Saturday, October 27, 2012

Growth and Competence

Playing Free Cell and pondering…

I have a wonderful friend who suggested that I make a visual representation for what I want to pursue professionally.  We had thrown around some terms when we met, and I have been piddling with it, mostly terrified to tackle the lay-out, but anyway I started it.

And walked away.

And started it and walked away and this is three weeks of this nonsense.

As I was playing Free Cell and thinking about how I *should* be working on this other thing, I had another thought about what needed to be added.  I need to work with people who embrace and support growth.

Well, no kidding. 

It seems obvious, but this is a huge thing that I have recognized. One of the things that I loved about turning 40 is what I call, “implied competence” which means that I am not spending the first 6 months of a job proving myself. I got a pretty sweet gig fairly young, but I had to spend a lot of time demonstrating my effectiveness when I think someone older would have not had to. And I was a chick.  I was good at my job, but I had a lot to learn about navigation. This brings me to growth and change.

I spent so much time showing people that I had the answers; I knew what to do; I was ON IT. It never occurred to me to even imply that I was not on my game 100%.  The implied competence of being over 40 gives me some breathing room to say, “I am working on that…..”  “I am still learning….”  “You know, I had never thought of it. Give me some time to consider that option.” 

I want to be around people who recognize that not knowing everything is OK and that growth, professional or personal, shows depth not weakness.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hello, is this thing on....

Nothing for over a year. But there is nothing like a trip to Disney to get me aaaaaaaallll ramped up.

To the guy on the Disney bus: You were traveling with your parents and your wife. No offspring; just four grown ups having a little autumn fun. You, however, do not seem to be made for fun or even happiness.

When the older woman got on, your dad, with his gray ponytail and “Think Outside the Box” shirt jumped to give her his seat. Not you, Mr. ThirtySomething. Your dad clearly taught you well; I saw his example. Your mom sat next to my daughter, having a pleasant conversation between someone who clearly knows how to talk to children and a child. She echoed Meara’s excitement, asked clarifying questions and laughed at all the right places.

Poor older lady. She just wanted to be able to sit from the Magic Kingdom to the Coronado Springs Resort. Once you found out she was from Texas, wow, did you pounce.

Can you imagine how ridiculous you looked? You were on a bus, traveling in near-complete safety from the happiest place on earth to a Disney moderate resort. You were not being shelled (though I do thank you for your military service. You are not wholly without redeeming qualities); you were not being taken anywhere with a sack over your head; you were not being persecuted in anyway—no back of the bus; voter rights in tact; allowed to apply for any job you want; able to go to college, which you also mentioned.

Bearing all of that in mind, you have the nerve to say that God is no longer blessing our country? WHAT THE WHAT? White, presumed-Christian, American male? You do not believe you are blessed with your full-of-Disney food stomach and reasonable attractiveness? It is hard for me to imagine that you have scarcely been denied anything, ever. NOT BLESSED? You are an idiot.

And so here is the thing….the way you presented it does not paint Christians in a very good light.

 1) You make God sound like a bit of an egoist. If Americans don’t show their love enough (and in ways that apparently you understand which I find presumptuous), He quits blessing them? Why would you worship someone who is so needy and dependent on your devoted affection? Congratulations, you have just turned God into some passive-aggressive bad boyfriend.

2) You sound like a whiny, crybaby bitch as you sit warm, fed and unharmed IN THE MIDDLE OF WALT DISNEY WORLD talking about how unblessed the US is. If God is not blessing us/US, it is because simpering ninnies like you don’t know how to be grateful for what you have. If He is as petulant as you paint him, I would guess it is the lack of gratitude that has Him removing us from favor, not some political agenda and DADT.

If you are going to try to win hearts for God, you might not want to make Him sound like such a jerk.

Moving on to your rant about how Christians can be mocked and persecuted and “nothing happens” but if you say one thing about Muslims, there are riots. I am guessing during your college experience you missed out on things like sociology or comparative religions or political geography. Maybe your military travels kept you in the US and you are just blindly ignorant, I don’t know. But here is the lesson that you needed to have, but I did not give because……WE WERE IN THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH AND THESE DISCUSSIONS HAVE A TIME AND PLACE. The bus to Coronado Springs is not one of those places.

 1) Most people living in Muslim countries are fighting to survive. How do they have time for these riots and uprisings? THERE ARE NO JOBS. They are hungry, and hunger makes people hateful. They have a lot of anger on their hands and the time to dispense it.

 2) They have never had an opportunity to learn more about the world than what they hear as gossip and sermon. It is not like they can grab a copy of the NYT or even watch FOX News and get another perspective. They have one perspective and no prospects of any new ones anytime soon. They rise up because they don’t know anything different. Where would they hear anything other than “Americans are stealing our wealth and hate Mohammed”?

That explains why Muslims riot when we mock their Prophet. Why don’t Christians rise up when they feel Jesus has been mocked?

1) They are educated for the most part. Most have enough worldly knowledge to say, “Your bullshit does not offend me or weaken my faith.” Well, maybe they don’t say “bullshit,” but that is what they mean. And maybe is does offend them, but in our society, we try to take offense with a little grace and dignity. We don’t take the ignorance or even the meanness of others personally when they insult our faith. We write it off as what it is---ignorance or meanness—and then go about our lives.

 2) We have the comfort of not having time to start lighting government buildings on fire. We are at work and at school; we are too productive to be anarchists. Our educations afford us the luxury to be gracious and polite. That’s right…..the luxury. And if the last two points don’t make you see how blessed we are, your religion is not teaching how to be appreciative, compassionate or fully human. My religion, with which I am sure you would have MANY problems, teaches that gratitude is available in all things and that compassion is damn-near mandatory.

 So applying Anna’s Three Rules of Compassion to you, my bus buddy:

Anger is fear in disguise. I don’t know what you are afraid of, but I hope you figure out and worth through it.

It’s not about me. This one does not really apply to this situation, but it is worth noting. I managed to get all worked up (fear that the diddlyboobs will rise up and take over), but really, the issues were all yours.

Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have at the time. At this time, you have fear and ignorance and maybe some borderline paranoia issues. I know that nothing I could have said would have made one bit of difference. I hope in a different time and place you find a way to present the joyful, loving example of Christianity and not the side that makes non-Christians nervous about the future.

 Disney Granny who got on our bus: I hope you had a lovely trip.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Relying on Google

I joked for several years that I do not need to know anything anymore, because I have Google and a smartphone. My reliance on Google and the smartphone became clear this evening. Will cannot find his iPod. He always is incredibly careful with it, so I know it is here, just not its exact location. I did what I always do when I need to know something---I picked up my phone. I realized I was getting ready to Google, "Where is Will's iPod?" Google has its limits.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vacation is all screwed up

It is supposed to be 98 in Santa Claus, Indiana on Thursday, with a heat index of 106. I did not think that would make for a fun day at Holiday World. Being a go-with-the-flow kind of girl (at least 80% of you laughed so hard coffee came out your nose when you read that), I changed our plans. We will do Holiday World on Tuesday (only 93!) and see Mammoth Cave in September.

We are a little bummed, but I am modeling adaptive behavior. Speaking of that, I will update on most of what we learned about Will. It is a long post. The child is a mystery. The first bit I will share is that he has reversed dominance. That means his brain chose the wrong hand. All of his indicators would say, "This is a left-handed person." For example, one test times how long it takes to put golf tees in a peg board in a pattern. It was 70 seconds on the right; 68 on the left....a nearly 50/50 split with left being slightly preferred. Most people have an 85/15 split for the preferred hand. The thing is....Will is right handed. He never showed any ambiguity on this; always ate right, colored right, reached right. I know kids who *demonstrated* dual capability. Will *possesses* dual capability, but demonstrates strong preference.

Handwriting issues like his are either visual-spatial or motor. His V-S score was excellent, so it is all motor. He has claimed for years that he is ambidextrous, and I shrugged it off. I had him do two handwriting samples last could not tell which had was dominant. They both sucked ;-) but left sucked slightly less.

Friday, July 15, 2011


I was getting antsy about the test results for Meara, so I began a badgering campaign on Monday. I have been speaking mostly with the hospital neuro dept and the office of their pediatric epileptologist. FINALLY, yesterday, the ped's office called to say that they had the results and that Meara showed "substantial pro-seizure activity" in the right frontal area.

Um. OK. Well, WHAT THE FUCK? Last time, it was in the Cz point on an EEG. I immediately called Dr. Patel's office and said, "What the fuck?" though in a more reasonable way that would not scare off his nurse practitioners who don't know me like he does.

Being the insane (but lovable!) woman that I am, I starting all kinds of premature research. I did not have the medical vocabulary that I needed,(Foci drift? Foci migration?) but I did find that it is not terribly unusual as the nervous system matures. It is unusual for it to not happen during a major change, like into or out of puberty. Anterior to posterior was more likely for Meara's age group than hers which moved anterior.

So, the message I left for Dr. Patel's office was something along the lines of asking if I should be looking for something different in presentation or if we need to change anything.

This is where things get kind of weird. The hospital called today and said that their doctor had done the transcription this morning and that they were sending the results to the ped. I said, "They called yesterday with the results; thanks for getting those to the right doctor for us." "I didn't fax those yesterday. The transcription was not done until this morning." "Did someone else send the preliminaries over?" She did not know, but wanted me to know she was sending the whole thing over to the ped.

Dr. Patel's office called just a few minutes later and asked me to clarify what I knew. I told them what I knew, which was little, but that I just needed to know what the changes meant. She said she would call me back.

Dr. Patel wants the CD of the EEG. This was obviously not what he expected. The CD won't be ready until Tuesday. The hospital has said that they will release the CD to a family member to FedEx to Ohio. I know he read the first one she had with him. I wonder if he will want the ones she had at two-days old and three-months old as well.

So that is where we stand on the little one. We find out all of Will's issues tomorrow. These kids and their brains!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

You don't have to know *everything*

I get that, but it bugs me when other people know more about my kids' health than I do. Like the results of an EEG and the results of Will's five hours of tests this week.

That does cause me to revisit the therapist issue. I will be fascinated, I am sure, about what we find out about Will. Right now, it looks like an auditory processing issue, though we won't know for sure until next Saturday. How much time and money would we have spent with one of the other two options who had no interest in even testing for this? One said he was fine. One said we could just change the way we all act. Will would have continued to struggle; I would have continued to want to put him on ebay, sold by the pound. As Jo said in the comments: It makes you wonder who is getting quality care and who is not.

Friday, July 08, 2011

No, honey, that's great

So Chris calls and says, "If I tell you about a job interview, will you be upset?"

Head: "No, honey! I have been looking for work for nine months with no success, but you have interviews falling out of the sky for jobs you want. PLEASE tell me all about it."

Mouth: "No! Tell me!" in my ultra-supportive wife voice.

There is an area of IT called "black hat," and it really is all Chris has wanted to do. Pen testing is what excites him and is his dream job. He was talking to a guy at work about training that some of the other departments get to see how he could get that paid for. It quickly turned into an interview. They have a position open; they were getting ready to get a contractor, but the manager really would rather have Chris. It has escalated up to the division manager level in just a few hours.

I mean, good for him and all, know. My professional life is in the shitter.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Sleep deprivation

Remember how many nights I spent driving around Geist on Snooze Cruises with Meara? Every night for two years and often in the middle of the night as well. She needed the sound of a diesel engine to fall asleep. (Some babies just nurse...what was wrong with that girl?)

And now I am trying to keep her awake all night? This just seems wrong. We will start with Tangled, light some sparklers. Move onto goal is 4 AM. If we make it to 3:30, I am OK with it. Chris will get her up at 7.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Checking in

I am checking in because I said that I would.

Meara and I went to COH yesterday to see Dr. Neuro Cutie Pants for what we hope is the last time. I was prepared to fight for an EEG, since she has been seizure free since Feb 9, 2010. The protocol is to wait until 24 months, do an EEG, if it is clear, then wean off meds. He suggested the EEG and gave me the weaning schedule. He said several times, "I am only doing this because I trust you. I have never given the weaning schedule without a clear EEG." Then we talked about our nightmare insurance (fuck you, Advantage!) and how to actually get an EEG. The plan we derived was to have our ped call it in at the hospital where we have coverage. Either the epileptologist at the hospital could read it and call the results into Dr. Neuro Cutie Pants or our ped would just send them to him.

To my shock and amazement, Meara is scheduled for her test at 9 AM on Tuesday. Conveniently, she needs to be sleep deprived for the test. I am certain that on the night before, obnoxious teens in my neighborhood will blow up fire crackers up to the state-mandated end time of 1 AM. Perfect. The last time we did this, we kept her up until 3 and got her up at 7. I don't know if we can pull that off again, but it will be close.

I am trying not to get excited. I am trying to keep Meara's expectations in check, which of course they are. When we talked about it, I said that the test might show that she still has some unusual activity. She just said, "Then I will keep taking 6 milliliters in the morning and six more at night." That one has perspective, for sure.

As for Will, the neuropsych has this week off, which is why we have no updates on that front. Testing will begin, hopefully next Friday or Saturday. He has been a nightmare this week. I really just want to drug him and be done ;-)

I finished and forgot to mention the flirting. I did it. I flirted with Dr. Neuro Cutie Pants. His profile on the website said his fellowship is in neurophysiology. "How many times a week does your wife look at you, shake her head and call you a nerd?" giggle giggle smile

He was really sad to say goodbye to Meara. She is the patient he has had the longest. He started seeing her when she was 20 months. He got a little teary, which was sweet. He kept telling Meara, "I will miss you, but this is a good thing. When you are a neurologist some day, you will understand." Of course Meara told him that she is "all of the ologists."