Friday, May 26, 2017

27~ Show Me Your Medal

When Maria came home from school with a medal for sixth grade's Ancient Cultures Olympics, Cairo was really eager to get his paws on her award.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

26~ Making Table

Technically, it is a dining table. Effectively, it is a making table.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

25~ What to Do

She's doing fine, now.

This is a scene from our long day, when Maria was hit by a basketball that was kicked at school... no bad intent, just thoughtless exuberance. She didn't see it coming, but four hours later, when I picked her up from school, she described this to me, "I didn't know a ball was coming, but something hit me, and everything just went black, then I saw a white flash. When I woke up, I was on the ground, crying." It happened during lunch, and she says her friend, Tati, took her to the office. As she's telling me all of this, I made a quick, furtive search of my phone... how did I miss the call from her school?? No call. No text. Nothing from the school about our daughter passing out from a blow to the head?? They gave her an ice pack, and she stayed there, attended by... still not sure on that, then was sent back to her class, and after school program.

I checked her eyes, tracking, pupils, I watched her appetite. She described how she was very dizzy, after getting hit. Back at home she ate, and stayed awake and engaged, talking, but by late evening she complained about a headache, and she was very agitated, anxious about what she could not remember, about feeling responsible for what she couldn't recall. I called a doctor, Should we take her in to be seen? The answer was Yes, if only because you won't sleep with the question and concern hanging over you. Makes sense. So we spent two and half hours in the ER, to get some assurance that she was doing alright. They sent us home with what to watch for in cases of concussions, and head injuries, what symptoms were cause to return to a hospital, etc.

This is not something I want to make a major drama of, nor do I feel vindictive, or overwrought about it... probably because it turned out, mostly, fine. Thank God. But I do feel there are greater issues here, and they concern me, a lot.

The school should have called me. On my mobile, at my home, or called my husband, or any of the people I add, every year, to the "in case of emergency" or hit in the head form. "It was a very busy time," an office worker explained to me, "and Maria didn't tell the nurse/health-tech substitute how she was feeling, that she'd blacked-out. She seemed fine, so she let her go back to class." Then she retracted the word "nurse," because it was not a nurse who attended Maria, it was a "health-tech substitute," and therein lies a sad concern. Our schools, good schools, with good people, are strapped, and we've become so accustomed to minimally staffed, or under-staffed campuses, that we feel glad to have anyone who can apply an ice pack. However reassuring the euphemism suggests their skill or knowledge of supplying first aid, or assessing the needs of a child that was knocked to the ground from a hit to the head... the reality is, this person is not a nurse, or an EMT, and whatever manual she read, or seminar she attended, it failed to instruct this person that Maria needed to be seen by her doctor, or to at least have her family notified of what had happened. I'd like to find a poster, or make one, with clear instructions, maybe illustrated, about how to recognize a possible concussion, to remind the person in attendance that a child, especially hit in the head, may or may not thoroughly describe their symptoms or concerns... Confusion, after all, is one characteristic of concussion, and it cannot be the patient's responsibility to diagnose themselves. And the poster, with it's triage instructions would say: Call the family. Now.

All of this raises an even bigger, broader worry... schools that are already struggling, campuses that already fall short on funding, depend on PTA and bake sales to provide science, art, P.E., music, to supplement any areas that cannot be covered by our taxes, these schools are face to face with an Education Department's budget, which in the president's budget blueprint "takes a $9 billion, or 13.5 percent, cut." This, with the agenda, philosophies, and stated intentions of the Secretary of Education... ok, honestly, at this point I am too distraught and confounded to track down sources, and links. I just have to say, education and liberal (broad-based, generous, enlightened, unprejudiced) support and funding of public schools is vital, essential, critical. I want to live in a society that values and respects its children, that supports college bound adults, that cares to make education accessible, worthwhile, the best. I want to live in a country, a world, where we continue to have smart teachers, inspired engineers, respected firefighters, trained architects, enlightened chemists, resourceful plumbers, innovative film makers, inquisitive journalists, critical thinkers, motivated, educated, thoughtful citizens... that's real profitability, a meaningful incentive for funding schools, and seeking the most effective means of opening doors for as many as possible to achieve their best.


What you should do if you think you have had a concussion?*

The best answer: when in doubt, get prompt medical attention. Lots of people may have a headache or dizziness for a day or so and then recovery fully, but a very small group of people who sustain a concussion — five percent — can develop bleeding or a blood clot that can be life threatening if not promptly diagnosed.

Brain injuries are extremely common, but diagnosis can be complicated. Today, there is no single, objective measure that can determine if someone has had a concussion. To make a diagnosis, professionals look at many variables that might indicate trauma, ranging from changes in balance to memory lapses and dizziness.

It’s critical to seek immediate medical attention in a hospital or emergency department if any of these symptoms are present:

Loss of consciousness, even if only briefly
Any period of amnesia, or loss of memory for the event
Feeling dazed or confused
In addition, for children under 2 years of age, any scalp swelling or abnormality in the way they usually behave.
And if possible, see a medical professional who has knowledge of and experience with brain injury.

*And if you are a child, hopefully an adult will act on your behalf, calling your family, so you can be properly cared for.

One more thing... the child that kicked the basketball, Maria didn't know who it was, but he approached her the next day, and apologized. I think that was sweet, kind, and brave.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

24~ Errands With Benefits

If this sign were hanging somewhere around the Bird House do you think it would help my garden... specifically the flower garden? Like a if you sign it, they will grow incentive. I like signs, letters, words, old wood, metal, embossing, and fresh cut flowers. Today I was out running farm errands, which amounts to buying hay, goat chow, and chicken feed, then visiting the kittens, chicks, and goats, or pigs or ducklings. This is an errand with benefits, because I always conclude that: As long as I am out here, I may as well stop at my favorite shops, and see what treasures are inspiring, or irresistible. And I can include a visit at my favorite market, where even buying staples feels like a pleasant activity.

So, what was tempting, this time?

Answer: Two gray tabby kittens, and three baby goats, a 1950's dress, an old fashioned post box embossed with the word "Post" and a bird and painted a fresh, spring green, a jar full of Scrabble letters, China cups, a Pyrex bowl, a butterfly print, old yardsticks, and the Fresh Cut Flowers sign. I came home empty handed... almost! Just as I was leaving the last shop, a little second-hand costume jewelry owl necklace begged to come home with me. Errands, with benefits, what a nice way to get some farm chores done.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

23~ Hola, Jacarandas & Happy Anniversary ChickenBlog

They're back, the jacarandas are in bloom. Both of our trees have burst their buds and are showering everything in snowy drifts of purple. Look for these all over Southern California. And all over Chickenblog, for that matter. I even planted one of these enchanting trees at our home where we were Jolly Green Ranchers.

Sometimes, in a fit of wishful desperation, I read articles with bullet points about how to build a successful blog, and those almost always include a sharp rebuke of blogs with 'too many subjects or labels.' You know, kind of like Chickenblog... too many labels to count, from A to Z, but with well over three thousand posts, in fifteen years, I love my labels. I wish there were more. Every label creates a more efficient means of finding old posts, searching the archives, bringing up particular subjects, like Nature, but really it could be Trees, so, why not specific trees... Jacaranda, Torrey Pines, Redwoods?

Happy Anniversary, Chickenblog. Chicken Blog. ChickenBlog. Chciekneblog. However it's spelled, however many labels there are, I find a lot to be thankful for in the years, the memories, the friendships and other gifts you have brought us.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Monday, May 22, 2017

22~ Once More, With Heart

Everyday... right? We have to keep trying, start over, take a new route, find a better way... everyday. If I could grant myself the same understanding, patience, empathy, and grace that I have for everyone else, I might find the resolve and heart to once more, take a do-over. This is vague, I know, and embarrassing, too. But it's another hard day, and I need to find that something that gives me whatever it takes to try, once more. How do you do it?

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

21~ Nearly Summer

In a few weeks, Max will be done with his freshman year... a year brimming with physics, Calculus, humanities, and navigating an entirely new way of living. Ahead, is a year of social sciences, and a whole lot more physics... Computational Physics, is his concentration in his physics major, because it looked like his best opportunity to incorporate as much math as possible. But before all of that... it's nearly summer! And all of us are looking forward to having this guy around on the regular.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.