Thursday, October 18, 2007


One of the first words Patrick learned to spell as a kid was "pizza."  So, my parents and I learned to call it "azzip."  When he figured that one out, it became "that round food" and various other euphemisms.

Today at school, M proved once again that she is sharp as a tack.

(I made a vow to myself a couple of years ago, when I began to read blogs of folks who have autism, that I would never want to be "that teacher who thought I was dumb."  At the time, I was thinking of Now-Seventh-Grade-E, but that promise, as I was reminded today, applies to all of the kiddos in my class.)

In any event, M very much likes PE.  She especially likes to run laps, which helps her expend some of her excess energy -- and, I think, helps her constipated and impacted BMs be just a little easier and less painful.

Well, all the kids in my class go to general education classes for at least small parts of the day, barring one -- whose parents specifically requested that she not.  The fourth graders (Bulldozer, Boss, and PH) go to PE.

We have all very quickly learned to tell them, "Oh, it's time for Mrs. Teacher K's class!"

(And before you say it, yes, I should be desensitizing her to the word PE.  Please allow me to desensitize her to the notion of others using the bike and computer first.  The word PE provokes loud requests; the other two can provoke physical responses.)

In any event, today I told tow of my aides, "Oh, because of the assembly yesterday, that class we don't mention is today at 9:55."

Not two seconds later, we hear:  "PE!  Run!  PE, run!  PE time!  Let's go!  PE!  Run.  PE, run?  PE time?  PE time!  PE!  Let's go PE!"

Sharp as a tack, I'm tellin' ya.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

California Version 2.0

So, the Disney blogs are abuzz with today's news of the proposed revamp of California Adventure.

As usual, I'm ambivalent about the news.

On the one hand, some of the new stuff sounds very cool.  I adore Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, so the upcoming Toy Story Mania sounds neat (I'm a sucker, apparently, for interactive rides...not a surprise, really, given how much I loved Horizons).  Patrick, being the Disney history buff that he is, will love the interactive Walt Disney Story.

But on the other hand, I kinda like DCA as it is today.  It's lower-key than Disneyland, but I like that.  I like feeling like I can meander through the park and take my time.  I don't feel pressured that if I don't zoom through all the attractions that I'll miss something.

So, we'll see.

Of course, if they can make it look as awesome as DisneySea, all will be forgiven.

The Mini Has Landed

I am a total nerd. I find opening, and setting up, new computers to be a fun and exciting process.

More later.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Something Else the 21st Chromosome is Good For

So, I'm working on journals for next week (I have, unfortunately, finally caught up with what was done ahead of time) and distracting myself with a nifty Flikr group highlighting pictures of folks with Down syndrome, when I run across this.

For those of you who don't want to click on the link, it is a little boy (I'd guess two to three years old) chewing his tumb!

Several years ago, while my mom was chatting with Chaline's mom, they got to talking about medical issues. Somehow, one of them mentioned that neither of them sleep well. Chaline has sleep apnea -- for which they can no longer do surgery like removing her adenoids because she's now on coumadin for her blood clots -- and Chaline's mom mentioned that Chaline chews her thumb while she sleeps!

For years, Patrick always had one or the other thumb in his mouth. He still chews his thumb, but only -- by his own report -- when in the shower and when underwater in our grandpa's pool (why he came up with that rule nobody knows).

The thing is, most kids suck their thumbs. Until Chaline's mom mentioned it, I had never known anyone who chewed their thumb rather than sucked it.

And now I find this little guy.

Seriously, is there a 'thumb chewing' gene somewhere on that 21st chromosome that kicks in when there's three copies of it?

(For the record, from what I can see, neither Superhero, Elastigirl, Princess, nor the Boss chew their thumbs, but still...the fact that of the three people I know (of) who do, all three have Down syndrome is kinda odd.)

Monday, October 15, 2007


Have you ever been so tired your eyes hurt?  I don't mean a headache behind your eyes -- I mean the eyes themselves, right at the bottom eyelid.

I was never prone to insomnia until I started teaching.  It comes and goes now -- and, fortunately, has been mostly "gone" the last year or so.

However, I think that over the past week, I might have slept a total of two hours a night.  It's gotten to the point that I forgot to copy News-2-You at school today, and then forgot to bring home social studies -- which I was pointlessly going to modify.

I say pointlessly because I'd also forgotten that we have an assembly tomorrow when we normally read Charlie and that we will have to read Charlie tomorrow afternoon -- thus, no time for social studies.

So despite the fact that I will surely hate myself for this as early as, say, tomorrow, I plan to take some NyQuil (I've lost the Unisom I bought for Disney World and don't particularly want to drive to buy more) after dinner and try to sleep.

First, however, a couple tidbits from today:

1.  Only 3 meltdowns on a Monday.  Not bad, Bulldozer.

2.  Superhero's sister is sick.  Superhero doesn't appreciate this.  This means K gets all the attention.  Superhero REALLY doesn't appreciate that.

3.  Aide K started crying today because she just doesn't understand what she's supposed to do.  This was after I'd used the visual supports in the classroom to place kids at tables, told which adults to go to which table, and then told which kids to go to which adults.

4.  There was a sub aide today in one of the 2nd grade classes that has two kids fully included (M and J).  She is Aide K's long-lost sister.  She was inside the boy's bathroom after M and J finished and didn't notice they were gone, and later -- I swear to God -- was seen rolling around in the grass.

5.  The weather was cold, dreary, and drizzly.  I LOVE IT!  :-)

I think that's it.  Maybe more later if the NyQuil doesn't work...there's no point laying in bed staring at the ceiling.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

They Do Say it All Started With a Mouse

Just before the train fiasco (a.k.a. Broken Ride #1), we stopped to watch the daily Flag Retreat Ceremony.

I got distracted, as I often do, and noticed that the trees in front of the marque for the "About Disneyland" movie, as Patrick calls it, had given it an apropos new name.  :-)

An All-Mac Family

So, my mom's Dell (about which Blogger once deleted a CAPSLOCK OF RAGE) has died.  It crashed in the middle of re-installing Service Pack 2 and won't boot.  I (stupidly) said that I could hook up the drive to an external hard drive enclosure, add a new hard drive to the computer, and resurrect the files on it.

Fortunately, my mom decided instead that she wanted a Mac Mini.  Patrick has been using my old faithful iBook since I got my PowerBook nearly 4 years ago now, which means that the iBook is -- I think -- close to 7 years old.  He's familiar with the Mac platform, and will be able to more safely use the Internet on a Mac (clicking bad things won't install viruses, for example).

I will still have to put the Dell's hard drive into an external drive enclosure -- it's got several hundred slides I've been slowly scanning, for instance -- and pull over my mom's iTunes library.  But hopefully this is the end of the CAPSLOCK OF RAGE.

That means that between me, my mom, my brother, and my grandfather, among us we have: three Shuffles (1 first gen and 2 second gen), a 1st gen iPod, a 3rd gen iPod, a 5th gen iPod, an iPhone, an iBook, a Titanium PowerBook, a G4 Mini, and a Core Duo Mini.

My dad and grandpa -- both of whom had PCs when they ran off of things that looked like cassette tapes and plugged into your TV -- are either loving that we're geeks or turning over in their graves that we're Mac geeks.

Me, I'm just amused that all of this has resulted from the fact that when I started working as an aide, I bought an iBook so that I could run iTunes, which was the best media player of its kind at the time.

'Course, that's exactly what Apple wants; they even have a name for it -- the Halo Effect.

Edited to add:  I'm an idiot.  I still have Sparky, my faithful PC, that exists solely to run Boardmaker and Writing with Symbols.  Someday, when I get an Intel Mac, Sparky is going away and I'll run XP in Parallels just for those two programs.

Presented Without Comment

Coming Home

Patrick has not been to Disneyland since mid-July, when he went with his girlfriend for one last hurrah before our annual passes expired.  We had decided not to renew them until after Disney World, and as one thing led to another, we ended up not renewing them until yesterday.

Kristina Chew of often describes the ocean as her son Charlie's home.  I think in many ways, Disneyland is Patrick's.  Not out of any particular love for the characterst, but for those familiar rides that he associates with important things.

At Disneyland, things don't change.  Star Tours is Star Tours.  It will be the same ride, with the same dialogue, and the same environment, today, tomorrow, and next year (until they update it, as rumored).

At Disneyland, things are predictable.  The train will always go from Main Street to New Orleans Square to Toon Town to Tomorrowland and then past the dinosaur diorama (which terrified Patrick until we named the dinosaurs after characters in the show Dinosaurs).

Life isn't predictable, as Patrick has had to learn as he's gotten older.  Sometimes things don't work out the way you plan them -- for instance, your dad isn't here to see your high school graduation -- but at Disneyland, things are always the same.  And if they do change, it's easily predictable and takes a long time (say, the construction of the Nemo subs).

Ironically, our trip yesterday involved a lot of unpredictable things.  The first ride is always the train, which broke down.  It's a Small World broke down (the motors that keep the current going stopped, and the boats drifted lazily back and forth in the silent room -- they turned the music off -- while the characters still moved and was eerie).  We then went to the Jungle Cruise, where the microphone didn't work.  After dinner at the Plaza Inn to watch the fireworks, Patrick and I went over to Space Mountain (for Patrick's first ever ride in California; he rode it in Florida and loved it) -- which, yup, broke down as we were about 9 trains' worth back in line.  (It restarted shortly.)

But it was still Disneyland, the place where Patrick seems most comfortable.