Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Paul Ceretti visit

Paul Ceretti with his kids dropped in to say hallo. His two youngest girls Mackenzie and Delanie are both autistic and are doing great. They are extremely well behaved. They were about to be cut off therapy like Sebastian just few months ago, but Paul found the support of the media and failed legal action and therapy of a full fourty hours a week for both girls got extended. They are same age as Sebastian, and we are neighbors.

At Queen's Park - day 55

I was invited to come in to Queen's Park to come to question period, because Andrea Horvath, was asking a question to Minister Deb Mathews about Sebastian's case. It was quite an experience. I had an opportunity to listen to other questions and answers, and I was quite amused by the spectacle. So this is what they call politics! It is a chaotic process. I wonder how anything gets done in this province. But somehow things do get done, and some of them very well indeed.

One of the questions was about why Hamilton home owners were not assisted financially by government because of flood damage in the summer. The answer was more or less: we care and we have done so much for Hamilton in the past.

It is like asking the student "Why did you not do your math homework today?"!
The answer would be: You are accusing me of not doing my homework? You cannot say that I am not doing homework because I have done english homework , and science homework 2 days ago and last year I did a lot of homework everyday! I have spent hours making homework! And I care about homework very much! Next question.

Students would not get away with an answer like that in the school. Politicians do it every day.

Here is how the question about Sebastian was asked and answered:

Autism treatment - Wed., Sept. 30, 2009 
Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is to the Minister of Children and Youth Services. My constituent Maryna Bunda is on day 55 of her protest here at Queen’s Park over the McGuinty government’s denial of autism therapy to her 6-year-old son Sebastian, who was diagnosed with severe autism when he was two years old. Sebastian was on a two-year waiting list, but eventually received some ABA therapy and he was making good progress. Now the government is terminating Sebastian’s therapy and forcing him into a school setting for which he is simply completely unprepared.
Will the minister commit to reviewing this callous decision and making sure, in the meanwhile, Sebastian gets the ABA that he needs?
Hon. Deborah Matthews: I’m sure you understand I cannot speak to the specific case, other than to say I have spoken with the mother who has been outside the Legislature.
What I can tell you, though, is that when it comes to autism and services for kids with autism, we are moving ahead with providing better supports for kids with autism in schools. The Minister of Education and I are working very closely together to really support families as they make what is clearly a difficult transition from IBI therapy into the school system. This is the direction that we’re committed to going and I will refer this supplementary to the Minister of Education, because she and I are very much working on this important initiative.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary? 
Ms. Andrea Horwath: Across the province, families like Maryna’s are languishing and frustrated over the government’s autism crisis. The number of children with autism is growing in this province. The waiting period for autism therapy has doubled from two years to four years. When the therapy is denied, children like Sebastian are being denied an opportunity to reach their full potential. Both of these ministers know that very clearly. Will the minister order an independent review of Sebastian’s case to ensure that his ABA therapy in fact continues?
Hon. Deborah Matthews: To the Minister of Education. 
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I think the member opposite knows that I’m not going to comment on a specific student’s needs, but what I do want to say is to re-enforce what the Minister of Children and Youth Services said. It is extremely important for our two ministries to be working together because the reality is that parents want their children to be in school in a social setting with the services that they need. So that’s why we’ve put $24 million into training, we’ve trained more than 13,000 educators in applied behaviour analysis because we know in the school setting we have to have adults who understand how to meet the needs of kids. This fall, there’s 16 boards out of the 72 that have got in place a program that is connections; what it is, it is a coordination of services so that students who are in need of service when they come into the school system have people in the school system who are working with folks in the community who have been delivering therapy to—
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you.y.

I understand that general direction of implementing ABA in schools is a good one. High functioning children can greatly benefit from the advantages of a school environment having adequate supports in place. I would be thrilled if Sebastian was school ready. Children who are on the severe end of the spectrum need a much more structured and intense environment to learn and progress. Maybe one day in the future schools will have such structures in place. At present they do not. End the training the minister is so proud of. A weekend course on principles of applied behavioral analysis is not enough and it would do much more good if it was backed up by practical training and continual support and supervision of experienced senior therapists and a clinical psychologist at the school while working with children. But it is not. Not at the moment.

Tomorrow is Sebastian's first day at school. And Melanie his therapist from Children' s College is going to be there to assist him. Last week we did not know which school he was going to because his local school, St Lawrence, is going through renovations, and they did not have room for him there. We found out that Sebastian is going to St Bridget's last week. There was a meeting on Monday arranged by discharge paper signer dr Reitzel, with 7 people on various positions from the board and school, me, and Miranda from Children' s College. Dr Reitzel arranged to cut Sebastian off his therapy slowly. For six weeks he will go three days a week to Children's College, and to days to St Bridget's, and for another three weeks he will be two days at Children's College and three days at St Bridget's. Dr Reitzel noted that it is quite possible and would be even expected as "normal" reaction if Sebastian regressed because of the transition, because autistic children do not take transitions well. I think Dr Reitzel has covered herself quire well. If Sebastian regresses it will definitely be his autism's fault and not Dr. Reitzel's actions of removing him from therapy.

I have a sinking felling that nobody cares much.

The old big tree took more than a day to take down. They were still working on it today.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 54





Today as I was coming down through Queen's Park park I encountered the unveiling the tree plaque ceremony. What a great idea I thought. As I was walking down the path I was reading with interest freshly installed plaques with information about name of the tree species and their origin. Ironically, in front of the Queen's Park building one of the biggest trees, for me it looks the bigest, lost its branch today in the wind at 7 in the morning the worker told us. So they taking it down. Very quickly. Before any tree hugger comes to protest and save the old injured giant.







Before the tree started going down World Milk Day was celebrated on the front lawn with style. There was white tent, and two plastic "milkable" milk cows, and kids in black and white cow tee-shirts. Officials and free chocolate milk for participants. There were many TV crews. Ed, the injured worker who has gotten his protesting permit, and I were asked to go the the other side of the and stay away from their milky celebration. We obediently followed the instructions of course.



Monday, September 28, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 53



Trees are falling in the Queen's Park. When I came this morning there was only gigantic stump shaped like slingshot, pointing out its stripped of branches trunks to the sky, were the old tree stood before. George brown was gazing at it with amusement.





Group of native people stopped over on their walk to Ottawa. There was a small crew of very young people filming them and making interview with them, but no TV news crews came down to great them. There was laugher, but also an aura of sadness around them. The smoke of sweet grass strangely reminded me smell of autumn potato picking when my mother was burning the weeds and potato leafs and stems. I miss that. Autumn was always my favourite time of the year. After rush of the summer tourists season and farm work there it was coming with sounds of leafs under my feet, and bright sun pouring through the bright yellow maple tree on the dark blue background of the sky.





As I was writing this I raised my head and that is ho I saw: Hazel McCallion the mayor of of Mississauga. She is an exceptional lady. She is little power house, and she has been a mer of Mississauga for 31 years. She is a living legend and a prof of how much one person can do. Not everybody is equal in their abilities. I admire her. I think if she, or somebody like her, was running the federal and provincial governments autistic children and other disable people in Canada would be taken care of, and I would not have to protest.



Sunday, September 27, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 52



When I have heard about Sunday book fare I envisioned may be dozen tents and one musician band playing. . But I was instead surprised by massive event with closed roads and hundreds of tent stands, thousands of books being sold, rows of food stands, and dozens of portable toilets, and very loud music, and hundreds of yellow balloons. It was all to much for Sebastian at times, and he was crying as I was pushing the stroller, and my eyes filed with tears, because I know he always has a good reason to cry, but I am helpless a lot of times, and that was tat time again. We steered away from the loud music, and from the bright sun, under the trees, and he settled down. There were a lot of people with little kids and strollers, and some people were approaching us and signing our petition, and if they were they were always the ones ones touched by autism in their family.


Fiona, mother of Makobe came to support us, and we have great talk. She found it difficult to find proper services for her son in Northern Ontario, and so she have created the website Autism Zeitgeist to help parents find out to what services they are entitled to, what they should expect, and how to organize home based therapy for their children . It is no easy task. How many people can do that?
I have known about her for a long time, but it was the first time I have met her in person. It was real exiting, and although I could not help myself but to talk about recent changes in quality of organic matter coming in and out of Sebastian, I hope that that did not deter her completely from meeting us again.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Transitioning

When I woke up today the first thing I felt was dark naked despair.

It has been four years since Sebastian's diagnosis, and that event in itself was one of the most devastating experiences of my life. But what happened after that when I was looking for help for him has been similar to psychological torture. Mainstream doctors refuse to even make tests and treat. A whole whack of alternative practitioners give a lot of promises...but this is another chapter to write about some other time. Trying to pay for therapy by myself--the staggering bills, the mountain of debt growing higher and faster every day. Dealing with people at Chedoke (the local treatment facility -ed) ... my goodness, I could never get a straight answer from them from the beginning. Not about how long we will have to wait, not about how many other children were ahead of us on the waiting list. By a fluke we were waiting "only" two years, and after six months of funding I was told that if Sebastian will not make enough progress he will be discharged. I was afraid of my own mailbox. I did not like checking my messages when I got home. And finally it happened. I did get the letter, and another, and another, and another.

I am not afraid any more, but I am being pushed to my limits.

Now Sebastian is being pushed off therapy and into a school system. Because St. Lawrence School is going through major renovations, he will go to St. Bridget's. And Dr Reitzel - the discharge papers signer from Chedoke - suggests now that Sebastian should be transitioned over a period of time. So the awkward situation will be remedied: the wrong thing will be done the the right way, gently and gradually. Denying treatment to a child who desperately needs it will be spread over a few weeks: for the first six weeks, Sebastian will go to Children's College for three days a week, and two days a week he will go to St. Bridgett's. The next six weeks he will go two days to Children's College, and three days to St. Bridgett's. After that he will be in a regular school, at St. Bridgett's full time.

I think that if Sebastian was high functioning, he could definitely benefit from such a process. But Sebastian's place is not in regular school.

Now the negotiations will go on to make the school agree to observe Sebastian in his environment in Children's College. If we are lucky, Sebastian's future teaching assistant will have an opportunity to see Sebastian's therapy for few hours. They can not be taught therapy, since the school system is not allowed to provide therapy for students. Schools cannot hire private therapists, or clinical psychologists, because their purpose is to educate and not treat. Children like Sebastian can not learn by imitation like normally developing kids do. They need therapy to learn. But schools are not there to provide therapy - therefor kids like Sebastian do not belong in school. To put them in a regular school system that is not allowed to teach them is to deny them a basic human right - the right to education.

After the transition, the teaching assistant will be left to deal with Sebastian's "education" on their own, without the support of a senior therapist or clinical psychologist specialized in autism. They will be supervised by a teacher who's profession is to teach normally developing children. So it is clear to me that the school system does not have the structure in place that would be able to support the successfull education of children like Sebastian.

No matter how gently they will do the wrong thing, it is still wrong.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 51



I always appreciate visitors. Now, because I have been coming here for here so long, I feel like I have to show people around and tell then stories about the building, and the park.

When Taline came, we did not talk about Queen's Park much. She has been an autism advocate for a very long time, and has a lot of experience and knowledge in this area. A lot happened through the years, and there was much improvement in autism services over the years, because 20 years ago they were almost nonexistent. Unfortunately there are a lot of sad realities that persist, and not enough push from the community to change it. I think trying to effectively organize parents of autistic children is like herding cats. They are busy, overwhelmed, stressed, and have a difficult enough time coping with day to day challenges, and all these factors make it hard to get perspective--to understand and realize the harsh reality of the situation they are in. Maybe they believe that somebody will came and do the right thing for their kids. It would be the right and ethical thing to do, right? Right. It would be. So, for sure somebody will come riding the white horse and save our children. Somebody will do something. Let's just wait.

I am going to work on Friday, so I might miss that white horse rider. But if anybody sees him tell him I will be back on Sunday for sure.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 50

I am bit too tired today to write something, but today pictures are telling their own stories very well.




Meet Carly Fleischmann | Changing the world of Autism


Carly gives me more inspiration and hope than any other person walking on earth. She was attending the Behavioural Institute Children's College like Sebastian, and I saw her there every day last year because it was her walk time when I was picking Sebastian up.

I love you Carly!

Read this great article: Meet Carly Fleischmann | Changing the world of Autism

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 49

This morning I went to Home Depot to return spare parts we did not use while installing the gutters on Sunday. The traffic was very heavy. To get here from Etobicoke, and find the parking spot it took me 1 1/2 hours. Ironically, today is an international "No Car Day". Well, maybe somewhere else in the world. In Toronto not many, if any, took it to heart and left the car at home.

There is 30% chance of rain, so i brought with me the giant golf umbrella, and I feel brave.

I was expecting that Edward, the injured worker that was here yesterday, would be here today too as he promised. But I could not find him. After I came home I found e-mails from him - Ed is waiting for the permit to protest, and will be back after he gets it and maybe even before that.

Ed's girlfriend has a teenage granddaughter with Asperger's syndrome. If she comes, we will have common ground to cover. Four years ago the only knowledge I had about autism was from the movie "Rainman". Now I come across it all the time and everywhere. When I protest at Queen's Park I am not allowed to approach people, but sometimes they approach me, and when they do, they almost always have autistic children in their family. Today there was a family with two siblings with autism. I was talking to their grandmother and aunt. They were encouraging me to keep fighting.

Monday, September 21, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 48


Today I had company. Edward showed up equipped with two signs, a lawn chair and a sleeping bag. He said that he is going to stay at the Queen's Park grounds overnight. We talked and time went fast. It was raining this afternoon. I wonder what shape he is going to be in tomorrow.

I was thinking about what kind of people are coming to protest near the legislature building. So there is me - mother of an autistic child, there are also assisted living support workers, people suffering from Lyme disease, taxi drivers, people who lost their close ones to acts of violence, and today Edward is an injured worker asking for compensation. He is underpayed, weak, and sick.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gutters, not enough time, and neighbors who saved my life.


Yesterday my brother came to fix the gutters. We went to Home Depot to buy some materials we were missing. I lost the track of time and missed Sebastian's speech therapy session. I prepared some food for Sebastian, dropped him off at my neighbour's house and went to work, returning home after midnight. I talked to Irene, the neighbour and babysitter, for almost two hours, remembering the scary times from a year ago when she and her daughter Maureen saved my life by checking up on me when I had meningitis. How many people can say that: My neighbors saved my life? I have a lot to be grateful for.


This morning my brother came back so I have to go; he will need a hand.


Friday, September 18, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 47


It is a quiet sunny, very pleasant day. No other protesters. I am looking at my tattered scotch-taped paper sign and I think it will not withstand rain. So it is time to extend my "to do" list again: make a waterproof sign, and find a raincoat.

Just a minute ago, a group of school children surrounded me and the teacher asked me to explain what I am doing here. I did, and I gave away all of my fliers. Maybe some of the kids will bring them home and show them to their parents. Maybe.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 46

If all days were like Thursday, the protesting would be a breeze.






In the morning, people came to advocate for getting more treatment for Lyme's disease. I talked to them and there are many similarities between how Lyme's disease and autism are trea!ted by mainsteam medicine. After Sebastian was diagnosed I had to do my own research and then twist my family doctor's hand to do heavy metal levels tests. The tests made in Canadian labs did not show higher levels of heavy metals. I had to search out the DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctor that sent the urine samples to the Doctors Data lab in the US. I had to pay for that test, but it was not very expensive -- about $60 or $70 with the shipping and collection kit included--and it showed that Sebastian's lead levels were almost off the chart, at 85 compared to the safe level of 5! Lead levels of 10 decreases IQ by 10 or 15 points (I do not remember exactly, so forgive me, number, and sources sticklers). So, the Canadian labs were not as thorough, somehow, as the US test labs, and I would have never known about Sebastian's dangerously increased lead levels if I hadn't taken this extra step. Lyme's disease people have say similar stories.




Diagnosing and treating Lyme's is difficult and there is political controversy with "playing it safe" doctors avoiding Lyme disease patients and diagnosis for fear of getting themselves in trouble. This coupled with difficulties in diagnosis, since Lyme can mimic other conditions like multiple sclerosis and arthritis, allows thousands of people to go untreated, suffering from deteriorating and debilitating medical conditions that, if caught and treated early, are completely curable.

Here is CTV article about the protest.




Around noon I had visitors from my neighborhood. Two ladies living in Hamilton's famous North End payed me a visit. Shelley and Jannelle--both mothers of autistic children, both busy mothers of four! They found the time and the way to came from Hamilton and show their support for the third time!




Around 12:30 there was another protest. This time it was assisted living support workers. Paul Miller, MPP from Stony Creek, gave a speech. We collected a lot of signatures for the autism petition from sympathetic people. They understood the lack of government support for our most vulnerable because they work with them every day.


We went for tea and a sandwich to the cafeteria. Autism talk and all, we had such a good time that I forgot what time it was and I was 10 minutes late to pick up Sebastian from Children's College!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 45

Some days are busier and run more unexpectedly than others. Today on my way to Queen's Park I met Minister Mathews, and had a conversation with her and her staff members. Then I was asked by NDP staff if I wanted to go to question period--they got me a pass. I turned my "tooautistic" t-shirt inside out (signage supporting interest groups is not allowed inside Queen's Park, though they would have no qualms with someone wearing a "Nike" shirt in the halls of power -ed), and off I went though security and the metal detector, into the legislative hall. Because of all the atmosphere and the beautiful surroundings it felt like a theater. The set is a beautiful hall; there is an audience; some of the the actors on the floor are wearing costumes; there are certain rules and ceremony, as well as drama and emotions and gestures. Over all it was quite civil. I think, though, that the air of civility was helped allong by presence of the children. The eight-graders dressed up in little suits were sitting by the feet of the speaker and standing when he was standing, and the other half of them were running here and there, bringing the papers from desk to desk, and fetching glasses of ice water for the members. (The kids are called "Pages"-ed)


Among many other questions, Minister Mathews was answering questions about closing the Geneva Centre for a week due to some budgetary mess-up. In her answer she included a suggestion that we triple funding for autism. She then cited the "we feel for the families" mantra I have heard and read many times before. She promised to look further into the issue. Premier McGuinty was asked about closing emergency rooms in Fort Erie and southern Ontario. He said it was done to "improve the services", because they will be opening 24/7 emergency care centers. The opposition answered that government rushed with closing the emergency rooms before they finished their own study if it would really improve the services. The Premier repeated the same message that closing emergency rooms will improve the services and they went to the next issue.



It was all very educational and interesting for me. The questions and answers felt a bit like a tennis match. It is difficult for me to discern which issues are dealt with promptly in a proper manner, and which ones are being ignored or pushed aside.



This is a picture of the farmers' market in front of the Queen's Park. It was a happy celebration of Ontario harvest time, with musicians, the smell of beef on a bun, and lots of great local produce.

At Queen's Park - day 44




Monday, September 14, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 43

Today under Queen's Park there was a protest for taxi cab drivers. There were a few police cars and policeman, in case the taxi drivers become too unruly I think ;-) Nothing like that happened, but one of the policemen approached me and asked what am I hoping to achieve by protesting. I said I hope I will get the therapy funding for my son back. I have noticed that he had on his arm a tattoo of autism puzzle pieces. He told me his son is five and also has autism, and that he payed privately for his therapy, and that his marriage did not survive the stress of raising autistic child. I think that short conversation is so revealing of the ugly truth about how autism effect lives, not only of autistic children themselves, but of their families as well.
I do not think people who haven't gone through the experience realize the magnitude of effect autism has on family relationships. Divorce rate are at 80% among parents of autistic children, and nobody knows how having a autistic member of the family effects siblings and grandparents.

Here is a link to a study about family stress.

As I was writing this, I had a short visit from Andrea Horvath, the leader of the NDP. She said that they support my cause.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Autumn Sunday

September is my favourite month. The weather is great, and it is harvest, the time of plenty. Going to the farmers' market is a real joy. Today I spent all day today cooking, doing dishes and jarring sauerkraut. When I was done it was too late to go to Toronto. Sebastian was all day running naked outside in the yard. It felt like the last day of summer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday school meeting.

On Friday I did not protest because I had a school meeting at the school Sebastian is going to attend when discharged from therapy.

If you have ever read Jaroslav Hašek's book "The Good Soldier Švejk " maybe you would have a vague idea how I felt. The entire experience is so strange that it starts to feel absurd and surreal . It is hard to stay calm, but going crazy and flipping over the furniture would not help improve the situation. But sometimes my emotions are taking the best of me and I burst in to tears.

The meeting was with the principle of Sebastian's future school, and three more ladies who are supervising Sebastian's placement in the school.

In short, the situation is such: Sebastian suffers from a disorder that grossly impairs his ability to learn the way children with normally developing brains do; that is, by imitating. He can learn though through the special method or intense repetition and reinforcement called ABA therapy. Because of the severity of his condition and nature of this method of learning, it works only if it is intensively applied for about forty hours a week.

School is an institution when children learn. It is set up to accommodate the learning of normally developing kids who can learn by imitating an following example, and who at a certain age achieve certain skill levels that allow them learn more independently. Sebastian does not have these skills. He cannot learn by sitting in the classroom and learning with other kids. He cannot sit still in a chair for very long without having tantrums, and being disruptive to other students' learning. In Sebastian's current condition, nobody will benefit from Sebastian being in the classroom, not the teacher, the children nor Sebastian. Even if he was able to sit quietly in the corner, he would not learn anything this way. So he will be kept in the "quiet room" where his behaviour will not disrupt other children's learning process. Half of the problem is solved this way: healthy kids will learn. The other half remains: Sebastian will not learn.

Sebastian needs therapy to learn. School is not there to provide therapy, because they are an educational institution, and not a health facility. In School, therapy is a dirty word due to political reasons. School is not there to provide therapy. School is there to provide education. Educational assistants can not go to Children's College where Sebastian currently recieves therapy, and learn how to do it. They only can go there to "observe" him in the environment he is used to up to this time. For an hour. And they they are left to their own devices. No support is offered from other experienced therapists, nor will they have access to clinical psychologists on site like the therapists in the Children's College have. There will be no supervision or access to Clinical psychologist at all, once Sebastian is in the regular school system.

Children like Sebastian cannot learn without therapy. This is not the school system's concern. The SYSTEM run by governmentaly hired officials definitely has some intellectual disabilities and is not able to solve that conundrum. Therapists are not allowed on the school grounds, even if parents have the money to pay for the therapists themselves. The school will not pay for therapists to help autistic children in their education, though they are happy to receive money from the government to cover the cost of a "personal attendant" and other means of keeping him out of trouble. By denying autistic kid's access to therapy, either in a special, private facility like the Children's College or by properly trained staff in the regular school system, autistic kids are denied their basic human rights to education and self-development.

Why is that happening?
If Sebastian, after years of babysitting in the quiet room, will to regress and never achieve his full potential here is a list of who will NOT feel responsible or in any way accountable for their current policies and actions:

NOT his teaching assistants,
NOT his teachers,
NOT his school principle,
NOT anybody from School Board,
NOR anybody from Ministry of Education,
NOT the lady psychologist who signed his discharge papers,
NOT the mysterious "independent reviewer" who confirmed her decision. By the way, can the impartiality of the person be confirmed if their identity is kept secret?
NOR anybody from Ministry of Children and Social Services together with the honourable Deb Mathews,
NOT the Premier of Ontario,

Well, NOBODY will suffer from the consequences of their actions, or inactions. Everybody will be rewarded for working so agreeably within the system where they receive a nice salary and eventual pension. The only people who WILL suffer will be autistic kids and their families.

It is clear to me now that Sebastian' education will end as soon as he will enter the school system.

This is the main message I have heard in my meeting, from undoubtedly well-meaning ladies:
"We understand your frustration, but out hands are tied!"
"You have the power."

Really? We will see.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 42



Today Howard Hampton signed my petition, and I was talking to NDP education researcher Brian MacDonald. It lifted my spirits.

I left my laptop at home, and have more time to think than I feel comfortable with today. I left my camera at home too, so the pictures were made with my cell phone.
On the picture below there is a man practicing Tai Chi dressed only in black shoes, black socks, black shorts, and black sunglasses. It is never boring here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 41



I was redesigning my handout, sitting on the granite stone I usually sit on when on vigil, when I have heard the: "Ho, hou, heah!" a typical Polish Highlander sheep herder call. (Yes!) I turned around, and there he was, my son's Sebastian godfather Ted. He and his dancers just came back from a European voyage, and he came to see me here. His support arrived just on time, and was greatly appreciated. We talked and laughed, and then walked to his car. He was carrying the sign and the picture, I was handing out my fliers, and we met his brother, who just happen to work construction a block away from QP. Serendipity. And I have the pictures to prove it. And I do not have to prove it to anybody, but I know for sure that Sebastian has the best godfather!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 40










Hazy weather, Macedonian memorial, chatter of school kids eagerly carrying clipboards with their first day of school assignments, ready to make a new start in new school year. Lots of bus tours. Yet today for no particular reason I am uneasy. Traffic was very heavy this morning on QEW. The last long weekend of the summer was very productive for me, and I have made some progress in my "to do" list, but I feel anxious, I do not quite know why.


Today if Sebastian was a healthy boy, we would celebrate one of the biggest days in his life: his first day at school. He would have a new backpack and lunch box, and we would walk just a few blocks to St. Lawrence school in the morning, and he would be bit nervous, and he would meet his new teacher, and classmates. He would make his first friends, and he would learn what was expected of him in big school, and it would be all a new adventure full of new smells, sights and situations, problems to solve, knees to scrape, pencils to sharpen, exercise books to fill out.


Instead I am sitting here in front of Queens' Park trying to calm my monkey brain that makes a number on me today, writing this and trying make sense out of it all. It is hard.