Sunday, May 27, 2018

Painted Bunting

I saw a painted bunting in my back yard May 17.  I had never knowingly seen one before and had no idea why this green leaf seemed to be following a red-breasted bird around.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Birthday Woman in CHASA T-shirt

Obligate photo demonstrating their are
flowers in my yard, although there was only
one peony blossom.
Witchy or glowing?
You decide.
Or both?
I've recently read witch books, I've read pie books, I've gardened, I've seen a painted bunting in my backyard for the first time in my life and I've thought a great deal, about things I want to tell you.  These things are about pie and witches and family, but also about cancer and racism and white privilege, and I really do want to write about hemiplegia and strokes.  But the writing is not coming, and I have to start somewhere, so today I'll throw up a few photos from my birthday and let you draw your own conclusions.

Notes: The purple shirt is my CHASA shirt.  The hand make a heart and they are different colors to demonstrate a stroke survivor uses them differently (it may be a tad too cute to get the message across).  The ten candles are arranged four on one side and six on the other.  They entire middle of the confection is intentional collapsed and filled with whipped cream and rhubarb sauce and did not support candles, much to Dianthus's chagrin.  (and, as it turned out, the hard meringue on the edges might or might not support one). Rhubarb has apparently become somewhat of a birthday thing for me (three of the last four involving rhubarb?) and I'm loving it.  I'm also buying it frozen at the store, because I have not found any fresh locally this year.
The anti-red eye edit is freaking me out.  There is no
way you could see that much of my eye.

60 years total experience and rhubarb meringue "cake"

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Kites Came Back

Saturday morning, May 5, I saw a single kite in the sky.

I saw none while I was out and about on May 6 and May 7 and then yesterday, the evening on May 8, there was an eerie whistling while we were at the park and the kites, more than 20 of them, were circling.  The rest of the birds made quite a commotion as well, as the return of the raptors tends to ruffle the feathers of the rest of the avian population.

This is the lastest the kites have arrived in the 8 springs I've been here. 
Interestingly, I saw none of the Mississippi kites as I was out today.

In other phenology news, my south side irises are all done and my north side irises are fading.  It looks like I will have a single peony blooming this year (most of the buds zapped in the late freeze) and it is doing its poofy white thing right now.

Monday, May 7, 2018


I just spent some time reading over new shoe recommendations and alerting some parents to the existence of physiatrists.  The network of knowledgeable parents through CHASA, the Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association, has been fabulous.

(You can imagine a cute flyer here-- or you could tell other parents bewildered upon learning that their child had a stroke to go to

Friday, May 4, 2018

There are chicks and they are adorable

In the midst of "spring stuff",  I thought I had missed the eaglet stage of the D.C. bald eagles entirely.  After turning in my grades today, I checked and the eagles hatched late this year: one on Monday and one yesterday (May 3).

Brassicaeae  San Francisco Botanical Gardens, March 2018
The cameras are up and you can see their tiny ugly little adorablenesses, at least when mom or dad moves away for a moment.

(I have no stake in D.C. Eagle's by the way, I just think the live stream from the American Eagle Foundation and the USDA is very very cool)

I completed the semester with no kites in town, a first for the years I have been keeping track.  Immediately after saying that, I spotted a raptor soaring late this afternoon.  It is possible it's a kite, but they certainly aren't everywhere yet.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

No Kites Yet

Despite winds from the south that would have certainly brought the kites back, the Mississippi Kites are not back in town.  This makes them late, in my books (while my colleagues point out that 20 (?) years ago they weren't here at all).

Borage.  Not on the exam I just game, but I should plant some.
I'm at the "complaints are coming in" stage of finals week and we're all exhausted by a nearly two hour parents vs. kids soccer game.

Maybe witches or pies or stroke stuff tomorrow. 
Good night.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

How do you hold the book open?

Aster is starting to read chapter books and will hopefully be reading in the car as we travel this summer.

This exciting development has me wondering how he will turn the pages, when he has poor fine motor control and a limited range of motion with his right hand. I mentioned page turning at his annual IEP* meeting on Monday and the the team members** (all of whom we like) commented that they didn't include a page turning accommodation (which I had asked for last year) because he hasn't had any problems with the first grade readers and the occupational therapist had him turn pages in his office and he was good at it, with a glossy reader that opens flat on a desk.

Lupine, Colorado July 2017
Of course when we are travelling, Aster will not be reading glossy readers that open flat on a desk.  I gave him a cheap-paper paperback and asked him to show me how he turns the pages.  He holds it open with his left hand, squashes the book against his leg, sticks his right hand in and uses the left to turn the page.  It works.  And it is slow.  And it will probably be much slower in a moving car, perhaps slow enough to make reading a poor option.

I'm not going to make it to a good transition to my point, which is neither that my son needs an e-reader or that my son is exceptionally clever in figuring out how to turn pages, but rather something along the lines of noting where small set-backs happen (based on physical ability, race, gender, age . . ..).  Of course such small set-backs can be worked around, but they do add up-- and often compassionate consideration can lift the burden of such set-backs.

And since we are talking about turning pages, I want to alert you to what I have been reading lately.  Dear Mr. Henshaw Beverly Cleary's Newberry Award Winner, had most of the good parts of Henry and Ramona books (well written, kids seem very real, some funny bits) but none of the dated fake neighborlyness I remember.  It's pretty great. I'm sure I cried.
Julia Berry's Secondhand Charm didn't have the cool witch of The Amaranth Enchantment, but it was also magical and lots of fun-- with enough enchantments and women with unusual powers that I feel fine considering it a witch book. 
I've also read Camp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan by Ted Scheinman and am stuck in Enchantress of Numbers by Tracy Chiaverini (a fictional autobiography of Ada Lovelace,  A mathematician daughter of Lord Byron who works on computer precursers is obviously a witch, right?) and just today read Lois Lowry's The Giver, but all of these deserve some more lines on the blog.

Awareness Month Point: 
Kids have strokes, too, with lifelong consequences, some of which are as simple as taking twice as long to turn a

*Individualized Education Program.  The legal document which specifies what accommodations and services a special education student in the United States will receive.

**The annual (fewer than 365 days from the previous, so they have been creeping up a week each year) IEP meeting must include the special education teacher, a classroom teacher, a parent and an administrator.  In this case, it included all of the above, plus Aster's other parent, speech therapist, occupational therapist and physical therapist.  All documents must be signed by all of us.