Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I’m doing this for a certificate?!

February 4, 2020

My oldest is on an IEP. It stands for Individualized Education Program.  He has had some social and development issues that have demanded a bit of extra understanding in his schooling; really, just a bit more time and reiterating of directions and reminding of due dates. Prompts to focus. etc. In the realm of things handled under IEPs he is very high functioning, so it’s always stood out a bit among his peers. Which has always been a bit of the issue, too. The kids in the classes he is typically in are also kids who don’t have any issues doing well at school.

All of that said, his ability to go off to college, live in a dorm, handle the work and everything on his own…well, as parents we have been really concerned. It’s also pushed us to hedge bets a bit.

Fortunately, our oldest is also into computers. He started to talk about having a career in them in some way (he’s currently saying he wants to be a “programmer.”). Which was  great, because we think it’s a career that would work well with his skill set and temperament.

Also, his school had a program that worked in conjunction with the local community college that allowed the student to take classes for two years and graduate high school also with a certificate in this field that would give the kid a leg up on getting work after high school. It also offered internships the last semester to further get these kids in the door somewhere.

This was a god send to us. Our oldest wants to go to college, but if he can’t here was something that would give him a viable career path that wasn’t retail/service industry jobs. Something that would stand a bit better chance for him to move up and be able to adequately provide for himself.

He’s almost a year through the program right now.

We went in to renew his IEP for the last time yesterday and we found out that the school had decided to do away with the program. They were replacing those courses with four electives including a graphic design course that seemed pretty similar to a graphic design course they already had and a class that basically taught kids how to use Google. I kid you not. it’s called something like “Optimizing Google Experience.”  Because of this our school is also losing the teacher they had who ran this program, a teacher our kid really likes.

We’ve been led to believe that our oldest will be able to finish his program next year by going to the community college’s campus for part of the day. Our boy, being who he is, doesn’t want to go because he’d be at his school then for only a couple of hours every day. At some point, it was mentioned that he needed to finish the program for the certificate, which led to the sentence you see as the title of this post.

We think we have him understanding why the certificate is important and why the classes the school is replacing his program with are a joke. We hope so. But his school just pulled out the safety net that we thought we had safely erected beneath him. It’s frustrating.

Never Slowing Down

January 30, 2020

…but I keep growing old.

It feels like I have been bouncing from one thing to the next quite a bit already this year. Trying to get things sorted, start an exercise thing (which I still need to do today…at 1030 at night…), and just find a productive positive move forward.

I’ve been meaning to make a post about my attempts to make my own bread. I keep forgetting to take pictures, though. Or I’m just really busy and I barely have time to make the bread let alone to document it.

What pushed me towards this I’m not quite sure. We go through a lot of bread and store bought bread just isn’t that great unless. Maybe the stuff that costs $2,$3, or $4 a loaf is better, but I get the store brand because I’m going through two or more loaves a week with the lunches I’m packing, snacks I’m making, and toasts I’m toasting.

Yesterday I was fighting the idea of supper. I couldn’t come up with anything I wanted and if I don’t want it I extrapolate that out to no one else wanting it. I was going to do 15 bean soup, but it feels like we’ve been doing that all of the time lately and I just didnt feel up to another bowl of 15 bean.

so, it got shelved.

And off the shelf came lentils.

I googled lentil soup recipes, found something whose ingredients I could match up with and went with it. what would go well with a bowl of lentil soup? A big loaf of warm home made bread.

The soup is going to together. The bread is coming together. Both are stewing in their own warmth. The Boy gets home, signalling that I have a half hour before I have to leave to pick up The Girl. I get the soup on a low simmer. I put the two loaves of bread in the oven in 330 as I’m going out the door. Everything is perfect.

Until I get home. The oven has warmed to…225 degrees. The bread is…warm? Not hot. not done. Not baked.

My oven has quit working.  In the middle of making bread.

I don’t have pictures of it.

I Need My Energy

January 24, 2020

I have become pretty blah about life the past few years. I have a house I’m supposed to be renovating, a family I’m supposed to be caring for, etc. and a lot of days I want to just go back to bed.

I’m not entirely sure what to trace it back to, I lean towards it being just an accumulation of decisions that has sort of left me directionless outside of what I have to do for others. Which isn’t the worst thing, but I have found that I do very little for myself that gives me long term satisfaction.

Trying to reverse this course isn’t exactly easy. But I’m trying. I went to my first wellness visit in maybe six years.  I have a third (and final, thank you vasectomy) kid coming soon, and I’ve realized that I’m going to have to make it in this world a few years longer. Or at least make an honest attempt at it.

So, I’ve got to get my cholesterol in control. it’s not crazy, but it’s a tad high. I need to get off my butt more often, and stay off it. I need to eat more veggies and fruits and less pastas and carbs. And less chocolate. damn, I like my chocolate.

I also have to find a way to redirect my energy towards things that will actually make a difference in my life and not just waste it. So, I’m trying to care less about politics. Maybe more accurately, I’m trying to remain informed while also not attaching too much of my personal time and energy towards fruitlessly worrying/griping/hating on it.

I need to devote more energy towards my family and my house. I want to start writing again. I’ve kicked around the idea of doing lit reviews here again. Or a cooking/baking blog. Maybe both because it’s my blog and why not?

Politics definitely deserves less of my energy, regardless of what else I do. I care, I have my values, and I vote.  At some point, it just is what it is and I think it’s just healthier to accept the limitations of what I can do and change. Maybe when I get some other ducks in their rows I can come back to this and be more effective in my political caring, but I’m just not there right now.

Alright, I have to take the dog out and get to bed. Sorry for the only moderately coherent thought splatter here but I just have this mess in my head that I’m trying to suss out, and right now this is the place where the sussing is happening.

Be The Change

January 3, 2020

There is a cookbook I like called BTC, so I’m just stealing it’s title for my blog post because I lack originality right now. Like most people the new year sort of shoves me in the direction of wanting to change myself in some way. Though, to be honest, they are just cemented versions of changes I have been eyeing for days/months/years.

So, my new year’s resolutions are often recycled from year to year. Resolutions is really just another way of saying goals. I set end points, destinations I want to arrive to at some point in the near distant future.

But I never have a path. A process. I don’t have a personal GPS to plot the way for me to easily, mindlessly follow.

this year I think I am going to try to set my goal as making the process to be, well, better. I over complicate my life by just being too damn lazy, such as not setting menus for the week and instead trying to just throw suppers together from night to night.  I want to be more productive, but I’m not entirely sure what that means. I think part of it is trying to start writing again. Some of it might be learning to play a musical instrument or just how to braid my daughter’s hair.

she’s starting to notice how inept I am at getting her ready for school in the morning.

Part of it is taking better care of myself, being healthier, etc. and that’s started by making the first wellness doctor’s appointment I’ve had in years. The last time I was there the doc wanted to hack something off my leg. I still have the thing on my leg. I’m curious if she’ll still want to cut it off (she clarified that she would use a knife. well,yeah. I hope so).

I’m trying to eat better. And less. got a jump start by being sick for the last two months. I eat all of the time. In a weird way I’m coming to grips with the idea that I’m probably going to live for at least another twenty years, and because I’m having another kid, I will need to also be relatively healthy and mobile and well-adjusted for those years. I can’t just let all of my shit fall apart.

I know that sounds strange, but the idea of living to a ripe old age has always seemed weirdly foreign to me. Which is probably a focus for another blog post.

Anyway. Here’s to a new year, and hopefully a positive one.

Don’t Give Up Until, True Love Will Find You In The End

September 16, 2019

It’s funny how some things click home. The passing of Daniel Johnston has bothered me. For any who don’t know, he was a musician from Texas who was…different. Other musicians loved him, but his peculiarities likely prevented him from ever catching on in the mainstream.

I came upon Johnston probably ten years ago. Maybe more. Then I sort of lost track of him. Seeing that he passed away last week sent me back down a youtube memory hole, pulling up his songs and people covering his songs.

Mostly I’ve been listening to Love Will Find You In The End. It’s been strangely devastating, partly from what I put into it from my end, partly from what I know of Johnston’s life.

Lately, I’ve been having a hard time finding some sort of over arching purpose to life. I’ve sort of heaved it upon my kids at this point. Why do I do what I do? Well, because I try to make things slightly better for my kids.

For myself? I don’t know. The Wife and I have lately been talking about moving. Sometimes I’m up for it, lately I’ve been digging in my heels. The soonest we’d move is when our oldest is out of high school, so it would still be at least 18 months off. Not exactly a pressing decision to make at any rate. But it’s something I still think about it quite a bit.

Because that is sort of what I do. I latch onto something and dump far too much energy into it, far beyond what it deserves at the time. Probably as a way of putting off dumping that energy into something more pressing. self-sabotaging to a degree.

The Wife thinks we’ll be happier elsewhere, that we might just be an ill-fit for the area we live in. I’m leaning harder towards the idea that I might just not be happy anywhere. Listening to Johnston singing about love finding you in the end, but that you have to make yourself available to it, you have to step into the light.

I wonder if I am capable of stepping into the light of life. Of finding that happiness or at least contentment regardless of where I am living. Or if I choose shadow. I’m trying to work on it.

Here’s maybe my favorite recording of Daniel Johnston singing True Love Will Find You In The End. He’s older here, his health seems to not be the best. I’m not sure why. But it lends something to the song. I wonder what or who he is thinking of at the end of this song. is it the one woman who he seemed to fixate on so strongly that it powered him to write, iirc, a thousand songs, or better? Or is it something else, something more private, maybe less defined. We can guess, but I don’t think we can know.

I hope he has found a better place, and that all of us can make the best of this place.

You’ve Been A Bad Mom

September 16, 2019

So, Felicity Huffman was sentenced today. She apologized, again. She set herself upon the pyre. The prosecuting attorney was a hypocritical twit. The judge seemed to have played the role allotted.

I don’t think Huffman should feel bad at all.

Yeah, it was unfair. Yeah, it sucks. Yeah, it’s wrong. But for everyone to run around and act like the wealthy haven’t done whatever they could to keep and pass down the privileges and status our society affords them is ridiculous. What Huffman and others are being prosecuted for is not being wealthy enough, for not being connected enough.

A bit more money. A bit more status. The rails would have been greased quietly and more efficiently. Their kids would have gotten in to whatever schools their parents plied with their status and money.

Nothing about this case will make it any more fair for the next group of students. Those truly connected and with more money will still get favors done for them. Their kids will still get in regardless of how much they deserve it. It’s just the way it is.

And the way it will continue to be unless something foundational is changed in our society and our education system. It’s broken. She’s just a symptom of the breakage, and putting her in prison or making her do community service or anything else isn’t going to change that. And it’s not going to deter the folks who are better from throwing their influence/money around to get whatever they want because they will almost certainly get away with it and reap the benefits of it.

Maybe this is overly pessimistic of me, but I don’t think she or the other parents really need to apologize for anything other than finding such a lousy middle man to peddle their influence.

Where Have You Gone, Larry Bird?

August 23, 2019

Paul Simon slipped Joe Dimaggio into his song Mrs. Robinson, an idealic talisman of yesterday who slipped across the expanse of the outfield at Yankee Stadium and swung a gracefully heavy bat at the plate. He made baseball look easy, like water filling a glass. A natural. He might not have been the best hitter of his time (Hello, Ted Williams) or the most gifted outfielder to ever don the pinstripes (I think Mantle was a more dynamic player) but pure smoothness? A natural? That was Joltin’ Joe.

It’s also not something I can really feel any similarity to. I can’t relate to it. Who can? We have all had moments where everything slid into place and whatever we were doing just worked the way we envision it. But to seem so naturally gifted that this was the natural state?

This isn’t to say Larry Bird wasn’t crazily gifted.  Beyond the hours in the gym, the years playing, he just seemed to have an affinity for the sport of basketball.

At the same time, he was a big white guy with a two inch vertical. He was big, he was gifted at the sport, but he wasn’t necessarily physically gifted in the way of someone like Jordan or Dominique Wilkins or Lebron James. Where Bird was gifted was between the ears and in the heart.

Watch highlights of Bird playing, diving for loose balls, falling into the crowd, using his two inch vertical to pull down a rebound and you see someone who knew the game and knew where to go and when to be there, but who also just plain fought for everything. Larry Bird was determination given human form.

That’s the athlete I can identify with. I might not be as naturally gifted at anything as he was at basketball, but that need to have to scrap for everything? Yeah, I can get that. Having to work at something, to slog through the crap, and end up with a broken nose or smashed finger, yeah. That I understand.

It seems like there aren’t many Larry Bird’s any more. I see a lot of athletes who look very natural doing what they do, who look smooth and pretty and nearly effortless. Who go out and you can tell that there is a touch of separation from the person and the act, from the person playing the game and the game.

It’s a distance most of us can’t afford in our lives. If we allow ourselves to become detached we lose our edge, we lose our place, we lose. And in our lives it matters when we lose. It’s not just a game, it’s not just a tick in the win or loss column in the standings. It’s a house payment. It’s health insurance. It’s the well-being of our kids.

It’s a distance we didn’t see in Larry Bird. It’s a distance we don’t see in our mundane normal person lives.  I miss Larry Bird the basketball player. I miss athletes I can relate to. We need more Larry Birds.

Anthony Bourdain Is Still Missed

August 14, 2019

The Wife and I have always enjoyed Bourdain, originally on his Travel Channel show, his CNN show, then we saw the precursor A Cook’s Tour on Netflix. Since he died, The Wife has seemed to lose interest in watching the last couple of seasons that we hadn’t kept up with but I have been diving back into it a bit.

Watching Parts Unknown now, with the knowledge of his death, there is something else to all of the little looks Tony gives people, places, meals, little glasses of local liquor passed around the table. It’s not so much hard to pair these images with what happened, but understanding the appreciation of love behind the glances.

I think I always had a hard time humanizing Tony. He was bigger than my life. He lived in NYC. He’d seen the world. He’d experienced various chemicals that I likely never will. He seemed loved or at least liked by damn near everyone. He made people smile and he smiled himself, seemingly effortlessly. In the words of Hunter Thompson, Tony was a man who stomped on the terra, at least in my eyes.

Now, watching him smile and flatter a lady in West Virginia fixing him spaghetti pizza, the sparkle in his eye. Him going to a small town football game. Him riding around in an SUV mutated into some weird all-terrain Appalachian assault vehicle. He looks happy. he looks like he is savoring the moment. All of the moments. And he’s there. Fully. Life is receiving his full attention.

I don’t know how he does it. I can’t do it. I feel pulled and rarely fully, entirely here. He’s so gentle. Behind the swearing, the smoking, the drinking, the bravado, he’s so gentle.

I never knew Tony. Obviously. Only through the television. Through books. Through interviews. Through the mountain of ephemera he sprinkled throughout the world. But I miss him. I watch these last few episodes, savoring them. I can always go back and re-watch them.

He will always be there in that way. But there will be no new moments. No new looks. All of the drinks passed around the table will have been drunk long ago. All of the barbecues gone cold. The laughter slipped away on the winds. These last episodes are the final new moments. And I will miss not having new ones. Selfishly, perhaps. I will miss him. And his stomping on the terra. Gently.

yep, that’s a lot of horsepower

August 12, 2019

This is probably just a reflection upon why I don’t really fit in with a lot of guys but I don’t see the fuss over the new Mustang. The most horsepower ever! well, made by Ford as a street legal production car. But even if it was just the straight up most powerful Mustang…so what?

I’m not sure how other people drive, the roads they travel, but stop lights hate me. And they are everywhere. And even where there are no stop lights, out on the free way with the speed limit cranked up to 70 there are cops. I had to travel 30 minutes, one way, four times this weekend. I saw an average of two cops each way, with their little radar guns out. Looking for to chuck some money into the coffers, shoving us into a civic minded tithing.

So, what does it matter? The new Mustangs aren’t even exceptionally pretty or unique. For me, they just sort of bleed into the sea of cars surrounding me. I can get it if you just like Mustangs. If you collect them. If you know the history.

But the most horsepower ever. I don’t get the selling point outside of it just appealing to some dumb lizard part of the human (mostly male, but that’s only my opinion) composition.  On top of it just being a pointless number, it doesn’t saw how well that force is transferred to the wheels, how much wheel hop it suffers, etc. It has a 0-60 time around 3.5 seconds, I guess. So…you can get to the next red light really quickly.

This is just another thing that goes hand in hand with people only buying trucks and SUVs, the death of the American sedan and mini-van, etc.

Status.

Appearance.

Buying into this notion others have already bought into, whose validity comes only from its acceptance.

I think this is why I like the Cube, when it was being made. It was just odd. It’s why I appreciate VW bringing back its bus. And why weird little cars on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, like the Nissan Figaro has so much appeal for me.

And I shouldn’t throw stones. I know there are things that I buy into without really knowing why. There has to be. But the most horsepower ever. I just don’t get revved up by the fuel in that line.

20 pounds in five hours

April 10, 2019

So, I was back at the auto mechanic’s today.  I feel like it’s been a second home lately from the brake jobs to wiring issues to whatever. I had a flat tire this morning, pumped it up hoping for the best. Lost twenty pounds in five hours and it was back to the mechanic. He was super nice, though. After all of the money I’ve given him, he took a screw out of the tire, plugged it up and sent me off gratis.

I think I used gratis right.

Lately, I have been having a hard time moving past things like this. Things that disrupt my day. It feels like my nerves are just shot. Even a little thing just fucks it up. My mood is crap. My temper is crap. More and more often I find myself consciously backing away from dealing with everyone. Just because I know it could all go to hell pretty quickly over relatively minor things.

Anyway. 20 pounds of air pressure in five hours.