LD update….

My dyslexic son got 3 A’s on his report card this trimester. The classroom teacher is starting to believe that we may have been correct and his problem with behavior in class was related to his frustration with not being able to read along with the class. We actually went through the last SEP conference without anyone mentioning having him evaluated for ADD (a first in 4 years).
Now that he’s working with both a private tutor (whom we were referred to from the University of Utah reading lab) and the new resource teacher at the school who was willing to look past the prejudices in my son’s file put there by the previous resource teacher, he’s gone from a 1st grade reading level to a 2.5 reading level. It will still take some time to get him to the 4th grade and 5th grade levels where his peers are.
My son is so excited to go to “reading class” that the classroom teacher has some difficulty keeping him on task for the first hour. She enjoys that he comes back relaxed and ready to work with his classmates instead of the frustrated acting out child that she met in the beginning of the year.
The problem for me now is that things are running too smoothly. I’ve become so used to fighting for every little thing and being up at the school in someone’s face on a weekly basis. Now that I don’t have that stressor, I feel like something’s missing. I still have to work with my son daily on making sure that homework is completed and that he remembers to write due dates down (a coping mechanism for the organizational skills that will always be lacking since he has suppressed executive ability as one of his learning disorders) but it’s not necessary to be at the school as much anymore. Maybe I need to find a charitable cause to fight for so that I have an outlet for the pent up aggression.

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If this blog gets slow…

I may be posting over at Celebrating 40. The link should be on the side.

Some thoughts on hair

Do you ever wonder if the reason hairstylists are pushing the uncombed fly-away look is because they’re too lazy to learn how to curl hair properly anymore? Maybe it’s environmental concerns over toxic chemicals necessary to create a perm. I don’t believe the chemical part though because they do believe in color for every age it seems like. It could be financial, after all, you can see more people if all you do is cut and blow dry with some gel thrown on. But then we tend to base hairstyles on celebrity trends and now that the repeat of the sixties windblown look is giving way to the repeat of the early seventies shags (yes, that’s what a multilevel cut is really), it’s not too much longer until the perms of the late seventies/early eighties come back into style. I do see a concerted effort to keep the mullet off the streets again though.
I guess this is time for true confession. When I was in high school, I wanted a bi-level cut. My hairstylist wouldn’t do it though. She told me my hair was far to fine to look good in that cut. It seems that she thought I was just perfect to continue with Farrah bangs even though they were on the way out. Yes, I was one of those people who bent over at the waist to blow dry my hair, then flipped it over, and lacquered it in place before going out. When the wind blew, the entire side my head would lift up like a big wing. Who knows what my IQ would be today if I hadn’t inhaled all that fluorocarbon.
Luckily, when I went to college I couldn’t stand looking just like everyone else and became the best friend of the beauty college, but the purple flat-top and the mohawk (which was not purple despite what my friends say) are another story for another day.

Just a fun quote that I ran across

What is writing and publishing a book like?
Imagine taking off all your clothes and walking down Main Street. You put everything you are out there for people to comment on.

A blast from the past…

This is a reprint of a blog I wrote in early 2005. It’s just something that I’ve been pondering again:

I grew up in a cross cultural home. My mother grew up in Finland, my father in Utah. This made for some interesting misunderstandings especially since I’m the oldest girl. Okay, so much for the background for where I’m coming from.

The comment was made at a Wednesday night lecture that certain doors to education and economics and social events will always be closed because of skin color. It’s those doors that affirmative action seeks to open.

I would like to add that it’s not just skin color that closes those doors. My father has been excluded from many things that his cousins have done in society and professional organizations because his foreign wife didn’t know her role in those circles. Of interest is the fact that I never learned the proper role for those functions either, however, my paternal grandmother took my younger sisters in hand and taught them since she saw it as their only way to get good husbands. When I asked her about it, she told me that she always saw me as smart enough to break new ground and that my career would put me in different circles. She was disappointed that I settled for the career that I have.

The cultural difference in lower economic levels also closes doors. DH teaches junior high and high school when the regular teachers are unable to be in the class room. He had one TLC class on the west side of town where the lesson plan was on manners in social situations. Watching the tape that the teacher had chosen, he determined that the post film discussion would be “what’s wrong with this picture?” The film taught that the rules of common courtesy that silver spooned children of the east side of town learn at home were considered outdated and unfashionable. DH started a class discussion about why the film felt such things as the continental style of eating or the proper use of multiple levels of silverware were not important for them to learn. Would not learning these skills prohibit them from making a good impression on an interviewer? On making a good impression at a sorority or fraternity rush event? What other social skills would they need to cross from the West side of town to the East side? Would they want to bridge that gap? (I should explain here that the Eastside Mountain range is the desirable place to live in my city, for those in California I understand that the question should be do you on the east side want to cross to the West?).

One night when we were throwing around ideas for how to books, a young man who grew up in an impoverished situation suggested that someone write a book on how to bridge the social gap between blue collar and white collar. He didn’t mean in the larger sense. The discussion centered on how does someone who grew up with parents that resented management learn the manners to cross into management. That brought up the movie Working Girl; remember how the secretaries were easy to spot because of their dress and makeup in comparison to the of women upper management? It provided an excellent example of the discrimination inherent in ignorance of manners and behavior expected from someone wanting to “rise above their station.”

I have to admit that over the last few weeks I’ve been rethinking my position on affirmative action. I’ve come to the conclusion that we still need to have preferential treatment to level the field but in addition to color, race, religion and gender, we need economic difficulty. Children who desire to break the poverty cycle and get off the government rolls, needs all the help and encouragement they want when it comes to education. A child from the trailer parks deserves a break, no matter what color his or her skin. No impoverished child needs to hear “I’m sorry but we can’t help you because you’re not a minority.” There should be enough resources in America for every child to get as much education as they desire; after all, if they can get better jobs, it means a bigger tax base to pay for more programs

The New Dog Toy

For the last several evenings the dog has been playing with something that he would take into “his room” (kennel) at the end of the playtime. We’ve set up the rule that the kennel is sacrosanct. It is his space. Tonight however, his “toy” ended up out of reach under the couch when he tossed it to himself and missed. This meant we were able to fetch the “toy.” It turns out for the last three days, my beagle has been playing with a piece of watermelon BubbleYum! He hadn’t eaten it and it only had a few teeth marks. We did make the mistake of putting the “toy” in his food bowl. Within a few minutes he tried to eat it and now we have a bubble gum covered beagle.

Shopping spree at lunch.

It’s sad when some people equate love with money. Everyone knows one, that person that always has to pick up the tab for the group, even when you know that they’re in a tight situation. The woman who brags how much her husband loves her based on the worth of the stones on her wrist. The kids who have everything money can buy and every lesson the babysitter or nanny can haul them too.
I often wonder how many of those “gifted” people would trade it all for time with the giver.
Then I think of my own situation. My mother loves to show her love by showering people with STUFF. Mind you, it doesn’t have to be useful; it just has to be something that she thinks reminds her of you.
My husband is a 3X. She buys him medium size shirts that she finds on sale because she knows he likes to wear black. Luckily, my daughter wears a men’s medium and likes to wear black.
She heard that I’m looking for yellow purses and knows that I will resort to making one in order to have what I want and thus she has been buying me yellow fabric. Velour does not make for a good bag. Neither does quilting cotton. Luckily I have uses for both of those (I did suggest that she would be better and turning the velour into a baby blanket for a grandkid).
Today however was actually a nice day with Mom. Over the weekend I ran out of background fabric for my Drunkard’s Path quilt. So over lunch I planned to go see if anymore of the clearance bolt was still available. Did I mention that whispering the word “Clearance” around my mom is like waving a red flag in front of a bull?
Luckily I had to be back to work so we were only there for 45 minutes. I really shouldn’t complain though. Not only did I get my 2 yards of background fabric, I ended up walking out with 9 2/3 yards of a nice ivy background fabric (still on the bolt), 3 yards of Christmas fabric, 2 ¼ yards of a red 30’s reproduction print, 3 yards of a green 30’s reproduction print, two pre-printed pillowcase sets for embroidering, a free pattern for 30’s prints, a bottle of jam for a sick neighbor, and ½ yard of a bright blue print (they didn’t have any fat quarters cut so when the woman offered to cut one, my mother said, we’ll take 2 but don’t split the center seam.) It would have been cheaper to buy 2 fat quarters than the yardage price.
And my husband wonders where I got my shopaholic tendencies?

Today I woke up sick

And my wonderful husband called in sick for me. Now, I’m in the office and I want a Big Mac so bad. I’m craving carbs and protein.
I also finished a quilt that I’ll get pictures of for you.

Aggression and women

A new paper is out on women and aggression. They cite movie examples and use the audience reaction as how society is condoning violence in women. I think however, that they’ve chosen some poor samples for their point. In particular, I find the example of Hermione hitting Malfoy as a poor example of women and increasing violence. Malfoy is an evil character in the story. Do we want to teach our daughters that they can defend themselves against evil or are they supposed to be victims and wait for someone else to rescue them?

I’ll admit that my daughter was in one fight in school. In second grade she was being bullied. The school was unwilling to do anything since the bully was the son of the PTA president. My daughter was afraid to go to the first day of third grade. When we talked about it, it came down to the bully. We set up some guidelines for behaviour. The first time he hit her, she was to tell him to stop. The second time, she was to go get a teacher and have the adult intervene. The third time, she could hit him back. We specified hitting, no kicking, no punching – invoke the golden rule (hit him in the manner he hit her). She went to school empowered and relieved to know that she didn’t have to be a victim.

During lunch recess I got a telephone call from the new principal. She was disappointed to have to deal with a fight on her first day of school. My response was “How many times did (the bully) hit my daughter before she hit back?” The principal asked me to hold and in a few minutes came back on, apologized to me for bothering me since she didn’t realize that this had been an ongoing bullying situation and she agreed that my daughter had defended herself quite well. She was the first person (child or adult) who had stood up to this child. He left her alone following his receipt of a black eye. In fact, that one incident was so impressed on the young man’s mind that 2 years later, in 5th grade, the teacher asked if we as parents would give our permission to sit the bully next to our daughter since he had a problem with keeping his hands to himself and would harass other children. She had noticed he gave our daughter respect that he wouldn’t give the others. We explained “the rules of engagement” and she agreed. The seating arrangement worked extremely well. The bully kept his hands to himself and my daughter didn’t have any problems.

I do feel that women are more aggressive than in past ages but I also think that we have the ability to use that newfound ability to stop being victims while waiting for that white knight to come in and rescue us. We need to be empowered but not become bullies ourselves. It’s a fine line but it is important to know that we are not incapable of taking care of ourselves when presented with violence.

What are you doing for Lent?

Today is the start of Lent. Now, my religion doesn’t practice Lent since we should be trying to give up bad habits every day not just once a year, but I like the idea of having a boost in either getting rid of a bad habit or starting a good habit. So, I’m joining my friends and for Lent I’m giving up a sedentary lifestyle. I will do something to exercise every day, just to get things moving.