Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robin Williams: He Made The World Laugh.

Like the rest of the world, I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of Robin Williams' death.  Described as " the funniest man in the world," and a " sweet, gentle man,"  by colleagues and peers, it is hard to wrap one's mind around this news. It just doesn't compute. 

He first came to our attention on an episode of Happy Days as an alien named " Mork," from the planet," Ork."  After that appearance, Robin Williams' star was on the rise. Not long after that cameo appearance on Happy Days, Robin got his own series , " Mork and Mindy."   " Mork,"  soon became everyone's favorite alien, and we were happy to visit with him every week via our television sets.

Robin Williams also made many memorable movies, both comedy and drama alike. Though he was everyone's favorite funnyman, he was also a  wonderful dramatic actor as well. Movies such as, Hook, Jumanji, Patch Adams, Good Morning Vietnam , Mrs. Doubtfire and others endeared him to us in such a way, that now in the wake of his passing, we mourn him as if he had been a member of any of our families.

Though we mourn him, at the same time we will never forget what he gave to us.  Simply put, he made us laugh. And that is something we will hold in our hearts forever. 

Robin Williams made the whole world laugh.  Now it's Heaven's turn.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Be Aware, Autism Aware

With April , which is Autism Awareness Month, right around the corner, I wanted to tell you about my nephew, Aaron.  I first met Aaron the summer he turned 6  when he was in my summer camp group. Now 12 and 1/2 , Aaron enjoys listening to music and watching videos.  He also likes to tease his younger sister Sydney. Aaron is affectionate ,  loving, and like most kids about to become teenagers, he also likes to do his own thing. Did I happen to mention that Aaron has autism?  To our family, Aaron is just ... Aaron. We treat him just the same  as we treat his  younger sister, Sydney, and older brothers, Seth & Ryan.  We see no reason to treat him any differently. I became Aaron's aunt last summer when I married my husband Steven, and I couldn't be happier to have him as part of my family along with his brothers and sister.

Aaron goes to middle school and is finishing 6th grade this year.  In August, Aaron will turn 13, and like any 13 year-old boy of the Jewish faith, Aaron will be Bar Mitzvahed. He has learned his prayers and is starting Hebrew lessons with a Rabbi. I can tell you, there will not be a dry eye in the house on the day of his Bar Mitzvah !  We are all so proud of Aaron and his accomplishments!

Aaron is not defined by the fact that he has autism. It's just one part of who he is. And who he is, is one terrific person!

A few years ago I wrote the following poem for Aaron and all kids with autism,and I'd like to share it with you:

Since I cannot look you in the eye

It may be hard for you to see

The person on the inside

The person that is me

Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry

Sometimes I get angry too

Please be patient with me

That's all I ask of you

Take the time to know me

You'll be glad you did

Because underneath it all

I'm one fantastic kid

The pieces of the puzzle

May not fit perfectly

That's okay,I don't mind

'Cause I'm happy to be me!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Don't Hate Me 'Cause I'm Special( Special Needs That Is )


My sister-in-law, Debbie, went through something recently that no parent of any kid should go through. She faced discrimination  because one of her kids has special needs.

Aaron is 12 years old. He is a great kid who happens to have autism. With school starting on Monday, Debbie wanted to enroll Aaron in before and after care at the middle school he will be attending.  Aaron will be in the special needs program at the school and my sister-in-law called to confirm that there would be before and after care available for Aaron. 

Three days later , at orientation , Debbie was informed that a private company had been hired to provide this service but not for the special needs students. Debbie recently started a new job which she could risk losing because of this. She tried talking to the principal who was no help whatsoever. 

Debbie then took it upon herself to call the superintendent of schools.  After being transferred several times she ended up speaking to the head of aftercare for all of Broward County schools. The head of aftercare for Broward schools actually listened to what Debbie had to say and promised to help her out. A few phone calls later Debbie was informed that there  would be before and aftercare available for Aaron starting on Monday, the first day of school. 

This is my question: Why shouldn't these
services and others be available to students with special needs as well as typical students? Aren't they all students in the same school system? Parents of students with special needs should not have to risk the very jobs they need in order to be able to provide the therapies their children need just because some people in the school system are either ignorant or prejudiced against those with special needs. 

Parents of children with special needs only want what every parent wants for their children, a good education and a chance for them to reach their full potential. 

I applaud my sister-in-law for doing what she had to do in order for Aaron to have the education he deserves. Kudos Debbie!!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Back In The Saddle Again

It's been a while ( all right, quite a while), since my last blog entry, but I have a good excuse. Really, I do.  I got engaged in February and had been busy planning a wedding and working. Well summer vacation is here, and my wedding, ( which I'm happy to say was perfect), was almost three weeks ago.

Now that the dust has settled, I am back to blogging. I missed writing my weekly blog entries, but what with all the wedding planning, I just couldn't summon the energy to come up with a subject to blog about every week, much less make it witty and entertaining. I'm easing my way back with this entry and hopefully getting my groove back. I lost it somewhere along the way, and need to find it again.

 Apparently for me, writing is much like getting back on a bicycle after not riding one for a while. I haven't forgotten how.   I am excited that I am able to just jump right back in . The words are flowing out of me in a steady stream , without slowing to a trickle. Writing is a part of who I am, and I'm glad that even though I misplaced that part of me for a while  , I have found it again.

As I settle into married life, with my wonderful husband, Steven, I will continue to write.  My marriage and my writing are important to me, and I intend to continue being passionate about both.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Going Postal Over Stamps

I left work at 2:15 today and had one errand to run. I needed to buy stamps for my wedding invitations. Simple right? Think again.

I decided to go to the post office to buy the stamps for my wedding invitations because I wanted pretty ones. You can get regular stamps anywhere but the post office has a wider variety of designs. Usually.  In fact the post office is known for selling stamps. Usually.  I drove straight to the post office from work and waited on line for about 5 minutes or so. When it was my turn, I walked up to the gentleman at the counter and said I needed to buy stamps for my wedding invitations. he looked at me, shook his head, and said they didn't have stamps. Yes, you read that right, the post office ( at least this particular one), didn't have stamps. Now , in my 47 years on this Earth, I have never heard of such a thing. 

I walked out, grumbling under my breath, got in my car, and proceeded to drive to the nearest UPS Store. They had stamps, yay! But not pretty ones, so I thanked them and once again got in my car. This time I decided to try one more post office before I started pulling my hair out of my head.  At the next post office, not only did they have stamps, they had pretty ones. Finally, mission accomplished!  Two hours, two post offices, and one UPS Store later, I finally went home. Of course by the time I got home I was too exhausted from buying stamps to start working on my invitations. I will do that later tonight after I rest up from The Great Stamp Debacle of 2013.

 Lucky thing I didn't go postal over this. Buying stamps at the post office, what a concept!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Full Moon Fever

A full moon is coming.  Seeing how the kids in our class are behaving this week confirms this, besides the fact that I looked it up online.  When our kids start acting crazier than usual, I know there is a full moon somewhere on the horizon.

I have been working at an elementary school for 13 years. It never fails that the kids seem to get wilder than usual around the time of a full moon. Although it is four days away, the behavior of all the kids at the school supports my theory.

As the full moon approaches, even the best behaved kids start to act up , leaving us even more stressed than usual.  The teacher and I just look at each other in disbelief.  Throughout the day looks pass between us that seem to say," Oh my God, we'll never make til dismissal."  And once dismissal has come and gone, we drag ourselves back to the classroom drained dry by the little demons that have seemed to replace our kids.

There is nothing we can do about this phenomenon. We just do the best we can until the full moon is over and things start to calm down.  We are lucky in one respect: at least none of the kids has turned into a werewolf. Yet. But I swear, if they start howling, I'm heading for the hills!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day: It Was Some Engaging Evening

Valentine's Day has come and gone once again. Gifts of candy and flowers were given to friends and loved ones. For some lucky ladies, it was the day they got  engaged. I am one of those lucky ladies.

 Although Steven and I had known each other for a couple of years through his sister Debbie,things between us didn't take a romantic turn until two months ago when I told Debbie how I felt about him. She relayed my feelings to him, and we've been together ever since. We started talking about marriage early on in our relationship and finally decided to get engaged. And we decided to do it on Valentine's Day.

Steven made reservations at a fancy restaurant called Vienna Cafe. The food was amazing, the atmosphere, romantic.  After dinner we went back to Steven's apartment. It had started raining, but we made it back before it got too bad.  I turned on the lights and sat down on the sofa to relax. Steven came in a few minutes later. He walked over to me and told me he had something for me. He then reached into his shirt pocket and by accident brought out a cough drop. We had a good laugh about that. He put the cough drop back in his pocket and produced my actual Valentine's Day present- an engagement ring. He got down on one knee in front of me,, and asked if I would do him the honor of marrying him.  I wanted to answer him immediately but he had other ideas. He started to kiss me before I had a chance to answer. When I did finally get the chance, of course I said yes!

I called my parents to tell them the news,and then my closest friends, including Steven's sister. Steven made phone calls to his family as well. The evening passed in a flurry of phone calls, texts, and congratulations. 

This year, for me at least, Valentine's Day was definitely an engaging evening!