Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Anniversary Sandwich -- a Lobster Roll...and re-Roll

It’s our forty-third wedding anniversary and, recognizing our sandwich obligations, we elected not to even try to go out for dinner this evening…our daughter, J, would be sooo lonely if we did.  It has been a hell of a week—the refrigerator died and was resuscitated temporarily, J’s sprained ankle is continuing to cause suffering, work was not wonderful, there is a hurricane on the way for the weekend…need I say more?  I can—I believe the other side of our sandwich has forgotten the day all together--not a problem, but another small passage as he moves toward 101 years old.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What memory does...

Tonight, as my father headed off to bed about 8:15, he gestured toward the front windows, drapes still open onto the porch and lilacs, the distant street  still dimly visible in the fading light.  As I went across to pull the tangled cord, I was suddenly transported back to my own eight-year-old self, at the same time of night, already in my seersucker nightgown and single bed, peering out the window at my mother and father raking cut grass on the lawn.  They spoke happily to one another, sometimes close, sometimes farther apart with voices raised, working together in the twilight.  I so wanted to be still a part of their world as I had been half an hour before.  I strained to hear them, but their efforts moved them off, until I heard them coming into the back yard, the porch, the kitchen, their voices low and quiet now, conscious of their sleeping daughter—not yet, of course, but soon. 
This is the switching of memory with now, making new memories to be recalled in years to come, when he, too, is gone from present life.  Sometimes it makes me dizzy to think how back-and-forth we are as time passes.  How much more so it must be when life is nearly all behind one, with little likely time ahead.  Perhaps that is what makes the inward-turning aspect that overtakes the old—where nothing in the world around them is as compelling as their inner thoughts.  Must be, they’re listening to the past full time.  

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"First, do no harm..."

It’s too bad educators don’t take some version of the Hippocratic oath…“First, do no harm.”  It would be more difficult to define than it is for Drs, of course.  Harm seems fairly easy to define for a physician—if an action kills the patient, that’s harm.  If they take the wrong leg, or don’t consider the side effects of a new medication, that’s harm.  For teachers, it’s not so easy.   Some might say that teachers don’t have students’ lives in their hands, but we know they do.  Don’t kill the spirit, don’t let your own prejudices show through, don’t deny students’ creativity – so intangible, so different in each situation, so nebulous.  Yet I think there is a sensible and positive way that teachers and educational leaders could promise not to do harm in our schools.  I promise…

Friday, May 13, 2011

Autism should be listening, too...

As a person who works on behalf of children with disabilities almost 24/7, and who understands from an inside perspective what the term “disability” means to a family and a person, I must express my dismay at the media’s initial reaction to recently released research on the prevalence of Autism.  Researchers working with South Korean children and families have reportedly identified a broad population of individuals with features of Autism who bring the ratio of incidence of the disorder from 1 in 110 (already shockingly frequent) to 1 in 38!  Ultimately, this means that we can expect almost one in three of the toddlers in our homes and the students in our schools to show evidence of disordered development that can be recognized as within the range of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. 
I found the recent discussion of this result in mainstream programming very challenging.  On the Today Show (NBC), Dr. Nancy Snyderman, who is the program’s medical expert and knowledgeable on many issues that impact on the health of children and adults, suggested that this means there are many children in the population who have gone undiagnosed and untreated.  She suggested that these children, previously missed, should and would now be recognized and receive remedial/rehabilitative services from medical entities and schools.  The discussion swooped low over Silicon Valley, where many high functioning but nerdy, quirky people are now considered OK—successful, even—but would, with this redefinition, be revisualized as having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.  My question is, “Why?!”

“Blogging Against Disablism Day” is May 1st, 2011

I’ll admit I’ve shied away from writing about the other side of my “sandwich” from my Dad’s—that is, about my daughter.  This is not because of what I would write about her impact on my life, but because she is much more likely to read it and that conveys, to me, a much greater responsibility to consider her feelings and wishes.  Today, though, it may be time.  I’ve just read a “tweet” from a colleague advising me that tomorrow, May 1st, is Blogging Against Disablism Day, or BADD.  badd02.gif is a link to the symbol for the day, and is a link to the blog that is hosting the event. 
Since about the age of two, my daughter has struggled under a variety of disabilities—none terribly severe, in and of themselves, but in accumulation, seriously limiting.  I have come to believe, gradually, that the most disabling aspect of these various learning, behavioral, and emotional struggles has been the fact that she accepts them as a “disability.”

Monday, March 21, 2011

Today, the sandwich is Pancakes!!!

Well, the month is almost over, Spring arrived yesterday and we are due for some snow today.  This is my third attempt to put together a blog post for the month and today I may make it.  It turns out that, for all the ideas I had prior to launching this experiment, few are good enough, expandable enough, or sufficiently relatable to the theme I’ve chosen to make it to the page.
Today, I’m writing about Buckwheat Pancakes.  I just made some for me and my father, and he actually ate a second helping—this is good because at 100, you have to keep up your calorie intake or you lose weight.  The pancakes were unusually good today for a couple of reasons.  One is that I accidentally recooled the melted butter and it spread through the batter in little pills of fat—I think that does something slightly different, and good, to the suspension and makes the pancakes lighter.  The second reason was that, after fearing we had totally run out of maple syrup, I found a small gift jug in the back of a cabinet, unopened.  Talk about saved from disaster!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day, again

Today is Groundhog Day, February 2, 2011 and the Groundhog has been reluctant to peek out of his several burrows, let alone forecast the arrival of spring—Groundhog events are in doubt all over the eastern US because of terrible weather.  My own self-exposure in this blog has been similarly slow to develop…talk about low expectations.  I set my sights on one post per month and I have already not met the beginning of that deadline.   We are having an ice storm, however, and that gives me a small window to look through at the bleak weather and into which to put a reflection or two, because there is no school today. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year and a New Blog, together on the very same day

Good New Year, Anyone who might be reading!  This is my very first post to this blog, which is likely to be weirdly idiosyncratic--I hope it will also be interesting and at least sometimes thought-provoking.  The title comes from the "sandwich generation," of which I am a member with some serious credentials.
While I propose to explore a lot of different kinds of "sandwiches" (or inconsistencies/contradictions), in the course of writing this blog, my primary sandwich has me and my husband as filling.  We are hard-working people, baby-boomers, who came of age in the late 60's, married just out of college, and have stuck together ever since.  Our "bread," at this point, consists of our daughter, who is 38, lives with us, and has some challenging disabilities, and my father. He does not live with us but he is a strong influence in our lives.  To expand this introductory post, I'll begin with him--he is my history and a huge piece of the gateway to who I am.