Thursday, September 05, 2013

Because You Asked

Optimistic Existentialist asked me a question:  What's your absolute favorite song of all-time?

Truth is, I can't possibly answer this question.  Music is too evocative and intrinsically connected with my moods.  On any given day, within any given hour, even within a few minutes, I would have a different answer depending on where I am and what I need in that moment.

It sounds like a cop-out, I know.  So rather than try to avoid the question, I'm going to side-step it by offering an off-hand answer.  I have told my loved ones that I really do not want a funeral or a wake but I understand the power of ritual and that there are times when we need to do things to help our own healing.  If they should need some ceremony of some sort, I asked that certain songs be played.  And just to make it more confusing, these are all covers or variations rather than the original.

This song is probably more cheerful than one would expect to hear at such a "sad" occasion but it feels apropos to me.  (In my defense, Rob wants Lust for Life played at his funeral so at least I'm being a little less rambunctious.)

This song is supposed to be a love song, I know, but it expresses the love I feel for my family members as much as anyone else.  And I do like Tori Amos' cover.

I don't know how I could think about a funeral for me without including this song.  In fact, if no other song were played, this one would suffice. On a loop.  Over and over.  Just this song.  I love some of the covers I've heard.  I used to say I love them all but then there are some artists who have since come out with covers on youtube that just don't do the song justice so maybe no covers.

Anyway, I know that I didn't actually answer The Question asked but I don't know if I could even choose my favorite piece of classical music or my favorite Irving Berlin song or my favorite song sung by Fiona Apple.  And if I can't narrow down even when I've narrowed down my possible choices, how could I possibly choose the one of all the possibilities?

I hope that this was a fair compromise to an impossible task.  If not, I hope I can be forgiven for not following through to the letter.  :)

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Ask Me Anything

I actually remembered!  That's right!  It's the fourth.  So feel free to ask me anything.  Or tell me anything.  Share a story or a link to a favorite website.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

September Fitness Challenge

Readers' Workouts (Lite Logo)So I “failed” at my August Challenge.  I don’t actually see it as a failure because the fact that I committed to doing something is enough.  But when I became sick, it was too much for me to try to get out of bed let alone hold a plank for increasing increments of time.

This month I have a whole new challenge in store for myself.  I’m going to do one Modified Push-up a day starting with one and working my way up to 30.  Who knows?  Maybe by the end of the month I’ll be able to do 30 modified push-ups.

I’ve never been able to do a standard push-up.  My ultimate goal is to build up the upper body strength to do a full set and I’m hoping that by gradually building up my stamina with modified ones I’ll be able to do a standard one.

So this month, that is my challenge for myself.  Oh boy! 

What are your fitness goals for September?

Monday, September 02, 2013

Following Up On Yesterday's Abbreviated Weekly Update

Erin's vision board.
In my previous post, I shared about some of the excitement that began my week without Rob.  He was dealing with some excitement of his own.  When he arrived in Kentucky, he found out his father was in the hospital with a staph infection and the doctors were discussing the possibility of his having to have his fingertip or even his entire finger amputated.  Fortunately, another doctor suggested a strong round of antibiotics and that was able to fight off the infection and Rob Sr. kept his whole finger.
Thursday, Snowdoll moved
to a different part of the deck.


Now, if you’re paying attention, Monday is the day I found out about Bibi being bullied and Rob found out his father came close to losing a finger(tip).  Monday is also the day I received a message from Marc saying he has five days to find a new place to live.  Five days.  On Tuesday, he still didn’t have a new place but he had information  for a roommate matching service and an apartment hunter service.  But only four days?  Wednesday, with Bibi no longer troubled with bullying on the bus and Rob having confirmed his father was heading home and not to surgery, Marc finally sent me a text after I had gone to bed.  He found a place to live. 

Friday, Snowdoll went
back to where she was before.
Thursday and Friday, I was feeling better, more myself, after having been sick for a few days the previous week.  So I resumed my strength training.  At this point, I’d given up on my August Challenge.  I mean, it’s one thing to figure out how to do a Plank when a bee has stung your toe but trying to do one with a nearly 102F fever was entirely too much.  I’m taking it slowly and I’ll write more about all of this tomorrow.

Saturday, rather than going for a walk, Kanika came here with muffins and magazines.  I had invited more than a few people but only Erin joined us.  The plan?  Make a vision board.  Hmmmm . . .but this time what would be the focus?  We all decided to just let inspiration flow.  Take the magazines, tear out images we like, and then see what we wanted to keep.  It worked.  Sorta.  Kanika realized that her pictures had a lot of exotic places so her vision board was all about traveling.  Erin also had photos of interesting places but she also had faces and other pretty things.  So her theme became evident as well.

Snowdoll went back to
the new spot on Saturday.
As for me, I had torn out pages and pages.  I even cut out a few of the details from the pictures I’d pulled.  But nothing came to me.  First Erin had to leave and Kanika left not long afterwards.  By then, I was exhausted and I ended up lying down which immediately led to a nap.  I woke up and ate some of the leftovers from our pot luck brunch.  Afterwards, I flipped through the magazines both Kanika and Erin had already torn apart to find some more pictures.  I still haven’t sorted through them but as soon as I do I’ll share a photo of my new vision board. 

Assuming after I look through all of the pictures I collected I find something that actually makes any sense.  So far I seem to have a lot of photos of birds.  Kingfishers.  Blue-Footed Booby Birds.  Swans.  Geese.   Ducks.  Maybe I’m feeling flighty.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Countdown--Tick, Tick, Tick

I took a picture of Snowdoll
every day Rob was in KY.
Monday, she lay on the deck.
Sunday, Rob was off to Kentucky.  First, he headed to Frankfort to see his mother, brother, his brother’s family (including our niece, of course).   Second, he was off to Owensboro to see his father, uncle, friends, and to pick up some mutton and burgoo from Old Hickory.  I was still not 100% well when he left.  I knew this when I was making his lunch and broke out in a cold sweat.  This is never a good thing when one’s been ill and I wasn’t surprised when later, a couple of hours after Rob had said goodbye, my fever was pushing up into the 99s.  Still, it didn’t get as bad as it had been. 

Monday, I managed to take Snowdoll for a walk.  For a full mile even.  I skipped my morning yoga because the walk was more important.  And it was a slow one.  A slow one but Snowdoll still bounded and bounced along as she always does.  Rob and I talked in the morning and sent texts.  Here’s one exchange we had, after we’d bickered back and forth a bit:
Rob:  And your point is?
Me:  None.  I’m pointless.
Rob:  Oh no.  You have points. . . Sharp points.
Me:  Then this conversation is pointless.  A pointed comment if ever there was one.
Rob:  I’m sure there’s a point or two there
Me:  Perhaps
Towards the end of the day, Erin emailed me about Bibi, saying Bibi didn’t want to take the bus anymore because a girl and her brother were bullying her.  I could feel the anger in my face, the heat of my rage, as I tried to formulate a reply that did not reduce itself to “Get on the bus and kick some ass!” 

Tuesday, Snowdoll lay on the deck.
Bibi had told Erin about this before and Erin wisely told Bibi to tell the bus driver, to ask to sit somewhere else.  So when Bibi came to Erin a second time, saying it was ongoing and she no longer wanted to take the bus, Erin’s immediate inclination was to start walking her home from school.  You see, they drive Bibi to school so she’s only on the bus on her way home.  But I’d just read a book on bullying and another on children and anxiety so I knew that removing her from the situation may not be the most empowering choice for Bibi.  Easiest, yes.

Thankfully, it’s obviously not the only choice and Erin was seeking out my advice.  I fired off some advice but I knew I was writing in anger and I did speak with Rob to make sure he agreed with me before reinforcing my advice in a second, and much calmer, email.  In a nutshell, my advice was to:
1)      Write the bus driver a note saying that Bibi is no longer allowed to sit beside (insert girl’s name here) and (insert her older brother’s name here) because the three of them are not getting along and you are concerned that things may escalate if they are not separated sooner rather than when it’s too late.  Scan a copy of the dated and signed letter.
2)      Bring the letter to the teacher.  Kindergarteners can’t be trusted to remember that they have something for the bus driver at the end of the school day but a teacher can and will remember, especially when she is told what the letter contains and why it has been written.  So have the teacher read the letter and explain the situation, then seal it and ask her to deliver it to the bus driver that day.
3)      Go to the principal’s office (or make an appointment to see him) and explain to him what is happening.  If this older boy has a history of bullying, it will have been documented.  If not, you want to begin a paper trail.  Present to him the date when Bibi first came to them about this, when she says she spoke with the bus driver, when it happened again, when she spoke with the driver a second time, and what she says the bus driver said. 
Snowdoll was missing Rob
so she lay on the deck.
All of this, of course, must be carefully framed in “Bibi said” rather than “the child did” and “Bibi claims” rather than “the bus driver didn’t” so as not to come across as too confrontational and accusatory.  But such behavior cannot and should not be tolerated.  And it’s only the first week and half of school at this point.  If this is how the year is starting, one can only imagine how much worse it would get if nothing were done to nip this in the bud out of the gate.

I think Bibi is strong enough to resolve things for herself but in this case it’s a girl in her class and the girl’s older brother and all three sit in the same seat so Bibi’s outnumbered and, because there’s an older child involved, out-sized as well.  Two against one, especially when one of the two is older, is not fair.  All we can do now is hope being assertive in addressing this situation will not invite more abuse.   We’ve all heard horror stories where parents and children sought help and this merely back-fired.  I’d like to believe that these incidents are exceptions and that we’re all learning how to deal with bullying better now that we are no longer buying into the whole “boys will be boys” nonsense.

And so it turned out.  The very next day, Bibi sat in a new seat and, even when the boy tried to sit with her, the driver made sure that she was not sitting with the girl or her brother let alone both of them.

There was more excitement, the first half of the week, but let's leave that for another blog post.  Poor Snowdoll, as you can see from the photos, was a busy girl, trying to hold it together while "Daddy" was out of town.  But he wouldn't be back for a few more days.  More stories to come.  Stay tuned.