morning pep talk

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

social skills

To set the scene.  I am sick and grumpy.  I could write a long description.  I have.  And I’ll keep it to myself.  None of it noteworthy except it is the setting into which Julia’s terrible, awful, horrible day blossomed.

Tuesday morning, I wrote to Julia’s case manager at school:

“Julia has been complaining about lunch all weekend.  Today, she should go to Trills.  I’m not sure if she has been going the last few weeks.  Other than today and Thursday (Peer Partners?), she wants to be able to sit with other kids.  I’m not sure what can be worked out but I promised to ask you about it.  Any ideas?” Continue reading

of the new year

I’ve spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon taking care of business—overdue thank you notes to friends and the cheer coach (I had to tell her about Julia’s wall climbing which the biweekly cheer workouts are responsible for (Eek! Ending with a preposition!)), emails to find providers for our current respite needs and to teachers to figure out how to best support Julia as she works on her first English research paper, queries about two new projects I’ve been promising myself for a long time and also about an idea to help Julia with independence, paying a few bills, ordering what I think is the perfect birthday present for Julia, and phone calls to change doc appointments and set up another round of house repairs.

Whoa, I am clear today! And very grateful for the clarity. I have been kinda’, sorta’ muddled and overwhelmed recently.  No good reason.  Holidays? Travel? The cold (not a cold but the weather)?  Since we’ve gotten home, I’ve had a slow ‘recovery,’ not from illness but from malaise, some not-quite sadness.  My usual trust that I would get back to a busy daily round eventually was beginning to wane.  Perhaps the muddle was here to stay this time. Continue reading


IMG_1870After Shyla’s wedding, Julia and I hopped a quick flight to Bangor, Maine, to spend most of a week with madison friends. Stephanie and Hope have a extremely sweet cabin on a lake.  There is no electricity and the first night I was a stunned by the dark, but Julia and I soon got used to living in the light and sleeping in the dark.  Gas powers the fridge, the stove and the water heater for hot showers.  Everything else battery powered and so, needed to be thought about before turning on.  We learned a few new games, put a puzzle together in record time, explored a little bit of Maine and ate great food curtesy of Stephanie’s skills and some lovely, simple restaurants. Continue reading

getting out of my way

IMG_1641Six hours at the Dane County Airport waiting for weather to clear in Newark, New Jersey, to take for a short, direct flight is enough to make anyone a bit of a philosopher. That or go nuts. Because I bought this summer’s tickets with credit card points and used the voucher we got in January, I sprung for flying out of our little, low key facility. Lines are short, seats plentiful but there are fewer food choices and what there is comes with NYC prices.

Julia did all her home work and her puzzle exercises and some extra of each. She worked on coloring a new dragon picture in her art app. If her cello had been here, we would have gotten in a good practice. Now, she is listening to music on her phone and watching videos of kids dancing and singing. She has not even cracked the sketch book or dot to dot book. The kid has learned to wait. She is developing patience. Continue reading

help, aides-moi, aiuto,मदद, 帮帮我

img_0086This morning my eyes opened before the alarm rang to the reality of the next month or so. OK probably it’s going to be six weeks. The pain is subsiding and I’m feeling somewhat claustrophobic and trapped inside my house. After a few days of trying to do things with one nondominant hand, I’m ready to admit to the utter uselessness of that hand for anything other than picking stuff up off the floor. I need some help.

First, I need to find someone to clean my house. I can go through a service.  Any recommendations of either a service or a particular person would be most appreciated. I’m not a clean freak but I’ve tried vacuuming with my ultra light stick vacuum cleaner and it might have made an decent SNL sketch. I can’t imagine pulling the sheets off the beds or cleaning the bathroom with one arm.

Second, I’m thinking of getting groceries delivered. Does anybody in Madison do this? Does anybody in Madison use Woodmans to do this?

Third, over the next two weeks or so, we could really use a few dinners. I have stuff in the freezer I can defrost but not enough for the next month. Cutting and cooking anything it’s almost impossible right now. Once I get a real cast on I think I will be able to hold things with my left hand but I don’t know if I will ever be able to do anything with a knife with my right hand and not end up in worse shape than I am already.

Fourth, salads and fresh fruit make up a good part of our diet and I cannot cut vegetables or peel any fruits. Julia is helping out some but I hate to put too much responsibility for food prep onto her. Would anyone consider coming over once or once every few days to cut up some cucumbers, apples, avocados, etc.?

That’s all I can think of for now, but if anyone, who has been through this one handed thing, sees something I’ve clearly missed, please let me know. Thanks for reading, thanks for offering to help. I am grateful that I feel free to ask for this kind of help. I do have an incredible community around me. Love you guys.

Catch up

img_5057I broke my wrist on Sunday. Of course it was my left wrist, my dominant hand. Aside from the pain and the splint and the doc appointments and the craziness of trying to figure out how to hook a bra, button up jeans and open pill bottles with one hand, there’s a steep learning curve of another kind going on and I have to grudgingly admit, I’m grateful for it.

For my birthday. I gave myself two presents–a creative workshop taught by a poet friend of mine called Spirit and Shadow. Her provocative questions are stirring my soul and disturbing my sleep. The other is an online course called Awakening Joy. Taught by James Baraz, it is a mindfulness class. This week we are put the intention of joy/happiness /contentment into the center of your life. Continue reading


This picture may be all too appropriate.

Winter came on Sunday.  Seems like a Dr. Suess announcement.

Julia woke up a bit before 8 and announced, “Snow.  It’s snowing.”  I am never crazy about the first snow.  Not the snow so much as the driving.  Sometime in a month or so, I’ll be ready to drive through blizzards and on inches of ice, but that first snow fall . . . All I want to do is light a fire, drink hot cocoa and huddle under my crocheted Afghan on the couch.   Continue reading


Bryant Park at noon.

Back from a week of NYC travel.  A different kind of holiday, a different kind of time spent in NYC.

We usually spend Thanksgiving with old friends in a country setting but that didn’t work for us this year and so, Julia and I were in NYC, actually Kew Gardens, Queens, with Cheshire.  The time was notable because we spent more time in her apartment than we have in the past and did not do any visiting of family or friends.   Continue reading