Last 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
Sunday, 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
Curiosity. Perhaps that is the theme for the month, maybe the year.
In Mare Chapman‘s class last fall, (wonderful teacher, by the way) a discussion about feeling ‘less than’ led me to tell the story of my brother challenging my ability to do a task because I was a woman. One of my classmates asked what I would say to my brother today if he said the same thing to me today and I was silent. When I admitted that I had no idea what to say, she offered, “I’d ask, ‘Why would you think that?’” Her answer/question stunned me because it was so simple and yet, so far from my grasp.
Simple curiosity! Continue reading
I began this two days ago and wrote more in the morning, the day after Judge Kavanaugh complained the his “family and  name have been totally and permanently destroyed.” He also said what goes around, comes around. I believe Christine Blasey Ford. I believed Professor Anita Hill. These women have showed courage beyond my wildest dreams. My thoughts of the season pale beside their actions. I honor them.
Still, I write.
Ah, the turning of the season! Last week or late the week before, I noticed a few fringes of red on the trees I see driving on the Beltway. Why don’t I know the names of trees? I could say the oaks are redding, the maples show scarlet. Maybe one day. Not today. Closer to home, the ashes are yellowing and dropping those tiny yellows so that the street gutters are looking messy with yellows and greens and browns. I love that clutter. Every year at this time, I remind myself never to buy a house in this season. The colors, the wind, the crackle of cold air, the smell of first logs in fireplaces and the clutter of leaves lining the gutters in streets—I would be romanced, swept off my feet. I would not make a sensible decision. Continue reading
20 July 2018 Friday
Port Douglas. I need to be putting days of the week with dates because we’ve traveled long enough to lose those connections.
We left Sydney on the 18th and struck out on our own. No more cousins or friends whose counsel we could depend upon. Flying to Cairns and picking up a car. Driving on the other side of the road! Big deal for me. I’ve wanted to explore the UK for years and didn’t dare for fear. Friends and public transport got me to enough places, but in Australia . . . This is a big country. There is some public transport but what I want to see is not necessarily close to anything. Transfers via private buses and vans are pricey and constraining. And so, it was time. Continue reading
West High School Choir concert last night. Julia had a solo in the Freshman Choir’s rendition of Sia’s Rainbow.
There is backstory.
Julia has choir class every day. We, the indomitable Anthony Cao and I, worked very intentionally helping Julia with appropriate choir behavior, that is, standing still, watching him and singing, not talking. Julia and I have done a standing meditation since November to find out what her body does when it is still and lots of reminders (and lots of praise) for the other points. Continue reading
Casting the widest net I can. I’m looking for a way for Julia to organize and remember. These are two big challenges that she has. I know she is not an unusual teenager in this regard but without these skills life is pretty stressful for her. For us.
The usual assignment notebook is not enough. Neither is simply supplying her binders, pocket folders and accordion folders (Her favorite right now). She needs a system. And she needs it to appeal to her visual learning style.
I envision an app to use with her cell phone and iPad to replace her assignment notebook. Something that would be easy to add to or link other web pages, etc. to.
And then a physical system to use with notebooks or binders or folders.
If anyone has any idea or system or can recommend something to read to help me in this, PLEASE let me know.
Yesterday, on the month anniversary of the massacre by a 19-year old using a semi-automatic style weapon at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which left 17 dead and 14 injured, students all over the United States walked out of class to protest gun violence and to demand action by their lawmakers. These clear, young eyes see the NRA’s emasculation of the GOP, the party which controls all three branches of our federal government and 33 state houses across the USA. They see that the best the GOP president can do is host a roundtable discussion about violent video games after the NRA made him walk back his gun control comments. I’ve heard and read “grown-ups” criticizing students for meddling in issues they do not understand and insinuating that the protesters only wanted to get out of classes, but possibly those “grown-ups” know a very different kind of student than I know. I applaud the students who organized demonstrations of all sorts yesterday and who intend to demand more from the rest of us to end gun violence with gun control. Continue reading
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
Saturday: My second basketball game in as many days. No, I haven’t gone over to the dark side (excuse me, my basketball-loving Hoosier friends). Julia is cheering. Not perfectly by any means although pompoms hide many a sin, cheerleaders stand to one side of the basket and cheer from the side, and most folks are here for the basketball players. She is very happy. Tonight she doesn’t even have ear plugs in. The gym’s echo is quite pronounced and the buzzer is incredibly loud and annoying. No complaints from the girl.
I realize that it is me that wants and expects perfection before performance. Julia and her cheer coach do not. Julia is out in front of the crowd on her own terms. Sometimes she perseverates on how she holds her pompoms and she does not stand as still as the other girls. And people do notice. As we left on Saturday, various people told Julia that she did a great job. Some of the compliments were accompanied by a knowing look to me. She is being congratulated for her chutzpah, her sheer and absolute nerve to insist on being herself even in a line up of girls all the rest doing the exact same thing. If there is pity, I refuse to see it. This is a hard lesson for me—a lesson in letting her go and letting her be herself. I would prefer that she show her independence by cutting up her food and sleeping in her own bed every night. I would prefer to let go of reminding her to go to the bathroom and listen and respond to people talking to her. Instead, she insists on my letting her go in front of crowds with pompoms. Continue reading