My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Swiss Miss Sez "Ya!"


Okay, I just have to say this and then I'll move on: how in the hell did JEFFREY win Project Runway? How? I mean, yeah, his clothes were nice, but so were Laura’s and Uli’s! Why must assholes win? Why? Sigh. Okay. I’m done.


Church marquee seen yesterday morning:

“Autumn Leaves – Jesus Doesn’t”

Not even to step out to pick up a grinder and some deli slaw? What if he’s know...pee, or something? And, is he not leaving my house or just the street corner where he spreads The Word, ‘cause I can’t afford a houseguest like that. Unless he’s paying his own way.

Just saying.


Yesterday the weather was perfect. The leaves were at their subtlest, colorful peak: russets and golds and burnt oranges and not burnt oranges and crimsons against the green of pines and firs and dark, glossy magnolias. The sky was blue and Simpsonesque and unfortunately, I was chained to my desk doing database clean-up. Which is nice. If you like unremitting tedium.

This morning, the world I inhabit is cloaked in fog. Which is almost more beautiful, in a way, than the crisp clearness of a fall day. I couldn’t see more than 20 feet in front of me. It was like driving through a ghostly abandoned world. Objects would loom up towards me as I approached: houses, tree, mailboxes. I’d see “for sale” signs posted by the edge of the road but not the house for sale. Nothing more was visible than the first few inches of gravel in the driveway.


We had a productive, I think, meeting at Dusty’s school yesterday. We met with her teacher, the reading specialist and the principal. All of them praised Dusty, thought she was great, but haven’t been able to really assess her true capabilities because Dusty won’t let them. The reading specialist showed us what assessments she’d done, what she’d been able to discover – basically that Dusty can read at at least a first grade level, had decent comprehension, but wasn’t willing to answer more higher level questions beyond “who, what, where, when, how” – but couldn’t get a complete handle on her and was unwilling to make a judgement on where Dusty should be. Because Dusty won’t read to her. And apparently, the specialist has a reputation for being the one person all the hard cases will read to.

Her teacher has been observing her as much as possible in the classroom, overhearing conversations, catching snippets of her reading to friends, but the principal believes Dusty is holding herself back, for whatever reason. We agreed that some of this was probably a maturity thing – developmentally, part of her hasn’t caught up with her smartness yet. Her emotional side isn't matched up with her intellectual side. She’s very shy, unwilling to take risks, or do things on her own. He thinks she needs to think and act out of the box, find ways to move beyond her comfort zone, in order to be really successful. I think this will happen eventually so I won’t be actively pushing her to do something she’s not ready to do.

They also said that she clearly doesn’t like to do something if she thinks it’ll be wrong. Which is interesting. She likes to write and at home always asks us how to spell words. Which I have no problem with. They want her to begin (and she has as her recent work has shown) doing more writing with invented spelling. This is hard for her because she seems to have a perfectionist streak.

So, we’ll continue to encourage her, they’ll continue to encourage her, and we’ll just see what happens. I think for now, I’m not going to actively look for extra-curricular activities and just let this first year play itself out. It’s really nice that she’ll have the same teacher next year so perhaps that continuity will allow her to feel safe enough to take some risks. If not, who cares?

And, I think it speaks volumes that she was chosen to be her class's Red Cross representative. She got to make cards and gifts for folks in a local nursing home. She enjoyed it but, as usual, wasn't willing to walk down the hall to the RC room until another kid she knew showed up and walked down with her. Sigh, sigh, sigh.


When we returned home yesterday after the meeting, the lid on the jack-o-lantern was missing. Not knocked to one side. Not shrunken just enough to fall into the pumpkin. Just gone.

Later, after dinner, we found it in the grass around the side of the house. The stem was fairly shredded. Something had just marched off with it, chewed on the stem for awhile, and then abandoned it for whatever reason. A mystery that will probably never be solved. Perhaps the ground hog made off with it and was disturbed by a car going down the neighbor’s driveway? Who knows?


Red has suddenly begun to say “ya” for “yes”. It’s strange but hilarious, which also sums her up.

“Would you like some bagel?”
“With cream cheese?”
“Ya! Ya!”
“Okay, Freulein.”

She’s also pointing to things and asking, “Was ziss?”

"Was ziss?"
“Ya! Aaah-aaah!” (that would be the sound a monkey makes, as in “oooh oooh, aah aah.”)

“Was ziss?”
“Door. Broken door.”
“Ya. Boo-boo.”
“Yes, your wardrobe door has a boo-boo. The hinge is busted.”
“Was ziss?”
“Screwdriver. To remove the busted door.”



9:10 a.m. ::
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