Happy Anniversary, and 30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 6-8

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME!

Or should I say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NOTES FROM THE BACKSEAT!”

My blog is two years old today.

Here, have a cupcake:

Ain't she cute!?! Just the sweetest little cupcake in the whole wide world!

Ain’t she cute!?! Just the sweetest little cupcake in the whole wide world!

Now, on to the drawing challenge, and yes, I’m really behind, but I will finish this. I will!

Day 6: Favorite Drink

Honestly, I don’t have a favorite, so long as it’s cold.

Day6

Day 7: Favorite Bird

I really wish these lists included less “favorites” and more random things to draw. I don’t have a favorite _____. Most of the time, I’m lucky just to have a favorite color. I really was at a loss, so I drew the first bird that came to mind while staring mindlessly at the calendar above the kitchen table.

Day7

Day 8: Amusement Park

Well that’s vague, isn’t it? Technically any park that brings joy, amazement, and fun is an “amusement park”, but I went with the good old stand by. When in doubt, go back to where it all began…

Day8

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30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 2-5

Okay, so yea… I got hit hard this month. Now, as the month is winding down, we are preparing the house and our hearts to have my husband come home sometime within the next 6 weeks, though we don’t know exactly when yet. It’s gonna be a lot of change and my blog is no doubt suffering for the changes that have happened and for those yet to come. My “29 Things to do Before 29” list seems to be a flop, but is still salvageable and I will just have to adjust some of the times on some of the items. With a little shift here and there, and having my husband home with the kids, it should be a lot easier to fit it into my schedule… I take on too much and then come down hard on myself when I can’t get everything done. This is always an issue. But I have drawing, so for the next few days I will make a mad dash to the finish (which seems to be my M.O. anyway 😛 )

So, on with the show

Day 2: Favorite Sport
To be honest, I meant to draw swimming and forgot, so I drew a football. I don’t really like football. I like to sit beside my husband and read a book while he watches football. People who know me would be shocked to learn that I really enjoy swimming. I enjoy the feel of the water gliding across my skin and I enjoy the focus. It’s one of the few times I really relax, when I’m in the water. I’m not a strong swimmer by any means. I don’t like to be splashed and I prefer to be by myself or with a small group when I swim. It takes me a long time to get used to the water temperature. I mean, like, ridiculously long. It comes to the annoyance of everyone I swim with. I know it drives my husband crazy because he likes to splash me as I’m “acclimating” to the water step by step. I cannot just jump into the pool. It is physically painful when I do this. But swimming is my favorite sport… Enjoy the football.

Day2

Day 3: First Car

1983 Datsun Nissan Pulsar NX This was my first car. Go ahead, click the link, I can wait.

Done now? That car reminds me of an uncool Delorean from the Back to the Future movies. But really, my drawing is the most accurate depiction I could come up with. Nothing like having dad try to teach you a three-point turn in a car with no brakes… I almost hit a dresser my mom was painting in the driveway… Good times.

Day3

Day 4: A Secret About Yourself

I’ll let you sort this one out on your own.

Day4

Day 5: Favorite Movie

This one was hard because I love so many movies. I chose a movie that I felt represented a multitude of great things and storylines that have lent themselves well to other stories and other mediums. Whether it’s “Oz: the Great and Powerful”, “Wicked: the Musical”, or the Gregory Maguire novels, it all started in one place, with one pair of silver slippers (yes, in canon they were silver, not ruby. Ruby filmed better, for those who don’t believe me, open a book). I think on some level, we are all captivated by the land of Oz, the magic of the “horse of a different color”, and the characters we meet along the way. From the fearfully coward to the heartless metal man to the ignorant brilliance of a man made of straw, we understand these characters and their quest. Secretly, we all wish we could go “somewhere over the rainbow”.

Day5

Slacker Blogging

I seem to have become depressed over the past week. I’ve been taking the death of the cat very hard…

As a result, my blog is suffering. Sorry guys.

I promise to get back with it this week. More Autism Awareness blogs and the 30 Day Drawing Challenge posts are coming this week. I will get caught up and finish on time. I promise.

I’ve sent my husband an email to help me stay on task and focus. I need things to keep me moving…

On a side note, I will be updating on my 29 Things list soon… I’m failing myself already, and it’s only April…

30 Day Drawing Challenge: part 2: Day 1

I don’t really have a good build up to this one… I’m seriously at a loss for words, and I think that part of this is a result of the events of yesterday and the exhaustion I am still feeling today.

Believe it or not, there are four parts of these drawing challenges, or at least I have four separate versions downloaded onto my computer right now. I was invited to participate in Part Two, and I accepted. I need something to focus my brain for a bit, and I’m totally being a slacker on my list of things to do this year…

Part Two.

Part Two.

Day One: Muppet

Well that’s pretty vague, isn’t it? Many people have chosen to focus squarely on The Muppets. The pride of joy of the Jim Henson legacy. Too many people forget that Jim Henson and his muppets had their hands in a few different cookie jars over the years. From Yoda to Ludo, Jim Henson has worked on Star Wars, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Sesame Street, The Muppets (and all it’s “spin offs”, including Muppet Babies), Fraggle Rock and much more. So instead of focusing on one specific muppet, I chose to go with a few. Jim Henson was a man with a vision, and the “muppet” in all it’s forms is something to be celebrated.

Red from Fraggle Rock, Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street and Baby Animal from Muppet Babies.

Red from Fraggle Rock, Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street and Baby Animal from Muppet Babies.

Why we are choosing homeschool next year

Alternatively titled: Why my daughter’s teacher is a fricken idiot!

I’ve tried to be nice about all this, I swear, I really have. It has gotten to the point where other students are now calling out the teacher during class and they are being ignored even though their answers are, in fact, correct and the teacher is wrong! Instead of ranting about all the crappy things my daughter’s teacher has done (and not done) this year. I’ll let the tests speak for themselves. These are actual questions from the tests my daughter, a second grader, has taken this year. I will mark for you the answers the TEACHER feels are the correct ones, regardless of whether or not she is correct. I have pictures of some of them, it’s starting to get cute and annoying.

Let’s start with Math: This is a hugely popular subject at our house, where my daughter had to stop learning multiplication because it was causing problems with her (second grade) teacher teaching skip counting…

1. The teacher felt the correct answer to this question was C. 2 meters. Keep in mind the very next question on the test referenced a motorcycle being 2 meters long (in the question itself). I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a “real medium dog” the same height as a motorcycle is long.

I love how she underlines "real" and then claims the medium sized dog to be two meters tall... For reference, that makes the average "medium dog" taller than I am.

I love how she underlines “real” and then claims the medium sized dog to be two meters tall… For reference, that makes the average “medium dog” taller than I am.

2. Kay’s plant was 6 centimeters tall. Four weeks later it was 24 centimeters tall. How much did it grow in four weeks?
A. 30 centimeters                        B. 10 centimeters
C. 28 centimeters                             D. 18 centimeters

Now despite being blatantly wrong, Sissy says a boy in her class actually confronted the teacher regarding the correct answer, which is D. 18 cm. He was told that he was wrong. Let me explain why the score is now Teacher 0, Students 2. When you ask “how much did it grow in four weeks”, you are NOT asking how tall it is now, but the rate of growth over the given timeline. SO, had she asked “How tall is it at the end of the fourth week?”, which btw, the answer still is not A because the problem states the plant was 24 cm four weeks later, asked and answered. BUT, she asked “how much did it grow in four weeks”, thus making the answer the difference between the height of the plant at the start and finish of the four weeks which is 18 cm.

3. Danny has a plant that is 6 centimeters tall. The plant grows 4 centimeters each week. How tall will his plant be in four weeks?

This one was open-ended meaning the students had to write out and solve a problem to arrive at the solution. Now for me, the plant started at 6 centimeters tall (way to go Danny Boy!), for each of the next four weeks, it grew 4 centimeters. Then it asks how tall will it be in four weeks. This means that 4+4+4+4=16, or 4×4=16, but any way you look at it, over the course of the next four weeks, Danny’s plant will gain an additional 16 cm. Add that 16 cm to his previous height of 6cm, and you arrive at the addition problem 6+16=22. Danny’s plant is now 22cm tall. Apparently, not according to Teacher but hey, I’m no teacher, I’m just a mathematics major who took a class on Differential Equations as an elective…

Score: Teacher 0, Students 3

Here’s the picture of Kay and Danny to confirm my side of the story.

But at least the kids make good gardeners. Those plants are growing pretty well... Even better when the teacher grades the test.

But at least the kids make good gardeners. Those plants are growing pretty well… Even better when the teacher grades the test.

Then there’s the problems that arise when the study guide answers don’t match the answers to the test. Pretty sure that IS a parallelogram, and unless you are studying Euclidean Geometry (at this point I’d love her teacher just to spell “Euclidean Geometry”), that one up top there, is a type of Rhombus. We’re now 0-5 to the Students.

Study guide that was given to us by the teacher for the purpose of studying.

Study guide that was given to us by the teacher for the purpose of studying.

The test. Note that the letter G is the designation for the parallelogram and that shape looks exactly like the one on the study guide and yet, Sissy still got the wrong answer.

The test. Note that the letter G is the designation for the parallelogram and that shape looks exactly like the one on the study guide and yet, Sissy still got the wrong answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s move on to Language Arts, consisting of spelling, language, vocabulary, reading and reading comprehension. This is where it gets REALLY fun!

Two, To, Too... There is a difference and even my, then, six year old could see that.

Two, To, Too… There is a difference and even my, then, six year old could see that.

Look very carefully at this one. Notice that little circle placed randomly in the sentence, near the end there. Look close, it’s there. That’s not a random circle, that’s the letter “O”. When asked why she put it there, my then six year old, told me the word “too” needed two “o”… Why yes Folks, my then six year old was already correcting the grammar on the spelling tests. Makes a mother so proud.

Here we have "role reversal" the teacher spelled it correctly, so Sissy misspelled it for her.

Here we have “role reversal” the teacher spelled it correctly, so Sissy misspelled it for her.

Oh and when you format the spelling test so that the kids have to identify and correctly spell this weeks words, the least you could do is actually misspell the spelling word. You can’t fix what isn’t broken and you just confused the hell out of the kids, particularly the autistic child who knew the word, but still gets it wrong because her teacher failed her own test. That’s bringing us to Teacher 0-Students 7.

Let’s continue.

She got a perfect score on this homework assignment despite not following directions.

She got a perfect score on this homework assignment despite not following directions.

There’s the homework my daughter didn’t do “correctly” using the phrase “more clear” instead of the word “clearer” (which I was always taught wasn’t a word anyway) and the teacher didn’t notice. I’m half convinced she could randomly write anything in those blanks and her teacher wouldn’t know the difference.

There was the test on comparative and superlative adjectives where even the teacher wasn’t sure what she was supposed to be grading.

And yes, we get dozens of tests marked up like this one. Where correct answers are marked wrong and then fixed and then marked wrong again, but she gets the points anyway. It's confusing.

And yes, we get dozens of tests marked up like this one, where correct answers are marked wrong and then fixed and then marked wrong again, but she gets the points anyway. It’s confusing.

Or the time Teacher clearly didn’t read that weeks story and I can cite the page number and paragraph to prove it…

When you ask about a specific from the story it helps to READ THE STORY!

When you ask about a specific from the story it helps to READ THE STORY!

For those without a second grade reading book at home, this is the content of page 58. If you note paragraph two, as I wrote on the test, you will find the correct answer to the question.

For those without a second grade reading book at home, this is the content of page 58. If you note paragraph two, as I wrote on the test, you will find the correct answer to the question.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the test where multiple answers were correct. Yes, they were both smart dogs, but they were also both girl dogs. Sorry Teacher, you failed that test too.

Tara and Tiree, another story from class that involved two smart, girl dogs.

Tara and Tiree, another story from class that involved two smart, girl dogs.

 

And the one she got marked right though clearly half a verb phrase and a prepositional phrase do not equal a sentence subject.

I circled "mom" while arguing with Sissy about whether or not "mom" was the subject... It is by the way.

I circled “mom” while arguing with Sissy about whether or not “mom” was the subject… It is by the way.

 

Pay attention to sentence #6 on this one… If you have to rewrite the sentence post-exam to make the vocabulary word fit the test, you fail as a test preparer.

The vocabulary word is "descend" the word they were looking for "descent". FAIL!

The vocabulary word is “descend” the word they were looking for “descent”. FAIL!

Now I know I may see harsh, but I was a teacher before I got married. I know what goes into making a lesson plan and what goes into assigning homework and how much time it takes to grade all of this. But COME ON! My daughter’s grades are suffering because her teacher is just downright lazy. Every page of homework she brings home is a worksheet printed off the internet. These sheets come from websites I use during the summer to homeschool Sissy. I requested a meeting with the principal of the school nearly two weeks ago and haven’t heard back yet. I know there are answers on these tests that my daughter got wrong because of her disability. Plain and simple, her brain sees things very linear and I’m trying to work on that with her. There are answers she gets wrong because she truly didn’t know the answer.  And there are answers she gets wrong because her teacher is a fricken idiot!

THIS is an autism related answer. "as far as we can see" means "we see nothing else", makes sense to me.

THIS is an autism related answer. “as far as we can see” means “we see nothing else”, makes sense to me.

DIY Sketchbook repair and cover

To be honest, this really doesn’t seem like a “true” DIY, but it is what it is (frankly it has to be because it can’t be what it isn’t).

My son has this habit of leaving things in the floor just so he can walk on them. Unfortunately, one night I left my sketchbook under the coffee table and the next day, my darling little boy went “sliding into home” and now mommy’s sketchbook has a busted binding. This made me sad because I like all my books, sketchbooks included, to have perfect or near perfect bindings. The longer the binding can be pristine, the more times the book can be opened without fear of the cover falling off.

This is what happens when your sketchbook becomes home plate.

This is what happens when your sketchbook becomes home plate. (Side Note: I made that bracelet today. 🙂 )

So my poor sketchbook became a DIY.

For this project I used:
One busted sketchbook (Thanks Little Brother)
Scissors
Fun colored Duck Tape (fun is objective, you may or may not prefer things as ‘busy’ as I do)
Permanent Marker (optional)
Clear packing tape (optional)

Supplies!

Supplies!

It really is a simple one step process. Put the “fun colored Duck Tape” all over the cover until it’s as covered as you want and the dings, bangs, and bruises are invisible. Cut the tape with the scissors to make it fit or to smooth it out. Make it fun, make it yours.

New front cover.

New front cover.

Optionally, you could take a permanent marker and draw on the solid colored parts of the tape and cover with the clear packing tape. I would say, from past experience, that you wont want to leave anything covered with or made from duck tape anywhere that gets hot (i.e. your car) because the tape starts to melt and gets all EWWW all over everything.

But seriously? How adorable is my sketchbook now? And what would be a blog about a sketchbook without a little peek inside, so here’s a brief study I did on hands and one on ears that I did a while back.

Hands

Hands

I'm all ears!

I’m all ears!

Thankful Thursday: February 7th

In all seriousness, this post could alternatively be called “The Many Colors of Deployment”

This week, I am thankful for the people behind companies like “N Rage Color” and “Manic Panic”… These wonderful people have given me something to do with my hair when I’m bored or desperate to be in control of something when all else is going wrong.

I have to be in control of something. TMI alert, when I hit puberty, my beautiful blonde hair began to turn a deep shade of brown, not that it wasn’t pretty, but it was change and I hate change. So I began dying it back to blonde at the age of twelve. When I was 15, I was finally tired of the blonde jokes by my step-dad and the kids at school (It’s Asperger’s ASSHAT! It has NOTHING to do with my hair color!), so one weekend I dyed my hair “Egyptian Plum”… When that color was discontinued, I remember crying in the hair color aisle at Walmart because it meant another change. My mom found a similar shade of “Deep Burgundy” and I went with that for years. Even after I got married, I had a love/hate relationship with my hair. When my daughter was 6 months old, I texted my husband with something like “What do you think about girls with no hair?”… I don’t remember what his answer was, but I do know that by the time he came home from work that day, my beautiful, long brown hair was gone and a head full of stubble was all that remained. I looked adorable and his brother’s reaction was hilarious. Apparently, my husband’s next older brother (the middle child of the three grown boys) flew off the handle and couldn’t figure out why my Father and Mother-in-law would let me do that to myself. LOL I love those kinds of reactions.

In the past two years, my hair has been mostly black. A sort of “STFU” to my mom because it was the one color she would never let me color it. She didn’t want me to be goth (insert eye roll here). But after six years of marriage, I’d earned my right to black hair and she’s even told me it looks fabulous on me. Her way of telling me she was wrong all those years ago, I guess.

When my husband deployed, I thought I would fall to pieces. I was quickly losing my mind. So once again, I needed control. I turned to bleach and hair dye, though not in that order.

First I had “Pretty Flamingo”.

This was before bleach... The "flamingo" didn't take well and faded into pink highlights.

This was before bleach… The “flamingo” didn’t take well and faded into pink highlights.

Then came “Purple Haze”, which faded to an awkward shade of blonde, but was still kind of pretty.

Pretty in Purple.

Pretty in Purple.

Then I got really creative (and a little budget conscious) and used “Vampire Red” AND “Purple Haze” since I had extra of each.

Two toned... Fun and funky... This one got me a lot of "Does her husband know she did that?" stares at the Squadron Christmas party.

Two toned… Fun and funky… This one got me a lot of “Does her husband know she did that?” stares at the Squadron Christmas party.

This was actually cool because as the purple faded to the blonde again, the red was washing out and collecting in the now blonde hair, which gave me a unique shade of pink.

And then there was PINK!

And then there was PINK!

Had it not been for some insanely dark roots, I don’t think I would have bleached my hair again today.

Freshly bleached and ready to do whatever.

Freshly bleached and ready to do whatever.

But the red didn’t completely bleach out, so I’m sporting an odd shade of Strawberry blonde near the tips and practically platinum blonde near my roots. This is easily covered by a scarf until I figure out whether to bleach again tomorrow or just take my chances and dye over it with black.

I think the most interesting thing about this experience is that I seem to look good regardless of my hair color. Most people can’t say that. But I look absolutely adorable with purple hair!

I am fearful about a lot of things. In this, I am fearless. I love these dyes because they don’t damage your hair (clearly, since I’ve been bleaching my hair once a month for four months and I still have hair to bleach). My hair feels healthier and color makes me happy. I am grateful for this freedom. This control. I am grateful for a husband who supports my wild colors and my hair color whims and my need for control. (He even thought the purple was kind of sexy O_o)

I am grateful for the companies and the people behind them that make this journey of self-exploration and self-confidence possible.

Thank you, Manic Panic.