Monthly Archives: September 2011

psst! Over here…

click it!  you know you want to!

Not sure? let me just tell you–do you want to be the coolest person out there reading the latest book no one knows about yet?  better yet, do you want to a collection of essays by a bunch of my friends and yours truly.

 

THEN CLICK IT!  Don’t Hesitate!  DOOOOO IIIIIITTT!

 

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Blog Gems: School

so its time for Blog Gems again over at the Squashed Bologna.  This fortnight’s theme is school.

Now i know i’ve posted some beauts lately on this very subject–but as this is blog gems, i decided to go back and pull one off my old blog site from last year’s summer school fiasco.  FOr my regular readers–you may note a trend here concerning the Los Angeles Unified School District…

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No “A” for Effort (July 7, 2010)

So, this blog was gonna be about whispers and “looks”, but today’s events turned out to be more blogworthy than any event ever. Day one of summer school.AS part of Ben’s IEP, he is eligible for an extended school year—in English it means he gets the privilege of going to summer school. So when I got the application in March, I filled it out promptly and sent it back to the powers that be. A week or so before school ended, I received notice that Ben was to attend his preschool class at a certain elementary school, and the times of the class. That was it.

So, preschool classes have routines, yeah? One big one is the morning meet & greet. At his previous school, we all met by the buses (many of the students were bussed in) and after a rousing good morning, the kiddies would go off with their teacher to eat school-issued coffee cake and chocolate milk. (don’t even get me started on THAT one…) Anyway, since I was unsure of the “first day of school” routine since we joined in later in the year, I figured I would go to the school, find where the bus dropped off and his teacher would magically appear. Mistake number one.

Instead I was greeted with THE LINE. Did we know what the line was for? No. Were there signs posted as to what new students were to do or where to go? No. Did I drink too much coffee before I stood in said line? Yes. Does Benji like to stand in lines? Dear God, please help me.

Now, unbeknownst to me, what we were supposed to do was go the auditorium and wait for our child’s name to be called with their teacher. You think someone coulda written that down on a piece of paper and taped it to the fence… No need to get fancy with lamination or anything. Just a sharpie and a piece of copy paper—Hell, it could have been one sided to be more environmentally friendly.

So, after standing in the line for a while, rumor spreads that if your kid is already enrolled, that you can go up to the front, dragging your screaming toddler with you and check “the list”. So we did that, no dice. He is not on the list. Really? I applied in MARCH. Do I have a copy of his IEP? No—I APPLIED IN MARCH, dumbass. Why would I have a copy with me? It’s not as if I carry it around—it is a rather thick document and not very multitask friendly. I suppose I could use it to beat off an attacking dog, but I digress.

Ok. So I head back home to get his F#*&in’ IEP. It made sense—Benji would not stand in line as it was, so if we left and came back, it should be much shorter. So I went home, picked it up, headed back. After parking 3 miles away–ok, two blocks, I arrive to find a mommy friend in the same line with one of Benji’s classmates. So we got to mutter and harp on the idiocies of the system, while we edged closer to the front. As we get closer, the aide from Ben’s previous class came by and told my friend her son was on some list in the preschool classroom. Was mine? She didn’t see it. GODAMMIT!

(now, I should have checked myself at this point. Hindsight and all that…, I guessed I assumed the system would work it all out.)

So, it get up there, turn in my subsequent paperwork, and am directed to room 1. Not the room all of Benji’s friends were going too. Uh-oh.

See, this is a big transition for him, and ideally, he needs some familiarity to help him deal with it. Flexibility is not a strong suit in kids with autism, and Benji is no exception. I had already heard through the grapevine that his previous teacher was not here, so I was hoping that he would be in a class with some faces he knew. I knew he needed it. This session is only 4 weeks long. It wouldn’t be very functional if Ben is resisting it for 3 weeks…

So we’re off to room one, following a woman who seems to be training to be an Olympic speed walker, and I’m trying to keep up without dragging Ben behind me like the migrant worker warning sign. We get there, and the teacher—alone in a room of children (warning #1) looked up in bewildered confusion (#2) She has no roster, and begins to ask me questions about Ben, but barely paying attention and looking confused more (#3). I ask her where the kids will be dismissed so that I can be there to pick up Ben. She didn’t know. SHE DIDN’T KNOW? She consulted with the teacher in the room next door—a breath of seeming coherence in this sea of crazy, and they agreed to dismiss upfront by the busses. (DUH…and #4)

Now, class will be dismissed at 10:30—and at this time, it is 10. So I go move the truck from BFNoHo to closer to the school and wait. As time gets closer, I head over to the entrance and chat up some other moms. They are shocked that Ben isn’t in their kids’ class. Then, my gut reminds me I wanted to talk to that teacher in room 24. I head over there to ask the teacher if Ben is on her list. LO and BEHOLD…

So I head BACK to the office, to talk to someone AGAIN, only to hear my kid screaming outside as he’s being lead out with his class. So I run to gather up his blotchy face and mucousy nose, and we head back together to get back in THE LINE.

Now, this time in line made me privy to some office gossip. (as a prior teacher, I’ve learned to listen closely to whispers in the main office—they are almost ALWAYS informative) Seems the preschool lists were MISSING. Our kids were on some other list that the people in the office didn’t have. Those lists got delivered as I neared the front of the line.

At this time I begin to notice that my right side—the hip Ben is perched on, is feeling moist. Perfect. He hasn’t been changed. Awesome.

“My son is supposed to be in room 24. The teacher in that room has him on her list, and I would like him to be in there to be with familiar faces.”

“Huh, so he is. Well, I’ll just cross you off that other list…”

I have a number of lists I’d like to cross you off of—the first one being HELPFUL EMPLOYEES IN LAUSD. The next being MASTERS OF THE OBVIOUS.

So, now he’s supposedly on the correct list, but lord only knows when the teacher will get his IEP. Or when I’ll get my copy back for that matter…(I really need to make multiple copies of that damn thing). We left there exhausted and hot. And moist. At that point I thought, fuck Weight Watchers. They can watch me go to McDonald’s. Ben agreed. Well, he said “fries” which I took to be agreement.

One day down. 19 more to go. My waistline or sobriety can’t take much more of this…

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The Wheels on the Bus…

So, this school year and the bus schedule…not so much.

Last year, during summer school, I started Benji on the bus for school.  It’s part of his IEP since we live a gazillion miles (actually just more than 2) away from his school, but I didn’t put him on right away because he was so young, and I just wasn’t sure if he was ready.    And of course, he took to the bus like a duck to water, and has enjoyed it ever since.  In fact, he was a little put out this summer when summer school was within the zone of “take him your damn self!”  and he didn’t get to ride the bus. (he wasn’t the only one put out.)

Anyway, we have had absolutely wonderful experiences with his bussing so far.  Last year’s driver was a wonderful caring man who greeted Benji each day with a smile and a hug!  When his bus would turn the corner, it was like angels singing and a divine light would shine upon that golden chariot.  Or it was just the morning sun peeking through the trees.  Still—not ONE complaint last year.

Then we started this year.

First day of school:  AM bus never arrived to pick Ben up.

Awesome.

Ok.  First day.  Sure.  Shit happens.  This IS Los Angeles.  Traffic has been known to be an issue at times. *ahem*

There was some sort of mangled phone call letting us know it was the bus driver, but I think we need an expert linguist to translate what she said in the message.

For the PM bus, Ben has a different driver daily.  I don’t know why—it must be that not all the kids are dropped off at home, but rather at day care centers around town.  Or they are finding new and exciting ways to use up as much of their resources as possible.  Or maybe they’ve got too many drivers hanging around like a bad episode of taxi, and the dispatchers are just trying to get a little peace and quiet.

ANywhores, the bus was late that first day—but the PM bus isn’t always consistent, and I usually give it a 20 minute window in which I play angry birds and check my horoscope.  (yay smart phones!)

THAT bus driver drove right past me.  It was the one time in my life I wish I had that whole fingers-in-the-mouth-whistle thing.  Instead she stopped a block away.  At least she stopped.

Day 2:  bus arrives!  A little late, but ok.  HOWEVER, there is a trash truck coming the opposite direction.

[aside: let me digress a bit to describe my street.  We live in the Hollywood hills, and our street is one of those windy bastards that prolly should be a one way street, but isn’t.  And people park like shit.  And trash cans—well, trash cans are a problem everywhere, but here they are like a herpes outbreak that just can’t be hidden.]

And that trash truck wasn’t going to STOP picking up that trash until he was done with that row of cans.

*cue Good Bad &Ugly music*

But eventually he dumped all the Monster and Red Bull cans into his truck and then forced the bus driver to back up a tad while he forced his way by.  It all happened in a 5 minute span and did not seem like a big deal.

Except that  it was.

The AM bus driver called me later wanted to change the spot where she picks up Ben.  (to a fucked up hairpin turn area in which she’d have to make a gazillion point turn to turn around, btw) She questioned whether he had actually been picked up in front of the house last year, (which he was) and then told me the street was too crowded, “and there’s the garbage truck”

Really?

Not wanting to add 10 more minutes to my son’s already tight morning schedule, I asked her to try it a few more days to see that the road isn’t really the problem. For which I received a terse response and phone click.

(good news—the PM bus that day arrived on time with no problems.  It CAN be done!)

Day three:  AM bus is late.  Whatevs.

PM bus.  Late.  Later.  Latest.  The 20 minute window is done and gone.  Dispatcher is called—turns out I am the second parent to call.  Bus driver is not answering his radio.

Start mommy freak out.  I call my husband, in tears.  I am imagining horrible accidents, there’s a police helicopter flying overhead, Ben’s ABA therapist shows up, I forget to crate the dog, it’s like a trifecta of emotional hubhub and I’m about to cut a bitch.

I get a call from the dispatcher that the bus is at the stop before me, and that he is just moving remarkably slow.  Since he wasn’t answering on his radio, they had to find him using the GPS.  The dispatcher spends a great deal of time telling me all sorts of crap about how he will be “spoken to”  and that this driver will not be driving the route tomorrow, etc.  I just wanted to know my kid was OK.  But I sensed he was either a) covering his butt or b) getting his own frustrations out.  Ok.  I can listen for a minute.  My kid is safe.

So the bus arrives, the bus driver (using protocol) asks for my husband (because invariably I am never on the pick-up list) but luckily before I shivved that mofo, my husband arrived home, charmed him with his smile and a snarky “would you like to see my son’s ID too?” (seriously, how did the driver not pick up on that?) , showed him his ID and retrieved our son from the golden dragon of doom.  I start up the driveway as to not hurl obscenities or my own fecal matter at this asshat.

And as I climb the stairs, I turn once more to shoot a glare at the offending yellow beast, only to see it side-swipe a truck parked by the drive and speed off.

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

I tell my husband and he runs down the drive (have I mentioned that it’s like a 10 minute walk from our front door to the end of the drive, like at a 20% grade?)  and sees a large yellow dent/stripe on the truck.

Seriously.  I know this sounds like I’m making it up now.  But really.

So, I called the dispatcher, AGAIN to report this idiot, and then handed it off to my husband who is far more efficient at collecting information from truculent state workers.

Later, I have to make a statement to the CHP (apparently SOMEONE says he didn’t hit the car) who is parked 2 deep in front of the house just as our ABA field supervisor shows up.

You can’t even write this shit for TV.  They would laugh you out of the meeting.

This morning  is only the 4th day of school.  FOURTH.  Seriously, I’m about to take my sage and some candles and my book of spells and purify the end of our driveway, because it appears to be a gateway straight to the bowels of hell.  Or I’ll just take Ben to school myself. Because sitting in LA traffic might just be more soothing.  Really.

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Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Forgiveness?

today seemed the perfect day for this meme.  I’ve been thinking about this for a few days now, so i may as well let it out…

#SOCsunday
This day brings on so many emotions, which makes it hard, i think, to really post how you feel if it isn’t part of the norm.  Don’t get me wrong–it was an absolute tragedy and one of the most memorable days in our collective psyche.  But i wonder of we learned the lessons needed to learn.  And the fact aht i am actually scared of saying that means to me that we haven’t.

All i have seen in the ten years since the towers fell is an increasing hatred for the “other”.  And i don’t mean Muslims or Terrorists–i mean any group one would identify as other.  What happened to respect for other cultures?  What happened to rational thought?  What happened to loving one’s brother?

i suppose we’re slow to heal, is all.  I mean, there are STILL people who hate the Japanese for Pearl Harbor.

But it worries me, how quick we are to hate as a country.  and before you jump into my shit–i am in no way saying we are the only ones.  Lord knows there are grudges THOUSANDS of years old just across the pond.

Perhaps it is the fact that i am a mother now, and i want the world in which my son grows up to be full of the freedoms and joys i knew.  But that idea is nonsense.  My world was my world, and his world is his world, and the way he looks at it can only be colored by the way i look at it.

I just hope his world includes a little more kindness.

If we adopt the hate and turpitude similar to the group that performed the horrid acts of 9/11, we are no better.  NO BETTER.  In fact (and rev up the hate machines for this one) it makes us worse than them, because it fulfills their ideas about us in the first place.

Commemorate this day as you will, but take a few minutes to focus on forgiveness?  Hate only consumes the hater.

**********************************

and if you want to attack me for this–please realize this was steam of consciousness and not well formed arguments in preparation for debate.

–Dawn

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She’s crafty, she gets around…

I always knew the Beastie Boys were rappin’ about me.

kinda.

A few weeks ago i made an awesome stupendous the bestest most amazing mug cozy in the WORLD.  Ok, on the west coast, for my friend Jillsmo over at Yeah. Good Times.  An awesome gal needs an awesome mug accessory.  ’nuff said.

Anywhores, she made my job easy today by blogging about ME, which is the next best thing to actually bloggin myself.  So you should go read her awesome post, and in turn bask in my awesomeness.  Or mediocrity.  or at least take a moment to say “oh, that’s nice, dearie” as you gaze upon my old lady skills…

http://yeahgoodtimes.blogspot.com/2011/09/no-liquids-were-harmed-during-making-of.html

and then take a walk around her crazy brain and discover that she may well be my own jew-fro twin sista from another mista. Or someone who is just similar to me in a number of ways–mostly in drug usage.  Except she’s funnier.  And blogs more often because she’s awesome like that and obviously didn’t inherit the lazy/distracted by shiny things gene.

Drink on!  I expect to see that cozy in good usage during #wineparty.

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Ubiquitous “Back to School” post

In an effort to save time i’ve developed a “back to school blog post” template that you can just fill out in the future.

Today my [son/daughter/pet goat] will be starting [enter grade or prison term].

What a [joyful/sentimental/heartbreaking/fucking godsend of a ] moment!

Was it just last year that i thought [how young he is!/what a scholar he will be/when will i ever find time to wax/wow the new 3rd grade teacher is kinda hot].

So early this morning i [gently woke him with a gentle caress and loving words/ opened his door and shouted "Good Morning!"/ hauled his ass outta bed 5 minutes before we had to be at the bus stop] and prepared him for his day.

I packed him a [nutritious/carb loaded/ good god you FEED your kid THAT?] breakfast and sent him on his way with his [cheerful/ hopped up on Red Bull/bitter that this is where her career in deomlition derby has led her] bus driver.

At school he will be greeted by his [amazing teacher/bitter substitute/crazy-eyed bag lady] who will guide his day with [well prepared and interesting lessons/the same crap they did last year/ a rousing game of beer pong].

As he is in a special Ed classroom, there are also the aides [Patience McCaring/ Bitter McWhiney/Googly Eyes McWhere'smypills?] to help his teacher keep all these little [angels/ demon spawn] [in line/within the compound/from tearing up what's left of last year's decorations because school budgest are still being stretched too thin].

We’re all hoping for a [successful/undramatic/non-biting] year!

I plan to go to [every/a few/look, you're lucky i get the kid on the bus] meeting, open house and parent conference, and can’t wait to see my lil munchkin dressed up for the [school play/xmas pageant of torture/Lord, how many of these things do they have each year?].

After this year, he will be entering [the next grade level/the workforce/the 7th level of hell] and will hopefully look back on this year with [fondness/ sentimental anguish/without wanting to stab anyone, repeatedly].

 So good luck lil [man/lady/hellion]!

Make it the most [fantastic/awe inspiring/lets just not hurt anyone, k?] year possible!

(This is the last year of preschool for my kid, and as you can see, i am already jaded.  Next year, i will no doubt have a tearful, heartfelt post about my son entering kindergarten, and all the joys/fears that go with it.  Or i will use this template. AS my son is enrolled in LAUSD, which seems to start school later than EVERYONE in the WORLD, i ‘ll no doubt be the last in a line of back to school posts, and as such will not want to bore you with the same story you read weeks before from a much more talented, caring and sober blogger.

All i can say is HALLELUJAH!  3 whole hours to myself!  woot!)

Mama’s Losin’ It

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Blog Gems

In order to celebrate Labor Day, i plan to participate in as little labor as possible.  A perfect time for blog gems!

The theme this time around is humor!  Not that i would know anything about that…

I realize this one isn’t really an “archive” so to speak, since it’s from last month–but Varda over at The Squashed Bologna asked gor a bellyacher–so here ya go.

The rest of you, take notes.  There’s keen humor advice gleaned from professional periodicals in this piece.  If case any of you ever thought about using humor in your writing…

http://thissideoftypical.com/2011/08/11/afraid-of-using-humor-try-this/

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