Friday, December 30, 2011

Out with the Old

2011 definitely had some high points. Not just the Royal Wedding (which, sadly,  we did not attend) but things that happened to to our family.

Certainly having our German exchange students for three weeks was one big one. It was such a pleasure to meet them and get to know them and share this experience with them. They were welcomed to California with two earthquakes. Another high point was the several days we spent in exile in the East Bay while our floors were being done. We had a pool and a beautiful garden to enjoy and came back to gleaming wood floors.  My boys and husband are healthy and happy. My mom is doing well.

Maggie "married" her boyfriend on Valentine's day, had fun at her Mardi Gras Birthday party looked beautiful at the Prom, hung out in a bar, went swimming, saw Carols Santana, dressed as Cleopatra for Halloween and went on dozens of fun outings.  Maggie also introduced us to her alter ego "Melissa" who has been a regular visitor around here for months. (Hopefully Melissa was just a 2011 phenomenon.) She was deemed a truant by the school district (which doesn't know which way is up sometimes) and has nearly perfected her ability to steal things out of someones pocket. She improved her skills using her dynavox tremendously and now orders us around with great ease. Maggie also had to say goodbye to both Ms. Derkash and Ms Taylor her former teachers as they left the area.

There was a big milestone too. Steve and I celebrated out 25th wedding anniversary and snuck away for a weekend. Eddie moved to Orange County and started his full time work life. Tim moved to the suburbs (but he's coming back to the City).We had kind strangers return lost cell phones and people we barely know send gifts in the mail for Maggie.

There were down points too, the biggest being Maggie's health issues that consumed most of the year. She missed special Olympics because of illness. It was exhausting and scary and I hope we don't start off 2012 the same way, though she has a slight fever as I write this. Maggie had so many medical tests this year it was ridiculous. We were at UCSF as much as were were not. That was no fun.

. Other family members faced health challenges as well. I hope 2012 is healthier for everyone.

We had multiple problems with equipment such as wheelchairs, elevators and vans - but right now everything is working. There were ongoing issues with access and attitude. There were weird strangers and people starting, but our repertoire of snappy comebacks is ever improving.

All in all the good outweighed the bad. Despite her health issues, Maggie remains the happiest person on earth. And that happy demeanor makes it so much easier care for her and to handle the harder days.

I think we are ready to take what 2012 has to offer, but I do wonder what the New year will bring. I hope its something good for you

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Post Christmas Post

Maggie's Christmas socks from Eddie and  Grace. 

Christmas has come and gone. It was lovely. Exhausting, but lovely. Maggie stayed healthy (but she's getting sick now), my boys were here. All was right with the world. Now I am fighting the urge to throw the Christmas tree out the front window so I can restore what passes for order around here.

Eddie and Grace arrived from Southern California late Friday night and stayed until Monday. My father in law arrived Thursday and was here for the whole weekend. Tim stayed here on Christmas Eve night and had to sleep on the floor because there was no room at the Inn. We tried to draw the parallels, but a pad and sleeping bag on the floor isn't quite a manger.

Here are Maggie and Tim just before we left for Church on Christmas Eve

We stayed home for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This year, for the first time I didn't even take Maggie to church with us on Christmas Eve afternoon. It's a difficult time of year for her health wise and the crowds of coughing people at church seemed like an easily avoidable risk. Besides, the stares of people in church creep all of us out. They are either fascinated or look at us doe eyed like we have given them perspective at Christmastime. Thanks, but that's not a role I care to play. Of course once there I felt tremendously guilty and sad that she wasn't with us. Can't win.

We have had a Christmas Eve dinner of cracked crab and ravioli for as many years as I can remember. This year was no exception. My mom and Steve's dad were here along with my brother and his family and all of us. My sister Joan and her family came by before dinner to visit so there were 16 people in and out of here. Christmas Day is was just the five of us and my father in law. Poor Tim had to work at noon on Christmas Day because God forbid people have to do without their Starbucks Latte for a day. That was a bummer for him, but he was here for the gift giving frenzy and came back and ate dinner here. Best of a bad situation.

Of course there was one dramatic moment after everyone left on Christmas Eve night. Steve was upstairs helping his dad get settled, the boys and Grace were in the living room talking and Maggie and I were in her room. I put her up on the bed and was changing her diaper. Maggie's room is straight back from the living room - a distance of maybe 20-25 feet through the dining room. They can see me, which turned out to be a very good thing. Maggie's muscle tone is especially tight lately (probably because she was getting sick) and changing her when she's like that is very challenging. She was in a very awkward position and suddenly did this Olympic diver twist and flew off the (very high) bed. I screeched as it happened and was able to "catch" her in mid air to break her fall, but there was NO WAY I could have held on.

 I didn't have to. The boys appeared out of nowhere before she hit the ground and saved the day. They must have seen it unfolding because they were there in a flash. I didn't know either of them could move that fast. It was like they had winged feet. They said it felt like one step instead of five or six. Maggie thought it was hilarious. She already thinks of them as heroes. Right then, so did I. We were damsels in distress and they saved the day.  

If that was my Christmas magic moment, I will take it happily.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Christmas greetings from my family to yours.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. If you don't celebrate this holiday, I hope you have a wonderful weekend. We are shutting it down here until Monday. 

Thank you for taking the time to catch up on Maggie's World. I feel very lucky to be able to share her amazing life with people. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Final push

"Greetings cards have all been sent...the Christmas rush is through."

Except that it isn't. I did send greeting cards, but I was so disorganized that some people got two while others were overlooked. I'm still waiting for an address too, so that will be a New Years card. My house is full to bursting with gifts, food, decorations and stuff. Still more rushing to do today, but mostly it's the grocery variety. That can be the most competitive shopping of all, though.

I do have to return a space heater I bought yesterday. My father in law is here and the room he is sleeping in does not have heat. We have a space heater in Maggie's room. We do not leave the heat on at night because it gets too hot upstairs, but the nurse would freeze without some heat.  I couldn't take that one.
I was sure we had one and I went downstairs to our junk/storage area to find one. Turns out one was completely broken and the other was only a fan. Hmm. I texted or called various family friends and neighbors to see about borrowing a space heater, but no one had one. So off to Walgreen's to purchase a space heater. No problem. If the one in Maggie's room breaks I will have a spare. I brought it upstairs and started to set it up and HELLO - there's a space heater in that room already. This one is going back immediately. That's ONE thing out of this house.

Maggie and I went to North Beach yesterday and bought the good stuff for Christmas Eve dinner. It's all cash and carry down there, so we hit the bank, loaded up on cash and went to the bakery to get foccacia, and to the deli to get fresh ravioli. I used to do that on the morning of Christmas Eve, but it is so ridiculously crowded, that I decided to just get it done. I have a refrigerator and a freezer. Save energy. Use the technology!

Then we passed a Chinese vegetable market with the most beautiful string beans and had to stop. The place was small and tight, but we did not let that deter us. The owner said something like "I take care of him" (meaning Maggie.) He wanted me to wander around inside the shop and leave her out on Stockton Street.

Uhhhh NO.

I didn't think he could handle a lesson in suctioning so  I thanked him but said no, I will keep her with me. We maneuvered with great difficulty through the little store, annoying some very competitive vegetable shoppers, and nearly knocking over giant bins of various types of produce,  but I emerged with some beautiful veggies.

The busy day was made easier by the amazing weather. I know we need rain and there's no snow in the mountains, but it's hard to argue with this kind of day.

Hope everyone has a great day. the big day is upon us. Grandpa is already here. We are anxious for the arrival of Eddie and Grace late tonight and  undoubtedly Tim will pop in at some point today. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mugging for the Camera

One Christmas season at least 30 years ago I went Christmas Shopping with my sister Mary. This is not earthshaking, I've done that with all of my sisters and brothers over the years. But this one trip was memorable and I am reminded of it whenever all of our Christmas crap decorations are out  I remember this because I still have the Christmas mug I bought on that excursion.

Neither of us had kids then, but I think she was already married. We were in downtown San Francisco and decided our mission was to purchase something on every single floor of Macy's. I don't think we BOTH had to purchase something on every floor, but together we had to make sure we hit all of them. At that time there ware 8 floors in one building. Totally doable. Now Macys took over the IMagnin Building and there are 8 floors in two buildings and another building across the street with an additional four floors.(I think that one used to be Liberty House).  Even if we were inclined to try, which we are not, I doubt we could succeed today.

It was a perfectly normal thing for us to do in those days. We were young, working and without responsibilities. A shirt for dad, on the first floor, something for mom on 4, ornaments or some such thing on 8, undoubtedly something for us on the floors with the clothes, but I don't remember .I bought the Christmas Mug in the cellar and I believe she did too.

In the years since life changed a hundred times. We have both had children, in fact each of us has a child with disabilities and our priorities changed. We went shopping one day last week and of course we went into Macy's. Mary did buy me a fishing ornament to replace Steve's cool one that was lost in the tree crash, but.I think that's the only $5 we spent in that store. We looked around and went out to lunch instead. Much more fitting.
I am enjoying my coffee out of this mug right now and marveling at the number of years that have gone by, and how much life has changed. Mostly, though I'm marveling that this cup has survived 30 years of packing up the Christmas stuff and has only one little nick (visible above the handle).  

Hope I haven't jinxed it by writing this.. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tannen BOMB

Just two weeks ago our Christmas tree was happily growing in our backyard in the Richmond District, a place famous for its fog and lack of sunshine. Yes, that's right. We cut out tree down in our own backyard, and I'm willing to bet we are the only ones in San Francisco who can say that.

            This is the same tree we used several years ago. If you cut it right, it grows back. And my husband, who still brags about his A+ in Forestry 10 that he received 30 years ago in college, apparently knows what he's doing. It didn't look like much when first cut,  but once it is up and decorated it looks just like a Christmas tree should.

Of course the genesis of this tree is not the whole story. As I wrote last week, it fell over. Once it was up and decorated, it tried to make a break for the back yard, tumbling over, breaking ornaments and tangling lights. Steve put it back up on its perch and the electric train is set up around the base. 

The other night Steve was reading Maggie How the Grinch Stole Christmas and noticed a similarity between the tree in Cindy Lou Hoo's House and ours. Especially at the top. Not sure if that's a result of the crash or the heavy star or just the way our little tree entered the world. 


Five days to go. It is now screwed into the platform, so it will not be falling over again, but it still looks like it's trying to get back out to the back yard.

I will set it fee next week. I promise.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Warrior Mom

I have a perfect new image to use/conjure/imagine/remember whenever I have to fight insurance companies, government agencies or the medical establishment to get Maggie what she needs

It's good to Christmas shop at Scottish Import stores.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mom, it's Friday, Mom

Maggie has an annoying habit of using her talker to repeat the same sentence 10,000 times. I believe she is waiting for a specific response and just keeps saying it until someone responds the way she wants. Generally we respond the first 50 times or so and then just tune it out. Steve can be reading the paper and Maggie will say "Dad, hello" over and over and over again. He says Hello Maggie, or Good morning Maggie or How are you today Maggie and she will just keep saying "DAD, Hello."

Maggie laughs her head off when I finally get exasperated and say, "Ok, Maggie you've said that enough. Clear it and start again." She does clear the sentence and start again,  but generally just changes the sentence a little bit. Dad, Hello dad might become "Dad, good morning." with an accompanying wicked grin.

When she came up with "Dad, go to work Dad" it quickly became a favorite morning comment.

There is a slight chance that she knows it drives us crazy and she gets a wee bit of enjoyment out of that.

Last night after the nurse left Maggie's sentence was, "Mom, tomorrow is Friday Mom."  I replied in various ways. "it certainly is" or "right you are." Nothing. I tried "yep, last day of school" and "you have to bring these gifts for your friends and teachers." "Vacation startes tomorrow." She just kept saying it over and over. I went back to wrapping and tried different answers about every third time she said "Mom, tomorrow is Friday Mom."

Steve was sitting in the other chair doing some work. He was right next to Maggie and hearing all of this but letting me respond because it was clear she was talking to me. Finally I said, "Hey dad, do you know what day tomorrow is?"  He didn't even look up but got the point. He said, "I'm not sure....Thursday?"

Maggie slammed her hand down on her tray which is her sign for NO! (and when she slams it like that it's more of a "oh HELL no.") Steve and I started to laugh and Maggie was a bit mad for a minute but even she finally started laughing. I still don't know what she wanted me to say in return, but it was good to turn the tables on her.

Still, I have a sneaking suspicion we will pay for that little trick tonight.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

All's Quiet on the Western Front

 Our life has more than its share of crises. In fact, we spent the entire first five years of Maggie’s life in crisis mode. There have been hundreds of crises since then too, and we have fretted and cried, wondered and feared the outcome.  So far, we have weathered the storms.

We do not live in crisis mode every day anymore, which is good. A crisis is, by definition, an emergency and it takes precedence over all other issues in your life.  You just have to get through it and hope and pray for a positive outcome and deal with the fallout later. We see others dealing with crisis and understand the fear and exhaustion, even if the circumstances are different.  

When one has experienced crisis as often as we have, you learn to enjoy the quieter days. Our day to day life is a busy one with issues and activities very different from those of most people. It is always different and often difficult, but we have adapted to it well.  Periodically we have to make adjustments to “normalize the abnormal.”   Sometimes those adjustments have ripple effects financially, emotionally or socially.  We just figure it out and marshal on. C’est la vie.

In times like these, when our biggest “crisis” of the week is the Christmas tree falling over, I have to stop and be thankful for all that is going right.  It’s December 15th, Christmas is coming, Maggie is healthy, the boys are doing well and will both be here next week..

All is calm, all is bright.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How lovely are your branches....

There are some days that start badly. Today is one of those days.

I came down around 6:30. Greeted Maggie talked to the nurse about the night and started my routine. I went into the kitchen to get coffee. Retrieved my happy Christmas from the dishwasher and was taking that perfect first sip of coffee when I  heard a loud crash.

The Christmas tree, which we spent the last two nights decorating fell over. Of course this year, for the first time in many  many years, Steve took the time to set up the train around the base of the tree and and we put the whole thing on a platform about 12 inches off the floor. That just made for a more spectacular crash

I didn't touch it, the dog wasn't near it. It just timbered crashing ornaments and spilling water all over the newly refinished floors. I couldn't lift it by myself and the nurse was in no position to assist. (In fact she left about two minutes after the crash). I was yelling for Steve who was in the shower. He came down barefoot and had to go back to get shoes on. He righted it, but had to leave for San Jose. We had to leave it to fix tonight. I mopped up the water and folded back the wet rug.

Meanwhile Ms. Maggie was in her room alone and having NONE of that. She was pounding on the side of her bed and demanding some attention. I rushed back there and she was fine - just indignant. I rushed through her morning ritual and got down to the bus.

I like to think things are gong to get better from here. In fact, I think I will go buy a lotto ticket.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Making the switch

I took the plunge yesterday and started making the switch in pharmacies. As of the firts of the year, our insurer Anthem Blue Cross and our pharmacy,Walgreens, will no longer do business together. I delayed switching over hoping these two companies would reach an agreement and my little life boat would not flip over. Seems that will not happen.

When they redid our neighborhood Safeway, they put in a pharmacy. We've never used,it, but figured that made the most sense. Maggie and I walked over to Safeway early Sunday morning. I picked that time on purpose, because I knew it would take a while and at that hour the store is not crowded and the pharmacy is practically deserted.  The pharmacy department is right behind the wine section of the store, so that's a win. There was one pharmacist working alone and he came over to the window to help me. I smiled and said," I'm either going to make your day or ruin your day right now."

He was well aware of the Anthem/Walgreens issue. I gave him a list of Maggie's medications and the pharmacy slips from almost all of the drugs. (I have one or two that weren't in the pile.) He busied himself going through the paperwork listing all 14 current medications. He asked my name, Steve's name, and then stopped, eyes wide and said, "Wait, are these all for one person?" I smiled and gestured toward Maggie. Yes, they are all for her.

I brought Maggie with me  on purpose thinking that might make it a little easier for them to grasp the situation if they had a visual of the patient. When I turned around to introduce her, though, Maggie was sitting in profile with her hood pulled over her face. She looked like a reclusive woman of mystery.

I said, "Oh, Sorry" and turned her around and fixed the hood.  She gave this guy the biggest grin you have ever seen and, though he was flummoxed by the task I had dumped on him first thing in the morning,  he smiled right back at her.

I am not looking forward to the transition, but I can see that it just might work out all right eventually. It's only a few blocks away and I'm in there all the time anyway to get groceries.

Maggie will just have to charm them one at a time.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What's UP?

Tim is always quick to pull Maggie out of her chair and sit with her.

Maggie's chair holds her head in place very nicely. As soon as she gets out of her chair she tends to go into extension and her head goes straight back.

Tim just joins her and says, "What the Hell do you see up there?" That cracks Maggie up and I had to grab this shot.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Parading around the Neighborhood

We live in a 90 year old house, but we are only the third owners. The first owner had it from 1922 until sometime in the early 50's when my grandparents bought it. My grandfather died in 1958, but my grandmother lived here until January 1987 when she passed away at the age of 97. That's when we bought it.  Ronald Reagan was president. We were "newlyweds" (still are!), newly licensed lawyers with no children. Everything in the house needed work and we started tackling one project after another

This house was so BIG then. It was just the two of us and we had all these rooms..  Over the years it became much much smaller as we had kids who kept getting bigger and gathering more things. Then the boys moved out and it felt bigger again, but since they left most of their stuff,  it has never felt as big as it first did. Also, once we moved Maggie downstairs and turned the breakfast room into her bedroom, the flow of the house has been very different.

Even though we've lived here  for 25 years, we do not have "seniority" on the block. I guess there are about 40 houses on the block and I know at least 6 have residents who have been here longer than us. Another 5 have been here 20 years. That's amazing. Some of the oldest neighbors have passed away and young families have moved in just as we did 25 years ago. Those houses that were neglected came back to life right before our eyes.

People tend to stay on this block. But not everyone. This week one of the new families moved away. Hilary and Wendy had only been here a few years, but decided to move across town to cut down on commutes to school and work. We were sorry to see them go. They have three little kids, two boys and a girl, who brought such a great energy to the block. One of the boys who was only three or four had a very DEEP voice and would shout for mom, or for one of his siblings. We cracked up every time we heard him.   They were always outside playing and having fun with one of the moms watching them. When I saw the "For Sale" sign on the house I was sad. I looked forward to watching the kids grow up.

Moving with three little kids is no for the feint of heart. It's a ton of work (though not having 24 years worth of crap would make it slightly easier). They worked diligently for several weeks and were ready when the moving trucks arrived last Friday. During one of the purges in preparation for the move, Hilary found a box with her kids Halloween costumes from a couple of years ago. They pounced on that box when they saw it and decided to have a parade up and down the street wearing a mish mash of too small costumes. They pulled the gay pride flag out to make it even more parade like. It was hilarious. They happily stopped for the paparazzi (me).

We will miss them and wish them well. 

With them gone it will fall to us to run the parades around here. I will festoon Maggie's chair. It just won't be the same, though.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ho Ho, Ho

I love Christmas time. I really do. I love when you see the real Christmas spirit in others. I  love thinking about others and coming us with the perfect gifts. I love getting cards, especially ones with pictures. I love the decorations in the stores (but not too early.) I love excited children. I love coming home weary at 6:00PM and seeing houses and trees decorated with lights. It makes me happy.

 I love it. I  just don't want to DO any of it.

  I want to enjoy everybody else doing all the Christmas things and without having to to it myself. Scrooge? Hardly. Lazy and wary of more clutter? Guilty as charged.

I have cards here waiting to be written. I have some gifts purchased but unwrapped. I am stumped on others. Boxes of decorations are starting to make their way up from the basement thanks only to my husband. I sigh loudly in anticipation of all of it.

I was trying to convince my husband that the house looks perfect as is, but he disagrees.We just finished getting the front steps redone and the artist/contractor who did them wants them to dry for another day. I thought this was the look we should keep for the season, but apparently that's not festive enough.

We will get a tree this weekend and once its up I will be happy and I will surround myself with the joys of the season. I will write cards and bake cookies and wait for Santa. My boys will come home, Maggie will stay healthy and we will feast and share and enjoy.

And I will scoff at those who aren't as into the season as I am.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A winning compliment

Growing up in a large Irish Catholic family was fun. You knew the rules and ignored  kept them (mostly). All seven of us went through 12 years of Catholic school without a thought about it. Though I was 4th in line, I was the first to venture away from Catholic schools for college. It was a bit of a revolution in my house, but you knew if there was a storm, Sally was in the center of it.

 I went to UCLA and loved it. Despite its non religious status, I did not become a heathen or fall off the end of the earth. Unlike many San Franciscans, I do not HATE Los Angeles. It's a great town with a million things to do. I always knew, though, that I wasn't going to stay there.

Perhaps because I didn't stay in LA and perhaps because I have such a tight group of friends here from growing up, I fell out of touch with almost everyone from UCLA. There are still Christmas cards and the occasional facebook comment, but other than a rare reunion, I have fallen out of touch with every one. Except Clare.

Clare was my roommate for two years. She knows all my secrets. We lived in an apartment on Barry avenue and we named it Try Barry Pie to recognize the resurgence of sororities (we did not wish to join, it was simply an homage). Our next door neighbors were two sisters about 90 years old who used to listen to Johnny Carson at full volume. Every time we heard that introductory music we would laugh our heads off. They were 90 and tuning in a show at 11:30. We were 21 and trying to sleep. We bonded and have remained close friends ever since.

Funny - though college was my Declaration of Independence and my revolution from Catholic school, my closest college friend is from a large Irish Catholic family.

Shrug. What can I say? It's part of me.

Clare teaches special education in the central valley where she lives with her daughter Anne Marie. The two of them and Clare's mom Marilyn are frequent visitors to San Francisco and they always include us in their plans. Recently Steve and I were invited to her sister Anne's 25th anniversary luncheon. That's pretty good considering Steve had never even met Anne and neither of us had met her husband. We were interlopers, and happy to be there! It was an elegant affair and a lovely afternoon. I was able to talk to Clare and two of her sisters and catch up on the news about the others.  I love this family and feel a part of it.  

At that luncheon, Anne Marie looked beautiful in a flowered print dress and I told her so. She's in high school now and looks quite grown up and lovely. She has a great sense of style.

Apparently that style is not limited to clothing.

On Thanksgiving weekend Clare and Anne Marie came to SF and we spent one morning shopping on Chestnut Street. Maggie joined us but was not her cheerful self. She was exhausted from Thanksgiving and all the activity. That did not deter any of us from having a good time. After shopping, Clare and Anne Marie came back to the house and brought  Maggie a gift. It was the flowered dress Anne was wearing at the luncheon as well as another beautiful dress and wrap.

They know Maggie goes to the prom every year and thought one of these might work. You should have seen Maggie change her demeanor.   Now Maggie's wardrobe is set for her 18th birthday bash AND her prom.

I was sorry to see them go, but I made sure to complement Clare on her car as they drove away. You never  know....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Maggie Mixes

Anyone who has read this blog at all knows about Maggie and her music. For the past several years, Maggie has been listening to pop music. Maggie demands it constantly, so the background noise in our house is Lady Gaga or Katy Perry or  some other pop star. Now it seems she is refining her tastes. It's still pop music, but she is listening for different things.

This love started when she was in middle school, which is age appropriate. She had two girlfriends there who were great for Maggie socially. We had a rock star birthday party and I made a mixed CD for all the kids. that was the very first "Maggie Mix." There have been several other since then. Maggie gives them out at Girls Rock camp and to her classmates and anyone else who is interested. Mr. Bebe was a paraprofessional in her middle school class. He suggested "All the Single Ladies" by Beyonce. That is Maggie's signature song and it is on every mix. Other songs will be on a few cds but not all of them. Maggie, unlike other teenagers is not as willing to accept change, though, so a few of the songs appear on several if not all of the mixes.

I have learned to introduce new songs by placing them just after her familiar tunes. While Maggie is still glowing in the joy of "All the Single Ladies," she is not fighting a new song. This trick has saved me from going out of my mind listening to the same music constantly. Recently we made a Maggie Mix when our German exchange students left. There were the Maggie standards, which had been the background music of their entire stay, along with several songs about San Francisco to make sure they didn't forget their time here. I made an extra CD and put it in the car because I had to have a little variety.

Maggie is far more willing to accept new music if there is something in it that makes her laugh. Profanity is hilarious. Of course, all of the songs are the cleaned up versions. For example, we have C Lo Green's "Forget You" rather than the other version. You may not realize, however, that even the clean version has a couple of profane phrases, and those send Maggie over the edge.

I noticed this first with Mumford and Sons "Little Lion Man." It's an upbeat song and Maggie was tolerating it even though it was new. At one point they say "I really F'd it up this time" and Maggie started laughing her head off. I looked at her in mock horror and said Maggie where would you even HEAR words like that. (I won't tell you her response.) Now we wait for that phrase with great anticipation.

The other day she started laughing uncontrollably at another song. There was no profanity at all and I couldn't figure out what was making her laugh. The song was "Save me San Francisco" by Train. Every time they said "San Francisco" Maggie completely lost it, laughing so hard she couldn't breathe.

I think she likes it here. In fact  I'd swear to it - but only to make her laugh.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas is coming.

Long time no post....Every time I sat down to write something I ran out of gas. I was fighting a bug all week and simply did not have any stamina. So far Maggie hasn't come down with it, and I hope it stays that way.

We had a rule in my house growing up. We were not allowed to decorate, discuss or even anticipate Christmas  until after my sister Joan's birthday. That's today! I talked to her this morning and won't see her for the rest of the day, so that means I am free to acknowledge that Christmas is coming. Since I was feeling better today we headed downtown early this morning to beat the crowd and check out some of the Christmas decorations.

The best thing about getting downtown early is that it's easy to find street parking. Most of the stores weren't even opened at 9:15 when we arrived. People arriving for a day of shopping would likely not park on the street. They would have to feed the meter constantly. Carrying around all that change would deter them and likely injure their backs. We do not  have that problem when Maggie is with us. We can park pretty much anywhere and put up the disabled placard and not pay a dime. Win Win!!

We checked out the puppies and Kittens in Macy's windows, went through Holiday Lane in Macy's, checked out a couple of other stores, went into the St Francis Hotel, checked out Union Square and we were back home by noon. Very efficient and very festive.

I have to say that the St Francis hotel is fantastic and beautiful, but difficult to navigate with a wheelchair. The front door is not accessible and you have to enter all the way around in the back. It's legal, but not very welcoming. In addition, the glass elevators in the St. Francis are really off limits to interlopers like us. You have to show a room key to access them. I can't really object to that, it is for the safety of the guests but Maggie missed that opportunity. It's almost like the hotels are for the guests or something.

We did experience a "first" while in Macy's. I was taking this picture of Maggie near the nutcracker. A dad was keeping his two little girls out of the shot and it was clear they were anxious to check out the nutcracker. I hurried the picture so we wouldn't hog the spot. As we finished I said, "it's all yours." One of the girls,who looked about 4 years old. was telling us something about what they were going to do. Though we couldn't quite hear/understand her Steve and I both said something like, "that sounds great, have a good time." She frowned and said more clearly "I want a turn getting a picture in the chair that moves".


I grinned as it dawned on me. She wanted to get her picture taken while sitting in Maggie's chair. We are used to kids staring at Maggie. The wheelchair, the computer, the tray, her trach etc. It's a lot for a kid to take in. This was the first time, though, that we ever experienced a kid wanting to use it.  

I just said, "Oh I'm sorry honey, she can't get out of the chair it goes with her." She was fine hearing "no." I smiled at her dad, but he did not speak any English and I'm not sure he realized what had gone on.  Maggie was also oblivious.

 We left. Steve and I were chuckling to ourselves and feeling a little of the magic of the Season. .