Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Upside Down - not pineapple cake

The whole world is upside down. The price of a barrel of oil has absolutely tanked. Schools are cancelled and the Education Minister in Alberta fired 20 000 Educational support staff - then the Premier of Alberta defended her decision and blamed it on the chief medical officer. He is a complete and total idiot. (The chief medical officer Dr. Hinshaw has been doing a PHENOMENAL job of dealing with this crisis in the province.)
I am lucky to be working from home, still making an income and able to be with the kids since there is no school. I feel like I should be more grateful but I am crazy stressed. Each day is a roller coaster emotional ride.
The furnace went out. We have been trying to heat the house with space heaters until the furnace can be fixed, but we can only have three space heaters going or the breakers trip. It has been storming, snowing and blowing, and we are snowed in. I have food and no reason to leave the house, but not being able to leave has a different feeling than being able to leave and choosing not to.
I have internet. I am able to be in contact with friends and family. I am able to get my work completed every day.
My list of things that I want to accomplish in the house is getting longer and longer. I feel like I am falling further and further behind.
I just feel completely disorganized and detached.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Self Isolation and Covid-19

Coronavirus. Covid-19.
I'm fairly certain that 3 months ago Covid 19 was something I had "vaguely" heard of.  Now it the center of my life, and the lives of everyone in the world. I wanted to start journaling what life is like through this whole thing, but I'm not so sure it will be very interesting. 
By the time this is posted everyone in the world will know about it - probably more than we know right now. 
Today is March 29. There are 6,243 cases in Canada and 661 cases in Alberta. Currently in Peace River there are 8 cases - those are the cases closest to us. 
On March 15 in Alberta all of the schools were cancelled. It was also the day I started to work from home. I have my laptop and my phone from work and I am completing all of my meetings via phone and zoom conference. When I got the news that I was to work from home I was super excited. I thought for sure my home was going to be spotless and I was going to have delicious home cooked meals every night.  Number 2 son - whom I will refer to from this point on as "Hurricane" has thwarted my designs on being a domestic goddess throughout this self isolation thing. 
It is crazy hard to have a work schedule and a home schedule when I'm home all day. I am on call all the time so even when my work hours are officially "over" I feel as though I am never off the clock. It was a lot easier to do when I was in the office and would physically walk away from work, even though I was still on call. 
My plans for a spotless house are not even CLOSE to fruition. I gave up on that plan and decided to make a list of projects I would like to accomplish while I am working from home.  I thought I would work on doing one thing a day so that I would still feel like I was getting somewhere, but even that has not been successful so far. Then yesterday the blower motor on my furnace died. It was -28 degrees C yesterday. I have space heaters in the hallway, the bedroom, and the living room. Unfortunately the space heaters keep tripping the breakers. Ugh. It's all a huge mess. 
I called the heating guys in Fairview yesterday and they sent out a motor. Ben came to put in it but it is the wrong size. It has been storming here for a few days already and the snow is not scheduled to stop anytime soon. 
I have a full day of work tomorrow but I also need to get the furnace fixed. Negotiating all of this is a struggle - and doing it alone makes it harder. 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Collapsing Stars

Carl Sagan said " The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, was made from the interior of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff."
The first time I read this I felt as though it meant I was part of something infinite - which is motivational when infinity is a happy place. I believed that it meant I am a part of something that existed before and will continue to exist after I am no longer here. I felt a connection to the universe in an elemental way and the connection felt good.
Right now I am equally convinced I am made from collapsing stars, but not in the way I first interpreted Sagan. 
Collapsing stars are black holes. The infinity of this moment is exquisitely painful - as I would imagine the gravitational force of a cosmic implosion and the creation of a black hole would be. The absence of light, complete destruction. 
My pain feels as old as the stars and as expansive.  It's not a tap root that I can pluck out of my soul. It is Pando, the trembling giant. The largest single living organism, 80 thousand years old and 6 million kg. Heavy, alive and growing. The only connection I feel in this infinite moment is the connection to greater and deeper root system of pain. This infinity is lonely, and dark, and burning cold. What I think I know about black hole's is that nothing that we suspect has gone in has ever come out - at least as we know it in this dimension. It is theorized that black holes in our universe are the beginnings of universes elsewhere. If this infinite moment ends I won't exist anymore - not as I have existed before. Is that creation then?

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Someone turns ten

Today is the tenth birthday of my little guy. For a while we convinced him he had outgrown presents, then we convinced him he had only one. I thought it was funny - he did not! 

He wanted wonder woman waffles for breakfast and so that's what he got,. Next on the agenda was swimming at the multiplex. He had a great day - and got to wear his new orange dirt biking gear! 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Three Beautiful Things

1. Artwork from my youngest. Our cat "Orange".

2. More artwork . Zombie cat. Also Orange.
I'm sensing a theme here.

3. The artist himself. Strangely not in his favorite color. I'll let you guess what it is. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Thursday Thirteen: CANADA

It was Canada day this week so I am celebrating thirteen things I love about Canada.

1. Poutine
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2. Northern Lights

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3. Lake Louise

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4. Tim Hortons Coffee

5. Ketchup Chips

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6. Equal Marriage all across Canada Since 2005

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7. Terry Fox

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8. Viola Desmond

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9. Universal Public Healthcare

10. The Maple Leaf

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11. Smarties

12. Beavers

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13. John Candy

We have failed the children.

I am writing this in response to an article published in the Globe and Mail about Children with Special needs in Ontario being asked to stay home from school for at least part of the day.

I'm not a parent of a special needs child in Ontario but I'm a parent of a special needs child who has experienced this EXACT thing.

Before I continue let me say that this has been a tough year for school administrators, teachers, aides, my sons and myself.  I am not attempting to lay blame on anyone for what has transpired. This is simply a small portion of what I have experienced this year.

I am NOT writing this to suggest I have the answers.
I am NOT writing this to demean any person that has worked with and for my son - tirelessly.

So what AM I saying then?

We have failed these special needs children.

My oldest son was suspended from school in November for asking for a pair of scissors so that he could kill the principal and kill himself. He is 11 years old and has been diagnosed with FASD. His functional age is somewhere in the 2 - 3 year old realm. He is a big boy - 5'9'' and over 230 pounds and he towers over most people in his school. He was suspended for Friday and when the weekend was over and I called to find out what was happening with him I was told he could not return to class until there was a plan in place to deal with his outbursts. He had many and they were not pretty. They devolved to the incident in which he asked for scissors. It took MANY MONTHS for a plan to be implemented and when that plan was implemented it was for him to attend school for one hour per day until he could tolerate more time being added.

An assessment was done by the school and a team of professionals which deemed him unsafe to be in school. I have never seen this assessment.

I do not doubt that the things he was doing in school caused him to be deemed unsafe. I don't doubt the horrible experience of those in the school who were dealing with him. I support the decision that was made that said " the traditional school environment is too much for this kid to handle" - (although nothing was ever said so concisely). I don't want to be the parent of a kid that goes to school and hurts others. Absolutely not. My kid is not a kid who fits into a traditional classroom setting  - and I get that.

What I AM saying is - there is no place for these kids. There is no place for MY SON in the educational system. Trying to advocate for him was an absolute nightmare in which a top school official called me a "liar" in one meeting in front of a HOST of professionals sitting around the table to attempt to solve this problem. (Needless to say that meeting was a treat to attend).

Getting him to school for one hour per day was RIDICULOUSLY difficult and impossible to maintain. I doubt any family with working parents could support this schedule.  I work full time and I had to find a full time babysitter who could take an eleven year old ALL day, every day,  - but get him to school for one hour of those days. I was blessed to be able to find someone amazing enough to take him, but she was not able to get him to school every single day. Neither was I. We both live more than 30 km from the school in one direction, and that's just ONE of the obstacles we faced.

There was no shortage of time and effort spent on trying to get him back to school. We had ENDLESS meetings with countless professionals - one meeting lasting longer than five hours into the evening.

We have failed these children.

The issue isn't the individuals in the school - some of them genuinely like my guy and are willing to work with him.
The issue isn't the funding  - there's a pretty significant chunk of change to support my guy in school.
There was simply no solution that worked for the school and worked for the family that provided any opportunity for my guy to learn. He is capable of learning.

He can't read or write. He can't do math. He has no friends. He has two places in the world where he feels safe to be himself  - where he is not a threat to anyone, but a kind and thoughtful and exceptionally hard working young man.

There's a handful of people who really want my kid to succeed, including people at his school, but there are no easy answers and while we look for solutions we are losing the kids.

WOO HOO!!!!!

I am back!!!!
I have a laptop and I am connected to the internet and I am BACK baby. YEAH.
I have missed blogging and there has been a crap ton happen in the last year that would have taken me away from blogging anyway, but things seem to be settling down now and I have the means with which to post so here I am.
So here's a quick update:
I am now separated and living alone with the two oldest boys. My goal is to get a divorce as soon as I am able but I have to wait until I have been legally separated for a year.
I am no longer fostering children. Unfortunately because I have to work full time I can't be home full time with the kids and we were licensed as a couple to be foster parents  - I was not licensed as a single person - I have lost the three littles to another foster home in another community. It has been the hardest thing to come to terms with out of everything that has happened and I miss them desperately - all the time.
Overall, I am happier than I have been for a LONG time - and that's saying something! Don't get me wrong - life is not easy - but things are looking up, and now I can get back to writing which I love and miss. Here we go. Keep your hands and arms inside the ride at all times.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Back in the saddle

Wow I can’t believe it has been two years since I have blogged. I am struggling to get my computer to log me into my blog so this is an attempt to write from my phone. We will see if I can sort out all the glitches and start posting again!