reminder: have courage and be kind

It’s your birthday this week, Mom. What are you doing Friday the 13th?

Um, I don’t know…

Good. Keep that date open for me…for your birthday present. She smiles and flounces off, as she often does as the dancer, as the princess that she is.

What could it be?, I wonder to myself…a pedi?….a massage….shopping?…dinner?…all too much, of course. Still, I am excited, because she tells me that she is so excited. I can’t imagine her enthusiasm to not ever be contagious.

Happy Birthday To Me arrives and the first gift I receive is this:

Every one else, it would seem, is tripping on the time change springing forward one hour, but I am good because I have a perfect non-fat, no whip, white mocha, a Sephora gift card and I am seeing Cinderella with my darling 4th daughter the evening of Friday the 13th. No superstitions here!

Ever since I was a very little girl, Cinderella was my Princess. I know, not very feminist of me. Who cares! For me, a very lonely, awkward little girl, who never seemed to do anything right for anyone, no matter how hard she tried, Cinderella reminded to keep dreaming, keep believing…and I did. I do.

It is because of the Cinderella of my young life, I was worried about what Disney would do to her in a live action movie…Silly, I know, because this is Disney. Even with the PERFECT re-working of Sleeping Beauty into Maleficent of last year, I still had my reservations because this was my Cinderella. Yet, I still wanted to see it.

I had nothing to worry about.

Except for perhaps the “Cinderella” who greeted us as she tugged uncomfortably with her gloves and fidgeted with her ball gown…not princess-like at all! My Princess showed her how it is done even when clad in simple skinny jeans, a tee and ballet flats. The movie theater had the right idea having a “Cinderella” ready to meet and greet everyone on opening night. The reactions of the little children there was priceless. But it is hard for a professional princess to not want to show how it should be done right.

You don’t tug, you don’t fidget and you stand like this…

But the movie…the movie was almost perfection! I won’t lie, during the beginnings, filled with one heartbreak after another, I found myself saying out loud enough already…just as Ella meets Kit, the Apprentice. The story plays on as one familiar with Cinderella would expect; but with a few delightful twists and turns along the way to keep it fresh and more real…because, yes, feminists, even this Disney princess isn’t necessarily looking for a man to save her…especially when it is SHE who teaches the Prince that he must “have courage and be kind.”…something I believe we all need to be reminded of…some of us need to be reminded of the “be kind” part perhaps more so. Just saying…

I LOVED the movie! Jodie LOVED the movie! The reaction of pretty much everyone else in the theater tonight suggested that they all LOVED the movie too!

Cinderella is rated PG and although I would recommend it as family friendly, know that there are three characters who die in the movie, two whom die on screen, which might prove to be upsetting for more sensitive children..

Still, a wonderful movie evening and birthday gift with MY favorite princess.

Made even MORE perfect because it was my birthday! My princess did very good.

 

parental supervision advised

Recent events in the education of my favorite son have proven to be pretty exciting these days. Last month, after months and months of planning, preparation, education and communication our school district went live going digital with over 23,000 Panasonic 3E tablets issued to all the students in the district to be utilized in the classroom and for students in grades 4-8 to take home with parental permission and high school, well, I don’t know because I have no student in high school. But based on what I’m seeing in social media world, high school students are taking their devices home.

Going digital is every where. It’s now and it’s real and it is in pretty much every workplace setting…whether we like it or not. It only makes sense that we equip and educate our children…all of our children. Of course pretty much every child out there is tech savvy already with a strong selfie game by the time they are two. But for those who do not have access at home, here is an opportunity and it is exciting. At least I think so.

For months and months before the big day, our school district was informing us what was coming. Regular discussions and presentations were at school board meetings. Information was being sent home, updated on school web sites and the school district web site. The local paper published articles regularly as well. Teachers were discussing at back to school nights and individual teacher conferences what was to come. There were parent meetings with members of school board, faculty and Panasonic offered all over the district where parents could have the opportunity to ask more questions, actually see the devices and even play with them late last year. Up until the big Go Live day schools regularly sent home updates via flyers, monthly newsletters, emails and robo-calls. Our kids had assemblies talking about the Big Day and, at least under our Big Top, we heard about it from our very excited student. Technology was coming to our schools. A parent had to be literally living under a rock not to know what was coming. We knew under The Big Top since before last year at this time that this was coming…and we could not wait.

Then the day came just last month and Ta-Da!!!

We opted to give Daniel permission to bring his home on weekends and the day that he received his device because we wanted to see it too! As Daniel started it up, he carefully explained to us the dos and the don’ts of caring for and operating his tablet/laptop. He basically recited nearly verbatim the clear handout (with pictures) in English and Spanish that was sent home to the parents. We praised the boy on his care for his device to which he shrugged reminding us that we told him he has to take good care of his technology always.

Don’t you just love it when your kids actually listen to you and do what you say?

Me too.

Also, he added, Mrs. B. spent a great deal of time prepping his class with the basics of their tablets/laptops. Thank goodness because Mom and Dad appreciate his prompting as we get ourselves acquainted with it too.

So six weeks later, the local paper wonders how the students are doing with their devices and discovers that cracked screens from students stepping on the devices…as they are getting out of bed is the biggest reported problem. No actual numbers are reported, but the district assures that it is small number comparatively.

Of course the comments immediately flood the paper’s social media sites because people are clearly upset about this…this is a big deal. Comments pour in all mostly pointing fingers at schools, the school district and teachers because clearly THEY are not being responsible. One parent loudly, shrilly complains that the schools had not adequately prepped parents and students for this. Schools are not teaching her children safety and and responsibility. Technology is important but some parents don’t want their kids to use it or access it….she expresses these comments via Facebook using her iPhone. And the “amen corner” chimes in.

But here is a novel idea…How about parents take responsibility to teach their children to take care of all the technology devices they use and what websites their children access?…Yes, I asked that.

Why does this remind me so much of sex education with our kids and parents of my kids’ friends suddenly realizing that when their kids are 12 that OMG, the school is going to talk to them about their changing bodies and maybe sex and they are just kids and OMG!!! They are going to talk to them about that!!! We haven’t even had THE TALK because they’re just babies and OMG!!!

It’s simple to suggest that parents need to take responsibility here. It is too simple. Parents, who clearly are tech-savvy enough to shrilly comment all over social media of the evils of tech in their child’s school and tech being forced upon their child via their iPhone should be able to pass on some of that to their kids. Given the fact that most toddlers I know seem pretty adept navigating mommy’s smart phone or their own tablet to play games or watch Frozen for the jabillionth time, I would imagine the small group of #MUSDgoingdigitalconcerns parents have kids who are savvy enough…the leader of their group has a high school aged child who I imagine is quite busy on twitter, tumblr and kik. Shame on her for not passing on info to her mom who claims having no knowledge until December 2014…and since mom chose to judge my parenting when we engaged in a thoughtful debate on this subject…shame on mom for not being on top of her child’s school activities as well as perhaps her child’s online activity.

As another parent expressed: I am a bit concerned as to why the children/ kids/teens are allowed to “go to bed” with their tablets. It is a learning device, a digital book if you will…. parents should be supervising the usage of these things, the tablet should be put in a backpack or put away on the table or something, these items should not be being broken and used as a baby sitting device.

Disagree all you want, but truth of the matter is the parents need to step up and be responsible for their kids actions.

I’m sorry #MUSDgoingdigitalconcerns mom but all of your apples and oranges and slippery slope arguments fall flat. We were prepped. We were given ample time and the forums to express questions and concerns. Our kids have been educated in class on the care of their devices and safety. We have been repeatedly also informed of basic device care and safety for our children while using their devices. Ultimately we as parents must choose to continue to support, encourage and educate ourselves and our children of the care of their devices and safety…as responsible parents do. Like sex education, or morality, or basic respect for people, animals, places and things, ultimately this is the job of the parent, including you, #MUSDgoingdigitalconcerns mom, to be present, be aware and teach our kids proper respect for things given to them. If your kid was irresponsible enough to take the device to bed to be “doing homework” and crack the screen, I imagine that you are engaging with me on the Bulletin’s Facebook page via your iPhone with a cracked screen.

Yes, I went there. You question my own parenting in our back and forth discussion implying that I don’t care for my child’s safety I think it’s fair.

Ultimately, it is one of MUSD’s students who pretty much said what needed to be said: I personally think the tablets are awesome if used correctly. I have never been more productive. I am a senior in high school and the tablets have allowed for me to get a lot of small assignments done between passing classes, allowing me to reduce my workload at home. Also, in applying to colleges it’s really nice to have all the materials necessary at my fingertips. During lunch and brunch I fill out scholarship applications-something I had to wait to do until I got home to my computer before. Although I use my tablet for the intended use of improving my educational experience, I am highly aware of their misuse. I have classmates who got their tablets and downloaded games immediately and only waste their time. My peers are extremely careless when it comes to their tablets so it’s no surprise to me that so many are broken. I don’t think the tablets are the problem. The problem is the students’ individual negligence towards them. Whether we like it or not our future will be ruled by technology so it is really great that MUSD is giving us this advantage over the students of other districts. Of course there are going to be problems with the tablets, but learning to deal with them is exactly the type of ‘real-life’ application every body claims to want in their education.

and then a teacher, I know personally, who admittedly struggled with the going digital process shared: I have so enjoyed the last few days with the students having their own computers. I guess I wasn’t surprised things have gone so smoothly, since we were towards the end and most of the bugs had been worked out. The kids have amazed me not with how much further ahead of me they were, which I expected, but how much they were willing to help each other out. I did find I had much to teach them (especially about word processing), but for much of the time my job is to just stay out of their way. They also are taking a whole new interest in completing their work and behaving in class. I realize this won’t last, but you can’t fault me for enjoying it while I can…

Back it up #MUSDgoingdigitalconcerns mom. You sit down and focus on your kid’s safety and use and care of their digital device and I will with mine.

 

catching up, investing in female research solving the world’s greatest challenges and (maybe) doing my taxes

It’s been awhile since I posted, hasn’t it? I have a pretty good reason/distraction/excuse as I’m sure most of you all know. Follow me or lurk anywhere else where I am online I know that you know. Or you could just ask me…or call…or text…or “Facebook” me…or tweet at me. Updates are out there for sure. So while the family circus catches up on sleep and adjusts to a new normal life under The Big Top, we find we must catch up on a lot of other things like bills, my getting back to work (to pay those bills since Bill will be out for the foreseeable future), teacher conferences and report cards, changing Spring Break plans (because Bill is not able to work for the weeks to come), getting taxes done for kids’ FAFSAs, birthdays…

OH CRAP! I forgot my baby sister’s birthday! I swear family health crises that distract me always seem to happen when important things are happening in her life. Clearly I suck as a sister. Excuse me while I send her a card and an apology…

And then I remember something I recently promised to do for another sister…the sister who is taller than me and definitely smarter than me and asked me to be the oldest first-time bridesmaid ever. Oh, who am I kidding, they all are smarter than me! But back to Ange…

Remember when mountain lions came to Modesto and Turlock? There was much talk of the serious drought and suburban sprawl of our growing Central Valley communities increasing the likelihood of seeing these carnivores. It’s a real thing.

And my sister is devoting her doctoral studies on just that: Carnivore conservation in an era of rapid development.

The Southwestern U.S. has the most diverse assemblage of carnivores anywhere in the U.S., ranging from mountain lions and black bears to kit foxes and spotted skunks. It also has the fastest growing population in the U.S. The population of Arizona grew nearly 584% between 1950 and 2000. As the population of southern Arizona grows, annual visitation rates to its protected areas also grow, resulting in greater impacts on the areas’ wildlife. To adequately manage and conserve carnivore species within protected areas, information on how they may respond to different levels of human disturbance is essential.

Your donations will fund a project that will not only help her in completing her PhD, but also help collect valuable information on the impacts of human disturbance on carnivore communities.

If you can, please helping fund this project. Donate what you can, if you can. But donate soon because she now has less than 13 days left in her fundraising effort.

Thanks!

heart thoughts

Working as Vampira, The Night Shift Nurse, I am used to 3 o’clock in the morning phone calls because there’s always a mommy of one of my tiny human patients at any given shift calling because she woke up and thought of her baby. They are usually pumping the liquid gold that is mommy milk and naturally their thoughts are on their tiny baby wondering how he is doing…did she gain weight…did he have yet another episode where he stopped breathing or dropped his heart rate to delay (again) his discharge that was anticipated the day after tomorrow…is she crying… So around 3 AM Tuesday morning as I’m taking mental inventory of what I need to do before my last rounds with my patients when the phone rings I am not surprised. It’s probably baby boy’s mama calling to see if he gained weight.

Room 1. This is Laura. Can I help you?

Mom?!

Abby?…??!!??

Dad had a heart attack. We’re at Doctors in Manteca. It’s bad.

What?!

His nurse needs to talk to you.

And Patrick comes on the line calmly explaining that my darling husband has suffered a STEMI and needs a stat cardiac catheterization. Unfortunately, the hospital where he is at is not set up to do the procedure so he is going to be transported by ambulance to my hospital, its sister hospital. He carefully explains what has been done and given to Bill so far, how Abby is and that he, Patrick, will be accompanying Bill to Modesto. He adds that because we are “family” within our hospital system, he is going to be calling me during the transport to update their arrival time.

OMFG!!!!

Patrick gives me his cell number telling me that is the number he will be calling my cell so I’ll know it’s him…because who else is going to call my phone around 3 AM?…looking at my silenced phone I see that Abby tried to call me…Oh. Yeah….Patrick tells me he will call as they leave Manteca and again as they approach my hospital so that I can meet them in the ER.

OMFG!!!

Inside I am freaking out…majorly freaking out saying “fuck” often. Outside I tell my charge nurse what is going on. I’m too calm. At least I think that I am too calm.

She immediately calls our resource nurse to take over my patients’ care and directs me to update her on what needs to be done for the next few hours. I give the handoff to our resource and accept the hugs and promises of prayer from co-workers and the family of one of my patients as I blankly wander to our nurses’ lounge to wait for Patrick to call me.

I’m too calm, I think again. My husband just had a heart attack and needs an emergency cath procedure. Why am I not freaking out? Why am I not crying? My phone rings. It’s Patrick. They’re on their way he tells me. He adds that Abby is following in her car. And so I wait while my mind races…and wonders why am I not crying, screaming, throwing something…my husband has had a heart attack and is coming by ambulance to my hospital.

Patrick soon calls again telling me that they are getting off the freeway so I hug coworkers once more and head to the ER. There the STEMI Alert team is waiting and ready…nurses, doctor, phlebo, x-ray tech…

This is serious.

Before I can think to ask a thoughtful question, the ambulance arrives with Bill and Patrick. Bill is pale, much too pale but joking with me as he does, as we do.

Freak, freak, fucking freaking out inside I am again.

I’m calm as Patrick explains what meds Bill has had so far…aspirin, morphine, heparin. He tells me he went over consents with Abby and she has signed them so he’s good to go to the cath lab. Numbly, I thank Patrick for everything so far as he says goodbye while I watch Bill receive a new IV, have labs drawn, get a chest x-ray and have his pants removed all in the matter of a few minutes.

Mrs. Scarborough? We’re heading upstairs now.

Holding Bill’s hand, my mind moves from “OMFG! This is for real” to “He’s seriously high right now” as we head up to the cath lab. As they push the bed with my husband through the double doors, they direct me to sit and wait.

So, I can cry now?…

A text from Abby pops up on my phone. She’s here. I tell her where to go so that we can meet. What she tells me is so hard to believe to be real. Bill woke her up after 2 AM telling her that he needed her to drive him to the hospital.

Why, she asked?

His arm hurts and he needs to go now. Bill’s arm and shoulder has been bugging him for a few days. He blames it on overdoing it at Krav Maga, as does the family doctor who prescribed rest and a muscle relaxer. Abby tells me that he was a bit breathless and coughing a lot…as he has been because allergies and the cold Bill believes he caught from Daniel (who has not had a cold). Abby gets him to the ER close to home where they begin to triage and take his vitals…

It all changed when he was placed on a monitor. The nurse abruptly leaves the room calling a doctor in. Soon a party gathered in his room, Abby tells me. A doctor tells her that her dad is having a serious heart attack and need to be sent to another hospital.

My mom is at work at Doctors in Modesto. She will want him there.

You know the rest.

Can I just say here how impressed I am with my Abigael Rose? I am! She remained calm through all of this. I imagine that she was freaking out inside with a steam of OMFG and fuck, fuck, fuck happening because she is her mother’s daughter. Still she remained calm and even advocating for her dad and mom when they first planned to transport him to a hospital in Stockton rather than where I work, where the Central Valley cardiology rock stars are. I am so proud and so impressed with this child of mine.

The cardiologist soon comes out and tells us that his right coronary artery was 100% blocked but she was able to open it up with the cath procedure. She adds that his heart went into v-tach and he had to be shocked three times before his heart converted to a normal rhythm.

yeah…inner major freakout happened.

As the sun rises, Abby and I meet Bill in the ICU. He is on several drip medications with a venous and arterial line in his groin along with an IV. He’s pale…so pale…and he’s trying to tell jokes.

Stop!

I hold his hand as I remind myself that this is his turn for the in  sickness and health part of our vows. Yeah I am mad because he never seemed to listen to me about my worries so here we are but here we are, together in sickness and in health.

Dammit!

The family starts to call as they wake to receive my texts to call me because it’s an emergency. I want to cry and scream and curse and sleep because now I am tired, so tired, but I can’t because our daughters are calling, his sisters…

Sleep is for the weak…and people who had a heart attack…the most severe type of heart attack…and for people who needed to be shocked several times after cardiac arrest. I’m not sleeping now.

The family comes. The friends check in. Bill is awake then asleep then awake then asleep and all the while looking so pale. Everyone who sees him cries a little or a lot. I don’t.

Clearly I am defective.

I know I did way too much in sickness and in health events having babies and preterm labor and anaphylaxis episodes and meningococcal meningitis but, dammit, this is too much. His heart. I told him. I did. I nagged and I begged.

As the day progresses, he slowly stabilizes.

Thank god!

We settle into what is right now our normal and perhaps the most awkward, surreal date night ever.

As a wild, wild party seems to be commencing under The Big Top.

What can I say?

You cope your way.

And this circus will cope ours.

The good news is that by Wednesday night, Bill is much improved. no chest pains, rare arrythmias, femoral lines and drip medications discontinued and, after more than 36 hours for the first time he is sitting up in bed.

So. Damn. Lucky.

The adventure continues…

the perks of being a Snow Queen’s mommy

It’s cold out there today. I know because Al Roker told me so…it was 47° in Miami, Florida where he was reporting this morning. I also know because of everyone sharing this morning.

Oh you Siberian Express, you! I don’t miss the kind of cold that freezes the snot inside your nose…Not. At. All. This blast of icy cold is getting serious because in Kentucky there is a warrant for the arrest of a certain Snow Queen.

All points bulletin!!! Harlan Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for Queen Elsa of Arendelle, Suspect is a blonde female last seen wearing a long blue dress and is known to burst into song “Let it Go!” As you can see by the weather she is very dangerous. Do not attempt to apprehend her alone.

Clearly she can’t be bothered because she is much too busy making appearances here in the Central Valley and the Bay Area making little girls and boys wishes come true. Also she wouldn’t dare freeze my neck of the woods because the cold does bother her mommy!

I’m sorry everyone else seems to be freezing…really. For what it’s worth, it’s foggy and snowing here in the Central Valley right now.

At least it looks like snow.

Don’t worry, I might not be freezing but I am suffering because almond blossoms and allergies.

Stay warm my friends.