Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Low carbs and crafts

     We all end up falling down rabbit-holes once in awhile. We start talking about one thing and end up spending a ton of time on a side subject. Or we are doing something, get distracted by something else, and then spend a ton of time on the distraction. Hmm, maybe that is just me. Last month Maire introduced me to Spoonflower. I bought so much cool fabric and I have not done anything with it. So I finally remedied that. I made a bunch of cute western saddle pads. I will likely make more of these when I get a chance. They are cute and fun and amuse me. 
      I also made the soul bread again. I used a slightly bigger pan and this time it did not overflow. I have now made this bread 3 times, I think it is my current favorite. It is not a perfect bread replacement, but it is tasty, works well in any bread capacity, and is easy to make. Plus there are NO flours of any kind in it. Which means it is gluten free, nut free, though it is NOT dairy free. 
    Another recent favorite is this 90 second microwave bread. This one is made with almond flour so it's not great for everyone, but it works for me (and Travis). I have been leaving it in one thick piece, buttering both sides and grilling it and adding syrup. It's a lot like thick French toast! If I actually dipped it in egg first I think it would be perfect thick French toast. And that may happen soon. But it is fast to make (about 30 seconds to mix up and then 90 seconds in the microwave) and frying it is fast. It's a tasty side dish for breakfast or if you are like me, a quick breakfast in itself. I have stopped the intermittent fasting for now. For the most part anyway.  
    The syrup I use is this one. I have also used the Lakanto one but don't like it as much because it's very thin. Though it does taste like maple syrup.
    The other night I also decided I needed to make another cowboy curtain. So I spent some time cutting wood, cutting ribbons, staining the wood pieces and gluing. 

    I think it turned out pretty well. I like the color combination. This week I need to hair some doll heads for a guy doing a comic book character display at some big convention. And I have a few dolls that I need to start working on. Finding the time is tricky. It's still the busy season for me. We have another track meet tomorrow. 
     I am still trying for normal and it is still hard. Some people have said some fairly hurtful things about Travis, and really, me as well. I am not sure why they think it OK. Or why some people seem to be so scared of him. I guess I will just keep doing what I do and hope that people can learn to be accepting of differences. We don't all need to love each other, or even like each other. But if we can aim for a little more understanding and a little more tolerance, I think the world would be a better place. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Fox Haven Farm

     Saturday, after we went to the West Stafford Fire Department, we went to Fox Haven Farm in Windham Connecticut. That is Liesl Dalpe's farm. They are still working on building the farm, but it is still a great looking place! 

     We had a really nice time walking around and seeing the horses. I can't say we enjoyed the weather since it was super chilly that day. 

    The dogs joined us on the walk and this one, Levi (pupper), could not figure out why Travis would not pay attention to him. He tried jumping up and down in front of him, jumping off dirt piles in spectacular fashion. Travis was not impressed. Poor pupper!
      Any day we can see horses is a good day. 
    We'll need to go back when it's warmer. But it was great to see Liesl's farm and hang out with her and Marisa (Evans) Spence who also came out to the farm. 
     Brittany wasn't sure about the weather, or the new mailbox that got put up. 
     Really guys, why did you change the mailbox???
     Leggs was a bit grumpy about the cold (and that new mailbox!)  but she posed for this one photo. 

    I missed getting the pics of the other horses and I don't remember everyone's name. I didn't get to meet Bailey, as he was off at horsie bootcamp. So we'll have to go down when he is home. 
    This weekend was very nice for Travis and I. We had the trip to the firehouse, the trip to the farm and then we met up with a bunch of hobby people to go out to dinner. It was fantastic. Though the weekend was not without bumps in the road. 
     I was thinking this morning of what to say about it. How do we get back to normal? I think the solution is to keep communicating. If you are not sure about something, ask questions. Don't assume. We are all guilty of it at some point. And often our assumptions are wrong. We should also try to remember everyone's feelings. We all have feelings and it's not right to ostracize anyone or gang up on anyone. Last Tuesday I was at an autism conference and there was an award given to "sensory Santa". He is an amazing man who is excellent with kids, especially kids who are a bit more scared of Santa. After he received his award he asked to say a few words and he shared a story with us about a wonderful thing he learned from a little boy with autism. This little boy was a little more nervous than most but he did finally go and sit with Santa. Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas. This little boy said he just wanted everything to be a little bit better. I think that is an excellent thing to strive for. And if we all try to be a bit nicer to each other I think things will start to be a little bit better for everyone.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

West Stafford Fire Department

     Yesterday Travis and I went and got a tour of the West Stafford Fire Department. Brenda Bednar is a firefighter in that department and was happy to take us on a tour. It was an amazing and all-inclusive tour!
    She asked Travis if he wanted to get in the truck and he gave us a resounding yes! We had to tell him a couple of times it was OK to touch the steering wheel. He was keeping his hands in his lap before that. I couldn't decide which picture I liked best, so even though these are all the same truck...
    I just had to use this one...
    and this one...
    and this one. It was clear to Brenda and I that Travis really liked the fire truck! This is Squad 144 which is a rescue truck
    He also got to get up in this one and "drive" it. This truck is ET 244 and is an engine tanker. I don't remember how much water it holds, just that it is a lot!
    Next Brenda asked Travis if he wanted to dress like a firefighter and there was an excited yes to that as well. If was quite clear, even without a lot of words, that Travis was very into this part of the tour. 
    He got right into the gear...
    and did a bit of strutting around. He looked pretty proud.
    I have to say, I was pretty proud of my handsome firefighter as well. 
     I told him to stand there and look tough. And he did. What a cool experience. 
   Brenda said I should try on the helmet too. Those things are heavy! I thought my backpack for school was bad. I can't imagine that firefighters don't have headaches and neck aches for at least a while when they start out. 
    I really can't remember all the different types of trucks we saw. Brenda gave us a very detailed tour and told us about the different types. I was just having so much fun photographing Travis that I forgot a lot. I am hoping she can fill me in a bit and I can update this post. 
    Not every photo I got was a masterpiece but I definitely wanted to include some with Brenda. She was so fantastic! She has always been very welcoming to Travis. Brenda hosts a 2-day model horse show (SNEWRU) and often has Travis sit at the host table with her. She is an amazing person.
      This all looked fancy and impressive. I do remember Brenda told me that the driver of the truck (called a chauffeur by the department) when out on a call has the job of driving and then when on site this impressive looking panel of gauges and switches is their job. It looks intimidating to me. I never really thought about the individual jobs involved in fighting a fire. It makes sense that someone would need to make sure that everything on the truck was doing what it is supposed to. 

       And speaking of the individual jobs at an emergency site, it was cool to look into the inside of the trucks and see how roomy they are. But they need to be, firefighting equipment is bulky!
      I do remember that this is called a ladder truck. I made a comment that it was very cleverly named. Basically this truck is all ladders. And they are huge! It's not in the photo but this also has the bucket (which probably has a different name) on the end. Just looking at it, and thinking how high up all those ladders go, is fear inducing for me. I am so afraid of heights! Brenda also taught us that the letters and numbers on the side of the truck all mean something. Which of course makes sense but I never really thought about it. I can't remember what the letters stand for (I think Brenda will fill me in, again, on that part) but the number 1 means they have one of that type of truck. And the 44 is their station number. Which is pretty cool to know!
     This truck... (which is Special Hazards 144)
   pulls this trailer. They are for decontamination (as the trailer clearly says) and have decontamination showers and whatever else is needed for hazmat situations. That is very impressive stuff!
     This truck is mostly retired because of it's cool open back seating. This is the type of truck where the firefighters would jump up and hang onto the sides and the back, just like you see in the movies! But sadly, these types of trucks are being phased out because the government doesn't think they are safe. This truck is now only used for very large emergencies when they need just about all the equipment. It does look like it would be fun to ride in the open back. Like riding in the back of a pickup truck!
     Brenda was a wonderful tour guide and taught us so much about her fire department, the different types of trucks and answered all the questions I had. Because I get curious about odd things like, how long does it take to drain and roll up the hoses after a fire. Apparently only about 20 minutes if you have 4 or 5 people working at it. They hoses break down into 50 foot sections and you just walk them out over your shoulder and the water will drain out (I hope I got that right). I just know how hard it is to drain a garden hose for winter storage!
    The tour was not over just yet. Brenda showed us the comfy chair room (which is actually called the rec room, though I like calling it the comfy chair room). My comment was that THIS looks just like you see on TV! This was about the only part that was just like on TV. An alarm came through and it was basically just a calm radio call. But the room full of big comfy chairs is accurate!
    Travis settled right in to try out this part of being a firefighter.
    That smile says he was into it. 

    This bit of silliness just shows some more of Travis's personality. 
    Thank you so much to Brenda Bednar and the West Stafford Fire Department. The tour that Travis got is not the only thing they do for kids, people with special needs or the general public. They will do fire safety classes for any age group and are incredibly inclusive to everyone. I, and Travis, had a very nice time at the fire station and learned a lot.

Saturday, April 27, 2019


    Today I was supposed to be attending a horse show. But now I am not. I have attended this show every year (or nearly every year, I can't quite remember) since it started. The reason I am not going this year is because my son, Travis, is being excluded. I could just sit back and say nothing about it and not show up and not do show reports that I have promised to do and hope that no one notices. But I can't do that. This turn of events has me more upset than I have been in an incredibly long time. And I need to talk about it.
    Thursday, during my lunch at school, I got a message from the hostess. She and I have been good friends for a ton of years. Or that is what I thought. In her message she asked me if I was ready for the show on Saturday and then prefaced her next question with "please don't be offended, but" and asked if Travis was staying home with his dad. Well, dad has to work so I said no, Ethan has to work. If Travis can't come I can't come. No response. So I said if it's a problem let me know and I'll stay home. I'll admit, this was a dare. She had already put me in an incredibly awkward position and I was giving that back to her. 
     After awhile, I got another message saying that she is afraid their might be (a problem) and sited that the new hall (in a firehouse) is smaller than the hall we had at Spencer and there are so many things that Travis cannot touch. She wondered how he would react if there was a call and the firetrucks had to go out. She said she worried about liability. And she told me she was sorry and would rather Travis not be there. 
    That was about the time I said to myself that I was not going to cry in school. I lied apparently. For the record, Travis has had fire drills at school for 15 years and he does amazingly with them. And while she didn't actually ask, just assumed the worst, I will say what would happen. If an alarm came in, Travis would cover his ears and wait for me to tell him what to do or where to go. He has had an enormous amount of practice with drills (so, alarms) and is very good at them and knows exactly what to do. 
    At that point I was incredibly upset and I told her that she basically attacked my parenting and invalidated the enormous amount of work I have put in over the years and the enormous progress Travis has made. 
    And then I cried in my car while I waited for Travis to get off the bus for track. 
    Travis has been to a ton of model horse shows with me. He sits in a chair for the majority of the day watching DVDs on the little DVD player I bought just for horse shows. He will ask to go to the bathroom or ask to go for a walk. He is more chill than he was when he was little, and he was not bad them. I police that guy more than most kids are ever policed in any situation. And now, through no fault of his own, he is being excluded. And it is because of his disability. And that hurts me on so many levels. 
     So now I can't attend a show I have been looking forward to and prepping for for weeks. I will not be able to do one of the very few things in my life that is for me. I will lose every potential sale from the show, which I have also been prepping for. I will miss out on seeing show friends that I so rarely get to see. I was afraid we were going to miss out on seeing the fire station, we would miss out on going to dinner after the show (which is one of Travis's favorite parts). She took so much away from us. 
    I have had some people say that I should go anyway. I paid to enter the show and she can't actually say that Travis can't be there with me. But I can't do that to him. I can't bring him to a place where I will be so upset and uncomfortable that I might cry (again) or be cranky. I can't bring him to a place where I am afraid someone will say something mean to him. I can't do that to him. And I can't do it to myself. I have been very upset by this for days and I have talked to many friends and gotten an outpouring of support. I appreciate it more than you all can know, but I feel alone. I feel isolated. I work very hard to be the best mom I can be for my kids. Travis takes extra work because his brain doesn't work in the same way as most people's brains work. He takes more effort and more understanding. To have excluded from something because of his disability make me feel very alone. My friend, Laura, summed it up perfectly. She said "with those few sentences she attacked your parenting, your kid, and your entire world." Yup. A big part of my life is working towards educating people with disabilities and educating people about disabilities. 
     Please don't get me wrong, I have had friends from school being supportive, friends from the hobby being supportive and it is absolutely helping. I am feeling less alone. I think without you all I would feel like I was drowning. All of you wonderful people will bring me back to the surface. I'll be OK. And I have Travis. Travis who when I got him off the bus for track gave me a big hug while I cried on his shoulder. He didn't know why mom was upset, just that when someone is upset and needs a hug, you give them a hug. I told him he is awesome. He said yes. That is a smart guy.
    I am not looking to stir up trouble. But I can't stay silent about something that is so wrong on so many levels. And I want to especially thank some very good friends for their love and support. Later on Travis and I will be going to Fox Haven Farm because Liesl Dalpe invited us to go. We will see the horses and play with the dogs and visit and have a great time. She said there will be keto snacks. That is so great for both myself and Travis. Marisa Evans will come and hang out too. We're all going to go and meet up with Larry Nichols for dinner. I am hoping we can fit in time to meet up with Brenda Bednar, who said she would give Travis a tour of the firehouse. We won't go into the showhall, we'll see cool firehouse stuff. I am hoping I can get some cool pictures to share, since I won't have any show reports. I also want to thank every other person who has been supportive of me, supportive of Travis and who has not said that my hurt is off-base. You all mean the world to me.
     In closing I just want to say, people with disabilities are still people. They have wants and needs and feelings just like people without disabilities. They are different, not less.

Friday, April 26, 2019

LIMHE CM Other Performance and Shenanigans.

    The Other Performance division can be a place where you can really let out your creative side. Not that showing model horse performance is ever really lacking in creativity, but other performance can bring out some really excellent things. And so many miniatures!
    My other performance entries at LIMHE started out almost sedate. I have Mocha Latte in her vaulting entry. Her beautiful tack was made by Jennifer Buxton. I wish I could think of something new and fun to add to this scene. It is nice and I definitely like it, but now it's not new anymore. So I'll have to think on that. 
    Next Mocha Latte went into Parade. I decided to leave off the butt drapes because it does not fit her perfectly and I had time constraints. It actually looks pretty great still. I need to think about making a new parade doll soon. My western doll is an OK stand-in but I should make a new parade doll. 

     Mocha Latte ended up winning champ in the other performance division. 

     I was the only entrant in the scene class, but I decided to keep on going with the set-ups and get wild and just add as much as I could to them. 
    Caramel Latte and her showmanship doll are tame enough...
    The crowd of dolls around the picnic table is larger than ever before. I think I need to make myself some more dolls and I think when I set up this scene I need to have more people in it. And maybe more food. That sounds fun too. I have folding tables I can probably bring out to add some stuff to...

    I did manage to get my new cowboy into the scene. Though I think this is all he did all day. And he may need a bit of a spray-tan or something. He is very pale! But I definitely enjoy setting up this scene and adding things to it. I need to remember to add more details at QVPO in a couple of weeks. I did remember to bring my fruit plate finally...
     Caramel Latte ended up winning CM Other performance. Basically with this scene since that is all she did in the division.
     Really the shenanigans started with the motorcycle accident scene. Originally I was going to have Mocha Latte being the horse that was coming to the rescue, but she was in parade tack and while I was fine with setting up the elaborate scenes I didn't want to do another tack change. And no one else was really ready. So I put in Halestorm and the kid doll. I added some saddle bags, there is a cell phone in there, and a few other new details. 
     The biker is still on the ground holding his head. His beer has fallen out of the custom beer holder he attached to his bike. I'm trying to think of what else I can add to make this scene look a bit more realistic. I should do some spilled beer.
    I had some sand leftover from when I made the mini sandbags for my cowboy curtain and I put some down. Joan came by and put the tire track in. I LOVED that little detail! And of course I have the little puddle in the dirt. 
    I also typed up the documentation which even speculates about the cause of the accident and mentions poor life choices. But really, I would LOVE to add to this scene and make it really ridiculous! So any suggestions would be appreciated. 
     At the end of the show Halestorm got versatility reserve champion...
And Mocha Latte got versatility champion! They won some special kind of fancy glass that I don't remember what it is. I need to ask Laura again. 
    That's it for the LIMHE show reports. Less than a week until QVPO and I need to make a show plan!