our new world

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F4797A75-796A-4825-A9D8-80FCB91A8BBFLast week, Julia’s inclusion facilitator (a post previously called “case manager” and hereafter IF) told me that Julia was not put on the bus list in error and if it was possible for me to drive her for the week, she would get the bus this second week of school.  I agreed, jotting down the bus as a topic of conversation for our meeting this week.  Sunday evening, the bus service called me to tell me when Julia would be picked up on Monday.  This morning the bus was early and so tooted its horn for us.  I went to the door and Julia was out a few minutes later.  I talked to the driver who actually seemed to know the the time quoted to me was too late and that they were still making adjustments.  She apologized that I did not get phone call before this morning about changes.  I feel like I’m living in some utopian bizarro world!  In Madison (I’m not going to repeat the bus saga, the sped bus never tooted its horns if Julia was not waiting for it.  A bus pulled up to our house, waited a few minutes and then left.  There were a few times when I complained the bus never showed up and the dispatcher said that the bus was there, waited and left.  If the bus was early, especially in the early days of ninth grade, it could have escaped our notice.  So, this little curtesy, a tooting of the horn seems like a miracle to me. Continue reading

one garbage bag

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4:00 a.m. It is raining. The rain from Dorian.  It may be coming in the basement and may be wetting the two boxes on the bottom of the cardboard box pile that I should have put on a pallet.  Oh, the basement is a mess.  It is an unruly pile.  I tell myself, no pile is too big or too messy once I dig in.

I joined a Facebook declutter group a few years ago that doesn’t get much traffic these days, but every so often someone, usually new, pitifully asks for help with the big, impossible pile of junk somewhere—attic, basement, room with a door that can be closed, dining room table that is never used for food, etc.  And the answer is always, grab one garbage bag and fill it with whatever is garbage.  Take it out of your house.  Don’t look at the stuff that needs boxing or selling or putting away.  Just do one garbage bag today. Continue reading

first friday

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Notes:

~ I found a coffee shop with WiFi and other folks sitting and tapping away on laptops.  And pretty okay avocado toast and latte.  It is on a side street that is the size of an alley.  I had looked for it yesterday and couldn’t find it.  Clearly, it is a gem as there could not be much walk by traffic.  And I found a parking space.

~ Parking.  If I moved directly from Park Slope, Brooklyn, to Newton, MA, I would opine that parking in and around Newton was a challenge but not impossible.  However, having spent umpteen years in the midwest, parking in Newton feels close to impossible at times.  Also, having a line of cars behind me and no place to pull over and let them pass when I am looking for a parking space is uncomfortable.  I’ll get used to it, I know, just now . . . I am very grateful for early Jersey training in parallel parking.  The skill is like riding a bike. Continue reading

morning pep talk

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Julia finished two days.  She has come home happy both days.  I’ve gotten no frantic phone calls, emails or texts from anyone at school.  She lost her binder on the first day (found yesterday) and her new to her jacket on the second (she will look for it today).  There is a strict phone rule in her physics class—if the phone comes out in class, you lose it.  First time, until the end of class, second time, it goes to the house office with unknown consequences.  Good black line rule for Julia, nice that it is for everyone. I’ve driven her to school these two days and I will do so tomorrow as well.  Buses are messed up (Did I bring that challenge with me?).  Interestingly, the bus dilemma is not confined to sped buses and there was a general email from the principal about it yesterday.  He admitted that the primary reason for the problem is not enough planning and he has an idea about what to do for next year. For the present, more parents are driving kids to school.  Just like West, Newton North sits in the middle of a suburban neighborhood and as such does not have the roads to support school drop off traffic.  Our 6 minute drive takes 20 and getting out of melee takes more. The buses will help.  I think Julia appreciates our time in the car.  High anxiety yesterday, a slightly lower level this morning. Continue reading

labor day weekend

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AC5D25B1-6062-467E-A672-676B74D9C678Labor Day Weekend and we were out and about playing tourists for the last few days before school. There is a good deal of anxiety but keeping busy helps.  Besides touring, we hang Julia’s anime posters and did some decorating in her bedroom.  Fingers crossed for Tuesday morning.

A visit to Old Sturbridge Village about 45 minutes south of us.  We happened to arrive on Free Friday which made the visit all the more sweet.  Visiting 1830 and talking to various craftsmen was the highlight of the day.  It was a simpler time of live but even a casual visit showed how few opportunities for women there were.  The Seneca Falls Convention was still 18 years away. Continue reading

first day of everything

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First day of 11th grade

Tuesday: First day of Julia’s Junior year at Newton North High School.  Today has been a bit more than a year in the making.  The first queries I wrote to Boston area high schools, when I was still just toying with the idea of moving, were dated mid-August 2018.  So, today feels like crossing a finish line and at the same time, it is the beginning of another big adventure.  

I drove Julia to school this morning and her case manager met her at the door.  Julia went in at 11, an hour before upper class students were due to arrive and two hours after the freshman class started.  The Sped administrator, who has been our life line since we arrived, suggested the time and it gave Julia a chance to have lunch and settle in before the school filled up.   Continue reading

end of august

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The Salem waterfront

Sitting in a coffee shop whose name I’ve already forgotten.  There is no free wifi here which suggests that I will try the Starbucks around the corner next time. My car is parked at a metered space that I probably don’t have enough time on. I can’t always tell if there is a time limit on parking spaces. Julia is at an orientation for new students.  She is anxious and scattered and so am I.

New reality: Carry change for meters. Find a coffee shop with free wifi. Get acquainted with feeling scattered. Continue reading

purpose

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Art by Duy Huynh

I open my eyes this morning knowing what I want to write about today.  Purpose. Considering that it has been weeks since I woke up wanted to write anything, I resolve to jump out of bed, leave everything, save the making of coffee, for later and start tapping at my keyboard.

However, before I sit and open the laptop, there is the cat to let in and feed, fans to move from bedrooms to kitchen and living room, the mouse trap in the kitchen cabinet to check (before Julia gets up) and the coffee to make with a few fleeting thoughts given to whether the papaya on the countertop is ripe.  Another few thoughts go to whether I text Cheshire before or after I write. Julia gets up and immediately turns on the tv and gets on her iPad.  She grabs a pop tart (unfrosted to ease my mother guilt) and says, good morning. I wrestle for more than a moment with the urge to engage with her and begin the enriching work of the day. Shouldn’t that be my sole purpose— To spend every waking moment purposely and actively engaged in Julia’s growth and maturity? Continue reading

the practice of being a stranger

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On the steps of the Custom House.

Findings and observations, many without conclusions:

-I am making home and I prefer that I was done already.  Hanging pictures in the most compulsive manner.  Damn theses plaster, horse hair and lathe walls!  Small pictures need are hung velcro-y like strips.  Not buying them from Amazon but a “local” hardware store 25 minutes away.  Twenty five minutes is not too far to go for helpful advice.  On Sunday, I hung a large poster from a molding hook using fishing line. I may have to camp out in the living room all night to make sure the line does not stretch and/or break even though the hardware guy swore that he never sold a reel of fishing line to someone preparing to fish. I still have three pictures, big framed pictures, that I want to hang, that I cannot imagine not having on the walls in my home and I’m not sure how to do it.  I am used to banging a nail into dry wall, perhaps looking for a stud.  The patience of this house stretches me thin.  Continue reading

finding her feet

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573DDFF9-13E7-4F93-A7A9-3FDC17E9DA0CSunday, second day of the Framingham PopCult Anime Con.

Spiky green hair or extraordinarily long pink hair, intricate foam weapons, knee high boots with lifts, tails and long gray gloves, short skirted Japanese school girl uniforms, maids and sword carrying warriors stalk the hotel halls. There are a few other functions going on in the hotel. Did the family reunion in the Concord Room know they would be running into imaginary adventurers?

Julia’s passion for My Hero Academia is completely in line with the many, many con attendees who are dressed as Hero characters or sporting identifiable tee shirts. Lots of bought costumes and some more original hand made ones are on display. A beautiful looking Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle won best costume of the con.  The character, Howl, is male; I am not sure of the con’s Howl. The gender of many bewigged attendees is a complete mystery and after awhile I stop guessing. So many of the anime characters could be either or both depending on the adventure, the plot line, or the preference of the composer. Boys in skirts and make up; girls as male warrior characters. Julia has gone from rigid identifications of gender when she entered high school to the ability to accept the fluidity of this gathering.  She declares that she wants to cross-dress but either I don’t understand exactly what she means or she doesn’t understand the concept.  She still wants to wear dresses and skirts all the time.  Now, how is that cross dressing? Continue reading