Archive for August 11, 2009

Brian and Ellen’s Story

Walker 2009 024  In the early 1970s, two children were born into two different households, 915 miles apart.  These two births had more dissimilarities than they did parallels:  One was a girl child, the other a boy; one was well under the average birth weight at two pounds, seven ounces, the other, above average birth weight; one came following a 26-week pregnancy, the other, later than expected.                                                                                                                              

Baby girl Ellen was a bright child, but there were quirks about her movement patterns that led to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy at age two.  Four siblings followed her into the family, all escaping the complications of premature birth that doctors cited as the cause of her disorder.

For most of her first year Ellen wore casts on both legs, and by kindergarten she was reading at a second grade level but couldn’t advance to first grade because she had seven surgeries scheduled for the following year – most of them heel-chord lengthening operations. 

By first grade, her parents had returned from Colorado to their home state of Minnesota where Ellen was the only special needs child enrolled in their small church school.  Struggling with a leg brace and orthopedic shoe hampered her efforts to keep up with her classmates physically, and she was often carted off campus for speech and physical therapies.  Introduce into the equation occasional episodes of spasticity which others sometimes misinterpreted as seizures, and Ellen would gradually develop a sense of separateness that followed her into high school. (more…)

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August 11, 2009 at 5:09 pm 2 comments

Weather Watching and Fanciful Feasts

fresh peaches 002  Last weekend we enjoyed an evening of classic Minnesota-style entertainment:  ninety minutes of sitting on the basement exercise equipment, tracking the progress of local tornado warnings on a 12″ television screen.  Cut loose on a Saturday night?  You betcha’, by golly.

Actually…while I’m sure that scanning weather maps can be intriguing, twenty minutes into this session I found my mind drifting.  Nothing new about that, but this particular episode of mental meandering actually had some logic to it:  What if the electricity goes out long enough for the freezer to fail, and I’m forced to cook everything at once or lose it?  Visions a neighborhood potluck followed by an ice cream binge danced in my head.  What was lurking behind the frost that could contribute to such a banquet?

By the time I refocused, the warnings were being lifted and my husband was herding pets back up the stairs for a return to our evening “as previously scheduled.”  But I had been irreversibly set on a course of menu-planning, my thoughts congealing around a meal based on the bargain of $2.00 organic chickens found at my local Cub Foods store a few weeks ago.  Thus, the next day found me busy in the kitchen preparing Oriental Grilled Chicken, Corn Fritter Patties, Mango-Avocado Salsa, Shake Potatoes, Sliced Beefsteak Tomatoes, Steamed fresh Green Beans with Raw Almonds, and Fresh Peach Ice Cream with Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – a meal as good on the table as it had been in my imagination. (more…)

August 11, 2009 at 1:48 am Leave a comment


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