Teacher’s Note

Yesterday was Z’s first day of preschool. It should have been Tuesday, but there was a mixup with the buses. They reversed our home address and the pickup address. I was annoyed, but things got straightened out, and when I picked her up from daycare yesterday, the workers said she’d had a good day, that she was a happy little girl. And had a nice nap. And that she’d gone potty just before I got there. The bus pickup and dropoff had no glitches, and the bus aide told the daycare that Z had a good day at preschool. I was so pleased to hear all of this good news! To top it off, Z was holding a clear plastic cup with some animal crackers. I buckled her in the car.

Then we got home and had about 20 minutes before Z’s ABA session. We sat at the patio table and ate some chips, then Dadda got home. And then Z’s tutor and the tutor’s supervisor came over. The supervisor talked with us about the additional things she’d like to implement in Z’s program and asked us if we had any questions. Reilly mentioned that Z sometimes reverses the sounds of letters in a word, like saying the “K” sound first in the word “drink.”

Then the supervisor brought up apraxia. The way Z tries to say some words may indicate apraxia. None of this is conclusive right now. But it’s another thing I have to research and worry about. I wasn’t told not to worry. I was going to worry anyway, but it makes a difference to be told not to worry.

This afternoon Z’s preschool teacher sent us an email:

Z’s day two has gone great, she really likes snack time, but wanted to walk around with the “juice” (gatorade) that she chose so we put in in her sippy cup and then she was able to drink from it when she was thirsty. She is listening and following directions so much better than when she first started in April which is awesome, especially considering the long summer break.
Just wanted to let you know.
As I was reading, tears streamed down my cheeks, and I’ve yet to really identify the emotions I experienced. Maybe I felt a combination of happiness and relief. But I felt most strongly pride. I can never articulate what all my concerns are for her, especially when it comes to navigating the world and discerning trust in and from others. Her safety, her knowing who she is, her ability to contribute to society. The preschool teacher’s email gave me great hope.
The other day, I tweeted this:

I’m grateful for the tools our biggening girl has acquired in her life so far. We can’t wait to see what else she can do.

The Degree of Like

Facebook is such a great way to keep up with friends. I like being able see what my friends’ opinions are on all sorts of subjects. I can tell political stances, movie/music/book preferences, games people play. I love when people post interest pictures or clever little memes. It’s actually pretty fun getting to know people this way without actually taking off my hermit hat and making an effort to interact with them. Especially if they live far away or if you can tell by their preferences that you wouldn’t get along with certain people in person. I can appreciate a healthy and occasionally overwarm discussion, but if I had to argue with certain people every day in real life, my head would probably explode. And then I wouldn’t be able to decide if I “like” things. Which would make me sad.

I enjoy being able to use Like on just about anything my friends post. I can “like” as many comments, photos, and status updates as I want. But I also understand the power of Like. And its nonpower. I have tried to be consistent in the ways I have liked or not liked certain things on facebook, but the more I use the process, the more I can see the nuances of its influence. Maybe the following doesn’t list nuances as much as my mere whimsy.

likefb

 

 

 

  • I have read the comment/article/whatever, and I understand it.
  • I have read the comment/article/whatever, and I agree with it.
  • I have read the comment/article/whatever, and I appreciate the point of view.
  • I am acknowledging this post on my newsfeed, but I haven’t read it.
  • I don’t want to be too imposing on the conversation that involves the post, especially if the post doesn’t directly include me.
  • I do not want to participate in a conversation, but I have read the comments.
  • I’m about to unlike the post.
  • I don’t really like the post, but I don’t want you to think I’m ignoring you.
  • The post is clever, and I will most likely comment and/or share.
  • The post is beautiful.
  • The post is cerebral or literary or strikes a chord with one of my interests.
  • The post acknowledges me in some way.
  • The post made me laugh.

likeyetfb

 

 

  • I do not like the post.
  • I do not understand the post.
  • I’m feeling particularly snobby.
  • I have read too many posts, and my clicking finger is tired.
  • I missed the post.
  • I am ignoring the post and may like it later.
  • I do not want to like the post because I don’t want to have to unfollow or unlike the post later.
  • I do not want to participate in a conversation, but I have read the comments.
  • I disagree with the post.
  • I do not like the person who made the post.
  • I don’t feel close enough to the person who made the post to like the post.
  • The post is not relevant to me.
  • The post is not clever.
  • The post has something to do with genuinely liking Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight.
  • The post is gross/crass/most likely rednecky.

The Like link has gone expanded from facebook to blogs, news sites, music sites, to just about everything on the internet. It’s a fascinating power to have and exercise, and it’s interesting to observe how people respond to what they like or don’t like. Just know if I Like or choose not to Like a post, it can have any meaning or a number of meanings at the same time. Or no meaning at all.

How do you like that?

Top 10 List for May’s 2012

I cannot believe this year. So much has happened, and I have only 56 entries to show for it. At least there are fewer blog posts to choose from for the annual countdown.

10. May: No one told me I’d eventually get to play against the BYU quarterback. I joined an intramural kickball team, and tonight was our first game.

9. July: Smartphone apps have a tiny dear place in my heart.  I looked around to see that I wasn’t the only one crying. I loved it.

8. July: This is the year I really got into hiking. And most of it during the season of a broken camera. Thank the Lord for making geology pretty.

7. August: Reilly’s birthday, and first time in New York City. We wondered about Glenn Close.

6. January: Careful to put ego-puffing somewhere in the middle. Being published in an academic, peer-reviewed journal would be a nice touch to my last semester.

5. September: The Oklahoma visit went along with going to NYC. Dad still finds happiness in little things. In simple things.

4. November: What an election year. I’m sorry to the friends I may have pissed off. But,  I spent maybe at least 5 minutes voting/playing with the fancy machine.

3. October: Recap of April’s commencement ceremony. I only slept because my friends who sat by me made me so very comfortable.

2.5. April: Full of transitions and excitement and bending rules for lists of 10.  The past four days have knocked me squarely on my rear. Three flights, up and down, up and down. My things, my books. His things, his books.

2. December: Can we distinguish the source of our tears in December? We talk about future names, but what is the name of our future?

1. June: Well, duh. Mindblowing. Incredible. Fantastic. Amazing. This.

This list doesn’t even include events like Christmas and wedding showers and getting jobs. It’s true that I am often vague in my blog posts, but know that these top 10 entries include the top people in my life. You’re always in my thoughts and prayers. You’ve done so much for my happiness and helped me to become a decent person. Thank you for your support. Thank you especially for your friendship and kindness and generosity, which I know will carry over into the new year and our upcoming and continued lives together.

I wish you all the blessings and happiness you deserve. Nothing less.

Graceland

Today, my student loan grace period ends.

It’s hard to believe six months have passed since graduation. Sitting in the Marriott Center, falling to sleep to Elder Oaks’s commencement speech. I only slept because my friends who sat by me made me so very comfortable. The hour before, we happened to find each other in that giant mob of the School of Humanities, all of us scattered about in the ASB parking lot, and it’s not like we planned it. We’re humanities majors; our degrees were not in planning. But we stood in the sun, waited for our cue, marched into the arena. Passed by professors in their regalia while “Pomp and Circumstance” blared. I wonder if Sir Edward Elgar ever got annoyed by how long his piece could be.

I could not have been more honored sitting with these friends:

Maddie thinks big and likes small houses. She’s passionate for noble causes and homemade pickles.

Jen, “Ms. Magna,” was so very ready to take her vacation to Ireland and wants to take on a certain spritely dancing violinist.

Stephanie, was more or less on her way to an internship in France, because if you can change France, you change the world.

Bridgette has already landed a job, and her mind is anywhere but Provo. She might be too smart for her own good.

The five of us. A juggernaut of awesome women. BYU graduates. Ever so ready to take on the world.

I wish we would have gotten a picture.

Always, I’ll feel indebted, but friends are the kind of grace never ends.

I Like This Movie

This movie is truly one of the best child actor performances I have ever seen. Of course Lee Pace is cute and stuff, but the little girl really steals the show. Her innocence, her role melts into her being. It doesn’t even seem like she’s acting.

In other news, my life seems to be crumbling before my very eyeballs. That is, if I kept my eyeballs open long enough to notice. I’m overwhelmed and frustrated, and sleep is my newest and best friend. It doesn’t judge or yell; it just lets me be.

Six weeks of class left. I don’t know, you guys.

Small Request

I know I don’t talk to a lot of you on a regular basis, and sometimes the conversation goes a certain way. Most of the time. You know what I mean. I’ve been having this kind of discussion for 18 years, ever since I was old enough to date?

If you decide to ask me if I’m dating anyone, just be aware that I will know:

  1. if you’re merely curious
  2. if you are concerned about my overall happiness and would meddle if you could
  3. if you want to brag about your current amazing relationship, which, if you’d just tell me already, I’d be very excited for you.

Now, I can hold up my end of the conversation, and my intuition serves me well. I may call you out on your intentions, or I may not. But please also be aware that:

  1. if I want to tell you if I’m dating, I will
  2. if I’m not dating, it doesn’t mean I’m sad or pathetic
  3. I really do appreciate your company, but if I’m not outright complaining about dating, you really don’t have to worry or try to fix anything. I’m doing great. I promise.

Thanks.

On 3.5 Hours of Sleep

This really isn’t anything new, this lack of sleep, but this semester has really hit the ground running. I’m actually current with my homework, but then again, it’s only the second day of class. Keeping this pace is going to be the challenge.

I’m starting to take time to do the “little” things. Daily half-hour of scripture study; prayer. Temple attendance is more of a big thing, but yeah, there’s that, too.

I do have priorities, and that means I’m going to have to require respect of my time.

Have I written about this before? Like, a few days ago?

Ah, yes. Focus.

It’s time to hit the books again.

Noticing

I have a friend here who, if I asked, would drop everything and do anything for me. He’s always asking if I need anything, and I’m always telling him I’m fine. We get along pretty well for not knowing each other for very long.

I’m pulling an all-nighter, and I felt myself fading earlier today, so I asked this friend if he’d mind bringing me a little caffeine. He asked what kind, and I said, either this or this, fully expecting just one 20-oz bottle of either of my preferred poisons.

He brought over one bottle of each kind. But they were 2-liter bottles.

He wouldn’t even let me pay him. Little punk. What a good person.

***

I know this is coming completely out of the blue (ha), but it feels as if I’m going through a rough patch. Surprise, right? It’s not debilitating, the days go on and on, but it does make me a little sad, and I can’t help but think I’ve kind of messed things up.  I know I’ve done nothing but whine since I’ve returned to Provo, but I guess I just didn’t expect the transition to be this rocky. And for some reason that entitles me to take out my frustrations on the rest of the world – specific pockets of the world that have subsequently closed off and may take a while to open up again. How can I learn if I try to ignore the consequences of my actions?And, haven’t I learned this lesson before? Not well enough, apparently.

I’m really trying not to be the victim here. Or the martyr.

I guess I’m just trying to say I’m sorry.

Things Considered

I need to take more than this moment on my blog to acknowledge the very personal and direct involvement the Lord has in my life. In the grand scheme of things, every span of time, regardless of duration, is but a small moment, but I certainly would be remiss if I did not set aside even a few minutes to be grateful.

Some really important experiences have met me on my path; they have taught me about decisions I need to make that affect the rest of my life – how to make them, with whom to discuss them, how to see them through. The transitions haven’t been easy, but huge and swooping. Abrupt. I haven’t been working for six months, and my emotional pendulum has swung the entire range. I took the opportunity to ask myself what I really want and how I could accomplish the goals I needed to set.

It took a while to make decisions upon which I could act. I decided I would return to school. I decide I would return to Florida to save money. That means I would have to pack my things. Apply for readmission. Store my things. Write scholarship essays. Sell some of my things. Arrange for a place to live in Florida and Provo. Register for classes. Apply for student aid. Move to Florida. Look for a job in Florida and Provo.

Then came time to consider situations that would be completely out of my control. I generally try not to stress about them, because doing so is completely pointless, but when I’ve worked so hard to address so carefully what I could  control and when other circumstances throw a wrench into that system, stress becomes inevitable.

I instructed a roommate to deposit a check I received for a Craiglist sale into my account. I was leaving New York City when the sale actually occurred. My roommate deposited the check on Friday, October 22, and everything seemed to be in order.

This past week I’ve been trying to plan trips to and from Utah to work out a few registration kinks and apply personally to jobs on campus. Wednesday morning I tried to check my Citibank account online and I couldn’t log in. I called customer service and they notified me that they put a block on my account and that I would have to visit a branch to have the block removed.

I looked for a branch in Jacksonville. I called a few numbers, the last one transferring me to an employees’ facility, where a nice woman named Christine tried to get a hold of the New York branch where I opened the account over six years ago. She kept getting a busy signal. She took my name and number, and she called me back that afternoon telling me my account would probably end up being closed. Christine gave me a number I could call for updates on a pending investigation on the account.

College money was coming out of that account. Bills were coming out of that account. I was freaking out a little.

A friend was gchatting with me at the time and I told her about my situation. I said that I was going to try finding my bishop’s number so that I could talk to him. My computer wasn’t cooperating with the Church’s website, so I asked my friend to look up the information, but that kind of information wasn’t available, so she contacted her dad who’s a member of his stake presidency.

Later that afternoon, I called the number Christine gave me and ended up speaking to Will in Tampa. I asked for the status on the account, and I recounted to him that the account may end up being closed. I also told him the check that was the reason the account closed was probably from a scam from Craigslist. Will understood that I had no idea the check was bad, that it was deposited in good faith, and the only reason to close the account would be to ensure no more suspicious activity could happen and to keep my money safe.

Will tried to connect me to my NYC branch, but it a busy signal kept sounding. He then sent the assistant branch manager an email with a callback request with my phone number. He said they should call me the next day.

I liked Will in Tampa. He was nice.

During this whole exchange, my friend texted me with the name and home and office phone numbers of my bishop. Just knowing his name and that I could call him settled my heart and eased my mind.

Thursday came and went with no phone call from Citibank.

However, it did come with a successful job interview. So there’s that.

Friday afternoon I called the customer service number, and some guy whose name I don’t recall wasn’t nearly as helpful as my previous phone interactions. He had no new information or any details about the account. He did give me the direct branch number, and he confirmed early Monday morning would be the best time to call.

I hung up that call feeling very frustrated with Citibank. If I hadn’t tried looking at my account online two days before, I wouldn’t have known they blocked my account until I decided to use my debit/credit card. They didn’t try calling me or emailing me. It would have been a complete blindside.

Saturday morning I called the direct number to my branch. Someone named Lauren answered the phone and surprised me. I told her about my situation and she told me the assistant branch manager was investigating the situation and she’d be in the office on Monday and I could call back and speak to her. Lauren gave me her direct number and told me to ask for Sondra.

I thanked Lauren for her help. She was able to tell me they were trying to determine what to do with the account and how to deal with the counterfeit check. She was very reassuring. I told her I was sorry she had to work on a Saturday, and she said it wasn’t all that bad. I confirmed the information she gave me and we ended the call.

Not ten minutes later I came back to my phone to see a new voicemail and a missed call. The message was from Lauren, and she stated that the block was lifted, effective Tuesday morning. I called her back and thanked her. Then I proceeded to run around Jenny’s apartment, jumping up and down, grateful for a happy ending.

This particular hurdle came in the form of a huge inconvenience. We all have them, and not that this situation in any way compares to other burdens other people have to bear, but I could have chosen to deal with my circumstances in several ways:

1. Swear a lot. Well, I did kind of do this, but at least I didn’t swear at people or do bodily harm to them.

2. Write Very Angry Letters to the major corporation involved. I almost did this. I still might. I had seen on a news feed a few weeks ago how Citibank was closing customers’ accounts without telling them, and I made sure to point this out to whoever was speaking to me on the phone this past week.

3. Be Very Angry on the phone. I’ve never really tried this, and whenever my emotions start to bubble over, I become speechless . In my last conversation with Lauren, she understood that I was a victim of fraud. I’m not sure if my sympathizing with her having to work on a Saturday helped at all, and it’s not like I said it to affect the outcome of my situation. I just know it wouldn’t be fun to work on a rainy Saturday morning. For a bank. Citibank, particularly.

So, perhaps the Lord’s direct and personal involvement with this experience is the perspective I have. It would not have been productive to overreact, nor would have yelling at people benefited anyone (though it may have relieved some inner tension). Perhaps it kept me relatively calm, knowing things would work out, when my finances were in jeopardy in New York City while I sit helpless and stranded in Florida.

Perhaps it is also friends who can sympathize and tell me they want to punch someone in the face or know what it’s like not to have any control over some circumstances and remind me of the faith I need to exercise and the trust I should have more of in the better part of humanity.

A large part of it is that I am a daughter of God. How much more personal and direct is the relationship between a child and parent? Those I come into contact with are my brothers and sisters, and I have spent my life trying to develop the kind of heart that opens my eyes. It makes a huge difference in how I treat them and how I understand the way they treat me. That continues to be a goal.

I will always be grateful for that.

The way I see it, out of all the decisions I could make in my life, the ones involving understanding other souls are the most eternally affecting, the ones where people feel like they matter; the ones most important.