Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,
How are you doing? Are you ready to go on your big trip in 3 days? (or less) Anyway here is my list of presents. 1. legos any size you want 2. Comics. Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, and Bone (not 1-3.) 3. Movies. Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, and AFV 4. Toys! 5. Action figires! I've been as nice as I could! A good kid,
Ki (Super K)

written by Ki today in neon green gel pen on school lined paper
word(s) in bold are underlined by her as directed by her teacher to do when you are unsure of the spelling and try to sound it out and use "kid spelling"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas

I am pretty much done with shopping for Xmas. That is good for me as today is the 19th. I often still have lots to do. Today we finally decorated the tree and inside of the house. I am so pleased to find I have a holiday decorating ally in Ki. She demanded we all be in the living room at the same time to decorate the tree as this was ''The family tradition". So it looks like in the future I will have a partner in the annual decorating event.

Today I made:
Christmas Bark (white chocolate, dried cranberries and pistachios)
Chocolate peanut bark (ingredients same as the name)
Pine Bark -Now this is a new one. I found the recipe on Internet. Not sure why it is called Pine Bark as no pine trees were harmed in the making of this bark, it does not smell of pine nor does it look like pine. But it taste great.
Tomorrow I'll make up a ton of Chex mix. The regular ol' recipe in all of its salty, buttery goodness. Lot's of food gifts this year.

Aj 11th bday gift

Aj had his 11th bday and he kept asking for a Sharks (local professional hockey team) jersey and tickets to a game. He and I went to a game last week. We had good seats. We took CAL train from Redwood City. Pops met the train in Palo Alto and Ki popped off there so they could go out to dinner and then go home for an evening of Wii playing, just the two of them.
Aj and I ate our way around HP Pavilion (named after Hewlet Packard). Aj ate a cheeseburger, fries, soda, churro and popcorn. We cheered and danced and clapped at all the appropriate times, and then some more. Sharks played the Dallas Stars. The game ended in a 2-2 tie, then want into over-time and then into a shoot out. Very exciting for AJ's first game. Then home on the train. A GOOD birthday gift!

Birthday Present

Pops had my blog printed into a book as my gift. It is big. About 9 X 11 and 1 1/2 inches thick. I started blogging 3 or 4 years ago after I was introduced to it by squid. I don't know if I wanted everything in it so available to read. But it will be nice for my family in the future. I am curious if I will curb my content when considering if I/he will print in the future. But all in all a very thoughtful gift.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

November

All of use coughing and hacking, all but Pops. Granny kids and I all took antibiotics-no help. I have had bronchitis now for over 6 weeks. My 46th b-day was the day before Thanksgiving. I planned to have a drop in brunch at my work to celebrate and to have an excuse to get together with friends. Turns out I got what I am sure was H1n1 flu the weekend prior. No birthday brunch for me. I spent the day in bed. To sick and contagious to be cooking for 13 for Thanksgiving, so we cancelled and left a bunch of elderly relatives high and dry. Pops took kids over to visit his Dad and brother and they all went and visited Aunt Mary-now 99 years old and quite sharp I might add. I rolled out of bed late. Later I went to jennyalice's house fed her dog and slept on her couch for a couple of hours. She had kindly left homemade pumpkin pie and stuffing for me. Back home I watched a movie from the couch and pulled together a simple Thanksgiving dinner. An odd holiday time, but okay too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

MIA

I haven't been posting much lately.
I've been courting waves of illness causing me to miss tons of work and social events. Aj has had bad cough for 5 weeks, Ki for 3 and me for over a month. I've been to MD twice and have gotten cough syrup with codeine, 2 different inhaler and finally antibiotics. 2 days into a 3 day course of antibiotics, not sure they are helping. Supposedly bronchitis, but not pneumonia. My head and neck were aching when I woke up. A little too reminiscent of my prior meningitis bouts for my comfort. Spent the day sleeping on the couch.
Kids are now on same antibiotics as I am. Zythromax (SP?). As is Granny who is sporting a pneumonia. Interesting that we are all on different dose amount and frequency. I am on stronger 3 day and they are on weaker 6 day course.
Not looking forward to the 13 here for Thanksgiving dinner...
So there is my WAAA filled entry and very weak update.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Daughter might be in your son's pants

Ki is enjoying all of the older boys hand me down pants. She can be spotted about town in pants formerly belonging to Zach, Tom, Myles or Jack. I think she still even has a pair of of really cool shorts formerly worn by Leelo.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pops out of town for a week

That means the sleeping arrangements change.
Kids alternating between sleeping with me or sleeping on the family room couch.
Sleeping has been exciting this week. Generally the bed has been occupied by me, one kid, Tess, Annie, Java and Bear. Every so often I roll over and inadvertently eject some poor sleeping creature.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Water, water everywhere


Our front yard late this afternoon
If you're gonna come by-don't forget your row boat
And watch out for the puppy




Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Letter Home

Aj wrote a ltter to me when he was at outdoor ed camp for 4 days. I got it today. It reads as follows:

Dear Mom,
I like Outdoor Ed!!
I love going to Ocean Oydessey.
Do you know who got elimited (eliminated) on Dancing with the Stars?

Love,
Aj.

Friday, October 09, 2009

My Baby is Back

My beautiful boy is back. Aj was at 5th grade outdoor education for the last week. I dropped him off at school at 8 am on Monday and picked him up today, Friday, at 1 pm.
He went without an aide. Which is good. I send him to sports day camps and there is no additional staffing. I was most concerned about him following through to get dressed in the morning when he woke up full of energy and without ADHD medications. They did increase the the high school staff in his cabin from 1 to 2 high-achieving teen girls. As well, the staff was altered that Aj may need assistance.
I'm not sure who had more of an "experience" the 14 boys in the cabin or the 2 gals spending every night with them.
On Wednesday I had an email forwarded to me that said Aj was doing great and enjoying himself. That night we got a call from the teacher at camp. Aj was crying and homesick. Pops and I talked to him for a awhile and told him how proud of him we were of him. We talked about what he had to look forward to the next day and that after that he would be coming home. I asked the teacher if he'd had any "altercations". We had a few in the last week so I was worried about a command performance in the presence of additional stress. But she told me -no he'd been great. Today the teacher said Aj was fine after our Wed evening call.
Today at 1 pm in the school playground I was greeted by a dirty-faced smiling boy. He immediately launched into a story about the raccoon that got in their cabin last night. Evidently Alex forgot to take his Monday lunch left overs out of his lunch bag. Seemingly the 3-day-old odor drew in a raccoon. Other portions of the story included the raccoon throwing up and later peeing on one boys clothes. Alex is cautious and fearful of animals other than cats and dogs. So I was not surprised to hear he was distressed by the presence of the masked food thief.
"The cabin leader gave me 6 Oreos to cheer me up."
I am guessing beautiful-boy did not go right to sleep after the excitement of the raccoon and the sugar of the Oreos.
As we were driving home Aj said, "Are these my shorts?"
He said the shorts were falling off.
"Alex, are you thinking you might be wearing someone else shorts?"
"Yes."
Upon examination at home I think the waistband was not cinched on the inside of the shorts. It is also possible that my already-a-bit-too-skinny guy lost some weight. I think the shorts are form our house!?

At home I unpacked Aj's bags. I had given him 2 disposable cameras-but no pics for us.
I had packed a ziplock of clean underwear, another of clean socks and a large trash bag labelled "dirty clothes". The dirty clothes bag was half full. As was the ziplock of clean underwear.
I see a bath in his future.
Aj is reading over my shoulder. I asked him what his favorite part of the week was. He said Beach Day was his favorite. The best part of that was when one of the teachers and some other kids buried him in the sand up to his neck. (An SI kids idea of heaven).
Two or three years ago I would not have believed that my guy would go to outdoor ed without and aide and have such a successful and great time.
Pops and I are so very proud of our boy.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

My letter to little Grace's mama (see prior entry first)

Well this all sucks no doesn't it?

I had a life situation similar to yours on an odd level. But certainly not as scary-and I am not dismissing the potential madness of what you will going through for the next 6 months.
I don't know if I ever told you-many people know this story. Sorry if it is a repeat or feels like a downer.
At 8 weeks pregnant I found out I was pregnant with twins (surprise! You've been there, done that). It was my pregnancy with Aj. At 19 weeks we found out that his twin sister had non-functioning kidneys. We were told she might die in utero, which could throw me into early labor. Or that she would die during or following delivery. At 25 weeks or so I started contracting and was told to quite work and go on bed rest. They started doing "stress tests" every week on both babies. Basically, for weeks I knew I was going to give birth to a baby that would die. I also knew that there was a chance that the baby girl could die in utero and I could go into labor and he would be a preemie. Or that she could die and his blood supply could be altered at that time period. (That would cause brain damage in my book). He was receiving stress tests so there was general concerns about the whole pregnancy. After all that I was INDUCED at 38 weeks. So you know my big guy and know that he is here. (Are his issues related to the pregnancy-I do not think so. Not when you meet our other quirky family members!)

Anyway, the part I get for you is the worry, sadness, fear, and playing-out-of-situations in your head that can eat you alive.
Trying not to totally succumb to that is the challenge.
It is hard to "cope" because you are not sure exactly what it is you are coping with, or if it is going to change.
I tried to tell myself I had to have faith that it will all be okay.
It became mantra in my head.
I tried to turn off the audio tapes in my head that played the "what if" scenarios.

Drugs. There are many of us out there that take antidepressants. Myself included. It can help and it doesn't mean you need to use forever.

Surround yourself by people who can listen to you and who get it.
You know-not the ones who say:
"I don't know how you do it"
"I couldn't manage everything you do and still be sane."
"God doesn't give you more then you can handle"
That only makes me want to say-
"I am barely "doing it" some days. I have to "do it" because the little faces
wake me day after day.
You only think I am sane because I haven't barfed the contents of my brain
into your naive ears.
And the God thing? If you even say that then your life has not yet had a crises.
And God was never really a parent.

Thinking of you.

Let me know if you want a visit or a chat-

Today October 8th 2009

A strange day
A heavy day
This afternoon I will attend the funeral for a 10 year old boy who died in his sleep last week. A totally unexpected death. I cannot fathom the pain of his mother. How do you go on when there are mothers and sons everywhere in the world to always remind you?

Yesterday little 7 year old Grace had her second brain surgery for Moya Moya disease. It is a situation where the blood vessels in the brain are malformed and misconnected. This often results in strokes. Turns out she'd had a number of strokes but the last one where she had some weakness was brought her into the hospital and the Moya Moya was discovered a couple weeks ago. Last Wednesday she had surgery on the right side of her brain. She came out of it pretty well! This Wednesday's surgery was on the left side of the brain. Evidently it was not successful as the blood vessels they were going to connect was too small. So the plan is that they hope it will continue to grow and they will try again in 6 months. So this family now has to wait and wonder if or when their little girl is going to stroke again. And of course they know about the boy who died in his sleep. How will she face each morning, each day with an eagle eye on her daughter while also trying to care for her 4 boys ages 9, 4 and 14 month old twins.

Friend of jennyalice is in the ER with severe abdominal pain. Jenny is with her now. Her friends 3 kids are home with their Daddy

Tell your babies you love them. Tell them now. Tell them over and over.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Busy busy

Busy and not posting.
Enjoying the nes puppy, Tess. I started a blog to chronicle her "work" in my therapy practice.
See:
http://www.k9assistedtherapy.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My 8 year 9 month old daughter is in early stages of puberty! There is no girl less interested in boobs.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

HIstory of the Australian Labradoodle

This is from the Australian Labradoodle Association of America
http://http://www.ilainc.com/index.html

My Story: I Designed a Dog, by Wally Conron
Printed 7/10/2007 by http://www.readersdigest.com.au/

Determined to source the most suitable guide-dog for a client, I unwittingly turned the canine world upside down While working with the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia as its puppy-breeding manager in the early ’80s, I received a request from Hawaii. A vision-impaired woman there, whose husband was allergic to dog hair, had written to our centre in the hope that we might have an allergy-free guide-dog. “Piece of cake,” I thought. The standard poodle, a trainable working dog, was probably the most suitable breed, with its tightly curled coat. Although our centre bred and used labradors, I didn’t anticipate any difficulties finding a suitable poodle. It turned out I was wrong: after rejecting countless poodles with various problems, some two years and 33 disappointing trials later, I still hadn’t found an appropriate dog for the job. In desperation, I decided to cross a standard poodle with one of our best-producing labradors. The mating was successful, but it produced only three pups. We sent coat and saliva samples of each pup to the Hawaiian couple, and the husband found one sample allergy-free. At last we were getting somewhere, but a big job lay ahead. The pup had to grow up and prove suitable for guiding work; and then it had to be compatible with the visually impaired client. We had a long way to go. With a three to six-month waiting list for people wishing to foster our pups, I was sure we’d have no problem placing our three new crossbred pups with a family. But again I was wrong: it seemed no-one wanted a crossbred puppy; everyone on the waiting list preferred to wait for a purebred. And time was running out – the pups needed to be placed in homes and socialised; otherwise they would not become guide-dogs. By eight weeks of age, the puppies still hadn’t found homes. Frustrated and annoyed with the response to the trio of crossbreeds I had carefully reared, I decided to stop mentioning the word crossbreed and introduced the term labradoodle instead to describe my new allergy-free guide-dog pups. It worked – during the weeks that followed, our switchboard was inundated with calls from other guide-dog centres, vision-impaired people and people allergic to dog hair who wanted to know more about this “wonder dog”. My three pups may have been mongrels at heart – but the furore did not abate. It was 1989 and the publicity surrounding the new designer dogs went national and then international. A new world opened for countless people who had once thought they could never enjoy the delight of a pet pooch. With this kind of response, I knew we were on to a winner, and I took the decision to breed more of the labrador-poodle crosses. So I contacted the then Kennel Control Councilof Australia, hoping to find the names of reputable breeders who were breeding standard problem-free poodles. “If you use any registered dog for your programme, that breeder will be struck off the register and never be allowed to show or register their dogs again,” the council’s spokesperson warned. Nor did he budge when I explained that the dogs were being bred to help vision-impaired people. The breeders themselves were split: many did subsequentely threaten me or propose litigation if I used their progeny in my breeding programme, while others offered their services free to the guide-dog centre. While all this was happening, I continued training Sultan, the original non-allergenic pup. He eventually went to Hawaii, amid intense media coverage, where as the world’s first labradoodle he bonded beautifully with his new owner and her allergic husband. Interest in the labradoodle continued to escalate and inquiries poured in from all over the world from people wishing to either purchase or breed the dogs. But I quickly realised that I’d opened a Pandora’s box when our next litter of ten labradoodles produced only three allergy-free pups. I began to worry, too, about backyard breeders producing supposedly “allergy-free” dogs for profit. Already, one man claimed to be the first to breed a poodle- Rottweiler cross! Nothing, however, could stop the mania that followed. New breeds began to flood the market: groodles, spoodles, caboodles and snoodles. Were breeders bothering to check their sires and bitches for heredity faults, or were they simply caught up in delivering to hungry customers the next status symbol? We’ll never know for sure. Today I am internationally credited as the first person to breed the labradoodle, but I wonder, in my retirement, whether we bred a designer dog – or a disaster!

Come to Mama

Yesterday I sent the check for the puppy. The big girl should be here in a week or so. She'll be flying from WA. I asked friends and client families to vote on the name. Of course Pops wants to name her "Gunner". He is coping fairly well with the idea of a dog with curls residing here. Poor Java has been enjoying being the Princess-she will likely be shocked to have to share her family. But I think she will enjoy having a playmate.

I'm very excited about doing more research on animal assisted therapy, training the dog and getting her up and going. So far I have found just a few articles on speech therapists using dogs for therapy. This is a new area.

More as I come across it.

Where have all the flowers gone?

Or where have I been and what have I been doing.
My dear friend TB, who was in the hospital in Miami, has made a miraculous recovery after a bleed in the brain, a stroke, hydrocephalus and bacterial meningitis. She was in the ICU for over a month. She had the bleed on July 3 and left the hospital August the 19th-for a stay of 54 days. She was released from rehab and we flew together to LA. She is at her friends home, where she will be staying for now to recover. She was at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the Ryder Trauma Center which is an AMAZING rehabilitation center. I loved being back on rehab and being able to interact with the professionals. My OT friends would have been proud of the 2 on-airline toilet transfers Tanya and I carried off without a hitch.

I am pleased she is well and I am relieved this chapter is ending. She was very ill with a rocky course. Getting daily reports from the RN, let alone any regular report from an MD, was difficult with the time change, lack of availability etc. I'd do it all again. I have reconnected with TB and my friend A, made a new friend or 2 and had some new experiences with going to Miami twice.

One thing that I have learned is that it is time for me to focus more on myself and my family. It is so easy for me to give my time to others and other endeavors. I enjoy doing that, and I can than avoid doing the things in my own life that I don't like or want to avoid. Unfortunately, that doesn't always work out so well for me and my family.

It is now 2 weeks before school starts. My goals:
get my puppy here
sign up for training
schedule follow up with my MD
Ki eye exam
Ki MD apt
Ki and Aj dentist for cleaning
Aj dental xrays
me to dentist
look into place for my Mom
clean up house
move forward on website
call pediatrician practices to set up inservices/marketing
choose paint and begin painting in house
call landlord re: ceiling of office
complete billing
rent extra office?
tile office floor
get more office furniture
spend time with kids

I won't get all this done-but it is the same list that has been hanging for months. So if I can take a big chunk out-I am doing well
wish me luck!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Doodley Do at 12 weeks



I am hoping to get her! She is 12 weeks now. She is in Gig Harbor, WA. Near Seattle. She will be about 45 pounds when full grown. She has had some training and lots of socialization with various people. She has already gone on a pet therapy visit to a nursing home with her siblings!
I think I may have a name-but would love ideas.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Doodle Do



Check out this cutie! 9 weeks in picture. She is currently 12 weeks. mmmmm we'll see

Monday, August 03, 2009

Carwash for St. Jude's Hospital

My kids are at Camp Kaboom through park and rec in RWC. This Th from 10 to 3 they are holding a carwash to raise money for St. Jude's Resaerch hosptial. St Jude's provides care for children with cancer, regardless of the families' ability to pay.
So-stop on by the parking lot at Red Morton and get that car cleaned for $5.00!

Doggie update

I sent application to assistance dog place in Santa Rosa and have not heard back. I completed a written application, a letter, and needed 2 letters of rec (not from family). Thank you Squid and Sandrini. I called at one point and they said wait could be up to a year or more. AAAHHHH!
I then found this fabulous fellow and his site. He is in Indiana. He rescues dogs and then trains them as therapy dogs. He works to have them pass the AKC good dog test and the Delta Pet partners test. He is incredibly active in his community.Sounds like a good soul.
Check out his site at:
http://therapydogrescue.com/

We have emailed a few times and I hope to speak to him on the phone this week. Check out dogs Dobky and Huntley. Cuties. He is not ready to part with Dobky. I don't blame him he sounds like a great dog.

Dobky http://therapydogrescue.com/dogs/profiles/dobky/
Huntley http://photos.lairds.com/gallery2/tag/Huntley?g2_page=2

Sunday, July 26, 2009

4th of July Fun Run

Pops and AJ did do the 5K Fun Run on the 4th of July, AJ ran the whole way. He didn't win for his age class, but he finished. Not bad for a kid who hadn't really trained.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Two degrees of separation

I heard from my first love from high school. He lives in Wasilla and is friendly with the Palin family. So I am 2 (or is it 1) degrees from Sarah Palin.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Australian Labradoodles






I am plugging along on research about finding and getting a dog to be a therapy dog and work with me. I'll share info I have learned. I have become enthralled and educated about the Australian Labradoodle. Read along if you are into dogs.

Australian Labradoodles were originally breed in Australia and are a combo of a few breeds. They have been bred for so many generations that they are now seeking to be identified as a breed in and of themselves. The not-really-yet-a breed was originated to be guide dogs for the blind and to eliminate the issue of people being allergic to dogs. They have hair instead of fur and do not shed (like a poodle).
Therefore, people are not allergic. Turns out this is much different then a labrdoodle or goldendoodle that was breed by mating a poodle and a lab (or golden) retriever just a single or a few generations back. In this case you cannot guarantee a hair coat and disposition as much.

The color can range from white, cream, apricot, brown, black and all shades in between. Usually they are solid in color. The coat can be "wool" or "fleece". In my mind "wool" looks curlier like a poodle and "fleece" looks more like a cross between Bob Marley and a dog (see the brown guy up above). Or if you are a lab lover, they both look a bit like a lab with a bad perm. I spoke to a breeder today who said she noticed that children with autism really seemed to like the soft fur of these dogs. A nice tactile experience!

They are bred in 3 size categories:
Standard Labradoodle 21 to 24 inches in height and 50 to 65 pounds
Medium Labradoodle 17 to 20 inches in height and 30 to 45 pounds
Miniature Labradoodle 14 to 16 inches and 15 to 25 pounds

Cost varies-but generally seems to be $1,800.00 to $2,500.00. Most are $2,500.00Gulp. I think that is largely due to "labradoodles" being the "in" kind of dog to have lately. The strong history of service dogs for Australian Labradoodles is from a line(s) (or kennels) called Tegan and Rutland. Breeders will boast if their dog came from one of those lines.

Two women started a business breeding and training labradoodles to be service and therapy dogs. One of the women has a daughter with special needs. Us Special Mama's, we get it done! Read down the page on the link. I love the photos. You get a good idea of what a standard sized labradoodle looks like.
http://www.aloha-labradoodles.com/aloha-assistance-labradoodles.html

The breed is now being recognized and used quite a bit by people who train various service dogs. Of which there turns out to be many:
hearing dogs, guide dogs, seizure alert dogs, allergy alert dogs and best of all service dogs for individuals with autism.

At a minimum-those dogs make you smile.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Star

The star in my night is my joy when thinking about getting a therapy dog.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Boxes on the shelf

Boxes stacked on the top shelf of my dank emotional closet:

Son with PDD-NOS, ADHD and no true friends

Daughter who feels and dresses more like a boy and has no true friends

Mom fading from Alzheimer's and living with me

No other supportive family

Friend in a coma- and with that an over-whelming amount of responsibility and time required of me (medical and financial power of attorney)

Home in disrepair

One box

Some days, I can consider the surface contents of one box

During moments spent crouching on the closet floor I wonder why that shelf is so full

Most of all, I fear an earthquake raining the contents and suffocating me

Close the door

I can't consider the boxes

My friend

Still in a coma with movement of all 4 extremities. Not following commands consistently. I am managing LOTS.

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 9th

–day after surgery for Tanya
They eliminated the sedation and she remains minimally responsive. I was hoping she would wake up more-of course-but also so I could talk to her and feel like she knew I was there. She opened her eyes to her name and moved all 4 extremities, but not to my voice. She was not following commands and her eyes were blank. She is still on a ventilator, but is doing some breathing on her own, which is good. But in general, not good if she doesn’t start to rouse.
I have to believe that in her soul and subconscious she has stored memories that Amanda (who I have not met-but Tanya adores) and I were with her in this crazy time and that she heard us when we said she is loved by so many.
It is like I have stepped into a chapter of a different book in the trilogy of my life. In the past 5 to 10 years Tanya and I have not been all that close. Our lives became quite different with my marrying and having 2 kids, one with special needs, and my hunkering down in the life of family and work. We connected mainly annually at Christmas time.
I told her long ago that she should put me down as medical power of attorney. Andrea and Chess and I are listed. Andrea is one of my oldest friends (30 years, gulp) and while our friendship took a hiatus for a few years-we are “back together”, with this now more then ever. I think Tanya has brought us that as a gift. This chapter with Tanya and I is a reconnecting from the past really. It is my turn to put out love and effort for her like she did for me so many years ago. She took me on my 1st trip to Europe and was an excellent model for learning to travel. She helped me gain much of the confidence I needed to go across the country and tackle this situation alone, navigate an unknown city and crawl through a mammoth medical system. I am flying home now and I did things on this trip I have not done before and I learned. I ate dinner alone in downtown, explored a portion of the city alone and rode in a bunch of taxis. I chatted with drivers and got to know one of the shuttle drivers at the hotel. And I could see Tanya in myself as I did those things. I think she gave me those successful experiences.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Adventures in Miama and the ICU

Waiting to hear from MD regarding out come of brain surgery my friend had. The surgey has been over for more then an hour-and still I wait. Not despite my best efforts to tackle any knowing sources.

Everyone in Miami pretty much speaks Spanish. I am by far a minority in looks and language.

Women and men seem to rarely wear shorts despite hot, humid weather.

It is maddening to be on the other side of such a critical situation. SO hard to get info. Hurry and wait, hurry and wait and hope that the MD or social worker doesn't come to speak with you when you are in the bathroom-they will leave again.

On most of the 1st floor of the hospital-where cafeteria, places to sit etc are-there is often no cell phone reception. So if you are called by staff on the cell phone you are clutching-you won't get the call. But you have no way of knowing that until it is too late and your crazed trying to get a hold of the MD.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Life on July 5th

In the past few days a long time friend of mine had a stroke while out of the country and was flown to Miami and has had emergency brain surgery. Tanya was like a second Mom to me when I was growing up. I have known her since I was 7. She bought me my 1st car, took me on a road trip to MI and back one summer, she took me on my 1st trip to Europe and she flew to Madison with me to settle for graduate school there. There are many other wonderful things she did for my friends, Mom and I. With marriage and kids and ALL we have grown apart, but talk or see each other a couple times a year. She comes up every Christmas because we have spent some (or all) of every Christmas together for the last 30 years. While she has many friends, she has no blood-family. Her friends are her family. I get that. Outside of my husband and 2 kids, the same is true for me.
Years ago I told Tanya to put me down as medical durable power of attorney. I am one of 3 listed. One of the others a dear friend of mine, Andrea, who has known Tanya for ages as well. She is brilliant, organized, concise and can solve her way out of a box in 30 seconds with her hands and feet tied behind her back. I worked in hospitals forever and Andrea and I joke in a serious way-I do hospitals, emergencies and touchy-feely well. Our skill sets are totally opposite. We think Tanya was on to that when she put us both down. The other person listed is Chessa, who lives in Co. While I had never spoken to Chessa until a few days ago-I know Tanya adores her and her family. I can understand that- she seems to be a combination of both Andrea and I.

What is funny is that I cannot remember the last time I left the state. (Oh yeah-I went to Seattle with Squid and Jennyalice to do a book reading and I got to visit my friend Kelli.) I do not recall traveling to and being in a strange city alone. This is big for me. Especially since being by myself often means “alone” or “lonely” to me. Tanya is currently in ICU and is evidently “alert” at times per the RN, but is medically sedated. So while I will see her-she will not be a companion to me. Of course I am not going there for that. But I am curious how it will be for me to be gone from 9 pm Sunday to noon on Fri and not be with anyone.
This will be a time in which I am able to help Tanya and a time that I will be able to culture pieces of my heart, mind and soul.
Time to board the plane 10:20 pm Sun July 5th. Red eye to Miami.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Get your backpack Jack



Pops took Aj backpacking for one night. They hiked 5 miles in to Susie Lake from the Glen Alpine trail head. Pops reports that Aj loved it and did very well! They cooked mac and cheese and hot dogs for dinner with hot chocolate for dessert. Pops had the food in a bear proof canister (as is required because of bears in the area). Aj was concerned to hear about the possibility of bears and retreated to the tent at night fall. He reported hearing hearing 3 growls during the night. Pops was unable to collaborate his imagined perceptions. In the am Aj caught 2 brook trout, they got to hike in a bit of snow, and Aj reports liking all the hiking. Pics of my boys. I am so proud.

Lake Tahoe and Fishing



Kids caught their first fish!
AJ was a bit cautious about the fish. Ki was thrilled with the haul and not fearful at all. We fished twice at Sawmill Pond. You have to be 14 or under to fish in the darling, well-stocked pond. Kids caught 5 fish on each occasion and they fed the family twice.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Bras

Thank goodness I found 2 new bras today.
I was desperate. The only bra I had suffered a compound fracture of the left underwire and had been puncturing my left breast for too long.

tahoe

Off to Tahoe with my family (including Granny).
To be honest the thought of dealing with everyone's issues 24/7 (you know what I mean here) is far from relaxing.

Run baby Run

Pops signed he and AJ up for the 4th of July Fun Run here in RWC. Today they went for their first run. Aj sprinted an 8.40 minute mile for the first mile. Then they did the next 2 miles a bit slower and walked some. But basically, my energy boy did 3miles in about 30 minutes. I was there when he got home. He looked great and said he felt that way, too.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Therapy Dog

Dear Friends
I am hoping you can give me a hand-
As you know, my beloved 13-year old lab, Sierra, had to be put to sleep last week.
While she had not been evaluated to be labelled a "therapy dog", she basically was.
She frequently joined me in therapy sessions and was often integral in getting my young speech clients to sign, verbalize and demonstrate turn taking. This was especially true for children with ASD and/or apraxia. A few of my favorite memories when working with Leelo (my 8 year old client and friend who has autism)and Sierra are:
When he played fetch with Sierra and his Mom, "Squid", told me he had never thrown a ball so well before. He then continued the turn-taking routine with her for a number of turns.
More recently he became interested in crouching beside her and imitating her.
He enjoyed seeing her "sit" and "lie down" in response to his verbal commands.
During one of our weekly sessions he appropriately asked for her (she was not there that week) by saying, "The Doggie?".

I am looking into getting another doggie.
My hope is to get a dog that can become a certified therapy dog and be an integral part of my speech practice (and of course my family). I am partial to labs and bigger dogs and prefer a female. I have also looked into Australian Labradoodles (of course half the fun there is I could name it "Dude"). I need a dog that is easy going, mellow and easy to train. The difficulty with getting a puppy is you do not know what the personality will be and it takes a while to train them. I would appreciate and leads or thoughts any of you might have on a young dog or puppy that could join me.

NOTE: I have contacted Canine Companions and was denied for a facility dog as they prefer to place dogs in large facilities. I have met with similar road blocks or huge waiting lists with other similar organizations.
Please pass on any good tips!
Please email at: sageslp at gmail.com

Monday, June 15, 2009

So many feelings



I miss my girl, Sierra. Looking back at pics makes me sad.
She was such a sweetie.
Here she is with Ki and Aj before we took her to the vet. She felt so badly and was still her patient self.
I am looking into how I can get another dog to be a therapy dog. I feel guilty that I should shroud myself in black longer. But I will always love that girl.

Friday, June 12, 2009

my mom called me today to ask if i had sierra with me, because she couldn't find her.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sad Day

A tearful day.
We put Sierra to sleep this afternoon.
Our sweet girl has been with us for 13 years-after arriving as a wedding present at 10 weeks of age.
Seeing the tears of my husband as our brown girl faded was so very sorrowful.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Today was Super Hero Day at school. I dropped off Ki and she was wearing her red Power Ranger costume with the synthetic muscles.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Uncomfortable skin

Last 24 hours I feel perpetually irritated-although at home there is almost a constant irritant. It is similar to the beginning of the depressive episodes of a few days that I sometimes get. I'll have to work to skip the void.
I kinds wanna bolt like one of our snk's. Just outrun it. Actually exercise or a good comedy would feel good.
I think I will go get a latte and head to work to see 2 darling two year olds this am for 1 hour a piece. I mean the last part, they are darling and I love my time with them. I realize to some that sounds like a depressive episode in and of itself!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ooakland Zoo
there are bats here that have a wing span of 6 feet and bodies the size of a medium sized dog. yeah, i'd duck if that guy was flying at me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mothering a naked 2 year old

Went to visit my girlfriend on this sweltering day. I was greeted by her exuberant and naked nearly 3 year old daughter. Naked is fine with me-it's hot and I would consider joining her if I wasn't on my way back to work.
We all had lunch and hung out.
Later during my visit my friend's voice rang out in that parental I-am-irritated-with-you tone.

NO
That is not okay
Stop that
Do not put cookies in your vagina
Do you hear me
Say it back to me, "Cookies do not go in my vagina"
Okay
Good
Throw that cookie out

Amazingly enough-our conversation picked right up where we had been. Having had toddlers and special needs kids we are unflappable.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sisi-seems no one told her how sick she is

The vet gave me antibiotics and doggie advil (of sorts). Turns out she had a urinary tract infection. She is feeling great now. Still occasionally needs help to stand up on her sore leg, but not nearly as much. Her mood is good and she seems comfortable. I still hear the occasional cough that is the indicator of the tumors in her lungs. Other than that she seems like her usual self. I'll post when we loose my dear.

Friday, May 15, 2009

vet called
sisi (sierra) has lung tumors everywhere
she is dying
i have 2 tell Pops
he will also be devestated
so sad

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My SiSi

My beautiful, old SiSi dog is sick. I think my my sweetpea is dying. Oh so sad here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

yeah
i am blogging from my phone
blogging from my phone?

Michelle Garcia Winner

Yeah-we got that.
Last Friday SEPTAR and another Special Ed PTA group put on a 1 day Michelle Garcia Winner conference. We pulled it off! I think it went really well.
170 attended from all over the Bay Area and one gal from Reno!
Good thing I am not a panicky person so that when there were not enough chairs, the coffee pot didn't work and the PA system was down-I didn't panic. It all came together. I did have to make an announcement to let people know about the coffee crises as there were people frantically squirreling around the kitchen there.
We are already planning for next year.

Yoo hooo

Hey SPT-are you there? Can I take you to idol concert this year?

Adam Lambert and Idol

Truth be told I have always been a Danny Gokey fan. He seems so wholesome. Kris (who?) Allen has been the dark horse. But, ahhh-a mid-western darling.

I just watched the show and did a bit of research and can now tell you that Adam is from my part of the state. Check out part of his bio:

Lambert, 27, grew up in Rancho PeƱasquitos. He moved here from Indiana with his parents when he was 1 and attended Deer Canyon Elementary School, Mesa Verde Middle School in Poway and Mt. Carmel High School, where he was in theater, choir and jazz band. He has one sibling, a younger brother.

Yeah, okay so I went to Poway High and Mt Carmel was our big rival. Fun to note. Not so fun to note is that he was born the year I graduated from Poway High.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Daddy! Love Ki



Ki made this picture for Pops for his Birthday. All hair and eye color is correct. As is glasses color. Pops is throwing the ball for the dogs. Java is running and Sierra is standing, holding a bone. I framed it and will hang it in the family room.

Happy Birthday Pops!



The Education Foundation had an essay and picture contest on the topic of, "When I grow up I want to be...". The author's names were covered and a panel reviewed and selected a number of finalists from our 15 school district. They were published in a book. The above is my son's essay. It was chosen for it's content, and no other reason.
Today was Pop's birthday. I had Alex give him the book as a gift.
Pops eyes brimmed with pride as he read.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Special Needs Workshops Offered at CA State PTA Convention

"Four workshops focused on providing support to parents and teachers of children with special needs are being offered to attendees at this year’s California State PTA Convention. The Convention will be held April 30 – May 3 in San Jose.


#306: Organizing A Successful PTA Special Needs Committees or Unit
Parents and Teachers of children with
learning disabilities, ADHD, autism
and other special needs benefit from
PTA support. This workshop will
provide practical tips and tools for
organizing and running collaborative
special needs programs, and
compare the relative merits of PTA Special
Needs Committees and Special Needs PTAs.

Deb and I, along with a great gal from San Ramon SD, do this presentation tomorrow.
Wish us luck!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Still a bit pissi-FYI on me

I am realizing that a big part of the reason that I felt let down by some of my friends is that I have NO family members that I am emotionally close to. Mostly because most of them don't exist or are emotionally unavailable. It's pretty much just me and Pops to provide the total emotional and financial support for the 2 of us and our kids. If I am sad or in an emergency I do not have the following to rely on or call: sister/brother (step, half or otherwise), cousin, mother, father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, aunt, uncle, sister/brother-in-law or grandparent.


I wrap up my WAAAA session for now.

Beautiful Boy and Girl



I forgot this pic

1st Communiion and my big kids





We made it through first communion! Kids looked fabulous. The beautiful clothes lasted only slightly longer then the mass, but that is as I figured it would be. Nice party at our house. I had a chance to catch up with some good friends I haven't seen in ages. Our dear friend Margaret, whom Pops and I haven't seen in months received the most honorable guest award. She and her husband attended the mass AND came to the party following the excision of her appendix a mere 48 hours ago.

I must insert a moment of brutal honesty, because my feelings are a bit hurt.
Party and friend etiquette review.
If you get an invitation, RSVP if you will attend.

"We might stop by the party" from a few families is difficult to plan for. And then it hurts my feelings if you are not able squeeze us in to your day.

If you RSVP you are coming to a party. Do.
Putting hours into planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning and then feeling like it is a burden for people to come to a party and celebrate my kids and family is a pisser.
This is especially true for my family and it's challenging profile. We have limited family, few families we invite over (even less that invite us over) and friends are hard to come by for my kids.
Pissiness aside-
I am proud of my husband who worked hard to get his kids to this point. It was his doing, not mine. I am proud of my beautiful children.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Shopping Jennyalice

I shopped the closet of jennyalice before attending the RCEF (Redwood City Education Foundation) Benefit with my date, Squid. The profile of my borrowed closet items seem to profile jennyalice's life. The 2 borrowed items were:
A sharp looking long black coat- ala Target

and

A purse that turned out to be alligator, real alligator. Not only that, it was made in Italy specifically for her. And if you want to be sure there are her initials embossed in gold inside. The best part is that the initials are JAM, and those are my initials, too.

At the benefit I won a case (12 bottles) of German wine. Tag says it is valued at $220.00. Ironic, given that I don't drink. People who know that about me now want to be my best friend.

Squid and I were hot looking mamas as we heeled home across the parking lot. We sported heels, make-up and visible gams. The case of wine made us all that much more fetching. We slipped into my minivan and headed home. I suspect my family wagon is valued about the same as the purse previously slung over my forearm.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Quadriplegic child found dead in storage facility"

Yeah, I love finding mail like that in my email. It brightens my day.
Lucky for a whole bunch of people she is on lots of list serves. This means that not only do you get this, and related messages often, you might get it 2 or 3 times. Truth be told, she is an equal opportunity offender. She posts horror stories about people having a variety of disabilities and disorders.
I have to wonder, what sort of person thinks that the rest of us want to read even just the headline about every freak horror story out there.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Last day in the city



There is a reason we live in the Bay Area. It is tremendous. And the ice cream is good, too.
I recommend driving to The Warming Hut and hiking up the 1/2 mile to the Golden Gate bridge. It is a wonderful way of appreciating the local nature and the bridge.

Pops and Aj on vaca too




It is rainy but we are just fine with that.
Breakfast at Honey Honey
A ride on the cable car to the Cable Car Museum
Over to the Zeum-Aj and Ki make a music video, Ki and Pops make clay creations together
A quick trip through Metreon and Play Station
Dinner, again, at Pucinni and Pinetti and Aj makes his own pizza
Cable car ride to Girrideli Square (sp?) for sundaes
Back to the hotel for the third and final night
Pops and I swap off which kid we sleep with

It is not all heaven-kids fight and we forgot Aj's medication so he is Zippy and antsy. But we are on a vacation and it feels like we are miles away from home.

Spring Break



Ki and I drove up to the city for the night and stayed in Union Square. We went out for dinner and slept together. Bought apple turnovers as big as my head for breakfast and hiked through Union Square and then China Town.
We:
ate dim sum
tried bubble tea (not a hit)
checked out all the fresh and live fish and animals for sale in the markets
did tea tasting
visited The Fortune Cookie Company (and bought some)
bought almond cookies
bought BBQ duck
played in the park
Afternoon:
read newly acquired comic book and city guide in a Starbucks
played at Children's Circle Playground Yerba Buena Park
rested back in hotel
Dinner:
at Sears Fine Food-fabulous vegetable plate for me and pancakes for Ki
coloring and more comic book reading at Borders at Union Square and Pops and Aj join us. They rode the train to BART and walked to us. Aj in heaven. We get Aj dinner at Jack in the Box and Ki is thrilled to be the tour guide.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I C U Elephant Seal




On the Monday of Spring Break Pops and I took kids to see the elephant
seals at Ano Nuevo State Reserve on the coast. Just a bit south of Pescadero. Above photos are of a young "weaner" and another one who is slightly older. We were amazingly close and the weather was incredible. Starting in April you do not have to have a reservation to go see them. All the males are pretty much gone-but still worth the trip. A 3 mile walk round trip, mostly flat.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Staying Put

Ki did not get into smarty pants public school. 290 applicants for 80 some odd spots. She did nto get enough points in the application process. So pretty much a no go in the future as well. I am okay with it for the part that I never thought she was a "gifted" child. I just hope she finds a set of friends to hang with next year.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Beautiful Ki and the saga of the white dress

Poor Pops as been so concerned about getting a dress for Ki and her first communion. She HATES dresses and all things feminine, so this has caused some angst for all in the family. Quiet Pops as talked to nearly any mother he could get his hands on about the need for a white dress that would work. Due to his efforts we had dresses offered up from the Greek Orthodox Brownie Leader to the niece of one of his Palo Alto patients.
Today I bought "The 1st Communion Dress" for only $30.00 at TJ Max. I ripped off the tag that said "Cinderella" before I had her try it on. She would kill me if I had her wear something associated with a princess. Luckily, she won't try to decipher the sewn in label with the same moniker.
It is a very pretty dress. But I know not to utter the "p" word in her presence. Evidently the "b" word, "beautiful" is fine if not uttered with too much gushing. The dress has a slightly fitted sleeveless bodice with a design of sewn in pearls, and a long full skirt. No flowers anywhere. She tried it on and twirl led in front of the mirror, offering no complaints. She may have even liked it. But I think she was afraid to admit that to either of us. It will go well with the $13.00 shoes from Marshall's. I'll forgo any head piece or veil as a compromise to her.

Bowling

I went bowling awhile back with a group of other Special Mommies.

I either threw it in the gutter or got a strike. Seemed to parallel my life.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Good Girl

Ki is always the good girl.
For years already she has: attended my appointments and sat quietly playing, created whispering families from condiments on restaurant tables, always raised her hand, and been a teachers dream.

Recently there have been a couple episodes of lying (see haircut stories). Tonight I tucked her in and while I was fluffing her pillow I realized there was something in the pillow case. The hidden goods turned out to be a new unopened container of Hubba Bubba Bubblegum Tape.

She told me she found it and wasn't sure what it was from. I asked her if she stole it. She denied it. "I would tell you if I stole it." I reminded her that if you steal that the police get called because it is against the law. Her eyes looked wide. But actually, not all that wide.

Facts:
-housekeepers came this morning and changed the sheets
-they probably would not have put such a treasure back in a pillow case
-contraband most likely hidden after housekeepers here
-Ki at school today
-Aj not at school-home sick
-In the afternoon kids and I went to the store
-Aj is not capable of setting his sister up like this

-I think Pops and I are in trouble in the future.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ki's Lego Party

Sometimes I pride myself on operating my life in such a way that I give others the opportunity to feel good about themselves.
My dirty, messy house-it allows others to feel good about their own house.
Having my daughters birthday party in March when her birthday is in January-others feel good that a party a few weeks after their child's birth date is not so late.

So we finally had Ki's birthday party. My friend recommended the Lego Store at the nearby mall. So kids, mostly boys on the invite list of course, came over after school on Friday. I put everything in the front yard and there was a whirlwind of balls, dogs and kids. Then cake-which Ki and I designed and she decorated (pic later)- and ice cream. Then Bea, myself and Pops each drove a kid-filled car to the mall. Each child got to pick a small Lego kit to build and at the end were given a box to fill from the Lego Wall. Lego store was a big hit-great fun had by all. NOTE: If you chose this party-do it on a week day as they set up a table for the party right in the store. On a weekend day it would be too crowded and confusing all the customers.
Ki was a happy girl.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekday Mornings

Weekday mornings consist of me usually getting up later then is necessary and barking at the kids to get dressed. Aj is typically wildly distracted in the am and I get to repeat myself adnosium (sp?) about him putting clothing items on his body.
Then it is out to the car ans the 3 block drive to school. Java goes every morning. It is her routine. Even if I don't plan to return home to stay, I have to go back to drop off the dog.
Usually I am home for a bit and indulge in my peaceful morning moments. For example, right now.
I am comfortably sunk into the middle of the couch. On my right is Bear the cat and on my left is Java. My mug of hazelnut coffee is wedged between my thigh and Java. Sierra sleeps in the club chair. Granny looks for a place to sit and ends up at the dining room table.
I sip coffee, read Dear Abby, check email and pet my babies. A nice start to my day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lean closer so I can bite your whole head off

Sunday and Monday was one of those times when I felt overcome with sadness. All I could think about was everything sad and disappointing. My soul ached. I retreated to sleep for hours and most of a day.
I am still a bit touchy and was irritable at a meeting last night when forced to answer or entertain queries I found annoying. And I was easily annoyed. But at the same time I also wonder why we as women often feel the need to communicate with kid gloves.

No extra woof woof here

I heard back from Canine Companionss. No go. They only place facility dogs in large facilites, not small practices like mine. She did give me 2 other organizations that might work for me. We'll see.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ki's Joke

Today I took Ki and her friend to basketball practice at Satan's Gym.
(The local community center run by a very right wing church. They also have Satan's pool as named by my friend Squid).

Ki and her friend have been enjoying exchanging jokes, frequently they are made-up jokes.
100 yards from gym drop off Ki told this joke:

What do you get when you cross an "F" and a duck?
A fuck.
Get it?!

She had NO idea what she was saying. I quickly changed the subject-hoping to decrease the odds she would enter the gym and retell the joke.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fight or Flight

If it is injury or illness, I get a "fight" response. Suddenly, my mind is sharp and I triage needs, review options and plan ahead. An unflappable, yet flexible, calm over takes me. Today's event reminded me of how I respond to certain situations.

I was the car behind the car accident today. The light turned green and the car in front of me went. I glanced up and saw that car get plowed into by another that had obviously run a red light. The driver at fault got out of his car, looked at the other car briefly (maybe spoke to the other driver) and then moved his car out of the intersection. Other drivers drove around and continued on their way. I watched the other driver and could see s/he was trying to start their engine, but nothing seemed to be happening. Then the driver, a woman, climbed out of the car and walked to the sidewalk. She walked in an odd bent-over fashion. Something was odd here. So I got out of my car. When I got to her I asked her if she was hurt and she said she thought her arm was broken. She was trying to dial 911 on her cell phone with one hand. She didn't want to sit-so I called 911 on my phone and soon all the emergency folk were there. I waited and talked to the police officer and shared my version of the accident.

Two Mom's from the school went by and saw me on the corner and stopped to check on me and make sure I wasn't involved. Good karma going forward.
When I left the woman continued to be calm and was seated on the bumper of the firetruck while the EMT's stabilized her arm. It felt a bit strange to just walk off and get in my car and leave.

So if you've got illness or emergency or hospital, I'm your gal.
If you need help with anything related to a computer or financial planning, get a mop and open the door. That way you can clean the floor where I threw up and I won't knock the door down when I run through it like a bat out of hell.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

K9 companionss

I filled out the initial application to apply to get a "facility dog". That is a dog that is trained like a companion dog for individuals with disabilities, but it is assigned to a professional who works with individuals with disabilities. That person would of course be me, and possibly also Pops who is a physical therapist.

The dogs are labs or golden retrievers-or a mix of the 2. They are 2 years old when you get them. They have lived with and been trained by a family, very similar to how guide dogs for the blind are trained. The primary person who will be with the dog then has to go to 2 weeks training at the Canine Companion facility with the dog they will take home. Having and working with the dog is like having and working with a guide dog. The are working dogs. The application process is quite detailed and they are very choosy, rightfully so. For those who make it through the rigorous application process and are accepted to get a dog, the wait can still be 6 months to 2 years. So I thought I'd get going on it.

It is a dream of mine to be able to fully integrate a highly trained dog into my practice. I have seen some kids do signing, talking and playing for an animal (dog and guinea pig) that they didn't do for me. I'd also love to be able to have a dog to take and interact with kids in the special ed day classes etc.
Yes-that would mean that at the moment my home would be quite busy. That piece I'll get to later.
Will post more as I hear more.
see http://www.cci.org/site/c.cdKGIRNqEmG/b.3978475/k.BED8/Home.htm

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

American Idol

I am getting hooked again. Pops and I on the couch rating the singers. Kids love the show. Aj goes to bed and belts out made up songs. His own personal show.

Danny Gokey. The church singin' widower. A sweet heart. LOVE that guy.
Adam Lambert. He'll got far-but her he doesn't do it for me. Too plastic.
Lil Round. A darling mother of 3 with a charming personality.
Go Mama!
Jorge Nunez. A cute guy! I love that there is a latino guy in this. He got booted :(
WRONG. Anoop was saved. He is attractive-yet narcasistic. Blaaa.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Facebook

You know you're getting older when you can't find your grad school buddy on facebook, but you found his teenage daughter.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Prom Revisited 20 Years Later



Pops with his senior prom date with their kids, 20 years after the prom.
Beautiful kids-Ki as a merchant and DK as Aladdin.

Aj's mail

The following is a card Aj received in the mail today:

Dear Aj,
You were wonderful in Aladdin. You were very convincing. Your outrage at the monkey was perfect! I was so PROUD of you.

Fondly,

(last years classroom teacher that made me crazy with anger at her. I later came to like and respect her. How very supportive of Aj she is.)

Hot Mamas-small world

Do some of you remember the MP gym class for special needs kids that many of us took our kids to? We all loved Teacher Karen. Well it turns out Teacher Karen is the sister of one of the moms who worked on the play. Karen's sister is also Ki's Brownie leader. Karen came to see her niece in the play. She recognized my kids names and faces and came up to chat after the play.

Karen reminded me that when Aj was little he thought her name was "Jim". Because I would say, "Aj, we're going to Gym now."
We would arrive and she would say, "HI AJ!"
He would joyfully respond, "Hi Jim!"

Monday, March 02, 2009

Final Night of the Green Room

The final show. FABULOUS.
Al loses it when I break his anticipated rule and don't bring the actors from stage to green room at a time when I previously had.
He begins to rage.
A father of one of the kids steps in and raises his voice to Aj. Halfway through his reprimand he realizes that Aj is my son, not just one of the many actors. Actually, I was burned out by Aj and didn't and much. The Dad apologized a few times. He was really embarassed.
Aj continues to spiral down.

At the shows end I walk around with Aj trying to get him to calm down. I get him to stop crying and we walk in to see Mr. Cc. He is Aj's 1:1 aide at school and has come from the east bay to see the play. Sadly, aj is too out of sorts to pull it together to chat much.

I think the reason Aj had so much trouble on the nights of the performances was because he was tired, his ADD/ADHD meds had worn off, he channeled his stress this way and because I was there to direct his strong emotions at.

Other then that, Aj enjoyed it all and was fine at all other rehearsals. He did an excellent job with his lines. He was tremendous. As good or better than some of his peers. And so was Ki. She loved it too and she came out of her shell and became more confident.

I had a great time learning more about the theater. Getting to know parents I hadn't known before and spending more time with those I knew only a bit. I think Aj (and Ki) gathered more adults, and hopefully some kids, who will support him and greet him in the community.

Sat matinee

This is the performance that I go to see with Pops and Granny. Kurt also convinces his Dad and brother to go. Jennyalice comes with 2 year old Lucy and Lee comes with her 5 year old twins.

Lucy enjoys the show. Every few minutes or so she calls out,"WHERE DID THE PRINCESS GO?" or "WHEN IS THE MONKEY COMING BACK?" After intermission Lucy gets antsy and the comments increase. Jennyalice declares it is time for them to go. Later, jennyalice shares that Lucy bellowed across crowded the parking lot, "I WANNA SEE THE PRINCESS!!! I'M AFRAID TO GO HOME WITH YOU!"

Aj spends part of his time on stage wincing to locate Pops and I in the audience.
Once again he does a fabulous job of delivering his lines, even if a bit too loudly. When it is his turn to bow he runs up the stage and slides in for a bow. TA DA!
All come forward for the final bow and he pumps his arms, motioning the crowd to stand. He is looking for a standing ovation. The curtains close. Then, against the unspoken rules of the theater, Aj comes running down the side of the stage and into the audience. He is looking for Mom and Dad. He is cracking me up and my eyes are watering I am laughing so hard at his joy.

The show was amazing!! I loved it so very much. I am so proud of my kids and I really enjoyed it.

Fri Night Show

Ahh. The first real show. The chatter in the green room continues and is even higher. They are SO excited. Mr. L., the Principal and 2 other teachers make their cameos and the crowd loves it. Ki’s eyes are SO beautiful with the make up on I am floored. Aj was very edgy right when we arrived. He did not want to vary from having the same eye pencil used to draw his “facial hair” despite being told by myself and another Mom he adores that it wouldn’t work well. Just before show he is getting more edgy. The stress of the show about to start and Aj about to blow was more then I could handle, so I called Pops to come hang out with him.

One of the monkeys knocked her nose on Aladdin’s head just seconds before she was to go on stage. She thought she was bleeding and did not go on stage. The scene was artfully rearranged by the cast and then later the whole scene that was missed was redone. It was seemingly unnoticed by the crowd. Our dear friend Sandrini drove down from Napa to see the show. I forgot to turn in money and forms for kids to receive a rose with a note at the intermission. So instead I gave them each the big bouquets that Sandrini had brought them. (I told them they were from her). Many of the kids got flowers from other family members and from friends. Ki got a flower and card from 2 others kids in the play. Alex got 2, but then we realized the last name initial and that they were for the girl Alex. He began to unhinge. I told him I was SO sorry I didn’t give him flowers. He said he didn’t want that. He wanted flowers from one of the other kids. My heart started to break. Alex was ramping up for a big melt down and the play was to start in a few minutes. I couldn’t even allow myself the feelings that were glaring at me through the door of the green room tent. Luckily, Pops ended up managing Aj. And “the show went on.”

At one point part of a set fell and a Mom balanced it behind stage for the remainder of the scene. During a set change a basket of lemons and oranges from the market scene was knocked over. Fruit sprawled across the stage and was followed by frantic actors and stage crew.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Green Room Tech Night

The final rehearsal where you run through the whole play without stopping.
I had Granny come to watch. As well, our buddy Bea and 3 of her boys came to see the kids in the show.

I signed up Pops to work in the green room along with one other parent. The other parent is still home sick. The kids were escorted from the indoor green room, where they changed into costumes and got made up, to the outdoor green room tent. So a good 45 min before the show the kids are packed in like passengers on a Southwest flight with fewer chairs then butts and a nice odor of propane emitting from the heater. There is nothing for them to do. We hush them and the volume recedes only to rise again. And so the adults begin the nightly routine of battling the tide of the green room volume. I've tried "da da ta da da...", mean glares, tapping and pointing hoping to humiliate the offenders. Nothing works for long. Pops figures if you tell a group of kids to be quite, they should be. So he is dumb-struck as to how to handle this.

Just before the show I look out from behind the curtain and wave to Granny. She points to 2 seats beside her and says,"I saved seats for the kids!" I kind of snapped, "Mom, they don't need seats they are in the show!"

There are a few mishaps. Chop chop has already developed a reputation for not being where he needs to be with the props he needs. On the schedule I typed out I highlight when he is on and stage crew and I talk about how we are really going to have to work to support him. The presence af attention issues (ADD/ADHD) are apparent to me. Early in the show I see that chop chop is due up soon, I radio "Do you have chop chop on the left side of the stage?" I am told yes. Great! Five minutes later I hear the director radioing, where is chop chop? Get him! I dive outside and into the greenroom tent and there he is. He has completely missed his cue to go on stage. At some point in the last 5 minutes he chose to leave the stage and I never saw him. Tonight we are keeping him backstage the entire show.
Three girls are sharing a role and there is confusion amongst them about whose turn it is to be onstage-so no one appears.
Later, both myself and the other green room Mom don't call for Dragon in time and he misses his cue to go on stage. This one is my fault.
Ki's line "Someone stole my nuts!" breaks up the 7th and 8th grade actors and crew every time.

Two teachers and the Principal have comedic cameos in the play. They are all so great. Particularly the principal. What a good egg!
Aj consistently delivers his lines with a big volume and sings decibels above the others. What he lacks in pitch he makes up for in loudness.
During intermission a few of the girls are busy wiping and cleaning the table that holds water and quiet activities for them to do.
With a great deal of pride they tell me "Look, Judy, I'm cleaning up!"

But no one was as proud as darling Aladdin who grabbed me mid-show in the dusk behind the stage and said bursting with pride, "I have remembered EVERY prop!" He is a dear, smart, sweet and talented boy. I have visions of when he is older and I am watching him on the Disney Channel or picking a up a copy of Tiger Beat with his face on it. The funniest piece is that his mother and Pops went to Senior Prom together. Evidently Pops passed out drunk in someones house sometime in the evening and a photo of him was later used for some sort of alcohol awareness week. What makes it more ironic is that Pops has a beer or wine maybe once a month. So a reminder to high school seniors, watch what you do at prom. Your dates son may later be the lead in the class play that your kids are in.

Smarty Pants Dance

Today is the deadline to turn in the application for Smarty Pants School for Ki. Of course I continue to perfect my procrastination skills by having her write out her paragraph yesterday and by having pops go on a treasure hunt through the house yesterday looking for 1st term report card. He found it in a box labelled "AJ". I am feeling more like I would like her to go there as I see that the kids she enjoys have all applied. What will be, will be and it will be okay.

Morning chill

Granny and Bear, the 15-year-old cat, jockey for position in front of the wall heater.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Green Room Night #3-final rehearsal

Girls here. Boys there. Make-up on.
Teacher J was one of the 2 other parents who worked GR with me tonight. She rocks. Totally on top of it and handles kids so well.
MAke up and costumes look great.
I am confused about where we are starting in the play and don't have the right actors ready to go on stage. OOps.
I am ready to throttle the middle school aged actor who is the know-it-all
and readilly offers his criticism.
Aj and Ki battle it out again. During intermission Aj begins raging, I desperately chase after him and try tO diffuse him as he spins out of control. In the midst of this three Moms walk out of the green room tent and stop and stare in amazement. I snap, "I GOT IT. IT IS MY KID. THE STARING IS NOT HELPING." Oh dear.
It is time to start the scene. Of course Aj is in this scene. He has almost incapacitated himself with crying and frustration. My presence and comments both add to and reduce his angst.
"That's it Mama. Ki is fired. Or I am going to quit. I QUIT...."
We are now on the stage and myself and another are pleading. He has one of the first lines in the scene. Some how he pulls it together at the last minute and delivers his line beautifully.
We line up the actors for the final scene and curtain call practice. Ki is in tears.
"Mama, I don't feel good!"
"What do you mean yo don;t feel good? Like how?"
"I think I am going to throw up."
I touch her forhead and it is moist with sweat, but no apparent fever.
Well you know if anyone's kid is gonna throw up on stage at this point, it will be one of mine. She says she has to go potty, so I swoop her off to the bathroom and bail on the other green room parents.
She unwraps her head scarf, takes off the lime green slimey material pants, pulls the synthetic dress-thingy over her head, takes down the short sleeve leotard, pulls down her pink tights and finally, her under pants. She pees and announces that she feels better. It occurs to me that the seemingly 5,000 layers of man-made material that she is wearing has turned her into a walking sweat box.
We return and the cast is practicing the curtain call. Aj claps for himself and everyone else.
We clean, change, clean some more and head home.

Green Room Adventures Night 2

Pops was on the schedule to join me.
"I'm not sure what I am supposed to do?" he told me. Ya, that is pretty much how it goes.
I donned my radio headset and I was as ready as Id ever be.
After the play rehearsal Aj announced that her had lost the running tights he was wearing. Well turns out they were still at home on his bed. That explains the conversation about boxer shorts that I overheard when the boys were changing. Aj was wearing Sponge Bob boxers. So very hip.
There was a group photo on stage with all the cast in costume. I am stunned to see my nearly-always-compliant daughter throwing some sort of hand sign mid-photo. Late Aj gets into it with a couple of the girls and his sister and starts to melt. Luckily, Pops was there to take that on and help diffuse.
Yesterday kids left the green room tent full of trash and most of the other parents managed to disappear home. So tonight I held the kids hostage and told them they had to fold up the chairs and pass them out and then clean up the room before they could change and go home. Pops put his square frame in the door and blocked the little wild ones in till all was clean.
Good news is we did not gas the kids out tonight.
Play coming together nicely!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Adventures from the Green Room Day 1

The kids play is nearly here. Both are in Aladdin, as I have bored readers with previously. Of note is that the Director, who does this type of thing for a living, is magical with kids. More importantly he is completely accepting of Aj. And Aj has done well with the rehearsals, his lines etc. Ki, too. Both have really enjoyed it.

Parents are required to volunteer a lot of time to make this whole thing come together. At the onset we were asked to complete a form that had us list our preferences for jobs. In no way could I be responsible for costumes, hair, makeup or sets. So I listed "green room" as my main preference and got it.

The "green room" is the room people are in prior to going on stage in theater and tv. Evidently, these rooms are painted green because it is a calming color. I am "in charge" of the green room for the kids 2nd to 8th grade. That means I get to wear a fancy headset that is hooked up with the director, stage manager etc. This is "tech week" the name for the week prior to the performances where you have dressed rehearsal with props etc. All new to me as I have never done theater before. Tech week is 5:15 pm to 9:30 pm M T W Th and performances F and 2 on Sat. Yes, you read those hours correctly. So kids and I will be beat. Shuffling homework, eating and sleeping is a challenge.

The challenge of balancing that is furthered by the fact that Aj complained of sore throat on Sun night and then on Mon am. I kept him home from school on Mon and then sent him to the play Mon night. At least I had him do his homework!

Our green room for the first night was a tent outside. And it was white, not green. Which did not go unnoticed by the kids. It rained so we had umbrellas to hold over kids heads for going to and from the stage. One initial piece of excitement was my daughter peeing while on the stage. This of course just 30 min after I told the kids in the green room to go potty before they put their costumes on.

Later, I radioed that the kids were cold out in the tent. The wonderful fellow who rented the heater for our tent came and turned it on. A bit later I returned to the tent to a bit of panic. Seems the gas and heater are not all okay and the tent filled with the smell of gas and kids and adults were turning green. (So I guess it was a green room after all.) I radioed in that the kids were getting gassed out and we needed to move the group in the green room.

Really, the rest went fine. I do not get rattled easily-but some others do. So I imagine some other parents working felt a lot more stressed by the number of kinks being worked out. Kids are still a bit loose on knowing their lines and facing the audience etc. But the show will go on.

One of the other adults just emailed me and said she is sick and can't work the green room tonight. Alrighty.

Alex is now asleep in my bed at 9:30 am. Today, Tuesday, he woke up and vomited or spit up phlegm-not sure. Then he clearly had bad stomach cramps. MMMmmm. We will see about tonight for him. He may stay here.

Now I am going to leave to drive over to the theater and find Ki's costume in the costume bags and bring it home and wash the pee out.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

If I were President Obama

By Ki

I would lower gas prices.
I would also help the world by taking out trash.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Can I Sit with You

I COPIED this from my buddies blog. If you've got nothing else to do-come hear myself and others read. Great stories and we will likely walk over to Milagro's for a drink afterwards

Parents, children, or anyone who has ever been either one of those; fans of social skills development, special needs advocacy and/or special education fundraising; or anyone who simply enjoys a good storytelling session:

Come join editors Shannon Des Roches Rosa and Jennifer Byde Myers as we talk about the mission of the Can I Sit With You? Project, then laugh and squirm through live story readings by four of our most popular authors.

The Can I Sit With You? Project's frequently hilarious and often heartbreaking stories will be appropriate for anyone who has ever struggled with awkward social scenarios at school -- especially so for currently curious, concerned, or socially cornered children.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 7:00 PM
Redwood City Main Library, Fireplace Room
1044 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, CA 94063

Featured Readers:
Mike Adamick, The Weirdest Kid in the World
Amanda Jones, The Cure of Nowhere
Sarah Dopp, Will You Go Out With Me?
Judy McCrary Koeppen, Men-Stru-a-Tion


Copies of Can I Sit With You Too?, our second story collection, will be available for purchase (and signing).

Remember, all proceeds from The Can I Sit With You? Project (www.canisitwithyou.org) fund SEPTAR, the Special Education PTA of the Redwood City School District.

Thank you for your support.

Parents: please review the featured stories (linked above) if you have concerns about subject matter.

We'd really love to see you all there!

------

This Week is icky

-a cold and headache
-Take Sierra to vet to have breast tumors removed. They also clean her teeth and remove a growth on her face. Pathology reports will be back next week. I can't even consider cancer. Vet bill for this was over $1,000.00
-wacky canchor sores back in my mouth. Huge lesions that drag across my teeth when I talk or eat.
-eating cream soup and pureed foods.
-a wonderful, kind, caring, funny, animal loving former neighbor and co-worker and of mine dies. He died about 1 month after finding out he had a renal tumor. Cancer was everywhere. It was a beautiful sunset the night he died. Random clouds lite up in soft orange in a blue sky. He will be so very missed by so many.
-I have my period
-cancelling clients-too painful to talk for work
-I ask AJ if he sat with someone at lunch or sat alone. He sat alone. I ask if the other kids are unkind to him. He tells me no, that he guesses they just forget to talk to him.
-I said "yes" to too much and am feeling overwhelmed and am letting people down because I am not keeping up with my commitments
Good news: a new computer so now I can work and bill and jennyalice installed printer so I can now print again. I loved the Jamba Juice jennyalice brought me. Ki invited to 2 birthday parties. Kids enjoying being in the play. Sierra feels good today-her old self. Pops is such a good partner and steps right up to pick up kids, cook dinner, what ever is needed. Only 1 hour of clients today. It is Friday. I bought valentine cards for my family and a gift for each kid.
I feel like a WHINER, but also sometimes vomiting up the bile of life makes one feel better.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kids Play

AJ and Ki are in the Aladdin play with performances Fri pm Feb 27 and SAt 28th matinee and evening. If you'd like to go I can possibly buy a ticket for you at the school or you can buy online at:

http://aladdinlamp.eventbrite.com.

$10.00 adult $5.00 kids
Tickets will likley sell out quickly because the theater is smallish and there are lots if kids in it.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

What dog breed are you?

I just took the quiz on Facebook.

Results:
You are a Labrador Retriever.
Not too surprising I guess.
I would have shit if I came up as a terrier.

You are a Labrador Retriever-honest, fun loving and yet with a serious side. You love to be with family and friends, but when it is nap time you just like to curl up in a warm place and snooze. People inherently like you.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

email I sent 2/7/09

Hi,
After school on Fri I pinned Ki and asked her if she cut her hair. And she said...yes.
Not during rehearsal.
Not during the Brownies.
She evidently did it during the middle of class (interesting).

So evidently she has learned quite a bit about acting. She delivered her lines with confidence and consistency. As well, she improvised character names and appearances that were believable.
Maybe this is the beginning of a fabulous acting career for her. Or a career as an under cover agent. Hopefully not as a criminal.

I apologize for stirring the pot with this,
Thanks for your support!

Friday, February 06, 2009

email and update

I got an email back that said there is no one named Bobby working on the play. There are also no red headed men. There is a red haired woman.

The director of the play also called (he is from an outside agency that is putting the play on ). Very kind and supportive and interested in finding out if it was and adult, another child in the play etc.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Interesting

Copy of an email I just sent.
Mmmmmmmmm.
Chapter 2 to follow


Hi
I had a strange thing happen tonight I need to share with you. Ki came home tonight from play rehearsal and she has 2 or 3 clearly visible large chunks of hair that have been cut off.
I asked her if she did it and she said no. She told me that someone who helps out at the play named Johnny (an adult) cut her hair. She often (and currently) has some tangles in her hair. I am not sure if that was involved somehow. I asked her what the person said and she told me he said somehting along the lines of "Sweetie, come on over here, I can help you with that." and then cut her hair.
She now needs a haircut to even it all out.
Perhaps one of the 2 of you can lend some clarity to this Alice in Wonderland story. I will ask Ki about it again in the morning to see if the story changes and we can be in touch.

Thank you,

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

3 am

"Mommy..."
I was awakened at 3 am by Ki's sweet voice. Based on our families recent health status, I anticipated her next statement. "I just threw up." "My throat hurts." Or perhaps, "My poop is weird."
So when she said, "Java is stuck on my (top) bunk bed and can't get down." I had to ask her to repeat it.

Ki had gotten up in the middle of the night for a drink of water and Java followed her back and ended up in bed with her. Seems Java then panicked and moaned her discontent. She wanted down, but couldn't figure out how to get down. In the past she has jumped on top of AJ's bed and then up to Ki's bed, but only with a great deal of encouragement.

Ki and I walked to the kids room. On the bottom bunk AJ was sound asleep. On the top bunk, which crosses over the bottom bunk to create a 'T', was Java. She crouched low on the bed and stared at me with a distressed and embarrassed expression.
"Java, here the light is on now. Remember, jump down here on to AJ's bed." I patted Aj's bed and 55 pounds of relief landed on the bed and then on the floor.

Despite 2 spring board leaps off his bed, dog moaning and the lights going on, Aj slept on. I looked at him closely and determined he was breathing and headed back to bed with Java just inches behind me.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Last Thursday

Anyone see Marley and Me? I haven't yet-but desperately want to. My "Marley", Java, ate part of a stick of butter that AJ left on the coffee table after using it on his toast. She had that severe pancreatitis 6 months ago (read nearly died and cost over $1,000.00) for a similar dietary offense and will now be prone to it. I tried to induce vomiting by having her swallow small amounts of hydrogen peroxide over 45 min. NOTE: no dog will ever vomit when you want them to. I called the vet and they said to keep an eye on her and bring her in if she showed symptoms of vomiting etc. Well I couldn't leave her with Mom to be the caregiver and historian. And I can't take her to work because she is too crazy. So I cancelled one patient, and rescheduled another. I had no computer, soooo...I watched Rachel Ray and listened for "urping" sounds from the dog. I got a good Super Bowl Party recipe and the dog is fine now.
It is all going along here. The madness of it all keeps rolling on. They say "A rolling stone gathers no moss", I think that's because sometimes it is rolling in a pile of shit.