Sunday, March 30, 2008
I didn't really grieve when she died. The grandmother I knew and loved, my grandmother, my Nana, had been mourned slowly, painfully, with each family connection she lost. First, she forgot my children's names. Then, she forgot I had children. After that it was my husband. Eventually, she had trouble remembering who I was, one of only four grandchildren. Near the end, she didn't even understand that her husband of sixty years had died, which I suppose was both a curse and a blessing. She didn't remember her own mother had died over 35 years before and kept asking to visit her, but she didn't recognize that the woman she was asking was her own daughter. Her only daughter. How do you grieve for your mother when she's sitting right in front of you? I don't envy my mother that, and truth be told I was grateful I lived on the other side of the world and didn't have to witness the decay firsthand.
My grandmother, the Nana I remember, was a gourmet cook who wouldn't let you up from the table until you'd eaten the equivalent of three entire dinners. She and my grandfather took my sister and I to Disneyworld when I was 12, traveling 24 hours on the autotrain because they couldn't get us a flight. She loved to pinch her grandchildren on the bum, saying "who's got a better right?" She never met a girl who wasn't pretty or a boy who wasn't handsome. During a visit to Israel fifteen years ago she conveniently "forgot" that the cakes she so loved to order for dessert would always come slathered in whipped cream and chocolate sauce, and would feign surprise as she delightedly ate every last drop (after having refused most of her dinner, saying she wasn't hungry). Or was she not pretending to have forgotten at all? Was this the earliest stages of dementia making their appearance? A cute eccentricity, or something infinitely more sinister?
I miss the Nana who would always bring back candied almonds from Portugal, which I loved, together with those awful crocheted collars, which I didn't.
I miss talking with her about the boys I dated, and the way she later teamed up with my husband's grandmother when they happened to be spending the winter in the same Portuguese apartment complex. The two of them had the wedding reception planned through dessert years before we ever got engaged - and then denied any scheming whatsoever.
I miss the grandmother who thought every new dessert was "out of this world".
She's been gone for a very long time already.
The Sunday Scribblings prompt for this week was "out of this world".
Saturday, March 29, 2008
a quiet hint
a look heavy with promise
the heat in her eyes
matched by the smouldering in his
Soon it is coffee
A harmless flirtation
turned into a torrid affair
It becomes harder to hide the deception
to keep track of the lies
conscience is ignored
no thought given to those waiting at home
until it is too late
Two marriages ripped apart
four lives left broken and bleeding
(and that's without counting the children)
a few moments of passion
are followed by a lifetime of regret
The Writers Island prompt for this week was torrid. No cause for concern, this piece was strictly fiction.
Friday, March 28, 2008
My friend A Mother In Israel has managed to turn these children's tragedy from an item on the evening news into a valuable lesson for all of us - the paramount importance of a supportive and involved community. Read her excellent post about what we can each do personally to strengthen our communities and reach out to families in need. Maybe one act of caring is all it will take to prevent a tragedy later.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
1. Yes - my very first "real" concert
3. Grateful Dead - up and down the east coast, too many times to count
4. Tom Petty
5. Bob Dylan - several times
6. Billy Joel
8. Meat Loaf - 3 times
9. Huey Lewis and the News
10. The Turtles - reunion tour
12. The Monkees - reunion tour
13. Bruce Hornsby and the Range
There were probably more that I've forgotten. It was a lot easier to go to shows when you didn't have to spend your paycheck on things like a mortgage or electricity. Not to mention babysitters LOL.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
So. My tip for today.
Dryer balls. You know, those blue knobby "as seen on tv" things. Yup, those. I've been using them for nearly a year now. I have no idea whether they do in fact make fluffier, softer laundry, but I can say with confidence that they do just fine with preventing static cling, and without all the waste of those disposable dryer sheets.
Visit Rocks In My Dryer to see what else is working this week.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Are you curious yet? Are you really curious? Yes? Well then, you'll just have to keep reading to find out.
Back in the late 80's my boyfriend had finished college and moved to Israel. Not wanting to be separated I made arrangements to spend the year here as well on a junior year abroad program. A year abroad program rather, I was only a sophomore, which is a completely irrelevent detail. Anyway...
Midway through the year my parents came over for a visit. Since they had never been to Israel before we planned a full itinerary. One of the places on our list was the city of Zfat (Safed) in the north of Israel.
To understand this story you have to understand Zfat. Zfat is a small, remote city on a mountaintop in the far north of the country, well-removed from the crush of the big city rat race; its remoteness and elevated location give it a decidedly small town feel. The type of town where if you sneeze in one neighborhood they say bless you in another. Zfat has for hundreds of years been a center for the study of kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, and is home to a number of ancient synagogues. It's a quiet, spiritual sort of place. History literally seeps from the very stones of the Old City, a rabbit's warren of tangled streets and alleys with doorways and staircases to upper story apartments jutting out at wildly improbably angles. Surrounding this small mountaintop city are empty, rocky hills.
Ok, now that we've got that out of the way we can continue with our story. Where were we? Oh yes, Jay and I were showing my parents around Israel.
Our itinerary had us staying overnight in Zfat. My parents decided to soak up some local atmosphere by attending Friday night services at one of the ancient synagogues. I was a bit concerned about their ability to navigate through the Old City, so I decided to walk them over.
I escorted them to the synagogue and then headed back to the hotel. I hadn't gone more than a few blocks when I turned a corner to find myself face to face with a big, giant COW! Right there in the middle of the Old City!
I stopped in my tracks.
I don't know how many of you are country folks, but I most certainly am not. I had never come face to face with a cow before, and let me tell you those things are HUGE. I was terrified, sure that it was going to stampede me. I'd wind up dead in that alley, gored to death by a runaway cow.
I stood there shaking as I evaluated my options. I had to get past the cow to get back to my hotel, but there was absolutely no way I was going to get up close and personal with that beast.
It looked at me and lowered it's head. My inner dialogue went into hyperdrive.
Oh god, it's going to stampede. Isn't that what they do right before they stampede? I'm dead, that's it, I'm dead. It's going to stampede me! Help!
Hold on. Wait! There are stairs behind me! Cows can't climb stairs, can they? I've never seen a cow climb stairs! I'm sure they can't climb stairs! They can't climb stairs, can they?
I quickly decided I had no other options and I dashed up a rickety metal stairway. I stood on that stairway for a good 15 minutes waiting for that cow to decide to move along. It wouldn't budge. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, it turned a little. It still hadn't left, but at least it wasn't still looking at me like I was dinner. I gathered up my courage and what was left of my wits, raced down the stairs and made a mad dash around the corner! Whew! Safe! I'd made it. I wasn't going to be the main course in a cow buffet after all.
I ran all the way back to the hotel and collapsed on the bed, gasping for breath and scaring the daylights out of my boyfriend. I finally recovered enough to tell him of my brilliant escape, only to have him dissolve into utter hysterics! I thought he was going to choke he was laughing so hard. Here I thought I'd get sympathy and understanding, or at the very least a cup of tea and a "there, there dear" only to have him laugh in my face! Not only did he feel it necessary to point out that 1) cows eat grass, and 2) one cow cannot stampede, HE DIDN'T EVEN BELIEVE ME THAT I'D SEEN A COW!!! He had the nerve to insinuate that perhaps it was a dog, or maybe even a large cat, or perhaps just a child's tricycle left in the alley, because of course cows simply do not wander the streets of Zfat, not even in the Old City. To add insult to injury when my parents returned and heard my sorry tale they too collapsed in a fit of uncontrollable laughter, refusing to acknowledge even the mere possibility that a cow grazing on the nearby hillside had wandered into the city and blocked my way.
It's been 19 years since I was
You believe me though, don't you?
This story has been submitted to This Eclectic Life's This Post Blows My Dress Up! contest, on the theme "scared silly", because if a freak run-in with a ferocious girl-eating cow wouldn't scare you silly I don't know what would.
Psst... It won! Thank you very much to Damien of Postcards from the Funny Farm for choosing it and of course to Shelly for having such a fun contest.
Be sure to check out the other entries - they were fantastic! I'm really flattered to have mine chosen with such steep competition.
KatelynJane’s Notebook Scared Silly
SusieJ entered Definitely something foul going on over there…from her archives.
Crystal at Song Of My Soul entered from her archives “Hey, at least I can laugh at myself, right?”
Marcia, at Tumbled Words “The mask, three prompts combined.”
Jessica at Life As I See It It’s Here
Penelope At Cafe at the End of the Universe “The Bathtub Below.”
Cyn at Rage Against The Cliche “The Tears of the Phoenix.”
Amy Palko at Lives Less Ordinary “Scare Silly By The Fairies.”
Cindee at CiNdEe’s GaRdEn “How I Scared My Daughter Silly.”
The Wandering Author “Wake Up, Little Susie.”
Monday, March 24, 2008
Thankfully the temperatures cooled off again with the setting sun. It's actually lovely out now. Tomorrow will still be terribly dusty, but the worst of the heat is over now and we should be setting our calendars back to spring again.
I have to say though, I much prefer the heat, even the dry dusty heat of a hamsin, to winter's cold. What fun to be able to put on sundresses and sandals again, I even remembered to break out my silver toe ring. Spring is lovely, but summer can't come soon enough for me. Bring it on, I'm ready.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Can't we all unite in condemning cowardly acts of terror, both those aimed at us and those perpetrated in our name as vengeance or some twisted form of justice? How do young children, innocent of the ways of hatred, turn into monsters, into killing machines, if not at the hands of those charged with raising and educating them, those they should be able to trust the most? When did a piece of land, any piece of land, become more important than life itself? They want it, we want it, no one is willing to share, no one is willing to budge or to compromise. In the end, we are only hurting ourselves. Beliefs on each side are equally strong, no one will bend, and thus, we both lose. How much more could we achieve together?
I've been to the homes of people on both sides of the conflict that is destroying our region. Shared their bread. Drank their wine. Laughed together. Cried together. Both are filled with people who love their children, who work hard to provide for them, who want a better future for them. Isn't it time to say "stop" to the extremists on BOTH sides who would throw all that away in their misguided need to win at all costs?
Take a moment to read these lyrics, to really read them, and then to listen, and then tell me we can't do better.
There Were Roses
My song for you this evening, it's not to make you sad
Nor for adding to the sorrows of this troubled northern land,
But lately I've been thinking and it just won't leave my mind
I'll tell you of two friends one time who were both good friends of mine.
Allan Bell from Banagh, he lived just across the fields,
A great man for the music and the dancing and the reels.
O'Malley came from South Armagh to court young Alice fair,
And we'd often meet on the Ryan Road and the laughter filled the air.
There were roses, roses
There were roses
And the tears of the people
Though Allan, he was Protestant, and Sean was Catholic born,
It never made a difference for the friends, it was strong.
And sometimes in the evening when we heard the sound of drums
We said, "It won't divide us. We always will be one."
For the ground our fathers plowed in, the soil, it is the same,
And the places where we say our prayers have just got different names.
We talked about the friends who died, and we hoped there'd be no more.
It's little then we realized the tragedy in store.
It was on a Sunday morning when the awful news came round.
Another killing has been done just outside Newry Town.
We knew that Allan danced up there, we knew he liked the band.
When we heard that he was dead we just could not understand.
We gathered at the graveside on that cold and rainy day,
And the minster he closed his eyes and prayed for no revenge.
All all of us who knew him from along the Ryan Road,
We bowed our heads and said a prayer for the resting of his soul.
Now fear, it filled the countryside.There was fear in every home
When a car of death came prowling round the lonely Ryan Road.
A Catholic would be killed tonight to even up the score.
"Oh, Christ! It's young O'Malley that they've taken from the door.''
"Allan was my friend,'' he cried. He begged them with his fear,
But centuries of hatred have ears that cannot hear.
An eye for an eye was all that filled their minds
And another eye for another eye till everyone is blind.
So my song for you this evening, it's not to make you sad
Nor for adding to the sorrows of our troubled northern land,
But lately I've been thinking and it just won't leave my mind.
I'll tell you of two friends one time who were both good friends of mine.
I don't know where the moral is or where this song should end,
But I wondered just how many wars are fought between good friends.
And those who give the orders are not the ones to die.
It's Bell and O'Malley and the likes of you and I.
There were roses, roses
There were roses
It's been thousands of years. An eye for an eye isn't working, we're all going blind.
We can do better. We need to do better. We MUST do better. Start here. Start now. Start today. Preach peace.
The Sunday Scribblings prompt for this week was "I don't get it."
Saturday, March 22, 2008
My husband's mobile phone came with a FIFA soccer game. My 7 year old lives to play this game, so much so that we had to institute a house rule - when his father comes home from work at night he is not allowed to ask to play until after he's at least said hello. (You can guess how Jay's entrance now sounds each night - "hi dad, can I play soccer on your phone?")
Last night as we were getting the kids into the car to drive home from a Purim party my son asked my husband (all together now) whether he could play soccer on his phone. Jay told him no, and that besides, the phone was buried in the trunk and inaccessible.
Five minutes later he asked again, knowing that a) he'd already been told no, and b) the phone wasn't even there. When I asked him, he told me that his father had already refused, and when asked where the phone was he knew it was in the trunk. So really, other than to nag for the sake of nagging, what was the point in asking? He knew that his request could not possibly be granted, but something compelled him to keep trying anyway.
If more adults managed to hold on to that persistence and optimism I suspect the world would be a very different place. Not necessarily less annoying, but probably more productive.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Putting all that aside though, I was there as a mom not a social critic, and was just bursting with pride watching my Kenicky greasin' it up there on the stage. He's the one in the blue t-shirt right in front (thank goodness, because as one of the tallest kids there he spent the rest of the show in the back row, making it impossible to take any decent pictures). Enjoy, and I dare you to try not to sing along ;-).
Here are the proud star and his even prouder mom after the show. Try to ignore the horrible picture quality - my current camera really bites the big one indoors at night but getting a good picture of the two of us together is rare enough that I decided to share it anyway. Thankfully my spiffy digital SLR is arriving in just two more weeks!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
3. The heroes of the story are Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther more than his other women and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity. Children learn the Purim story in school each year. Even my 4 year old daughter, who was very busy dressing up for the holiday as Cinderella, can tell you about Esther, Mordecai, Ahaseurus and the rest of the crew.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I am affected so strongly by the waxing and waning of the light, even here in this land where winter is but a shadow of what it could be and beautiful sunny days appear as if by magic even in January. I can't bare to imagine what devastation living through a true northern winter again would wreak on my soul. It could only have been the carelessness of youth that saw me through twenty of them. My older, more fragile self shudders at the thought, and whispers words of gratefulness that I don't have to.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Having a special needs child turns all that on its head.
Instead of "what dress will she wear to the prom?" you might have "will she understand what the prom is?" Instead of "who will he marry?", you might lie awake at night asking yourself "will he ever be able to develop a significant social relationship?" Instead of "who will walk her down the aisle?" you might ask "will she ever walk?"
There are an infinite number of special needs out there, an infinite number of questions to ask. What they all have in common is the way they move the goal posts. The way they force you to reevaluate everything you took for granted, ever since you were young and playing house with your dolls. Barbie was never in a wheelchair, Ken was never autistic.
I have a special needs daughter. I am one of the lucky ones. Maya's challenges, while not easy for her or for us, are still fairly mild in the grand scheme of things, and most critically, they are thought to be surmountable. Sometimes, during the hardest times, it's difficult to remember that, but it's true. My questions are of the "when will she be able, or even want, to make friends?" variety, not "will she live to graduate high school?" or "will she ever be able to speak?" My heart breaks as I watch my daughter struggle to do the things that come so easily to others, but we have reason to hope. Reason to believe that with the right support she will be able to overcome most of her challenges and live an independent, fulfilling life. What form that life will take we can't know, and I don't really let myself dream about that right now. Twenty years from now Maya will be 24 years old. I don't know whether she will have served in the army like all of her classmates*, then followed along on the ever popular post-army round-the-world backpacking trip before returning to start college. I don't even know whether she'll have classmates who are on that path, or whether she will have remained in the smaller cocoon of special education, unable to return to the mainstream despite all of our efforts and dreams. Right now I'd settle for being able to have a real, two-way conversation with her. One she is able to sustain for more than a minute or two.
I've moved my goal posts. That's what I know how to do right now. I can't ask the questions so many others take for granted. I can only wait, and watch, and support, and love. And hope. Always hope. Hope that she can make it to the other side of the rainbow. Hope that wherever her rainbow leads her she is happy.
* Israel has a universal draft. Boys serve three years in the army, girls serve two.
This post has been submitted to Scribbit's March Write-Away contest, on the theme of "The Next Twenty Years".
Friday, March 14, 2008
There was the Hotel Gambetta in Dieppe, France, (which I'm sure must translate to "Bates Hotel" in French). We'd just missed, literally, by seconds, the very last room at a perfectly respectable hotel down the block. The woman behind the desk actually apologized profusely when she sent us to the Gambetta. Once we got there, we understood why. We slept with the door locked and dead-bolted all night, and then abandoned the complimentary breakfast to get away as quickly as possible the following morning, prefering to return to the first hotel and pay for breakfast instead.
Then there was the hotel in a certain northern Israeli city many years ago where the staff was lovely, really friendly and helpful, albeit a bit surprised to have actual guests as opposed to the long-stay Romanian construction workers that were filling up the rest of the rooms, when they weren't busy filling up the lounge drinking bottle after bottle of cheap booze. Oh, and the bathrooms were down the hall, too.
There was the Hotel Metropol in Ankara, Turkey, where the heat only worked a few hours a day, in January, with temperatures well below freezing. I was there for
The hotel that stands out the most for sheer incompetence though has to have been a little inn I used to stay in when I went to Surrey (England) on business. My company's regional headquarters are for some obscure historical reason located outside of a fairly small village several miles past the middle of nowhere. The only lodging option was the rather grandly named Inn on the Lake, known locally as the Pub on the Pond. The Inn was everything you'd want in a quaint country inn - fairly quiet, period (facsimile) furniture, an attached pub that served halfway decent food... What it was not, however, was a business hotel. I once received a critically important fax printed on pink paper. Ok, pink, fine, whatever, but that paper was from their pile of SCRAP paper! The one side was my Very Important Document, and the other contained random pages from their employee handbook - things like the importance of smiling at the guests and cleaning the toilets on the proper schedule! Another time I stopped by the desk to check for messages and was told I had none. I happened to notice a message for a "Mr. Robbins" (my name is Robin, remember) in Room 11 from a Mr. B_ H_. I told the clerk that I believed the message was in fact for me. "Oh no ma'am, that is for Mr. Robbins." I then had to explain that unless my room had a ghost, I was in fact the only occupant of Room 11, and furthermore I was fairly confident that I was the only person Mr. B_ H_ knew within 600 miles of that hotel. Perhaps the message was meant for me, ROBIN, rather than some fictional Mr. Robbins? (They never did concede that one, but I went ahead and called him back anyway - from the pay phone in the hall, because in those pre-cellphone days my British room phone would not accept my British Telecom phone card!). Then of course there were my wakeup calls, which would only occasionally come during the same hour I'd requested them. The Inn was a nightmare for a traveler in need of a basic level of business services, but it was worth its weight in gold as future blog fodder.
I can't even tell you how glad I am that we stayed here for two nights this week instead.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Jay and I are back after two utterly divine nights here - we destressed, relaxed, drank buckets of tea (the open "tea bar" is a big thing there), had treatments, did a ridiculously large number of exercise classes, spent hours in the jacuzzi, spent just a few minutes in the ridiculously hot Turkish hamam (any longer and I'd have permanently scalded my oh so delicate derriere), ate ourselves silly (god the food is good there, and even pseudo-healthy too, or at least close enough to pretend), went walking through the gorgeous green and flowered hills surrounding the hotel (we even saw wild tulips!), and generally enjoyed ourselves.
Alas, all good things must come to an end and we arrived home to a phone call from Maya's school to warn me that after a number of good days in a row she'd had a horrifically bad afternoon today. Lovely. Nice way to feel your blood pressure instantly shoot up again. That said, she was ecstatic to see us when we arrived (both of us) to pick her up from school and was utterly delightful all afternoon and evening and went to bed like a dream, so I'd think this afternoon's (not so) little drama was more of an "I've had enough of the sitter and want my parents back" moment than any major backsliding.
She's "eema shabbat" (the "Sabbath mother") in school tomorrow (which means she's got a major role in the end of the week festivities and gets to bring in treats for the class) so that should keep her on the straight and narrow.
Overall, except for that hour or so in school this afternoon both kids did really well while we were gone, and we're very proud of them both, and very very grateful. Mommy and Daddy love them more than life itself, but boy oh boy did we need some grownup time away.
Monday, March 10, 2008
The meeting at Maya's preschool was difficult, but better than expected. The smartest thing we did was to bring Maya's psychologist with us to the meeting. As we prepared for a confrontation, Jay realized that perhaps we hadn't shared enough about Maya's issues with the school, that perhaps their seeming utter contempt for her difficulties was born in part out of ignorance rather than general asshattedness (yes, that's a word. I just made it up. Funny, my spellcheck doesn't like it.) L (the psychologist who's been working with Maya every week for a year now) was able to present Maya's issues to the director and the teacher in a much more objective, dispassionate manner, which gave her the credibility that we as parents lack. She couldn't be seen as just making excuses for poor behavior the way we could.
As we spoke, it became clear that the teacher himself knew almost nothing of this (I can't believe they didn't fill him in better). The director knew some, but she had reached a number of her own very erroneous conclusions which were really coloring her response to Maya, and had probably infected the rest of the staff as well. By seeing her as manipulative rather than overwhelmed and overstimulated, she was responding in ways that are not at all appropriate to Maya. This is the same woman who flat out told me that I would be doing Maya a tremendous disservice by putting her into a special needs kindergarten (where she would have a maximum class size of 12 instead of 36, where she'd get all the support services she needs, and where EVERY SINGLE PROFESSIONAL involved in evaluating or treating her agreed that she needed to be) and tried to make me feel like an incompetent parent for choosing that path. (No, not going there, I'll just get aggravated all over again.) Because Maya has a tremendous range of function - from extremely high to much lower - appearances are often deceiving. If you see her at a high functioning moment, as she often is for things like circle time, you would be hard pressed to see her as a child needing any kind of support or accommodations, whereas if you looked at longer periods of time her challenges would be obvious. The director was basically looking at a very small slice of "Maya" and basing all of her interactions on that. Unfortunately for Maya, that sample is not representative.
Once faced with the reality of Maya's special needs, which include severe anxiety issues and difficulties with change (hello, new teacher! The director had been claiming that "it's been a month, she should have adjusted by now, therefore this behavior is simply bad behavior. Mama bear claws coming out now...), sensory processing difficulties, and major challenges with expressive language (the ability to have a normal two-sided conversation, as opposed to the ability to physically make the sounds) she was forced to admit that perhaps she'd been taking the wrong approach with Maya, judging her unfairly and holding her to a standard that she is not capable of right now.
We spent about 90 minutes there, talking both about where Maya is now and about practical means of helping her. I also had a light bulb moment when the director told me (for the first time) that the worst of her tantrums were coming at about 3pm, and that during those episodes there was no reaching her. The director tried to force me into letting them have her nap again. My response? Over my dead body. She's nearly 4.5, she does NOT need a nap and hasn't been napping at home for over a year and a half. Without the nap she's going to bed at 9:30 or 10, with the nap it was often after midnight! No way no how am I agreeing to a nap. The director tried to insist that her behavior was the result of "cumulative fatigue" (my ass it was!). Of course her behavior was ratty, she was more than likely starving by 3, which would just about guarantee a severe breakdown. With all of Maya's food issues, she often ends up eating nothing but carbohydrates for lunch. All that rice or pasta is fine for giving her a quick energy boost, but then sets her up for a major crash a few hours later. I asked them to give her a piece of fruit or other healthy snack while the rest of the class is napping.
Knock on wood and positive thoughts to any deities you may or may not believe in, there's been a huge improvement in her behavior so far this week. I don't know whether it's the snack or whether it's an improved attitude on the part of the staff now that they have a better understanding of why Maya behaves the way she sometimes does, or even whether she's just finally adjusting to the new teacher, but things this week are on a very much needed upswing.
We're still in the middle of evaluations, but the official diagnosis is now looking like a psychological, as opposed to neurological, one. After countless rounds of testing they have finally ruled out PDD (the autism spectrum). Maya has a number of traits in common with PDD, but hers they now believe stem from anxiety and SPD. They did refer her for an EEG and bloodwork, but that is mainly to rule things out. None of this really means anything in terms of what therapies she needs or how to treat her, but it does mean that they're more optimistic about the long-term. They were particularly encouraged to see that she is using more meaningful, symbolic play than she was 6 months ago.
Oh, and she aced her speech evaluation today. As always, there's still a long way to go, but she's moving in the right direction again, and with that I feel as if a 4-ton weight has been lifted off of my chest, at least until the next low when it will come crashing back down again.
For now though, things are good and my sweet loving girl is back.
And another one for the "life is good" file - after a three week illness plagued delay, Jay and I are finally going away tomorrow. We'll be gone for two nights and will not be bringing a computer. Catch you all on Thursday.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
When: Just after dawn
The players: a crab, a bird, the sand, the water, the sun, a shell
The beach is silent. The pale light of the early morning sun casts everything in soft, muted tones, not yet stripping them bare with the harsh light of day. The only sound heard is the mournful cry of a gull. A crab skitters haphazardly over the sand, busy with an errand only he knows. A gull pecks hopefully at the shells washed up by the tide, checking whether the sea has returned more than empty promises. The crab's trail, the bird and his tracks, the shells, the light, all come together in an early morning tableau. Unseen. Unspoiled. The water lapping quietly at its edge.
As the sun begins to climb higher, so too does the water. In the blink of an eye it will all be gone, erased by the rising tide, to be recreated again with the dawn. Each day a new painting on fresh canvas. The same, and yet vastly different.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Hey wait a second.
I bet that if I started making really bad pizzas people would stop buying them. Then the owner would have to let me go and there'd be nothing my old man could say about it. No business, no need for an employee. Oh yeah. I can practically taste the freedom and the salt air!
But how? How can I make pizzas so bad that the customers will flee? This is going to take some experimenting... It's got to be really, really vile. Oh man, this is gonna work, I can feel it in my bones. By this time next week I will be ridin' the waves, a free man again. I'm practically outta here already.
But what to put on the pizza...
Hey, wait! I've got it! Check it out man! I'm gonna do something so vile they're even gonna write petitions against it!
My secret weapon. This is definitely gonna work! No one in their right mind would ever want PINEAPPLE on a pizza! One bite and it's over. I am SO outta here...
This week's Sunday Scribbling's prompt was "the experiment". It's been a while since I wrote any fiction so I decided to have some fun with it.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
1. (Almost all of) Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series. The earlier ones were definitely better though. The last one I read (The Bear and the Dragon - I read them slightly out of order) the editing was horrific, I spent the entire book aggravated at characters who were acting completely OUT of character, so to speak. Completely distracting. A shame too, because the earlier books were so strong.
2. Several of Clancy's Op-Center books. These never really did it for me. I was reading Tom Clancy for the characters and the plot, not all the military mumbo-jumbo.
3. Robert Ludlum's Bourne Trilogy - so so so much better than the movies, albeit with less eye candy.
4. Other Robert Ludlum books - The Aquitaine Progression, The Prometheus Deception, The Holcroft Covenant and the Chancellor Manuscript - oldies but goodies
5. Robert Kellerman - a bunch of the Alex Delaware series
6. Faye Kellerman - Prayers for the Dead - I like the Rina/Decker novels, it's not often that you see an Orthodox Jewish woman as a main character, especially one that is trying to walk in two worlds
7. Batya Gur - Murder on a Kibbutz, A Communal Case - not great, but not terrible either
8. Dan Brown - The Da Vinci Code - ok fine, a bit over the top, but a definite stay up to late reading page turner
9. Sue Henry - Murder at Five Finger Light - again, not fabulous, but interesting for its peak into Alaskan life
10. Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose - love this book.
11. G.M. Ford's Who in Hell is Wanda Fuca. I admit I haven't read this one yet, but I loved the title. I found it in a used book store shortly after returning from the Pacific Northwest and, yes, the Juan de Fuca Straight
12. Tony Hillerman's The Fallen Man - murder, native American style
13. And saving the best fun for last, The Story of Elijah, written by TT's very own Nicholas Temple-Smith. Chock full of colorful characters with a plot twist that you will definitely not figure out on your own, this one keeps you reeled in until the very last page. Good stuff indeed.
Sorry for the lack of links - it's late and my husband is waiting for me to start watching season 2 of Gray's Anatomy. You'll have to google if you're curious.
Happy Thursday everyone.
Visit the Thursday Thirteen hub to see what everyone else is up to this week.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
How do you clean foam bath toys?
We've got a ton of them - a set of sea creatures, a pair of faces with assorted features (think two-dimensional Mr. Potato Head), and a new set of foam "paper dolls". The problem is that after a while these foam toys start getting very grungy looking. I'm no germaphobe, but even to me it seems like bathing with something covered in mystery mold is probably not a good idea.
I've tried running them through the washing machine with a bunch of bleach and that helps a bit, but it still doesn't get them really clean, especially the older ones. Other than the grunge they're in great shape and played with often, I'd hate to throw them out but if I can't get them cleaner I'm not going to have a choice.
So, any bright ideas out there?
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
You Are Bare Feet
You should live: Somewhere warm