Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Special Exposure / Wordless Weds: Harvest Time

This has become one of my favourite seasons -- summer's winding down and the rich colours, smells, and tastes of Harvest begin. Holiday planning starts in earnest, and both kids look forward to their birthdays.

What better way to capture some of this than at our Sunday Farmers' Market, on my cell phone?

James loves live music and musicians.
Beautiful and tasty display

It's relaxing, listening to live music

Now here's a thought -- bring an instrument!

Or, you know, sing along ...

Largest focaccia on record!

For more images from the heart and to share some of yours,
visit Special Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.
5 Minutes for Special Needs

               and ... Wordless Wednesday

Monday, September 17, 2012

Crazy Busy

My husband is starting a new job, my daughter has joined the volleyball team, I am coordinating a big class fundraiser, prepping for James' IEP -- his TRIANNUAL IEP (and they are asking if he can be a case study for a student and suggesting a new test for him), preparing to jump into the CATS Program for another semester, and fighting off a cold.

Good day to pick up extra shifts at school! I am job hunting without a lot of luck so far. I am trying to find part-time so I can be here for the kids as well.

Ah, that reminds me -- I have another web project cooking for some clients. Good project, good folks. I am excited to be working on this.

However, it's been extra crazy busy lately!

So I pause to fondly remember a lazy couple of hours at our Farmers' Market yesterday morning. My daughter and I met friends, strolled the market sampled some delicious food (pain au chocolat for her and part of a divine berry tart for me), and kicked back:

sourdough ficelle from Panorama Baking

and that goes for Sunday, too!

beautiful zinneas

playing with Shelby

Sunday, September 16, 2012

SOOC Sunday: Sneaky Fall

Went out back for the first time in a week or so and instead of late summer I found:

What happened to Summer?

Sneaky Fall!

Linking up once more with Murrieta 365 for some SOOC show and share, where it's all straight-out-of-camera (SOOC).


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mysteries - With Extra Fruit!

I am trying to figure out a puzzle that looks like this:

A pencil, a bag, some gum, and a conundrum.
James brought this home in his backpack on Friday. I asked if someone had a birthday in his class and he said "Yeah." Then I unpacked his communication notebook and discovered these were really rewards for hard work.

Yay for rewarding hard work! Um, but what kind of hard work? No clue.

James chose his prizes. The pencil with numbers on it makes sense. He likes and uses both. But the gum I can't fathom. To my knowledge, he's never tried it.  And he's ignored it since it arrived home with him.

I'll keep trying to get James to explain this to me. Push come to shove, I'll ask his aide. It's a little thing, but the unanswered questions about his day are nagging at me.

A New Lunch Buddy


The strange fascination that is Angry Birds

This is noteworthy because in the almost 5 years that James has been going to school, he's taken 2 lunch bags to school, 1 of which lasted 4 years. They've been generic, sturdy, and free (we've been to some community events with great swag).

This year, as I whisked the kids through Target for some final back-to-school shopping, James saw the Angry Birds lunch box and stopped dead in his tracks and picked it up. "Can I have this, Mommy?"

I practically can count on 1 hand the times he's asked this, and it's never been for a school supply. Of course I got it for him. And marked it with his name. Which is a good thing, because another boy in his class has the same lunchbox. This makes me very happy.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Follow Up: Support ... I Think

Catching up a bit here from a big shakeup or three in our family cosmos. Received this letter in the mail and wanted to share:

My first response was elation and a small frisson of delight. My first letter from Congress regarding an issue I'd detailed in an email to my representative! I know it's a form letter, but still.

Recently, I was able to read through it with greater concentration, and my reaction became a bit more ... layered. First, the second paragraph provoked an ironic smile. Yes, please tell me more about what autism is. Okay, no don't. I live with it and I believe that you, or at least your staff, has done its homework (at least until the fourth paragraph).

I had trouble understanding the next paragraph. I may have gotten a high grade in Civics and History back in, um, the 80s, but that doesn't mean that today I understand our legislative process (shame). Hello, Google -- let's take a few random legislative tours.

In particular, I was struck by the lack of detail in that third paragraph's last sentence (especially after the pithy summaries above) -- what does it really mean, when a Representative "supports" a bill? So I Googled H.R. 2005, and how Mike Thompson voted on this bill. Top results for me involved co-sponsoring of this bill. I learned one thing: Mike Thompson was not a co-sponsor. Query, what is a co-sponsor? Answer: link.

Okay, so a not being a co-sponsor does not equal non-support. Again, what did Rep. Thompson do to  "support" this bill?

I searched for his vote and found nothing. Curious. So I researched the approval process for this bill, and refreshed my memory on the journey of a bill. Thanks, Project Vote Smart! I verified that, per Rep. Thompson's letter, the bill passed in the House on September 20, 2011. A little more digging found that the reason I could not find a voting record is because the bill passed in the House by a voice vote.

Was Rep. Thompson one of those voices? I sure hope so, but he didn't specify that.

For the curious, here's an interesting look at how the bill was distributed to the House that September 20th (link to PDF file; bottom of page 10, you're welcome). And it you want to see the official Law (unsigned, but veritas in PDF format)? Here ya go!

I was not happy to see see autism lumped into "debilitating conditions and diseases" in paragraph four. While some sensitivity and physical issues related to autism may be debilitating, autism is definitely NOT a disease. You can't catch it from someone else. Bad form letter; no biscuit.

Last year I advocated that sb 946 be renewed to keep funding in place at our state's level for autism research and services. I sincerely appreciate Rep. Thompson's follow-through to report that H.R. 2005 was signed into law by President Obama (yay!) and the exact date of the signing. In an election year, it's important to remind constituents of how their interests have been represented.

A little more clarity on the "support" given to H.R. 2005 would have been excellent and I sincerely hope Rep. Thompson and his staff are aware that autism is not a disease. I am glad to see that one of my Congressional Representatives is aware that autism is a big issue to lots of families, and he's willing to go on record as a supporter of research and services to help those affected with autism.

Layers, I tell you -- but with a hopeful feeling, overall.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How He Makes Me Smile

Exhibit A: Hurt Waffle
6:50 this morning, from inside James' room: "Mommy? Can I come out?"

Me: "No, kiddo. Ten more minutes."
(It's part of my strategy to curb his early morning wanderings.)

Note: I'd already made him toasted blueberry waffles and given him some milk and had him eat so he would not be ravenous.

From depths of bedroom: "Ten? Ohhhhh nooo!"
Thud, as he topples back into his car bed. Then, "Help! I hurt my waffle!"

Time for more coffee. He gets out at 7.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Six Months Later ...

During the morning rush to get everyone ready to school, fed, and out the door on time, James threw himself on the sofa and announced: "Mommy, my heart is beating. Is your heart beating?" "Yes, James, it is," I replied, thrilled that he was showing an interest in slightly more metaphysical things and being able to talk with me about them.

"What about Uncle Buzz? Is his heart beating?"

Wow, right over the emotional solar plexus. But time for truth.  "No, Honey, it's not," I said, trying to be calm and low key.

"What happened?" he asked.

"It just gave out. Our bodies work very well, but eventually, they wear down and stop working."

A bit of thoughtful silence. Then: "Is he asleep?"

 "Kind of."

 "His heart has stopped?"


"Is he waking up?"

"Well, Honey, he's in my heart and yours, always, because we remember and love him."

And now it's time for the school run.