Mostly Treats….

I’ve lived in East Texas for just over three years now, and I’m generally pretty comfortable. I have a feel for the big events in the area and have been at my job long enough that co-workers invite my family to church sponsored events and the like.

Yet, I never feel settled with our Halloween plans.  There seems to be a few major schools of thought among groups of people who trick or treat with children.  These include, but are not limited to:

  1. Trick or treating in their neighborhood and/or at close friends and families homes.
  2. Visiting other neighborhoods – specifically the ‘upper class’ areas of the community.
  3. Public events such as those at churches or businesses.

The first two years, we took Kiddo to an event at a co-workers church. It’s a large church and there were games and such to keep him busy. However they opted not to hold that event this year. So I started looking around the internet and Facebook for ideas. 

Option 2 just really gets to me for some reason. Maybe it feels tacky (in bad taste)? I don’t know. Back in my hometown I would take Kiddo to neighborhoods that fit that description, but that was at the invite of friends (& their families) who lived there. So it felt more acceptable to be a visitor trick or treating in that area, knowing that we’d go back to their home and spend some social time before heading in for the night. Does that make sense? 

That left us with Option 3 – which is how we ended up at the mall with about 150 other kids (& their families) making the somewhat circular trek around the mall. Most businesses gave out candy but there were a few that gave out stickers/paper masks, etc.  I’m rather fond of that idea since not all kids are able or allowed to eat candy. 

Although boo on that one store who gave out a coupon only. I get it, you’re a children’s clothing store…but, really? At least buy some Tootsie Rolls or something. 

Kiddo was happy with his haul of goodies. Naturally, he was Pikachu.

He even answered, “Pika pika!” as thank you for treats.  I was quite proud, since I felt it was very clever.  Unfortunately not all of the mall employees tasked with treat duty seemed to get the reference. This lead to an interesting discussion between M and I about the demographics of Pokémon fans.  

But that was our Halloween! I think Kiddo is totally going to wear that hoodie until it falls apart. Thank you, Target, for saving me from the perils of poor quality polyester costumes! 


The Color Orange

It’s fitting that the early days of October are filled with this particular color.  

The leaves are not changing yet; the days are still fairly warm – summer is trying to linger. We don’t have any pumpkins out here at home but they’ve started to show up in piles outside the local grocery stores. Even so, there are glimpses of the season to come all throughout my day.

There’s the sherbet that I chose for a bedtime snack.  I set up my October calendar tonight and used a liberal amount of orange washi tape to decorate. My doodles aren’t all that fantastic, but it makes the month feel a bit more festive.  Atlas shed tonight and he is a vivid shade of orange, although I think there is more yellow shimmering through on his sides. Watching his colors develop over the last year or so has been an absolute joy.

EDIT:  My beautiful boy…

I am so ready for autumn. I yearn for long sleeves, crisp air and the explosion of colors it brings. There aren’t many trees that change in my hometown and the ‘new’ hasn’t worn off for me since the move to East Texas! 

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ― L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables)

A Bear in Blue….

We have survived the first Cub Scout Pack meeting, and a Show & Sell event at one of our local WalMarts.  As a fairly introverted person, this is a big deal for me. The Pack meeting was the large meeting of all the individual Dens (100+ boys) – it’s similar to an assembly, I suppose. It’s very noisy- I was grateful to have taken my hearing aids out. The noise and unfamiliar really frayed my nerves.

Kiddo is absolutely in his element in a group so he is super excited to be a Bear Scout.  Also, he’s way better at selling things than I ever was. He was really good looking in his uniform – he got several lovely compliments. 

I really like the group of boys in his Den. We knew several of them from school (all but 2 go to his school) and the two seasons he played soccer.  Confession: I also like having parents in this group that I know. I might make non-work friends! Woohoo!

The first Den meetings were on Monday. I thought I’d share a few of the comments below. The first time boys earned their Bobcat Badge by learning the Cub Scout motto, handshake, sign and pledge.  Then they did a brief intro unit on Knife Safety since Bear Scouts get a pocketknife. This was where things got humorous:

One boy was concerned because his parents do not let him have knives. Our leader reassured him that it would be addressed and reminded him that the knives are only for use at scout meetings/events.

One child was very excited about his pocketknife and told the leader that we could catch a squirrel and then use the knife to skin it. The leader told him that perhaps someone could but we wouldn’t be doing that in Bear Scouts. The boy’s mother was sitting across from me and the look on her face was priceless.

During the ‘handling a knife’ discussion it was mentioned that one could get injured if not careful. At the very mention of blood one child put his hands over his ears and started repeating, I don’t want to hear this!  My money is on him being the secondary party needing first aid (a fainter, perhaps?).

My child had two concerns: But what if I don’t have a tent (for the November trip to AK) and can we afford to go to AK (we’re still fundraising).  The leader assured him that we would be fine after the fundraising was finished and that he could borrow a tent from her if needed. 

Oh yeah, he is so my child.  😉  This is going to be a great year! 

If you’re interested in our popcorn sale fundraiser, please see Kiddo’s page

New to the Pack

This year we’ve started doing scouting. Kiddo is a Bear Scout. I was a Girl Scout (many years ago), but our first two meetings have left me feeling a bit overwhelmed. I can’t imagine what my mother went through as an assistant troop leader! 

I’m taking a lot of notes and researching things online. Tonight the Den numbers were assigned and I’m hoping that a smaller group will lend itself to more clarification about processes for all of us.

We were reassured at the first parent meeting that Kiddo would be placed in a Den with at least one person he knows – there are a few kids he knows from school and previously playing soccer. That totally did not happen. I was willing to give it a go but M would have none of it. We spoke to the individual Den Leaders and the Cubmaster; everyone was agreeable to the change.

I worried about being ‘that parent’ but quite frankly after it was all said and done I think it was the right choice. 

The other kids in this Den were a bit on the rowdy side, so I kept an eye on him during tonight’s meeting. He had to tell the child next to him to stop touching at least once. Not surprisingly, he immediately found his Den Leader and engaged him in conversation.  Sometimes it’s so glaringly obvious to me that he has spent so much of his life with adults (as an only child).

I was very proud of how attentive he was, given that it’s all new and his ADHD meds had worn off by this point in the day. He’s most excited about the Pinewood Derby and the camping activities.

Popcorn sales start like immediately and he has set himself a goal of earning a tent. He chose his location for weekend sales based on his conclusion that it would have more foot traffic than the alternative site. 

Thank goodness for Grandparents! Buying a scout uniform after just doing school uniforms would be impossible otherwise. 

Tonight, after Pack Meeting, a young man approached me to ask where I had gotten my binder. It wasn’t an official Cub Scouts binder or anything – just the pertinent info we’ve been given organized into clear sleeves for personal reference. I’m pretty sure his mother sent him over and it’s a shame she didn’t introduce herself, since we’re obviously of similar mindsets. 

Cub Scouts, here we come! 

Snake on the Edge

I just came home from running errands to find Snick doing this: 

It’s been almost 6 days since his last meal and we’ve come to refer to this as ‘hunting’ behavior. When he was a wee noodle it was kind of cute because he could fit on the ledge at the top of his vivarium. However, he’s quite a bit wider now. When we got him he was 12 grams and now he’s in the 80 gram area. He’s a bit over 2 feet long, I think. 

Somehow he still crams himself up there – I have to admire his determination if nothing else. There are times where he falls; usually when he tries to turn around.  It makes me nervous occasionally because he seems a bit stunned after a fall, and the hinged areas on the lid could cause abrasions as he gets bigger. 

As I watched him I thought there had to be something I could do because that thermometer is not designed to hold weight.  It must be noted that I have glued the suction cup to the glass with aquarium sealant (prior to Atlas’ arrival).  But both the corns I’ve had used their thermometers as mini ledges or climbing points.  I guess it’s a thing in this house. 

I went digging in the herp supplies that we have and found the hammock I got for him a year ago. Maybe putting it up will help give him the feeling of being ‘up’ on a more stable base. I even moved the branch (that he never uses) so that it would be an easier climb. 

My money is on him ignoring the new setup completely and continuing to climb up the thermometer cord.  He’s such a stubborn Snick.

UPDATE: I was wrong and I’m so happy about it!

Hearing and Listening

Like so many others, I work in a job that is focused primarily on customer service. I am the voice on the phone that begins the vast majority of my patients experiences with our practice. A very large part of my job is listening carefully to what my patients tell me so that I can figure out the best course of action for their concerns.

I am deaf. My hearing loss is sensorineural and permanent. I wear hearing aids and read lips – for the most part these things ‘fill in the gaps’ to a degree that most people are unaware. However, certain areas that I work in are noisier than others and background noise is a huge obstacle for me.  I don’t mind asking people to repeat themselves and sometimes I will state that I am hard of hearing (not my preferred terminology) for context.

The other day I checked out a patient whose chart notes indicated that she was deaf. She had another person with her, presumably to translate. I leaned around my monitor to give my patient the best view of my face and asked my first question – verifying her insurance. She looked to her translator, who repeated the question. As I asked the next one, my patient realized that I was not going to speak directly to her translator.

The translator can hear me perfectly fine when I’m looking at and speaking to my patient.

By the end of question two we didn’t need the translator.

I’ll admit that it was personally significant – a bit of a victory for me, really.  I felt that by staying connected to my patient I was able to provide her with the best service.  I treated her equally and did not assume any limitation. Naturally if she had indicated to me that she preferred that I speak to her translator I would have done so.

It was such a positive experience for me! It was even a nice bonus when her translator complimented me on how it had gone.


For the last 4 days we’ve been in Iowa visiting family for the holiday.  We had a 12 hour drive back last night so I could return to work this morning.

I am so frazzled.

Be back in a few days with vacation pictures and stories!