AV therapy, softball, dance, Bama basketball

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Since Riley’s therapy was cut back to every other week, we’ve been focusing on getting her to think about graduating from auditory-verbal. She has two goals right now:

1. Look at the person who’s talking
and the person you’re talking to.
2. Talk in complete sentences.

She’s doing pretty well with those two objectives, but I still have to prompt her occasionally.

Our therapist completed vocabulary testing last week and to everyone’s surprise Riley scored at or above her chronological age! We think it’s the first time she has hit or surpassed her “real” age and not her hearing age. She is on the right path.

We are working on synonyms and antonyms, idioms, context clues and inferences – important things heading into fourth grade next year. Riley is also supposed to be making notes of words she doesn’t know when comes across them in her reading.

Report cards come home Thursday, so that will tell the tale. Her weekly grades are mostly A’s and B’s, with a smattering of C’s and a D here and there. No more F’s, though. The lower grades seem to come whenever new material is introduced, which is why preteaching is so important. And, obviously, I haven’t been doing enough of that lately.

Also, her class is reviewing for state testing in math right now. Third-graders take the SAT (I think that’s the name), and I’m anxious to see how she does. Geometry, fractions and decimals have all been part of the curriculum this year.

Dance class is getting busier … she’s taking only acrobatics this year, but costumes are coming soon and picture day is in two weeks. Riley is good at acro; she’s almost got the back walkover and a one-hand cartwheel is a piece of cake. Next year, I’ll probably let her go back to taking two or three classes because dance is something she excels at.

Softball is starting next week; several practices have been rained out, so her team this year (all new to her except for two) will be rough around the edges. I will brag a bit about Riley, though. She is one of the fastest and has one of the strongest arms on the team. Her throwing is much improved.

The divorce was final last month, and I’m selling the house. I’m glad it is over, and we can move forward.

Oh, and, Roll Tide! Basketball season was fun, but I think the Tide got hosed by being left out of the NCAA Tournament. Winning the NIT would be nice, though. Go, Bama!

Fitness Fridays = Physical Fridays (Apolo Ohno still rocks)

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My brother and I are all smiles at the end of my first 5K. Riley was a big motivator at the end. Can I get back to that place?

I’ve got to start somewhere and right now that’s just doing some kind of physical activity each day.  With my surgeries, my dad’s emergency and long recovery, I never got on track with my fitness goals. So instead of making these grand plans to run/walk 5 times a week, etc., I’m going to just try to do something active every day.

This week I did laundry: loading, unloading and folding and putting away. Ryan usually does the laundry, but with the change in my schedule, I’m able to do more around the house. Last night, I danced (in high heels) as Harry Connick Jr. (more on that later) sang at the VBC Concert Hall. Tomorrow I’ll be at Riley’s softball practice, likely helping out by chasing down foul balls. Every little bit helps.

I’ve edited my big goals:

Do 10 real pushups
Wear my GAP boyfriend jeans (in my closet since 2007) smallest size Lane Bryant jeans
Do the Ribbon Run 5K in October Cotton Row 5K in May
Wear my cute workout tanks/shorts again
Get my calves back into my tall boots without spillage
Carry Riley to bed without giving myself a hernia
Fit into my Bama T-shirts this football by the end of softball season
Outrun 8- and 9-year-olds at softball practice next spring by the end of summer

So those are my big goals … today. They might change tomorrow or next week as I have more time to think about where I’m headed. I will also have to decide what steps I’ll take to meet these goals. Next week’s post will cover that.

The Olympics are winding down, and tonight we saw why Apolo Anton Ohno is one of the best short-track speedskaters in the world. He had to jump over one of two skaters who went down in the quarterfinals, and he avoided another spinout in the semifinals.

He won his eighth medal as he anchored the U.S. to a bronze in the team relay. He should’ve had nine, but a ticky-tack call by a Canadian judge disqualified him (he had the silver) in the 500-meter because he touched one of the Canadian skaters. However, a different Canadian skater put his hand on a Korean skater. Then the Korean skater touched that Canadian. But who was disqualified? Ohno, the skater who was in fourth place at the time. Judging is far too subjective in speedskating.

After that disappointing ruling, Ohno came back to skate an incredible race in the relay to pull the USA to the bronze after being fourth for most of the race. His heart and drive are incredible. There’s no quit in him. A good reminder as I start my fitness journey: If an obstacle slows you down, don’t quit. Make the leap and keep skating.

My writing goals

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The following questions come from author and writing teacher Christina Katz:

On a scale of one to ten, how’s your self-respect? Can you say no? Do you say yes to yield to social pressure and supposed-to’s and then suffer for it? Are you catering to too many other people’s needs but burning out in the process? Do you listen to and trust your instincts about what is and isn’t the best way to proceed?

My self-respect is about a 9 – hey, no one’s perfect, right? Over the past year, I’ve learned to say no when a writing project doesn’t fit my goals or when the topic doesn’t interest me. If a subject doesn’t appeal to me, it’s hard to make it interesting for others. And isn’t it a bit dishonest? “Hey, I couldn’t care less about doomaflotchies, but I sure wish you’d read my story about them.”

Also, I got in over my head a couple of times last year, taking on too many assignments and had to back out of projects. I hated doing that, but I would’ve hated even more turning in something that wasn’t up to par. Now, I’ve learned how much I can handle without spreading myself too thin or losing my sanity or self-respect.

And when it comes to getting paid for my work, I’m not afraid to ask for more. The worst a client can do is say no, but many times they’ll say yes. For instance, yesterday, after agreeing to write a piece on short notice, I asked my editor if she could bump up my per-word rate. She thanked me for my work and doubled my rate for this article and future ones.

Another editor agreed to boost my pay for an assignment after I pointed out that a lot of information was available on my topic and would need to be distilled. A couple of national sources and two or three local sources and I’m good to go.

It pays to ask for what you’re worth.

Photo by sushivina on Flickr’s Creative Commons

Refocusing in the new year

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Like the photo above, 2009 was a little out of focus for me. My job underwent several changes, my dad faced serious health issues, and things were just tough. 2010 promises to be interesting and exciting, and I have some focused goals. This is one of my first:

I’m refocusing my blog, basically combining my old blog with this one so I can write about, in one place, all the things I am passionate about: sports, cochlear implants, writing, my family, music and books.

I’m thinking of setting up a schedule where I post about sports/fitness on Mondays, CIs/hearing loss/family on Wednesdays, and writing/music/books/movies on Fridays. But I’ll be flexible. If something comes up and doesn’t quite fit my schedule, I’ll still post about it.

This current mish-mash of topics and sporadic posting is annoying. I’d like to get more readers and become more interactive and give as much as I get out of this blog.

So look for a more defined blog, and if I get off track, feel free to call me on it.

And Roll Tide Roll!