetanne - I made an error in my original weighing), and is 33 inches long and 22 inches around at her base.

I believe I have even turned a profit. It cost $3 to join the agricultural society, $2 for a white paper plate (I had to buy a whole package). The first prize was $7 - so by my calculations (thanks to my highly advanced math skills), I actually made $2. I think I'm on to something.

Now, my only problem is trying to figure out what to do with this beautiful monster.

Any recipe suggestions?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Just Great

Just when you think things are going along swimmingly something or someone comes along and smacks you on the side of the head and says "smarten up and pay attention". Well, I had one of those smacks yesterday.

You see, I thought Bennett was making great progress with walking and his walker and that it would only be a few months and we would be kissing that walker good-bye. Well, at yesterday's physiotherapy appointment (the last one for 2 months), his flushed physiotherapist suggested that it was time for us to purchase a walker - a souped up model with backrest, seat, etc. She said it was something that Bennett would probably need for a while and therefore would be a worthwhile investment. She qualified this with the observation that she doesn't have a crystal ball and maybe he won't need it for that long but who knows. She asked what I thought/felt about that. As soon as I managed to scrape along the floor to find the wind that was knocked out of me, I managed to croak "Well, if that's what he needs". What the heck am I supposed to say? We love our physiotherapist and trust her opinion completely. Maybe that's why it had such an effect on me.

For the rest of the appointment I managed to maintain my composure even when the social worker who came to help me with the paperwork asked me "How are you?". And she didn't just ask in that passing way that most people do - you know, the people that ask but have already started the next sentence before you've even answered. No, when she asked she actually looked like she really wanted to know. Once again I managed to croak out a one word answer "Fine".

Fortunately, she moved on and I was able to save my tears for the way home. Today, I have a little more perspective. It still hurts my mommy heart more than I can say to think that Bennett will have to use a walker for a long time. But, I know it's a piece of metal and just like it didn't define me, it certainly doesn't define him. It's a tool to help him learn to walk and to help him become more independent. I'm grateful that there is still hope that he will walk and that we are able to get this kind of equipment and that we have a great physiotherapist to help us along the way. But, I just want to say this - It still hurts like hell.

And on that note, I just wanted to let you all know that I probably won't be posting much for the next two weeks as we are going to be very busy. But, I'll be back.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happening Now

Time for a Bennett update.

Crawling: He’s still bunny hopping. Every once in a while we try to correct him but it’s almost impossible. He’s fast. As part of his physio we are supposed to try and get him crawling over obstacles (or stairs). Unfortunately, everyone Bennett knows lives in a bungalow so he has no place to learn stairs. As you see in the video below, we have improvised. He’s doing really well and is turning into a great little climber. Coming down is a bit difficult. He prefers to go head first but we try to make him go backwards. I can’t say I blame him. I like to see where I’m going too. Warning: You might want to turn down your speakers – Bowser barks through much of the first video.

Walking: He continues to make slow and steady progress in his walker. He is taking bigger and better steps but still needs someone to steady him. The AFO should help a lot. Unfortunately that’s still at least 2 months away

Pulling Up: He pulls up to his knees everywhere with no problems. He also has been pulling to stand a lot more. The other day we came home and put him down beside one of his toys on the living room floor. I continued on to the kitchen and when I turned around he was standing up playing with his toy. It was amazing. For some reason he pulls to stand easily as long as doesn’t stop to think about it first. However, when we try to practice he protests. Funny Kid.

Talking: This deserves its own post so I’ll try to update soon.

Funny Story: Bennett is going through a phase where he likes to bring me things. This could include anything from toys, pieces of grass, to tiny pieces of dirt he finds on the floor. It’s quite cute and is always rewarded with a big Thank You. The other night I was sitting in my chair enjoying Olympic coverage when all of a sudden a tiny but chubby hand reached up and around the corner of my chair. It was clutching a toy pig. I saw nothing else – so I took the pig and handed out what was probably my 30th thank you of the day. Bennett then took off and continued playing with his toys. It was cute but then I started thinking that maybe he was trying to tell me something with the pig. After all, I was sitting there in a comfy reclining chair, stuffing my face with junk food and watching TV. And then a thought occurred to me that filled my heart with pride - perhaps my son was turning into a smart ass just like me!

Climber Guy

Cool Guy (with a soother)

Tired Guy

Monday, August 11, 2008

What's So Funny?

Have any of you heard about the controversy surrounding this new movie that's coming out soon? It's called Tropic Thunder and stars Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., and Tom Cruise. You can read more about it here and here - and then come back please.

I'll admit that I don't know much about this movie. Obviously, I haven't seen it and I have no intention of doing so. It sounds disgusting and offensive. I wish the protesters all the luck in the world and hope no one goes to see it.

I'll also admit that I don't believe in censorship. I'm a supporter of free speech and support the rights of artists to express themselves. I don't think it's appropriate to ban books. I think it should be up to the individual to make up their own mind.

So, what's my point and why am I even bringing this up? As usual, I'm not really sure. This movie sounds awful and I would like for it to go away. I think it will encourage negative stereotypes and illustrate all too well that for some inexplicable reason it is ok to make fun of people who are vulnerable.

I guess what I just don't understand is why movies like this are even made. Who thinks this kind of stuff is funny? Obviously there are a lot of people out there who think it's hilarious to make fun of people with disabilities. Why else would they spend more than $90 million on this film?

I can think of many better ways to spend $90 million dollars. I can also think of many other things to laugh about.

What about you? Will you go to see it? Thoughts?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Stealing a Great Idea

I'm stealing this idea from Kara's blog:

It's a perfect follow-up to my post yesterday about trying to take things one day at a time, enjoying the moment and not worrying too much about the future.


#10. The smell of basil freshly picked from my garden.

#9. My huge zucchini. We always plant one zucchini plant and it always does well. In 2006 we won 3rd prize at the Massey Agricultural Fair. We didn't enter in 2007 but we are considering this year as we currently have a monster brewing in the garden.

#8. The feel of a soft, warm, horse nose under my hand.

#7. Pictures or Bird's little guy Charlie:

#6. The Bee picture of Kasia on the sidebar of Kara's blog:

#5. My mother taking credit for the fall of the Berlin wall in the comment section of yesterday's post.

#4. Watching Bennett and his daddy sleeping together in the trailer this morning.

#3. Bowser.
#2. The A&P incident. I went grocery shopping by myself today which turned out to be a good thing because Jim would never have let me do what I did. When I came out of the store there was a car parked right in front of the door blocking the ramp. So, I decided to wait and talk to the owner. When he came out I politely informed him that he had chosen a horrible place to park as it made it very difficult for people with carts and impossible for anyone in a wheelchair. He agreed, apologized and looked very shameful. (Before anyone suggests that maybe he had a physical problem I just wanted to state that he looked very healthy and if his issue was not visible then he could have just parked 5 feet further ahead and NOT blocked the ramp.) Even before I spent a few months in a wheelchair, this kind of thing drove me nuts. Now it bugs me even more. Somehow, it made me feel a lot better to talk to this guy.
#1. This morning we went out to the farm where our neice Amber rides horses. We walked around the stables and were introduced to the animals. At one point, Amber was trying to throw some hay into one of the stalls and it fell all over her head. This made us all laugh but Bennett thought it was one of the funniest things he'd ever seen. I wish I could've got that on tape but instead I have the video below of Bennett petting one of the horses that Amber was grooming.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Reminder

Everyone can use a little reminder every now and then. Especially me lately. It seems I need to be reminded to look at the name of my blog – One Day at a Time – and then try to live my life that way.

Lately, I can’t seem to get thoughts of the future out of my head. Many years ago, I can remember thinking of the future and looking forward to it. It was going to be great – children, travel, a great career. The possibilities were endless.

But now? Now the future scares me. It scares me so much that sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe. I worry so much – mostly about Bennett. I’m sure all mothers worry – I have no doubt they do. But not all mothers worry about the things I do. I lie awake at night worrying about whether Bennett will walk, will he ever talk, how extensive will his cognitive impairments be, will he have seizures, is he having them now, will the hydrocephalus get worse, will he be able to participate fully in school, will he have friends, will other kids pick on him or bully him, will he be able to live on his own, what if something happens to us? I could go on but you get the idea.

I worry about myself too. Will I end up losing my leg at some point, will it get so bad that I’ll be confined to a wheelchair, what if Bennett and I both end up in wheelchairs? Will we become too much of a burden for Jim (he’ll kill me when he reads that one, so this may be my last blog post). I also worry about Jim – about my family, about his family, etc.

I know what some of you are thinking and I know you’re right. I have to stop worrying so much about the future. I can’t control it, I don’t KNOW what’s going to happen. I have to live one day at time. So, I’ll take a deep breath and remind myself to try this.

The other reason why I need to stop worrying so much is because it robs me of something – something very important. Something called HOPE. When I worry so much, I lose hope. And frankly, right now I need hope. Hope that I can handle whatever happens. Hope that wonderful things will happen too.

I really need to start enjoying Bennett more than I worry about him. After all, there is a lot to enjoy. How can you not enjoy a sweet little boy with an incredible smile who gives sloppy kisses, who has an infectious belly laugh and an apparent love for Salsa music?

So, here’s my reminder for today – ONE DAY AT A TIME. And today is Friday.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Things I've Learned From...

…watching the Food Network for almost two years. When I returned home from the hospital after the accident I had a lot of time on my hand (the other was firmly encased in a colourful purple cast). My pregnant, broken body was tucked into an extremely uncomfortable hospital bed in the middle of my living room which had quickly become my bedroom, bathroom and dining room. People brought me books, which was a nice idea – after all I’ve always been an avid reader. However, I found that I couldn’t concentrate and kept reading the same sentences over and over again. So much for getting through all those great classics.

I’m sure some people feared that I would start to watch daytime talk shows and soap operas. I couldn’t bring myself to do that either. Oprah and Dr. Phil were even more annoying than usual, Ellen didn’t make me laugh – even Regis couldn’t bring a smile to my face. I had no interest in soap operas. I kind of felt like I was living one – a really bad one, with really bad greasy hair and no hope of getting better in a week.

So what did I do? I watched the Food Network. I think this drove everybody but my father crazy. I don’t know what I found so intriguing. After all, I couldn’t cook either – I could barely sit in my wheelchair for 20 minutes. I like to eat but after the accident I had absolutely no appetite. I lived on Ensure – ahhh, nothing like the refreshing taste of chocolate flavoured chalky syrup. So, even though I’m not sure why I watched, I did log hundreds of viewing hours and learned quite a bit some of which I will share with you now.

  • Extra virgin olive oil is indispensable. A few months ago, I ran out and asked a friend to borrow some. She did with the qualifier that she had no idea how old it was. I was shocked! Olive oil MUST be fresh and of good quality!
  • Salt and pepper everything – in layers – and always measure with your hands. You NEVER shake directly out of the container. You have to FEEL the seasoning.
  • The list of foods that have a “nutty” or “buttery” flavour is endless.
  • I should really try cooking with anchovies because apparently when cooked, they don’t taste fishy at all but add a nice salty flavour to your food.
  • The best vanilla flavour comes from the tiny seeds inside the pods which you cut open and then scrape with the tip of the knife. However, I also learned that vanilla pods are very expensive and difficult to find.
  • It actually is quite easy to seed and chop a tomato and well worth the effort.
  • When pan frying something you want it to “caramelize”. Then deglaze the pan because all the flavour is in those “brown bits”.
  • NEVER use a cooking wine. Always use one that you would drink on its own. This can be difficult because if you like to drink it then isn’t it better to drink it rather than cook it? Ahh…wine….
  • A man who knows his way around a kitchen is very attractive – especially with good lighting.

I still watch the Food Network – a lot. Bennett seems to enjoy it too. I think his favourite is Rachael Ray. I’m not sure why – maybe because she’s so perky. Something his mother will NEVER be accused of.

Any other Food Network fans out there? Any more tips for me? Am I crazy? (OK – don’t answer that one)

Monday, August 4, 2008


We took advantage of the long weekend and went camping. We had a great time and despite all the dire predictions, the weather was fantastic. The park was busy but pretty quiet overall. We went for lots of walks and I even got to enjoy reading by the campfire.

Bennett made some friends as well. We stopped by their campsite every evening for some peanut butter cookies before bed. He also got to take the leftovers home with him (I ate most of them).

Grandma and Grandpa came for a visit so we took that opportunity to show off some walking skills as you can see below. I think it's so funny how he practically tries to run to Grandpa.

In other news, Bennett banged his head on the coffee table and gave himself a nice little goose egg - it has mostly faded. He also rounded out the weekend tonight by peeing all over daddy as he waited to get in the bath - VERY FUNNY!