Friday, February 24, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
This one is really easy. Snow and ironing go together because when it snows I don't want to leave the house, I can stay in my pjs, and iron to my heart's content, and then my car stays un-wrecked. Yes I looove to iron, and no it isn't a mental illness. Ironing makes crumply things smooth. Natch. I am crazy, but I have to say I draw the line at ironing my sheets. Now, you might be asking yourself...who in the h-e-double fishsticks irons their sheets? ALL my friends that's who. I'm not kidding when I tell you 5 of my friends iron their sheets and one friend who sends them out to be pressed. (And you thought I needed help)
Isn't it nice to see everything all nice and "smooth". I think so too.
And then you might say, wow that is A Lot of white shirts. I love a crisp white shirt can you tell?
Friday, February 17, 2012
Secondly, my mom would kill me dead for going with some strange person into an abandoned warehouse blindfolded. Hello girls! Apparently you don't watch the ID channel obsessively. Anyone who watches 48 Hours Mystery re-runs over and over even though you know the husband did it, and then watch it again anyway, knows that you never go anywhere wearing a blindfold and then sniff a couch cushion. I panic when this commercial comes on...I can't change the channel fast enough!
The other offenders are the kitty litter commercials. Those of us who do not have kitties are pretty shocked to know that you are removing clumped up cat urine without throwing up and having to take a well deserved nap following a detox shower of Purell.
And did that Shitchky nut job just say "problems with a shedding p__s_y?" (yes like a cat) Why is it that advertisers think a person screaming at us with a British or Australian accent will make us run to the phone to buy his jacked up on speed whatever-your-selling? Whoever created the DVR is a freaking genius. I never want to watch another commercial again.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
It has been a great few weeks for our family. My son is a student partner athlete on the Unified Basketball team. It was featured today in the NY Times.
Unified Teams Take Special Olympics Approach to School Sports
AURORA, Colo. — Not long ago, high school was a lonesome place for Shane Powell. A quiet, gangly 17-year-old, he could not help noticing the whispers in the hallways when he walked past, classmates poking fun at him.
Matt Nager for The New York Times
“I was picked on,” said Powell, who is cognitively delayed and speaks in short, soft bursts. “I felt very sad.”
These days, Powell is a junior basketball star at Grandview, a sprawling public high school of 2,600 students near Denver, and he prefers to be called Big Shane, a nickname reinforced by his 6-foot-4 beanpole frame.
Through a collaboration with the Special Olympics, Powell and nearly two dozen other special education students participate on basketball and cheerleading squads at Grandview. They not only take part in school competitions, but also team up with general education students, called partner athletes.
At Grandview, these unified teams are upending high school’s archetypal and often cruel social order. Largely invisible in the past, special education students now slap hands with lettermen in the hallways, chat with new friends and live a high school existence that “feels normal,” said one parent, Kelly Shearer.
Kurt Wollenweber, Grandview’s principal, said: “Unified has transformed the culture of this school. It was almost as if these kids weren’t noticed before we began doing this. I don’t think anyone realized how powerful they are.”
Born of the idea that athletic events can be especially transformative when they include individuals who have special needs alongside those who do not, unified programs have existed about two decades.
In 2008, with money from the federal Department of Education, the Special Olympics began putting the programs into schools. More than 2,000 schools in 42 states have unified athletic programs, with varying levels of intensity.
“We know that the interaction that happens in unified sports is the point at which a change in attitude happens for all students involved,” said Andrea Cahn, the senior director of Project Unify for the Special Olympics national office in Washington.
“Our athletes have an unconditional appreciation for other people. They persevere even in the face of being bullied and teased. We can pull back the veil of the unknown and make people real.”
With unified basketball, one of the more common sports played at schools, modified rules require at least three players with cognitive disabilities for each team on the court. The remaining players can be partner athletes, who typically do not take many shots.
Last school year, Grandview’s first using unified programs, the basketball team went 8-1 and won the state Special Olympics championship. The games, which are usually played between the junior varsity and varsity contests, crackle with the intensity of traditional high school sports. They regularly outdraw them, too.
At a recent game against the rival Overland’s unified team, a packed crowd of students, parents and faculty members roared for both sides, seeming not to care about the wild shots hoisted high off the backboard, traveling violations or which team scored.
Cory Chandler, Grandview’s young coach, who also coaches freshman baseball and football at Grandview, pumped his fist after the freshman Mathew Philippi sank his first basket of the season.
Philippi, who is autistic and barely speaks, threw his hands up in shock, grinned sheepishly and shuffled toward the bench before a partner athlete coaxed him down the floor to play defense.
“It’s unlike any coaching experience I’ve ever had,” Chandler said. “I’ve never got teary-eyed during baseball or football. With this, I fight back tears during every game.”
The effect, at least at Grandview, is equally profound for partner athletes, who in many cases are popular overachievers, handpicked by coaches and special education teachers.
“These guys are not my teammates anymore; they are more my friends,” said Payton Soicher, a senior baseball player who also plays unified basketball.
In Colorado, whose state Special Olympics organization has been at the forefront of the unify movement, the program is also growing. This academic year, 20 high schools fielded unified programs, with 325 special education students participating. Last school year 11 schools and 155 special education students were involved. The number of partner athletes has also risen substantially.
Jon Hoerl, an assistant principal at Overland, helped start the program at Grandview when he was its athletic director.
The kids get to wear the same uniforms, the same warm-ups,” Hoerl said. “We announce the lineups. The whole idea is to get them the mainstream experience of a high school athlete. They just want to be included.”.
Georgi McFail, a Grandview sophomore, has Apert syndrome, a genetic disease characterized by severe physical deformities. She was teased mercilessly in middle school, said Shearer, her mother.
“Just a lot of tears,” Shearer recalled.
A Grandview special education teacher told them about the unified spirit squad, and with some nudging, McFail joined.
“Her confidence has just soared,” Shearer said. “Now she says, ‘I’m going to be a cheerleader all through high school.’ She doesn’t feel so different anymore.”
At the basketball game against Overland, McFail, in her blue-and-white uniform, cheered quietly, keeping up with all the steps. She threw her hands, which have fused bones and which she used to hide in her pockets, high in the air.
“I get to go cheer for the games, and the varsity cheerleaders have become my good friends,” she said.
They had plenty to cheer about, as the teams traded baskets during a close second half. Michael Bush, a senior with cerebral palsy who had fallen in with a rough crowd before joining the basketball team, stared at the ceiling after missing a layup. Seconds later, he hit a jump shot and implored the crowd to cheer.
Bush’s friend Big Shane Powell, though, was the star of the game, flying down the floor to make layup after layup. Chandler, the coach, recalled a time when Powell, who also has behavioral disorders, was filled with anger and once threw punches at him and another coach during practice.
After Grandview built a big lead during a recent game, Chandler pulled Powell aside.
“I told him, ‘I want you to be a partner athlete for the rest of the game,’ ” Chandler said.
Powell hustled back into the game, grabbed a rebound and handed the ball to an opposing player so he could make a shot, too.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
My son Payton is an able-bodied helper on the Grandview High School Unified Basketball Team. I can't express how amazing the program is to everyone involved. The coaches, players, and helpers are all students working together to have a great athletic experience. Grandview High School also has a Unified Cheer Squad that cheers at all of the games. Keep the hankies handy! "Grandview High School is making a significant impact in changing their school climate to be inclusive and accepting of all students, including those with intellectual disabilities, setting a standard for Special Olympics Project UNIFY around the nation and inspiring many people in the Denver metro community and throughout the state! More than 85 students from Grandview HS are engaged in the school’s second-year program that includes Unified Cheer, Unified Basketball and Project UNIFY Partners Club and Youth Activation Committee. This innovative program is bringing young people together, both with and without disabilities, and it’s been a life-changing experience for the family, friends, community leaders, and sports fans around the Denver metro area who have been there this past year to cheer on a Colorado Special Olympic athlete compete on their high school unified team with the student body in attendance, the band playing and the cheerleaders cheering!" They are competing in a Top 9 News story contest, and you can vote for them here. You can watch the video and vote if you have a minute! Thanks!
Monday, February 6, 2012
Here is why you shouldn't watch Downton Abbey with a 16 year old boy. Thank G-d I have it on the DVR so I can re-watch last night's episode over.
Boy-"Who is that? What do you mean she was married, isn't she like twelve? Why are they over-acting? That girl needs a spray tan. Is Daisy her real name? What kind of name is that, that is a dog's name. It's lame when you say the name of the show in the episode. Why is everyone so nosy? Those walls seem pretty thin for a mansion. Are there any murders?
Who is that guy? He looks like Voldemort, no wonder no one can recognize him. Ohh those are butlers like Alfred in Batman. So that guy is like Bruce Wayne? Wouldn't it be cool if that guy turned into Batman or something? (he is Marvel Comics Encyclopedia)
Me- I will try that episode again today while the boys are at school.
Friday, February 3, 2012
(This is just a re-enactment photo)
Yesterday was a fun day. Fun like a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. My son needed a ride home from school so during the middle of a very exciting game of Mahjong I quickly left to pick him up. Normally there isn't a car parked behind me in the driveway BUT yesterday my brother-in-law parked his Brand New Car riiiiiight behind mine.
(Do you remember the term foreshadowing from high school English?)
Can you guess what happened next? CRuuuunnccchhhhh. Yeah. I backed into his car. I really shouldn't be allowed to get behind the wheel. The good news is that it will be something to talk about in therapy next week! The other good news is that he took it pretty well, and he claims it can just be "buffed out". I plan on keeping this little detail to myself....no need to bother my husband with that little mishap. My brother in law told me to keep the money for repairs to get my husband hair plugs. At least he has a sense of humor.
So a friend offers to take me to school to pick up my son and WE BOTH FORGOT OUR CELL PHONES in all of the excitement and my younger son is nowhere to be found. So I go into the weight room to look for my older son who just so happens to be in a dip contest with sweaty (stinky) high school boys cheering him on....so when he's done I ask to borrow his phone. Have you ever been lectured to by a high school boy about being responsible and keeping your phone with you at all times? It's fun you should try it.
Found Son. Snowed two feet, snow day from school. I plan on never driving again. Everyone should be relieved. The End.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Mondo and Lisa last year
Sooo yesterday I was shopping with a lovely news anchor in town. We were getting ready for the Goodwill Clothing Exchange and Clothing Swap with Mondo! She is the cutest thing ever by the way. Well as you know shopping at Goodwill is always exciting, and yesterday was no exception. She was kind enough to start trying on all of these cute dresses for the event, and I was bringing things to the dressing room for her to try on. She came out of the dressing room in one of the outfits and we both went to the accessories section to see if we could find a teeny, tiny, wee little belt for her waist. Did I mention that she is pregnant? So we were looking for a little belt to fit over her baby bump. As we were chatting and shopping and just Goodwill browsing, she makes her way back to the fitting room, and that is when I realized that someone else is in her dressing room trying on clothes.
Right then I noticed that she had her original clothing in her bag and that no one was trying it on. Crisis Averted.