Saturday, February 27, 2010

This Was My Week And It Was Good (not feeling the title today...)

This week in review...

Saw Cam and Cass' play last Sunday. I had to play hookey from church because Sunday's my ONLY DAY OFF! and I don't even get that off this week...wah! and I have to work 13 days in a row, between both my jobs...wah!, wah!, until March 7th when I get a day off FINALLY!....

...okay, now that I have my whining done...back to topic...

Sis and I drove down to "The City" (ya know, code for San Fran), and saw the play that Cam and Cass have been working so hard on the last couple months. It was at SFSU and they did High Fidelity. It was fantastic, but would have been NOTHING without the fabulous assistant director (Cass) and the drummer in the band (Cam). I was impressed by the talent and it was nice to have a day to hang out with my big kids.

Thanks to Sis for driving all the way home when I got a migraine and had to take my heavy duty prescription medicine. I felt great, but since I was having a hard time putting together a coherent sentence, I figured I shouldn't be operating heavy machinery, even if said machinery is only a Honda Civic.

Another highlight this week was getting my order of Girl Scout cookies. Along with Lemonades and Shortbreads we got a box of the Holy Grail of Girl Scout cookies: THIN MINTS, and I decided, why should we torture ourselves with doling them out one at a time, making them last, rationing, all that hooey...let's just eat the dang things and enjoy the heck out of them. So we did. We ate the whole box in one evening. And it was Gooooooooood!

Then Miss Moo wrote an essay for school featuring ME (of all people!) and how I should get a Best Parent Award:

My mom has two jobs and is not appreciated! I want her to be. Every day she works really hard. My mom absolutely must win an award for being the greatest mom ever.
One reason is she makes me laugh and is very funny. My mom acts really funny around the house. Around the house, she dances even when there isn’t any music on. Sometimes she makes jokes even off topic.
Another reason is she takes me shopping. She takes me shopping for toys, clothes, bikes, and, books. She takes me to a lot of different stores like, Wal-Mart, J.C.Penney, Ross, and T.J.Max. When we go school shopping we go all over the place.
The final reason my mom should win an award is for taking care of me. When I am sick she stays home with me and helps me get better. She cooks delicious food when my dad is not home. When I am having teeth problems she calls the dentist and makes an appointment for me.
My mom should be given an award for being a great mom. My mom helps little kids with autism. You have to give my mom an award for helping people, taking care of me, making me laugh and taking me shopping. You might not know my mom and you might not think she is great but, she is to me.

And this pretty much made my week, 'cause I was feeling like a pretty crappy, neglectful mom. Plus I like the part about me not being appreciated (hee,hee!), and making jokes "off topic". Just to explain the reference to me cooking: luckily Mike does almost all the cooking, but should he be absent, I make an attempt to heat something on the stove, which may or may not be mac and cheese.

And then Sis came up and spent the afternoon with me yesterday, which helped my demeanor immensely, even if she couldn't tell, and I still seemed sullen and whiney.

All in all, a good week!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Funny how I came to work with special needs kids. I mean really. The only experience I had with people who had mental disabilities was from my childhood, and it was extremely negative.

I had a distant cousin who had Down Syndrome. I saw her only occasionally at big family get-togethers, usually at Easter. She was quite a bit older than I was, and I was WARNED about her. Due to an incident involving another cousin of mine, I was specifically warned not to wear necklaces when she was around because she would try to grab it, and would choke me in the process. I was further led to believe that she was abnormally strong, and if she were to latch on to me, I would be lucky to survive.

I was so afraid of this sweet girl. It made me so nervous to be anywhere near her. I really didn't even want to go to any events that she might possibly attend.

I think that this girl probably did touch my cousin's necklace, and I imagine that my cousin over-reacted and her drama queen of a mother embellished the horror (or lack thereof) for her own enjoyment (my aunt was actually the mentally unstable one, as we would all find out much, much later). The story of the necklace grabbing and my cousin's narrow escape from death at the clutches of this girl soon became a family legend of sorts.

Because of this, the mentally handicapped always made me nervous and uneasy. Just by chance I ended up subbing in special ed when I signed on with the school district as an aide. As soon as I met the precious little ones afflicted with Down's, autism and other disorders, all my old fears and predjudices flew right out the window, and I fell in love, especially with the Down Syndrome kids, whom I've come to find out, are the sweetest and gentlest souls on the planet.

Just last week I came across this post which touched my heart. It's encouraging to see that people with special needs are more readily accepted and understood now, and I regret that I lived a good deal of my life with a bias against them.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Milkshakes are Special Ed Approved

The kids in our class get these little containers of strawberries with their school breakfasts, and being that they're preschoolers, they usually share a container and we put the others in the fridge for another time.

Well, we ended up with a bunch of these little containers and the teacher had an awesome idea...we needed to make strawberry milkshakes!

She went and got some vanilla ice cream then we put some in a cup for each kid, added a little strawberries, a little milk, and had them stir (sequencing and fine motor skills) then they had to suck it through a straw (oral skills), plus they were sitting at the table practicing their social skills. See, it was all in the name of education! (And of course we grown-ups had one too...role modeling, you see...yeah, that's the ticket!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Trying to Catch Up on This Whole Blogging Thing

I was just starting to get back into the blogging mode and then hit another one of those "meh" kinda moods. I know my sister appreciates reading my blog, so in honor of her, here is what's been going on in my uber-exciting life.

Well, with the president's holiday weekend, we were very busy at the restaurant and I made good tips both Friday and Saturday. On Friday we were visited by a family that has come before...and we remember them...and especially their children, VERY WELL, if you get my drift...what's a nice way of saying that they were hellions? Well I can't think of a nice way of saying that so there ya go.

This group of people consisted of a couple sets of parents and about 6 kids aged 8-11ish. The hostess and I were literally babysitting these kids as they roamed the restaurant unrestricted by their parents.

Let's see, I had to take salt and pepper shakers away from 2 of the boys who had ventured near the fireplace with them and planned who-knows-what kind of science experiment involving fire, salt and pepper, then I had to run them out of the bar because they decided it would be fun to rearrange all the barstools, tables and chairs in there; after that I shooed them away from the hostess station/cash register area where they were trying to sneak behind the "employees only" gate and steal from the bowl of after-dinner mints that the hostess had to finally hide from them. Later, after they had left and I was bussing their table I found one of our spoons broken in half and another nicely bent. They obviously did that right under their parents' noses. Sheesh! What kind of parent lets their children act like that in public?

The good thing is that since our restaurant is a private, they will be hearing from the general manager, and won't be allowed to come again and let their children behave that way.

We had a huge crab feed at the restaurant on Sunday, which I renamed "Happy Crabentine's Day". We again worked our fannies off, but we all went home with a big bag of fresh crabby leftovers. Yum!

Yesterday Miss Moo went downhill skiing with the school -her very first time at downhill- and ended up falling and hurting her wrist. Nothing broken just a slight sprain.

About an hour before I had to go pick Miss Moo up from the school, I was trying to close one of our old-timey wooden sash windows which was being stubborn because of the wet weather, and ended up slamming the tip of my middle finger in it. Oh, ouch! Surprisingly enough I refrained from using any hard-core curse words and instead muttered "mother of pearl!" and "dammy sammy!" numerous times to spare little Nat's innocent ears. I did have to go lay down for a bit. Holy heck, fingertips are sensitive!

Speaking of curse words, tonight I ran to the store, and playing over the loudspeakers was the song that goes, "Haven't you people ever heard of closing the G-D door?". On the radio they edit out the G-D, but not at our store, apparently. In fact, this was the first time I'd heard that song in it's full curse-word glory. And mind you the G-D part is 80% of the lyrics to the song, so it's not like you could miss it.

I was kind of walking around, thinking, "Seriously? Do they not realize what they're playing? Did some kid say, 'Hey can I play my cd?' and they didn't question it?" I will definitely let them know about it. I'm sure they will hear from a lot of other folks too.

That's about it here in my little part of the world. We've been enjoying our "spring tease" with all the warm weather and sunshine, but we aren't dumb enough to think that spring is actually here. It's nice to pretend for a few days though.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Nose Like A Bloodhound

Thursday Mike picked up the girls from school and Nat got into his pick-up and said, "Your truck smells funny Dad." He and Miss Moo didn't smell anything unusual, so he didn't think much of it.

He dropped the girls off at home and drove to the market where his truck caught fire. It was an electrical fire and luckily got put out before it became a major disaster, but definitely put his truck out of commission. Well, that explains what Nat smelled.(Mike will now have to get around in his old Land Cruiser that I swear is held together by rust alone).

Nat has always had a sensitive nose. When she was little, she would cry if we drove past a skunk because the smell was so strong to her. And there was also the time driving through the city, when she announced, "I smell French fries." We didn't come across the fast food restaurant until about 1/2 a mile later. She also can't stand the smell of banana bread baking. I guess it's just too sweet. Strange little kid.

From now on if she says she smells something we are going to take heed. If she says she smells smoke we're going to call 9-1-1 and ask questions later. Someday that nose of hers may just pay off...I wonder if she can sniff out truffles...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

He Will Be Missed

...and remembered.

My Kind of Movie Star

We have the nicest older gentleman that comes in regularly to our restaurant. He's so kind, and fun to chat with. He likes to side tip the bussers and waitresses rather than add the tip to the bill. He'll call you over real low-key and then slip the money in your hand (and he's quite generous-both with his money and his hugs).

He's been battling cancer, and lost his wife a couple years ago, but his will to live and his love of life are so strong. He never fails to make us all feel grateful and happy when he arrives.

He is a Swiss immigrant and I had heard that there had been a film made about his life. All of us at the restaurant have wanted to see it, but just have never had the chance.

Well, when I started my job at the special-ed preschool, I discovered that one of the other aides was full-blooded Swiss. Being that she was only 24, and obviously not an immigrant, I asked her how that came about in America of all places! She said her parents were both Swiss and happened to meet. Well, I couldn't resist asking if she happened to know our Mr. Ruckli from the restaurant. She said of course she did, he was a distant relative. And I also found out she owned a copy of his film which she was happy to lend to me.

We watched the film the other night. It tells of Fred immigrating to America when he was 19, because he wanted to do better than he could in Switzerland. He wanted the American dream. He ended up working at his uncle's dairy in the SF bay area, but shortly thereafter the Korean War started and he was drafted. If he didn't fight in the war he could not become a citizen, which is what he wanted most of all, so he fought.

Years later he returned to Switzerland and was at a local bar; he told how he was proud of the fact that he could buy everyone there a round of drinks because he was now a successful American citizen. He told them how in America people don't call each other sir, mister or doctor, everyone knows everyone by their first names.

Also in the film, it shows him caring for his elderly wife who suffered a stroke and subsiquently lost her memory. He said now in their later years they could have traveled, but she wouldn't have gotten anything out of it, she was "in her own little world". When Nat heard that she said, "It's just like she's autistic, huh?" Interesting how my girls' understanding of others has expanded by just my working with special needs kids and telling them about them.

A couple days after we had watched his film, Mr Ruckli came into the restaurant with his daughter. I was excited to tell them how I had finally seen the film and how I had enjoyed it. He was surprised when I told him how my 7 and 10 year old watched the whole movie and enjoyed it as well.

It's just a simple little film about a war veteran, a father, a husband, a proud American and a man I know and admire. I would rather recieve a hug from him than any of your "Hollywood types". Mr. Ruckli is my kind of "movie star".

Monday, February 1, 2010


a Father-in-law and a grandfather.

It's rough. He has cancer and won't last for more than another couple days. He has his family by his side which is all anyone would want.

I don't really feel like this is blog fodder, so I haven't posted about it. It's too real...hurts...brings up memories of my mom's death.

I do know that I have a testimony of Jesus Christ, and that He lives and because He lives we will all live again as well. Families ARE forever. This I also know is true. And that's what gives me peace right now.