Thursday, June 27, 2013

Anybody See An Ark?

Molly in one of the all-too-rare sunbeams we've had lately.

And it's raining.  Again.  We've had a very wet summer so far, and the trend isn't easing up at all.  On the plus side, no drought for us this year.  On the negative, it's been gray and soggy a LOT, and the garden is very green but not growing very quickly.  It obviously wants SUN.  Maybe next week, but for now we're back in the gray, rainy cycle.

Cici in a paper bag.

SG and the Princess are in their summer routine - fitness class for him, and riding lessons and horse shows for her.  Pool time (local public pool is great) is a given several times a week.  Family visits, and a couple weekend outings for fun stuff are planned for later in the summer.

Molly in the bird-watching window, overlooking the garden and the feeders.

But it hasn't been smooth sailing here, not at all.  There's a lot going on behind the scenes that I haven't shared.  If you're a praying person, my family and I would appreciate your prayers.  If you don't pray, still keep us in mind.  Big changes, and hard decisions, will be affecting all of us here for some time to come.  But I'm not going to share this particular struggle on the blog, except maybe in the most general terms down the road.  

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Simple Things

A little garden tour, while other events in my life sort themselves out.  We've had warm, rainy weather for the past week, but before that it was unseasonably cool and rainy for two weeks.  No chance of a drought here now, but it's mosquito, slug and mold heaven.  I'm hoping things will dry out a bit next week.  In the meantime, here are some pictures from around the yard:


Violet purple lupine against yellow clematis and miscanthus grass - simple and pretty.  The lupines and columbine were winter sown three years ago.  The lupines aren't supposed to be very long-lived, so we'll see how they come back next year.  Ditto for the columbine.  I'll start new seedlings just in case.  I like this combination.
Dark purple (almost black in some lights) nemophila 'Penny Black.'  My sister brought me the seed from a trip.  I love this little plant with the striking blackcurrant coloring and ruffly, fuzzy leaves.  I'll be planting this again!
Rose 'Peace,' an old favorite my mother grew when I was a kid.  The flowers are HUGE this year, obviously loving the moisture now (but the plant will be covered with black spot if I don't spray it with baking soda or some other anti-fungal solution soon).

Self-seeded columbine in the middle of lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis).  Columbines are notoriously cross-fertile, so these are heaven only knows what combination from my 'William Guinness' seedlings and my yellow columbines.  Very pretty, whatever its parentage.
Containers on my front porch - red annual salvia, coleus, and lantana.  They look pretty good here, but a few days later a heavy hail storm bashed the heck out of them, especially the coleus, and the hosta elsewhere around the house.  Dime sized hail in a high wind = shredded foliage. 

The long raised beds in the back yard - perennials in the closest one, then mostly veggies in the rest of them (with gladiolus and morning glories along the way).
A leaf on the redbud tree that I rescued as a 6" seedling from a spot in another part of the yard the first year we moved in.  A rabbit nibbled it off the first year, but it resprouted and is now a 6' tall tree with multiple trunks, and it had its first bloom this year.  
Salvia 'Carradonna' by the back corner of the house.  I planted three of them, very small, last year, and I wasn't sure how they'd do in that exposed northeast position, but they apparently like it.  Hooray!
Winter sown tomatoes (time for a cage). 
Variegated Solomon's seal, one of my favorite shade plants.  It's so elegant, I'd hate to be without it in the garden.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Breathe



We're finally done with Safety Guy's 8th grade school year.  I practically held my breath his entire last day, hoping that it would be okay for him.  I subbed that day, which was easy as the classes were either watching videos or taking tests.  Thankfully, it was smooth sailing for him.  He was even able to joke about the kid who punched him being in class, with blue hair and a blue hoodie (everyone was teasing him about being a Smurf - apparently given and taken in good fun all around).

And just like that, the year is OVER.  SG will pass everything, a couple classes just by the skin of his teeth, but I don't care one iota.  I know his grades from his last two quarters do not reflect his actual intelligence and understanding of the subjects, but rather demonstrate the toll of the stress and anxiety and the distraction of the bullying.  The fall will be a fresh start, and I hope for his sake (and for all of us, too) that the new school year goes far better than this past year did for him.

On the last day of school I had a nice conversation with the principal regarding the job I applied for a few weeks ago.  They hired another candidate, someone with more experience dealing with NY state Regents testing and math, and I am relieved both that I did NOT get the job (I need to keep my focus on my family, not my career, for a little while longer), and happy that not only did they get a great candidate, but that it's a MAN.  I'm not being sexist, but it seems that in our district all of the special ed teachers are women.  It's a fact that some young men respond better to a male teacher at times.  This new teacher will be teaching Safety Guy math, his toughest subject, and it's a class where he's also likely to be with a few of the students he didn't get along with very well this year. I hope this new teacher can ride herd on the strong personalities in that room, and help them get along, as well as to learn the math.  I sincerely wish him the best.

I hope this summer can bring some healing to my family.  There was too much drama this winter and spring.  Too many hurt feelings, too much confusion, too many harsh words and too little compassion.  Much too much of EVERYTHING negative.  We're all trying to do better, and I hope the physical and mental space will help us in the healing process.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Aftermath

It's terrible to lose your trust, it really is.  But I'm quite disappointed in our local school.  The kid who punched Safety Guy in the head last week was BACK IN SCHOOL on Monday, when he was supposed to have out of school suspension for 5 days.  I drove the kids to school that day, and SG was very unhappy to see the other kid waiting by the front door of the school.  I can't blame SG for being anxious to be near this kid now, and we had no warning that he'd be there.  I asked the VP why he was at school, and I was told that he needed to take a state test, and he'd have ISS when the test was finished, and OSS after that.

So, fine.  OSS only means OSS when it doesn't affect the school's test scores.  And actually warning the kid who'd been assaulted that his assailant would be there at the front door when he wasn't supposed to be there at all was too much to ask.  Thanks for the extra anxiety.

It gets better.  The kid wasn't out for 5 days - he was back after three days of OSS.  I asked my husband, "Was I hallucinating when the superintendent told us that the VP told him that the kid would be out for 5 days?"  No.  I'd asked the superintendent point blank about the length of time out the kid would have, saying that I'd overheard the kid say three days, but the VP had said five days.  The superintendent commented that it would make more sense to believe the VP than the kid, but I guess the kid was right when I overheard him right after the incident telling his friends that he'd be out for three days.

The other kids have been teasing him about "starting the fight" by turning the kid in.  The kid's girlfriend has provoked him with the same crap (and got firmly sat on by the VP over it).  Another kid in his class has been teasing him about his weight again, and yet another kid told him that he'd "cut him" if he didn't shut up (the teacher jumped right on both of those incidents).

I am heartbroken over the hell our son has gone through this year.  Today was a good day, he said, one of few he's had recently.  He has one more day of school, Monday - an awards ceremony, end of year video/music montage, and picnic.  I hope in all the freeform activity he can keep away from the people who have hurt him so much.

We're going to give school one more try in the fall - different building, different teachers, and maybe a little less time spent with the same cast of characters as this year.  I'm not too hopeful at this point, and I'll be researching online high school programs, so we'll have something in reserve if September looks like it will be anything like this spring has been.

I didn't get the permanent job, and I have to say I'm relieved.  I need to focus on my own family.  And, it appears, be ready to defend them from the people in school.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Of Manure And Windmills

Stormy skies - appropriate for this week, in more ways than one.

I just looked at my last post on here, which was just over two weeks ago and talked about our son's IEP meeting.  I guess I'd call the tone cautiously positive. I'm a heck of a lot less positive today.

A few days ago Safety Guy was assaulted in school.  Earlier this week he and another student had turned in a kid in their class who had been showing porn on his phone to other kids in the class.  SG saw some of what was being shared, and was appalled.  He and one other student told the teacher, and the kid with the porn lost his phone.  Of course the kid was mad, and he blamed SG more than the other student, probably because a) SG called him a "disgusting perv" and a "sick pig" (debatably true, but typically tactless of SG) and b) the other student would be much harder to intimidate or beat up (bullies prey on those who are less likely to retaliate).  

Anyhow, the kid with the phone was trash talking at Safety Guy the following day over the phone incident, and SG told him that he'd only gotten what he deserved.  Between two classes late in the morning, the bully took a swing at SG in the crowded hallway, which SG blocked, and then SG tried to walk away from the confrontation.  The other kid came up behind/beside him and punched him in the head, over the right ear, knocking him to the ground.

I took SG to the doctor, and he probably has a mild concussion.  we'll be watching him for signs of it over the next week or so.  

My husband and I talked it over that night, and we decided that we'd go ahead and file a police report.  This would give us a paper trail if SG did need further medical care, and would document this other student's behavior legally and give warning to his parents that he was heading for serious trouble.  If something as simple as losing a phone would lead him to assault someone else, he's got bigger issues that need to be addressed NOW.  And, most of all, we wanted our son to see that we're taking this seriously and standing up for him in every way possible.

The manure has hit the windmill.  We're THOSE parents now.  And that's okay.  This situation may affect my job in the fall (either my chance for the permanent job I just interviewed for, or my status as a sub).  I don't care.  I'm a mother first, and a teacher somewhere a bit farther down the list.  

Don't mess with my kid.