image6Presentation done, class taught.  Now, time to erase and restore my hard drive.  Hopefully, if I followed directions, if my back up drive is as it should be and the path of restoration is smooth, I will be 100 percent back to the present by the morning.  By present, I mean the end of September on the hard drive and 6 weeks in the cloud.  If I’ve messed up, I will really be living only in the present.  Not going there until it happens.

Breathe.

As it happened the erase and restore went somewhat smoothly; however, I did not capture every bit of my last month’s work in the cloud and a few days of chaos ensued.  It is mostly ok now.  At least, I think so.

Next up, health care decisions.  I spent a few days back in September weighing options but could not make any definite decisions because 2016 plans were not out yet.  Tomorrow, I review the ever growing pile of information, talk to those who sell what I want to buy, ask again about limits and exclusions for autism therapy, and copays, and co insurance, and some other co stuff.  There will be calls and calls back with the ultimate goal of a decision and sign up before thanksgiving.

Please, let this not be optimistic!

Julia’s special Ed teacher came out to talk to me a few minutes before Julia the other day.  I must always look very anxious when she does this and she always, starts with ‘nothing is wrong.’  Today, it was that she found a very, sweet love note in Julia’s binder to a boy in Julia’s  class.  This would not be surprising in a typical kid’s binder and of course, no one would be pawing through a typical 14-year old’s binder.  Julia has both her teacher and her mother invading privacy at every chance we get.

There is nothing alarming about the note.  It is a sweet profession of liking and love.  She admires his skill at Magic and asks to be his “very best friend.”  She also asks to go on a date; however, a date after lunch in reading class.  Not quite sure what that means.  On the positive hand, it is a rather coherent note.  She notices his attributes and talents, and does not propose anything inappropriate.  She also did not give this to its intended recipient and, according to her teacher, this is a boy who could handle Julia with a crush.  Perhaps the best part of the note is the reaching out that it is.

And she wants to be a very best friend.

On the other hand, writing a note is closer to acting out on those raging puberty hormones than we’ve seen before.   And the escalation of acting out, even in this sweet note, carries a host of fears and worries.  And possibilities.  Julia is impulsive and acts long before she thinks.  How to best inform her so that she is not taken advantage of in a year or two.  How to best shape this and other crushes to bring her closer to an actual friendship while discouraging sexual play.  There are many awful stories out there.  No more trauma.  Please.

Somewhat related.  Halloween remembered

In “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” Oliver Sacks introduced many readers to Temple Grandin for the first time.  It was long before I met Julia.  Sacks asked Grandin about friendships and she told him about her solitary life.  He noted that she wasn’t particularly sad about the admission and that she was very grateful for work that fully engaged her.  The piece touched me deeply and I remembered it always.

Julia is at the age when kids do the trick or treat routine with friends.  Julia did it with me.

Indeed, she still needs to be reminded to say trick or treat, and thank you and goodbye.  She is not rude or ungrateful.  There is a lot to take in when someone comes to their door offering her candy.  The words fly out of her head.  Then there are the wonderful people who offer choice.  Pick one or two out of a full bowl.  These people are surprised that it takes her minutes to choose–there are way too many pieces to make a hasty decision.   There was also one impulsive grab for more than the piece offered, which I wanted her to give back but the guy at the door wanted to let it pass.  All of this pointing up the challenges of someone who doesn’t get social cues and the parent trying to teach and the well meaning stranger who does not have a clue.

“Who are you?” Julia asks a kid very directly.  The kid is taken aback.  Few other kids ask that, especially in front of a door where an adult handing out candy.   She also took time to ask a few adults ‘who they were.’  I’m not sure if she wanted to know if they were costumed or just wanting to know their names.   Some adults were caught as off guard as the kids.  Every so often some one gets it, engages with Julia and she is delighted.  I want to shower those people with grace and cash and my undying love.

We ran into two groups of kids that contained kids who Julia knew.  At least one of them, Julia might have joined if she asked.  I wondered if she would. My only reservation would had been that these girls were on their own– very appropriate for the neighborhood and the age of the kids but questionable for Julia.  Still, had she asked and had one of those kids volunteered to keep an eye on her, I may have let her go.  Would I have lurked a few houses away?

However, she didn’t ask.

We studied for a social studies test, closer to a quiz, about thematic maps.  Julia got the idea of these maps but to answer questions based on the maps is very hard.  The hardest is the opened ended essay questions.  We rehearse them over and over.  She does not remember from one day to the next and she has to reconstruct ideas and paragraphs as if she never saw them before.

This makes for repeated hard study nights.

I am reading “A Hidden Wholeness” by Parker Palmer.  It is good and wise; however, I cannot help but wish that I had begun to read in the vein a few decades ago.  In the car, I am listening to travel porn.  The third Bramasole memoire by Frances Mayes, and “Eat, Love, Pray” by Liz Gilbert.  The first, a hopelessly romantic expat dream of Tuscany, making me swoon with longing for her whole life.  Ok, there must be some sad ugly parts but except for crumbling walls and one rather personal bomb threat, I can’t see them.   I ponder if I could deal with a bomb threat.  Mayes keeps a blog that I am now following.  Stalking her life?  “Eat, Love, Pray” is a book that I ridiculed in the past.  Now, it is touching and I identify with her journey.  I hear the wisdom she has to offer.  How did that happen?  She is half my age, she is alone, she is beautiful, she is incredibly privileged, she had a book contract that gives her “aimless” traveling a few false notes, but I identify.  I don’t mind her self-indulgence, of which there is much, or her almost compulsive self-interest.  The book encourages my dream.  She says she has never mastered a language but her passion to learn Italian is almost all she needs to plunge into the deep end.  She makes friends along the way and old friends visit where ever she lands.  Do you think there is an editor out there who could be interested in a single mom’s Italian journey.  With Julia?  I would not need the contract to get me traveling but what a crazy dream.