Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Miracles

Easter Sunday, 2013

Easter is a tough one on the other side of the hemisphere.

It's not springtime.  There's no dull, grey coldness to revive from.  We've been swimming every weekend.

Good Friday

It's so secular that people proudly tell us about the Australian tradition of fish and chips on Good Friday without any idea of how that came about.  Fish on Fridays during Lent ring a bell with anyone else out there?  Anyone?  Anyone?


Never mind.  Here the Easter Bilby is beginning to take over from the Easter Bunny who is an introduced and environmentally destructive pest species, overbreeding and overeating at the expense of native animals.

It's nice that Australia is getting her own traditions.  But Jesus rising from the dead?  Not a particulary Australian concept.  Except, quite possibly, for the hoard of Jehovah's Witnesses canvassing the neighbourhood yesterday with their families.

Matthew showing off new and old Easter traditions

Not making the whole Easter miracle all that appealing.

Except for the kids getting dragged around by their parents proselytising, poor things, instead of eating chocolate Easter eggs, Easter isn't particularly about family either. 

It's about the last weekend of camping, boating and drinking, not necessarily in that order, before winter makes the water too cold to swim in comfortablw.  Which is about as cold as the water is in Europe in the summertime, but let's not go there.

Easter morning, 2013

The four day Easter weekend - from Good Friday through Easter Monday - has traffic like Thanksgiving in the USA, drunk driving like New Year's everywhere and the general holiday feeling like a mix of July Fourth (because it's summer and beach weather) and Labor Day (because it's the last big bang before winter) and maybe some May 1 thrown in.

Here Comes Peter Cottontail!  And the Kuronwgbah Junior Choir

It's a huge deal.  And it's loads of fun.  Australians take any holiday and turn it into a massive nationwide excuse to drink and party for as long as possible.  Quiet day at church and maybe an Easter egg hunt for the Americans?  We don't even get Monday off!  Not good enough for the Aussies.  Not only do they take four days but in Queensland our school calendar also give us the following two weeks off as autumn break.

Proud Junior Choir members

It's parties and beach and amusement and water parks and camping and boating and yes, this is where there actually is SHRIMP ON THE BARBIE!  Only we call them prawns.

It's awesome and it's entirely Australian.  I love it.

Hunting for Easter eggs in the tropical backyard.  And yes, these ARE our Easter outfits!

Only I do miss the thrill of springtime just around the corner, the clear sun and the crisp air promising better weather to come.

And just one day at home with family, doing simple things, like walking in the park (all good Germans walk on Sundays, but especially on Easter Sunday), the new Easter outfits and a formal mealtime with family and close friends.  (In the USA its the only time we eat lamb!)

Some traditions remain

A German - and our American Easter was very German too -  is so stiff compared to the frolic of an Australian Easter.

But it was always my favourite holiday, a time when we remembered tradition, and looked forward to spring.

So that as we dyed Easter eggs yesterday, using regular food dye and wax crayons since there are no Easter egg dying kits here, I loved that my kids found the same thrill in colouring their own eggs and the same family closeness in preparing for the big day.

Rummy-O Easter morning.  After the egg hunt.  Before 8 :00 AM.

I love that we still ended up with that one ugly egg that no amount of effort could save.

And I love that, this morning, we still have that one egg out in the backyard that noone is able to find.

Where does that last egg go?  (Once, in Germany, a kid dropped it off at our doorsteps two weeks after Easter!)

The sun is out.  The twins are swimming in the pool.  We had pancakes for breakfast.  (Leaving 22 minus 1 hardboiled eggs in the refrigerator for some egg salad sandwiches later.  And the day after that.)  Ryan and Andrew are playing X-Box.

Huh?  Where are all the hard-boiled eggs?  And can someone get Mommy to PLEASE take down those last Christmas decorations?!

During the next two weeks we are going to the water park, amusement park, beach and camping and boating.  (It's the best holiday Australia's got as well, just different from the one I grew up with.)

But it's sure good to know we will have that one egg rotting out in the backyard when we return!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sudden Dawning

"Let's rent the last 'Twilight' movie over the Easter weekend, " I tell Ryan.

"Breaking Dawn: Part Two," she sighs.

Yes, Sheldon.

We watched it twice yesterday, once while the boys were at the park and once after we'd screened it for the gory parts.  You know, the kissing and nudity.  EWWWW!

They hid their eyes during the love scene. 

"Tell me when it's over.  Tell me when it's over."

But the tearing off of heads was pretty cool.

"Have you kids spotted a theme? " I asked the older two.  Homeschooling mothers really suck sometimes.

Family.  Fighting for your family.  Standing up for what is right.

And it hits me - after four movies this is the first I have seen since the possible Aspergers diagnosis - that the Cullens are about being different and about the fear and prejudice that comes with being different.  That the Cullens are, in fact, special needs to the nth degree.

Bella only discovers her true Self once she becomes a vampire.

She only truly feels her own Self worth once she sees her differences as strengths.

On the other hand, I might just be making up excuses for watching to see if Taylor Lautner takes his shirt off again.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Soccer: Passion or Obsession?

As you start to go through the genetics of how your child inherited Aspergers, you start to see the clues in your ancestry.  Dad diagnosed himself from a medical journal a few years back.  Ah hah!  And here we thought he was only odd because he was German.

"You Americans.  Always having to be polite and make small talk and stand around chatting.  I don't know how to do that."

Yes, Sheldon, we know.

At s Bronco's Rugby League Game in June with the Connor side of the gene pool.

Funny how you think it skips a generation until the truth smacks you straight between the eyes.

Turns out I don't get you people either.  I'm just better at faking it than Dad is.

But if your daughter has it.  And you have four - count em, four - boys coming up the line.  Well you start seeing the dominoes drop.

As unlikely as it is,  I don't think any of my boys have Aspergers.  The twins show signs, but they are six.  That is normal social development.  Ian is the most social of all my kids.  If anyone is fine, he is.

Andrew bears watching.  He spent an entire day at the beach with our homeschooling group sitting at a table by himself playing with two Spiderman action figures he had brought along. 

"THAT'S your neurotypical child?"  one mother asked.

Uh yeah. 

And he's happy, so let's not go there.

With cousin Luka

Let's not get into how he never played with his trains and legos like the twins do.  How he was always happy - and still is - with just those few Spiderman action figures.  How he lines up the magnets on the fridge.

Andrew has his passion too.  He reads.  And he plays sports.  Soccer is his love. 

"Team sports would be an unusual obsession for someone with Asperger's" said another mother recently.  

And I agree.

Most of the ASD kids I know are quite happy on their own and none of them like team or contact sports.

In any case, he is happy.  He plays soccer on four teams right now, with a fifth tryout coming up.  And runs cross-country.  He is excelling academically, doing work at or beyond Ryan's level, and he is thriving socially.  There is always a gaggle of girls calling out his name behind him and we hear whispers from younger students as we pass that that's Andrew Connor's family.

Good to go, mates!

Andrew Connor's family.

We might be a crazy, mixed up bunch.

But as long as we're happy, I don't care WHAT they call us!!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Parenthood, Big Bang Theory and Some Apparently Suppressed Anger!

Damon told me about a segment he was watching on the TV series 'Parenthood' recently. 

The father is dutifully trying to talk to his prepubescent son about how normal it is for him to be thinking about girls and about how he needn't be ashamed of it and about how all the other kids in his class will be going through the same thing; that all of this is normal and okay.

"But Dad," says the son, "I'm not like the other kids.  I have Asperger's."

There is so much I love about this: that the kid is talking openly about his Asperger's, that having Asperger's is becoming a topic for the mainstream media, that it is another way of being different, something to accept about others.

The father then tries to continue the conversation with the kid continually relating anything he says to lizards.

"It was the first time I'd heard someone other than Ryan talk that way,"  said Damon. 

And he laughed.

We first noticed Ryan's strange mannerisms when she began first grade in Germany.  Asperger's is often not picked up until school age, and even later among girls, because the social aspects don't become apparent until then.

No matter what we talk about Ryan interjects with something about horses.  It might be similar.  It might sometimes even be vaguelly appropriate.  But it's always about horses.

When I mentioned this to the child psychologist I took her to in Germany he felt that it was the only stable factor in her life, having been through the hardships of international relocation so often.  Mind you, we had been living as a stable, happy family unit in the same house for over six years when he said this, but yeah.

After three days of testing I really think they could have picked up on it, especially since I was worried about ADD, of which Aspergers has some similar signs.

In any case, he was right in a way.  Horses aren't the only stable factor in her life, they are the only factor in her life.  Her stable family - as intrusive as we are - are merely accoutrements.

We begin formal cognitive and ASD testing in May, but the signs are all there.  And again, this isn't as frightening as it is reassuring.  We've thought for a long time that something was wrong.  We knew for a long time that something wasn't right, not with Ryan, but with the school and the way she wasn't learning and the way the other kids were treating her and the way no one seemed to take us seriously.

Some people still think we are overreacting, that this is puberty, that this is her personality.  And I find this interesting; that people are okay with depression and with bipolar disorder and a whole host of physical conditions, but are still scared of the word 'autism.'

Could it be that ASD is just too similar to an extreme personality type?  That we don't know what to make of people who aren't physically showing any signs of an illness, but who are genetically programmed to be different?  X-men, evolution and the fear of any one different than ourselves?

Other people wonder if we should be so open about Ryan's ASD.  But why not?  Once again, isn't it better to be diagnosed with a tendency to see things differently and then learn to deal with it, than to suffer as an undiagnosed adult?

I still find it interesting that Asperger himself was German.  And apparently didn't speak openly of his findings for fear that his patients would be labelled, tagged, sorted and gassed.  Which is what they did with people who were different then.

Which is why they lost Einstein to the country that he helped defeat them. 

Whoa.  Sorry.  Don't know how I ended up there this afternoon.  This was actually supposed to be about Andrew and soccer.

It still surprises me, though, that they had no idea of what they were dealing with with Ryan, when the signs were all there if only they had cared to look. 

Might be they need to put down the obviously outdated text books and start watching 'Parenthood' reruns.  Throw in some ' Big Bang Theory.' 

Although now, come to think of it, Sheldon wouldn't seem all that unusual in Germany. 

Funny how the 'Asperger's Nation of the World' - a place where many Aspergers people actually feel quite comfortable, a friend tells me - none of those social niceties mucking about, no need to be polite, just follow the rules - missed a diagnosis anyone watching a TV sitcom should be able spot.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Relax! It's Queensland.

I'm trying to get to my whinges about Queenslanders, I really am. 

But they make it really hard.

Look, there's a heap of stuff - besides the word heap - that starts to get to you after a while.  Mostly the total lack of planning and doing everything the last minute.  They just don't worry about ANYTHING!

If Jamaica is ' no problem' , Queensland is 'no worries, mate.'

They even have a license plate to remind me when I start to get tense about, well about all their relaxing!

The birthday party fiascos are unreal here.  You go or you don't .  Some show and some won't.  You never know.  In Germany we sent and accepted invites with military precision, showed up on time, on the dot, dropped off that kid and ran.  Payback was when it was your kids' birthday.  We used the parties as a means of group daycare.  In the USA it was a social reciprocation.  Which you don't seem to need to do here.  In France, an invite meant you sent a gift but didn't necessarily show up.  Would have thought the French at least knew what RSVP stood for!  (Respondez si'l vous plait which means give us a ring and let us know if you'll show.)  Queenslanders, apparently, aren't sure until the last minute.

Company Christmas party - in February.  But, really, what's to whinge about?!

This of course puts the whole social reciprocation silliness in perspective.  Pressure off.

The thing is, that these are the guys you want on your side. They might forget a playdate or cancel a party at the last minute, but they are there in seconds if you need them. 

And no mucking about with planning either.  They get it done.

Yesterday's dog rescue was a great example.  We are just picking up the kids from school when a big, old, goofy Labrador comes bounding across the street, wagging his tail so hard his whole body is shaking.  One man grabbed the dog before he could get hit by traffic.  Another found a piece of rope in his tru, sorry ute.  Another woman called ahead (ahead actually!) to let the vet know we'd be there.  And I drove the dog.  (In the back of our loaner vehicle, now full of Lab hair.) 

The vet asked no questions, simply scanned for a microchip, and called Winston's owner.

Mind you, the Americans would have done this too.  But I believe we would have spent a great deal of time discussing and debating it first.  An animal lover in Germany would have done it alone.  The French were on strike that day.  And, yeah, you don't find dogs like that in Haiti!

The speed - no questions asked - with which a group of people came together to perform one simple task was like nothing I have seen anywhere else in the world.

So that yeah, I'd really like to complain about it all.

But find instead, that it is something I might have been put here to learn.

Just don't lose a dog when the footy is on, and you're good to go, mate.

Relax!  After all, it's Queensland.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

If the Accent Fits!


I feel so at home here, I forget I don't sound like everybody else.

So that when people ask me where I'm from, I tell them I'm from north of Brisbane.

They wait. 

Oh.  And the USA.  And Germany.  And do you REALLY want to get into this?  Because we love it here and, if you want to hear about my travels, I'll gladly go into it, but there's no need.  This place beats all of them.

The younger kids tell me I sound like a cowboy.  Because I still say 'buddy' instead of 'mate' sometimes and because I sometimes ask 'How are ya, buddy?' instead of  "How ya going, mate?'

Really, I thought these people were straight out of a movie when I first got here.  (Kinda like when I was on a train in Boston and it finally hit me that these people weren't mimicking 'Norm' on 'Cheers' but really spoke that way!)

Movie Star

The teenagers think I sound like a movie star.

Both of which I'll take over tired, frumpy, worn-out mom - or mum - anyday!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Letter to Ms. Rose, Principal at Kurwongbah State School

I love this school.

First Day!

I love that over half the parents show up for Parent Night.  I love that half the class parents volunteer in the classroom.

I love that the children are respectful and prepared to learn.  I love the school discipline, the high behavioural expectations, because they lead to high academics standards as a direct result.

My kids are happy here.  They know what is expected of them and they know there are consequences if they don't follow what is expected of them.

Watch out Kurwongbah, here come the Connors!

I was not thrilled two of my boys were caught throwing rocks on the school grounds after school a few weeks ago.  But I was thrilled at the immediate disciplinary action - tough but fair and prompt.  I was also thrilled that I received notice of that action from the school, even though I had witnessed it myself and was in wholehearted agreement with the detention meted out.

That was the biggest lesson my boys have learned since they have been in school.  And they won't forget it.
Who us?!

Today I had my last parent-teacher interview.  Academic standards here are about one year ahead of other schools in the area that I know.  The teachers had fully prepared for all interviews - even separately for the twins - and could not only tell me that they were fine, go home and don't waste my time,. but exactly what they were doing in class, what levels they were testing at, and where they were working on extending them laterally.

The teachers acted as if the parent-teacher interviews were important and that mattered a great deal to me.  Because they are important to me too.  Even if my boys are doing fine.  Especially if my boys are doing fine, I like to know that they are being extended and worked with as well, and not left to play idly on computers while the others play catchup.  I like that they still get readers at our school when so many other schools don't bother after a certain point, saying the kids are reading well enough without them.  Huh? 

Andrew shows us his Japanese

I also love the way you communicate with the parents.  I love those letters home.  You aren't afraid to say when there is a problem, or that there has been a problem, and then inform us what is being done to correct it.  You tackle a problem head-on instead of hiding it and hoping it goes away on its own.  Thank you. 

Matthew as The Last Connor Standing, during last months flu

We chose Kurwongbah for its great reputation; for the high academic and behavioural standards, because they are similar to the values we have at home.

But we are also thrilled with the sports and extracurricular activities.  My boys have such a pride in their school and in taking part in its activities.  I love to hear them crooning their choir songs on the way home in the car.  And when Andrew leads the Australian soccer team to World Cup glory there will be a special thank-you to Mr. Scharach for guiding him on his way.  Look, I changed schools for the behaviour and academics.  Andrew just wants to play ball and run around the field!  The sports are an important part of school for Andrew and we are choosing his highschool accordingly.

Andrew got to hold the flag at parade

We only came to this country a little over two years ago and what we saw of academic standards were very mixed. 

I am so happy we have found the school that not only meets all of the behavioural expectations we have for our children, but also encourages them academically and allows them to have pride in their school community and in themselves.

And hey, we all really like it there too!

First day!

I know you generally only get to hear the bad stuff, the problems, the whinges.  Which is why I wanted to take the time to tell you about the good stuff.

We love this school.  We are very happy here.

Thank you.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Not Normal!


I think I am beginning to get it.

My friend Catherine posted a finding that the BBC expects most people to have only read six of the 100 books listed.!/notes/catherine-friess/have-you-read-more-than-6-of-these-books/455545805935

I have read 9 of the top 10. (Although I can't remember The Tin Drum and I have read Philip Pullman's other stuff.  I figure that cancels eachother out!)

18 out of the top 20. 

42 out of the top 50.

And 70 out of the 100.

I always suspected I wasn't like over people.

Now they're making lists to prove it!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Running On Empty

I've been too tired to sit down at baseball games and riding competitions.

I have to keep moving or the constant buzzing behind my barely open eyes will overwhelm me.

I 'll fall asleep if I stop.

And so I'm running around the outfield Friday evening with Ian during the twins' last T-ball game of the season (really, you can do that in T-ball!), thinking, sleep from 8 to 8.    12 hours.  I am sick.  I can skip weights tomorrow.  Allergies.  Running on empty.

And Bobbi texts me asking if she should swing by my place tomorrow morning (Saturday) at 6 AM to go to the weekly North Lakes 5 km park run.

 Jetty to Jetty with Bobbi and Fran, July 2012

Really, with friends like these, who needs enemies?

Then the My Pretty Pony download fiasco and I am up until 1:30 AM downloading photos.

But I'm in the car, next to Bobbi, at 6 AM sharp, on the way to pick up Nicole, crazy person number three.  And join about 100 other crazy people running around the lake.  Three times.  Really fast as it turns out.  If I'd looked at the stats before I ran I would have been intimidated.  The average run time is just under 29 minutes.  The male record is 16.57 and the female 18.39.

PwC Run in Brisbane, with Nicole, November 2012

"We all run for our own enjoyment.  Please come and join in whatever your pace!"  (This from the website  )

"And uh, we're all over at Lakeside Cafe having coffee afterwards.  Although we might all be done by the time you get there!"  (Liberally paraphrased from the website.)

I broke my personal best with 34.57 seconds (listen, you try doing that packing 10 extra kgs!!) and was still one of the last ones it.  Barely behind the two 12 year old girls.  I think I can take em next time.  Ah heck, who am I kidding?

It helped that runner number one - who did it in 18 minutes, lapped me starting his round three while I was starting round two.  And about ten others followed in rapid succession after that.  I thought about trying to convince the end judges I really HAD run three laps after my first two, but they weren't buying it.  I think those 12 year olds ratted me out. 

Celebrating those first 5 kms, July 2012

The folks I recognised from the gym were marathoners. 

Where the heck are all the fat, frumpy housewives at 7 AM?

In any case I loved it.   I kept waiting for Bobbi to lap me and grab my bottom as she ran by, but no such luck.  Guess I am just too speedy!

I love being pushed, I love pushing myself.  I love setting my own goals.  Goals such as, don't let more than ten people lap you next week either, stay under 35 minutes, and stop being so nice to those 12 year olds when they slow down to walk.  Because they come up fast from behind on that final lap!

I AM running on empty lately and I worry about how long that can go on.  But I am trying to stay open to the idea that this fast-paced term was just a phase and that the balance will find itself soon. 

I have been trying to convince myself to set lower goals, that I only run to compete and prove I can do it, or to lose weight and look better, that I should just stick to 2 and 3 kms with Andrew (who is on the cross-country team next term along with soccer and choir and after-school soccer and travel teams - uh yeah, things will slow down soon, really they will!).

Coming to cheer on Mom!

But I love knowing what my body can do, even if it doesn't look the way I'd like it to.

I started running to lose weight, and to be lean, but I run now to be fit and because I love that I can.

I'm running on empty, but I'm running with friends.

We all gotta keep moving anyway, because we'd fall asleep if we slowed down!

Friday, March 22, 2013


Sometimes it's enough just to make it there.  Without cursing or yelling or beating your child.

I was shaking when we arrived, Ryan and Ian and I, at the soy candle making session Thursday at noon. 

January 2013 Resolutions

This wasn't so much because I was angry as because I had had nothing to eat all day but plenty of caffeine.  And lots of allergy medication.  Sooner or later running on nothing but illness and antihistamines is going to take its toll.

You're running on nothing and then you hit your trigger.  This is a word people on the spectrum use to describe what sets up their meltdowns.

Mine is definitely the internet. 

Zen Garden at Dreamworld

This is so unfortunate.

If I wasn't ASD before social media and instant email information, I am now.

Too much to take in and take care of in too little time.



That's the other trigger.

The anxiety increased after I had the twins and I didn't have time.  And we didn't have much money.  And every decision and every moment counted.  Ten lost minutes were ten whole lost minutes.

Not accomplishing something in a given period of time.  Not having time. 

Losing time I could be sleeping to slow internet connection.

Because my daughter used up this month's download allowance on My Pretty Pony movies when she told me she was looking things up on her tablet.

On the brink...

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Remember the soy candles.  The ones your duaghter made for you.

Pink and scented in harmony.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I take my spiritual book to Ryan's dance class on Thursday nights.  I also take my veterinary continuing education.  And the novel I am working on. 

January 2013, Boreen Point
I sit in the back, as small as possible, and try as hard as I can not to take part.

Tonight I realised that it had become more than an exercise in being silent.  It's more than trying not to overshadow Ryan's experience.

I don't feel I deserve to be there.

Gold Coast, February 2013

I haven't paid for the class and so I don't deserve to smile and laugh and feel the community the way the others do.

Not only is this silly, it is something that I feel often in other areas of my life as well.

I don't deserve to take part in a community unless I have either paid for it or done something to contribute towards it, like volunteering for a school function. 

I'm not good enough unless I keep up my continuing veterinary education.  And grow spiritually.  And write regularly.  And exercise.

Boreen Point

I've had miserable allergies for the last three weeks and have only been to the gym sporadically.  If I am not up at 5 AM lifting weights or cycling or stepping or running, if I don't feel pain the rest of the day, if I am not working myself to the absolute point of exhaustion, then I don't feel I am working hard enough.

Then I am not worthy to feel good about myself.  I work this hard to feel good about myself.

The problem is - thanks little spiritual book - that 'your achievements are not sustainable.'  I can run 7 to 8 kms in 45 minutes all of February but stop for three weeks in March and pretty much be right back to the beginning.  If I stop writing, it regresses. 

If I stop yoga and eating well I may end up depressed again.

Boreen Point

The problem with achieving to feel good about yourself is that you are only as good as your last achievement.  And they are fleeting.

Without my achievements, I am too fat, too lazy, too dirty, too unorganised, too ugly and too tired.  These just roll off the top of my head.

I am too too many things.

Dicky Beach, March 2013

At least though, I have gotten to the point in my life where the things I am doing too much of are things I enjoy.  I enjoy running and lifting weights and yoga and eating well.  I enjoy writing.  And I enjoy my veterinary reading. 

It's about finding a balance, perhaps doing it in moderation, cutting myself some slack.  Especially since I have to do them all before the kids wake up or after they are in bed.  Especially since my day job involves homeschooling a teenager with ASD, watching a toddler, and then ferrying three active school age boys to afternoon sports activities.

I'm running on empty.


Maybe someday I can like myself enough to do the things I love in moderation.

Because that would be an achievement that is sustainable!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

You're Teaching My Daughter WHAT?!

Off to Ryan's first belly dancing performance last Saturday

I'm beginning to be able to identify who Ryan will relate well to as a teacher.

Not me particulary, which is unfortunate.  But using it as a lesson in compromise.

She hated her art class.  Absolutely hated it.  Hated ballet back in Germany.  Both teachers found her amazingly talented.  They pushed her to continue.  They had high expectations.  And they both had very certain, direct, fast ways of doing things.  The correct ways of doing things.

Her flute teacher just loves the music as much as Ryan does.  They have fun.  There are no expectations, just an understanding and a shared passion.

Her belly dance / gypsy dance group is the same way.  There is no correct way to do it, just a desire to dance with your soul.  (The group is called Soul Dance). 

Friggin' hippies.

Needless to say we fit right in.

Ryan's swim coach has also worked with us to encourage Ryan to swim regularly without pushing her into hating it.  Ryan isn't a fan of the pool.  "I'm swimming as slow as I can," she tells me.  "And Coach still tells me I have talent." 

There has to be a reason God gave a child all this ability and no desire to use it, right?

Just like the cross-country finals when I showed up with Andrew and the teacher asked me why I hadn't also brought Ryan.  She'd apparently qualified as well. 

"They made me do it in gym class," she later told me, " but I really saw no reason to do it AGAIN!"

Not without a horse anyway!

Ryan is now training and riding with another friend of ours twice a week.  Charmaine also has a gentle spirit.  And is willing to trade me my 13 year old daughter for her 3 year old son for a few hours a week while they work with the horses.

Ryan's teachers in Germany really saw nothing to like.  Thank you to her teachers here - Christin and Liz at school, Gretchen on flute, Margaret with dance and, of course Charmaine, on horseback and off.

You are my daughter's community.

And my teachers - and friends - as well.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lucky Days?

What are the chances?

We're finally battling the rental company about our pool.  They've offered to give us some money back on our rent for having to deal with faulty equipment all season, but it might be time to move.

The oven went last week.

This week it was the aircon on the living room.

December blow-out.  On our way to White Water World.

We haven't had aircon in the car for a month.

And on Sunday, we had the second of two tire blow-outs since December. 

I actually consider myself quite lucky with the tires.  Neither actually blew, the inner tubing just separated from the outer tire in the heat, causing a bubble to form that would have blown if the driver hadn't noticed the car shaking. 

So handy it always happens when Dad is around!

Both times Damon was driving.

Both times were on the highway, the first time going quite fast in holiday traffic. 

Whinging about a faulty pool is like whinging about your kid being underchallenged at school.

Although we did move schools for that one.

This time we stopped at a general store and got slushies while we waited!!
Ah heck, Ryan is looking for horse properties as I type.

Although she might consider waiting for that horse until our run of luck changes!!!