weekend

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Man, what an emotion ladened weekend!  I have been weepy, tears just behind the eyes, catch ready to happen in my throat for two days.  Yesterday, some of that was relieved by a walk around Walden Pond.  

Walden Pond

It was an incredibly beautiful fall day, a bit warm for my still Wisconsin standards, but delightful to walk.  I was looking for a contemplative walk in the woods, a la Henry David Thoreau.  Instead, the biggish beach and the tiny beaches all around the pond had families, picnickers, swimmers and kayakers chattering and enjoying the day.  And the path around the pond has a layer of small stones and our shoes made noise as we moved along.  Julia didn’t mind at all and I had to smile that I actually expected a quiet, mystical stroll. There were a few moments, a few feet of the path every so often, where there were no small stones and where we were not close to those playing in the water.  And for those few moments, it was blessedly quiet—once I turned around to make sure Julia was still in back of me.  And the quiet captured some of what was in my heart.

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9/11

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20 years.  I remember so well going through the metal detector at the federal court build in Indianapolis.  The security guy telling me that the world trade center was hit by a plane and we assured each other it was a fluke.  A mistake.  Then, upstairs to my office and then into a judge’s chambers to watch the second plane hit and the buildings collapse on tv.

I remember trying to wrap my head around the unimaginable in the midst of distress, chaos, sorrow and worry.  But a tender memory from that time, in the days and weeks afterwards, midwest friends, neighbors, colleagues and acquaintances, remembered I was from there and asked how I was and how my family and friends were.  I had lived in Indiana since 1989, and it was never that easy being from New York.  People could be downright mean at times, talking about where I came from as if it was the pit of hell.  Not everyone but enough to make David and I shy about that ‘where are you from’ question.  During the days and weeks after 9/11, everyone became a New Yorker.  Suddenly, I was just like them because they were just like me.  I hadn’t expected that and I felt for almost the first time there, that I had community.

Saturday morning breakfast at a new to us Diner in Watertown.

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first day of a new program

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First day of Julia’s transition program at Community Connections designed to teach her independent living and employment skills. They have a huge hill to climb.

Anxieties of the morning: The van didn’t come (It showed up at 9:15, a half hour late) and it was less stressful for me to drive her than for her to wait for transportation.  She brought drawing materials with her to the program and I encouraged her to use them if she has time.  Julia has a brand new rash on one arm (although it might be moving to both arms).  I don’t know what it is.  There is Sarna in the front of her backpack which works to calm the itch much of the time.  She also brought her phone which has proven to be disastrous at times but it wasn’t worth a morning tussle.

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FanCon Boston 2021

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Julia has waited for two years to go to a big “Con.” We could have gone in 2019 but it was right after we moved and I couldn’t manage it. That Christmas, she wanted costumes and wigs to get ready for 2020. But like everything else the 2020 FanCon was cancelled. The 2021 FanCon was moved back and last weekend it happened. I think it was not as big as it has been; however, Julia had a wonderful time. We had 3-day tickets and she and I went each day. Julia’s wonderful therapist accompanied us on Friday evening, and Cheshire was with us on Saturday and Sunday. Masking made it a bit weird. I mean, in a superhero costume with wig and mask, I could have walked right past anyone!

Julia went dressed on Friday and Saturday as a female Deku cheer leader for UA, the Japanese high school that develops heros. In the animation, Deku is male; however, lots of young women like to become a female version of him. On Sunday, she dressed as a blue haired student at UA which may be her own character.

So, a few pictures.

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maine

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I keep my journaling in files month-by-month.  It is not as satisfying as the various soft covered writing books that I wrote in and then lined up on book shelves but far more practical and convenient.  I still carry a small paper journal but it is for quick jottings that, if I am still interested in hours later, I transcribe to this screen.  Where I was once meticulous to finish each journal before moving on to a new one, I am likewise meticulous about keep each month’s scribblings in its own computer file.  And so, it is odd for me to still be writing in the August 2021 file on September 3.  I know the intent yesterday was consolidate what I had written during our days in Maine and to publish something with the Maine photos, but I could not concentrate on a vacation summary.  Descriptions of charming towns and water and sky slipping away into explanations, systems of ideas explaining our present reality.  Trying to make sense of my own present “where.”

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onions

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We love to use the shopping bags we’ve acquired from friends. This one is from cousin Stef in Sydney. We are thinking of all our Ausie cousins who are, for the moment, on lock down. Sending love to all of you!

Home and with not much to do for this weekend.  We expect a storm tomorrow and the governor advised all to stay home tomorrow.  I am still not used to hurricanes, their warnings and their fierce rains even though I grew up with them.  The first one I remember was Hurricane Donna in 1960.  I remember weather men breaking into my favorite tv shows  and my parents shushing us to listen.  And I remember picking up tree branches after it was all over. I remember tv news and pictures of places where homes and businesses were destroyed, and some cars floating down flooded streets.  I think it may have been when I realized that humans, particularly my parents, didn’t control everything.

Julia asked if she could take some time to draw this morning, and she is still at it 2 hours later.  This is the third day in a row that she has asked for the time. Cautiously, I wonder if going back to therapies that we’ve used before is giving her something.

Back a few months, I wondered out loud to our family therapist what kinds of therapies and interventions were appropriate, helpful and useful to Julia now.  Therapies and exercises always call for me to organize and facilitate.  When I wondered out loud, I felt tired and feeling like nothing that I had done for the past two years had done much good.   When I told her last week about things I was bringing back and things I was exploring, she reminded me that I had asked the question and evidently had come to an answer.  

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staycationing

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Friday was the last day of Camp Echo Bridge.  Julia has only been at this city day camp for two weeks and I think it has been the best part of her summer.  It is an genuinely inclusive experience for her.  A very healthy mix of typical and kids with disabilities in the younger groups.  Julia’s group—the tigers, clearly a name that was made up by some of the boys—was young people 14+ with disabilities; however, it is a smallish camp and the entire camp does some things together.  The staff is careful and caring but most of all enthusiastic.  

One glitch:  One swim day Julia got bored sitting in the grass reading—she didn’t want to go into the water—and she decided to walk from the lake to the school where the camp meets.  She didn’t tell anyone she was doing it and when counselors realized she wasn’t there, I hear there was 10 minutes of panic.  I can count on one hand, this time included, the times Julia has wandered off from anything.  Staff handled it all well and low keyed.  Julia apologized and they asked her not to do it again.  I think she was also scared when she didn’t really know how to get back to the school.  

On Friday, in the sweltering humid, sunny heat, there was a camp show. Each group did something like a skit (or told jokes) and danced to a pop song.  No pressure to perform. Julia was willing to be “on stage” with her group but not willing to stand to dance.  And so, she sat while others danced.  Later, when the whole camp was “on stage”—two poles with a sheet stretched between them on part of the paved school yard—she did dance.  And she loved it. 

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view from a different mountain

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So many Facebook posts about dropping offspring at college.  Parents wondering about how very responsible children will live with strangers, pick courses and move around unfamiliar campuses, and how they will deal with empty nests.  Parents crying as they drive away. Had Facebook been available back when Cheshire was college aged, I may have said the same.  Now, I look from such a different view.  I want to hug them all and tell them—Celebrate! You are unbearably lucky!  You are so blessed!  You can see what your parenting has produced.  Your child is excited or at least willing to learn and be taught, to plunge into an interest, to make friends, to take on adventure of a new place, new people, a whole new culture.  And you can support them—financially and emotionally— in this journey.  You will certainly miss them but this, this very thing, is what you’ve trained them and yourself for.  

You are living in the best of times.

heat wave

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Vegetable gardening.

A 3-day heat wave was predicted.  It might last longer.  It will not break sooner.  We missed the first heat wave here and lived it in Maryland where our nights were air conditioned.  Then, there were a few hot days about a month ago and our air conditioners were still in the basement.  I could not bring them up alone and I have not yet found a handy person like my Ed of Madison who knew my house better than I did.  Of course, this is not my house, except for the term of my lease, and my handy person tasks are few.

Cheshire and Justin brought one unit from by basement at the end of last week, just in time for yesterday.  And I did what I have done since I moved to Wisconsin and met the cold:  I closed up the house, windows closed, blinds and shades down, doors to rooms not used closed tight.  And left the air conditioner on through out the night.  This is so odd for me, I sleep with open windows, but the house is cool, even the bedrooms are tolerable.

Good, hardworking little machine.  Thank you.  And thank you for the grace of children who will do those tasks I am unable to. 

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china sisters

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Traveling again!

It  is telling that after two years I only noticed on Friday morning at 4:30 a.m. that my street has no street lights.  We are catching a 6 a.m. plane Boston to Philly and then a later plane to Dayton, Ohio.  It was China Sisters Reunion weekend.  A Facebook post announced that this is the 16th reunion if our trip to China is included.

Ah, a trip to China.  I am still marveling that Julia and I have not gotten on a plane for more than 2 years.  How is that so?  

And yet, we were picked up and dropped off at Logan and entered into the swarm of early morning travelers.  The check in lines and kiosks buzzed with people.  People everywhere!  Carrying and pulling, asking questions and commenting excitedly, making people noises that made something of a soundtrack as we made our way to the departure gate.  I remember but I am hearing it all for the first time.  Like riding a bicycle, we quickly adapted to the old routines—printing boarding passes, finding security, getting into the TSA line, showing identification and pulling down each of our masks for a moment to make sure that the picture on the ID matched the person carrying the ticket.  Julia asked if she had to take off her shoes and we both forgot to take our phones out of jacket pockets. 

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