Sunday, January 25, 2009

25 Random things about me

1. I hate cleaning my house. I love a clean house but hate cleaning. I am a pack rat, as is my husband so we really need to have someone else clean our house. I decided that it was worth it to me to have cleaners. Every other Wednesday life is good at our house.
2. I totally got roped into being a Cub Scout leader. I was Ella’s Brownie troop leader for 3 years and I thought that covered all my good scouting karma, but alas…Somehow when other people bowed out I got the short straw and I am now the Tiger Cub Den Mom. Shoot.
3. I think I may be addicted to facebook. It totally plays into my voyeuristic tendencies and, heck, they put those pictures up there, right? It’s kind of like in high school when we tried to sneak in a quick trip to the Rufus Clark Caukins room before “all school” meeting so I could catch up on the news that happened while I was sleeping. I hate going to sleep while people are still up because I MIGHT MISS SOMETHING. Biggest fear of mine. I spent 2 weeks in Italy with my book group and I was consistently the last person up because I just didn’t want to miss anything. Facebook and my addiction are a really bad mix.
4. I love playing Luxor II. It a silly game that Tracie got me hooked on and now I play it far too often. I made the mistake of letting my husband play and he’s addicted too. Dang, that means less time for me on the game! Wallow of the Hippo Gods is the hardest friggin thing I have ever done in my gaming life. If you want to save hours, do not go and try the free sample up on line, really bad idea.
5. Sometimes I’d sell my kids. Mostly I love them so much it hurts. I see them performing up on stage, skiing down a slope or talking really nicely to a friend who is kind of a weirdo and I just want to grab them and kiss them. I cant walk by them without reaching out, touching their back or hair or saying “Have I told you I love you today?” Then, there are other days, days I’d sell them. Days when we driving five hours away and 10 minutes into the trip they are arguing about how much air space is theirs in the back seat or whether Q-ball gets to put his foot on the middle or Ella. Or they pound on doors screaming “I hate you!!” Yeah, I understand why some kids are forced into hard labor and sold to creeps in New Hampshire. I’d never do it, but if my kids go missing, please have them put me through the lie detector.
6. I cannot be in charge of waking up my husband any more. I am the only one in my family who will actually wake up when the alarm goes off. I get up every day at 5:45 am and I hate it. My body would normally wake up about 8:30 and go from there. If I have to wake up Hubby, it takes 2 nudges, 3 huge screams and sometimes cold water that “falls” on him. I spend the rest of my morning being pissed at him for not waking up and taking so much of my time. That’s not really healthy for a relationship. So, I decided that he is in charge of himself. I don’t have to get angry and if he’s late, so be it. He works for himself, so that’s a plus.
7. I can’t write a quick note about anything. I always take a short story and make it longer.
8. I just started downhill skiing again. It’s a lot more fun than I remember …and expensive, drat!
9. I am much more of a dog person than a cat person. Please don’t tell my cat Zephyr she might take offense. Kira knows in her heart that I love her best, but luckily she can’t talk.
10. I’m a thinker, not a feeler. I did some Meyers Briggs Personality Inventory and I totally did not score well on thinking about how other people feel. It’s not that I don’t care; it’s that I just didn’t even consider it in my decision. I know this is a big weakness of mine, so I’ve learned some coping skills. I try to run my ideas past people who are feelers. When I’m really pissed, I also ask them to read my e-mails before I send them.
11. I get kind of bored with things quickly and 25 seems like forever!! Should I keep going?
12. I like beer, margaritas and I should stay away from Lemoncella. I am sprinter more than a “slow and steady wins the race” in this department. It gets me in trouble some times.
13. I have to bring a Sudoku to faculty meetings or I talk too much. I still listen but I don’t feel the need to answer every question that gets asked. I can do the easy and medium Sudokus during a meeting but I save the difficult and evil ones for later when I can focus more.
14. I love Mytown, VT. I have totally great neighbors, friends and community here and I can borrow anything I need until such time as I can go to store to buy it. We are a totally great small VT community. Everyone goes skating on Gillette Pond and someone always starts a fire for warming up, we all pitch in for shoveling the snow and our kids all know each other. In the summer we run into each other in the river or at the playground. We have a circus, a winter fest and a wicked fun day that rival any small town gathering.
15. Me: Knock knock! You: who’s there? Me: Control Freak~now is the time when you say Control Freak who!
16. I love snow tires. I have my bad girl steel rims and I can get where I need to go.
17. Coffee is the best thing in the world at 5:45 am. I need to have at least one cup before I can talk to family members.
18. I have 2 brothers who I wish lived closer to me. We have such a great time when we’re together and I laugh laugh laugh. I miss seeing their kids grow up and I hope they get a sense of “cousins” they way I had growing up. Cousins were like my brothers but way cooler.
19. I love to travel. Anywhere, any time, I just wish I had the cash to support this habit more fully. I think traveling helps so much in understanding how the rest of the world lives and your place in it. I want my kids to travel.
20. When I grew up in Vermont, I wanted to get out so bad!! I was never going to live here. It was so absurdly backward and cold. Turns out, it’s the best place in the world and where I want to raise my children.
21. My husband is a lot nicer than I am. We get invited to all these great parties and I know it’s because Hubby is so kind, but I go anyway.
22. We actually never give parties. It’s a curse. See number 1 again. Sometimes if people just show up it looks like we’re having a party, but we never plan it.
23. I went boarding school but I firmly believe in public education.
24. I can find a joke in just about any situation. I try to be judicious in my decision to actually tell them, but I usually err on saying it.
25. It’s easier to apologize than to ask permission.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Last year, a parent came into my office and handed me a letter requesting an evaluation. The mom was upset, yelling and telling me the school really needed to do this big evaluation on her kid. I was trying to talk to her and get her to calm down but to no avail. Finally I just stopped engaging with the mom and instead started reading the letter. Her first line, I kid you not, was "I want the school to evaluate my daughter for Attention Defecate Disorder". I had to bite my tongue not to say "You are sh*tting me!"
I teach a class on Social Thinking to 3 kiddos with Asperger's Syndrome. The kiddos are extremely literal and very earnest in their social awkwardness. Most days, they are the highlight of my day. In November, as part of the election in our school, every child got to vote for President, Governor and then they got to vote for a charity to donate all our collected pennies (over $270~go figure!).

I was meeting with my guys and I thought I would help them get ready to vote. I explained the whole penny/charity thing and told them that their choices for the charity were: the Humane Society, the Refugee Resettlement Program, or the Willisburg Food Shelf. So I ask the first kiddo "Which one do you think you'll vote for?"

"Well...(about 5 minutes go by while he thinks) I think I really care about animals and I think that I will vote for the Humane society"

"That's awesome social thinking; you are really thinking about the things you care about and how to match this charity with things you care about, nice job" I turn and ask the other kiddo "What do you think you'll vote for?"

"Umm, I think the Shaw's in Willisburg. You know, the one with the Hebrew National hot dogs and the triskets" He replied looking quite pleased with himself.

I just kind of stared at him....what the hell was this kid talking about? Then it dawned on me. I called it "the Food Shelf". He was voting for his favorite shelf, you know the one with hot dogs and triskets.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Top Ten List for 2008

Biz Family Top Ten List 2008

10. Ella begins middle school. Ella is now off in Richmond for Middle school. She’s added a 30 minute bus ride to her morning, is playing the clarinet, and joined Odyssey of the Mind. She is beloved by her teachers and has made all sorts of new Richmond “city” friends!

9. Q-ball learns to read as a first grader -always amazing to Mom to watch the process work when a child’s brain is wired for reading. Q-ball is taking after his big sister and reading up a storm. Don’t worry though, Mommy still has loads of other kids to work with!

8. The whole Famdamily Clan met up in Santa Barbara last Christmas, with John hosting the shebang. We got to meet Finn, hang out with cousins Max, Griffin and Ally, all the uncles, aunts and Grandma Hannah. Santa gave everyone a day pass to Disneyland!! If you’re going to stand in line for hours, might as well have fun with cousins!!

7. In May, Gramdad Ethan turned 80, with no shortage of celebrating. The whole Biz family ushered in the new decade for Gramdad.

6. Ella adds downhill skiing to her sporting repertoire. After years of mom asking, she finally said yes to the Learn to Ski Program through the school. Vermont was blessed with multiple Wednesday night snow storms, so skiing on Thursdays was “Powder Heaven”. Ella took lessons each week and by the end of her second lesson, she skied a Black Diamond with her instructor!

5. Soggy summer in VT kept Q-ball in the mud, rivers and streams. Here he is demonstrating his new age past life regression, mud therapy. Now we just need to market it!

4. Mom is lured in by the title of Chief. Turns out the nomenclature is the best thing going as she begins her second career as the Chief Negotiator for the NEA teachers’ union.

3. Dad continues to stay gainfully self-employed. The economy is a bit dicey but people are still doing projects and Dad is working as much as he can. He’s almost made enough money to pay off the cool new self dumping trailer he purchased!

2. We got to meet a new Doctor, the orthopedist! Ella, after many months of casts, splints and x-rays, was finally diagnosed with a calcaneal cuboid ligament disruption. Just as she was healing, Q-ball decided to break his pinky finger so he too could meet the doctor (the schedulers figured it out and did a double appointment, probably just before reporting Dad and Mom to the Department of Children and Families).

1. We’re staying in the U S of A (sung to the tune of YMCA). Obama is in the White House! We were so proud to watch the “itty bitty” State of Vermont throw Obama his first blue state.

May the Blessing of the Season be with each of you. Happy New Year! Here’s to 2009!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ready for Middle School

Ella was entering Middle School in August and quite frankly, it scared the bejeezus out of me. Mean girls, hairdos, make-up, boys… oh the thoughts were terrifying. Round about April, the Middle School sent agents out to talk about the new “Middle School” experience and answer all our questions. Mostly it just made me queasy and swirl in a vortex of new questions. Was she going to be liked by all those metropolitan girls from Richmond? Were her teachers going to recognize her brilliance (both academic and interpersonal)? What if she got a boyfriend!!

Oh dear god I was not ready for her to grow up. I know every teacher, kid and family in the elementary school (BPMS ) but none of the teachers at the new Middle School. I felt like I was throwing her to the wolves, carrying a juicy steak.

In Huntington, the youth culture is totally naive; it revolves around Littlest Pet Shoppe, never admitting to being cold, listening to the Best of Queen, playing hard and not getting tired and crazy fashions. Can you say Hawaiian shirts and plaid pants? In Richmond, after going for Step Up day, I ask Ella what the other girls are wearing and she says “A lot of pink…” with a frown thrown in for contempt.

Ella’s teacher, way back in November, began a campaign of pen pals between the 4th graders at BPMS and the Richmond 4th graders. Ella had quickly become a pen pal to two girls because there were only 18 kids graduating from BPMS. They were writing back and forth every month as an assignment. In May her pen pal writes “I was talking to Hannah J, and she said that you are the smartest girl in the school. Is that true?” Ella shows it to me and I say “wow, that’s a little unexpected, how are you going to answer that?” She blithely shrugged and headed upstairs.

The next morning I was rifling through her backpack to make sure she had all her homework done and I found her response. She wrote “You know, I probably am the smartest kid in BPMS, but I’d rather be known as the nicest”

That’s when I realized the control that I thought I had was transitory. She was ready for Middle School all by herself. Even if I wasn’t ready, I now had to admit that she was.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The First Day of School is a big deal for our family. The night before, we pick out new clothes, lay out the outfits and pack our bags. On the big day, Q wakes up at the crack of sparrowfart. He is so excited this year because he’s going to be going to BPMS all by himself now; his sister is off to middle school. He gets dressed and we tell him how cute he looks. Breakfast is scarfed down in record time, and then it’s time for pictures.

Out on the front steps we take our FDOS pictures and the kids are adorable. However, because it’s Vermont and August, the temperature in the morning is chilly, so I urge Q to put on his fleece for the walk to school. I watch him, so big and brave, walking off to school. He waves to me and I realize he’s really off on his own at school now. He had no one to check in on him at lunch or to help him get to after school care. I sigh and then hustle off to work 20 minutes away.

When I go to pick up Q at 4:40, he is sitting with the other kids in his fleece with a huge grin and a bright red face and incredibly sweaty. Its 75 degrees and I can’t imagine he’s comfortable.

Me: Hey let’s take off your fleece and we can walk home.
Q: No thanks.

He's happy and having fun with everyone, so I decide not to make a big deal out of it. I help him pack up his gear. We take off on the walk home, the dog pulling us forward.

Me: So, did you wear the fleece all day?
Q: Yup
Me: Weren’t you hot?
Q: Yup
Me: Why did you wear it?
Q: I didn’t want everyone to see me in the shirt that made me so handsome