Sunday, 27 February 2011

Driving, meeting people and other things we've got up to!!

At last!! Louise passed her driving test!! She went out on Tuesday to do it. Only one of the kids she works with and i knew when it was. Man - my nose was growing longer and longer as i told Matthew she was "meeting her line manager from work!"
Now - technically, this is not a lie - it's not unusual to meet up with her boss at times to discuss things - it just wasn't done that morning!!
I'd been at the Doctors on Tuesday morning. As i walked up the path to the main street, i saw the instructors car and just got a feeling that things were going well.

So that was good. No longer do i need to be the responsible adult in the car!!! Yessss - i can sing away.
Well, till Lou tells me to shut up!!

On Wednesday, we went to meet the family Peter will be having some respite with. THere was one slight hitch - Laura had phoned to confirm and the guy sadi "aarrgghhhh - we thought it was tomorrow!!" THey'd put in in the diary for then. He was going to be there, but his wife was out. It was ok with us - Peter was set on meeting up, so off they went. They live about an hour from Glasgow, in the country and the plaace looks lovely. The have a log fire - that was enough to win me over, but we sat and chatted. He wasn't fazed by Peter and his chat of dvds and disney. He loved our photos from our holiday and made a great cuppa for us!!
He took us to the room where Peter would be sleeping and told him that if he came to stay and he wanted, he could have a tv and dvd player in the room to watch his films at night. They also have some animals on the small holding. We didn't see them - the weather was rotten, but the guy has promised Peter can meet the horse and the pig!!
There was a nice feel to the guy and then house - it felt like home and i'm sure Peter will love it. In fact, when we got home, Peter asked when he was going to see the guy and the horse!!!!!
If Peter hadn't liked him, we wouldn't have had that!

Thursday morning, Louise decided she wanted to time travelling to one of her families - going on the motorway!!! She was getting brave. So we did that and then headed for some lunch before getting Peter from college. Later on she decided to go and see a friend before going to pick up Paul from band. And they all arrived in about 8. We'd not seen Ann for a while and were getting a bit worried about her.

But like the rest of us, she's just been caught up in day to day life. She was really chuffed that Louise had passed her test and had bought a car!! Louise decided to take Ann home, so i jumped in the car with them.

Friday was getting my knee x rayed again. The woman questioned WHY i was getting it done again after only 18 months. Duhh - because it hurts and the GP wanted it checked. She also said that an MRI was a better way of getting it checked and i sweetly told her that i'd had one of them done December 2009 and an arthroscopy this time last year and the results of that had shown that the damage was worse than initially thought. 
It could be a few things - arthritis or calcification of the tendons or maybe the osteoporosis is kicking in.
So we'll need to wait and see.

Asda shopping delivered, and Louise and i decided to get some stuff from Costco and we picked up Peter and his worker from college. Gerry wasn't so quiet this week - maybe he knows we won't bite him!!!
It's great having that support - we can go and do things knowing we don't need to drag Peter out. It's just getting used to it!!

It's also nice that we're getting lighter evenings now. It's 5pm just now and it's still light outside. Maybe if the rain stays away, i might start getting some things done in the garden!!
Knowing my luck, the snow will come back with a vengance for even thinking about garden time!!!!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Hi diddle de de.............

.................... An actor's life for me!!!!

Well, not quite an actor's life but i did enjoy the filming session yesterday.

THe reason for the filming is that Glasgow City Council are making a DVD about Self Directed Support. It's a new way for people for people with learning dificulties to access and pay for services and adapt them to what they need and want rather than trying to fit the person into a service that may not be suitable for them.

Our road to deciding to go this route was long (ish). Peter left school nearly 3 years ago. We went from 32 nights per year respite plus 4 hours a week support to just 21 nights respite a year. The council said that while they realized that Peter did need support, he was not a high priority and anyway, they did not have the money.

So we then haad a young adult who was taking 4 steps back and a family who were expected to put in a lot more time and work into supporting him. NOW = this we didn't mind, but give there were oter people in the family who needed time - like  - the rest of us!!! So off we went on a journey.

I'm not going to bore you with all the details, but we were allocated a budget, told that a certain amount was for respite and the rest was for support workers and for various things Peter might like to do - art class or whatever.

We started the support last october and so far it has  been going well - our 1st lot of respite in Skye was great and the workers have been great. One or 2 small changes, but hey - we don't get everything right 1st go.

So i was asked if i would like to do some publicity and would i be avaiable to chat with others who were thinking of SDS??

Well - ok, i said, just so long as people realize that i'm not an expert and what we have done with the money won't be what oters may want to do. BUT - i'm gooing at times with coming up with ideas and suggestions.

So that led to yesterday and the filming. Luckily, a media guy came out a couple of weeks ago and went thru the filming - dos, don'ts, just act yourself and so on
So the camera guy and the PR girl from the council arrived, set up, lights, camera, miked me up - hey, i got techy there!!! I was a bit worried that i'd either dry up, or give it the verbal poop!! But it was ok - the PR girl asked me some questions, i told them stuff, the camera guy sugested a few things to help keep on track given that they are trying to "sell" this as a way of doing the support.

THey also filmed the boys together and are going to college on friday to do some filming. So all went well, it was worth the make up to do it and hopefully it'll help others.

Just don't ask me to look at the finished stuff - i'm too critical!!!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Acting like a Peer of the Realm........................

......................And swearing at the ceiling!!!!!
Just two of the things that i got up to yesterday and i really enjoyed it!!!!

Let me explain, lest you think i have turned left at the top of the road instead of right and wandered into the nearest loony bin!

Paul and i were at an open day yesterday, arranged by the British Stammering Association. The theme of the day was loosely based on the film The Kings Speech.

The day was spent in the Teachers Building here in Glasgow. Lovely place, in the centre of town. Used to be owned by a whisky company, but now holds conferences and events. A lot of the rooms are now names after whisky brands (Laphroig is one for all you who like your tipple!!) and things like the Mash room and the Still room.

So Paul and i arrived about 10 and went off to have a cuppa and mingle. We did know one or two people, but not many. But like - when has that ever stopped me from trying to get to know people!!!!

About 10.30 we went thru to the lecture theatre for the 1st session. An intro from Norbert (CEO of the BSA. but i'm sure he just wanted to make sure where i was in case i started heckling from the cheap seats!!! Moi?? Heckle??? Not at that time in the morning - maybe after lunch!!)
We had a Speech Therapist telling us of the Give Voice campaign - which sounded really good - Like George VI said "i have a voice" and we should be allowed to use it.
She threw some stuff at us about stammering and communication disorders. The thing that DID get me was that a lot of young offenders have speech and communication problems. Much as Paul has had a stammer for several years and Peter has communication problems, it just didn't cross my mind that this would be a section of young people who would be affected. Maybe the "angry young man" we often hear about is angry because for some reason he just can't communicate it to others

Jackie Bird (BBC Scotland news - for those of you who don't reside in Scotland and hear her dulcet tones most days!!) was a speaker. I didn't know that she had a stammer till recently. She had a very humourous take on it, but it was laced with times of AAARRRGGGGHHHH when she just couldn't get words out. She doesn't know WHY she went into a job where she has to plank herself in front of a camera and speak - maybe, she reckons, it was just sheer determination.
John McAllion an MP was there as well and said that even now, there are people in his world who don't know he stammers - but again  - he went  in to a job (teaching, then politics) where he had to get up and talk.

We then had some workshops. Paul and i chose to go to the one about how to deal with lectures and tutorials at college and uni. A speech therapist was doing this one and whatever i expected (not sure what that was!!) it wasn't to be that. She had us write down a time when we didn't really want to get up and speak and how we felt. Round the group, we all introduced ourselves and told of our hated scenario. To be honest, i didn't matter if you were fluent or had the worst stammer ever - none of us wanted to look stupid, or bring down a joint presentation or to muck it up.
It was good form me to see that everybody has this fear.
We talked about ways we could lessen the fear, what works for some won't for others. And that scaredy feeling hits in at different times for everybody.

Then lunch!!!!
Mmmmm - lovely nice sandwiches, fruit, crisps and 2 bowls of tablet. Lovely sweet tablet!!! Now, in my hose THAT would have gone first and then the fruit and then the sandwiches. I did pretend to nick one of the bowls filled with the tablet - mind you, Norbert looked at me with that "put it DOWN Julie" look!!!

The man never learns - he stalked me in Mr Speakers house to make sure i didn't get flung in the tower!!
You CAN take me somewhere - usually the 2nd time is to apologise and the 3rd is to take back the cutlery and good china!!!

Our afternoon workshop was entitled Logue," Maverick or Magician?"
We could have talked about it all afternoon, but since we were short on time and Jan was long on activities, we pressed on. We thought about what mavericks and magicians are, talked about Kings and what our thoughts were on that. Now, Jan, forgive me if i get everything in the wrong order, but we were having such a good time and laughing...................

We had to walk around the room pretending to be royalty and act the way we thought they would. Then we were to talk to each other like we were royalty.

Then we lined up and we were to use the names of the last 2 streets we lived in to make up a double barreled name and we had to introduce ourselves as Lord or Lady!!! The best bit for me was when i got to Paul and snootily said - *i'm you're MOTHER!!"

Jan then had us on the floor and we were to swear at the ceiling - we were to try out columns of air - small, long, whatever and hear our voices.
It was great anad helped us all relaxed.

We'd have liked to go to the media workshop, but Paul had shopping to do - honest Emma - the pressie is lovely, but my lips are stapled shut!!

We did have a cuppa and a chat with folk before we left - i'll name drop again - Graeme Dufffin (drummer from Wet, Wet, Wet) was there!!! Oh man - just as well i don't get giddy amongst those who are of fame!!!

Oh - and Paul entertained us at lunchtime with his clarinet playing - he IS good - but then, as mum i'm biased!! (and i'm also the one in the corner chewing her fist, lest he drops a note or nobody else likes him!!!)

So that's how i spent my saturday!!!

Oh - and thanks to Norbert, Jan, Frank and the others who organised the day - it was really enjoyable, loads of fun and we're up for another day!!!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

things i can't leave the house without

My friend Lynne tagged me and said that i had to list the 5 things i can't leave the house without.
So here goes!!

1. My new Varifocal specs. Yes, i am getting old, and yes, i need them. Even more so now that i am the " responsible" driver in Louise's car. If i can't see further than the end of my nose, i should be in charge!!
Mind you, some would say i shouldn't be in charge anyway!!!

2 My house keys. There is so much coming and going in my house, i can't always be sure that a body able to open the door will actually be IN the house.
It also saves me from freezing on my front steps! Oh, and getting wet - remember, i live in a country of 2 seasons - freezing and wet and Wet and wet!!!

3 usually my handbag unless it's just a very short journey, where i don't need my bag to carry my purse or credit cards and stuff. It also means all my things are in one place

4 My mobile phone. I can't always say i'll have it on or charged up, but i'm getting better at remembering to turn it on and getting it charged up.

5 And at the risk of being a tad flippant, i can't really leave the house without ............. ME!!! I mean, an empty space will not pick Peter up from work or college and i'm sure it wouldn't go down well at all those meetings i end up going to!!

So now i'm going to tag 3 people'

My friend Linda on Linda's life.

My son Paul on the first one :)

And my friend Lynne's daughter on The duvet monster scribbles!!!!

Mmmmmmmm - looking forward to what they have to say!!!!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Fun day driving!!!

We had a fun day today.
Louise wanted to go to my cousin's house - partly so we could drop in some photos and partly to show off the car!! We knew that Ann Marie would be happy about the buying of said car.
She was!!

The photos - well Ann Marie's hubbie hasn't been well recently. He's been in and out of hospital and i wanted to cheer the 2 of them up. We had a couple of good photos from Disney that i thought would cheer them up. One was of Peter and Paul with Cinderella - it's almopst as if they are telling Big Peter (ann Marie's hubbie) that they are bringing cinders home for him to cheer him up! We also had ones of Peter (my Peter) with the mice from Cinderella. My joke with Ann Marie was saying that the mice were to help her in the house so she didn't have to worry about tidying or cooking!

Mind you, i'm sure a big bag of food goodies would have had a similar effect and been scoffed!!!

When we left, we headed of to school to pick Paul up. Now, this is not and will not be a regular thing. He knows that, but today was different. Paul had an audition and interview for the college course he has applied for.
Mind you - i thought Paul would have been waiting at the gate!!
No - so we went haringup to the roundabout, round that, back down to the school carpark and in. Louise jumped out of the car muttering "if he's gone for the train i'll kill him!!!"
At that, Paul appeared..

We headed back home. Lou asked if he wanted a lift to the station in town.
Mmmmm - ok, if you want!

So after food and a quick change of clothes, picking up the music, the clarinet and the map to get to said college, we set off.
Louise decided to put on some music in the car. Now any one who knows me, knows my singing is rubbish.
THe only thing that is worse is my dancing.
I don't havae 2 left feet.
I have a whole left body.
It's so left, that it's outta the country and falling off the planet!!!

Do you get where this is going.....................????

Yes, i decided to do the sitting down, arms in the air dancing that only a mad parent can do.

Louise was trying hard not to laugh, saying it was just as well that no police were about. I was meant to be the grown up responsible adult in charge of the car while she was driving.!!!!!

In fact, she threatened to get me one of these boogie boards that you get for toddlers - the thing that you attatch to the buggy and the todler can stand on it and not have to walk.

You can just imagine what i'd be like with that!! I'd still be dancing!!

Meanwhile, Paul is muttering in the back that he should really just have got the bus into town and then got the train.

Ahhh - but method in the madness - at least we knew he was relaxing and almost taking his mind off things!!

Mind you, Louise still finds streets that i didn't know existed!!!!

Our driving adventures had to come to an end - Lou had to get to work and Peter was getting to be a bit of a back seat driver!!!!!!

Paul got to the college, the audition and interview went well - and he was offered a place there and then!!!

So he's got the place and he's happy!!!!

Lou has just come in from work.
She told me the biggest child in the car today was the person who was the oldest!!!

She can't possibly mean me.................................. Can she?!?!?!?!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Friday evening..............

..................... and the end of another week!!

As weeks go, it's been fairly busy. Louise decided she wanted to drive to the cinema, so off we went. we saw Tangled, which we all loved - the most sensible character is the horse!!! But i have a warped sense of humour!!!
We also did some food shopping - i decided to get stuff to make soup - always a good thing to have to hand on cold and wet evenings when people are coming and going.

Alas, Louise managed to get a flat tyre - there was a big nail embedded in the side of the tyre, so we had to go and see if we could get it a) fixed or b) buy a replacement. Had to do the latter, but she is mobile again!!
Mind you - a few words flew between her and her dad - i'm now beginning to understand why she got me on the insurance and not her dad!! If i left them in the car together, i reckon i'm come back to see a pile of bones and a car chassis - they would end up arguing!!!!

As usual , more meetings this week.  One was about the filming i'm going to be doing. THe local council have decided to make a dvd about the Self Directed support we're doing. They are hoping that mpore people will go this route of having control of their own budget for support and respite.
So the director came out to see us along with a guy who does a lot of media training. He just wanted to give me a few pointers and ideas.
So that was interesting.

Mind you - it was a bit rushed . Ryan, our thursday morning worker had phoned in sick and Caroline the team leaded had tried to get cover - even to the point of saying she'd come and take Peter to college. I declined, thinking that we'd have this filming stuff pout of the way, but nae luck - the unmaking of plans elves decided to visit!!! They often visit our house, just to add tpo the fun we have already!!!

Louise drove Peter to college and i got Peter to class. Not too late.
And Louise and i went off to shop!!

Last night we had a really nice meeting. We are doing a thing called The Big Plan with Peter. A group of young adults get together and try to make plans for their future. I think the idea started in the US, working with youngsters. Here in Glasgow, it's something that has been done with folk with learning disabilities. THe question they ask is (shortened version, cos i can't remember it all!!) "how do we help this young person to have a happy fullfilling life?"

When i get the stuff to hand i'll write the whole thing out.
Basically, we have 5 sessions and last night we did 2 things - one was to do a poster about the things that were important to the young person - what makes them want to get out of bed in the morning and make life worth living??
I knew most of Peter's but it was nice to here what others said and to listen to a bit of banter about rival footie teams!!

THe 2nd thing we did was to look at labels. Everybody seems to be labeled and they are not always helpful. So we had to think of good positive labels.

Some of Peter were that he is the wearer of some crazy hats! He had a Disney one on last night!! So instead of being "Peter with the learning disabilities and isn't that a shame", he's "you know Peter - he's always got a cool crazy hat from his holidays!!"
We also said he had a good laugh that came from his big toes and that he was arty.

We have 4 more sessions, so i'll update as we go.
We did actually do the big plan about 4 years ago, but Caroline thought it might be good to do an update, now that Peter is out of school and we have had a bit of experience post school.
this time had a slightly different feel to it - i think it has evolved and cahnged over the years. And a different set of youngsters means different views and ideas.

THis morning, yet another meeting. (wish i got paid to be a professional meeting goer!!) THis time at Paul's school with his guidance teacher and the head of support for learning. It was the shortest meeting i've had in 6 years!!!! Mind you, there is little love lost between me and these 2 women. The SFL woman took on the job a couple of years ago. THe guy before was great and really cared about the kids. Loved working with Paul cos Paul wanted to be at school and learn and didn't create havoc.

It's bad when you meet a teacher for the 1st time and you have to explain the fundementals of the job to her. She failed to understand parts of the ASL Bill and i had to put her right on a few bits especially when it came to young carers!! We know a social worker who was involved in the initial writing of said bill before it went out to consultation and he told me that in his mind, he kept Louise and Paul at the front of it, what should be done for kids like tehm who help care for a sibling or parent.
To say this woman was a tad shocked when this was told to her is putting it lightly!!! She kind of realised that i knew my stuff and that i would not be treated like an idiot.
Butn todays meeting was to sign off paperwork for the exam board to let Paul get extra time for the exams and transcription of the exam paper.

Mind you - the meeting didn't start too well. She announces that Paul WOULD be getting extra time for the advanced higher music exam.

MMMMM - fine if he was actually DOING AH music. But someone somewhere kept putting obstacles in his way - one teacher blaming another, another teacher saying that the music dept said one thing and we saying that indeed they had not said anything like that to us! So eventually, he said forget it - i'll not do the music this year on the proviso that i do core music (something to fill the timetable) and i still get my music lesson.

Man - if it wasn't so serious you'd laugh!!

Mind you - the 2 teachers said they were sad it was going to be the last meting they have about Paul.
But the look in the eyes said it all - they are not so sad to see the back of me!!!

Anyone needing lessons in being a boshie parent, i'm your woman.

I don't see it as sad - i see it as getting what we need to get Paul on to the next part of his life. He's just about ready for leaving school and moving on.

So you'll understand why friday evening is a bit of a veg out night!!
Mind you, Kelly picked Peter up from college tonight and brought him home. Thru wind and rain - they arrived home looking like a couple of fully drowned rats and it took a bowl of soup and a plate of macaroni cheese to thaw Peter out.
They decided that tonight they would print out some of the photos that they took last week. Peter likes using his camera and they had fun deciding which photos to print, did them and put them in the album.
Then a bit of chill out time watching a dvd.
Paul had band tonight and Louise (poor thing) is working.
Well - she has a car to buy petrol for and new tyres!!!!.
She's almost a grown up.

Next week busy again - no meetings yet, but Paul has an interview and audition for college on tuesday. Then a long weekend off school , but has exams just before and just after.
Louise has an interview for a job soon as well.

So i think i have enough stress the next 10 days or so withouit adding anything extra!!!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The joys of motoring!!!

We've done not too bad the past few days. We decided to try and get to Lou's saturday work again - thios time it was a lot easier and we knew where to turn. The plan was to go to where her work is based and hand in time sheets.
We got there and then found said timesheets were still in the house!!!
So we headed to Touchbase, whoch isn't too far away from her work base.

Touchbase is run by Sense Scotland. It's a base where they have loads of activities going on - a day service for adults, music therapy, art therapy, a childrens service. One of the kids Louis looked after uses touchbase on a sunday and has a brill time.
The also have a lovely cafe where service users and the public can have teas and coffees and something to eat. We hit there at lunchtime, so it was busy, but it had a lovely atmosphere - just loads of people enjoying lunch and chatting.
I've sugested to Paul about doing some work experience there - he eventualy wants to do music therapy and i think he'd love it there.
I think they also do collabrations with Projectability - the group who do Peter's art class.

thought we should add a photo of said car. Can you picture Louise and me in it??? It's funny, cos she had me out THREE times yesterday! 1st time was when we ended up at TB. 2nd we went to pick up Paul from school. (where i bragged to one of the deputy heads about her saving and paying for the car!!)
I also pointed out that the headteachers car is only a few months younger than hers, which perked Lou up!!

And last night we went out again - just to get used to the car!!!

We went to the cinema thos morning with Peter. Now - i was prepared to get the bus. But Louise insisted she would drive.

We got there and back, but now have a flat tyre!! So Matthew is going to show her in the morning how to change it. Louise has gone to work now.
I was meant to be going out tonight in the car with the girl who taught me to drive (sister of the driving instructor Louise has.) But i've been so tired i cancelled it. Me tired+ darkness does not equal good driving.

OK - i chickened!! But i'm using the tired as an excuse. Plus we have the flat tyre and it's wet out and i'm not sure if Matthew loves me THAT much.
I will need to learn how to change said tyre.

I'm also going to be doing some filming in a couple of weeks time! The local council want to do a dvd on the self directed support we're doing with Peter. So that will be interesting.
Meanwhile, i'm going to go and get some sleep!