Monday, February 28, 2011

Hello, Brain. Are you there?

image from For Ladies by Ladies

Are you there Brain? It's me, Terena.


Thanks so much for being there when I needed you during my Cert test. You really came through for me.


But I kind of need you again.


Brain? Are you there?

Mmmmmm waaaaaaatchinnnnnnnng tv

I mean, I know the Cert test is over, but I have one more exam I need to take to graduate. My master's exam. You remember that? It's the one I have to take to get my Master's degree and graduate.

Mmmm yeah I remmemmmberrrrr

Well, I should really study a little for it. I know it's not as intense as the Certification exam, but I need to go over street crossing and intersection analysis, and I'm a little weak on some of the eye conditions.

Mmmmmm oooookaaaaay......

And there's a lot to do around here. The house is a mess, especially the pantry. There must be two years of crap shoved in there. I could use some of your organizational skills right now.

Mmmmm yeah suuuure whateverrrrrrrrr

Plus, Queen Teen's transition IEP is coming fast and I need to schedule meetings with the Regional Center and follow up on Audiology and Endochrinology and I really need to concentrate on ASL now. I'm about a year behind where I should be on Sign Language.

Mmmmmm, iiiiis thaaaat johnnnny depp onnn tv?

And oh my god, I still haven't done the taxes for Medusa's Muse and I know I'm late getting Laura her 1099 misc form. I have to tally up all the sales for 2010, which shouldn't take too much effort actually because there weren't that many direct sales and Lightning Source has already tallied the sales for the year, so that shouldn't be too complicated...


.... but it's not something I can do without you, so if you could just wake up a little bit and help me get organized that would be really great.

Mmmmmm, johnnnnnny prrrrrrreteeeeey





Will you please snap out of it? We have more work to do.


For god's sake stop staring at that TV and help me!

Mmmmm no

What do you mean no? You can't say no! You have to do what I say!

Mmmmnoooo I doonnnnnn't.

But I can't do any of this without you!

Mmmmmmm yeaaaah

What am I supposed to do? Let the work keep piling up while you stare at Johnny Depp all day?


But there's no time for that!!!!!!

Mmmmmyeah   therrrrre issssssss

Fine! I'll just sit on this couch and watch TV until you're ready!


Because lord knows there's nothing else that needs doing but staring at a television watching some gorgeous hunk dressed like a pirate play with his sword.


Although... it is Johnny Depp and he is my favorite actor and well... it's only for a little while because I've been working so insanely hard and haven't had much of a break since Burning Man...


.... and I suppose things can wait for just one more day while I take some much needed R and R.


It's not like the world will end or anything...


Oh I love this part!  "The only rules that matter are these: what a man can do, and what a man can't do."


Kind of true when you think about....







Tomorrow we are getting the Medusa taxes together and studying for that test.

Mmmmmmmh weeeee'll seeeeeeeeeeeeee

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Passed!!!!!!

The test was easier than advertised, but there were a few questions that completely stumped me. I had absolutely no idea what they were asking. But regardless of those few questions, I passed the test.

Whoooooo Hoooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have one more test to take in March for my Master's Degree and then I get to graduate (assuming I pass, of course).

The day before my Cert test I dropped off my graduation application at the Grad department at SFSU and then wandered over to the Graduation Fair where vendors were selling class rings, fancy diploma frames, announcements, and other shwag (does anyone really need a set of SFSU wine glasses with their graduation year on them?). There was also a photographer taking photos of people in cap and gown. Wearing no make up and my hair looking like crap, I said, "What the hell," and got my picture taken. Dark circles under my eyes, hair in desperate need of a cut, and skin pale from stress and poor eating are perfect for a picture of a grad student, right? And thinking positively by putting on a purple cap and gown in preparation for graduation is a good thing.

The pictures turned out as bad as I feared, so I won't be sharing them with friends and family, but I downloaded a thumbnail of one from the photographer's website for good luck. The one thing I love about this snap shot is my smile: big, bright, excited, and hopeful.

I'm almost there.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Day of my Certificatiom Exam

Today is my O and M certification exam. 12:30. I've spent the last hour walking downtown and up to Washington Square in North Beach where I'm having a fabulous brunch. Gotta fuel my brain.

After all these months of studying and anxiety, I feel surprisingly calm. I'm ready, or at least I'm past the point of caring. I'll either pass or I will fail, in which case I'll take it again. And it helped that I came to San Fran last night and stayed with dear friends who have a guest room with a cozy bed. Good conversation, good wine, and a full night's sleep. Perfect.

Wish me luck everyone. After today life will be much less complicated.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:E Rd,Sausalito,United States

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Phone Call From Audiology

Two days ago, we got a phone call from our audiologist at Stanford. She hadn't talked to us in a while and wanted to know how things were going with Queen Teen. I gave her the run-down: Queen Teen refused to wear her hearing aids; when she did wear them the inside of her ears turned pink and she complained they bothered her; on those rare occasions she did manage to wear them, they didn't seem to help her hear any better.

"Do you think her hearing has changed?" Dr. Audiologist asked.

"It's worse. She can't hear conversations at all, and even with her movie turned up full power, I don't think she's hearing it very well."

"I'd really like to see her. She should come back for a hearing test again, and I'd like to look at her hearing aids. They probably aren't the right kind for her and I'd like to try a different type. Plus, we should get her ear molds made with a different type of material."

"I thought we were done because she wouldn't wear the aids."

"No, not at all! We can't give up on her hearing. There might still be something that can help her."

I wanted to crawl through the phone and hug her. Just to hear those wonderful words: there might be something that can help her. Lately, we've been hearing a lot of talk that sounds an awful lot like giving up. There are no more tests to run. No more treatments to try. No leg braces or therapies that will help her hypotonia. The doctors look at her and seem to say, sorry, there's nothing we can do. Go home and wait and see. Maybe in the future.

But here was a doctor who called because she wanted to see how Queen Teen was doing and when I told her that Queen Teen's hearing was worse she expressed that she wanted to keep on trying. We can't give up.

The doctor asked if we had considered cochlear implants and I said I wasn't opposed to it but would need more info to decide if it was something that could really benefit Queen Teen. She agreed and told me the process of evaluation Queen Teen would need to undergo before any of us could make that decision. But it was an option. She told me there was a newer type of hearing aid that was more powerful and that worked better with FM systems than the model we have now. And she said there are actually other types of materials to make ear molds. The receptionist at the clinic would call me the next day to make an appointment.

Which she did. I know Queen Teen won't be thrilled about going to the audiologist in April, but I am. And I know there's no guarantee even our wonderful Dr. Audiologist will be able to help Queen Teen hear, but I know this woman won't quit until she's exhausted every single option. That gives me hope, something we've been lacking around here lately.

Thank you for calling, Dr. Audiologist.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Queen Teen's Knight of the Bus

Queen Teen has a new champion, a young man who rides the bus with her every morning and afternoon. I'll call him J. On one particular morning, this young man came to her rescue and has continued to be her protector every single morning as they ride the bus to school.

The school bus is crowded now. Thanks to budget cuts and increased student enrollment, the "little buses" are packed two per seat. These buses were built in the early 1980's when kids were decidedly... smaller. Nowadays, only one kid per seat can sit comfortably, two per seat has one kid scrunched against the window and the other hanging off the edge. Of course, none of the kids want to give up the coveted, smashed against the glass, window seat, and by the time Queen Teen gets on the bus there are only aisle seats left. Like the trooper she is, she sat on the edge of the chair two mornings in a row, clinging to the seat back in front of her for dear life, terrified for the 15 minutes she sits on that bus.

Enter her Knight in Shining Armor.

On this morning, Queen Teen climbed onto the bus and stared at the aisle seat, then announced, "I don't like sitting there. I'm scared." There was a pause as the bus driver and I looked at each other, then the bus driver said, "J. Would you mind letting Queen Teen sit next to you by the window?"

J's smile was as big as if we'd told him he gets to drive the bus. He jumped up from his seat and waved at Queen Teen. She walked to him and then squeezed past him onto the seat. I buckled her in and J sat beside her, still grinning.

"Thank you, J," I said.

He kept grinning.

"He likes her," one of the girls on the bus said, and then giggled.

"Yes, I know. They're friends," I said.

"No, he liiiiiikes,  likes her." She giggled again and another girl joined her.

I looked at J. He kept on grinning at me. "That's nice," I said.

And now, every morning, as soon as Queen Teen enters the bus, J jumps up from his seat and gives her the window side. He rides the rest of the route with half of his butt hanging off the seat and his feet planted firmly to keep from falling off, a smile on his face the whole time. Queen Teen is as oblivious as any Royal Princess should be. Of course he offered her his seat, she's a princess!

Now that the girls on the bus have pointed it out, it's pretty obvious that J likes Queen Teen. I wonder how long it will take for Queen Teen to notice, too. I guess as far as potential romances go, this is a sweet beginning.

(but he'd better keep his hands to himself or else!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Study, Study, Cough, Cough, Study, Study, Cough, Cough

Right now I am preparing for the biggest exam of my life: the Orientation and Mobility Certification Test. I've been studying "Big Red" (Foundations of O and M, the bible of my field) since September, but now the actual test date is fast approaching: February 22nd, 12:15 PM. And in usual Terena style, I am freaking out. Every time I go through the study guide I realize just how much I don't know. How is that even possible? I've been studying this crap for 2 and a half years, you'd think I'd know it in intimate detail.

Who developed the first Orientation and Mobility program in the US and when? Where was the first dog guide school located? What are "rods?" Where is the macula? What types of anxiety are most keenly felt by a person who is newly blind? Define "neuropathy." What is the hz threshold of normal hearing? What are the three most common eye disorders in the US in adults? What are some of the eye conditions that can cause nystagmus. Why did you drop the book on the floor and why is your head now banging against the desk?

To make things more interesting, I am still sick. I ended up with a sinus infection needing antibiotics and have been coughing so much the inside of my chest feels like I've been kicked repeatedly by a donkey. I'm pretty sure I have bronchitis, so I guess I should go back to the doctor. Queen Teen is bright and healthy and back to her grinning, ornery self. Rick was only sick for about four days and I think he took maybe one nap during the two hours he had a fever. Me? I'm going on week three of feeling like crap.

I actually scheduled time to get sick in April, after both of my exams and our trip to Disneyland, but before I graduate in May. My body refused to follow the timeline, however.

Last thursday was my last day interning with Laura Fogg, and it feels weird not working with her. I missed going to Fort Bragg with her this monday, and I miss my students, especially the Fort Bragg kids and the preschooler who was just starting to cruise around and explore his class. Luckily I live with one of my students; Queen Teen provides plenty of opportunity to practice teaching. It was incredibly stressful trying to juggle the needs of my family with someone else's schedule, but I already miss hearing Laura's light "beep-beep" of her car horn letting me know she's there. I miss her smile and her greeting, "Good morning." My last week was so anticlimactic because I was sick and only worked a couple of hours each day. I went to a meeting on Thursday and then went home to bed. All done. Laura and I plan to celebrate properly after my test.

My test... guess I'd better get back to studying. Not much longer now. After March 18th, when I take my master's exam I will be  ALL DONE.

Come on body, don't fail me know.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy 44th

February 4th was my 44th birthday. It wasn't exactly my ideal birthday; I've been sick for over a week now and on my birthday all I wanted to do was sleep (seems to me that if you're sick on your birthday you should get a fabulous do-over). But my hubby did his best to make my birthday special. The sitter stayed over night with Queen Teen while Rick and I stayed at the house of out of town friends. We ate take out Thai food and watched the Home and Garden channel on TV, something special for us because we don't have TV. I went to bed early and slept in until after 9 AM, then read my book in the sunshine until it was time to go home. I know it sounds mighty boring, but after the hectic year I've had and a virus that turned into a sinus infection, it was divine. But wait, there was more. For my gift, my hubby had my Honda Odyssey cleaned, polished and detailed, inside and out, from the tires to the interior roof. Plus, he installed a new car stereo to replace the one that kept eating CD's. The car bath was exactly what I wanted. Now my old mini-van smells brand new and gleams in the sun, despite her chipped paint.

The dog is never riding in my car ever again.

I think I can actually say I've learned something when I was 43. On the day after my birthday I was supposed to race down to Fremont to a workshop on teaching Orientation and Mobility to toddlers, a good three hours from my home. And I was ready to do it, despite feeling like hell and sounding like a ten pack a day smoker. Last year, I would've gone, because people were counting on me to go, including a parent who couldn't go herself and was expecting me to bring back notes. I actually felt guilty for a couple of days before my birthday because I wasn't sure I'd be able to go. Then, on my actual birthday, as I was thinking about packing for the trip while blowing my nose for the hundredth time that morning, a voice inside my head said, "What the hell are you doing?" That's when I packed my overnight bag just for the evening I would spend with my hubby and not for the day after in Fremont. Sorry people, but there's no way I can safely drive three hours on my own, exhausted and slightly dizzy from a head full of snot.

Yep, I think I learned something while I was 43, and the lesson stuck. Maybe I'm over trying to be Wonder Woman.