senoritafish: (holiday jubjub)
On the last of school before Winter Break, Angus's core special ed class will be sharing family traditions and having a "Cultural Feast," for which each child is encouraged to bring some type of food, whether from a family tradition or cultural background. Huh. About the only traditional thing I make every year is clam chowder on Xmas Eve - which I actually changed from my mom making oyster stew (I like the flavor of oysters but not necessarily the texture). Last year when we went up to my brother's in his new place in LA, it morphed again into clam dip; he'd made something else, and had us make something my grandparents used to traditionally put out at family gatherings (that and celery sticks with Lawry's Seasoned Salt). I'm not sure how a bunch of seventh graders, some with allergies, and probably others with texture/sensory issues, are going to feel about clams, much less soup that might get kind of messy. Angus suggested calimari - ha! Even better! I can just see some kid's reaction to tentacles.

As far cultural, haggis? Irish whiskey ([ profile] runsamuck's suggestion)? Can't see those going over real well either. ;p

He did also bring up Hoppin' John, more of a New Year's thing. We've made it a few times, but I wouldn't quite say it's a tradition (and no one in either of our families is even Southern) - we could always make it one though.
senoritafish: (Angus HP Harry costume)

Sackboy watches Evil Bob the Alien (Gareth) and his minion, the Black Dragon, kidnap the Princess.

Last Day of School Festivities
Huntington Beach CA
Canon EOS 1000D
17 June 2010

+3 )
senoritafish: (Angus HP Harry costume)
Wow. This is a fantastic set of blog posts I've been reading in stages over the past week or so. Today, the author was kind enough to make a post with links to all the connected pieces in one place (oh yeah, that's called a Table Of Contents, right). My brother had asked me for stuff to read to help him understand Angus a bit better, and while I've been meaning to sit down and make up a list, I think this is a great place to start. I would encourage reading even if you don't think you know anyone autistic, because chances are, you do, and you (or even they) don't know it.
(Series of posts linked to in this post is what you want to read)

Angus is not exactly like Bud; he's a couple of years older and fairly good at talking - although he does use some scripts and echolalia, he's not dependent on them. He's in a regular classroom for subjects he's good at (so far, science, social studies and computer lab), and in core classroom for subjects he's not so good at (language arts and math). He's now in middle school where classes in different periods are arranged like this anyway, so he's actually had a headstart on getting used to that. He's had an aide for four hours a day to keep him on track, but his latest IEP plans for aide time to be faded to about half that. He's not on any medication. However, there are quite a few similarities - he gets anxious and frustrated easily, gets very anxious when he realizes an adult he knows is not in view, does not deal easily with sudden changes -i.e. family changing their minds on what movie they're going to watch. He hums a lot (so do I). Loud environments stress him, although he's getting better at that. He definitely needs the movement breaks; we call it gallumphing and he's done it almost since he started walking; the spinny thing is fun, too (hell, I used to do that when I was a kid). His shoes wear out in front first, because he still tends to walk more on his toes. We have never made a big deal out of his issues, which are fairly mild compared to some; he's just Angus to us and quite frankly we had to have them pointed out to us to realize he had them. However, with people who get impatient with him, maybe this will help. I wish I had been creative enough to come up with something like this. I also wish everyone could have the kinds of teachers Bud's seem to be.
senoritafish: (time on earth)
Gods (insert your pantheon here), it's November already. My Inuyasha calendar at the office has Naraku leveling a malignant smirk at me; boy, I would've thought he would have been more appropriate for October, evil demon that he is. I'm not sure I really want him looking this direction all month. So if Billy Joe Armstrong and Peter Gabriel wear guyliner and manscara (thanks [ profile] a_hollow_year, I did not know those were the correct terms), what do you call eyeshadow on males? I'd say guyshadow but that's a bit repetitive. What did Spock call it? 'Cause dammit, he wore a ton of it. Yes, Lord Naraku, the purple looks good on you, meant no disrespect...


I've been reminded that I haven't really made a proper post in awhile. ;) So, what's the haps?

  • School - the kids started 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade. Strangely enough, while Angus isn't real fond of school, he seemed to kind of be looking forward to middle school. One, it's back in a familiar neighborhood, next door to his old elementary school, and two, there are old friends there, his friend Connor from 1st thru 3rd grade for one. He's having to get used to doing homework every night, though, which his 4th-5th grade teacher didn't seem to require, and that's a little tough for him, and us. Changing for PE also required some getting used to, as well as the requirement that he needs to start wearing deodorant every day. Gareth somehow got placed in a GATE class - he hasn't taken that test, but apparently, if there are spaces, they will put kids in if they think they can do the work. He's there for everything but math, which he has with a teacher who weirdly enough was my brother's 5th grade teacher (my brothers turned 45 in August). I'm not sure, but I think she's the only one still there from our years at that school. Avalon is starting 3rd grade, despite her 2nd grade teacher's trepidation, and it turns out she got a 100% on her first math test (adding triple digit numbers) and despite low test scores in reading last year, she is reading chapter books on her own at home. Her teacher agrees with us that it's more a matter of finding the right motivation for her, which seems to be easier said than done.

  • Health - at the beginning of October, I was getting ready to head to the docks at 5 am one morning, when John sat up in bed and told me his chest hurt, as if someone were trying to shove their fist through it somewhere between his sternum and his clavicle. He aslo felt extremely anxious, like if I left something horrible was going to happen, and clammy all over (not uncommon - he sweats like crazy in his sleep). I thought about Beth, who narrowly averted her brother's heart attack by calling 911 when he thought he was fine, and my grandpa - who complained of just feeling mucky and heartburny all afternoon and passed away on the couch watching TV with my grandma. I looked up symptoms and he had several on the list - in addition, he's gained quite a bit of weight recently and was recently prescribed high blood pressure medication - so I insisted we go to the emergency room. They checked him out and gave him an EKG and a few other emergency room tests - then said everything appeared normal, but they couldn't rule it out completely on the basis of emergency room tests. So they admitted him overnight. They gave him blood thinners among other meds, which left huge black bruises on his stomach, then a stress test the following morning - turned out his heart is fine, but they had to call the respiratory therapist because he started wheezing so bad.

    They'd put him in a room with two other people - one was a younger guy suffering from what we normally wind up there for - asthma. He'd tried to walk to the pharmacy to refill his inhaler and wound up collapsing on the street. He'd recovered and left the same afternoon. The other guy was older, but not so old as we originnally thought. He was quite clearly delerious; kept trying to get out of bed when he wasn't supposed to, talking and moaning, and kicking the covers off. Social workers and doctors kept trying to talk to him, but couldn't get much sense out of him -I did hear once "And how long have you been doing the heavy drinking?" Made it a little difficult for John to sleep, hospitals not being the easiest places to sleep in any case. The nurses only tried once to wake him up by shaking his shoulder - he has a rather violent way of waking up, especially in an unfamiliar place - and from then on woke him from three feet away, calling "Mr. Walton..."

    Anyway, he finally got in to see his own doctor, who did a bunch of bloodwork and gave him some Nexxium for his near constant heartburn (caused by other meds). We haven't heard back about any results yet - I need to get on him about that because he WILL NOT do it himself. It also made him angry that the blood thinners he was given caused the Red Cross to defer him donating blood for a year.

  • Work - not hugely busy since the Management Team finished the SAFE document, and another Council meeting behind us. This time it took place at a hotel in Costa Mesa, the next town over from me, so I didn't really have to travel. I was especially grateful for this as it turned out to be over Halloween/Gareth's birthday. I guess the Council hasn't gotten the message CalCOFI did, when so many people complained that it was scheduled over Halloween, they finally stopped and moved it to the first week of December. Another issue coming up, that of Annual Catch Limits, promises to wind up being way more complicated than it should be, especially since the US only catches a fraction of HMS species in the Pacific and management is actually handled by international agencies. Eh, I still have problems getting my head around it, sometimes.

    I need to get the desk cleaned up -I tend to let things pile up when I'm working on a particular project. Also need to get started on mackerel otoliths for the year. The fishery's been pretty slow for them, partly because of a lowered Harvest Guideline, but also because the larger fish that are mostly in demand are just not coming close enough to shore, or shallow enough, that the boats can target them. There's only a about 2 dozen samples for the entire year, divided between the three of us who read mackerel, so that's not too big of a burden. I kind of enjoy it anyway.

  • Home - ech. Must get areas cleaned up - my dad called and ordered FIOS installation, and I've put off the appointment a couple of times already, because I wasn't ready. Need to get back on the FlyLady track (I haven't found anything else quite comparable, and I have to have an outside kick in the butt apparently) - but it's also frustrating when the other person doing housework has his own method and refuses to listen to anyone else's. Also that the third adult does absolutely nothing. I would excuse him for being 84, but he didn't help much long before that.

    Avalon is out of the bedroom with the boys now - we set up my old twin bed for her in a corner of the living room. We're not quite done making a "room" for her - involving moving some of the larger furniture around so she has "walls" - a disadvantage of six people in a 3-bedroom house, but that's the goal in the next couple of weeks. John's looked into getting something like cubicle dividers, but they're just too expensive, but we do have a tall hutch and an upright grand piano to be moved around.

  • Other - I've been hauling my camera around religiously although I haven't been keeping up quite with the [ profile] mylife_onceaday thing. I have been wanting to do something creative other than photography, but just totally lacking in the inspiration department. Somebody give me an idea for a holiday card and you get a free one. Well, you would, anyway. Just send me your address. What, do I have to smack you upside the head with a hint? ;p

So there's a nutshell. Long stretches of fairly boring punctuated by a few moments of high anxiety. Rather like real life, I suppose.

Time to plug in the pod and get something done...
senoritafish: (Winry)

Walking through the school parking lot on the way to pick up my oldest from the previously-posted middle school. This is a school-district maintenance vehicle. I love it. Better than my own desk at work. I think that's Bruce from Finding Nemo (next to Goofy) eating Kenny from South Park.

School truck dashboard, passenger side
Huntington Beach CA
Kyocera Switchback phone camera
17 September 2009

driver's side... )
senoritafish: (Currently reading)

My old middle school, which is now also my oldest's middle school (boy, that feels weird, he's even in the same room I was in, in sixth grade), got some new murals painted on it during the summer. Sort of in the style of when the school was first built. When I went there, it was unpainted concrete and looked like a prison, and still had the original windows; it's been upgraded considerably since then. This school has the distinction of being rebuilt from having all of its floors collapse during the 1933 Long Beach earthquake; luckily that was at 5:54 pm so no one was there at the time.

Middle school
Huntington Beach CA
Canon EOS 1000D
15 September 2009

murals... )
senoritafish: (Ignore me!!!)
So, midsummertime. Angus's last day of summer school was yesterday, to his great relief. "Who invented summer school, to torture kids!" he said the day after regular school got out, and shook his first. The days of taking summer school for fun things is gone forever, I guess. His report card came back as everything "progressing towards goals." I think he's excited to go to Dwyer this fall; certainly he was disappointed that summer school didn't take place there.

I don't think we're going to be able to go camping this summer like we did last year; gas isn't so expensive, but with more than a month's salary gone...I don't think we'd better. John's been looking for something, but he just met yesterday morning with one of his old bosses, who told him Ralph's/Food 4 Less will be going through another round of layoffs, so not very likely there. He would love to go back to cooking, but we don't think his health could stand it, since his asthma seems to keep getting progressively worse. We are probably going to have to take out a loan to get tutoring for Avalon and cover a few bills we are short on.

Outside my office window, tiger swallowtails chase each other through the sycamores surrounding the building. They seem to be pretty aggressive for butterflies. I've been wondering why they seem to be attracted to these trees when I had thought that swallowtail caterpillars liked dill and fennel. Well, I should've searched earlier - it's Black Swallowtails that like those plants. These are Western Tigers (maybe explains the aggression, too, heh), and they do prefer trees.
senoritafish: (perfect TV mom)

Buses at my kid's school
Huntington Beach CA
Canon EOS 1000D
9 June 2009
senoritafish: (perfect TV mom)

My daughter's second grade put on a musical version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears; she'd been practicing singing along with a CD of the music for several weeks. She's right in the spot where the sun coming through the window is whiting everything out. I had taken a sick day and still felt pretty awful, so we sat in the very back row and I tried not to breathe on anyone.

2nd grade play
Huntington Beach CA
Motorola phone camera
13 May 2009

She is... )
senoritafish: (dreams on a 'chovie can)

Someone at my local sushi place is very concerned about the improper use of sauces.

*Don't put too much Soy Sauce on Sushi and Don't put too much Sauce on any food! Too much sauce is unhealthy!

*When eating Nigiri Sushi, Dip The Sushi Fish First into the Soy Sauce and not the Rice!

Sushi Signage
Huntington Beach CA
Kyocera Switchback phone camera
1 April 2009

guest photos )
senoritafish: (dreams on a 'chovie can)

Fouth graders have to do a project depicting some part of California history, which can be various different things, but many kids choose a model of a mission, because all the craft stores sell model kits of them. Gareth was no different; he at least picked the Santa Cruz Mission (located north of Monterey), not the one closest to us (the more famous Mission San Juan Capistrano, which the swallows come back to). This caused [ profile] runsamuck some grumbling of "separation of church and state," but I suppose it is somewhat legit - some of the first European settlers here were Spanish Missionaries (at the time the place belonged to Mexico), and many of the mission settlements formed the basis of present-day towns. They also have a section on Native Americans of the region before this - mostly Chumash and Gabrielinos.

Gareth was frustrated because he left his supplies out on the patio, where he was working. He hadn't put down the green fuzzy stuff (meant to be grass) on the model yet, and during the night, Spot came by and decided to sleep on it, leaving long white cat hairs all over it. You can't see it in the photo, but they're still there; no amount of brushing or tape would get them off, without also removing the fuzzy stuff.

Santa Cruz Mission model
Huntington Beach CA
Canon EOS 1000D
25 March 2009
senoritafish: (perfect TV mom)
We had a trip to the shoe store last night because a) the boy's shoes are getting worn out, b) we have gift cards needing using, and c) Angus needs a shoebox for a diorama - jeez, everyone is having to make these lately! Well, Gareth had to make a model mission, but similar thing...

Avalon pleaded for a pair that she liked (only seven and the shoe accumulating tendencies are starting, tch tch), and as they were on sale for $6 and there was a bit left over from the boy's sneakers on the cards, we got them. They're a little big yet though, and I told her she needed grow into them a bit before she wore them to school. This morning she tromps down the hallway wearing the new shoes - sort of like loafers but with more of a heel, and a little chain across the vamp with a butterfly charm - and was quite disappointed that we told her to take them off and go put her sneakers on. As she stomped (a little) back down the hallway, we both noticed her jeans, purchased fairly recently, were already migrating up her ankles, exposing her white athletic socks in a quite nerdly fashion, exacerbated by the loafers. She'd be horrified, but she loves those pants, and the effect is mitigated somewhat when she wears her sneakers with them. Hopefully, won't be too long before they're capris...

*Sigh* Well, it's high tide somewhere on the planet...
senoritafish: (Not Again...)

Two of my kids go to the same elementary school I did. In this spot, there used to be a mulberry tree. It was handy for third grade science projects where classes raised silkworms, watched them pupate and then got to see fat silk moths emerge from their cocoons. I liked the mulberries when I could reach them. The mulberry tree was there until last year, when the center finally went rotten and it was cut down. Made me sad to see that empty planter in the middle of the playground. Last fall, flyers were sent home asking for donations to buy a new tree. Sometime in December, this camphor tree was planted and a new planter built around it. I noticed while dropping the kids off today that it's completely dead.

Dead tree
Huntington Beach CA
Casio Exilim EX-Z80A
11 February 2009
senoritafish: (Angus HP Harry costume)

Angus got an award for responsibility at school; he doesn't look too thrilled about it. As a matter of fact, he grabbed the microphone when getting up on stage and said, "I don't deserve this." The pricipal patted him on the back and said "Oh, of course you do," and directed him to collect his pencil and bracelet (the green band you can see on his wrist) and stand by the other kids.

School Cafetorium
Huntington Beach CA
Sharp VE-CG30
11 December 2008
senoritafish: (Ignore me!!!)
Ok, teachers among you - I'm sure you've heard all the excuses for not turning in homework. Seriously, this is the truth. I shit you not.

The kids have been doing their homework on the table out on the patio, because there room for all three of them and they can spread out. Avalon did a couple of her pages and left her homework on the table to pick up in the morning. This morning, after I got Angus on the bus and away, Gareth got up early to finish something he was working on. He came up to me in the kitchen and said "We have a problem; one of the cats did something on Avalon's homework." I went out to look and sure enough, GIGANTIC SLIMY HAIRBALL perfectly centered right in the middle of the paper.

Thing is, not just a page or two. This is all of her homework for the entire week, stapled together in a stack. They bring it home Monday and it's supposed to be turned in Friday. It has soaked through the entire stack. She was half done with it. It must've been Spot; he's our only longhaired cat who does this with any regularity. I've never seen him get up on the table though.

I guess I'll have to write a note asking for replacement homework sheets. I can just see the teacher rolling her eyes. Hey, I can provide photographic evidence if she wants...
senoritafish: (perfect TV mom)

A peek inside my fourth grader's classroom before everyone trooped in.

1st day of school
Huntington Beach CA
Sharp VE-CG30
03 September 2008

Back to school - Angus goes to a different school now, so he's not in this pic.
senoritafish: (perfect TV mom)

This week was Teacher Appreciation Week at Angus's school - on Friday, kids were supposed to bring their teacher a small token gift. [ profile] runsamuck picked up some nice nailclippers (which were really more expensive than we intended, but what the hey, Mr. C has been pretty nice compared to other teachers Angus has had), but they didn't come in any sort of box - so he made an origami box and we tucked it in through the hole. Then Angus decorated it with markers - which I suppose we should have done before the paper was folded.

Also included in the box was an URL and an explanation of why, on the day he was supposed to have brought a handwritten note, he wrote down what he thought he heard here; that is, a homophonic ancient Chinese poem we'd listened to (not that we speak it, I just found it interesting). Although, he only wrote it (an entire note consisting of nothing but "shi shi shi-shi shishi") and didn't explain to Mr. C what it was (I blame [ profile] a_hollow_year - she linked to it XD ).

Earlier in the week, when they were supposed to bring a flower, I gave him one from the coreopsis plants I put in last fall - they're going crazy right now. Later, I asked if Mr. C had liked it and he told me "I think I'm the only one in my class doing this."

Huntington Beach CA
Sharp VE-CG30
09 May 2008
senoritafish: (Default)
The Ship

One cold morning I was walking on a dock. Then I saw a ship floating on the sparkling ocean. Its boards seemed to be three feet long. Its hull seem to be so thick. The deck was huge.

When the ship dropped its anchor it made a huge splash. A wave hit the stern of the ship. The stern tipped up. I could see its rudder.

Clouds gathered. Lightning struck the dock. The dock started to break! At the last minute, I jumped onto the ship. The rope broke. We were cut loose from the dock. We were a piece of driftwood on the huige ocean.

The crew was running around with intense speed to get the ship back to land. One of the crew members yelled to another ship.

A crew member accidentally ripped a sail. The captain and crew had to repair the sail. It only took 45 minutes to do this. Then they spotted a dock two miles away. They hoped the patched sail would work. By now the ship had taken a real beating but the ship made it. A few weeks later the ship was struck by lightning. It caught fire and sunk (sic).

Gareth wrote this and had to copy it over for homework last night. Makes me think he'd like to read the Hornblower series someday. This harbor seems to be subject to some strange weather conditions, though.


Feb. 6th, 2008 10:10 am
senoritafish: (perfect TV mom)
(Orginally posted as a comment to [ profile] megthelegend but I've been meaning to put it here as well.)

Gareth brought home a list of everyone in his class because Valentine's Day is coming up. I noticed one of his classmates, who goes by the nickname for Robert, had had his name spelled "Booby."

I have been bugging John to point that out to the teacher because she's so anal about everything else - but he's afraid of her. Hopefully, at least Booby's mother stood up for him. ;)

Seriously, though - teachers have got to be some of the most organized people on the planet. Having to keep thirty eight-year-olds focused and on track for six hours would leave most of us ready for nervous breakdowns. Gareth's teacher picks up her class before any of the other teachers, and sometimes we have to go get a late slip even when other classes are still waiting, because his class is already gone. But she does do one thing John likes a lot. Before everyone goes into the room, she stands at the door and shakes each kid's hand and greets them by name, and askes them something. So I guess this is why she gets them early, because it takes an extra few minutes to get everyone into class. So I guess one mispelled name can be excused.

I don't know how Booby feels about that, though.
senoritafish: (A cunning plan)

My alma mater JC, Orange Coast College, had a Community Science Night - in the Physics building the kids got to see metal tops made in the machine shop, watch little robots shove each other, and make parachutes. They also got to see preserved human organs, see a longnosed lancetfish, look at plant parts through a microscope, pet a kingsnake, make stinky chemical reactions and burn a piece of magnesium. They had a lot of fun, and I hope it puts a few ideas in their minds for the future.

dropping parachutes... )


senoritafish: (Default)

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