26 May 2011

My grass is so long that it is going to seed. There is no reason that I don't cut it right now except I want to write and this is the first chance I've had to sit down and I think I committed to having a high school kid cut it -- I just don't know when. I have to clear this up today and cut tomorrow if I need to.

Last week, I caught (umm, right word?) poison ivy -- just a slight case. I think it was during my big plant of last Friday, but I've shied away from garden work this whole week -- poison ivy and the rain. Today is beautiful -- sweat shirt weather and good for garden work but I can't make myself.

I am shopping like a retiree or a New Yorker -- buying by the day instead of the week. We used to live like that -- nothing in the frig but a bottle of wine, jelly, three eggs and a few half empty take out containers. The cliche personified. Then all these years of suburban family life -- a weekly shopping and making do with what was there and always a freezer stocked full of last minutes soups, stews and sauces.

Now, it is changed. Again.

Slowly, I've been emptying the freezer. Eating from it and not restocking, not cooking in big pots. We eat the last chili tonight -- not David's last chili. That was months and months ago. Mine. I think there was some red sauce that I used a few weeks ago that might have been his. I miss David making sauce. I miss his chili although it always was hard on my stomach.

So, why? Part is because I am hot to renovate, even my very much watered down renovation and I don't want that pack up to be difficult or to waste too much food. Part is wanting to live lighter -- less stuff. Yesterday, just about done with all the memorial cards -- stragglers left and a few returned wrong addresses -- I've started in again with boxes and content of file cabinets. I don't think that David would have ever let me do what I am doing, but is there really a reason to save receipts from 2005? I have not yet tackled boxes of stuff-- memorabilia, multiple desk contents, junk. Treasures to be sure -- Do you think I can deliver bags of office supplies to St. Vinnie's? I'll sort clips and elastic bands and staples. I am seeing the end of the paper tunnel -- for the first round -- and i am more ruthless, not less as I see what I have left too organize.

Finally, part of the change of food shopping habits is disinterest. Organizing a week's worth of food is sometimes very much beyond me. Is this is peep into Julia's world of the present? A present that does not have to account for the hard feelings of past and future? I have passed on from the intensity of those feelings, now, it is just disinterest. As I begin to lie fallow and live each day for what it is, I must make the intentional decision each day to do something, to go somewhere, to cook. I do not yet wear my dearth of plans lightly.

Julia and I sat on the front steps after school, waiting for her therapist of the day and going over the school day. She likes to recite what she can remember of her schedule including putting chairs up on the desks and "get on the bus and come home to you." Conversation is not smooth. I told her today that I wanted her to ask about my day, and she obligingly did. She was interested in my acupuncture appointment although because she remembered that it had to do with needs, she told me that she never wanted an acupuncture appointment. I should have been telling her about my day long before this, but it is time to work on it now. I need to remind her to ask me until she remembers it herself.

The dog is barking at two black crows who sit on the electric wires teasing.

I spoke to Julia's sub-special ed teacher about what Julia was doing in math and ideas for the summer. She is not the expert that the regular special ed teacher is but she has worked with Julia each day for 45 minutes or so at math. Still, it is numbers, easy addition, a bit of subtraction, counting, before and after, first, second, third. All of it is still done with manipulatives or pictures of things. The abstract number ideas are still not there. Ideas I want to work with this summer are:

1. morning story problems. To start, four dinosaurs who stand in a line. A description of the line and the dinosaurs to put in that line. I bought some little notebooks and I thought I could write a story problem for her to do first thing in the morning, with the reward of the first money of the day.

2. counting up to 100. Julia can almost count up to 50 now. We have been doing it at the beginning of strong sitting which we do 2-3 times a day. In the relatively short time that counting has been a part of strong sitting, she has gotten better at 50. As soon as she is near perfect, we'll go up 10.

3. counting by 2's, 5's, 10's using the snap together montessori blocks that I have and in other ways. Money! While leads to . . .

4. money. Everything that I and our therapists can teach her! Identification, counting, saving, changing for larger amounts, and buying something. She has definite ideas about the buying part. I bought a change purse today and a way for her to keep it around her neck if she wants. We are going to assign monetary value to lots of the things Julia's does or is suppose to do.

5. learning our phone number -- wrot memory on that one.

6. Writing each day -- Maybe at the end. A sentence or two or three about what she did during the day. Maybe this is the start of journal writing in a sense.

At the suggestion of the librarian, we will sign up for the public library program this summer -- numbers of books and prizes. Julia should be in just the right place for that.

Yes, ambitious, but most of it will fold into our days. I don't intend to sit down for lessons. I have no idea when numbers will click for Julia but watching reading take off this year gives me more hope for numbers.

Next week, I am going to redo the toy room for the summer. It has had a dinosaur theme for a year now -- Julia's pictures of dinosaurs hung all over on a brown wall. The wall will still have dinos on it, but I need a number theme, need some ideas. The therapists are working on calendars for the entire summer instead of a month at a time. They are going to count days as part of their math work.

And I will be putting away some toys as well. Julia tells me she doesn't want to but there are things she never touches. And we need the room. I'd like to move my desk work from a crate in the dining room back to the toy room where my desk is located.

Order out of the chaos!

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