Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A tough day

This has not been one of my best days. It is likely that I have H1N1, Horse Girl and I were exposed at school last week. Horse Girl was sick over the weekend and she is pretty much better. Now Fly Guy and I are sick. It came on very fast like a ton of bricks at one moment we felt fine then we felt like we were hit by a dump truck. Fly Guy is very sick and I am not up to par. Earlier today I was worried that we might have to take me to the urgent care clinic because I was having a ton of problems breathing, but I am more or less ok now.

This morning before we felt bad we went to a Teacher conference for History Girl. She is failing Language Arts and she is getting a C+ in Social Studies. For a girl who loves History and loves reading this is not acceptable. Her other classes she is doing fine in. Those other teachers actually looked a bit shocked that she was doing so poorly in Language Arts and Social Studies.

We have a PET meeting with the teachers in the beginning of December. We will have her eval done by then. The PDD specialists who examined her want to meet with her again on Monday because they aren't quite sure what to make of somethings so they want to interact with History Girl again. I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing or just a thing. I just want this report written so we can have something real to stand on for modifications and for special help History Girl needs.

So at this point I am just tired and want answers.

I really have enjoyed writing about Russia lately, but my brain is not functioning at 100%, so I hope to write more once I can think clearly again. :-P

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not dead yet....

I said in an earlier post that my Grandmother is likely going to die very soon. Every phone call from my parents now I expect it to be the call saying she passed away.

So to the best of my knowledge my Grandmother is not dead year. My Uncle has already book the church this Sunday for the Funeral. Has also arranged for a caterer for food post funeral at his house. He also has arranged for my cousin to fly back from China in time for the funeral on Sunday. A little reminder her folks...she isn't dead yet!!! Yes I expect her to die anytime now, but save this sort of planning until after she is really dead. What if she makes to Sunday.....sorry folks the funeral is postponed because she isn't dead yet. That just seems crazy to me. Is this normal and I am just not getting it?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


It seems that Horse Girl might have the flu....fever, sore throat, cough, tired...stuff like that. So I am not going to really post today so I can get some rest in hopes of not getting sick myself.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Looking for a ride

Today it has rained all day and rained hard. I am waiting for the Noah and his boat to come by and pick us up.

Today was not a great day and the rain has made it just that much worse. We went to take Horse Girl her riding lessons this morning. We pulled into the barn parking lot and there was a firetruck and an ambulance. Turns out one of Horse Girl's instructors were hit/kicked/stepped on by one of the horses. We got there just as she was being put into the ambulance. She looked like she was ok, she was totally strapped down which looked worse then I bet it was, but when it comes to being hurt by a horse you can never be to careful. So positive thoughts for her if you will.

Horse Girl has fallen off a horse twice in the 4 years she has ridden. Which might sounds like a lot, but she hasn't been hurt, she knows how to fall plus one time her instructor caught her in midair so she never hit the ground. *knock on wood that she is never hurt* Horse Girl when she is a teenager wants the job that the instructor who was hurt has now, she would be good at it. Seeing the instructor all strapped down has made nervous about her having this job in the future. It is one of those things that I just have to let it go.

Also to make this day not so great is my father went up to see his mom. It is looking like she will die very soon. The doctors don't think she will wake up again. She is on a morphine drip right now. She has not had all her senses for sometime so it is a good thing that her life is coming to an end. She has lived longer then she would have wanted to live if she had had control of it. This is my grandmother who married Fly Guy and myself. When he and I were planning our wedding we didn't go to church and we wanted to get married in a historic Puritan meeting house so my grandmother did all the paperwork she needed to be able to perform the ceremony. So even though I have already mourned my grandmother, the person who married us....the person who sang Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer with History Girl, it sad to see her go even though I know the time for her to go has long past.

I see Noah and his ark pulling up right now. So better get going.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Quick Post to forfill NaBloPoMo :-)

I should have something deeper to post today, but I just don't have it. Thursdays are always my sort of crazy days. Horse Girl has gymnastics until 6:45pm so I don't get home until late. Luckily Fly Guy got home and made dinner. It is always better when he makes dinner because he is a much better cook than I am. I need a recipe and he doesn't. I think I need a recipe because having spent a good amount of my time growing up playing with a chemistry set and then in a chem lab in high school and college, I get nervous deviating from a prescribed recipe. If you change stuff in a chemisty experament bad things can happen so I just can't do it. Which might be the reason I am more of a baker then a cook. Baking is all about the chemistry while cooking is an art form that I just don't get. Well, I should get my swimming stuff together for my morning swim and I promise something deeper for tomorrow. Maybe more stuff about Russia...I have been enjoying looking at my photos from my trip when I was 17...maybe cover a bit about Leningrad. I have some great photos of The Alexander Column and the story of the creation of that monument is amazing. ;-)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Not feeling like writting

I am not feeling like writing so I scanned in a few photos from my trip to the USSR that I took in April of 1987 when I was 17.

Here of course is the big Moscow sign, what you see when you enter Moscow.

This is The Cathedral of Intercession of Theotokos on the Moat, better known as Cathedral of Basil the Blessed or even St. Basil's. There are a ton of photos of St. Basil's, but this is my personal photo I took myself. For years I had this photo blown up to poster size and hung in my bedroom.

This is main building of Moscow University. Stalin had it built to show the power of the Soviet Union he had 7 such buildings built, this was the largest. At the time it was built it was the largest building outside of New York City.

Stalin also wanted to build something called the Place of the Soviets which was going to dwarf this building, but he ended up not being able to do it mostly because of Germany invading during WWII, but in reality I don't think he would ever be able to get it done.

This is the US Embassy in Moscow. Now look closely at the guards out front....they are not US guards they are Soviet Military keeping Soviet citizens out of the Embassy.

That is it for now. I wish there was something I could use my vast knowledge of the Soviet Union for. But it is just gathering dust like many things in my life. :-P

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Soviet Print

I have been busy today so I just remembered I needed to make my post for today if I am going to do Nablopomo I need to post something quickly.

We have been working on remodeling the upstairs bathroom for awhile now. Doing it DIY always takes forever.

I finally bought some frames for some prints that I want to put up of course I can't find one of the prints, now that I found the frame.

This image is the other print I am putting up in the bathroom. It is a 1921 USSR propaganda poster that says:

"May 1st, In good health on the holiday of the workers in all countries" or something like that. This has been one of my favorite prints for a long time because it is a classic combination of the traditional Russian celebrations and the then modern Soviet belief system. It reminds me of how they say that Jesus Christ was really born in the Spring, but Christmas was moved to the Winter Solstice in order to either a) avoid persecution of early Christians or b) gain more followers. Here they are combining the traditional Russia Spring celebration with the modern Soviet workers' holiday, in order to gain acceptance in the same sort of way. So any how now it is hanging in my bathroom. :-)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What we are watching

Over Somewhere in The Suburbs she talks about her love of her DVR, she talks about the shows she is watching and she asks what other people are watching.

First of all I thought I should share that just over a year ago we bought an Apple TV. When we did that we got rid of cable TV. When then created an iTunes account for our TV and we put an allowance on that account that is equal to what we were spending on cable and then we use that money to buy the shows we want to watch off of iTunes. It has worked really well.

First of all no comercals at all. Second of all, it has taught both girls a bit about budgeting. Horse Girl when we had cable would watch whatever was on the Disney Channel at the time and not think much about it. Now that she knows that she is paying money for an episode she has stopped watching trashy TV like Hanna Montana or the Suite Life. She now spends her TV time watching Mythbusters and How It's Made. So to me those two things are the best reason for making that change.

What I am watching this year....well still watching Bones...I love that show and so does History Girl...we have enough of those episodes bought that we watch one episode a night with History Girl and we really enjoy it.

I am trying out watching Three Rivers I am not sold on it, but it is the best of the three new medical drama out there. So I will watch it for a bit and see where it takes me.

We are also liking The Big Bang Theory a lot. Now this is were getting shows from iTunes is a problem. They are two seasons behind on The Big Bang Theory, so we watched season one from iTunes when the girls' doctor recomended it to History Girl and we loved it so much I bought season two on DVD. Don't ask me what we are going to do once we are done with season two. Don't have a plan there yet. :-)

Also I am still watching Numb3rs. I love having a show about a math guy helping the FBI.

Ok hmm....well if you look closely at what I watch it is all about geeks and nerds....hmmm...I wonder if that means something. :-)

Oh wait I am also watching the last season of Monk. I am really hoping he finds out who killed his wife by the end of this season.

So that is about all I watch, if a friend says they likes a show I will watch a few. For example I have tried out Glee which is ok, just a little odd for my tastes, but it I am in the mood I will watch it. I also watch things that iTunes offers for free to get you hooked, they normally offer one episode a week of something for example they offered The Good Wife and Modern Family which I downloaded both, but have watched neither figuring I will have something to watch if I am bored and don't feel like spending the money on something new. Who knows I might get hooked on one and then I can download the episodes as needed.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

Over at the Trees and Flowers and Birds! she tagged all the August Moms with the Honest Scrap Award a bit a go in hopes of that some of the Moms who let their blogs get dusty would dust them off and do something.

“When you get the Honest Scrap award, you are meant to grace your readers with 10 honest things about yourself, and then pass on the award to other blog friends who write honestly and truly about themselves and events in their life."

1. I am an introvert. I even need to be away from Fly Guy once and awhile or I feel overwhelmed. This might be why I like swimming so much because it is like a sensory deprivation chamber I am with my own thoughts and I like that.

2. I rather have loud music, then caffeine to wake me up. I can't stand the early morning swimmers who have coffee on their breath it just makes my stomach flip.

3. I have to really trust someone to be able to share an opinion with them. I rather let someone think I have no opinion than have an argument over points of view. Yes I am very much a wimp when it comes to that.

4. I view myself as a Mainer before I view myself as a US citizen.

5. I don't like my life that much right now. I want a real paying 9 to 5 type job, but I am still needed to help the girls with their learning differences. I have all the time in the world to have that sort of job not much time left to make sure the girls have learned what they need to know about themselves and their differences before they head out in to the world.

6. When I retire I want to either work as a Ferry Boat pilot at Walt Disney World or one of their VIP trip planning people.

7. I am scared that I am going to live a long time like all the women in my family and not have anyone to live it with. Fly Guy's family tend to die young and since I am antisocial and an introvert I have trouble making friends.

8. I have found a bar in Maine I like. I love the older gay men that hang out there. There is one table I really like to sit at when I eat there. It is in the corner so I can see everything that is going on. I really like to people watch, maybe because if I watch people enough I can figure out how to be social. ;-)

9. I really really do not understand British comedy I really just don't get it....I don't laugh, I just look at it really really puzzled.

10. With all the good and bad stuff in my life, I wouldn't change a bit of it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

taking a leap of faith

I just called and had Horse Girl removed from the Dyslexia Learning Center, she has been there two years and hasn't really made the progress that we expected to see. We had a consultant meet with Horse Girl and watched how she learns and how things are being taught to her. One of the things suggested is to remove Horse Girl from the learning center so she can have a consistent method between reading, speech and stuff at home. So it isn't a bit here and something different there and something different over there. This consultant has figured out a plan that she wants us to try for Horse Girl. I am nervous because making that call and saying Horse Girl isn't continuing there is like taking a leap of faith that this consultant is really truly right. I am so nervous about it, but I think it is the right thing for Horse Girl.

The plan is that Horse Girl will have special reading plan in the special ed room 5 days a week for at least an hour a day. Then she will also have speech which will tie into what she is doing in her special reading plan. Then they are going to have us have a program for us to do with her at home for 30 minutes a day after school. When they showed me the plan I looked at it and it made 100% sense to me and I wished when I was in school struggling with my dyslexia they offered this, that is how clear it was to me when the showed it to me.

I know in my heart it is the right thing, but I am so nervous at the same time. I just want to cry.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

When Love Doesn't Overcome All

When I was reading the aftermath of Vote No on One results in the Portland Press Herald I saw this photo taken by Gregory Rec, who takes wonderful photos for the Press Herald. I looked at this photo and it brought me to tears. Can you just imagine the whispers between this couple. The dreams that they had that aren't going to happen because Yes on One won. That people other then themselves have a say in their future. Can you imagine the disappointment and the heaviness in their hearts when it was announced that referendum one passed. It is just not fair.

History Girl whose two best friends are gay males, has decided that the next time this comes to a vote she will do all a teenager can do, because she doesn't think it is right that her best friends might not have a chance to marry when they are adults.

Horse Girl was worried this morning when she heard the outcome. She was worried about one of her classmate who has two moms, she was concerned that this outcome might mean that this classmate's moms couldn't live together and his family was going to be torn apart. We explained that isn't what is going to happen. Turns out when I talked to one of the moms today she said their youngest had the same worry.

There is a selfish reason I wanted No on One to pass, I rather Maine not be viewed as a backwards, backwoods, hick sort of state. I thought if No on One passed people would see the Maine I know and love. Well maybe next time, there will be a next and most likely sooner then later.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teach Your Children Well

In the Tales From the Testosterone Zone she writes today about a quote from Tampa Mom.

"Why do we enable our children to mediocrity and/or coddle them into becoming emotional cripples? Our children are so smart and amazing, but so many times we’re caught up in our own emotions and make their challenges all about us instead of just handing them back and saying, “How are you going to handle this?”

We’d have a lot more motivated, capable young adults in this world if we didn’t solve our kids’ problems for them and instead gave them guidance to help them solve their own. That’s what I’m working on and it’s just awesome seeing exactly how capable and smart my kids are.

If you guide your children and allow them the freedom to make the choices, they learn from the good and the bad and are far more capable, decisive, sympathetic, and empathetic. Keeping them safe is one thing, keeping them smothered is something else entirely!"

I believe there are times to let children to have freedom to make choices and learn from the good and the bad. I let my girls have freedom to explore our town without my restraints and they have both learned a lot from it.

The problem I have with giving my girls the freedom to make their own choices when it comes to their education is having two kids with two very different learning differences, I need to teach both of them how to advocate for themselves and how to make sure they have the accommodations they need and stuff like that.

With Horse Girl it isn't a problem she has known she has a learning difference all her life. She didn't talk until she was three years old and with help of a speech therapist. So she is excepting and willing to learn what she needs to do so she can show what she knows. Horse Girl knows how to advocate for herself and the special services teachers and her regular teachers always tell me they have never seen a 9 year old advocate as well as Horse Girl does. I am very proud of that and I know I can step back and just guide her a bit at this point and help her where she needs help because of her learning differences.

History Girl on the other hand she is new to this whole learning differences thing. She goes between loving it and finding characters on TV that she looks up to or laugh with who have the same issues she has. Shelden from The Big Bang Theory, he makes her laugh often. Then there is Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan on Bones. History Girl is always amazed with Bones and sees herself in the character so much so she now doesn't know if she wants to be an Imagineer for Disney or an anthropologist.

She then goes to hating it. Not wanting the extra help, viewing the extra help as making her stupid some how. This makes me want to scream. I think I finally got her to realize that is not the case. I explained to her that my IQ is in the 95th percentile (well depending on the test 93rd to 97th, so 95th is in the middle and a good number to go with), which means I am smart, but there is no way in this world that I would have been able to do half of the stuff I have done in my life without the extra help that I have received. We all need extra help once and awhile and knowing to except it makes a big difference in quality of life. So History Girl is finally somewhat willing to except some help which has made a big difference.

I have to admit I find helping Horse Girl a lot easier because I can understand her and I have been there done that. With History Girl her needs are very different then mine ever have been and it frustrates me. I wish I could understand stand her needs as well as I do Horse Girl's but I don't and it causes fights and stress because I just don't get it as well as I should.

The biggest academic issue History Girl has is getting school work from point A to point B to point C and then passed in. I have tried to teacher her difference organizational styles and nothing works. I also don't understand needing to be taught organization, I created my own system in 7th grade and modified it as needed through high school and college. Luckily there is a person at History Girl's school who is working with her on this because this has cause too much stress between us. I don't understand how she can finish a project and not turn it in I just don't get it. Fly Guy points out the rest of the world don't get Horse Girl and my issues, so I guess this is the feeling he has when he looking in on Horse Girl working on her homework and stuff.

I guess what I am trying to say is as much as I would like to let this all go and let the girls make and learn from their own mistakes, this isn't the time for it, not yet. History Girl's Social Worker and I have talked. Our goal is that when History Girl starts her Junior year in High School I should be hands off, but since this is such a late diagnoses and at such a hard time in a girl's life because she is figuring out who she is and tossing this new thing in doesn't make it easy for her.
So this is just another way life is different for a parent with kids with learning differences. Not that I would change things for anything in the world, I see the amazing gifts that my girls have gotten from their learning differences so they are worth the difficultly. Just it means I can't parent the way I would like 100% of the time, I need to guide more because the school as good as it is can't do everything and it is my job to take care of it.

Monday, November 2, 2009


There is one thing that Fly Guy and I disagree about when it comes to parenting. It is extracurricular activities. I would like to see History Girl do some because I very it as an important part of growing up, Fly Guy doesn't think it is important. I guess I am frustrated with the fact that History Girl tries something for awhile and then gives up on it. I would like her to find something that will bring her some sort of happiness for the rest of her life. Yeah, yeah, I know that is asking for a lot, but you have to remember that I started swimming competitively when I was 10 years old and since then I have always viewed myself as a swimmer. Even when I was on a break from swimming for one reason or another I stilled viewed myself as a swimmer. I used Middle School and High School as a time to try new things, Fly Guy thinks it was because I wanted to be away from home. I think I just wanted to try new things. I enjoyed the year I had with the model airplane club, I loved my few years with the Outing Club. I also took part in track (threw shot put and discus and ran the mile), cross-country and I was one of the first members of my High School's girls' lacrosse team. I was a member of SADD. I was a member of the Math Club, I won an honorable mention for the state wide Math Fair in eighth grade. I took Russian after school. Went to the Soviet Union my junior year of High School. I enjoyed trying all these new things and feel that they all made me a more interesting and knowledgeable person.

Thinking about it even in college I did activities. I joined the Fencing club. Pledged a sorority. Joined the ACM. I was a member of the pagan students association and a Russian Language club.

I always have enjoyed trying new things and it really frustrates me that History Girl has no interests in activities. Fly Guy says he wasn't involved in much and he turned out relatively normal, so I guess History Girl will be ok also.

You might have noticed I haven't said a word about Horse Girl. Well that is because when she picks up an activity, she picks it up for life. The only thing she has ever dropped out of is Girl Scouts and I was happy when she did that because it meant I no longer had to be a leader. :-)
She takes part in gymnastics, horse back riding, 4-H, piano lessons, and drum lessons. She also has her twice a week tutoring so she can't fit anything else in. So I have no worries about her. :-)

During your school years did you take part in activities and to what extent?

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Well it is November and my last post was sometime in April. Yes I am still alive, but I have been very busy. I am going to try to do Nablopomo, I can't guaranty anything since I work at a toy fund this time of year so November and December are even more crazy time wise than normal, but I will give it a shot rather than fold up shop here.

Things are rolling along with Horse Girl, she has a specialist that is very well known in the area who has been checking her out. So we are hoping to have new ideas to help her with her reading. Over all things are going really well for her. She is in a class with 13 students. She has a great teacher who really wants Horse Girl to do her best and also not stand out because in 4th grade it starts to be hard to be different. So that is all very good.

History Girl just was given ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) and I really hope to get some answers that fit with our view of her. Teachers are realizing she learns different then other kids so they have changed things a bit for her. For example one teacher had a weekly word and the students had to do several little tasks with that word over the week. They got 10 points if they did all the things. Well History Girl doesn't deal with the minutia of educations and so she has a lot of problems getting a project from point A to point B to point C then handed in. So she was getting between 0 and 5 points on these words. The teacher decided to give the whole class a pretest on the words and if the student got an 95 or better they didn't have to do the word of the week at all. History Girl was one of two kids that got better than a 95 she got a 98. So that really helped that teacher realize that History Girl really did know her stuff just couldn't give it to her in the way the teacher was looking for.

Fly Guy is doing well. Nothing big going on there.

I am still doing the same stuff I have always been doing....trying to keep my family on track and that they all get what they need.