It is Daughter L’s Senior Skip Day :)

I was worried Daughter L was oversleeping today but it turns out it is senior skip day at her school :). I remember my senior skip day, 31 years ago (:() — I played golf.  THat was just a few weeks after Jack Nicklaus had surprised the golf world by winning the Masters in his 40s.  That was the year I loved golf so much I golfed 3 times a week (walked on as a single on Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and I was starting to play well enough that the golf coach asked if I’d consider playing golf, not realizing I was a senior.  Funny how much I loved it then – I don’t feel that way at all now.  I don’t know how you can have soo much passion for something then none at all.  

It is Daughter L’s Senior Skip Day :)

It is so hard to have a depressed family member

Our oldest is going through some serious emtional (depression) issues for the past six months, and especially the past two months.  Will go days without getting out of bed, and has resisted therapy (except hormonal therapy prescribed by her dubious “doctor”)  but now is open to seeing someone.  I will start on this.  I’m not looking forward to it, since I battle chronic fatigue and it’s all I can do every day to seem “normal” (I wish I had a nickel for every time a close friend tells me they forget that I have a chronic disease).  

It is really hard to have a child going through this, the not getting out of bed for days, which strikes too close to home for me (my mom’s family is prone to this).  Although I myself have battled depression at times, no one would suspect it and I make an extreme effort to keep fighting through those days best I can and in my entire life had only had maybe 1 day where I could not get out of bed (after staying out with friends till 7 AM, I slept and watched sports all the next day 🙂 ).  Even after my lung surgery, I spent my days walking the hospital (with my IV and oxygen tank in tow 🙂 ) rather than laying in bed.  

I’m not upset with my child, I just want to be able to help her.  I don’t have the time or energy for this, but will have to carve out time/energy.  😦

It is so hard to have a depressed family member

Missing this moment with my students…

When I was a high school teacher, I tried to lead by example.  So, if my students were doing something, I did the same activity.  For example, if my students were watching a movie, I watched the movie (even if I’d seen it 100 times before).  If my students were working on a class project, I was working with them on the group project (by going group to group and sitting with each group). And if they had silent reading, I read a book too.  Never ever did I grade papers or do prep for another class while class was in session (as my mentor teacher said, if I am telling the students something is important but then not doing it myself, I’m sending the wrong message – so i tried to model the same behavior, and I feel like it helped me build bonds with my students).  But I am thinking of one time in particular during silent reading, when I was reading along with my students but the book I was reading was hilarious (it might have been Confederacy of Dunces) so I kept chuckling; I noticed (out of the corner of my eye, since a teacher always tries to keep the peripheral vision going for obvious reasons 🙂 ) the students exchanging smiles then one finally said, not unkindly, “We can’t concentrate because you are laughing.” Then the entire class laughed.  I loved that moment.  It was a tender moment and thinking of it makes me miss my students.  Those students were 16 at the time, and would all be in their 30s today.  Wild to think about. But that moment is frozen in time in my memory.

Missing this moment with my students…

Daughter L won student of the month

We attended a community (rotary) luncheon where Daughter L was awarded student of the month. She is one of those great teens who doesn’t get a lot of attention because she is low maintenance (but on the other hand all the attention she gets is generally positive), so it was nice that she got some attention yesterday, and also she gave a thoughtful speech where she talked about the perspective she’s learned in school.  I was happy for her, that all the blood sweat and tears she puts into school was recognized yesterday.

Another student who was there (was student of the month at another school) was impressive: she gave a thoughtful and heartfelt speech, wants to enter the Army or Marine Corps since her family all did that, then attend law school and become a District Attorney to give a voice to all people.  I loved that. I hope she keeps that passion.

Daughter L won student of the month

Was a lot of fun watching the game on TV knowing that a loved one was playing in the band

I have not been watching college football this year, since I don’t like that the NCAA and TV networks get rich through unpaid college kids who are suffering lifelong brain injuries while less than half of them graduate and they spend more time on the football field than the classroom (exploitation).  But I did watch the Pac 12 championship on Friday since daugther H is playing in the band.  Every time they showed a close up we would crane to see if we could see her, and it was fun.  

Was a lot of fun watching the game on TV knowing that a loved one was playing in the band

I am an Uncle!

My sister had twins over the weekend, which means I am an uncle.  I am very excited about this.  The good news is we saw them the day they were born and they are beautiful (of course 🙂 ).  The bad news is that my sister hasn’t wanted guests the past couple of days, which means we haven’t seen the babies since delivery…  As someone who suffers from post-illness chronic fatigue, I’ve had to put a lot of thought into how I can be involved – I just don’t have the energy to make meals, run errands, etc.  But I do love babies and kids, so have decided that I will be available to watch the kids as needed, which is less stressful for me than cooking, cleaning and running errands.  Right now, she doesn’t want guests, but I know from experience that after the excitement (and nurses) dies down, people watching the kids is a god send :)…  My family — starting with my grandma — is strange about guests.  They just don’t like having them. My mom can’t relax when she has guests, and is a wreck before guests and exhausted after them, and I know that my grandma was the same way (I remember her complaining about my aunts and other guests when they’d stay with her).  I too didn’t look having roommates or guests in my early adult years, but with my very-social wife’s influence plus having a cabin where guests like to stay was able/forced to learn to relax and take guests in stride.  Also, there was a wonderful wonderful wonderful Dear Abbey letter where a woman wrote that she lived in a remote area with 4 kids and 2 dogs so loved having adult guests, and they were welcome to stay and make themselves comfortable but they would just have to deal with the mess and the dogs etc.  I love that letter – it reminded me that what is important is not having a perfect house, it is the people, and if having a slightly dusty house is what is required to relax around guests, so be it.  I am glad I’ve learned to accept (and embrace) having overnight guests.  I used to want to spoil them with good meals and a perfect house, but now have just learned to spoil them with my interest in them and embracing them 🙂

I am an Uncle!

Nervous about the number of kids who are experimenting with hormones, which seems off the charts.

I am really very happy with how much our society has progressed in various transgender and sexual rights these past few years.  But I am nervous about the number of doctors who are very quick to prescribe hormones to kids to change their sex without digging into what else might be behind what is going on and without fully consider the  potential health consequences for trying homron therapy.  

Time was, it was a serious matter to change your gender, one that people took seriously and sometimes took years to progress to.  For example, Wife M had a friend whose roommate was a man turning into a woman, and she cross dressed for years before really making the change.  ALthough she was not on hormones, everyone treated her like the woman that she was, and it was a big deal for her to make that change.  

Now, I feel like a lot of kids are taking very serious hormones — which may have long term consequences to health — without really truly experimenting with what that means.  We are experiencing this, in fact, with our son R, who is experimenting with hormones without any therapy and after only one doctor’s visit; we asked him to attend therapy to explore whether that was the right decision for him, and even told him to consider dressing and acting as the other sex for awhile so he was sure, but he has leapt right in with the doctor’s blessing.  My concern is not someone’s right to experiment – but it’s the health consequences that may result long term if he changes his mind in a few months. 

In the 1980s, a lot of therapists and doctors started prescribing prozac like candy as a first act – they literally prescribed it to 100% of their patients.  It wasn’t all therapists, but it was enough of them to raise concerns.  (Also, prozac was quite famous at the time, and I am sure a number of people went into the therapist and immediately requested prozac).  It was only after some exposes discussed the concerns with this that this curtailed. Also, there were quite a few kids around 1990 on anabolic steroids, and it took social intervention (media, etc.) about the health consequences to end that fad.  

I have this feeling that this may be true now, with hormones.  Even a google search for me did not immediately find any discussions on whether it really and truly is the right case, but primarily how to provide/get emotional support during the transition.  For me, the most telling statistic is that kids who are on the autistic/asberger’s spectrum are 25x more likely to experiment with hormone therapy than other kids – which might indicate they feel different, and think hormones are the secret.  But, again, my concern is to the health effects.

I am biased on this.  I myself took a very serious drug — prednisone — to save my life, and it worked but it had long-term consequences for me that I am still living with, and may always have.  And I never took recreational drugs, and am going through a lot of pain right now because I am trying to stay off my pain meds.  So I am a firm believer in drugs as a serious item that need to be carefully weighed before taking, whether it is IBProfen or Prednisone or hormones.

Anyway, my two cents.  For better or worse, our son is 19 and has always been set in his ways when he makes up his mind, so we have virtually no say on this.  The bitter irony is, for years we were pushed by schools to put him on various medications to improve attention span, etc. but we absolutely resisted since M and I did not want to put our son on drugs.  He has also been diagnosed with anemia, but will not take medicine for that.  In a word, argh.  🙂

WIfe M and I start attending a parent group in a couple of weeks for parents of transgender kids. We want to do the best we can to be supportive but also realistic, and this group will hopefully help.

Nervous about the number of kids who are experimenting with hormones, which seems off the charts.

Happy that I made the best of Son R’s birthday :)

Son R turned 19 yesterday.  He insisted the past week he didn’t want to celebrate — didn’t want us to buy him dinner and didn’t want a cake.  But Saturday I went and got a collection of 6 cupcakes anyway, deciding that even if he didn’t want to celebrate I’d at least offer cupcakes to whoever wanted one since the day he was born was an important day to me, too 🙂 Then last night after my inquiring and inquiring (not insisting, just asking) if he wasn’t sure that he didn’t want dinner, he requested Thai food take out.  Mother-in-Law J was there too, so I walked down and got take out for Son R, Daughter L and Mother-in-Law J (I don’t like Thai Food so had leftover pizza) and the four of us had dinner and chatted.  Then I brought out the cupcakes just as Wife M returned hom from her night out with the girls (Wife M doesn’t like drama — one of the many things I love about her — so she’d had enough asking R about his birthday so made other plans), and we sang happy birthday and had cupcakes.  (I also got him a card that all of us had signed, with some cash and a gift card inside).  I think it actually turned out to be an awesome birthday evening for him and us. He seemed happy.  It was great. 

Happy that I made the best of Son R’s birthday :)

***First world problem alert***: Am amazed at how people load dishwashers (and washing machines)

My mom had an obsession with how the dishwasher was loaded.  I remember many an evening where my mom would get after my dad, sister or I about how the dishwasher was loaded.  So I learned at a pretty early age the importance of loading a dishwasher.  Similar items (e.g. glasses, plates, bowls, etc.) are grouped together and are loaded in the correct area; things need to have a little bit of space; and the correct amount of detergent goes in with the correct setting. This ensures things are chipped plus — just as important — things come clean.

Over the years, we’ve had many people stay with us, and they are sometimes kind enough to do a load of dishes or two while they stay.  And I’ve noticed how *few* people are disciplined in their dishwasher loading.  For example, glasses are stacked on top of each other (how can they possibly come clean)?  Plates, cups, bowls and other items are randomly thrown in, so there might be four glasses leaned over, with a bowl tossed between them, then a plate, then two cups put in sideways, then a glass, etc.  It is amazing 🙂

The biggest thing to me is the cleanliness.  A dishwasher works by soapy water running up and through various items, then rinsing out that soapy water with clean water.  This happens when the spinners spin and there is an unblocked area for the water to run through, so when a glass is stacked on top of another glass, or a cup is put in sideways, or a bowl is crammed in next to a plate, they can’t possibly come clean.  I think many people think when they put in a dish, the dirt just magically evaporates 🙂

On a related note, laundry is like that, too.  There are items that are washed in dark, some in light, some in hot water and some in cold.  So four loads (plus handwashing).  Some items go in the dryer, some are hung flat to dry, and some are hung on hangers with the top button buttoned (to retain shape).  I’m amazed at how many people just throw the clothes in and turn on the machine, then throw all the clothes in the drier.  Unfortunately, I’ve lost a few clothes over the years by a kind person throwing a light item in with dark, washing it on warm and putting it in the drier (I lost an expensive pair of pants that way just last year). Again, my mom was obsessed about laundry, but stopped doing our laundry when I was around 10, so I learned at an early age the importance of reading tags and separating items.

Because I know I am particular about that, I have generally done the dishes and the laundry in our house, and it can be challenging for me to delegate.  I’ll delegate the fixing of a faucet or the cooking of a dinner no problem (which I hate doing and honestly am not very good at) – but the dishes and the laundry are my territory!

Anyway, I am spending this morning cleaning up the dishes after a person was kind enough to clean the dishes for us yesterday 🙂

 

 

***First world problem alert***: Am amazed at how people load dishwashers (and washing machines)

Am thinking of the year dad got up at 5 AM on Christmas morning to help me on my paper route

Dad loved Christmas morning.  He loved showering his kids with gifts and watching us revel in the thrill of Christmas morning. Mom was a saver (i.e. didn’t like to spend money), so we didn’t always get the most expensive gifts as kids when mom/dad were still a young couple trying to pay a mortgage, but dad definitely got an A for effort… 

Every Christmas, dad would make a big show of having us wait outside the living room while he lit the fire, turned on the tree, got the camera ready and so on, then he’d give us the okay and we’d race in.  He was always just as involved with our opening our presents as we were, sitting nearby, feeling as excited about us opening our gifts as we were getting them.  It was like every gift and every Christmas was like The Old Man in A Christmas Story giving his son the air rifle.  Wife M is that way, too – she loves giving gifts more than getting them (and she loves getting them). 

Even as teens and then adults, dad ensured this still happened by upping the ante – buying us electronics, giving us cash, etc. One year, mom was recuperating from surgery so could not keep an eye on dad during Christmas season – that was the most amazing Christmas we ever had as far as gifts go 🙂  Later, when we had kids, the cycle started over again with his grandkids – when we arrive at the house he does everything he can to make it an awesome experience for all of us 🙂  

But in 7th grade I had a paper route,  Which means before we could start our Christmas morning, I’d have to spend an hour or two delivering 100 papers over a 6-block area.  Dad couldn’t wait that long, and didn’t want my sister (in 4th grade) and I to wait that long, so after hosting his inlaws until 1 AM on Christmas Eve he got up at 5 AM that Christmas morning, pulled my sister and I out of bed, and the three of us piled in his van and delivered the papers together so we could have our CHristmas morning at 7 AM.

What a wonderful memory that is.  I feel love when I think of that memory. 🙂

Am thinking of the year dad got up at 5 AM on Christmas morning to help me on my paper route