February 2005
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About Us

Welcome to the Brookston family blog. We'll post updates here on what's going on in our part of the world, and especially with our son, Porter, who has been diagnosed with some form of autism. Our hope is that this blog will help us deal with all the issues we'll be facing and keep our friends and family informed as well.

Jay B.

Sarah J.

Porter Brookston
born September 10, 2001

Alice Brookston
born July 7, 2004

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February 28, 2005

Deep Throat

Categories: News, J — J @ 9:35 am

Nope, I don’t know who he or she is - but I got your attention, didn’t I? Since early last night, my throat has been on a steady decline making it near impossible to talk, eat, swallow, breath; you know - the unimportant stuff. And then there’s this coughing fit I go through that feels like someone crawled into my throat and is dragging a really coarse sandpaper across the back of my throat. I’m appealing to everyone out there to suggest a cure. I’ve listed below what I’ve tried so far. Thanks. Please just post a comment here with you’re best idea to get me talking again … wait, let me rephrase that, to get me breathing again - I promise to stay silent a little longer. Thanks again.

Here’s what I’ve Tried:

1. Forcing myself to breath through my nose.
2. Gargling with warm saltwater.
3. Gargling with warm water that has crushed aspirin in it.
4. Warm water with honey and lemon.
5. Chloroseptic Spray.
6. Throat Lozenges.
7. Sorbet.
8. Keeping it well-lubricated with water.
9. Soft foods.
10. Sacrificing a live chicken.

• • •

Death Takes a Holiday

Categories: News, J — J @ 9:08 am

OK, it’s been a rough week in the Brookston household. Legend has it, every century Death inhabits a human body and this time I think she decided to use mine for a few days. I have never felt so miserable from the flu … ever! Plus the kids and Sarah have been in various stages of getting over just what I’ve now got. Sarah went back to work today and if you ask her she’ll tell you it’s like a vacation to be a work. She’s the one I feel sorry for. Not only is she still feeling poorly, but she’s had to take care of possibly the worst patient on the planet. I do not do sick well. Plus, there’s Porter and Alice. Today is my first day without Sarah and I’ sweating like a fiend. Porter’s at school right now but when he gets home this is gonna really suck. Wish me luck. Oh, and I can’t talk. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

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February 24, 2005

My Turn

Categories: News, J — J @ 11:48 am

My overdosing on vitamin C and zinc notwithstanding, about 2 a.m. last night I got some of the worst chills I’ve ever experienced and crawled into the sick bed in the back of the house, displacing Sarah, who had been sleeping there. My fever broke a few hours later and now I’m just feeling crappy with a very sore throat (I can barely talk - which likely comes as good news to many people), a deep, gutteral cough, muscle aches all over and the requisite headache.

On a lighter note, Porter’s Grandpa came to pick him up this morning and, according to Sarah, he was literally jumping up and down with joy to get out of the house. He pulled off his pants and ran upstairs to pick out new clothes to go out in. He’s just going to his grandparents’ house to watch TV and play inside there (though he was angling for another train ride on CalTrans) but just a change of scenery will probably do him a lot of good.

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February 23, 2005

Recent Photos

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 2:16 pm

Since I’m behind on posting, here’s a few recent pictures of the kids.

Porter during a recent trip to Toys ‘R Us, or as he calls it, The Train Store.

Alice trying to get a little more fibre in her diet by eating a bridge.

Porter at a recent trip to the Bay Area Discovery Museum.

Alice enjoys the rocking of the waterbed during the same recent trip to the Bay Area Discovery Museum.

• • •

Can I Get a Witness?

Categories: News, Alice — J @ 7:15 am

Alice has been experimenting with vocal sounds lately and over the past week the range and diversity of sounds has been pretty amazing. To me, it’s been sounding more and more like she’s saying Da-Da from time to time but always when I’m alone. This morning, while I was changing her diaper, she said Da-Da again very clearly but this time I had a witness. Sarah also heard it clearly and Da-Da is now confirmed as Alice’s first word. Woo-Hoo, I’m a proud poppa.

• • •

House of Blood

Categories: News, Porter — J @ 6:00 am

When Porter crawled into our bed in the middle of the night, I thought nothing of it since that is a common occurence. But when I heard him whimpering, I knew something else was up. When I looked at him closely, he was covered in blood like some refugee from a horror movie. At some point during the night he’d gotten a nosebleed and I guess he didn’t know what to do. His entire face, hands, arms and chest were covered in dried blood, not to mention the sheets in our bed and the pillow case and sheets in his bed were similarly gruesome. It took quite a long time to wash it all off of him and there’s still a little bit left in his hair. He now seems a little scared of the bed itself and we’ve been downstairs watching Sesame Street since 4:30 a.m. Sarah, who’s got essentially the same flu, says her nose is raw so it’s no wonder he got a bloody nose.

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February 22, 2005

Newsweek Article

Categories: News, Autism — J @ 8:44 am

The current issue (February 28) of Newsweek has a cover story about autism and specifically new studies into early detection. There’s a pretty good overview of autism spectrum disorders and some related sidebar stories, as well. It turns out the Vice-Chairman of GE and President of NBC Universal’s grandson was diagnosed with autism and he was in a unique position to bring a great deal of attention to the disorder (NBC owns Newsweek, as well). In addition to the article, this week will also feature stories on various NBC network stations including the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, MSNBC daily at 10:30 a.m. ET, and CNBC’s Power Lunch and Closing Bell. A schedule and summary of programs can be found at MSNBC. He and his wife have also started an organization, Autism Speaks, to help increase awareness of autism.

If you’ll allow me a little griping (hey, it’s what I do best), it’s a shame that it takes this disease affecting someone rich and powerful to get the media to pay attention and when you read the statistics on how pervasive it’s become over the last two decades, you’ll be shocked, too. But I guess anything that helps is a good thing so I’ll swallow my bitch reflex and just be glad it’s being addressed now in the mainstream media.

Also, the front-runner for Best Short Documentary Film in this year’s Oscars (airing Sunday), is about an autistic adult. It’s called “Autism Is a World” and was written by Sue Rubin, now 26, who communicates with the world by typing rather than speaking. Join us in rooting for it to win so even more attention can be garnered for autism awareness.

The article is also available online.

• • •

February 21, 2005

Health Warning: A Plague on Our House

Categories: News, Porter, Alice, J, Sarah, Family — J @ 10:57 am

Just to catch everybody up on the sickness saga, here’s the rundown:

I took Porter to the After Hours Pedatric Clinic on Saturday evening and it turns out he has both an ear infection and possibly pink eye. The doctor said she’d actually seen quite a lot of kids with his symptons lately (very high fever, runny nose, cough) and prescribed a heavier course of amoxicillin than with previous infections. Usually it’s been white or pink, but this one is peach color (and flavor, I think). At least Porter’s taking it without too much protest, which is in itself a little unusual.

Alice has a little cough and stuffy nose and she’s a little fussier than usual so we’re afraid she may be feeling poorly, as well.

Sarah is fully arrived in sickville with a high fever, cough, and is feeling achy all over. Luckily, it’s Presidents’ Day and she didn’t have to go into work.

So far, I have not succumbed to the plague and I’m hopeful I may be able to miss this one. Knock wood.

As for the rest of the family, Grandpa and Grandma have been laid up for a few days now and Aunt Kit and Aunt Margaret have also been hit by the plague. That just leaves Uncle Tuck (stay away!) and me unsullied by killer microbes. See, Dave & Cyndi, there are advantages to living so far away.

• • •

Celebrator Anniversary Party

Categories: Events, Photos, J, Friends, Beer — J @ 10:32 am

Last night was the 17th annual Celebrator Beer News party, which was held at the Trumer Brauerei in Berkeley (it’s the former Golden Pacific Brewery). I worked the front gate most of the night and had a chance to see many, many good beer friends. Here are a few photos from the event.

Vinnie and Natalie from Russian River Brewing Co. presented to Tom Dalldorf (middle), owner of the Celebrator, a Balthazar of their yummy Damnation Ale in honor of the magazine’s 17th anniversary. A Balthazar is 12 liters or contains about 16 normal bottles of beer.

Ron Lindenbusch, from Lagunitas Brewing Co. in Petaluma with a friend from New York along with yours truly.

Matt Salie, formerly with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and now recently relocated to the Sacramento area with Trumer Brauerei.

Stephen Beaumont and his friend Maggie, both in from Toronto, Canada for the event.

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February 20, 2005

The Very Picture of Domesticity

Categories: Photos, Sarah — J @ 10:05 am

Here’s a rare photo of Sarah showing that she can do it all. Baby on her arm, wielding the vacuum cleaner.

The only thing missing is a frying pan.

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February 19, 2005

Barleywine Festival

Categories: Events, Photos, J, Friends, Beer — J @ 3:26 pm

Today is the beginning of the annual Barleywine Festival at San Francisco’s Toronado. I thought I’d make a quick appearance this morning to say hello to old friends and drink a few yummy beers. I saw a lot of people and had a few nice beers. I wish I could have stayed longer, but before long it was time to get back to the kids.

Melissa Myers, brewer at Drake’s Brewing Co. in San Leandro.

Me, pleasantly sandwiched between good friends Lisa Morrison and Mark Campbell, down from Portland for Beerapalooza week in the Bay Area.

• • •

February 18, 2005

Forward Progress

Categories: News, Alice — J @ 4:00 pm

Alice has started crawling forward and is making pretty good speed. It’s time to baby proof again. We’ve grown fairly lax now that Porter’s older, but that will have to change. She’s actually already trying to pull herself up and stand. I’ll try to get an mpeg movie of her in action up soon. It’s looking like she’ll crawl for a few weeks and will then start walking. Man, they sure grow up fast!

• • •

Porter Sick … Again

Categories: News, Porter — J @ 1:30 pm

I got a call a little after eleven today from Porter’s school saying that Porter had a fever, was feeling hot and was acting listless. So I rushed over to pick him up. He was happy to see me and actually seemed in pretty good spirits. After watching a Winnie the Pooh video and having some ice cream, he went down easily for a nap. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious and (fingers crossed, knock wood, whatever) he won’t be throwing up or worse this time. I’ll keep everyone posted.

• • •

February 14, 2005

Tree Hugger

Categories: Photos, Porter, Family — J @ 9:29 am

Sarah and her sister Kit took Porter to the Bay Area Discovery Museum on Saturday while I stayed home with Alice and cleaned the garage. Here, Porter shows his growing love for the environment by hugging a tree.

Future liberal environmentalist.

• • •

February 12, 2005

Ketchup … er, Catsup … er, Catch Up

Categories: News, Family — J @ 11:24 am

Sorry about the dearth of posts this week, it’s a been a more hectic than usual one. Just to catch you up, Porter’s feeling better after his bout of stomach flu - yup, that’s what it was. We discovered that when Alice started doing her Mt. Vesuvius impression in the swing on Friday and a phone call to her doctor revealed that stomach flu was making the rounds. She’s doing better now, as well. With Alice, it wasn’t so much the vomiting (though that was lovely, don’t get me wrong), it was the Big “D.” If you’ve never witnessed green muck rocketing out of your kid’s butt arcing over the diaper onto the changing table, well, suffice to say you just haven’t lived until that image is burned into your brain. Luckily, she was back to normal by the weekend. During half-time of the Super Bowl (Damn you, Paul McCartney), Lyman, Porter’s Grandpa was blessed by a visit from the stomach flu fairy (let’s call her Flo). Monday, unfortunately, it was my turn on the stomach flu merry-go-round and while I had no vomiting whatsoever, I did get a lot of reading done. So far, only Sarah appears to have escaped unscathed (knock wood) and we’re all pretty much back to as normal as we can be. I’ve got some pictures to post from non-sick times this week and I’ll get those up shortly. And remember, wash your hands frequently.

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