Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering Ramzi Doany 10 years later

Years ago I originally had posted this, remembering Ramzi Doany. His sister and I exchanged e-mails that evening after she found my entry......

I think of Doany's family today, and hope they are well and have some sort of peace. But I know the pain of losing such a cheerful, and loving spirit on September 11th, must make this day a painful one.

My prayers continue to be with Doany's family...

On The morning of of September 11th, Ramzi Doany, 35, arrived on the 100th floor of North Tower of The World Trade Center. Ramzi, worked for Marsh and Mclennon as an auditor. We know, Ramzi logged into his computer that morning, and had sent a couple of e-mails out announcing his return to his office after being away on business....

We also know, he called his Mother , upon his return to his home in Bayonne, New Jersey the night before....

What I have learned about Ramzi Doany, through the written accounts of his life, I have certainly enjoyed.

Ramzi Doany, was born to Palestinian parents in Amman, Jordan. His Mother reports, him being a likeable and popular kid. When she would pick him up from school, he would be surrounded by a group of his peers, and he would be, telling them stories and making them laugh.

His Sister told the following story in an interview with a Jordanian news publication.

“As a child, Ramzi once dug a hole in our backyard for a terrible report card he had received and placed a headstone on top,”

“When our parents asked for the report card, Ramzi explained to them that, “it was dead and buried!”Ramzi Doany , attended high school in a London boarding school before coming to Milwaukee as an international student at age 19. With the goal of a career in international business, and earned a bachelor's degree in accounting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1992. After working in a local accounting firm he moved on to a firm in Philadelphia. That firm was purchased by Marsh & McLennan, and Doany was assigned to their New York office.

His family and friends also give several accounts of his kind and generous spirit.

Ramzi, amassed friends. He amassed them with acts of kindness, like tutoring a woman with lupus, two children and no husband, to get her though college, or letting his college roommate and the roommate's wife live in his condo for two years so they could save money for a down payment on a home.

His Sister says, her brother never had trouble making friends.

“One conversation with our next door neighbors and Ramzi was instantly at ease,” she noted.

Ramzi Doany, loved family events and would take her children to play golf and soccer. "He also loved to cook for us whenever he came for a visit,” his Sister added. "He loved cooking for family, and even took to cooking Thanksgiving turkeys and had great pride in preparation, (even if they were a bit dry)."

Ramzi, also loved reading, and particularly enjoyed the works of Charles Dickens.

In one interview with his Sister, she reports Ramzi, was an adventurist, and Ramzi had put a down payment on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

“It was to have been delivered in April or May of this year,” his sister said.

Ramzi, was one of the persons killed in the attacks on September 11th.

His body was never recovered.

In a interview with a journalist, Ramzi's Mother stated....“He always kept in touch,” she said. “If a week went by without a call from him I would always worry, I'm going to miss that presence and energy”.

Friends and family remembered Ramzi Doany in two separate services of Memorial.

One at Milwaukee's St. George Melkite Catholic Church, and another at Al Fadi Anglican Church in Amman.

Ramzi, May you rest in peace, and may your family find comfort in the sweet memories of you....

A note to the Family. I am sure if you are looking for a tribute, or memory of your Son at some time, you might find this site. I truly wanted to honor your Son, and Brother. If there is information that is not correct, or inaccurate, please let me know, and I will change it. If you would like the photos removed, or would like to add photos, I will oblige. If there is any other information you would like for us to know about Ramzi, let me know. I will certainly add it. I am so sorry for your loss...

Thank You to the following sites, and memorial sites for providing me with information, and quotes.

The Jordan Times

Scholarhip in Ramzi Doany's name

Jordanian television

Milwaukee Journal

Remembering September 11th site

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And she'll have fun fun fun till her Daddy takes her t-bird away

OK, my DH is gone. My biggest fear of going away was media attention, and I have no idea, but then it came true. can read about that HERE. I was also afraid of keeping my poor daughters heart from breaking. Impossible, her Dad is gone, she is carrying on, but it is hard. We all miss him so.

This was the year I was going to be gracious and calm, 2 traits I do not possess, I grew up in a "now house", a "words not minced house". Honestly the most gracious persons I knew are either dead, or church mentors. I have one go getter gracious person I know, and I have watched her for years wondering how on EARTH, she does that. I have been trying to no avail, this year I feel like what was my graciousness was my downfall at school, and now at the above event. However I want gracious children, so will continue with my pursuit. Those of you who have met me know this is not an innate skill. I have to blend my feist with grace? Is that possible?

My Mother in Law has now been living with us for a year. Right now I can say thank God and praise Jesus, I would not be managing a full time job, and the children without her massive assistance.

Henry has started ABA, and extinction type therapies....right at the transition of end of school, Dad gone, and home for is a blog entry from another blog and she nails it... we are currently in "the burst". It is horrid to watch him struggle for all of us.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

And more

Luau, every shot of the dancers did not turn out well, very entertaining.

The family in front of the USS Battleship Missouri

Hiking Diamond Head, lots and lots of stairs. PN complained more than I did, which would be hard. SR, not a peep. He was trail leader.

DH enjoying a drink poolside...very relaxing.

I told you Diamond Head had a lot of stairs!

a few months in pictures

Luau, SR photographer. The children are finally old enough to take a picture, so it does not look like I am the personal photographer and do not exist.

SR was fascinated by the submarine, submarine museum, and the nukes

We spent about 7 hours here, and could have spent the entire day.

SR fresh off of the flight, a 12 hour long flight. He thought traveling to the place he always has dreamed of visiting was surreal.

PN on her first plane trip she can actually remember. 12 hours, she faired well.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Seriously thrilled the school year has almost concluded.

OK I made a mistake this year, I left my son in a class, with a woman I should not have. She was clearly not trained to deal with him, having one child in 27 years with Asperger's in your class, does not make you an expert. There is a saying in the Autistic community, "you know one person with Autism, you only know that autism." Hence the reason they call it a spectrum disorder. When I take SR to therapy, there is the nonverbal, severely affected child that lies on the floor screaming, he twists, and turns, and it appears that his input is not managed by his brain. That child breaks my heart when I see him, and his family. There is the 19 year old, that is Aspergian, that is angry and violent, lives with his parents, and will never be employable, there is the child that has his DS, and that is all I know about him. He has black hair, never makes eye contact, and loves his DS. There is the child that is similar to SR, but needs to be out of classroom because he is hyperarrousable, and melts down 3 times per week, even with medication.

So, I am unsure what this teacher thought she knew, but I can guess. I should have removed him. I did not because I thought eventually she would get him. She did not want to or try, despite the dx, the hours of building an IEP, the hours spent at school meetings with a team of at least a dozen people, heck I had even brought our Dr. I also thought, if she did not understand him, she would at least be charmed by him, frankly he is very popular with most other teachers and office staff, and when I see people outside of school, I hear how much progress he has made, and how they adore him. There was no charming this teacher. I did not get one positive report from her. Not one. The dx of dysgraphia was ignored this year, and this child WROTE WROTE, and WROTE, despite qualifying for speech to text software. He worked hard. She also did not differentiate his material, as they are legally obligated to do. He did the work, all of it. By himself, I had to cheer lead through hours and hours of homework, because frankly it takes him that long to process, narrow, etc especially the writing assignments. Some of his topics were turned down. ( I spoke with the vice principal about this, and she was unsure why). The stress of EXTRA homework was ridiculous. Most teachers I know call for 10 minutes of homework multiplied by the grade, which would equal 30 minutes of homework. There were nights we had 2-3 hours. When we left for Hawaii, the teacher handed us a damn packet the last day before we left, although they all knew we were going, and why. Guess what, the night before we leave I am handed a packet with worksheets (ridiculous busy work and not educational, 2 full book reports one on Sounder, and the other about a blind dog, a narrative about our vacation, and 7 sheets of repetitive cursive words. This took us 2 weeks to complete, after having him in school all day, working 2-3 hours a night.

He did finish it, and when it was complete, I went and spoke to the VP about never wanting to deal with this particular teacher again, I have wasted my entire year negotiating with a woman who did not bend, or try. The VP was quick to show me her disappointment in this teacher, and said teacher was thrown under the bus. (as she should have been).

However I have learned a lesson, because ya know I am a slow learner I guess. Never waste a year with one of these types of teachers. She had cornered him at the beginning of the year, and did not follow our behavior plans, she was simply mean on several occasions. You want to know something, I never ever said a mean word about any of this woman's shenanigans, and sent SR to her room encouraging him to respect her and listen to her. She did not do the same.

In interesting news, she is the gifted classroom teacher, which means since PN has been IQ tested and performing well at school, this teacher would be PN's in 2 years. No thanks. I let the VP know, on no certain terms should this teacher be allowed to teach either of my children again. ( Mind you the gifted classroom did not exist until this year, when DH and I joined PTO, and are now chair and co-chair of the gifted and high ability learners. They had to create a room for them, because the school was not following what they were legally obligated to do with these kids. They were pulling them out of language arts in order to hold a gifted and talented Spanish class. None of those children got enough hours of language arts in naseum. )

So the slow learning Mom learned an important lesson this year, it was a waste of our time. I did learn how to copy EVERYONE of any importance on all correspondence with the school, I also learned to not act so reactionary, and be on the front side of things. I had less "oh my God my head will explode" meetings, and learned to be calmer, and not so sassy grizzly bear. (Which is sooo hard). I also learned that if you do not trust a teacher with your child, or she has shown any signs of emotionally abusing a child by not adhering to a plan presented by a physician who is an expert....remove the child yesterday. Do not worry about what the school staff will think, because frankly it does not matter.

In good news, both of the children will be taking private suzuki piano lessons this summer, along with swim lessons, SR will have his science mentor to continue his biology studies, and they will also be doing some serious bike riding, as SR will be preparing for a triathalon, at least that is in the plans. PN took her IQ test, and did marvelously, and is performing well at school, she is driven, well behaved, and well liked. She recently won an art contest, with over 140 entries, but had to be encouraged through her project, because she too is a perfectionist like SR, and she did not think it was good enough. I am hoping to find her some serious art projects.

The trip to Hawaii was awesome, another post entirely, the kids traveled well, did wonderful even with jet lag, learned to snorkle, and LOVED the Island. Will post photos soon.

With the deployment pending, you will probably see more of me on here. The experience of single parenting, working, and parenting is sure to be full of interesting stories.

Monday, April 04, 2011

What bothered me about labeling?

A short post, I am beat. I had DH tell PN and SR the news about his upcoming deployment. He had some photos of his last trip, and DH used those to tell the story. The kids were zapped, so they seemed ok with the news. We will see how it processes.

Summer activities for gifted kids. There are none if you have a dx of Asperger's. Sure you can pay for camp, and send child, but if the child requires help, or steps out of line. WHAP you are DONE, your money is kept, and boom OVER. If I had extra $$$ to try it, I would, but I do not. I even offered to send an adult with him, to make sure all is well....No.

There is a space camp, but holy crap, it is 1 week days only and almost a $1000. Uh, yeah.

I made several calls to camps. I started feeling like that Peanut's cartoon where snoopy keeps getting thrown out of places. "NO ASPERGER'S ALLOWED". Ughh. If he can behave normally, he can come. I wish I could gaurentee he would not flip out when it got loud, bright does not happen often any longer, but I cannot gaurentee it.(I do not understand how I am supposed to teach him normal without him existing in normall?) He qualifies for Easter Seals, they do not have anything for him, he also qualifies for "reading recovery" since he has an IEP. He does not need reading recovery. His woodcock johnson scores, rated him at age 18 for his reading level.

I tried to be charming, I offered to send Grandma with him. Seriously tried. Like any good Momma Bear I got angry, and decided to take a different route. In good news SR's science mentor will be helping me make it through summer, he is now on the AWTM payroll. I am considering having the mentor help train him for a childrens triathalon as well as cobtinue with his science studies.

I am going to try a combo of robotics camp (pray to God he can hold it together, or I loose $$), it is one week, and 2 fun outdoor camps (which we could loose our $$ again) It is what it is, I am trying to get him to learn what normal looks and acts like, and he needs to be around it, to understand people, expectations, etc.

PN wants cooking camp, I found 2.

The kids will both have swim lessons, and piano. I need to keep providing new and interesting things for them.

I was so frustrated about the lack of service and will try my darndest to supplement and provide what he needs. A daunting process considering he is already better at Chemistry and genetics.

I have lined up a private tour of a foundry, his math mentor has a farm, and I am hoping to send the children out one day to help with chores. Perhaps they will learn a lot of amazing things.

I am still trying to find businesses that will give the children a private tour, of things I really think might amaze them.

Hawaii IS AROUND the corner.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

List oh crap to do

plethora of thank yous to write and send.

swim shoes, or sandals for the kiddos.

start packing.

contact summer program again, I spent about 30 minutes on the phone trying to do this today. Trying to get SR approved to moved up to grade 6 activities for summer.

call refuse people and tell them, I have not mowed the lawn yet, so there was no way they could have picked up lawn refuse from me, I refuse to pay $114, for a service I did not do.

get new military ID

get a new big binder for SR's school stuff, it is huge.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pretty bad when I have to reread things to figure out what has been going on..

OK, let me see.

My Father's fiancee continues to be in a rehab facility, both arms are out of casts, she is still doing PT for a large portion of her day, her left leg looks rough. I am sure it is an infection, but unsure of her medication regime etc...((It has been hard, but I decided when this happened, she has 4 children, she is not immediate family, and I would keep my mouth shut) This is this families business, so I backed out. I go to visit, and offer support. I do not need to be in the middle of this. My Father, whom has adult onset diabetes, 7 stents sitting in his chest cavity is with her most days and some nights, sleeping in her recliner in her room. (Been there done that with my own mother, and it wiped me out financially, emotionally etc) So I am worried about him, but this is his business as well, he is a big boy.

DH has just returned from a month long trip to Afghanistan. The trip was to familiarize himself with the current conditions, mission etc. He will return soon for a year. The month was long, and lonely...and full of anxiety and insomnia. Which frankly is making me dread the year ahead of us. His homecoming has been nice, being missed is good. SR did better than PN . SR does not overthink people situations, it is what it is (the Aspergers works in my favor here). PN on the other hand has also been having insomnia, bad dreams, grinding her teeth, and has a nasty case of TMJ at age 7. Ughh...PN missed her Daddy something fierce, and just seemed out of sorts for the month. Unsure how I can help her cope better.

DH's broken right radial head is healing slowly but surely. He REALLY missed the kids while away, this time is different for us, there is a relationship between him and both children...the last 2 times we did this...the kids were itty, no explanation required. I thought this was hard when they were teeny, this trumps that. I assure you.

SR just got character student of the week in ART, yes the same teacher who really was confused by him last year. Things are looking up. PE , the one thing I really thought would be a problem area this year, due to games, scorekeeping, the noise, and nature of 3rd grade gym, is awesome. SR has 2 PE teachers, both good, but one has really connected with him, and they get along just fine. SR just maxed out his PE test for the year, and scored in the top 4 of of 150 in his sex and age group in cardio. Pretty amazing for a bookish child, who would rather read than run. I will credit DH with this, as the 2 of them rode over 200 miles last year on bikes. All accounts of SR in classroom are good. God is Good. His IEP is in place, he has a para to help him through the day gets sensory breaks, does not have to eat in the cafeteria. He studies in the afternoon with his mentors, one in science, and one in math. He loves algebra, struggled a but with geometry.

PN is doing well, and enjoys her advanced reading and math group. She like school, and loves the social aspect of it, she continues to keep busy with her art, and is now reading Junie B. Jones books, and likes them. I am proud of er for keeping an eye out for SR at school. She also wants piano and art lessons. She is my organized and internally motivated child.

I am good, working about 38 hours a week, and learning a lot. We just installed a TMS machine, and I am really hoping to see success with it. They are currently working with TMS, in older Aspergians, experimenting, trying to engage the parts of the brain that do not seem to be engaged. I am always excited to hear about new treatments and research for has been ignored for too long.

I need to spring clean, get living room carpets cleaned, paint PN's room, and get motivated. I loathed winter...loathed it, hated it.

We are headed to Hawaii soon, DH, the kids, and I. We are actually going to get a long break on the beach, sun on our skin, listening to the is certain to be an awesome way to spend our 20 year anniversary. I needed something to kickstart me for the upcoming year. We are also planning a trip on his return, unsure what yet, have thought about hiking across Utah, London, Greece, Belize...anything.

Currently life is good, overwhelming but good, learning bounderies, and better time management.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

spring snow

Since I last posted, my Father's fiancee has been moved to a rehabilitation facility. She is suffering now with rehab, and has grown a little depressed. Getting smashed up by a truck would do that. However my Father says she is progressing nicely. We have not been to see her since her move.

PN and I fell ill with influenza A, PN with both influenza A, and bronchitis. It was a horrid bout of coughing, running nose, horrid fevers, and body aches for both. DH decided to take advantage of the warmer temps and rode his bicycle to work, only to crash after hitting a spot of ice, and fractured the head of his right radius. He then spent at least 24 hours total trying to get an authorization for an ortho Dr., which tricare saw fit to wait about 5 days. Seriously a fractured arm is non urgent? Who knew? Gotta love government health care. Ick.

In other news, we had a family catch up session at SR psychologist last night after school, but before scouts. DH and I thought we needed to come together, evaluate progress, and come up with a new plan. He seems to be doing better at school, and adjusting to his diagnosis. School seems to be respecting him, and he them. I am unsure if he will be needing weekly therapy sessions at this time. The dr. would like to try a social skill group with SR and another child to see if they can learn some social rules etc. SR still continues to have a terrible time with perfectionism, and his competitive streak gets old. He seriously thinks he NEEDS to be the best at everything, and when he is not his world falls apart....oye.

PN is now preparing to get an IQ test as well, she is growing bored with school. Which is a shame. Hoping it helps. They moved her to a different math, and reading group, and I am hoping it helps.

We as a family are also planning a trip to Hawaii for April, we are celebrating 20 years of marriage, and DH and I thought it would be nice to have some serious family time before his departure to Afghanistan. We still have not told the children, and I still think it is too early. I need to give them enough time to process the information, but not enough to over think it. Too much notification of a deployment is almost worse than than none in my personal experience. Hawaii will be nice, we need some beach time, and fun time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Can we just do 2010 over?

Let me see, where to begin?

My Father's fiance was involved in an auto accident. Her jeep was hit my a semi carrying rebar. You can see photo here. The rebar broke through the straps, her car was totaled, her legs smashed, broken to pieces, knees included. Both of her arms are broken, her collar bone broken. She was lucid enough to call my father from the accident, and he went down and helped 911 remove her from the car, you can see him in a red coat in the photo. When the airbag deployed, and she saw the smoke from it, she thought the car was going to start on fire (she watched her husband burn to death in a welding accident 16 years ago. ) She has been through about 18 hours of surgeries in 2 weeks....amazingly she is alive, and without head trauma.

Still not good, the pain meds are helping her make it through without screaming, but she is talking out of her head, and has no appetite, has lost a great deal of blood, and is weak as a kitten.
My Dad is exhausted, he is going back and forth from Omaha to home, and staying with her often, he is worried. We are all worried. They have been dating for about 5 years now, and even wear engagement rings, wanting to get married. Very sad for me to see 2 loving people who have found one another have to go through so much. My father has been helping care for her, put on her makeup, and put lotion on her, trying to feed her and keep her spirits up.

No other important news at this time......trying to visit them when time allows, and running a home, and praying

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Where the Wild things are?

They are here roosting.

This week was another exciting week @ Casa De dust.

I managed to work during my last Dr. appointment times, so I had to reschedule. small feat since i work when they work. I managed to get before work, and after work appointments. this week dentist, gynocological surgeon, and plastic surgeon (no boob job, a out of control mole that is making its way into my children's artwork).

Must make appointment for PN to go in for a weird skin thing this week.

Both children were ill this week with small head colds, but managed to truck through with little in the way of complaining.

SR has therapy every week, and he made it for that, even with our health insurance those visits to the Pyschologist are $51.00 per visit, and that price was not the same during the plethera of testing, and family appointments during the time he was being tested for Asperger's. So far our share has been more thatn I had ever anticipated. I only hope it is money well spent. We continue to like our therapists, and school seems to be going well.

SR also managed to win third place out of 63 pinewood derby cars at Scouts. Pretty good, and he was pleased and a good sport, and encouraging to those around him. This was huge.

PN "the artist", is currently working on drawing potraits of all of the Presidents, this is keeping her busy, and she is already a much better artist than I. She is also learning how to crochet, and is currently wrapped up in an Afghan in front of the fireplace crocheting. I took her to a coworker's spouses art show this week, and she loved it, she was intrigued with the possibility of having her own show. I must find some art classes for her.

OK the deployment is pending and not happening for months, this does not mean we are not busy trying to get paperwork, tasks, and honeydos done. The list seems to get longer instead of shorter. It will be for approx a year. This is doable for me, but now I am dealing with different aged children, and I am unsure how they will handle a separation from Dad. They do not know yet, and do not need too, there would be far too much time to contend with the emotions re: a separation. This news will wait until I think they can deal, heck until we can ALL deal.

I managed to get my car in the shop yesterday, after a collision that took place with an unlicensed uninsured driver who got out of his car, screamed at me, called me every name in the book, and then took off. He had no brake lights, or back window and I ran into him, with both kids in the car. It was scary, but I kept calm, and the kids kept calm, no one get hurt, and the damage to the car was nominal, the car wrecked pretty nice.

Girl Scout cookie orders have been turned in thank GOD. I am done selling popcorn and cookies for a while....fried out on keeping track of such things. "Where is the bag with the order paperwork?" "I don't know"...etc. It is maddening. The fact the we had to see cookies during blizzard conditions was no help. ICK. We are done for at least 7 months with selling things.

I am still trying to knock things out on my list, it is quite a process. I have come to a small stand still, but am going to muck through. Next project is cleaning my room. Otherwise I am grounded. How a grown woman manages to have a messy room is beyond me. I need to get a few things organized.