A special type of weird

You know what kind of weird anxiety I worry about?

It’s only April and I’m already trying to fill out Christmas gift lists.
I’m doing a lot of travelling this year because of special things happening, either in my life or for others. But that does sap a bit of the crafting time. Much as I dislike it, people may get more store bought this year. I’ll compromise with buying from small local family stuff. Locals who make things.

Much better.
Thank you Dr. Blog.
*gets up from couch leaves shrink office.*

Harsh

If you don’t want to read anything that has the emotions of a mother pouring out of every crevice, then move along.

We’re three weeks into the new school year and we already know where our academic focus is going to be. It’s spelling. Yes I know, roll your eyes and whinge about how much you loathed spelling back in the day. Well my boy is with you.

Last week was the first practice test and he didn’t do so well. Rising to the challenge, I was determined to work with him each night to strengthen his mental focus. And I was daunted all week long. First he was ill, and taken out of school for a day. Yes this doesn’t seem like much to you but anything that throws off routine is cosmic dynamite to someone with autism. Secondly the cold hung on and made him irritable for at least a day afterwards, dispelling any focus or agreeable personality. Then I caught the cold and was comatose to all beings on Thursday. My husband took over spelling duties that night and did a wonderful job.

So with all of this going on, and still trying to work with him each night, there was almost no increase in score from the practice test to the first true test of the year. I looked at the test and found all of the words we had written over and over again, were the ones he had spelled incorrectly. I sat down with him with the full intention of going over each word and trying to find a road map that lead to these mistakes. He clammed up and pulled in right away and went teary eyed.

I turned the page over so that he couldn’t see it and turned him to talk face to face. I stressed that what was important was not a perfect score, but that he try. I told him that I felt something was going wrong.
“Aiden, we know you’re smart.”
“I don’t think I’m smart. I’m not smart. I’m not special.”

And my little world stood still for a second in a silent hum of a small heartbeat.

And when it recovered and resumed rolling, I worked very hard to speak very carefully. Fortunately his Dad came home at this point and I quickly pulled him into the conversation. We pointed out to him in all of the ways that he is indeed smart. The things that grab his interest and capture his focus. Those things he can go on about at length. What does camouflage mean? Can you tell me the planets in our solar system? What’s 10 plus 10? All things he can answer on the spot. But if I put a paper and pencil in front of him to spell a word, he crumples.

Slowly, we told him about Thomas Edison who tried over 200 times to invent the lightbulb – and because he never gave up – he succeeded. We told him about Abraham Lincoln who said “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” When his spirits started to buoy more obviously, we made a deal and offered him some compensations for the ‘hard work’ if he could prove himself. It’s a reward system, plain and simple. But it’s a simple balance that the child can understand. If he does well, he gets this. If he does REALLY well, he gets this. We promised to help him every step of the way but he had to promise to do his part by practicing and not stalling. My reward system doesn’t even go to a perfect score. I’m not looking for him to be perfect. I’m looking for him to believe in himself when he finds something difficult.

That’s all I have. I feel a little bit empty and befuddled.
I know I’m not the only mother to have these feelings.
But I feel like it.

Edit: Before I forget, one of the last things I did was to ask him to write each of the words he’d gotten wrong on his test – to take another try. He doubled his score and would have earned a reward. This tells me that he CAN do it. I just have to keep him convinced of his self worth until he naturally takes the helm.

Dawning autumn

There is something about the colder months of the year that inspire reflection. It’s something I really enjoy. The idea of drinking something that warms you from the core out, and to enjoy an good ponder at the same time is indulgent. With all of the smart technology and media being thrown at us, rebooting our inner capabilities seems not just luxurious but necessary.

We are only just seeing autumn on the horizon but just the thought of it fills me with peace.

RIP Robin Williams

It’s a sad day. A light has gone out in the world. Hell, a freaking disco ball has plummeted and shattered. He was that kinda light and that kinda cool.

Robin Williams was pronounced dead this morning and the speculation is suicide. A lot of people would say “What the hell? He’s Robin freaking Williams? Why did he commit suicide?” Because no matter who you are, you have demons. And Robin had healthy demons with passes to a 24 hour gym and fertility clinic. He was always in and out of drugs or alcohol rehab.

For all of that, I couldn’t see the blackness in anything that was brought to the stage or screen. He was living laughter and someone you would believe could never die. He was immortal.

So here’s the lesson for today… if you, or anyone you know has depression, there is help and there is no shame in seeking it. Do not let your light go out.

As for you Mr. Williams, you are probably making one hell of an entrance right now. Keep my grandparents laughing and with a little luck, one day I’ll see you perform myself.

Random memory

While on my walk this morning I saw some flowers that reminded me of my Grandparent’s back patio, in days when I was young.

My Grampy’s house had two stunning features; the view from the front, and the garden in the back. It was at the top of a hill and on a sunny day you could see straight across the harbour if you stood on the front porch. Their back garden was long and narrow, running the length of the house instead of something boxy. At certain times of the year, there was an avalanche of white flowers coming off of the patio roof. I have no idea what those flowers were but whenever they were in season, my brother and I would call them ‘snow’. Mainly because we didn’t see snow that often so the picturesque beauty of tiny white clusters cascading in bubbling mounds was enough to make us winterly wistful. 

Ding Dong! The Octopus is Dead!

Yeah I got some funny looks for that on facebook as well. And it goes without saying that there is a story behind it. Because yeah – just a little obscure for this shade of reality.

So it’s spring. Or at least, the weeds are in full bloom with the ‘cultured’ plants right behind them. I say ‘cultured’ because really, weeds are plants we didn’t send an invitation to the garden party to. They have the same basic functions and parts as the other plants – stems, leaves, flowers, etc – and the yearning to grow and propagate. I’m not sure if there is a classification that defines them. I should find that out one day. Because really, mint is voracious when it comes to taking up space, but isn’t classified as a weed. And I’ve been trying forever to get poppies to grow but they ARE classified as a weed. What gives?

Anyways, this is the first time I’ve seen the garden go from winter to spring in this house. Last year we spent May moving INTO the house and getting stuff set up. By the time I could turn attention to the garden it was summer and I was reviewing everything that had already been established for some years. That’s the way it is at a new place. The garden belonged to the previous owner for the year after she was gone – because I didn’t know what was coming up through the soil. Well, we’ve been here a year now. And things have to change.

For starters, the front garden is a miss matched diagonal mess of a burial mound crowned with a deflated yucca collection. THAT was the ‘octopus’. It looked like an octopus had crawled on top of a Victorian burial mound, and collapsed there. I had tried to go and pry it out to find that the ‘tentacles’ were constantly getting in the way and it was deeply entrenched in its mourning state. Thankfully I have a husband with some stubborn muscle. As it turns out is was a colony of cephalopods and some had even died out at the base, probably from lack of light getting through. To that end – huzzah! The octopus is out of the garden and is awaiting it’s fate next to the compost heap.

As for the burial mound itself, I gauged a line with stones I’d found underneath all of the random foliage, to estimate a straight path instead of a diagonal one. This gave me an indication of plants that had to be relocated. Lavender, succulents, tulips and a hosta were relocated to the back yard. I had full intentions of taking a full wheelbarrow full of that burial mound dirt to the backyard as well – but as it turns out, I’m not that strong. I could only manage a one third full barrow, but it will be enough to get started. I want to put down soil to level out the divets around my raised vegetable garden, then paper and mulch down the area so that weeds don’t creep up on the beds.

So yeah, that took a while. And I still have 2 evergreen plants to remove (1 is dead and 1 is in the way) and a goat’s beard plant to relocate. Another day maybe. For the moment all of the soil in the front bed has been turned over and the grass has been pulled.

As for the backyard – huh, well.
In the vegetable bed, the lettuce is coming up but the beets are not. The sage and thyme have made it through winter and come back with a vengeance. I bought new rosemary and basil but I’m keeping them inside until I’m sure that the nights won’t kill them. I also bought a mint plant. I’m keeping that inside so it doesn’t take over. My neighbor has oregano growing in her driveway. Yup – stole some and planted it. I bought a new tomato plant because all of my seeds from last year’s tomatoes did not germinate as I had expected. Onions and garlics are still going from last year, and that’s fine.

Aiden’s garden: peas, carrots, poppies, sweet peas, and green beans are all in various stages of germination. I’ve put each one into a planter on the ground or inside of a basket ring. This way when the plants come up he can easily identify them as his and feel some pride. In the same section, I’ve planted two blueberry saplings. I don’t expect them to bear fruit this year. They’re too small. But I hope to get them large enough that by next year there will be a decent harvest. The raspberry bushes are going full steam into leafing and that’s par for the course.

In the flower garden, where we plan to put a path where last year’s artificial pond had been, I’ve added foxtail, Chinese lantern, a rose, all of the lavenders and another plant that is supposed to attract butterflies. I can’t really plant the other side until I’ve dug out the stump of the willow tree. But that’s another day. Maybe hydrangea and peony can go there.

OK, that’s enough garden talk.

 

I hurt all over. Hooray.

I am now a red belt in taekwondo. 

Hooray. 

I should be more happy about this but it’s highlighted how poor my stamina is. I’m having problems keeping up with some cardio activities. And the closer I get to black belt, the more intense it will get. So – to that end – this is the year I focus on my cardio. 

Today was my second day going out in the morning for a route around my neighborhood. And it was worse than the first time. Although to be fair, this is the first time I ever felt the lactic acid build up and then be released in a  second wind. I never noticed it before in my muscles because I was too busy listening to instructions or focusing on keeping up in class. This is the first time I’m examining how my body feels because there’s noone there but me. And I do realize that focusing on the pain and hurt while you’re out is not the best thing to do, it’s a newbie runner thing. Well that’s exactly what I am. A newbie. In fact if there was anything lower on the scale to newbie – that’s where I’d be. And it’s probably a comfy couch.

This isn’t all based on my martial arts training. I’m getting older and at this point, my body is doing to start it’s decline into old age. No I haven’t hit 40 yet. Not for a few more years. But it’s still there and it’s not going away. I can deny it and go soft, and docile. Or I can  work on maintaining my body so that I don’t need a walker when I’m 60. That’s the plan. To not need a walker. To not need arthritis pills. To be able to live with my family. 

And that’s why I’m doing this. I have to keep giving myself these pep talks. There are people I know who can’t walk, or find it very difficult to. The fact that I can wiggle my toes is not to be taken for granted. So I’ll continue to go out, like a herd of stampeding snails, until I resemble something more along the line of a loping hippo. Gazelles can’t be too far behind hippos – right?