Weekend notes. Art, pictures, mirrors and empty frames are off the walls. It is sooner than I expected but it was what presented itself for today when it started out cloudy, dark and wet. After two boxes of art/pictures (with another two to go), I am finished for today because there is sun and a chance to sit on our deck and tap on keys. We have not had anytime outside in this lovely space this spring. Granted, there may have been a few appropriate days that we missed. Trees have fully leafed out, the grass is extraordinarily green, the peonies are poised to burst with just a few more days of sun and a million ants, and the lily of the valley . . . another one of my favorites . . . blooms! Thankfully, a friend brought by cuttings from her flower garden last week and I kept the vase—all of mine are packed. I have what I need for lily of the valley to come inside. Continue reading
Yesterday, the sun rose although we needed the bathroom light to brush teeth close to 7:00 o’clock. Two hours later, there was dim light in the distance to the north and all else was dark. We had wind and shaken new leaves falling. Storm. Thunder rolled in. I sat with legs over the arm of my leather overstuffed chair, a pillow at my back so very aware of the moment and its passing. Six weeks minus one day. Are Madison storms different from the storms on the east coast? I think so although I don’t remember how. I remember our first Indiana thunder storms — fierce and furious. Storm drains filling so quickly and rushing so fast. Cheshire in First Grade in the south of town and us stuck midtown Bloomington. No cell phones then (except on tv), all we could do was wait. I don’t remember what storms were like in NYC or Jersey. Or Boston for that matter.
I will make comparisons.
With renewed vigor, curious about what we could find, Cheshire visited 4 apartment yesterday after her work day. The last place she saw in the north of Newton, is the first floor of an owner occupied two-family, heavily wood-worked, excellent stove, 3-bedroom house. The fireplace may work and there is a place for our desks and Julia’s art supplies. I am making application. Perhaps we have found the new home. The school—it is Newton North—I will do some writing to PTB in the next month and then much more when we arrive. Perhaps that beautiful building will serve Julia well, if not, I will ask for transfer to South. Yes, more questions that I am trying to love.
State of my world:
Julia’s head scratching has not abated with the delousing and aftermath. She is losing hair and areas without hair are increasingly visible to the casual observer. I think she is doing most of her scratching at night before she goes to sleep and when she is alone in the bathroom. Anxiety, habit, stimming or something else? Years ago, the way she finally stopped scratching her skin was on a three-strike-and-she-was-sent-home-from-school program. It was radical and it worked. I don’t know right now how much scratching is going on at school — I’m checking. I don’t think that school staff would be willing to put such a discipline into effect. Of course, if it is mostly at night, that it wouldn’t work anyway. I am in full worry mode. We will visit our doctor next Tuesday and her shrink on Thursday. OT is working on it as well. Needless to say, I am without control.
I spoke with a local reporter yesterday about Shabazz High School and my experience last spring when Julia applied for admission and was first asked for an interview and then rejected before the interview took place. I talked about inconsistent messages and requirements, and apparent exclusion of kids with IEPs. I told him that just before school closed for the summer and we were about to travel, how I got a call that they were reconsidering everyone who had applied and was rejected. (I don’t remember if it was rejected without interview.) Julia couldn’t interview before traveling and when we returned home, I check out the requirements again. Julia had been summarily rejected for not doing grade level math. Neither the requirement for doing grade level math nor her math skills had changed. I decided not to put her through an interview. I acknowledged to the reporter that the school has been good for kids there and I didn’t want to jeopardize the school for those kids. And yet, what of kids like Julia? I am conflicted. Continue reading
It has taken the entire summer to get Julia journaling on paper. Previously and for a number of years, she journaled during the school year on her iPad. My aim for this summer was to get her to write and draw on a page and although there was a lot to write about and draw during our Australian travels, she was not always very happy about doing any of it. Finally, finally, finally, this week writing and drawing have been done with minimal reminders. Sometimes it is even choice work. Continue reading
Home three days and although I repeat that I am emerging from the fog, I underestimate the strength of the body to hold on to the time zone it woke up in. Our sleep is topsy turvy and I am knackered (British for exhausted with an onomatopoeic flare describing me rather perfectly right now.).
The practice must be patience.
Wednesday, our travel day, was smooth but when I first woke up on Thursday, I could not make sense of the entirety of what was Wednesday. Indeed, we boarded a plane at noon in Sydney, flew for 18 hours to arrive in Madison at 5 in the afternoon. We slept some, watched too many movies and ate too often. About six hours before we were to land, we were served a major “snack.” I thought it was breakfast when the crew member woke me up. I woke Julia up and then realized our remaining time. Had I some presence of mind I would have refused the snack and slept. Continue reading
Not much of that the last two weeks. The city is tearing up my street, both streets on my corner. The crew port-o-potty adorns my terrace garden bed. From 6:45 a.am to 6:00 p.m., 6 days a week—scrapers scrape, diggers dig and hit stuff in the ground, pounders, earth movers, buriers of huge pieces of metal and all of it beeps mercilessly when they back up. I complained to whoever listened and grumped to myself often for days. Then I stopped insisting that my daily round remain the same and got out of the house as much as possible. After awhile the persistence to hold fast to my daily round and the desire to escape as much as possible settled into some middle space—I stopped complaining and reclaimed the house when I needed it, mindful of my tolerance. I needed to open windows and turn on fans and welcome (almost) the road dust. I started greeting the crew outside my windows and they’ve been helpful making some space for me to get my car out of the driveway and out of my street. I am on the verge of baking them muffins. Continue reading
A reminder pops up on my laptop from Calendar: Christmas Eve. Obviously, Apple’s Calendar is not able to look around this house. Yet. Something to be grateful for in a small way.
Facebook reminds me of all those past Christmas Eve postings—parts of cards, pictures in NYC with Cheshire and Julia, silly pictures of Cheshire’s friends here to support her through rough times, pictures of Julia in full Hogwarts regalia in Florida at the Wizarding World during our Christmas with the Mahoney’s (without our favorite Mahoney’s), trees and stockings and kind Santas who listened to Julia’s sometimes incoherent rambling wish lists. One post from December 24, 2010, offers the beginning of what has been seven years of strained celebrations:
Julia and I are bedded down in Brooklyn. We are remaking Christmas. In a few years it will be ours again. Peace and love to my facebook comrades. Hug your partners and parents and friends and kids while they are close.
Three days home and feeling a bit more human. The end of our summer travels were crazy mainly because I fell prey to a nasty flu bug the Tuesday of our Camp Awesum week and spent the rest of the week sleeping as much as I could. We did not get to do some of my favorite things, especially walking the labyrinth, being out on the water in some sort of boat, and doing the night hike. Julia, however, did get to indulge in most of her favorite activities and generally had a good time.
Julia graduated from eighth grade on Wednesday and had a pretty wonderful day. She picked out her dress and the blue rose for her hair. She is a kid who loves dressing up and here was an occasion. She was even willing to pose for numerous mother pictures. The bus ladies were effusive with the compliments. These two women who drive and help out on the special ed bus greet her every morning and appear to love her chatter. Julia entertains them every morning. Continue reading
4:00 p.m.: I’ve spent the day in the garden beds, digging up the last of the bulbs in the front terrace beds, transplanting ajuga from those same beds to the side in front of the fence. This is a place where the worst weeds grow. Ugly, ugly, ugly. I planted ajuga on the fence line last fall. About a third of it took, so I’m trying again. Cutting back spent bulb plantings and weeding just a tiny bit. I have some mighty incredible weeds after our week of rain.
Julia is working on cover art for a class project while she listens to music. Kid bob mostly with a bit of classic rock mixed in. “I just love ‘Thriller,’” she tells me. How can I not smile indulgently?
For the cover art, Julia sketched the old fashion way and then transferred her drawings to an iPad app for coloring. When finished, the enhanced drawings will all go into a collage app to be arranged on a background and titles. For a child who stumbles over simple directions, she has figured most of this out by herself. When she’s run into problems and asks me, which surprisingly she is doing with more regularity, she is patient as I figure the problem out and usually fully understands my solution about half way through my explanation. Continue reading