Monday, April 23, 2007

Morning has broken....... God's recreation of the first day.

"Morning has broken, like the first morning.

Blackbird is singing, like the first bird.

Priase for the singing, praise for the (ringing? [in of])

God's recreation of the new day."  -- Cat Stevens (I may have the exact words a touch off)

Yesterday early morning had a slight chill in the air.  And birds singing and vocalizing.  Probably every bird in this area in the spring, including a few distant geese (Canada geese?) and an owl who perhaps hadn't gone to bed quite yet.  I'd hear a few, then another bird of another species would start tweetering.  I was reminded of the song I list above, and sang "my" song along with the other birds.

Sunday morning.  My step-niece was confirmed in church, my church, where I'd been accepted as a member 31 years ago.  I suppose that was my confirmation as well, whatever the terminology.   Step-niece also attends my former high school (her dad, my stepbrother, did for only 1 year).  Mom, Bob, and I joined my stepbrother's ex-wife (whom I'm actually closer to than to him), and Step-niece.  It was rather nice to be able to re-introduce Mom and Bob to some people who matter to me there at church, as they'd not been since M was in Vacation Bible School?  Newer wing even.  I knew a few of the newly-confirmed youth.  Step-niece was both happy but embarrassed.  She's had two good friends more away recently and a good friend from church not there, and she's very attention-phobic, anyway.  Tis okay that we didn't then take her to lunch as anticipated.   We had a guest speaker from "high up" in my demonimation, speaking of tGod's 5th miracle, sight being given to the man born without eyes / sight.  Recreation.  Open your eyes.  Etc.  I liked it, actually.  My mother didn't appear to care for his style, but she enjoyed the music, composed by one of our members.  Our Senior pastor announced his departure after 14 years, and hey, his youngest is a graduating senior, great kid, maybe it is time to move along.  Change, transition, re-create, per God's will.

I'd wished M could have joined on this glorious morning and day, yet happy to think she was at her somewhat best friend's (Md's) home, or hopefully so.  I'd texted her Saturday evening, so not to disturb her but to get in touch.  Then again, C tends to take her cell hpone away and/or not let her use it when on visitation with him.   She'll get it.  (And, honestly, I do wish for her to have time for a relationship with her father, too.  Not sure if she'll be able to complete a confirmation class, as it meets weekly (unless C allows her attendance when she's with him).  Time will tell.)

In another state, a friend whom I know from when he attended my church, was the speaker for his church's "Creation Care Sunday."   He is also their "Science and Nature in Christian Perspective" teacher.   I'd sent him happy birthday / earth day greeting, and he responded, in part, "meaning I will get to (have to) teach not just once but twice on my birthday.  Pray for stamina ..."

I had to re-bag some of Dad's trash bags for they'd been gotten into.  I retrieve the recyclables from just those bags.  I don't go back through all of them.  Such waste, yet he really is best served via use of small, manageable, not spoilable or as spillable, containers.  Dad loves the outdoors, always took me hiking, etc., has no problem with the concept of recycling, yet doesn't quite grasp it sufficiently to separate his recyclables out when bagging up his trash.  It's just not ingrained as it will be for our children's generation.  So, at least he's bagging up his trash:)  Even what I eat is different from him, except we both loves our fatty dairy items and tons of citrus fruits, lol.  I include a few non-meat entrees in with his food each week, however.  (Dad had declined being driven to my place for a nice bath, so I washed his feet and legs after clipping his nails, him declining to even wash himself further, face even.  I thought, okay, I am nowhere near Jesus here, I'm simply caring for my dad who needs this and, well, he's my dad.  I wish there was more money, that I could do more.   Finances are depressing me.  His cherry tree, dead (which M suggests should get cut down, yes, it should, but I can't, physically speaking, and there's not the money to pay for it).  I glanced at the yard he'd always cared well for.  The forsythia still blooms yellow, the crocuses gone, yet, the crabapple tree is starting to bloom magenta.  I can't recall when I last saw that tree actually blooming.

I felt rejuvenated after the ceili:)   Various bits.  I'd baked my potluck contribution on Saturday when I had the oven going, anyway, yes, gasp, I turned it on AND USED IT, twice as feels too wasteful not to take advantage of an already-warm oven.  Live music is usually great and it was, even if taking a few extra moments with Dad had me running late (of course, time with Daisy inbetween).   Skirdagh Set is not one I've done before, but it's easy enough to learn, and, as my partner said, complex enough to be interesting.  Just four figures, all different, the last one a waltz.  The next dance was a waltz, and I told the man I was fine with breaking it and him waltzing with his wife.  Instead, his toddler ran up to him.  "Or, perhaps father/daughter."  I have fond memories of waltzing with a young M.  This man then danced about with his daughter, holding her high at times.  One dance instructor and her husband had their precious newborn there:)  Corofin Plain set with E, who'd spent a tempting day on his boat Saturday ah sounds nice, other dances, finishing with Clare Lancers, of course, this time with T.  T is a really good dancer who also improvises and makes everything fun.  We were tops across from E, and my corner was KuteGuy.  This gave me a chance to talk briefly with him, again, too.  His partner young recent college grad, whom he walked out with, slowly, approximately 2 inches from each other, lol.  Very sweet and I'm happy for them.  Ahh, but stress relief for me, physically, mentally.

Home to Daisy, whom I'd decided I'd let spend as much time outside as she wished.  Sliver of moon, spring air.  Everything's been budding more lately, some bushes so fragrant, some trees showing only minimal signs of previous (freezing) burn.   The magnolia's are blooming.  I noticed, from the first warm Saturday morning, until Sunday night, so many more of our neighborhood's cherry trees have popped out their pink fluffy pom-poms.  Lots and lots of pink blossoms.  God's re-creation.  Thank you , Lord:) 

Friday, April 20, 2007

In The Mail and Turning 13

In the mail, is one pink ticket and one yellow ticket.  One for each night of M's upcoming recital.   M is in both nights, with her performing troupe, which includes one night for her class (she's moving up from just after the recital, finally), and one night for her 4-hand figures team.  I smile, happy to know the tickets arrived.   I always help out, anyway, and this time that means I got the tickets free oh yeah!

That's really good, as NOT in the mail yet was April 1st's child support check.   I'm not so happy about that.

Daisy doesn't care, wagging her tail just to see me home, enjoying a brisk walk in the, wait, is this warm sunshine.   She's eager to stop and flirt with Colt.  Inside, after dinner, of course Tink anticipates her kitty treats, two of the last few.  I'm not ready to stay in tonight, feeling almost restless.  It's bright out, warm.   I may just have to visit Target before the reshowing of Grey's Anatomy I didn't get to concentrate on last night.   Kitty treats I can afford.  Cat's don't comprehend if I was out of treats, or food.   I counted out $15.80 left, and have a gift card I earned.

I tack the tickets up near the postcard with the set list for Sunday's ceili (dance).

In the e-mail, Mom confused which weekend M's recital is, asking if there were still tickets for either of this weekend's shows.   Another e-mail explains how to stilll get tickets, phew:)  Mom thought she'd be too sick still.   I'll drive her.

In the e-mail, is a notice changing the time for one of M's two school play shows.  We'd asked the teachers to please change the time so M could also participate.  Both play shows were scheduled the same dates/almost same times as M's two recital shows she'd already committed to.   Now, probably too late to include M in the play, the time for one is changed.  I forward it to M and ask her.  Not sure if we'll get to talk this weekend or not (C usually refuses us contact, in any fashion, if he can help it).

In the mail today is an invitation to a local school's Scottish festival I've yet to get to.  I do support their booth at the Southern Maryland Celtic Festival.   Now, where was the invite to my former sorority's open house event that same day?   I haven't been in that house since before I graduated.

In the mail Tuesday was a letter from (my) Mom to M.   In Monday's mail, was the invitation for Md's sleepover birthday party Saturday night.   The first thing M always checks out is the date and whether or not she is with me.  Md is already 13 (wow to even think it and type it, many of M's classmates have already turned 13).

Last year, M thought she'd be going to Md's sleepover birthday party.  C often won't let M attend birthday parties for M's friends, but it sounded like this time, it'd be a go for at least for part of it.   Instead, even though they were down in Md's area, they just drove M back to their house never saying a word (per M who said she didn't feel she could ask or bring it up).  M didn't feel able to even call Md and say even last minute not to worry M's not able to come now (which I also heard from Md's mother). 

M's getting stronger, slowly, as she gets older, in asking them.  C even told M this year that he understands it's probably the most important thing going on this weekend for M (her horse event Sunday C is not letting her attend, but even this talking with her like this is new for C).

M was SO excited this morning.  "Last year, Md said they made TWO movies, and it was thee best ever party," said with hopeful expectation for THIS year.   The boys stay for several hours but not overnight.  This is a big social event for M and her friends.  Apparently, as Md said that Si could also join the party for a couple hours or so, to not feel left out or be away from M TOO long, "and Dad and Sh can just go out to dinner or something" that translates into M being able to attend Md's party (she assumes for overnight, too).   I didn't comment; M had found a way to get herself able to go (she *thinks*) and was happy.   "Maybe let your friends know not to mention the Barbie doll to Si."  "Oh, right."  M brought in a Barbie doll for "bungee jumping" with the various math groups.  Even if M hasn't played with Barbie's for ages, M decided to tell her friends that this one is Si's Barbie.  Barbie's head popped off this week until J pushed it back on and now Barbie doesn't have a neck.  "They think I owe Si a Barbie doll now."  (C has typically hated anything girly, anyway, especially anything like Barbie dolls, but Sh has gotten Si some.)

M's been preparing Md's gifts for a while, all cherry-oriented except the card and bag we picked up Monday.   She verified where they were before trying not to use up ALL the hot water:)  Then, M gathered them this morning after confering with me if she had any outgrown jeans to put the cherry applique on for Md, and butt sizes.  Despair, "I have no butt!!"  My family tends to have bums not to be, um, even remotely confusable with J-Lo.  M is fine, Md and their friends are fine, yet I ask M, "When you're 45 like I am, do you want a butt like mine, or like the sizes that most of the other women you know who are 45-ish."  "Okay, maybe better shape." 

At school, we're behind J's family van.  M seems glad, even if she may be losing her crush on him.  M slid on her backpack, grabbed the bag with freshly washed clothes from her father's, I love you's, and she and J walked in to school together.  

Thursday, April 19, 2007

1 year anniversary

Today marks 1 year since I started this whole jouirnaling aka blogging thing. :)   I have learned a lot.   I've realized that I'd get more (quantity) loyal readers if I segmented my various focuses, one journal for this, another for that, yet that's not me.  Instead, I am comprised of these various (random) threads that make up the whole fabric of my life.  And, I like who does read:)  I started online journaling (blogging) as two of my friends had aol journals, and I missed getting my thoughts down.  I rarely handwrite anything any more.  I've made new friends I'm grateful for knowing:)   Heck, I've even meet blogger Mike V I'm Going Sane in a Crazy World  in real life when M and I happened down his way.  I've read some really good stuff.

I was chosen "Guest Editor" one week in November on a day I was really busy.  This was before I had any clue what it even truly meant, and shortly before  (the then-)Journals Editor Jeff was (update) laid off along with about 500 others (sorry, Jeff, for wording that incorrectly!).  (Here's his personal blog I enjoy reading:  And I Am Not Lying, For Real )  It was great to highlight some journals I really liked, and I learned a lot from the experience.

Then, returning Journals Editor Joe kept my journal up as Featured Blogger for a while during which he worked to reconfigure the new AOL People Connections Page.   Fun at first, I admit, I was relieved when it finally came off, as if I wasn't on quite the public display any more.  Still public, but not the same feeling that hindered my comfort factor in writing. 

I've been part of Carnivaol  CarnivAOL™  (fun way to explore a variety of best posts / favorite journals.)  I've voted for others to receive best blogger-like awards 2006 VIVI AWARD JOURNAL.  I didn't even know there were these awards, or an AOL Connection page, or Journals Editors or message boards devoted to this "J-Land" stuff (never liked the term "J-land").  I'm learning to become more comfortable referring to this asa "blog."  I've figured out a lot of the basics of AOL journaling.  I can insert photos! and change fonts and add links.  I know what a tag is.  I laugh when the "visitors log" resets itself yet again.  I guess I could get fancy.  It'd probably be fun to learn:)  It may be too distracting from just getting my thoughts from my head through the keyboard; I'm not sure.  I'd LIKE to learn how to insert photos in a "big" way, in the middle of text (or maybe in the "about me" section even), and videos not just the link.   I KNOW there's an icon for 1 year journaling, but I wouldn't know howto add it! (or how to get it).

My "style" is still evolving.  I'm glad that I made this one public, for it's how I've gotten to share ADD/ADHD information, and obtained more, and met other blogging friends.   Being public, however, means I can't just spout off, or list everything.  I intend to start a personal journal also, one I can have family view, including M.  (I actually started one but deleted it, uncertain just what I wish tocall it.)  All neutral or positive comments (no dissing my mother for example, even if we've done great with each other lately! wow, or venting that child support is 3 weeks late), adding names and dates and stuff that I have to keep confidential on here.  I'm not sure yet how disjointed that will feel for me to have two journals/blogs.  I have gotten comfortable enough to finally add photos of myself on here, and some more specifically of M.   The private journal will include more photos, perhaps not many, but I won't have to screen out the ones with, say, my dance group's name in it, etc.  I'll give it a trial run:)  (If you wish to be added, please just let me know, thanks.)

So I'm not a wet behind the ears freshman on here any longer.  My "new" boss has been here almost a year.  M has grown MANY inches taller and is in middle school now, BJ and I are good friends, the aquarium still isn't set up (setbacks and no longer of as much interest).   I've learned what an Oireachtas is and am so proud of M (an O-what???).   I took M to a DC nightclub (oy but great).  Another year gone by.  I've caught snippets of my thoughts, our moments.  It's still evolving; I'm starting my sophmore year now:)   I feel good here.  Community spirit even,which I may not have gotten if I'd had this be private.  Thanks, all.  

p.s. -- the photo is from the Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Japanese Street festival last Saturday.  M and I have cherry blossoms painted on our faces and are standing in front of a pink pig with wings parade balloon. :)  That was a first, also!

"Don't write me off cos I'm 90"

If you want, just skip down to the video:)

My main dance group has a performing troupe.   We perform Irish ceili and set dances at various festivals, parades, and lately most often, at nursing homes and senior centers.   Depending upon the audience, we make time for teaching one of the more simple dances as audience participation.  I can't make all of the performances, M's schedule and needs come first, and I don't discount my father's own needs, but I try when I can just like others do.  It's for fun and to share with others.  Besides, I'm getting to check out places for my father, too, eh?  M's Irish stepdance performing troupe visits nursing homes and senior centers as well (and schools and etc.), without the audience participation but often with time for questions and answers (which TCRG/teacher Ma is great with!).

A few weeks back, the particular audience my group had for a large nursing home complex, were primarily wheelchair bound.   I always do better communicating more with just a couple people, then with large groups.   One man in particular had tubes and other items, could hardly talk and was not in great shape, almost completely immobile on his back and his one leg straight out.  I could hardly understand him, but I looked him in the eyes and TRIED to udnerstand and converse.  I think he said "Ireland" at one point in our conversation, and I faked a general response as I couldn't tell the rest of his question or statement, later making sure to wave goodbye to him when we all waved and left.   We had the music for Sweets of May playing for the North Kerry Set, rofl, but they didn't know nor care:)   They participated by clapping.

Last night we gathered at a senior center, where people come for activities and care primarily in the day but a full months worh of evening events for those with transportation.   A lot of eager dancers came up to try it out from this group!   One man said he used to be an active square dancer, and a women in an orange sari was my partner for the Siege of Ennis.   Hmmm, she can bare her midriff, yet I'm 45 and don't dare bare mine anymore?  Unfortunately, the music was a bit fast even for "regular" dancing of it.  One woman had hip trouble and couldn't sidestep so they worked out something else.  My partner did fine but couldn't quite keep up so stepped out after we'd passed through to the two next lines (it's a progressive, i.e., ceili dance).   Others who tired were able to stay for the whole thing, enjoying it.

A couple dances later, E and I were tops for the Clare Lancers performance-version set.  A very fast-paced Matt Cunningham 4:49 minute version.  I LOVE it.  Love it, love it.  It looks fast and more complicated, and done well, also looks nice.   After, walking back out of the room (to where they had us when not dancing), I laughed with my former lady partner, "So, you'll be doing this one next?!"   She laughed and held my arm and her friends laughed with her.  *I* get something out of this when there's a connection, when someones day is brightened or they just enjoy themselves a moment.  (Admittedly, dancing usually does that for me, too, forget the rest of the world for a while, especially if dancing tops with E.)

The Meals on Wheels driver for Wednesdays called me yesterday.  Dad had asked him to, some problem with Dad's cell phone again (I had to ask Doug to assist with, cuz cell phone company won't believe me that I'm a man).  The man apologized for bothering me, for mentioning something he'd noticed that nicely we're taking care of, anyway, said he didn't know how often I got by and if I'd noticed and he shouldn't have brought it up....   Huh?  Does he get hostile responses?   Heck, what if I hadn't noticed.  I'm there at least weekly usually more often, but seems in many families it's less from what this guy was saying.  I'm happy he told me and I thanked him.  I thanked him for his helping out.   He said he took care of his wife for 2 years, so he knows how it is.   (The Thursday driver just called me now, putting Dad on the phone.   Great, cuz I could explain to Dad that I can't pretend to be him with the phone company and that Doug is going to contact them.  Yep, Doug is more understanding now, when he IS needed.  Dad's feeling relief that I have receive the message, that I hear him, that I'm working on it.  Bless these drivers.)

I didn't know that one Senior Center was so close by and had evening programs.   It's likely not the closest one to my father, but I'll still check into it.   The style is more what my father could accept right now, he has dementia but doesn'trequire full medical care.  It could ease the transition, help him more socially, etc.   I joked w/ a girlfriend, so, is this how it'll be for us?  Well, sigh, hopefully really, at least at first.   Some had their adult kids pick them up, some drove themselves.  Computers there and puzzles and books and a big bingo board.  But, active, with a nice social group aspect.   That's still needed.

Aunt Beth turned 62 this month, not so old to me:)   My parents, all three, are intheir 70's.  Seniors, yes, not ELDERLY per se.  I joke with really nice tattoo-wearing , Harley and Stones loving coworker who is going to turn 40 years old this year, that she'll be only 10 years away from being able to join the Red Hat Society rofl.   But, that's okay.   I miss my grandmother sometimes.  I learned a lot from not even considering writing her off (at 96), learning a lot from her, too, as only a grandparent figure can truly impart to a grandchild.

I love this video -- I don't know how to insert photos (large-like, inthe middle of text), or videos themselves.  So, please click on this link: 

YouTube - The Zimmers "My Generation"

Quoted directly from :
"The oldest and greatest rock band in the world - meet The Zimmers and their amazing cover of The Who's "My Generation".   Lead singer Alf is 90 - it's quite something when he sings "I hope I die before I get old". And he's not the oldest - there are 99 and 100-year-olds in the band!  

The Zimmers will feature in a BBC TV documentary being aired in May 2007. Documentary-maker Tim Samuels has been all over Britain recruiting isolated and lonely old people - those who can't leave their flats or who are stuck in rubbish care homes.  

The finale of the show is this group of lonely old people coming together to stick it back to the society that's cast them aside - by forming a rock troupe and trying to storm into the pop charts.
Some massive names from the pop world have thrown their weight behind The Zimmers... The song is produced by Mike Hedges (U2, Dido, Cure), the video shot by Geoff Wonfor (Band Aid, Beatles Anthology), and it was recorded in the legendary Beatles studio 2 at Abbey Road.
Look out for the single being released from May 21 - with proceeds going to a good cause."

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This Week, Last Week!

More upbeat "slushpile" stuff can be tackled now, eh? :)   Various things I've been scrambling thoughts on in my head I mean to write upon:  Now to just feel more upbeat again, and find time to transfer thoughts onto blog.

Cherry rain.   Yep, that's how I describe last weekend.  It started off with a "Sakura" aka cherry blossom, parade and wow, a great Japanese Street Festival.   I even have photos to add!  The rain mostly held off, light rain only until after the festival, then pouring.  And, the wind.  Are we chasing or running with the wind, Daisy? The wind so strong and loud, it came as a roar over the woods, sounding as if a huge ocean wave coming to crash down upon us.  We raced with the fallen, blowing white petals down the road.  Power out at M's school and a few others, Doug's work off and on.  I almost drove over a tree limb barely visible at dusk.   Yes, Big Storm hit Maryland, also. 

Taxes.  Wow, I impressed myself even by completing my Federal and Maryland state tax returns and dad's automatic extension, and mailed them, by yesterday.   I didn't even go for the 2-day extension if needed for "April 16 storm" delay, which DID delay me from completing them on Monday.   My dad's a retired CPA.  He always did mine until he couldn't due to beginning dementia problems (then I'd let him as he wanted to believe he could, but go over them later myself).  Paperwork is very difficult for me.  He knows the date April 15th as well as his and my birthdate (somehow he is not so clear on other basic dates, like my brothers birthdate, or current date).   Turn around to be filing HIS extension.   Even if Doug tells me Maryland may have been due Monday after all (darn  oh well, what can I do NOW?)   I have more to do, tax-wise, but this felt good.

Avoidance from filling out the financial aid application and taxes over Easter weekend.......  But I WAS productive with a lot of things in a majorly ADD way:)   Also, either being very organized or not at all, combined with wanting and benefitting from organization yet difficulty doing so myself oftentimes.

Maybe a mention of STILL not receiving child support due April 1st and hating to charge groceries and argh...... ok, mentioned:)  lol  I don't get caught up with money unless I don't have enough to do what I need to.

OIREACHTAS or in other words, Oh I REACH To A Star!   If I'd known that before December, maybe I could have remembered more readily how to spell it:)  Southern Region Oireachtas will be in Atlanta in December 2007, and ,yes, before Big Show, M was asked to join figures again:)   Lineups and see who is close in heighth to whome and what figures groups, was held Monday.   M and friend L may both be in a 4-hand, 8-hand, and choreography!!!  Ma does great choreography.   I wish to write more thoughts on why DD (and I supporting her) is staying with her school........  yeah:) 

I have a quick note" red-headed woman."  lol.   Meaning, a new radio station in town.  Or, a newly revised one that made my day yesterday:)  94.7 "the globe" (could be but I'm not positive).  WEASEL IS BACK!   Very exciting, a local legand really.  Started listening to Weasel back in the eons ago days of the original WHFS / 99.1.   And, Cerphe (pronounced Surf) is there, too!   I've always liked Cerphe.  YEAH:)   Tuesday, the "eclectic lunch" was brought to you by the letter "R."   Hmmm, I"m Robin asking for China by the Red Rockers!  Not clear if that was played (but I chatted with dj Schelby and she played that on the air.   Bruce Springsteen plays a great "Red-Headed Woman" song, lol, saucy one of his I've not heard previously. 

Hey, AOL Journals Editor Joe gets away with simply listing HIS "slushpile."  Can't I?  :)



SO that appears to be the final number, 33 dead (at Virginia Tech).  Each person shot three times each, other than, presumably, himself.  I heard that one of the survivors had received a potentially fatal wound but used his former Boy Scout training to have someone assist him in tying an electrical cord? around his leg as a tourniquet to keep from bleeding to death.*  I heard that one of the victims had escaped the Iron Curtain, is a Holocaust survivor, and, on Monday, went into action, barricading a door with his own body, so that his students could escape (including jumping out of windows). 

Youth from my church, whom I know and care about, who attend VaTech currently, Megan A., David C., Liz H., Nick W., Craig C., and a recent grad who has stayed living in Blacksburg, Mary S., are physically safe and were not harmed.   I felt relief seeing this note from Youth Pastor, and request to join in prayers for all the victims and the families and anyone dealing with this tragedy.  Virginia Tech is within local regional consideration for us here in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.   Heck, a high school boyfriend felt compelled to call and check on me, I suppose just feeling the need to reflect upon his life and those he cares for.  (We've stayed in touch somewhat over the years.  I've known C since we were both 14, but I didn't date him until college.)

Coworker's sister is physically safe (Coworker was scheduled to be home in mid-Virginia yesterday and today, anyway, so I personally have not heard if her sisters friends are alright).  A message board buddy''s stepdaughter is physically safe, and back home in northern Virginia right now.   Two other message board buddies have nieces who physically safe, too.  (One is refusing to return to school.)

However, there are still 33 dead now, 33 who are not okay.  I had much I planned to blog about this week, but my heart and mind go back to this tragedy foremost.   I'm too visual to have watched the televised news, seen the violence via videos.  It's troubling enough.   But, I pour over The Washington Post, and AOL's news, and MSN's news and talking with people. 

More and more information has come out, the notion of a girlfriend involved long gone, instead he's rebuked communication and touches of social interaction from what I've read, yet the girlfriend concept was explained why they thought so at the time.   More and more photos of those now dead.  Someone watched current President Bush speak, relayed he looks tired.  I joke thatit's from the long commute from DC to Blacksburg (NOT far), but then add I'm sure it's touched him, too, anyone with kids or family close in age to the victims.  My one nice a freshman (elsewhere), two more going next year...

Those photos, those stories, getting international attention.   I feel for and pray for the family of the shotoer as well, primarily for his sister, Sun, tho also his parents.  It's difficult enough to have a loved one die so tragically, so seemingly without sense; I'm sure many friends and family are crying out WHY?  It's hard enough to see the faces on the news again and again and again (even if it appears that many of the families have taken time to find and provide fairly good photos by now).   A former coworker of mine was one of the first victims of "the" snipers in the DC area, and I'd see the face repeatedly in newspapers and on television, even a year later for the anniversary, and it's like a slap, a sad reminder.  When Dougie died, his photo and story were all over the front page of his local city paper for a couple days, and his sister was interviewed on the television news.   It's also difficult to have a child or sibling whom you've loved, most likely tried to help, watching him grow up from a newborn to an adult, hoping he gets help if and when needed at either work or school.   (The shooter, Seung Hui Cho, apparently did have an acquaintance (or his parents?)  get him into a mental facilitiy in 2005 as a suicide risk, and staff at VaTech were recommending him for counseling, teaching him one on one, etc., but no direct threats so difficult to actually force him I think from what I've read??).   But, then, to love someone and to hear not only of his death, but his role in such a horrendous shooting rampage murder-suicide......  How many will mourn at his funeral, except those left behind who have loved him "forever," and God.  I admit, while my heart goes out to everyone, truly, it primarily goes out to the shooter's sister, Sun-Kyung Cho.   {{{{{Sun-Kyung}}}}} 

For some gestures of support, the US and other flags are at half-mast.   AOL/AIMmembers can changetheir buddy icons A Tiny Gesture of Solidarity for Virginia Tech, or Virginia Tech Support (Icons & More).  And other journalers have...... (to add here but saving this first so I don't lose it).  UPDATE:  Hey, Pharmolo, you read this too soon!  lol, just trying to add your post (of several).  Others, please go here:  Virginia Tech info which also includes a guestbook link.

* update:  His name is Kyle, from Bowie, Maryland.  After a performance at a local senior center Wednesday, a friend relayed how her nephew is good friends with this guy.   And also knows one of the girls who jumped while her professor blocked the door from shooter, the girl's fall broken by bushes and she's injured but alright.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech Shooting

Ever "watch" a drama unfolding and feel almost helpless?  My coworker's sister attends Virginia Tech.  The sister is fine, thankfully.   Some of her friends were in the engineering building where the shooter had his second rampage (or, I think that's the latest word).    Coworker has relayed the initial shooting of some guys girlfriend and then hearing more and returned from lunch alarmed to hear of 20 dead, and then 22 dead (including the shooter) and 22 injured, then 28 injured......   hopefully, it's stopped, being that the shooter is also slain.

Coworker's day started off with coffee on her white blouse, bad cold so cannot help with her grandmother's chemo treatment later this week, and is not doing so well now emotinoally right now.   Sigh.   I have talked w/ her some, inadequately but. 

I've visited VaTech.  One of my best friends attended there, for pre-vet stuff, and it's one of the schools M's thought of if she persues a vet career.   Except she wants to be a neonatalogist now.   I also visited Blacksburg to watch my sorority sisters on their campus run a charity event that I was in charge of at my university.

My day today is much better...... windy, M with no school due to power outage.....

Just praying for the people there and the families, as "what happened" unfolds.  

Update: aol refers to this as the worst in US history.  I overhear Coworker as she talks with a sibling, surprised and seemingly more shaken to open an e-mail from their (estranged?) father that appeared to have been from her brother, but at least the dad is checking about his daughter who attends Virginia Tech.   I don't know that history.   Coworker says it's up to 29 people dead, not injured, but dead.   I'm sure all of you can read about this in the news, as Coworker is.  How utterly sad.   Thanks for the prayers, even for the family of the shooter, for all of them.     I'll see my missy M in a few, with almost constant communication, lol, and that's good just such a stark contrast to this tragedy, really.

History Starts Now (watch a video, help fight autism)

I'm told that clicking on this video by Five for Fighting and watching it helps raise money for autism research and education programs.   I love this song, anyway.   Even that snippet, "history starts now."  Great concept:)   Five for Fighting  Found out, April is Autism Awareness Month.

I know a couple people with autism and one high school senior with Asperger's Syndrome.  One of the boys on the autism spectrum (seems quite highly funcitoning or Asperger's syndrome to me), is in M's Irish stepdancing performing troupe.  His parents are great, too, and I will be giving them this link.   (Dad is also a musician, and sometimes plays bodhran with the boy dancing as a "duet" of sorts at shows, or with other boys dancing.)   The boy is about 9 months younger than M, and is "just" another member of the troupe, as in, all members accepted and comfortable together.  He's more noticeable for being the boy in their particular troupe than anything else, oh, and the reddest hair:)

The other boy ah, nix that, young man now, I know who has actual autism, I also know from dancing.  His older sister was an Irish stepdancer and he and his parents have been members of my main Irish ceili and set dance group for many years.   His main focus is on music, and he also plays guitar and piano.  Anyone spending much time with this young man socially, will pick up that he functions differently than "the majority."   He was in a special schooling program until he turned 21 years old about 2 years ago?, proudly displaying his high school ring.

There are patterns in much of Irish dancing, particular for sets (figures) dances.  I enjoy those myself, and once I "get" the pattern in a dance, I can really enjoy it.  Dancing in pattern-styled dancing apparently helps keep the mind functioning and can aid against dementia, also:)  Just thought I'd add that in.  I do know that many who have minds that are more mathematically or engineering oriented do well with "my" type of Irish dancing (the more social type), at least in terms of remembering the dances.   (Sometimes, some can't free-form dance very comfortable which is noticeable when it's a waltz and they prefer waltz cotillion, with patterns and expectations, over flowing across the floor in a free-form walt with ones partner.)  I digress.......   My guess is that the patterns found in many of the ceili and set (figures) dances are helpful for those with their neurology on the autism spectrum.   They know what to expect, how it SHOULD be.  (Sometimes the young man gets a bit stressed about doing it correctly, has every dance quite memorized.   I do fine with him, so sometimes get paired with him. 

Five for Fighting

I'm NO expert by ANY stretch on autism or Asperger's, just a fellow human being who did some searching and talking with parents about their own kids, nothing more than that.  But, what the heck, here are two websites with some further information that I found interesting.   I like the one article in particular for it's discussion how some of this (a touch of autism in ones life) can be an enhancement for a person and society, just as I personally see a touch of ADHD being a positive thing.   (I scored 24 points on the AQ test, with the average 16.x and the "cutoff" of 32, but some of the scoring for me may be the ADD symptons??? combined with my math skills??? I DO notice things such as phone numbers and license plates, lol)   I'm not autistic.

But, I am much more understanding of, say, the bright and wonderful high school senior and her personal space issues and her incredible interest and knowledge of owls, who loves band and happens to have Asperger's syndrome.  She does rock back and forth  a touch sometimes.  She was quite relieved to discover this about herself as a high school student (and realize her dad has it, also), after a toddler in her family was diagnosed.  I know that my comprehension that part of my internal wiring is why I am, in part, the way I am, was a relief to me.

Wired 9.12: Take The AQ Test

UPDATE:  This woman writes a journal about many things, including her son who has Asperger's Syndrome.   In this post, she includes his talk he gave to his Boy Scout (pack?):  Hammer's Talk for Autism Awareness Month

Friday, April 6, 2007

in 3 months (but not yet)

In 3 months, we won't be contemplating snow showers at night or during the day.  Not that I'd anticipated contemplating them NOW, Easter egg roll weekend, either.  It'd been in the 80's even lately, but so be it.   COLD, in April, when January had been warm.  I can understand rain today; it's Good Friday, the physical world crying for the pain of Christ's suffering on our behalf.   But, snow?

In 3 months, it'll be so warm, we may be wishing for some cool night air.   Christ will still have died and risen, will we remember that joy, His pain, our blessings of forgiveness?

In 3 months, will be the week of Independence Day, and fireworks fireworks fireworks.  It's M's favorite holiday.  She wants to ride that train:)

In 3 months, will be the week my daughter becomes an official teenager, 13 years old.   The young woman she's growing into.  

M is young enough to be disappointed that the weather kept us from viewing cherry blossoms in person this week (busy earlier in the week and we go annually), heck, I'm disappointed, too.  Young enough to get excited to decorate Easter eggs, expected to get a basket of her own and excited for it (I did a blue theme this year inside a tinkerbell reusable fabric basket).  M's young enough, she wanted Grandma (my mom), and I, to play hide and find the plastic eggs from M's basket there, repeatedly.   Young enough to love the idea of using egg dye to dye MORE items, from bubble socks and two shirts, to, um, Pink Tink and Pretty Boy Blue-eyes aka Captain.   (Tinkerbell still has pink on the top of her back, placed so it wouldn't be licked even if I believe it's harmless, while Captain's blue has worn off.) 

M's young enouhg to prefer playing and racing around with Daisy and get her a pink dress with little white daisies with yellow centers (I was quite happy to return that dress today, phew, too small for our beagle girl who does NOT need an Easter dress).  

Old enough to get upset with ME,  when she forgot to connect that Chance spooks, and the day we'd planned for me to bring Daisy and watch M's lesson would include her riding Chance.   Old enough to be happy to test-ride still too lame Fancy, and ride hmm, Chance?? the next day (sans me).  Young enough to not feel yet that she could ask Sh or C if shecould still do her lesson while with them, though I sent riding pants and relayed the dates/times on, just in case (one definitely being missed).

M is young enough to have taken out her birthday baby bear and brushed his hair and changed his nightclothes the other night.   She still enjoys American Girl items, not so much the dolls as in previous years, but the newest Molly we enjoyed, and M asked me to renew her magazine subscription (likely the last time, I know).

Old enough to not even think of visiting the Easter bunny (I got an anticipated "look" for asking lol), or ride "the" bunny train where Bob and sometimes my mother, sometimes even M/I help out, BTDT years ago, annually.   Old enough to suggest and walk to and from a local grocers by herself midday, even paying for the distilled white vinegar as the bottle we had, had actually evaporated (calling me to help her decide which bottle to get).  Making me a cup of tea later on, just because she thought I'd like one.

Old enough to spend time on her hair, using my hairclip, getting it just right with blow drying and hairspray, the "right" earrings.  She looked real nice there at the high school's musical with her friend, Md, and later in the backseat they talked about boys as we drove Md home.   Maybe if I spent more time than "twist and clip," my hair might look as nice.  Old enough where Grandma decided maybe taking M to get an outfit would be an Easter idea, knowing M would have her own opinions, and had grown to need new things.  Somehow I'm still thinking, wow, M fits junior clothes now (as do I, just larger ones).   Old enough to check out acne products at the cosmetics counter, and young enouhg to not really need them, blessedly (that night, however, *I* really needed them, lol).   Old enough to know she WANTED another shower before heading to her dads for a few days (primarily to shave her underarms, as she doesn't have a razor there).

Old enough to hold her own, adapt to last minute changes (no music, then music on but wrong music, or cd skipping, etc.), and perform beautifully and well, becoming more poised, smiling, having fun with it.  AND look out for Si when they had gigs together this week.  The 8 years difference works nicely (M says "she's young and good" when I ask her if she's borhtered that now Si is in many gigs, too, and Si IS good at dancing and performing, and sweet).   M's young enough I said a silent thank you to the woman in the one audience who came and  thanked M first, commenting on M's dancing, then to Si, the woman then asking if she could get a photo of them both.  

I get comments that M is a beautiful dancer, and Ma says M is really a good performer ("is she all prizewinner now?" asks Ma), while those same people also say how rare a talent Si has.  It's all true.  Even M has said, watching two other girls in a store someplace, that she's glad she's not that close in age to Si; there is enough focus on her (from C and Sh), anyway, and that's all true, too.   Nothing against Si, either, who is a delightful girl I was happy to invite to dance w/ M at my groups ceili even, and it's just evolved more.   M has fun with her gigs, loves it, and Si is eating them up, too.  I'm just thankful for those 8 years difference.  

In 3 months, M will have one more feis behind her, possibly 2.  (If C/Sh have her go to a local one with Si, possibly even 3.)  M finally wears her new hardshoes to makeup class this week.  She sat on them before class to help bend them/break them in.  I'd told M that I DID want her wearing them for her upcoming late May feis.  "Mom, I got all my backclicks, did you hear me?!"  And, she sounded louder on her hornpipe, goes up more nicely on her toes. 

M's old enough to pick up her homework herself, and has finished all of it, essay, Spanish (she wasn't sure she had but she did), and all but three problems in algebra/math "it's easy, really easy, Mom" including graphing (yeah!).    Not much more of the "To Kill a Mockingbird" book, due a few days later.  I plan to buy myself the Cliff Notes or similar, so I can comprehend this book I struggle to read with her, little patience for its style I suppose no matter how classic and good, and she likes my idea of renting the movie.

And, today, Good Friday.   Many are sick (I think M and I are "just" fighting allergies, as the blech symptons were mild Wednesday with the rain).  We've celebrated our Easter over the past week, including visiting Dad with decorated Easter cookies (Pillsbury "funfetti" cake mix has a great tasting cookie recipe on the side, btw), after my mom had requested I bring those to her Easter dinner with us.   Si e-mails me (twice this week, oddly, it's fine just they haven't allowed M to e-mail with me since last summer, cutting her off mid-email even, insistently).  So, I e-mail M, twice, and will e-mail Si a happy easter greeting, also, both girls.   I may need to grocery shop for Dad on Saturday but still visit Sunday.   All the Easter finery.   I pick up three cans of Passover macaroons for M and I, as I prefer those over most Easter candies.   (I don't like milk chocolate.)   Maybe macaroons shouldbe offered like rugalah, both tasty and tempting in many flavors but rugalah often comes packaged with acombination of flavors.  It's notabout bunnies and pastel colors, it's about our savior dying for our human sins to be absolved.   That's something we (should) focus on how, but is always, even if I'll miss M this Sunday, Easter.   And Monday, remembering those years I'd take her to the White House Easter egg roll, us on t.v. even one soggy Easter Monday year.

I digress, of course.

Boss has been here a year now this week.   I think he and I get along real well.   I've been happy enough, sometimes real happy with him, but I'm hearing more than rumblings lately.   More going on with yet another employee today (one forced out a week or so ago, also).   He's been on the case of another coworker whom I work with often.   I'm learning some of the latest office politics, and trying to be aware.  

I've exchanged a few e-mails lately with a long-term online friend of mine I'd lost some touch with, both of us single moms, her kids much younger.  Her daughter is finishing kindergarten and asked that she walk to school herself next year, that they grow up so fast.  I told her not to worry, that they'l still want our hugs:)   M sometimes will just come to me, "I want a hug."  Or, I'll try to catch her and give her one.   Yes, Thursday, our best day all spring break, really, even if the others were great, just most had plans included.  Yesterday was hanging out just the two of us no set plans day, yet, as M went from starting one project to starting another, lol, she actually got a few things done, too, having a happy day. 

In 3 months, heck, in 2 months, my Goddaughter/niece and her cousin, my other "niece," will have actually graduated high school.  My cousin Ian will get married July 7, in British Columbia so we won't go (but M is thrilled to offer to dance at the August reception in the greater Seattle area). 

In 3 months, M will be a "rising" 8th-grader, taking a break from school yet preparing for her final year there, with a final report card and standardized test scores received, that she'll use for magnet school applications in the fall (debating if she wants to go magnet or not, so I'm learning deadlines and qualifications for her, in case).

In 3 months, I may not remember how I wonder how one gets 3 days in the tomb from Friday to Sunday, even if I'm not really bothered by that.

M'll be 13 soon enough:)   Some more warmth now, however, does not need to wait 3 months.  I read the journal of a trying to rehabilitate drug addict and wish her God's warmth and healing and hope as well.  I hear the world will be bright again by Easter:)   

I wrote to dearest M:  "In 3 months, we won't be looking at snow in the forecast.  In 3 months, you'll be in riding camp, and then fireworks at night.  In 3 months, you'll be the teenager you're growing to be!  I'm proud of you.  :)  "