Saturday, April 28, 2007
Well, this semester is pretty much done for me. I had the opportunity to take my finals early and took advantage of it. Although I haven't received my grades for a couple of assignments yet, unless I totally tanked them (and I don't believe I did), I got A's all around. [Happy Dancing!!] Big Kid hasn't finished his, but he's done pretty well this semester so far.
Now the question is, do I take any classes over the summer?
My brother had his surgery last Thursday, and by all accounts, it was a success. He's now the proud owner of a new plastic bone thingy, held together by tiny screws. It will take a few weeks of healing before they know if his eyesight will be as it was before the attack, but in the meantime, he has some really awesome drugs.
Thanks again for your continued good wishes!
Last but not least---I haven't said anything before because I was afraid I'd jinx it---but Little Guy is going to the Prom tonight!
The dance before the dance has been interesting. He asked a Cute Girl to the Homecoming Dance last fall, and she turned him down. He's not really up on the "Girl Rules", so I guess he didn't recognize playing hard to get when it bit him on the nose.
She got a little piqued at his subsequent disinterest, and bought him an adorable stuffed animal for Valentine's Day. Aha!
So when Prom rolled around, he asked again and she accepted. Tonight's the big night! We're all so excited!!
Now that my schedule's a little cleared up, I'll get to run around and see what's happening with all of you!
Free animated gifs and programs
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
But I've got a hellacious week ahead of me---school finals, Little Guy's B'day party (which now has to be re-scheduled due to our late spring blizzard) IEP, and other close-to-end-of-school-year stuff.
So I'm going to be tied up for a few days.
I'd like to share with you the best dang rant I've read in a long while. If they gave out rant awards, this lovely lady with the penguins on her nails would win hands down!
Check it out for a snicker!
Friday, April 20, 2007
On the road you gain new insights by reading the thoughts of others and maybe change some of your thinking.
You make new friends, you care about them and their lives, and hopefully you can share some what you've learned from them and let them know how their views have affected you. I hope you all know how much I value you and the alternative windows you've shown me when inviting me into your worlds!
It's not all giggles or rants or grins. You find new bloggers---other bloggers suddenly find you---and usually you find each other in the middle of these journeys. And sometimes when that other blogger writes something they feel is personal and important, you don't get it and you wonder, "what did I miss?"
So---for those lovely readers who haven't been reading long-term, I'm going to provide a little linky back story to explain my next thoughts. Those of my older blogging buddies can skip down, because you've all been there, done that with me already.
This post is going to be long and a bit emotional. It was triggered by a post I read earlier this week on the blog of a young woman who I've come to admire very much. I've been working it and re-working it while wondering if I should just throw it out or not.
So grab a cuppa for the ride, or back out. I promise I won't be offended. You can feel safe walking down a dark alley. A slipper of doom won't come flying out of nowhere and bounce off the back of your head. ;-)
Recently a blogging buddy in Europe who has become dear to me received a diagnosis after an evaluation that both of her sons have Asperger's Syndrome. AS is a form of high-functioning autism. There's been a lot in the U.S. news lately about the "epidemic" of children who have been diagnosed with autism, but better bloggers than I have addressed this, and it's not really what I want to talk about.
For those don't know what autism is, google is your friend. ;-) There's a spectrum from low-functioning to high-functioning.
I hate to say it, but it seems that when some of the general public hear about autism, they think about the movie Rainman, and believe that those who have autism are for the most part "retards" who can perform amazing parlor tricks.
Yes, that's unbelievably crude. But that's been our experience.
It's not other peoples' fault. If you don't live with it or have to learn about it, Rainman is simply a reference.
Over the years we've been asked quite a few times--"well what does he DO?"--as if our Little Guy, who has autism, can guess the number of pennies in a jar in a locked room two blocks away just by hearing somebody thump on the lid over the phone. Blindfolded and with his arms tied behind his back, no less.
So essentially, this post is mainly about Stigma. But not in the way you think.
Before you go on, here is what I've written about our Little Guy, just so you can get a better picture of our life.
When he was first diagnosed by a team at a disability center connected to a University Hospital, we were told that Little Guy was "profoundly mentally retarded and would probably never be able to communicate meaningfully". Their prognosis was that his development would probably "top out" at the age of 12 or so. But of course that was speculative. Nobody but Miss Cleo can predict the future.
I refused to believe it.
He was echolalic (only repeating words and phrases over and over again), and physically average. He was 3, and we placed him into an early pilot special-needs preschool program in our school district.
Within a few weeks, the class speech therapist called me.
"Do you have any deaf people in your family?", she asked.
Well---uh no. Why?
"Because we've observed Little Guy using limited but appropriate American Sign Language to try to communicate with the other students."
That's when we knew that he was fighting to be heard.
We never figured out where he learned it---the best guess is that it was likely from Sesame Street. When he was reevaluated later, his diagnosis was changed to autism.
But the tale of how he learned to talk and how we almost sued our school district to get him out of their horrible self-contained-so-called-"inclusion" program is one that deserves its own post and cuppa some other day.
I felt really really devastated for a while after the diagnosis. When my older son was diagnosed with his disabilities a year earlier, I kept telling myself, "I can deal with this. We can deal with this. Thank God Little Guy is perfect."
Hey, I was like 24 at the time. I was young and more than a little stupid.
I just had to learn that Little Guy IS "perfect". What needed to be changed was MY idea of "perfect".
So I got educated. I got involved. Another parent gave me an essay that put everything into perspective for me. Yes, other people might find it sappy. People who have disabilities might find it diabetic-coma-inducing.
But it changed my life. I got off my pity-pot and got motivated.
I signed up to be trained as a professional advocate. I worked as a family connector---helping families with new disability diagnoses find circles of support within their communities. Hubby and I got involved with Little Guy in everything we could--to help prepare him to live the best life possible. Brain gym (Kinesiology), swimming lessons, choir, cooking instruction, Barbies, art lessons----anything he showed an interest in, we tried to go with it.
Above I talked about a fabulous young woman whose blog I read regularly. I've learned so much from her (and from the people who comment on her blog) in the last year. We might disagree with some semantics, but I'm just a parent raising a son who has autism. She lives with it, it's part of her. She's an amazing and articulate advocate. So she wins.
Anyway, last week, she wrote a post about Stigma. About how a national organization wants to raise Autism Awareness to help erase the Stigma of Autism.
Hey, I was with her! Sign me up! Maybe if we raise awareness, people might stop expecting Little Guy to balance a plate on his nose, and juggle a bunch of turnips while playing Handel's Messiah with his toes on an accordion as he barks like a dog in harmony when they hear the word "autism".
But no. This organization apparently isn't actually interested in erasing the stigma for those who have autism. They want to make parents feel less stigmatized for being the PARENT of a kid who has autism.
So the very point of my long and rambling post is...WTF? I'm completely flabbergasted by this.
Yes, things might be harder in some ways, but I'M THE PARENT! I signed on to this for good or for worse when I decided to start a family. I'm entitled to have my moments of despair, but who the f*ck is kidding who?
Worry about the "Stigma" of having a child who has a disability? What kind of self-indulgent bullshit is that? Yeah, as parents we can wallow and waste a hell of a lot of time trying to find an environmental cause (God FORBID it could be genetic!) instead of focusing on what's already here and what really matters. Or who really matters.
How is he going to live his life? How is his life going to be? What will be the quality of his life---not what I think will be best for him---but what he wants for himself? What does he want to be when he grows up? Who does he want to be? How does he envision his life in the future? What are his hopes and dreams? How can we help him achieve this? What kinds of helps or skills or training will he need? What safeguards do we have in place in case something happens to us?
I don't give two shits about what my friends, neighbors or strangers might speculate is swimming around in my gene pool.
Because it's not about ME. It's about my kid. And that's the way it's supposed to be. I'm not going to hide him away in shame, or parade him around as a cross around my neck so people can pat ME on the back and say, "Oh you poor courageous Mommy, you."
I decided to bring a life into this world. I stepped up to the plate, and dammit, I better swing. And swing. And swing.
I better swing my heart out.
It's my job. I'm his mom.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I talked to him late this morning and got a more complete story.
It was pretty much how my mother relayed it, except it was 3 guys in a car. When my brother was leaving his girlfriend's house, a car with 3 young guys pulled up.
One of the guys got out and started pounding on girlfriend's door. Brother got out of his car and asked the kid what he wanted. The kid got belligerent and went the "What the f*ck is it to you?" route. My brother explained who he was and asked him again what he wanted.
The kid said he was looking for XXXX. Brother steered him down the sidewalk (not physically) and pointed out the unit where XXXX lived. His girlfriend came out of the apartment and was standing in the doorway watching.
At this time, the kid said, "Look man, no hard feelings," and put his hand out to shake. When my brother shook his hand the kid wouldn't let go. Suddenly the kid's 2 friends got out of the car and approached girlfriend. My brother yanked his hand away and turned up the walk to intercept them. That's when the kid came up behind him and hit him.
Anyway, the kid was arrested, and has quite the rap sheet for assault (he's 20).
Weirdly enough, after my brother got out of the hospital yesterday and had seen the first eye specialist, he and girlfriend were at Walgreens picking up prescriptions. My brother was paying for them at the pharmacy, and he heard a commotion and yelling at the front of the store.
By the time he got there, his girlfriend was standing in the parking lot yelling, "Yeah, you run, you cowardly little *&*^%$!!!!" Apparently the kid and his MOM walked into Walgreens (he'd obviously just been bailed out) and brother's girlfriend got medieval all over their a**es.
So on the eyeball front---it seems the kid hit him in the one place that could do maximum damage. If it had been a centimeter to the left or right it wouldn't have been so bad.
He can see shapes and shadows out of the eye. The muscles slipped below the fracture and are compressed by bone, so his eye is paralyzed. He saw the reconstructive specialist today, and will probably have the surgery tomorrow. But since he's got mom, girlfriend and his kindly neighbor, he doesn't feel like he needs another female (meaning me) hovering over him.
He's already in enough pain. Snerk.
Thanks again for all your healing thoughts! I really really appreciate it!
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Unfortunately we've been without power for most of the day (heavy spring snow last night snapped tree limbs which fell on power lines, etc), so I haven't been able to watch the information unfold as it became available.
I'm sending all my most healing thoughts and prayers to the injured and to the families of those so senselessly murdered. I'll bet you are too.
If you have any more in you, would you please send a healing thought our way?
Since my phone was out with everything else, I wasn't able to get any other news until late in the afternoon.
My younger brother, who I introduced in my Extreme Makeover posts, was senselessly attacked last night.
His girlfriend's son broke his finger, and my brother was driving them home from the hospital. He watched from his car as she and son walked up their sidewalk and started to unlock their door.
They were approached by a man, who tried to engage them in conversation, so my brother got out of his car to make sure there weren't any problems.
The man was obviously high on something, and kept asking if his friend lived there. Since this was one of the complexes my brother worked at for 7 years, he knew who the man was talking about, and directed him to the next apartment unit. By all accounts, the exchange was friendly.
My brother turned to go up the sidewalk to make sure girlfriend and her son got in safely, and the man ran up behind him and punched him on the side of the head.
The doctors think they'll be able to save his eyeball. They "hope" they'll be able to save his eyesight. His orbital bone was fractured, and nerves were damaged, so they'll try to repair it with surgery.
The police caught the guy, who was just totally f*cked up and didn't have a reason for the attack. Of course, most of this is second hand from my Mom, so I'm sure I'll hear more of the details later.
The events of the last couple of days have just stunned me beyond belief. When I hear the time of the surgery, I'll probably be driving up to the big city to be there. So again, I guess I'll be gone for a day or so.
If you could send a healing wish on wings for my brother, I'd sure appreciate it.
Monday, April 16, 2007
I'm still shaking my head over this waste of foreskin.
If you're going to steal another's words to enhance your own profit, you better find out who in the hell you're farfignugging with.
Especially Ma. She kicks ass and takes no prisoners.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
My hubby is more cynical. "It's probably a 20-year difference in a prison sentence if he gets caught, and he's not the idiot".
Well maybe so, but we both agree that on April 5th, some mother unfortunately-not-named-by-the-media ate a great big honking steaming bowl of stupid for breakfast. With raisins and a sprinkling of dumbass.
That night, she not only left her keys in her car while she went into an auto store to get oil, but left her sleeping 18-month-old baby as well.
A car-thief drove off with her car.
And brought it back two minutes later.
While she was in the parking lot yelling at him, he ran away and called over his shoulder, "You're lucky you had your kid back there. I ain't gonna do that with a kid in the car."
What kind of idiot parent leaves their baby in the car in this day and age? Unlocked. With the keys inside. At night. Really?
And what does it say about me when I find myself more pissed off at her than at the would-be thief?
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thanks to the smartypanties who--um--took notice of my Butt-topic woes and sent me the article Man Accused of Taking 66 Colonoscopes From Hospitals. That thought-provoking headline was a killer for me.
Why would someone need 66? To sell to plumbers as diagnostic tools? Some weird po-po fetish? Performance art materials?
You really know how to derail a student's train of thought!
That said, be prepared for a major rant after this semester is over (about 3 1/2 weeks). I haven't blogged much about my college experience lately, because I don't want to jinx or jeopardize my finals by having a specific hissy fit, just in case any of my professors do blog searches on themselves. So I'll do a mini-rant.
Let's just say that there are some people who probably shouldn't be teachers.
And I look forward to the part where I get to evaluate their effectiveness as instructors at the end of the semester.
My various unit exams are over in these classes. Only one more unit in each left and then finals. My lowest score on this round of exams was a 96%. The others were 100. In fact, that's the lowest score I've had on ANY of my exams in any class this semester.
I'm trying hard to be a good student. I paid double the amount of tuition to take my classes online this semester because of weather concerns----didn't want to be penalized for not being able to drive down from the mountains due to snow.
I can't imagine an instructor telling me to my face in a classroom that "I have a REAL job that is more important than this. I have a family too. So I don't have time to answer your individual questions about the papers I've assigned you. If you can't understand my directions, then it will reflect on your grade."
Did it ever occur to you that the reason so many students are asking questions is because your directions aren't very clear?
And then to return a grade without any comments on the reason for the grade...how are we supposed to learn what we did wrong for the next paper if we don't know where we erred?
By calling the psychic hotline?
What kind of teaching is that?
I'm paying double the regular tuition for your services and I'm here to learn.
The least you can do is make an effort to teach.
Where in the hell are my bunny slippers?
But my papers are done, and we're snowed in, so I can run around and catch up with all of you.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I did a tiny bit of slacking between assignments yesterday and tried to play a little Word Whomp on Pogo.
Never ever in a million years would I imagine that this would be the answer:
Monday, April 09, 2007
P.S. For those who don't get what I wrote above about the news station not doing their homework---click on the picture to enlarge it and read the text very very closely. ;-)
Friday, April 06, 2007
What has been reported:
An elementary school principal in Toronto pled guilty to throwing feces on a child. She was charged with throwing dookie on two children, but only admitted to hurling turds on one.
This happened last summer, and neither child was a student at her school.
“I couldn’t take it any more,” she testified, in describing the provocative circumstances leading up to the incident last June 30.
What I wanna know is...
Where in the world did she get the doody?
Was it dog poop she found laying on the ground?
Did she simply drop trou and pinch a loaf where she stood?
Does she regularly carry around a stash of crap in her handbag for emergencies?
Inquiring minds and all...
Thursday, April 05, 2007
What I really want in the morning is a half hour by myself to bathe, dress and run the same pot of coffee through the mini coffee maker 3 times to brew out the last little smidgeon of caffeine and flavor from those coffee pods. Then I'm ready to face the morning.
So hubby usually has breakfast duty.
But since it was just me and the boys, I had to accompany them to the buffet. There's absolutely no way I could let them go by themselves.
You know those people who always ask themselves What Would Jesus Do?
I'm always asking myself What Could Go Wrong?
I was standing at the buffet examining a big chafing dish full of yellow glop, and trying to figure out what in the heck it was.
Over my shoulder, I heard a small voice say, "I'm sorry, Sir. There's nothing I can do about this."
Then a loud and strident bark, "Well, we'll just see about that!!"
I maneuvered myself behind the fruit and muffin table so I could be nosy and get a look at the big mouth. He, a tanned, late middle-aged asshat in golf attire seated next to his well-preserved and manicured wife, was dialing furiously into his cell phone, while a very petite, very young waitperson stood by and looked a little scared.
Oooh, what was the problem? A tooth in his oatmeal? A hair plug in his prune juice?
I have no idea who Big Mouth was calling. The front desk? The No-Ho Hotel Corporate office? Geraldo Rivera?
When I turned back, all I caught was, "Are you telling ME there's no way to change the station? Because I'm telling YOU that Nancy Sinatra singing These Boots are Made for Walking is completely inappropriate breakfast music!"
I sh*t you not. I almost dropped my plate. Bahahahaha!
BTW---the yellow glop is the hotel chain's version of sausage gravy. It consists of yellow chicken gravy and sliced up sausage links. Blech!
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
No kids. No dogs. No kids fighting with each other. No dogs fighting with each other. No kids and dogs fighting with each other.
No schoolwork. No housework.
No checking a certain someone's body parts for signs of tumors or flesh-eating bacteria.
I was going to visit my mom and get ME a little Mommying time. Even big girls need that sometimes, when things are feeling tough.
Life never seems to work out as planned, does it?
Yes, I know whining is unattractive. Can I at least have a little leeway for a minor pout?
What started out as a "me" weekend, turned into a "me and both boys" weekend. They felt that they too deserved a mental health break, and worked me over like Tony Soprano worked over Ralph Cifaretto before cutting his head off.
There was a concert in The Big City that the Big Kid was dying to go to, and the Little Guy was missing his Grandma too.
How dare I contemplate depriving them?
So I caved in.
Big Kid's Ipod pooped the bed a few weeks ago. Since there aren't any authorized Apple dealers in the Smaller Big City that is closest to us, and we'd be staying downtown in The Big City, I thought there might be a store there so we could get it looked at.
There was one. At Really Snooty Shopping Mall.
I called first to get the skinny. And walked into the Twilight Zone.
"Thank you for calling the Apple Store. This is Thorne speaking."
Thorne? Have I stumbled into an episode of The Young and the Useless?
Hi! I was calling to get some information. My son's Ipod isn't working, and he thinks it might be the battery. Is there someone there who could test the battery before we purchase a new one, just in case that's not the problem?
"Sure! You just have to make an appointment with a Genius."
"You have to make a reservation at our Genius Bar."
Genius Bar? WTF is that?
Uh, I'm coming through from out of town, and I have no idea of when we'll be in the area. If we just came in, could we wait until someone could look at it?
Thorne turned on the snoot. Obviously I was just a yokel who normally shops at bourgeois establishments like Best Buy or Circuit City.
"We're very busy. If you just come in, it could be hours before we could seat you at the Bar."
Seat me? Am I going to be ordering the battery platter with a side of crunchy circuit boards?
I was completely bewildered.
At this point, if Thorne had been infused with the slightest modicum of customer service, he would have realized that I was a neophyte in the world of Apple and taken a second to enlighten a doofus like me. The "Genius Bar" was their "fix-it" desk, and the "Geniuses" were techs trained to diagnose problems in Ipods and Macs.
But no. That might have messed up his manicure.
Oooookaaaay, how about tomorrow at 2pm?
"Certainly! Can I have your name?"
Attila the Mom.
"And your email address?"
I'm going to be traveling, you prat. Think I'm going to be toting along my desktop to check my email for Genius Bar seating plan updates?
"We'll see you tomorrow at 2!"
After a few moments of contemplating our schedule, I called back.
"Thank you for calling the Apple Store. This is Thorne speaking."
Hi Thorne, this is ATM again. Could I change our reservation with the "Genius" to 3pm?
"Of course! Do you want me to cancel your 2pm reservation?"
Well duh. No wonder you're answering phones and not serving computer cocktails behind the "Bar" with the Geniuses!
Long long story short now. Really Snooty Mall is a block long with minimal parking. We ended up paying 8 bucks for valet service. The Genius Bar was manned by peeps wearing fake Ipods around their necks as name tags and precious black t-shirts with one little word on them---you got it---"Genius" (I swear! I am NOT making this up! Click on the picture to make it larger!).
I'm not making fun of the employees. I'm sure that this get-up is required wearing, and it's not their fault.
Of course, Big Kid's IPod warranty expired three months ago. The tech hooked it up to his diagnostic system and said, "I think it's either your hard drive or your circuit board".
You mean your Genius computer doesn't know?
He handed us a business card to a non-Apple company and told us to contact them for repair. How weird was that?Holiday Hell to be continued...
Monday, April 02, 2007
I'm back from Holiday Hell to announce the winners in the American Midol Really Bad Poetry Contest!
Thanks again to all who participated!
Drum Roll Please....
Our Grand Prize Winners are:
Miss Keeks and Fatman at NuclearFamily, with scores of 34!
Second Place goes to Luin from Faerytale Dreams and Sarala, from Blogaway, with scores of 32!
Third Place winner is WarCryGirl from The Cure for Boredom with a score of 31 1/2!
Honorable mentions go to Nikki at Everybody Can Just Bite My Ass and Jennifer, at A Rambling Canuck, with scores of 29!
Honorable mentions to Beth from Books, Etc. and Mia, from Mia's Saving Grace, with scores of 26 1/2!
Honorable mentions go to One Ear, from Rusty Never Sleeps, with a score of 25 1/2.
And last but not least, an Honorable mention to Excited Blutterances, with a score of 25!
It's good to be bad!
Many thanks to our judges, Mr. Fabulous, Beki, Annie Drogynous and Ma Titwonky for your time and expertise!
To all the above winners:
If you would like something from the prize page, please pick your top three choices, and email them with your address to Hugyourkidz@aol.com.
If you would rather exchange it for a $5.00 gift certificate to Amazon.com, please email me with the email addy you'd like it registered under.
Just remember---a day without bad poetry is like a day without fungus under your toenails!
Thanks again for all your submissions. It was a blast!
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Why is Dorky Dad this week's Asshat?
Because he makes the rest of you guys look bad!
First of all, he liked the movie Heathers.
He lets his wife have a day of her own on his blog.
He pays for stuff his kid breaks in Target, instead of passing the cost on to everyone else.
He admits to hogging frosting out of the tub instead of blaming the frosting fairy.
He worries when his wife ISN'T talking.
He reads the New Yorker instead of Drag Racing and Hooters Quarterly. Ok, so he's a dork.
He was smart enough to marry a wife who can fix things.
He admits to wearing lotion.
He worries about flashing a little butt crack at others, in case it may make them want to poke their eyeballs out with his crappy pen collection.
But most of all, he's this week's Asshat because he tagged me to do another meme! NOOOOOOOO!!!!
Happy April Fool's Day, DD!