Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Evening II

It turned cold!  The front came through with wind and rain and dropped the temperature about 25 degrees.  It's supposed to freeze tonight and tomorrow night - how are gardens supposed to grow?  Brought the hollyhock in that I bought, as well as some strawberry plants my daughter gave me.

Looking so forward to this week being over.  I have several meetings and lots of testing to get done.  Lots of kids to see, lots of reports to write.  Many educators are looking forward to the end of the school year, but I'm not there yet.  I can only do one day at a time.

Yes, one day at time.  Sometimes, it's one hour at a time but you just do the best you can.  Will write more this week.  Take care all.

Sunday Evening

Word for the Day:

UNGULIGRADE  a.  Walking on hoofs.  As a horse or cow.  "Great shoes darling!  Love the extra height those platforms give you!  Now you are truly unguligrade!"

From The Superior Person's Third book of Well-Bred Words, by Peter Bowler.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Windy Windy Saturday

Oh my, yes, it's warm, but the wind just feels like gale force today.  Was gonna go plant something outside but instead I think I need to water what I've already planted - however, we're getting rain tonight, so maybe not.

Facebook - I still miss you!  I am looking forward to Easter Sunday morning, where the Lord has risen and so has my Facebook page.  I'm really not being sacrilegious but I have so missed that feeling of connection with my family and friends.  The fact that I'm so tempted to resurrect it today, a week early, tells me it's been a long Lenten season.

It's been a good day but I have a busy week to come.  Lots of evaluations to complete, lots of meetings where we will sit around the table and discuss and plan and cuss and aggravate, and agree to disagree, but so goes the life of a psychologist in a school system.  I was paid what I thought was an ultimate compliment this last week.  A speech therapist, speaking to two or three other professionals discussing a case completed by another psychologist in the district said, "Really?  She did that?  My friend Terry (not my real name, ha!) would ever do that."  The other psychologist reportedly ignored ethical concerns and bowed to pressure from an administrator to place a student who was not eligible for services into the special education program. I appreciated this compliment and after hearing about the case, I probably would not have done what the other psychologist did, but really - who knows?  Few things are black and white - this is why we struggle.  I have had ethical issues every single year - a case or two always gives me pause to think, to consider, and to decide what is best for the student, but also to make sure that eligibility guidelines are met.

In a recent case, eligibility wasn't exactly met, but, the only way the student could get the services they needed was to grit my teeth and sign some papers.  Sometimes it comes down to that.  I have a friend who is so unable sometimes, to see past the rules and just look at the student, look at the gestalt, the whole constellation of what makes the student tick.  That's one of the keys to balancing rule ethic keeping with providing the best possible solutions to student issues.

Off my soapbox, on to enjoying what's left of the day.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Word for the Day

INQUILINE  n.  Dwelling in another's place of abode.   Use in a sentence:  "My, these opossums are certainly inquiline!"

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I heard through the Email grapevine that yesterday maybe? was "Sibling Day" - a day to honor those first friends we have in life, our brothers and sisters.  I have been blessed greatly, with 4 brothers and a sister, and my spot in this lineup is # 4 from the top, the first girl.  All of my siblings are absolutely fantastic people-I feel like I'm "waxing", but let me tell you, I have a lot to wax about.  Two brothers live close, a sister and a brother live a thousand miles away, and another brother lives south of here about 350 miles but we have maintained fairly close contact since our parents passed away many years ago.  I also have 4 more "sisters" and 1 more "brother" in the form of inlaws, who decided to marry into this family - and I count them as dear friends.

What makes sibling relationships special are the memories and the stories, and the knowledge of where and how a birth family originated, however, every person in a family brings a unique perspective of life, even when experiences are shared.  My three oldest brothers and us three younger siblings were raised by the same parents, but when my oldest brother was 20, my youngest brother was born, so there was a big span of time in there resulting in kids being raised by different, albeit the same, parents.

I know my 5 siblings well, at least I think I do.  There isn't a one of them who wouldn't do what they could to help another sibling out, which is one of the many outstanding qualities of this family.  Siblings have replaced my bathroom floor, crawled under my house, sent financial help to those in need, shared summer veggies from the gardens, rescued stranded travelers, been fun and accommodating hosts, laughed and cried together, and extended forgiveness and love when understanding is needed.  We're not perfect people, but we "do" family.

Every year we have a reunion where we catch up for a few days.  Sometimes I have great conversations with siblings I don't see often, other times, we just enjoy being together or playing games.

My kids have been watching this model of family all their lives.  I want them to understand how it works, and I want to pass these values on to them.  It's a fuzzy picture of the future to come, when we're finally all together with our brothers and sisters in God's kingdom - and we are truly "living happily ever after".  Thank you, Max, Dennis, Jay, Linda, and Kevin for what you mean to me.  I don't tell you often enough, but I love you - you're the best!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Finally Warmer!

What a day!  So let's forget about the first 9 hours of the day, and instead, focus on what happened when I got home.  It was a perfectly beautiful day, albeit a bit windy, so that got me in the mood to put my hands in the dirt!  I planted another row of peas, another row of green onions, some lettuce and spinach in my garden table, lettuce in the other raised bed, planted all the cannas I had, and, I planted some iris bulbs I got from my brother.

I feel much better!  Still a lot to do - the yard needs raked, I need to get mulch, I need to fix some edging, the shed is a mess, I need to take some stuff to the transfer station, yadda - it goes on.  But at LEAST I am planting.

The asparagus is up, but it's not doing very well.  I've only got 3 or 4 spears a day, and out of 10 roots planted last year, only 5 came up this year.  I'm kind of discouraged about that, so I may have to go on fresh asparagus welfare if some other gardener has too much.  Probably ought to do some soil testing - that would help a lot!

Word for the Day:

OBDORMITION  n.  The technical term for the familiar physical condition of a limb "going to sleep".  Sentence use:  "Waldo is the only person I know who gets obdormition of the brain."

They move on

There are many of us in education roles for various reasons, but I'd put money that most of the reasons  have to do with "making a difference", "helping", "caring about kids", and other sentiments similar.  For me, it was actually several reasons, I was stuck in a dead end job and wanted the challenge of something different, I was encouraged by a friend who was already in the program to pursue these two graduate degrees, and I felt like I could be an advocate for children and families.  I also had a more personal reason for doing this as one of my children struggled greatly in school and we never really knew why he did.  We went to a meeting surrounded by a lot of people speaking an unfamiliar language and walked out without asking a single question.

People who are in this profession generally called "education" and who work with kids know that life goes on, and eventually, children leave your care.  Such is the case with my friend, Peter (not his real name).  Peter has attended the same school for almost every year from Pre-K through 5th grade, and has been advocated for, sheltered, cared for, loved, and, the subject of many meetings since his first day with us.  We have struggled with him, laughed with him, and watched him make progress in his own way.  Our team has worked endlessly to figure out how he learns best.  I've gone home many nights in the last six years thinking about him and about the decisions we've made, always with his best interest in mind and always with great care and concern.  I've been responsible for every single evaluation he's ever had since he came to us and there have been many.

He is leaving us this year and going on to middle school - but not going to middle school here in this district.  He's going to another state, and thus, my professional association with him and his mother will come to an end.  Many people not familiar with him will be reading my evaluations and reports with a critical eye.  They will wonder at many decisions we've made - and I wouldn't be surprised if I get a phone call or two.

A long time ago, Peter stopped being "that kid" and became a part of my heart.  I can't write that in an evaluation, can I.  Our very last meeting with mom and all of his providers for yet again, another psychological evaluation happened a few days ago.  It's the last one, and in just a few weeks, he'll be gone.  When I look back over my career, he will be one of the few children I will never forget, and who I will think about the rest of my days.  His needs are great.  His resources are few.  His home life is dysfunctional.  But he's OUR kid and we proudly claim him.  As he goes on to adventures unknown, I hope he has good memories of his time with us.  His mother says he says, "I do not leave this school!"  But, he will soon realize that he must, and my prayer is that he will find kind, caring, compassionate, patient educators who will soon catch a glimpse of what he can do, and help propel him toward reaching his potential and beyond.  I hope we've built a good foundation for him.  Off you go Peter!  May God surround you with educators who will grow to love you like we do.

Sunday, April 06, 2014


Although I'm not an early bird, one of the things I like about getting up early is that it is almost quiet in my house.  I live in the middle of a city, and 24 hours a day 7 days a week there is noise from traffic, trains, helicopters, planes, dogs barking, sirens, etc.   But every once in awhile, an opportunity affords itself for me to not have my ears assaulted by noise.  A few weeks ago when I stopped in at the cemetery in my home town, which is located out in the country, it was so quiet and devoid of city noise that it was almost startling to me.  There is major line of railroad tracks which run beside it, and about every 15 or 20 minutes a train came hurtling by, but then was gone and things were still again except for a few birds calling.  It was almost like being in another world for a few minutes.

The distractions of life are many.  The solace is rare.  My challenge is as always, to find those moments and just rest.  This is a skill to be practiced, because just as sure as I sit down to enjoy some peace and quiet, my own thoughts become intrusive.  Not to generalize, but I've heard it said that men have a "nothing box" to hide in where truly, they think about "nothing".  Women, for the most part, are multitaskers.  We make lists, we plan shopping trips, we go over previous conversations in our heads, we think about our families, we list our concerns, we tweak our to do lists, we think about work, we go over our schedules, we plan meals, etc etc etc.  SOMEBODY needs to do that, but really, sitting in the stillness and just resting is so valuable that retreat centers have sprung up to give people opportunity to do that.

Find quiet and rest every day this week, at least for a minute or two.  It isn't time wasted.  It's renewal for soul and spirit.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

City Wildlife

Notice I didn't say "City NIGHTLife".  That's for people younger than me.

The last 3 days we've been working on catching a possum who decided to burrow his/her? way under the house by making a hole between the siding and the foundation.  The possum showed up to work each night on this hole, and I, hearing noises outside the window, actually called 911 one night to report someone trying to break in, I just didn't realize it was of the furry, long-nosed, ugly variety (oh wait, that description WOULD apply to most common criminals...)  Anyhow, on Monday night, I heard the same racket outside and instead of bothering the beat officer, I went outside to look with a flashlight.  There was the hole.  And there inside was a beady eyed, long snouted hissing creature, similar to my congressional representative, only cuter (oh wait, that description would apply to MOST congressional representatives...)

Anyhow, the first night the trap was set, nada.  Second night we caught a feral cat I had only seen glimpses of in the night.  Third night voila!  It went for a ride and hopefully can't swim back across the river to my home.  We're leaving the trap up in case there are other congressional representatives living under my house.

Here in the heart of the city we've got possums, skunks, I heard several years ago of a deer in this part of town, and someone told me once they were sure they'd seen a fox or two.  And don't forget the raccoons but at least they have cuteness going for them.  No matter where you go, you share your space with varmits and vermin.  I'm sure there's a reason God made possums but good grief, they are just evil.

Did you know that possums are marsupials?  Other interesting info can be found at:

Interesting reading about the male and female reproductive systems...