No school or work yesterday for us. I recently saw the Swoon exhibit with my friend and I was eager to share it with Greg and Kepler. Seizing the day, we ventured downtown to the Contemporary Arts Center.
(Just as an aside, first of all, the sky did not look like this since it was snowing! Secondly, as I have only approached the museum from the north, on the ground, I didn’t even know how cool the exterior is until I searched for images!)
We’ve been places with Kepler. He likes to rush on to the next thing. In an art museum, that can make it a little challenging to just … let … art … flow over you. (H/T to the character of Nick from the Big Chill for that phrase.) After a little flitting about, I noticed he settled down and started responding to the emotion of the pieces.
I loved seeing his response to the different displays. He had Greg’s iphone to carry around and snap photos. I had him take a picture of me in front of this Swoon piece because he looked at it and said, “Mom.” He sensed the maternal aspect of the woman and associated it with me.
His favorite piece of all was on the top floor in the Unmuseum. It looks like an old Airstream trailer, but is actually fabricated out of signs from Route 66. And it ROCKS! Like, literally. You can stand inside and rock it back and forth. He decided that he would like to have it in his room. So, we are thinking about how we can create something kind of similar for him.
And I’m just going to mention my ketogenic diet here again because prior to starting to eat this way, I would NOT have dreamed of going downtown to the CAC. I would have been laying around waiting for my next feed, like Fiona and her ilk. I have so much energy now. I love feeling good. It’s so precious after feeling so bad for so long. And we made some sweet, sweet memories.
The Swoon exhibit is marvelous, as is “A Shout Within a Storm” by Glenn Kaino. And if you haven’t been to the Unmuseum, (trust me), you want to go.
As Kepler’s (and my!) favorite book, Only One You, says, “Appreciate art. It is all around you.” Good advice indeed.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
I was having some trouble thinking of how to start this post. Well, now it’s started — with some very fine prose. This is actually one of my favorite opening lines to a novel. I’ve been experiencing the season of Light and the season of Darkness, as we all do. But there are some things that are WORKING!
When Sunshine Girl left for college in August, her bedroom asked us what was going to happen in there now that she had taken her art supplies, Snapchat conversations, books, extensive collection of coffee mugs (still growing!) and HIMYM marathons off to college. We turned it into an office for me. An office with a door, wall space, windows, and a closet. With the space to organize my things and write, having an office is WORKING!
Last post I mentioned Kepler is in 5th grade now. We had some excellent help in the spring as we worked on his IEP for this year. He is getting one-on-one instruction in reading and math and the effects are showing up in his reading at home. He loves his teachers and aides and I see him developing more and more independence. 5th grade is WORKING!
After years and years of being on the road for work, Greg took a job with a local organization he has wanted to work with for about 12 years. An opening arose earlier in 2017 and he started this new job on September 5th. He leaves in the morning and comes back in the evening. No more leaving on Sunday and coming back on Friday or Saturday. Can we all say, “Whew!” It’s been a lot of years trying to manage the challenges that go along with one parent being out of town the majority of the time. Greg living at home every day is WORKING!
Every so often I fall right into a juicy pot of wisdom and helpful practices and teaching. Many times I swim around a bit and get very excited about what I’m learning and then I go to sleep and the next morning I’ve seemingly forgotten everything I just learned and experienced yesterday. The past month has been a time where some of the things I’ve experienced and learned have come back into my consciousness and awareness and I’m remembering. I’m remembering. I think I’m starting to find a sweet spot where several of these rich experiences are converging. Remembering is WORKING!
Perfection reminds me of a mirage. I think I can see it off in the distance, and I imagine I’m coming closer and closer, only to have it fade away, time and time again. While I’m not looking for perfection anymore (at least not as much), I have a pretty old habit of thinking I should be able to attain it. I’ve devised some duplicitous ways of running after it without actually saying the word.
One step forward and two steps back is a real thing. Or two steps forward and one step back. Recently, though, I had a major realization that may only be two steps forward, but they are giant steps. A wise friend pointed out to me that my tendency toward literal thinking is NOT a defect. It is the way my brain works. Similar to the brains of persons on the autism spectrum who think very literally, turns out some brains of people not on the spectrum can have the same characteristic. I had become quite distressed over the past few years about thinking so literally. It got me into trouble in many situations as I naturally took things very literally.
“I’ll be there a little after 11” means exactly that and it doesn’t occur to me that someone might hit all the green lights and arrive ten minutes early.
“I’ll pick up the drycleaning” means you will. pick it up. today. I don’t anticipate that you might have to drive some route that doesn’t go by the drycleaner today and you’ll get it tomorrow.
“You should not eat ice cream, sugary desserts, and junk food” means I should never eat those things.
Does that make sense to you? It wasn’t until my wise friend asked me to consider thinking about literal thinking differently that I could finally accept the way I naturally think. Am I hard-wired this way? I don’t know. Almost doesn’t matter. The key is that I no longer see it as a defect that I must somehow stamp out at my earliest opportunity.
What it DOES mean is that I can now recognize when it happens and I can be curious about how other people (who are not thinking literally) might interpret what is being said and how they might act on their interpretation. When you think very literally, it can be challenging to have a conversation with someone who is good at big picture ideas and making decisions on the fly. (I just might be married to someone like that.)
I’m like Amelia Bedelia. When Mrs. Rogers would ask her to do something, she always took it literally and ended up making comical mis-steps as she tried to do exactly what her employer had asked.
Well, it’s not so funny when you try to do exactly what someone has asked and it turns out not to be what they meant!
The realization that I don’t have to take things literally leads me to exciting new discoveries and freedom to experiment. While this is still an area I am growing in, understanding that my literal thinking is an ok part of my brain is WORKING!
I like to think I will be posting more often than every 3 months, and if I do, we might get some momentum going here on my blog reaching more people who might learn something from my journey. Thanks for reading!
One thing I noticed during my whirlwind month as a UPS driver helper is that people who have large houses clearly have someone else to help with a lot of things such as landscaping and housecleaning. I also noticed that landscaped gardens and pristine entryways (the only part of the houses I actually saw) appeal to me.
It All Begins with the Pilot
Just ask the people on Sully’s flight. But I speak of the Honda Pilot, our Honda Pilot that worked fine for all those two years and then unceremoniously died on the side of the road. After six weeks of hemming and hawing, to-ing and fro-ing, fricking and fracking, pro-ing and conning, we made the decision to sell the Pilot as was, and we began the search for a new vehicle.
I Love all of You Who Do Not Have a Garage
Once again, we purchased a vehicle in the summer that does not fit in our Hobbit garage. Which was all fine and good until cold weather appeared. The high school senior who resides here now drives the Camry, which does fit in the Hobbit garage, and is all snug on the cold mornings, backing out with her garage door opener button and excellent sound system and most importantly, complete lack of the elements affecting her ability to get going in the morning.
The Joys of Dressing a Child for the Cold
As any and every parent knows, dressing a child for the cold weather takes approximately 45 minutes and yields a good 3 minutes of outside time as a reward. When one’s child must ride the Big Yellow School Bus® to school, one embarks on that whole rigamarole with the gloves and the hats and the coats and the shoes and socks and the scarves and the backpack and the extra paraphernalia for gym class and music class and the sock drive for the month of January.
Which Brings Me To Closer To My Point
Kepler looks forward to the bus every day. He asks me at night whether he is going to get to ride the bus in the morning. So, we have no problems when it’s time to get all the gear on for the trek down the driveway to the bus. Currently, though, we are navigating some new gloves (see Blaze Orange Glomitt below) which take some time because getting the fingers one per opening is eluding us at the moment. But I’m nothing if not patient and I work those little tiny fingers in and out of the slots until finally the right ones are in the right place.
Then, since we are also still developing fine motor skills, I help with zippering the coat, putting on the tricky socks, locating the hat, scarf, and aforementioned paraphernalia.
Today it only took 6 hours minutes to get it all done, and off he went with my “Be careful on the sidewalk walk in the grass it might be slippery” admonishments going in one ear and out the other. Slowly, he walks. Carefully, he makes it down the stairs and all the way to the end of the driveway. I watch from the window waiting for the exciting school bus to arrive. When suddenly . . .
. . . he becomes aware that Nature is Calling. Right now.
Back up the driveway, up the steps, carefully across the sidewalk, gingerly across the porch, when he decides oh never mind, so back across the porch, down the sidewalk, to the steps, when oh yes mind and he come back again. At this point, I know I am going to be driving him to school, as well as reupholstering him with all of his winter gear.
Remember the Garage and the Elements?
Yeah, my car greets every morning perched on the driveway, his little windshield wipers raised to the sky in greeting, his little side mirrors tucked in, his little windshield taking on whatever rain, moisture or snow comes by in the night. So, now I get to prepare my car for a drive, even though my major plan for the morning was going back to my snuggly bed.
And The Comedy of Errors Begins
We bought the car in the summer, so didn’t think to check and see if there was a snow scraper included. Not that there should have been; I’m just used to having a snow scraper in permanent residence in my vehicles. But this morning, I discovered there is no snow scraper. And unlike the high school senior who can just jump in the car and GO GO GO, my car takes hella preparation. So, back in the house I go, scanning my overly decluttered home for an extra scraper, can’t find one, settle on the litterbox scoop, and head back out. All of this for a 3 minute drive, mind you.
Got the kid dropped off at school and decided to use the $5.00 coupon I managed to have on my person rather than leaving it at home to purchase myself a new scraper at the hardware store. The scraper is $4.49. Bonus! I’m not even going to have to shell out any money. The decidedly serious cashier says, all alarmed, I can’t use that coupon on a sale less than $5.00. Oh. My. God. I try a few things — can you charge me more for it? Can you just make up a charge for something like “Used Air while in Store?” But no. She suggests a Reese’s Peanut Butter Christmas Tree, something I need about like I need the hilarity of the morning. Finally decide on a whatever, and now I OWE $1.49.
Do I have $1.49 in my wallet? Well, yes, but it’s in the form of a $50.00 bill. Blanche does not appear to be willing to take my $50, so I charge the $1.49. But at least I have a scraper now.
Maybe Getting Closer to my Point Now
When I get home, after the 60 minute process of getting my son to his school which is 3 minutes away, I decide oh what the heck I’ll stay up and start on the laundry. When, much to my surprise, I discover this:
The lint screen. Did someone wash a black sheep in here? What the heck? This was from one load, by the way, and I couldn’t see anything that would have done such a dastardly thing to my lint screen. So, of course I cleaned the screen, and then noticed that some of the sheep had escaped around the edges, and I realized it was Time to Clean the Lint Screen Area.
The Three Hour Stove Cleaning
Years ago, I heard Dr. James Dobson speaking about how his wife had gone to clean the stove and ended up really deep-cleaning it. What the point of the lesson was I do not remember, but I think it was something like stay focused on what you are actually trying to get done.
But really, that lint screen showed me that there was subterranean needs in the lint-al area, so I finally located a screwdriver, flashlight, vacuum cleaner, important vacuum cleaning attachment, ETC. And now that puppy is all clean. And it’s 9:42, and something that normally would be completed by 8:00 has brought me all the way here, JUST now ready to look for some sustenance, get STARTED on the laundry, and get started on the day.
And you, my considerate readers, got the opportunity to read about the last 1 hour and 42 minutes in fine, minute-by-minute detail, so all is not lost.
All this to ponder the question of who vacuums the dryers of the wealthy. Alas, I do not have an answer, but I am going to presume that there are people out there who are available for hire. Perhaps I’ve found my new calling.
In the past year, Kepler has gotten very interested in giving and receiving greeting cards. As someone who has gotten out of the habit, I appreciate his enthusiasm and I like to make sure he has the opportunity to give cards to family members on their birthdays. As we were preparing for his birthday, he made sure to remind me that he would like a birthday card. You can see it above. Holy Cow™ does not have blue light shining through his holes. He’s just letting my laptop help him stand up better since he is paper-thin. (Har.)
So, he’s 11 years old today. He managed to find cards in his new pack of football cards featuring players wearing number 10 and also number 11. See?
Pretty much everyone has some opinion about Down syndrome and what “downs kids” are like. Oftentimes, people will mention that they think people with Ds are always happy. Anyone who lives with or parents a child (or adult) with Ds knows this is not the case, but there is something in Kepler that seems more innocent to me. Even though he of course has some worries and concerns, he is also most amazing at giving love and affection, and accepting love and affection in return.
And I think that his ability to give and receive love so beautifully may be starting to rub off on me. I’ve probably said this elsewhere, but having the four older kids so close together threw me into a PhD level course of parenting when I was really at a 2nd grade level, so I had to do a lot of studying outside of class to manage. And, as I’m sure my kids would agree, although I did my best, I couldn’t do it all!
So having Kepler at an advanced maternal age is sort of like starting over as a parent, with a group of one. I didn’t really know what to expect from my 40s and 50s, and I don’t think I really thought about it much when I was in my 20s and 30s. But the past 11 years have been so much harder and so much richer than I would have ever imagined, and it is in no small part due to this child, who gifts us with laughter and challenges and joy and new learning and fun and innocence and being able to continue to see the wonders of the world through a child’s eyes.
I’m closing with a song that resonates for me in reference to all my children, and I daresay it may resonate for you as well. Today, I celebrate Kepler, my beautiful baby.
A mere 12 days ago, I posted online the following: “Don’t feel like I have anything important to get out of bed for. What do I do?”
And, OF COURSE, I have plenty of important things people to get out of bed for, not the least of which is ME! But I just couldn’t see it. This is sometimes why my blog is very silent for weeks at a time. Who wants to read day after day, “All the lights of my life are going out. Sad. Blue.”
It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that the Black Dog of Depression has been my faithful companion for many, many years. But I am frankly tired of the Dog running the show.
Darling Daughter #1 asked me a few months ago if I would like to do C25K with her. (Couch to 5K) That got me off the couch and out there moving and grooving, but after a few weeks, I felt like I was exercising too hard for my age? physical condition? BMI? And I backed off from the running part to find the sweet spot in jwalking, my preferred method of exercise, interval training.
I happen to find great joy in allowing my music to play on shuffle when I exercise. It reduces the number of decisions I have to make in a day. Decision fatigue is a real thing. Plus, so many of my songs are like treasures to me, and when one starts to play, I get a rush of something REALLY positive in my brain, oxytocin or dopamine or whatever.
One day while exercising recently, I was just minding my own business, alternating walking and jogging, listening to my music, and one of the “Depression Sessions” came on. This is a series of talks I purchased a couple years ago, and haven’t listened to. Usually, I move on to the next song. But for some reason, this day, I listened.
The speaker was Nora Gedgaudas, whose book, “Primal Body, Primal Mind,” is now in my library, read, underlined, and acted on. As a matter of fact, I bought the book the very day I heard her speak, which I RARELY do, usually settling for ordering it from the library and even waiting if it is not available.
Having taken an anti-depressant for years, and still having had ups and downs, I knew that the anti-depressant wasn’t the be-all and end-all. Perhaps the doctor never said it would be, but I figured it should take care of any brain chemistry imbalance, and therefore should fix me.
Every time I feel up, I think I’ll be ok forever. Every time I feel down, I think no one has ever felt this bad; I will never ever feel good again; and why should I even try.
As I began to act on some of what I read in Nora’s book, I started to notice that I was feeling better. Today I have drawn an extremely artistic rendition of my experience.
I FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY decided to believe and act on the idea that nutrition affects my brain. So far, what I have done is to go gluten-free (except on the airplane in first class, which doesn’t happen that often), eat a much higher fat diet, and kick sugar to the curb. Also I eliminated caffeine and artificial sweeteners. I have also introduced ubiquinol and acetyl l-carnitine into my daily vitamins and minerals.
Yesterday, after being on this new plan for a couple of weeks, I completed this:
What is that, you say? THAT is a table full of homework and games to do with Kepler. Nearly an hour of working and playing together. (It took ten minutes to convince him to cooperate!) And THAT is something I haven’t been able to accomplish in many a moon.
So, here I am, clearing space for joy in my own life, and hopefully inspiring you in yours to keep trying, keep looking for solutions, and keep reading my blog!
And by twelve children, I of course mean one child who asks for twelve children’s worth of attention and energy! And by one child, I of course mean Kepler.
We have the benefit of the most amazing resource; an agency full of angels social workers who help families with all sorts of issues related to special needs. They have been working with us for several months on food and eating, and we have branched out to some community outings to deal with issues that arise in such settings.
One of the challenges of parenting this child is that he generally is not ready to leave a place when it’s time to go. I have tried using a timer, acting like I didn’t care if we left, speaking sternly, begging, pleading, groveling, and collapsing on the floor in a heap of despair. That last one REALLY doesn’t work.
The social workers from Envision encouraged me to write a short list of tasks for him to do when we go somewhere. Here is an example from a recent grocery store trip:
In the past, we might have had a three-minute tussle just getting through the foyer because he would disagree with my cart choice. It has been a complete godsend to begin using a list with him. The tasks are about as basic as they come, but he loves checking them off, and especially saying “ok,” as that means that he is obeying.
Get a cart.
Hold on to the cart.
Check with Mom first.
I daresay this might even work with typical children. I think children really love having a job to do, something specific to focus on, rather than just being the tail of a kite that is flying through a store and having to follow without giving any input.
This method also works when we are taking a walk. Greg had recently reminded me that at Toyota, they measure very small increments of things before reflecting on the failure or success of something. I had been taking Kepler for walks, but he would resist as soon as he figured out that the arc of the circle was now leading back home. Not sure if he thought we were just going to walk infinitely?
Whenever he and I take a walk, I have the path, duration, direction, and intention set before we even start, but I haven’t ever thought to share any of that with him. I just figured, I lead, you follow, the end. However, when I take the time to draw the map, show him the route, give him the job of stopping at each intersection and saying OK about which way we are going to turn, the walk becomes a joy all the way to the end, not just until the point where he says, “HEY WAIT A MINUTE WE ARE HEADING HOME.”
Sometimes the most basic things are the most profound. Making a short, written list makes all the difference in the world to how easy it is to make transitions from one place to another. (Thank you, Emilie and Yolanda, my angels social worker guides.)
So, now that Kepler is in 4th grade, he is eligible for Runner’s Club, which meets after school twice a week. I signed him right up and my plan is to run along with him each day. Last week was the first meeting where we got all the rules and regs. The route is about 1/2 mile long, and the kids are working their way up to running a loose 5k at the end of October.
I’m not sure if this is related to Down syndrome or not, but he gets super hot when he is outside, so it’s asking a lot of him to be outside in the hot, late summer weather, and even more to ask him to jog. So far, he has been mostly willing to walk, and the max number of reps we have done is 1.
Although the majority of the kids are going to be working toward a 5k, as I do with homework, I will adapt the goal for Kepler to more closely match his desires and abilities. I think it would be awesome for him to run one full lap by the time we finish. We shall see.
In the meantime, since Greg was able to attend RC with me yesterday, he waited with Kepler after Lap 1, so that I could attempt to do a second lap at a steady jog.
There I am, coming in for a landing, proud as a peacock because I made it the entire way. Kepler stood at the “finish line” with his arms held open to give me a celebratory hug.
Any tips for encouraging Kepler to jog more of the route would be much appreciated!
A couple days ago, I told you about Melodic Connections, a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for people with special needs to make music together. Today, I had the opportunity to help them as they re-code the new instruments they have received. Look closely at the guitar Tommy is playing here:
They have a color-coded system for the guitars and keyboards. I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I arrived today, but I most certainly did not expect to receive the gift of participants sitting there playing and singing. I wish I had taken a snippet of video so you could see the joy as they played and sang.
One of the Melodic Connections therapists was playing the piano, and another was playing the drums, so there was a clear melody and rhythm underlying the entire piece. I just got so excited while I was there. I love making music; I love this population; and I love helping people. Maybe there is a place for me to be a part of this program beyond dropping Kepler off and picking him up after class!
I am just learning about this organization, even though I have been seeing advertisements for it for the past 8 years, and I am really enthusiastic about their mission and vision and what they are accomplishing.
They are now looking for a new space for their studios and offices. I guess their old building was completely ruined when it flooded. They also lost all of their office equipment, computers, copy machines, etc. Can you imagine? What would it be like if I walked into my family room and it had flooded, taking with it all the electronics in here? We would lose at least two computers, multiple pieces of the tv and sound system set-up, lamps, furniture, my grandmother’s antique china cabinet, files, records. And a whole lot more.
About a million years ago, Greg and I went to a Michael Card concert at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and heard a song that has always stuck with me. I’m sure I have even written about it before. The concert was later played on the radio, so I was able to record it. I do not believe I have the cassette anymore, but I about wore it out back then. The idea of the song was that there are needs within my reach, and others that are not. The ones within my reach are the ones I can do something about.
Melodic Connections is within my reach. Although I cannot fix everything, I can do the part of one person, and share my vision with others. On their website, they have listed some of the things that they still need. You can be a part of the rebuilding of this excellent organization! Thanks for considering how you can help!
At the beginning of each school year, the volunteer opps flood in. Volunteer in the classroom, volunteer for the PTA, volunteer in the media center, volunteer for picture day, volunteer for classroom parties. This year I didn’t sign up for anything. Because frog.
Apparently I’m not the only person who gets into situations and then goes along without realizing all the ramifications.
Allowing Toast to spend time at his Nana and FauxPa’s has really opened my eyes to several forests I couldn’t see for the trees.
First of all, every move I make in our home, when the dog is here, must be evaluated in the moment to consider what it will mean for the dog. Will he eat these shoes if I leave them out? Will he jump on that person who comes in the door? Will he chew this up? Of course I realize puppies chew on things, and that it’s normal. But for me, it has been stressful to always wonder what the dog is going to do next when I am trying to focus on Kepler, or on some task.
Secondly, it wasn’t until today, the first school day I have had since the beginning of the year where I could focus exclusively on Kepler, that I realized how the combination of Kepler + Toast is actually pretty amazingly something else. I think part of what has been going on is that Toast never quite knows what Kepler is going to do next. And he responds to Kepler, so if Kepler is highly energetic, or inadvertently whips Toast into a frenzy, I find it challenging to handle both the needs of the dog, and the needs of the child, not to mention any little piddly needs I might have in the situation.
Third, while I was out this morning at my normal Monday meeting, I had the realization that I have been feeling like I have to rush home from wherever I am in order to let the dog out. Like, the crate is ok and very acceptable as it is plenty big, and Toast is crate-trained, but I have been feeling bad about leaving him in the crate more than absolutely necessary. I realized that if I wanted to I could stop by Kepler’s school and volunteer for awhile, or take my time at the library, or even go an extra place I hadn’t been planning on. That little Visitor tag from Kepler’s school is the first one I have worn this entire school year.
Fourth, when I drove into the driveway today, I realized that I have been stressing out over knowing that when I opened the garage door, or the front door, I would immediately need to take care of the dog. I’ve always found it stressful to come into the house and have to immediately begin to respond to needs. I need just a little time to ease into the house, set my stuff down, and just be for a second before I have to get back “on duty.”
Oh, you dog lovers out there, I see you shaking your heads at my naivete, and nodding your heads at these most obvious things about having a dog. Thankfully, Toast is very much enjoying Grandparents Camp, and the grandparents are very much enjoying having Toast visit. (Overheard at Grandparents Camp: “I really don’t know how Susan has been doing this with Toast and Kepler.”)
When Kepler got home from school this afternoon, he and I talked and walked together into the house. When we got in, we got to sit down and read a book together. And I could give him my full attention. And he could give me his. He is pretty distractible, and I have noticed that Toast distracts him tremendously.
So today has been about letting myself off the hook for not being able to manage a high energetic puppy, and an energetic child, without feeling drained and exhausted.
Dear husband left town last Wednesday and returns tonight. So all of this has happened while he has been out of town, and much of the time, he was not available by phone. Of course any decisions that are to be made will include him fully. At least I have finally figured out what has been making me so tired. And that is a very good thing.
No school on voting day. Easy peasy. Daughter will be here to take care of Kepler if I need her to.
Except THE HIGH SCHOOL IS NOT OFF TODAY.
This chart is pretty accurate when it comes to me figuring out the logistics of my life. In a bold and uncompromising move 🙂 I decided to take Kepler along with me.
My Alexander Technique lessons take place is a huge mansion, which seemed like it would be really cool for Kepler to see but maybe a little bit of a worry for me if he didn’t want to just sit and wait for me. Not to worry! Ellen, my teacher, met Kepler with enthusiasm and immediately invited him to ride her “inclinator.”
And then he and Ellen controlled the inclinator while I took a ride:
And then he explored the first floor a little bit, and then contentedly settled onto her parlor couch while I had my lesson.
After the lesson, we all piled in my car and drove over to the home of a 94-year-old man who plays the clarinet and wants a pianist to accompany him for a couple of hours each week. I had the extreme privilege of stumbling through the accompaniment and playing with him. He may not have much short-term memory left at 94, but he sure can play the clarinet.
While we were busy making beautiful music, Kepler disappeared for a few minutes. He had gone out to the car, found the bag with his new shoes, and managed to get them on his feet. He normally doesn’t like to put his own shoes on, but he was seriously motivated to get these cool new shoes onto his feet. The toes light up every time he takes a step.
We did several more errands in the afternoon and just had a wonderful time. I guess my time in Alaska really did refresh me. I hadn’t been up to such a thing for quite some time. Just to give you an idea of the extent of the errands: post office, bank, mall to return clothing, stop at the Stride Rite store because SALE, Alexander Technique lesson, accompanying, back to AT house to drop off friends, IKEA, dance, home to feed and pick up Toast, Smoothie King, Kroger, home for a bath and bed. Remember that every one of those stops requires strapping into booster seat with seatbelt etc., so it’s not quite like just running errands alone!
At the end of the day, we were tired and happy and had had a memorable day off school.