It has been an okay time—this week or two. Julia has settled into school. A few hard days now and again, a few challenges with the iPad and social media. Those challenges have been ongoing for more than a year and, even though I am so tired of them, I admit that they have calmed from gale force wind storms to the occasional drizzle. School is mostly left to school. I continue to be grateful that she is a high needs learner who is in the school building 5 days a week and that most of the school work is done either during the 90 minute class periods or support resource/support time. At home, she continues to draw every day, she practices her cello, we do almost weekly baking that is now packed up in individual bags and sent to school. Thank you’s to teachers and staff—right now, it feels like the only way to teach Julia gratitude. Julia does chores or what I call Family Work—still needing reminders but usually only once or twice on any given day. She is getting better about marking the allowance chart when she does qualifying activities and work. All these things—bringing baked stuff into school, family work, daily cello and drawing—are what she can learn during this time. She has academic classes in school but I don’t expect much from them. Not that teachers and staff are not working their butts off—they are— but I don’t know how much biology or art history are going to go into Julia brain this year. I do not see her as “available” for learning.
Morning before 8. I’ve gotten up, dressed, set up breakfast, taken out garbage cans, said hello to the guy across the street who is returning from food shopping—Ah, the wonder of senior hours. I wish I had opened a window last night to wake up to the birds. There is a lot of bird song this morning; the street, this tiny enclave, is quiet. Julia is still asleep—classes begin at 10, so no need to rush her up. I have my fresh, hot coffee and I put myself on the front porch to tap on this machine of see what comes to life.
It has been another challenging week although the challenges have been different. Julia did most of her school work, with even a bit of help from me; however, we’ve had trouble getting her linked into the zoom calls. I’ve asked the school IT for help—re-boot and reinstall—and then no way to connect. I was enormously frustrated yesterday. No way to get in, no way to get immediate help for class after class. Reboot and reinstall. I am almost sure it is my fault. I am probably doing some part of the set up wrong which makes me feel quite inadequate especially when I manage to sit Julia in front of her chrome book for class after class and she is utterly frustrated when it fails to connect. I wonder why I am not willing to just give her a pass, give us both a pass, duck out of school and go for a walk. Continue reading
Public Service Announcement: “Regularly used in text messages or online, the word/ letter /phrase /term, “K” really only means one thing: Fuck You. The use of a “K” should be reserved for very selective moments of frustration or annoyance, otherwise it sends the wrong impression.” Read more here.
Am I the last person in the cyber world to know this?? Perhaps. I can definitely think of specific people who have used this with me. If they meant it in any other way but a casual “okay,” I was clueless. I think of myself as a relatively savvy-for-an-old-lady online participant—I do wonder where people get their gifs from and so quickly after I message them. My older daughter has promised to show me. But this, K stuff is perplexing. Who told who and when and why did they leave me out? Continue reading
So far I’ve written many, many words for 8 days straight for NaNaWriMo. I would not vouch for the quality of most of them, but this is about getting words on the page and not fine literature or even hack pulp. This month of writing is more about putting something of mine on the front burner which I have not done for a long while. Arguably, a good deal of the last year, moving and settling into Newton, has been about me, but Julia is usually in the front burner pot.
For this month, I’m intending to add 50,000 words to a very old project that already has almost that number of words devoted to it. It is an ambitious idea but it is a good time to try to do it. Even after 4 months, I don’t have many connections here. Community building is slow but sure, and I have time and energy to take on a solitary project. I have two kinds of online support and I can go to the occasional write-in at my local library. I spent October preparing an outline, reestablishing my meditation practice which has been slipping, applying myself at the gym and cooking large amounts of freezable foods. I was going strong until last week. Continue reading
I open my eyes this morning knowing what I want to write about today. Purpose. Considering that it has been weeks since I woke up wanted to write anything, I resolve to jump out of bed, leave everything, save the making of coffee, for later and start tapping at my keyboard.
However, before I sit and open the laptop, there is the cat to let in and feed, fans to move from bedrooms to kitchen and living room, the mouse trap in the kitchen cabinet to check (before Julia gets up) and the coffee to make with a few fleeting thoughts given to whether the papaya on the countertop is ripe. Another few thoughts go to whether I text Cheshire before or after I write. Julia gets up and immediately turns on the tv and gets on her iPad. She grabs a pop tart (unfrosted to ease my mother guilt) and says, good morning. I wrestle for more than a moment with the urge to engage with her and begin the enriching work of the day. Shouldn’t that be my sole purpose— To spend every waking moment purposely and actively engaged in Julia’s growth and maturity? Continue reading
The cleaners were here this morning. When they come to clean, I retreat to a coffee shop, indulge in breakfast and latte, and plan a day. Then, I library-ed, paying a fine before taking out paper books and books on CD. Two travel books on Australia, another Percy Jackson for Julia, an Annie Lamont and some memoir for me. Then, home again for my regular round.
The near-daily round was instituted to get me writing daily—Italian practice, fiction and spiritual reading, meditation, gratitude journal. I give myself credit for house work and Julia related email. All in warm up for some pretty awful first draft fiction. <Gulp> I accept the awfulness and keep going. Day after day. Every so often I look back and find a word, a phrase, once a sentence that could be included in a second draft. Oh, I have so much ability to produce dreck. Continue reading
Sunday: 62 degrees at the end of February. We must be outside, but I do not feel free to dictate in public. Sigh. Ego or just not wanting mothers with small children to move away from me. So I type with one hand. Slowly and with fewer capitals. We’re at Burney’s Beach, a tiny made-beach on our bay, after a special ed advocate’s meeting in a coffee shop. Julia is sculpting in the sand and I . . . I sit like a turtle in the sun craving the warm, gentle warmth. This is the time of year when I can imagine giving up the four seasons in favor of eternal spring.
The meeting: Politically, I am totally out of the educational policy loop. It will be an effort if I want to catch up. I need to if I want to figure out what I can contribute. Believing that the way to change is at the local level where passion lies, the spirit is willing . . . Continue reading
I 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
Promising myself for my birthday that I was going to write every day come hell or high water . . . umm, last night I was ready to sit to write about 10 minutes before my eyes were ready to close. Some of it busy but some of it just puttering. What am i avoiding? I can’t even do a sit-down-write justice right now, but I can scribble a few doings. Continue reading
On Saturday, Julia and I went to our second Zentangle class at FUS. The instructor, who encourages Julia, instructed most of us at a comfortable speed. Julia drew three times the amount that the rest of us did, adding detail, changing patterns, making mistakes and altering her spaces on the little tiles. Her tile is the one in the middle.
Last Wednesday, we had a parent-teacher conference. Julia conducted the conference, reading her notes on how she had done the preceding quarter and what she intended to do this next quarter. She has made the honor roll last quarter of 7th grade and this first of 8th grade, and she is proud of herself. She entered middle school not caring in the least about grades or tests or comparing herself to anyone. Her grades are scaled, she is not really compete with her typical classmates, but for me, she competes with the girl who started 6th grade and I see how far she has come.