Archive | March 2013

An EXTRA-Ordinary Week

practicing at home on Saturday

Practicing at home on Saturday

I had wanted to tell all of you about a `normal’ week in my life but that post will have to wait.  This week is crazy and it has barely gotten started!   Well, I suppose that it started on Saturday when I had to practice my Webinar presentation in between everything else I was doing:  swim practice in the morning; homework, emails and ushering at MCT’s Steel Magnolias in the afternoon.  Steel Magnolias was a great play—very funny and very sad.  I liked it a lot because it was all about haircuts and I thought that was very fun because I like to go to the hairdresser to get my hair cut.

On Monday morning, I did not go to school.  I slept in a little bit and then I did laundry and started packing for our trip.  Then my mom dropped me off at the Rural Institute and Ellen recorded my presentation.  I presented my power point about how I use Assistive Technology to be independent during my daily life.  I talked about using my Time-Timer at the Grizzly pool to know when I need to get out of the water after lap swim; or if I have get out early from club swimming.  I talked about my bus destination file box where I keep all my little cards that I use to show the bus driver the destination where I want to get off the bus:  library, Missoula Children’s Theater, Prudential, The University, or home.  I talked about how I use my iPOD Touch to get up on time  in the morning or sleep—or at least stay in bed–longer than 4:00 a.m. when I am excited about my day.  I talked about my notebook that I use when I make my pot holder deliveries around town.  Sometimes it is hard to hear me when the environment is busy with lots of people.  I talked about how I use my Time-Timer Watch when I am working so I know when to stop working, clean up and sign out and go home.

On Tuesday I got to sleep in again because we had another day of meetings.  My friend Maclaen picked me up because my mom had to come a little late.  It was really fun to see my old friends and meet new friends and have the meeting.  I listened and I talked a lot.  I talked about my favorite teachers and why I liked them so much.  I got to learn more about the iPAD and other assistive technology devices such as swivel chairs and handles to help people get in and out of cars.  We learned about making good food choices.  I had to chose food to eat on a plate.  It looked like real bread but when I picked it up, it felt really funny and rubbery.  I did not want to eat it!  For vegetables I chose green beans; for fruit I chose strawberries; for protein I chose tuna fish; for starch I chose bread.  I took a picture of my plate when it was all full.  Then I looked at the picture on the camera.  It was kind of fun.  My mom wants to go shopping to get some of those cool kinds of plates.

So it was two whole days of meetings, seeing friends, eating delicious lunches and learning new information about my life after high school–my adult life.  My mom asked about a microphone for me. They had one that we could check out for a month.  I am going to try it out to see if people can understand me better if I have a microphone.  Everyone said I spoke loudly and clearly during my presentation when I had a microphone so maybe it will help me in my daily life talking to friends and strangers I meet.  At least we can try it out without buying it first–it is very expensive:  $900!

After the meeting my mom wanted to go home and take a nap BUT I reminded her that we were supposed to go to DejaNu to look for prom dresses.  She did not want to do this and she tried to talk me out of it but I wanted to stick with the plan.  And so we did.  And I am so glad!  I loved the first dress I tried on—it was perfect.  Ivy found a pretty sweater to go with it and a very classy diamond-looking necklace.  I looked fabulous!  My mom took some pictures to send to my sister, Morielle, in China.  We could post them on my website but it might be bad luck to post pictures BEFORE Prom.   I don’t know—what do you think?  Would it be bad luck to show all of you my pretty prom dress before May 11? (Click here to read about Prom.)

So now I have only one day of school this week and then California here we come.  On Wednesday I have to remember lots and lots of paperwork for my classes AND I get to go out to the FFA Barn and buy an animal that I will take care of and then take to the fair in August.  After this excitement, we will get in the car and start driving.  I am excited to see Matthan and hang out with him and his USC friends.  It will be fun.  In the car I will make lots of pot holders and my mom wants to listen to the Iliad.   What a crazy, wonderful, exciting week!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day Happy Spring

Happy St. Patrick’s Day !                Happy Spring!!

On Friday I was so excited because it was the day for me to remember to pick up my cap and gown!  And I did NOT forget!  At The Writing Center I was so excited about what I had in my backpack.  I told my mom that it was there and she said we could wait until we got home to open the package.  At home I wanted to iron it right away so my mom asked me if I wanted to skip the library movie in order to iron my gown. NO WAY I did not want to skip the library movie.  So we went to see Argo  I liked the movie because it was in Los Angeles where Matthan is going to school and because it had the Hollywood sign in it.  I saw the Hollywood sign last year when I was visiting Matthan.  Anyway, it was scary in the middle with a happy ending.  Those are always the best movies.

On Saturday morning I slept in a little bit because I was tired from staying up late to watch the movie.  I was a little late for swimming which was okay.  My mom picked me up after I called her on my cell phone.  We went to the doctor’s office.  She suggested I take my pot holder bag but I didn’t want to take it.  It was very boring just to sit and wait in the waiting room.   My mom finished a pair of socks and I wish I had made some pot holders.  Oh well, next time I will know about the doctor’s office.

We went to the library after that and we picked up the movie Troy because my mom wants us to have an idea about Achilles, Hector, Helen, and Agamemnon.  I guess we are going to listen to their story in the car on the way to California for Spring Break.  Crazy mom.  But it is okay because I like to watch movies.  My friend Rebecca came for lunch and she brought spring flowers:  daffodils—they did not look very pretty on Saturday but Sunday morning . . . Wow!  They were big and full and yellow.

After lunch I had to practice my violin before I could iron my graduation gown.  My mom helped me a little but mostly I ironed it all my myself.  I was careful to get the wrinkles out and not let the iron get too hot.  Of course, I wanted to try it on to see how it looked. I am so excited about graduation.  We looked at the calendar and June 1st is a Saturday—not a Blue Day and not a Gold Day.  My mom said,  `It will be a Happy Day . . . yes, and maybe a little bit sad too because high school will be all done and you have had so much fun in high school and you might miss it when it is all done.’  Well, I don’t think so.  June 1st will be a Very Happy Day! (Click here to read about Graduation Day and click here to read about thoughts on graduation.)

We worked on finding my Spring clothes and I especially wanted to find my green dress for St. Patrick’s Day.  At church on Sunday I saw lots of friends wearing green clothes.  It was fun to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day even though I am not Irish.  My mom said that he was a missionary to Ireland and he explained the mystery of the Trinity by using the three leaves of the Shamrock.  In that way we can all be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

Grandma and Grandpa took us to the restaurant after church.  I ate scrambled eggs, a biscuit and bacon. It was good.  Grandpa told us about his trip to the Grand Canyon.  It sounds like fun to hike down to the river and back up again.  Maybe I can do that some day too.  We couldn’t play Muggins this weekend because he was tired and because my mom has a lot of things to do before we go to California for Spring Break.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  I will eat green vegetables for supper:  broccoli and brussels sprouts and then I will eat green ice-cream.  I wonder how it will taste.

Springing Forward Thinking Forward

Friday, at The Writing Center my co-worker, Brooklyn, said, `I have to leave right now; when you are finished Mathalia, could you please turn off the lights and make sure the door is locked?’  Yes, of course.  And I did!  I wonder if my job coach—my mom—went back to check—let’s hope that she knew that I would be responsible and that she did NOT need to check up on me about turning off the lights and locking the door.  🙂

Friday night and Saturday morning I swam with my Missoula Aquatic Club friends which was fun.  I walked back home and did some chores.  I even went downstairs to get the plunger and plunged the toilet when it got backed up.   My mom was very proud of me about that but then later when I was just sitting in the car waiting for her, she got a little frustrated with me.  She said, `Mathalia, if you want to go to Sugarloaf and spin wool with friends, you have to help pack the car.’  She left me alone and let me think about it.  I think she was hoping that I did not want to go because she wanted to stay home BUT I thought about it for a few minutes and then I knew that it really was up to me to take the initiative to pack the car.  So I unbuckled my seat belt and went in and got my spinning wheel and the other stuff and packed the car because I wanted to go to Sugarloaf.  And we did and it was fun!

spinning my pretty wool

spinning my pretty wool

We arrived at Sugarloaf a little late but we still had a nice lunch with friends and I spun some of my pretty purple wool into yarn.  One friend had a pretty neck scarf that my mom thought she could make out of my yarn so she was pretty excited about getting that idea.   I was excited to see Jim and Sue’s cat because the cat reminded me about my Creative Writing class.  I am writing a story about a cat.  I petted the cat and picked her up but she scratched so then I put her on the car next to me.  My friends were excited to see me and were very interested in my loom that is in the attic and the rugs that I am weaving.   They want me to bring one of my rugs next month to show them my work.  They were also excited to learn that I am a Senior:  what will you do next year Mathalia?

Well, I don’t really know what is going to happen next year but I am `sowing my seed in the morning’ and `not withholding my hand in the evening’ as my mom likes to say.    .  .  .  `because you do not know perhaps both alike will be good’   So I guess you could say that my jobs and volunteer work are sowing my seed in the morning and in the evening I am keeping up my pot holder business and learning to make new products because  .  .  .  we do not know what the future will bring.

Anyway, this question got me thinking about things so on the way home I talked to my mom about my Senior Year and about June 1st graduation. (Click here if you want to read about Graduation Day.)`Senior Year is all done,’ I said.  `No, not yet,’ said my mom. `June 1st will be your last day of high school and then on June 2nd you can say that Senior Year is all done and high school is all done. You still have March, April and May to enjoy your Senior Year.’  `Yes,’ I said and then I thought about my Senior Year and my Junior Year and my Sophomore Year and my Freshman Year and then I remembered  .  .  .  that I had forgotten to wear my black orchestra clothes on Thursday last week when the Yearbook photographer came in to take our group orchestra picture.  Oh dear, I was not wearing black in the picture!  While we were driving, I told my mom this story about my forgetting to remember to wear black on Thursday.  She said, `It’s okay; it is not the end of the world, at least you were in the picture and you remembered your violin.’  Then I said, ‘I will remember next year.’  And my mom said, `Mathalia, there will be no more next year for orchestra or for high school.  High School will be all done on June 1st; we were just talking about that, remember?’  Yes, I remembered.  Then she asked me if I thought that was sad.  `No,’ I said, `I am happy.’ Bittersweet is what she called it—-whatever that means.

When I got home, I pulled out my Junior Year Yearbook and enjoyed looking at the pictures of all my friends and teachers and the fun activities that happened that year in high school and I remembered all my friends who were seniors and who graduated and those I don’t see anymore, like my friend Ally.  Perhaps this is what she means when she talks about it being `Bittersweet.’  Anyway, I am having lots of fun this my Senior Year and I am excited about my Senior Year Yearbook.   My mom said that I should get it in May sometime.  It will be fun because my friends can write me notes in it again.

On Sunday grandma made pancakes for us after church.  When my dad asked me how many I ate, I said two.  My mom thought it was more like 5 or 6. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.  They were very good.  I played Muggins with my mom and grandpa.  My mom won when she `mugginsed’ grandpa and then grandpa went out after that.  I was the last one to finish my card but I think it was because they were talking and I got distracted and I wasn’t paying attention and grandpa got to `muggins’ me a lot.  It was fun.  Then we did the puzzle I got for Christmas:  a dog puzzle with golf clubs and golf balls.  At home my mom suggested that we take naps since we sprang forward in the morning lost and hour of sleep.  Good idea.

My Music Filled Weekend

On Friday I worked at The Writing Center.  I think my Writing Center co-workers were having a meeting because I got to see lots of friends.  My friend Jake was on the computer but that was okay with me:  I just worked on WPA Exams.  I got on the computer when Jake was all done.  After my work, I walked home quickly because I was excited about the Chinese play we were going to see. I am interested in China because my sister, Morielle, is living in China!  The music and dancing were a little funny but my mom said that was because Chinese music, dancing and language is different.  Morielle is learning all about Chinese language, writing and talking.  I am sure she would have liked to see the play because it was about an old Chinese story.  It was so sad.  The beautiful girl jumped into the fire and the boy and his family were so sad.

On Saturday we did a lot of catch-up paper work for school and my pot holder business.  We took pot holders to Great Harvest Bread and we entered inventory into Excel on my computer. I practiced for my concert while my mom made scones to share with my orchestra friends.  In the afternoon we relaxed:  I finished a locker-hooking project and then took a nap because  I wanted to enjoy the Symphony.  I saw lots of friends at the Symphony:  Church friends, MCT friends, swimming friends, Consumer Advisory Council friends, and neighborhood friends.  I liked the music even though it was very sad. Coach Sarah played and my friend Pete was singing.  Good Job!

On Sunday, we went to the restaurant after church with Grandma and Grandpa.  My mom took a box of food home to eat later.  I did not.  I ate everything on my plate:  2 eggs, 2 sausage, 2 pancakes, 2 toast.  `Wow! That’s a lot of food, Mathalia,’ my mom said.  Then we played Muggins.  Grandpa mugginsed me.  `Poor Mathalia,’ he said.  But I didn’t care.  I was having fun.  In  the afternoon, I practiced violin getting ready for AA Orchestra Festival.

Monday morning I had to get up at 4:30!  My mom thought that it might be hard for me to get up so early but it was no problem because I was really excited about AA Orchestra Festival in Whitefish.  We got to Big Sky and waited for the bus.  After packing up all of our stuff:  violins, violas, cellos, basses, and our luggage we settled in for the trip:  we took naps, watched funny cartoons in Russian, and ate oranges and scones.

When we got to the auditorium, we met Mr. Payne and more musician friends from Whitefish High School.  We all worked together on `The King’s Speech’ which is really Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.  It was beautiful and it was fun to play with new friends.  Everyone said that we sounded really good.  And we did.  We also worked on `Halo’ and `The Molly Maguires’ and `Danse Bacchanale’ which was very beautiful.  I hung out with my friends Zoe and Kaitie for lunch.  I had soup and sandwich but I didn’t have time to finish my sandwich so they put it in a box for me and I ate it for my supper.

After rehearsal we went to the hotel.  I went swimming in a very funny pool—it had a tunnel and I swam through the tunnel and then I was outside!  But I wasn’t cold.  It was nice because the water was warm.  I was having fun swimming with my orchestra friends.  Then I took a shower, ate my sandwich and we went to the concert.  My favorite piece was `Tryptich for Strings’ which we had played before.  Mrs. Haarvig said we did a good job and that we sounded very big for a small orchestra.  That made us all feel great and we were very excited about making beautiful music together.  We were so excited that we were hungry again so the bus driver took us to the grocery store so we could buy some more food:  I got some yogurt and some crackers for a snack.  Then I hung out with my roommate Zoe in our room and went to sleep.

Tuesday morning Zoe and I had a nice hotel breakfast together and then we went to rehearsal again.  We were doing so well that Mr. Payne gave us some new music to try playing.  It was fun to try different things with our big orchestra.  For lunch the bus driver took us to Subway and we had lunch and signed a `thank you’ card for Mr. Payne.  He was awesome:  he taught us a lot; and he helped us sound even better.  We had had two really fun days of practice and we wanted him to know that we enjoyed learning and making music with him.

In the afternoon we got to hear other friends from Anaconda and Corvalis play their pieces and then we walked around town looking at the interesting shops and places to eat in Whitefish and then we all met at Mackenzie River Pizza which was fun.  I ate pizza with salad and then I hung out with orchestra friends. We went grocery shopping for snacks to eat on the way home. Then we walked back to the auditorium and changed into our concert clothes.  We listened to our friends play before it we went on stage for our turn.  While we were waiting for Mr. Payne to be introduced, I realized that I couldn’t see my mom in the audience and that she couldn’t see me so I stood up very quickly and moved my chair and my stand so that she could see me from her place. I saw her smile and give me a little wave.  I know she wanted to watch me play because I am a Senior and it was my last AA Festival concert.  I was concentrating on my playing so I don’t know if she was being silly but I know she she liked the concert a lot.  We played our pieces and gave our gift to Mr. Payne.  And then the concert was all done.

I quickly changed my clothes again before we got on the bus.  I was quick because I didn’t want the bus to leave without me!  But no one was waiting:  friends were looking for some misplaced sweaters so I was okay.  Then the bus driver drove us home.  I had a few snacks and watched a bit of the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but mostly I was tired and I took a nap on the bus.  Wow!  The two days went by really fast!  And now AA Orchestra Festival is all done.  I got to play in AA Orchestra three times and six times I got to listen to my brother and sister play music in their AA Orchestra Festivals—-lots of wonderful memories of making music together with friends.  My mom said, let us give thanks for all the music this weekend and throughout the years.  This was certainly My Music Filled Weekend:  Chinese music in the play;  Mozart music at the Symphony; and lots of music with friends at AA Orchestra Festival.