19 March 2013

Sigh. Here We Go Again.

The Captain and I make beautiful babies. Our sparkling, freshwater springs of DNA have blessed the boys with strong features, quick wits, kind hearts, and height possessed by neither of their progenitors. On occasion, however, some recessive, murky backwater seeps in and contaminates those pristine pools, producing a brackish blend of what I call "addict genes."

Thankfully, thus far the "addict genes" have yet to produce an actual addict. Time will tell. But the genes are diverse multi-taskers. They've conspired to place One and Four on the autism spectrum, which comes with its own subset of anxiety and depression. Three skipped the spectrum but kept the anxiety, with a side of ADHD. Two managed to elude the genes altogether; my guess is they're quick and crafty and, therefore, had no patience for his supremely chill demeanor. The Captain and I had our fingers crossed for Five, who always seemed a little nervous but was managing to hold it together these past nine years.

Our digits are undone.

Five is in third grade, which has been the academic year that breaks my boys. The workload increases dramatically, the standardized testing begins, and social awareness blossoms. Throw in a mean lunch aide, an unresponsive school nurse, and a  ridiculous punitive behavior modification tool and even the strongest sink under the pressure. Even Two missed twenty Mondays his third grade year because it took three days for him to recover from each school week.

Five finally lost his grip on mental stability while I was away in Arizona. He forgot to bring back his "Friday Folder," which is a communication tool between the school and home. This resulted in his third "check" for the month, which qualified him for M.A.P--Modified Activity Playtime. Every child over the age of seven knows this really means detention, because its practical application is loss of recess.

Let me break it down, as the rappers would say: If my nine year-old forgets his homework or a folder three times in one month, he has to spend the twenty minutes of free time he gets in a seven hour day, the twenty minutes when he can run and play and yell with his friends, inside in detention. I'm sorry--inside in Modified Activity Playtime.

This exercise in bullshit is explained by the school as skill-building, to help the children learn responsibility. Clearly, no one involved in creating this crap is a parent to a teenage boy or they would realize the futility of their endeavor.

So, my Five has spent several days with me at home in the past two weeks, unable to overcome his anxiety and make his way into school. I know where this path leads.  One missed four months of seventh grade and Three was home for more than that in fifth.

I'm tired of this district crushing the souls of my children. Five spent most of yesterday crying about how he can't take it anymore, he's so angry he never wants to go back, and if things don't get better he's going to die. This is the quote I will share with the principal when the Captain and I meet with him on Thursday.

The whole thing makes me mad enough to consider home-schooling, which I know stems from a place of love but is insane, because I'm not exactly in my right head these days, either. But that's a post for another day. There is a glimmer of hope, though, because Five is very articulate and willing to speak with someone who might be able to help him. We see the therapist next week.

The Captain and I have re-crossed our fingers.

11 March 2013

More About Me!

Well, hello again! Yes, it is I, Megan, twice-nominated blogger extraordinaire!

My friend, Delia Moran, has a friend named Ms. Pat who nominated her for the Leibster Blog award, and in turn she nominated me. So I would like to thank Ms. Pat for recognizing Delia's brilliance, because this is the same way I got that last award!

When I told The Captain I had been nominated again he asked what kind of torturous questions I would have to answer this time. The Captain doesn't like sharing information. Interviewing him would be like watching a John Tortorella press conference. But you all know that's not the case with me! I 'm happy to blather away. So here are the rules I must follow to accept the Liebster Award:

1. You must tell 11 things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions your nominator gives you.
3. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
4. Choose new blogs with fewer than 200 followers and link them to your post.
5. If you're nominated, please leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster Award post.

General consensus is that I fulfill the first requirement by answering Delia's questions, so here we go:

1. What is your preferred beverage? Coffee. Hot in the cold months, cold in the hot months. It's worth mentioning I developed my coffee habit attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Back in the day there were no other beverages offered, and a newly clean girl needed to hold a cup of something in her shaky hands. It tasted shitty, but I never drank skunky keg beer for the taste, either.

2. Are you afraid of any animals? I have a healthy fear of some of our woodland creatures, namely bears, but I try and give them a wide berth. I admit to being completely unnerved by centipedes, especially the mutant, ancient ones that invade my home after the spring rains. 

3. Would you ever go hang-gliding? Never.  I mean, if the only way to save my child from a life-threatening situation was to hang-glide to the rescue, I'd consider it. But, otherwise, my initial never stands.

4. Country, city, or suburbs? I live in the suburbs but I want to live in the country. Five is onboard with this plan and suggested we start a "Moving to Montana" jar to save our change. I like him more each day, even if he doesn't feel the same.

5. What is the easiest way to make you laugh? Tell a funny story. Or boot up "The Old Wagon" episode of Modern Family. I've saved it on my DVR for over a year.

6. Do you enjoy a good cry? I do. I have a difficult time crying when it's expected, so my body will sometimes spill that pent-up emotion in the middle of, say, listening to Bruno Mars sing "When I Was Your Man." I try to just go with it.

7. Are you multi-lingual? No, and after several years of trying to learn Spanish with my teenagers I can confidently say I expect that to never change.

8. How often do you read for pleasure? I read the paper every morning, but that's mostly because I want to support the print industry. I only get to read novels when I'm on vacation, and then I can burn through a few books if I'm motivated. On my recent five day jaunt to Arizona I finished three!

9. Can you do anything crafty (sewing, knitting, woodwork, etc.)? I'm not crafty in the traditional sense but I have a knack for presentation. I love nothing more than decorating the holiday tables, which will serve me well in my future Country Weddings business that Five and I will start once we fill that Montana jar a few hundred times. 

10. What was the worst thing you've ever tried? Psychedelic mushrooms. They tasted like dried cow dung and the effect lasted way too long. Oh, wait. Were we talking about drugs? If not, then my answer is skim boarding. I tried it once, it lasted three seconds, and I broke my tailbone. Kids, let both these answers be a lesson to you.

11. Johnny Depp or Sam Elliot? Hmmm. Johnny Depp for fantasy purposes, because I'm sort of married to Sam Elliot. 

Enough about me, unless you have more questions, which I will gladly answer in the comments because I'm not The Captain. In the meantime, here be my queries:

1. What is your favorite sport?
2. What did you want to be when you grew up?
3. Modern or antique?
4. Do you have a favorite band or music genre?
5. What do you want to be doing ten years from now?
6. If you could choose, during what era would you live?
7. D.I.Y or contractor?
8. What is your favorite vacation spot?
9. Can you roll your tongue?
10. Have you ever dyed your hair, and if so what was your favorite color?
11. Do you believe in fate?

Okay, London Mabel, Robena Grant, and Michelle, it's your turn!

Dear readers, please tell me if you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any fashion. If so, how, and if not, is there a holiday or custom you observe but you're really not sure why?

06 March 2013

Working Woman: Julie Hanavan Olsen!

This is Julie on her environmentally-friendly mode of transportation. I am deeply enamored of those saddle bags, and Julie, who is a dear friend even though we've never actually been in the same place at the same time. Our friendship is a testament to her ability to make a deep, honest connection no matter the physical distance. This is due, in no small part, to the openness of her heart and her desire to give people the tools they need to navigate their journey through life.
Julie is a professional Tarot card reader. She comes from a long line of psychically gifted family members and has studied with several well-known readers and psychics. Julie has been practicing her craft for nearly 30 years and continues to offer a daily reading on her blog "Welcome to JulieLand," which also details her adventures as a mom, subversive cross-stitcher, and health-enthusiast.
Julie's daily draw inspires me every day and I continue to be amazed how often it addresses what I'm dealing with in my life. However, Julie's true talent is her personalized card readings. The best part is she offers her services online! Oh sure, we'd all love to visit her in Eugene but she can help any of us from afar. If you send her an email asking for insight, Julie prints your letter, schedules a time for the reading and then places the letter where you would normally sit. She reads the cards, takes a picture of the spread and types out the messages she receives. This usually takes about an hour and then she emails you the picture of your cards and the information you need. Afterward, she has a snack because it's pretty tiring business being the "radio."
Both my sister and my mother were fortunate to enjoy the gift of one of Julie's readings. They were amazed at the level of detail they received, and each contacted Julie for further insight. In the end, they also came to consider her a friend.
If you would like to contact Julie to schedule a personal reading, or if you would like to know more about Tarot cards or what the heck subversive cross-stitch is anyway, you can post your questions here or at urthalun.com.
Thank you so much for joining me for the debut of  Working Woman Wednesday! If you know someone who would like to be featured please let me know. Let's support each other, one lone woman at a time.