Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Champions, we are

Well, aren't we the trumphant little crew here these days!
Blue's team gets First at Math Regionals!

I actually returned to a board meeting, which I was somewhat scared to do since the last one induced a seizure.  But this time I left when I felt tired.  It was pretty thrilling.  I'd told the crew I would do that.  And then I did.  The level of self-awareness and self-care necessary to stand up 3/4 of the way through a meeting, in the middle of a discussion I was really invested in, was record-breaking, in my record book.  That seizure shook me from my denial, from the hope that I could just push myself to be better, healed.  Awake finally, I understood the order of responsibilities and the weight of caring for myself.  And I stood up, left, and I went to bed when it was time, and only I knew when that time was.

Odyssey Math is Cool Champions! On to State!  And yes, Blue is the only white girl on the team.
I saved up my energy next for Blue's Regional Math is Cool Competition.  I wore earplugs into the gymnasium full of screaming and smelly (really, you probably didn't realize how much stink you produced in your preteen years, before you started caring about that sort of thing, but it could knock your socks off.  A few years ago, I saw a friend driving middle-schoolers home from a dance, with her window down and her head outside and I thought she was being a overly dramatic, turns out I was just blissfully ignorant) sixth graders to dull the noise.  The awards ceremony was blessedly short this year and soon they were announcing the top five teams. 5th, 4th, 3rd all shrieked and ran to get their ribbons.  Then they announced second.  And the Odyssey/Libby (Odyssey is the program that schools kids in a building called Libby Center) kids stayed seated.  I was soooo nervous.  I began crafting a speech about win-some-lose-some, personal value has never been, and cannot be expressed by awards... basically the same speech my mother gave me about every freaking awards ceremony I have ever ever been to.  I attended a Christian high school for two years and they actually gave out awards for spirituality! Personally, my reading of the Bible was that our awards would be in heaven, but if they wanted to swap that eternal gold and crowns shit out for little paper certificates, who was I to judge?  That's what my mom told me every year.  I did once get an award at summer camp when I was about 11 or so: Best Smile.  I hated summer camp, FYI,  and I knew that was the biggest BS award ever because my smile was so legendary BAD that my family actually CUT ME OUT OF A FAMILY PHOTO because of it. I got that award because my dad was always camp dean.

Anyway, there we sat, hearts pounding, poised on the edges of our grooved metal bleacher-seats, scarcely breathing. although I'd watched Blue's team smack down every single opposing team in college bowl by very wide margins and yet I wondered

... and the First Place Team is ... Libby Center!  Whoo-hooo!

We don't yet know if Blue will be on the team that goes to state or not, that's based on the individual test scores.Update: Blue tied with another kid to be on the 4 member state team, but lost the tie-breaker, so she's not going, sad sigh, but she got to go last year.

And then, here's where I surprised the crap out of myself, I attended an 8 hour blogger recruitment/training schmooze-fest at the Spokesman-Review.  I gave myself permission to leave at any point, to go somewhere to close my eyes, to go home if need be, whatever.  I was not expecting myself to make it all day, and then I did!  And I even stayed afterwards to "network".  It was awesome.  There were several editors, many reporters, Edward R. Murrow/WSU professors, photographers, etc, all there to give us a crash course in journalism so that they could have access to more writers.  I loved hearing from reporters about stories I've loved including this one where the city of Spokane agreed to an illegal settlement, had my family laughing all morning back in April. I felt  incredibly privileged to be selected for this inaugural rural journalism training. And I think it's a pretty innovative idea, spearheaded by the Seattle Times, and spreading east, like the flu, but better. I felt kind of bad about resting my eyes and shutting out visual stimuli periodically.  As a public speaker, I know how disconcerting that is to see people who look like they're sleeping, but now I know, from having been that person, that maybe that's just how they listen best, or maybe they are brain injured, or maybe they are sleeping.

On the garden/roof at The Spokesman-Review, schmoozing with fellow gargoyles
There were a few terrifying moments when I was talking, noticing that I don't have my chatty funny-bone back yet and that what I was saying made no sense, or was an opinion I'd held 4 years ago but because of my time-warp mind I was saying it like I believed it now and that underscored the danger of leaving my hovel in this most confusing concussion era I'm calling TBI: part B.  I can now sound like I'm making sense, but I might not be.   This has created a lot of friction in my home and confusion and misrepresentations.  My facts I've got pretty straight, my opinions are kind of a hit-n-miss oddity, my emotions are drunk drivers.  I'm still stuttering some and slurring a little, but my hand-writing is back, as is my typing.  Reading is bit by bit still. And I occasionally still blank, prompting people to advise me to go to bed.  But as long as my words are stringing together coherently, the assumption is that I'm making sense, and thinking through what I'm saying, but that would be wrong. 

Fresh off this stunning epic-concussion-win, I decided to go to church again, and when I say "church" I mean that is the loosest way possible: Unitarian Universalist Church where we sing hymns like John Lennon's "Imagine."  But I should have been recuperating from the day before and fled as soon as I got a chance.

Gargoyles of Monroe St.
This was all made possible by a visit from Huckleberry.  Visit?  Yes, that's what if feels like at this point.  Back in August I  agreed to a six week out of town job, two weeks on, one week off, spanning November and a week on either side, no concussion.  Instead, what I got was four months with a TBI.  Engineers are really great at calculating everything but time, apparently.   Every time Huck's back, I make gains as he takes care of the details.  But when he's gone, I backslide, as the stress of remembering everything, kids and chickens inclusive, saps me of energy I need for healing. I knew his absence would be challenging as we usually act like a team and it's hard to stay in "the game" when you only have half a team.  But the TBI brought the challenge to extreme levels.  Thanks to great friends for helping me survive.

Huckleberry, the facilitator
We celebrated Chinese New Year and my new found freedom to access the paint closet
with a freaky little ceremony the kids thought up and Huck facilitated.  It involved a burning circle of dried up mullein torches in the front yard and looked dangerous from my perspective and probably satanic from the perspective of those driving by, but whatever, so long as the kids are happy, I guess.

Blue, the astrological Snake, lights a torch for the Chinese Year of the Snake.
So, I'm going to go take a celebratory victory nap now.

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