Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Teller of Tall Tales

Our grandson has told some tall tales in his day.  Last Halloween, his teacher sent his parents a note: "This may be none of my business, but I think you should know that Andrew's been telling me that he can bring dead animals back to life by shocking them with electricity."  We didn't know what to think! Then we remembered that Andrew had been entranced with TV ads for the movie, Frankenweenie. He could hardly wait to see the movie that weekend with his parents. After his mom explained this to his teacher, the specter of ghoulish experimentation was laid to rest. 

This wasn't his first tall tale. In kindergarten, he told his class that his father worked at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, where he entertained the crowds by putting on a wet suit and swimming around in the big pool feeding the stingrays and nurse sharks.  The teacher checked out the story with his dad, just to make sure.

In first grade, his teacher asked him one morning why he was so sleepy. He volunteered that he had gone night-fishing with his grandfather. They didn't get home until midnight. Again, he must have been fairly convincing.

"You mean to tell me that your parents allowed your grandfather to take you fishing on a school night?"

"Yeah, Mom said it was OK."

"This is ridiculous! No wonder you're so tired. What was your mother thinking?"

Andrew probably shrugged. The teacher calmed down after she learned the truth.  Andrew told these two fish tales at his old school.  Soon the teachers probably got immune to his stories. Last year, he changed schools. New school, new opportunities for story-telling. He managed to stir things up. Just once. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

New Scam

From my guest blogger, the "Tree Hugger":

I got a phone call moments ago from "Windows support" saying they had 
noticed malicious software being down-loaded into my computer.

It was a woman with a foreign accent. I asked for a phone number where I could phone them back. She did give me an 800 number.

When I said, "Gee, that's funny. We don't have a Windows operating system," she hung up immediately. 

I looked up the 800 number she had given me. It apparently belongs to a Christian bookstore in Vancouver, British Columbia. It's probably not the number she was calling from. 

I'm hoping this note may spare someone from falling for a gimmick like this.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Do the Amish Celebrate Halloween?

Do the Amish celebrate Halloween? While individual Amish people do not dress up in costumes for Halloween or otherwise celebrate, several groups in Holmes and Knox Counties, Ohio, dress their horses up as cows for Halloween. These horses are on the way to the barn where they will be given apples and carrots to celebrate Halloween. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

At the Doctor's Office

I was reading the Washington Post in the waiting room when an extroverted oldster came in, pushing a walker. He more or less collapsed into a nearby chair. "How are you, Little Lady?" he boomed. "Just fine, thanks," I replied, turning my attention back to the paper.

 As soon as he was settled, he pushed a small, brown book my way. "Here's a free bible." 

 "No, thanks," I said. "I have one at home."

 "Well, this one you can take with you wherever you go."

 I came up with a lame excuse. "I have trouble with small print." 

 "Looks like you're having no trouble reading the small print in that newspaper," he cackled. He had me there. I returned to my reading. Picking up a copy of Travel and Leisure Magazine, he announced to everyone, "I got plenty of leisure, but I can't travel."

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Reason I Jump

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with AutismThe Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Autism is a mystery. As the mother of an autistic child told me, "If you've seen one autistic child, you've seen ONE." Each is different. Although I read this book in the hopes of understanding our mildly autistic grandson better, it didn't help that much. At first glance, our grandson looks "neurotypical." However, his autism made kindergarten and the first three grades hell for him. Finally, his parents found a nearby public school with a program for autistic kids. He's doing better, but would rather play Minecraft all day every day than do his schoolwork. Naoki Higashida's autism bears little resemblance to our grandson's. For one thing, Naoki likes to write. He is, according to the book jacket, the author of several works of fiction and nonfiction. Still, both boys share a few traits. Hypersensitivity to sound is one. Zoning out is another. When I used to take our grandson to Occupational Therapy appointments, I'd see autistic kids who continually flapped their hands and made weird noises. I marveled at the way their mothers calmly tolerated all this. Had I read Naoki's book then, I would have gained some insight into the sensory problems that were driving the kids.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Year of the Snake

Yesterday our younger daughter called to say she'd found a "garter" snake in their bedroom. It had come in through an air vent. She e-mailed a picture to help her dad, or someone, identify it. Meanwhile the snake disappeared down the vent again. They were almost happy when he later reappeared in  the bedroom, because they didn't like to imagine him trapped in the vent. Tom captured the little guy and released him in the woods, where they hope he will be happy.  And stay. 

A naturalist we know in Knox County, OH thought he was a juvenile eastern ratsnake. They are notorious for getting into people's homes, she said.

Clarence, the elderly cat who lives full time in the bedroom, ignored the intruder.