Yard Sale Philosophy

21 05 2008

I’ve been on a real purging kick for the last six months… it’s amazing that I still have enough for a yard sale considering how much I’ve sold on EBay and given away.  We moved from a monstrous Victorian to a reasonable (cleanable in 1 afternoon) Tudor and there are still a lot of boxes unopened in basement and attic.  I’m tempted to just price the boxes and sell them as a mystery item… that would sure be easier and I wouldn’t be tempted to keep any of these things that I haven’t used in three years!

But no. I’m going through each box and pricing the different items… probably will get more for it that way but, my “keep” pile is growing… Maybe that stuff will go in next year’s yard sale…

I’m amazed at how much I’ve held on to– scraps of fabric, maps I picked up in my travels, a box full of pencils, pens and rubber bands, movies we haven’t watched in years– and computer cables in triplicate for each computer we own. It’s bizarre… I didn’t grow up in the depression like my grandparents and I’m just now getting into reducing my footprint on the earth so why haven’t I gotten rid of this stuff before now?

Growing up making international moves I have one box of my treasures from childhood but, I have a box for each year of my son’s life… maybe I’m over compensating.  Will my autistic son care that I’ve saved these things for him? Do I need these things to remember in addition to the many boxes and discs of photos? Apart from photos, my parents have one shoebox for each of their children– that seems more reasonable than what I’m doing. Oh well…

I have become a conscientious consumer. What we need we buy. What we want we consider whether we’ll still want it next week… month… year. We consider where it will go and, frankly if we’d be able to get rid of it when we are done. Is it cheaper to buy or rent a movie? Will it be on cable in a few months? Will it re-sell on EBay for a good percentage of what we paid for it when we’ve seen it a couple of times?

Yard Sales don’t usually make a person philosophical but, when reducing consuption is a concern/priority even a yard sale makes you think…

My Modern Victory Garden

20 05 2008

Victory Gardens were promoted by the US government during WWII as a way for families to deal with the rising cost of food– and, food shortages. It was patriotic to have a garden producing food for the family. Communities sometimes used vacant lots and those with property planted gardens.

I’ve planted my first Victory Garden.  Unlike the Victory Gardens from the WWII era, my garden is designed to be beautiful as well as functional. Companion plants are also taken into consideration although they didn’t mandate the layout. (I’ll get more into companion plants in another post but they are plants that use different nutritional parts of soil and therefore grow well together– that’s really simplistic but you get the drift.)

The most important goals of this garden are to provide food for my family and my parents (who live in a condo) therefore saving money and reducing our footprint on the earth.  It’s organic. I’m learning about composting. While I doubt that this year I’ll be able to, my goal is to be able to set up a booth at the local farmer’s market– so, I’m growing a lot of unique vegetables– like five varieties of carrots from Seed Savers International and Heritage tomatoes.  Things that most people won’t have in their gardens and I hope will be attractive to gourmet cooks.

This is a learning process and I’m documenting my failures and successes.  Much of the ground I have taken for this was grass– a nice ground cover but, how much of it do you really need? A little room for the kid and the dogs, right? (I digress.)  Anyway, I’ve already missed the boat with the carrots… you’re supposed to put them in as soon as the ground is thawed but, I just got them in yesterday so it’ll be mid August before we get our first taste. Learning curve, right?

I’ve done three beds with weed-matted and mulched walks between them which are modeled after German kitchen gardens although this is much larger than the typical kitchen garden. There will be a row of berry bushes dividing it from the rest of the back yard and a fence separates it from the front yard. I’m experimenting with herbs between vegetables– like rosemary next to carrots and basil next to lettuce and spinach. My hope is that it will affect the flavor. We’ll see since there isn’t any pollination I don’t know if it will matter.

My next project is to get water barrels set up to water this garden and greater decrease our family’s footprint and decrease the cost of growing this garden.

There is something good about a garden. Watching things grow from a tiny seed, getting down on my knees to pull weeds and watering in the evening. It somehow cleanses the grit of real life.

Viva La Gardening Revolution!!

Spring Break at the Smithsonian

15 05 2008

Earplugs, Cousins and Dinosaurs

J and Cousins on the Mall, Washington, DC, Spring 2008

J at the Smithsonian Castle, Spring, 2008

J and Kermit the Frog, Smithsonian, Spring 2008

J and his Cousins at The Smithsonian Musuem of Natural History, Spring 2008

I am so behind with my blog!  But here you have a few pictures from our spring break in Washington, DC and Maryland. I haven’t gotten the video done yet… Shame on Me!! But, we really had a great time! We went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History three times and saw the Dinosaur IMAX movie each time– J loved it! There were a few things that made these excursions a success– we had earplugs, went at his pace and the museum is designed so that anything that is touch-able is ok to touch. It’s a great place!! J did a lot of reading and learned a lot about Mammals and Dinosaurs. He had no interest in several sections so we didn’t linger there– like butterflies and birds– those freak him out…

We did go see Kermit the Frog twice at the temporary exhibit at Air and Space. (American History, where Kermit usually lives, is closed for remodeling). J loves Kermit! We also saw R2-D2 and C3-PO (J calls him CPA! HA!!) The place was crowded… there were lines and J did great anyway. 

My goal is for J to have a full life with lots of experiences and memories. The fact that he has autism (not the other way around!) is not a deterrent– it’s a factor.  I carry earplugs, snacks, an extra t-shirt in case he gets it wet (that’s a BAD thing!) and he carries a “guy” or two. We go at his pace and there is some negotiation– first we go see the dinosaurs then Mom wants to see the Hope Diamond, then we’ll get pizza.

We build in alone time for J whenever we travel. We make sure he has a ton of his comfort things– favorite shoes, jammies, toys and always– a DVD player with headphones. We carry extra clothes and an umbrella. Autism doesn’t limit what we do– it only affects how we do it.

The kids in the photos with J are my sister’s kids.

(My apologies for being silent so long, Darcy!!)


A Follow Up on Daytrana

15 05 2008

Daytrana is a wonder-drug! We love it!! But– there are a few side effects that we are dealing with so I want to share the little tricks we’ve discovered to make the side effects less horrid.


J is hypo-sensitive which basically means that he doesn’t feel pain– or pleasure– as acutely as most people. This isn’t all bad but has to be watched. Anyway, J’s skin gets really red and irritated with the Daytrana Patch.  We apply Bath and Body Works “Put it on Ice” which is a pain relieving cooling gel with Lidocaine immediately after pulling the patch off. It cools it and deadens the pain.  I assume that any post sun lidocaine lotion/gel would work we just had this at home already.  FYI– the first aid creme we tried first didn’t work. 


J is a skinny little guy. He eats white food and with Daytrana has been eating less of it.  Fortunately, Daytrana is out of his system within 3 hours of the patch removal. So, we take the patch off as soon as he gets home from school and have moved dinner to 7:30.  I am encouraging snacking all evening also.  We had been dealing with practically no eating at dinner and snacking starting close to bedtime so this works really well for us.

We ran an experiment along with J’s teachers and therapists– one week with Daytrana, the next week without.  On day two of no Daytrana, his teacher called and pleaded that we quit the experiment.  She saw so much difference in him!

Daytrana is a God Send.  J is doing so well in school and actually has two friends now– Moms are coordinating everything but the kids are doing so much better at interacting without too much prompting. So, we love Daytrana and feel that the side effects are manageable– well worth it.