Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Riggity Jig & Saint Francis

This weekend, we spent a little time dancing to the music of Riggity Jig http://riggityjig.blogspot.com/, at the Yolo County SPCA Re-Use, Re-Cycle, Re-New Festival http://www.yolospca.org/

We also crossed the causeway to attend mass at our home parish, Saint Francis of Assisi, where there will be a blessing of the pets on Saturday, October 2nd.

Of course, our parish isn't the only one to celebrate the memory of humble Francis with this tradition. For a listing of churches of all denominations blessing the pets next weekend, see:


Just type in your city to find a pet blessing event near you.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Now That Summer's Over...

Well, Thursday was Dave's first graduate level class, a seminar in condensed matter physics. How exciting for him.

Gone are the days of Dave needing me to remain in the classroom with him to take his notes. Nowadays, I get him there on time, remind him to sit at the front (he's distracted if at the back), open his notebook, sharpen his pencil, etc. After that, he's great at taking his own notes, following the lecture, and even making haltered-but-meaningful contributions to discussions. Meanwhile, I sit outside the classroom in the hallway. I read books and journals, pray my rosary, pay the bills (yes, still writing checks) or other written chores, exercise (I walk up and down the nearby stairwell). After class, I check in with the professor to answer his/her questions about Dave's special needs, etc.

So, when I'm not praying, exercising or writing checks, what do I read while Dave's in class?

Well, of course there's The Aggie, and The Enterprise, chock full of essential breaking news. Also, I received one of those itsy-bitsy Gideon Bible-ettes from a guy outside Shields library, which squishes into my overpacked purse perfectly, between my eyeglasses and Kleenex. Then, I was reading Joan Chittister, but have taken a break to re-enjoy the Willa Cather novels, starting with "My Antonia". The story seems so much richer than when I was "a young lass". Finally, I'm reading Dr. Darold Treffert's "Extraordinary People". So, there you have it-- Dave's and my life in a nutshell. At home, he studies while I cook, clean, plan menus, etc. At school, he's in class while I read. Slowly, but surely, our little system is helping David earn his degrees.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kim Peek

Amazingly, I learned of Kim Peek's passing only a couple months ago. Way back at the start of this blog, I mention some of my role-model "heroes", one of whom is Fran Peek, who provides me with hope, fortitude, and an example of placing the needs of one's son or daughter first above all else. Although Kim passed away back in December, '09, he and his dad are in my thoughts today. Perhaps this is because this week-- the start of David's doctorate degree program-- commences a new chapter in Dave's and my life together. When I think of the ever-popular Kim, I remember how nervous and shy David was the first time a reporter wanted to interview him. I told David he didn't have to do the interview, but that, if he chose to, he would be helping the autistic sons and daughters of parents reading the article, because he is an example of an autistic scientist who is succeeding in school. Dave summoned his psychological strength for the sake of those unknown readers out there, and did the article, for which I am so very, very proud of him.

Kim showed the same concern for others. Even "neurotypical" people get stressed by social contact, even more so "neuro-atypical" people, but Kim never slowed down, never allowed stage fright or burnout to keep him from scheduled appearances. Kim and Fran helped so many people by tirelessly sharing their story, by providing an example of what family members ought to do for each other, by simply letting us all share in their love for one another. The parent in me doesn't want to imagine how life is for Fran now without Kim (his "shadow") at his side. As autumn, and the holiday season, approaches, Fran is in my prayers.

Graduate School and a Big Change

Oops!! How did I let the summer go by without posting? To quickly sum up the summer-- In June and July, Dave and I took a fun geology trip to Lassen National Park, another to hike up Yosemite Falls and Vernal falls, and then visited people we never have time to see in places like Sonoma County and the Bay Area. We also had some great parties to celebrate Dave's graduation. We are blessed with wonderful friends. Also, it was the first serious slow-down I've had in years, and I loved it!

And now, the BIG NEWS! David has changed from his undergraduate interest of high energy physics to condensed matter physics. He spent August researching with a condensed matter group. The group and Dave enjoyed working with each other, so he is staying with them throughout graduate school. Wow. A lot of us had thought he'd never leave high energy. "Never say never"...

Last week Dave and the other incoming UCD graduate physics majors got to try the preliminary exam (normally taken at the end of the first year classes). We'll see...

This week, the term officially begins, and David is off to a happy start.

Thanks for reading my Blog. Please consider clicking on the "follow" button, because I think that having official followers will motivate me to keep up-to-date. Also, if you've got a blog, please send me the URL so I can read it, too. :)