Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day Forty - Swim

Short post...




Monday, July 30, 2012

Day Thirty-Nine - Sales Job

Three hour lunch with time share sales rep...Boring, yet educational

High pressure sales pitch where we continue to counter her proposals with counter-proposals...Amusing yet endless
Walking away without spending a dime...Priceless!!! 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day Thirty-Eight - Stress

I love vacations - but not so much the process of getting to one. The driver arrived at 4:30am to take us to the airport. Although he drove deathly slow - I figured the cops would stop him for being 20 miles UNDER the speed limit - he didi get us there in plenty of time. Security was a piece of cake. The nonstop flight to Florida was enjoyable enough. We had a little fun with the car... We had it reserved at the wrong airport, so we had to do some Internet finagling to get a good deal. But once we arrived at the beach...it was paradise! We have a beautiful corner room with a panoramic view of the ocean. It is wildly beautiful - it is so worth putting up with my airport anxiety to be here.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day Thirty-Seven - Strong

As I was packing for our trip tomorrow, I rounded the corner from my dressing room to my bedroom, stepped awkwardly on the threshold, ROLLED MY ANKLE and crashed to the floor. Seriously?!?!? The day before vacation?! I swore a lot, cried a little, and assessed the damage. It was my left ankle this time, which is my stronger one. I got an abrasion on my right knee, BUT...I was able to get up fairly easily, walk downstairs and put some ice on ankle and knee. I actually feel fine now. Being twenty pounds lighter, and doing daily leg and ankle strengthening exercises seems to be paying off! Vacation, here I come!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day Thirty-SIx - Spectacular

The Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games was spectacular! It is hard to fathom a mind that could create such a historical, melodramatic presentation depicting all that is great about Great Britain. Agrarian society, Industrial Revolution, healthcare, children's literature, British music...unbelievable!

Add the Parade of Nations, thousands of volunteer musicians and actors, Paul McCartney, Peace Doves on bicycles, and the Queen parachuting into the stadium with James Bond - well, I just don't have enough adjectives! Top it off with the lit Olympic Cauldron rising up out the the center of the field and enough fireworks to light the entire city of London, and I have to say, Mr. Danny Boyle, well done!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day ThIrty-Five - Smile

Well, it is hard to believe, but here I am at the half-way point of my summer sojourn.  I have worked a lot, but it is different from school-year school - much more relaxed (although much more humid and steamy). I have been to the Cape for a week. Sunday, we leave for our trip to Florida. I am really looking forward to getting away with DB. We haven't gone on a vacation of any distance in three years. I am going to relax, walk, swim, and chill.

What are my goals for the final four weeks after vacation? Wrap up my week of summer school. PURGE my large collection of clothes and shoes. Paint my dressing room and get some shelving installed. Maintain my dedication to my grain/gluten/wheat-free lifestyle. Ramp up my dedication to strengthening my legs and feet through my physical therapy program (Can't be a runner with weak ankles). Rejoice in the fact that I am returning to my SLP position! Sleep, friends, meditation, gratefulness....

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day Thirty-Four - Strict

Had my second physical therapy appointment. The PT was not impressed that I had not done ALL my exercises EVERY day. He is right of course...can't get better unless you work it! I will do better!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day Thirty-Three - Staying

Well, today I got a phone message from the principal of my school asking me to call him. I could tell from the tone of his voice what he was going to tell me - I was not selected for the Program Head position. He went on to explain a few things about the job that clarified for me that this is in my best interest. First, the Superintendent and Special Ed Director changed the job specs after people applied for it - it went from a full- time position to a .7 position. Really? In addition, they decided they would select someone who had an administrative certification. Again, this was not stated in the original job description. How do you run a department this way? How do you interview people for a full-time position, and then tell them "Oh, by the way...we are only going to hire you for 3.5 days a week!" I'll bet the two candidates with the admin certs are going to jump at that opportunity! My principal is frustrated, and so am I!

As I said before, I love what I do. I am glad I applied, but I am delighted that I will continue to be working as an SLP in September!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day Thirty-Two - Speaker

One of my students, Grant, is starting High School this year. He is a tall, enthusiastic young man with a beautiful face and a wonderful smile who hopes to play basketball on the freshman team. Although he has a strong-sounding voice when he is  making comments, when he has to organize his thoughts and talk at the same time, his voice fades away until he cannot be heard. We did some breathing and voice projection activities today, along with fine-tuning the precision of some of his speech sounds. I hope he will continue to practice these techniques when he leaves for vacation next week.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day Thirty-One - Strange

Dixie is a fabulous dog in so many ways - she is smart, she is cute, she is friendly. She enjoys meeting new dogs and people as we walk along the beach, which we did today.  However, she a Golden Retriever who retrieves nothing. Throw a ball...she looks at you as if to say "You ought to go and get that." Have you heard of a GR who despises the water? That would also be Dixie. She is like a sand piper - she will run along the edge of the surf...the minute it approaches her feet, she runs in the opposite direction.

She does love the beach, though...and of course, we love her!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day Thirty - Sticky

I had a lovely opportunity presented to me today...a young man knocked on the door and said he would give me a great price on sealing my driveway. My driveway is a big mess - I always run the lawnmower over it to get rid of the grass growing through the cracks. I was intrigued, but told him I had to do a little research before I would agree. He said he would be around, and to call if I was interested. Well, his website was impressive, his video looked good, and he was on Angie's List. I decided to go ahead with it.

Josh and Company arrived, and got busy. They dug up all the grass, sealed the cracks with rubber, and gave the driveway a nice spray. It looks good. Josh says it will last for four years. If he is right, I will certainly call him again.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day Twenty-Nine - Spicy

I know...another weather post! Today was just so spectacular, it bears commenting. Seventy-five degrees, overcast, low humidity, nice breeze - my idea of paradise! It was hard to decide what project to complete first. It is so much easier to accomplish things when you are not dripping with sweat! I did a little weeding, then came in to tackle some house projects. It was a great day to do some cooking. I decided to make one of my grain-free recipes that I have been wanting to play around with for a while. Another blogger had posted a spicy peanut butter cookie recipe, so I gave it a whirl. These babies were HOT - perfect for a coolish day. The almond flour gives the cookies a nuttier texture...I liked them!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day Twenty-EIght- Stretch

I finally started physical therapy for my foot today. The PT said my foot and ankle are weak, but not all that unstable! He put together a strengthening program that I will do every day, then see him twice a week for a couple of months. It felt really good to be doing some work with my legs again. No running, no elliptical, no treadmills (no worries there...), but I can do my beach walking and yoga. It feels good!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day Twenty-Seven - Special

I adore hydrangeas. They remind me of summers on Cape Cod. These are some from my garden, the Endless Summer variety. We had some minor rain early this morning - I love the way the water beaded up on the petals. An hour after I took this, we were blasted with a massive thunderstorm with hail and a deluge of rain. The hydrangeas still look beautiful, but these are special.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day Twenty-Six - Swelter

Hmmm...seems all I do is write about the weather. In all fairness, it was 97 again today, and I work on the third floor of a school with no air conditioning. The kids all looked at me glassy-eyed, and acted as if I was speaking a foreign language. Perhaps I was. Who can function normally with heat like this? It was a pleasure to jump into my car when the day was over, and crank the A/C.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day Twenty-Five - Stuck

My car has been making a huge whirring noise for quite a while...I stopped by my mechanic last Friday to see what was up. He agreed it sounded bad, and I made an appointment for today. Bad wheel bearing. Three hundred and change later, and I am back on the road!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day Twenty-Four - Stifling

Ninety-seven degree days require some serious intervention....nothing is better than a trip to the beach! We popped the dog and some towels in the car and set off in search of cooler climates! Unfortunately for us the A/C in DB's car is not working, so I put up my hair, put down the windows, pulled Dixie's random dog hairs out of my mouth, and enjoyed the ride. We live about 45 minutes away from the New Hampshire and Maine coasts, so it is a nice afternoon trip to take. Once we got off the highway, and onto Coastal 1A, the temperatures dropped by about 20 degrees and the skies became overcast - my perfect idea of a day at the beach! Once we arrived, we lounged around, walked the dog, wandered through the incoming tide, and chilled (literally!). We wrapped up the day in sweatshirts, eating Mexican appetizers on the porch of a new restaurant while rain moved in and fell softly on the sidewalks.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day Twenty-Three - Strokes

I visited an old friend today. Ed was one of the first patients I worked with when I had started a new rehab position five years ago. He had just been admitted from the hospital after his stroke, was paralyzed on his right side, and was unable to speak. You could see the fear in his eyes when I met him; none of his words were coming out of his mouth and he was unable to move. Our rehab team (physical, occupational and speech therapy) swooped in to help Ed start his recovery.

Ed's stroke occurred in the motor area in the left hemisphere of his brain, resulting in Broca's aphasia. Usually, people with Broca's have good comprehension, but struggle to express themselves verbally. Ed and I started with yes/no questions, picture-pointing tasks, and Melodic Intonation Therapy. His progress was slow, but steady; he was able to request items with single words like "drink", "bathroom", and "cold".  His wife Eleanor was an interesting lady. She was very intense, asked many questions, and frequently screamed at the nurses if they did not get her what she wanted. She liked me, fortunately. I think it was just the fact that I listened to her and empathized with how hard Ed's recovery was going to be for both of them.

I was fortunate, given the limited rehab time that is often given to patients post stroke, to work with Ed for almost six months. He continued to make measurable progress. We had progressed to short conversations. He shared some of the details of his life. I found out he had been a mechanical engineer. He had three sons and four grandchildren. Ironically, two of his grandchildren attended my middle school. He is a recovering alcoholic. He told me his marriage was challenging, and that he had considered divorce. His wife had thrown the telephone at him, hitting him in the head; it was at that moment that he had the stroke.

Ed could be challenging himself; he would become frustrated with his inability to express himself quickly and would swear at the staff - his words came out so clearly then! Even after his health care plan stopped paying for therapy, I would stop in to see him before or after my shift at work to have a conversation, or to set up his TV to watch a baseball game. He became like a second father.

I worked at the facility part-time after school. The facility decided after I had been there a year that they wanted to hire a full-time SLP. Since I was not available to take the job, they hired someone else. I was sad, because I really loved working at this place. I filled in here and there when the new SLP was on vacation or unavailable, and continued visiting with Ed. One day, when I stopped by to see him, a nurse on the floor told me that the family had moved him. The administrator would not tell me where he went. It would have been blurring the margins of my jobs to talk about this with his grandchildren; I knew eventually, I would see his son to ask Ed's whereabouts.

Ed's only granddaughter was graduating this year, and I ran into her dad, Nate after the ceremony. He gave me a big hug, and told me where his dad was living now. His mom was in an assisted living facility as well. Today, I stopped by to visit my old friend. His speech continues to come out in short bursts - he uses three to four words phrases, but they are clearly articulated. He told me about his wife, his grandchildren, and how much he missed the old facility. He kissed my hand and told me how glad he was to see me again.

I know I say it all the time, but I am so blessed to do the work I do. I meet the most wonderful people, and get to have a positive impact on their lives. I know that they have an even bigger impact on mine. I plan to see Ed again next week.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day Twenty-Two - Sticker Shock

I seem to have issues with the Department of Motor Vehicles...Last year, I forgot to re-register my car. This year, I did not get it inspected before the sticker expired in June. Woe is me.

I sat for 53 minutes in line at the inspection station in 93 degree heat waiting to get my newly updated sticker slapped on my car. When it was my turn, I happily drove in, registration and $29.00 in hand, only to be told that the Registry would not let them inspect a car WITH A GREEN LICENSE PLATE. My plate is old; most people in the state have shiny red and white, front and back plates. I have an old, single green one- a holdover from the days when the Registry went to one rear plate to save money.

I was never notified about this. Now I am told that I must drive to the Registry, remove the plate, turn it in and get a new plate and registration. I am disgusted. Why did they re-register the car with this plate last year, if they won't let me use it anymore. ERRGGHH!

Day Twenty-One - Seize the Day

Today I had my interview for the new Program Head position. I practiced key questions that I thought might be asked with Dearly Beloved as my coach. I stayed up way too late rehearsing my answers in my mind. I chanted key words as I was drifting off to sleep.

In the end, the little voice in my head said..."You know what you are doing - just relax and be yourself." That was the key. I don't remember each response that I provided, but I felt comfortable answering all the questions.

I am totally at peace with whatever way this scenario plays out. I would welcome the challenge of the new position, but I am so happy with the work that I do right now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day Twenty - Special

I met the most remarkable young man today at school. He attended the middle school across town, not mine, so I have not worked with him before. He will be entering the high school in the fall. Dez* (*all names in this blog are changed for privacy) was delighted to meet me, and interested in telling me his "life story". He was born in Armenia, and knows nothing of his birth parents. He has created elaborate stories of who they might have been - his theory is his mom was not married and was a heavy drinker, which caused him to be born missing his right hip and leg. He was left in an orphanage, where his "wonderful, fantastic parents came and found him when he was three" (his words!).  I asked him how his parents knew that he was to be their son; he responded "I am blessed...I think Heaven brought them to me...I am so lucky! They wanted the kid with the one leg and one hip!"

We went on to talk about his diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, which he does not believe that he has. We talked about ways that Asperger's could be a blessing, instead of something to fight against. He has great empathy, and can see other people's perspectives...he has benefited from all the pragmatic development that he has had.

He also talked about his successes as a basketball player, lacrosse player, skier, and wrestler; he wants to play freshman basketball next year. He is a mad lover of all things weather-related, and shared with me some amazing graphs he created to document different weather events that have occurred recently.

He has the most beautiful smile and engaging manner. He is funny and empathetic, and truly sees his glass as overflowing with gratefulness, joy, and opportunity.

I am moved to tears by this wonderful young man! How blessed am I to be able to meet and work with young people like Dez!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day Nineteen - Splendid!

Today was an absolutely lovely day - highs in the low 80s, minimal humidity, low dew point - a rare occurrence during New England summers! It was comfortable to be at work, enjoyable to do chores after school, even grocery shopping was pleasant! Personally, I would like every summer day to be this way, but I suppose I would lose my absolute joy at the loveliness of such a rare event! Salute!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day Eighteen - Struggle

Summer School began today. I got to see all my favorite students, and met some new favorites as well. To accommodate one of my students and his family, I traveled across town to see him at his summer camp, where he is a counselor-in-training, instead at our High School where SS is being held. Craig is a funny, terrific kid who is going to be a freshman in High School next year. He has such significant processing problems, it is difficult for him to listen to and/or follow along in a novel and sort out the characters and events. We are working on the book The Hunger Games. Despite having seen the movie, and after reading the first chapter together, he was unable to tell me that "Katniss" was the narrator of the story. He could not tell me how her dad died. He struggles with vocabulary, and cannot visualize the images that the story creates.

My strategy for tomorrow is to flood him with images to accompany the story, and to develop a graphic organizer to help him keep track of the ideas. I really want him to understand this book!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day Seventeen - Stupify!

I am not typically a horror-movie kind of girl - nightmares show up way to easily - but it was a hot and humid Sunday, and it seemed like a perfect day to watch "The Thing".   Seriously.   DB was all excited, as he had not seen this version before. Being a good sport (or perhaps just too lazy to relocate to another part of the house), I watched.

This was a very creepy movie! Why are so many aliens such drippy, sloppy messes with the need to take over the bodies of their host humans? Seriously, lets have some creativity here!  There was the psycho mad scientist, and the beautiful graduate student heroine. There was the repulsive, slimy, slithering, screaming Alien Lizard Lobster whose sole mission was to consume and regenerate as the host human. There were enough blow-torches to melt the entire continent of Antarctica.

Errggh...I've lost my appetite.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day Sixteen - Studious

Spent the day on my laptop and the phone, planning and confirming my schedules for summer school, which starts on Monday morning. I have twenty students that I see once or twice a week for the next five weeks. Summer school is low-key...there is work to be done, but it is much more relaxed. Many students take vacations during this time, so the numbers fluctuate. Since I am going away for a week myself, I have to add some makeup time to the equation as well.

I am set with my novels...The Lightning Thief for the sixth graders, The Breadwinner for seventh, Touching Spirit Bear for grade eight, and The Hunger Games for my students in ninth grade.Good books with some some tough vocabulary and themes. This will be great!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day Fifteen - So Long

Well, the Cape Cod sojourn has ended...DB came down this morning to bring me home. I had a great week...lots of relaxation, and quality time with Dearest Mother. Not ever sure how many more summers she will have in her little house at the beach, so it is nice to spend time together.

We had an uneventful trip back. As nice as it is to be away, it is equally nice to come home to your own bed! Tomorrow...time to plan my summer school schedule.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day Fourteen - Serenity

I walked to the beach at the end of my street last night to watch the full moon rise out of the ocean in the eastern sky. I love it when the full moon and my beach visits coincide; I get such a sense of peace as the huge orange orb slowly rises out of the watery horizon.

Last night, I shared the beach with about 50 other souls...not moon-lovers like myself, but fireworks-seekers. It was such a juxtaposition...Face east, and observe absolute serenity. Face west and be assaulted by flashes, explosions and gasps of enthusiasm.

I prefer my introverted moon, but it was fun to share the western sky with my fellow thrill-seekers!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day Thirteen - Salute!

To all of my countrymen and women in the Grand Old USA...Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day Twelve - Snap!

An excellent day! I get to write this post on the porch on my LAPTOP! Oh, Joy! Multiple open windows, full keyboard, large screen! While highly grateful for my iPhone, having wireless makes life much easier.

The woman who arrived in the Verizon truck was hilarious. "They tried to tell you it was your problem and sell you line insurance? Ha! We ran a new line down your street last winter...it isn't connected to your house yet. When I called them to discuss this job with them, they had no clue! Hopeless!"

She zoomed up the pole in her bucket, and had the line working in no time. Dial tone was present; all is good. I programmed all the devices with the WEP key, aaaaaand - nothing. Another call to Verizon. The technician working with me was very helpful. She determined that the new modem needed to be REPROGRAMMED, because it did not work. This was beyond my skill set. We worked on it together, and 55 minutes later....success!

This was a frustrating experience, but all is forgiven now because I am back online!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Day Eleven - S.O.S.

We still have no internet...I am resigning myself that it will be tomorrow before it is connected. DB left this evening to do more grill escapades. We had a good time, and many laughs before he went.

We had an old, clunky grill in the garage. We don't use it anymore, since we have the Weber, but it still works well. It is just sad and tired looking. We put it out front Saturday, with a "free" sign on it. Shockingly, no one took it home with them. Many people made fun of it, but no one believed the second sign that said, "Works great!" I guess I don't blame them.

DB took the little grill to the back yard, blasted it with the hose, let it dry, and sprayed it a nice black with high heat paint. He touched up the "Charmglow" logo, and added some new wood to the table.

We wrote up an ad, and posted it on Craigslist for $35. It was sold before he drove over the Bridge.

So who is laughing now?.... I am going out to lunch with the $35!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day Ten - Sojourn

Ahhh, Sunday! Dearly Beloved and I really enjoyed the day. We took a ride across the Cape to Brewster (to pick up a grill!), drove around, checked out new phones, and did a massive grocery order for Dearest Mother. Do we know how to live or what! Dixie Dog enjoyed herself as well...dog treats and new places to take a little walk - heaven! DB cooked a fabulous roast beef on our Weber, and we had a fabulous dinner!