Friday, October 28, 2011

A Day On The Bay For Alex - S.F. / Sausalito


Song:  Give Me Love

Artist:  George Harrison



We had started our day here at Pier 39 on Fisherman's Wharf.

It is a wonderful collection of attractions and restaurants.

To me...this incorporates all that is good in San Francisco.

The people are as colorful as they are friendly.

It is right on the bay with beautiful views of the...
 Golden Gate Bridge...
Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge...
Alcatraz Island...
as well as transportation and tours to or under all of them.






We had something to eat and then walked around and looked at the various sights.


We then took a ferry across the bay to Sausalito.

Sausalito is a quaint little seaside town just North of San Francisco...
just off the northern entrance/exit of the Golden Gate Bridge.

We have been there before and had always enjoyed the atmosphere.
We were going again to do some shopping and to just stroll about.





Alcatraz Island




Our destination...Sausalito.

Hmmm...my wife is right...
I do have a square head!
( I hope she didn't mean I am a blockhead!  :)




On our way up the disembarkment walkway, we had seen
this man on a paddle board...well...paddling.




The view of San Francisco from Sausalito.


We walked to a southern section of Sausalito and stopped at a coffee shop.


Alex at the coffee shop with his Hot Chocolate.





Afterward...we just sat down near the coffee shop
and gazed upon San Francisco from across the bay.
It was nearing dusk...the lights of the city
were starting to twinkle and come to life.

The city of Sausalito is one of those magical spots that simply exudes serenity.

  The sights, sounds and the fresh air of the sea all combine with the very friendly people
(as if anyone could not be happy living in such a beautiful place)...
to make for a destination to just enjoy for the ambiance.

The way the mansions sit on the hillsides with their huge picture windows
taking advantage of such picturesque views....
make it seem to be something out of a fantasy painting.

I feel such comfort here.

It is a place like no other...save one...
the Santa Cruz Pier.

Both locations have always been among my favorite places I have ever been in the world.


We are heading back to the ferry to San Francisco.


Our view as we are leaving Sausalito.

The weather was extremely beautiful.

I have always loved the climate of San Francisco.

The following pictures are of us back at Pier 39.
We went to a very nice Japanese Restaurant.






Alex's choice of dessert...
Mochi Ice Cream.


My wife's choice...
Green Tea Ice Cream.


My choice...
a flourless chocolate cake topped with coconut ice cream.


On the sky walkway to the parking garage...and then on to home.

Alex loved this day...we may be back for one more day before we move.

We had seen a Jet Boat cruise of the bay and an island restaurant
with underwater views of the bay that we wish to experience on our final visit.

After we move...it will not be nearly so easy to visit San Francisco.

It may be many years before we could visit again...
and so...this was our goodbye visit (part I) to our beloved San Francisco.

In a few weeks...our encore visit shall be the final curtain call for quite some time.

I always try to impress upon Alex that living the good life...
being able to live in or near places of great beauty...
is a natural result of doing well in school.

With good grades, come...
 open and almost unlimited opportunities
for professions and places to live.

While I frequently tell him that money is important...
I also tell him to not just live for it, in of itself...
or to live a miserly life for fear of spending...
but to allow it to give him the conditions to live happily.

Money gives freedom from
 negative stress due to...
negative living conditions...
a lack of recreation...
 fear for the future...
 being stuck in a passionless existence.

I always say that...
money is a crystallization of life.

It is the barter of time and effort given for credits earned...
which may then be spent wisely toward a better future.

Being able to visit places of serenity and magic...
at least once in a while...
is one of the benefits of having earned those credits.

I say it is NOT...
money is the root of all evil...
but merely...
the LOVE of money that is.

To love life...
and to pursue passions that shall eventually pay dividends in positive
amounts of money (after expenditures / investments for future / emergencies)...
is one of life's lessons in which he MUST consider and plan for...
if he is ever to have a family of his own.

Although I am not wealthy...
I have enough to provide the means for my family to enjoy the simple pleasures in life...
without sacrificing the safety and security of them.

It is my wish for my son to surpass me in every respect.

By using places of great beauty and serenity...
to feed his drive to strive for better for his life...
I hope to plant the seeds of upward growth in his mind.

This...
combined with proper preparation and planning...
as well as having his starting point from upon my shoulders...
where he may then have a shorter distance to cover to reach the sky...
is how progress is made from generation to generation.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Review: Wit And Wisdom From The Parents Of Special Needs Kids


Song:  Ave Maria

Artists:  Andre Rieu and Mirusia Louwerse



(Book ordering info further in this article)


This book is a collection of essays written by
blogging parents of special needs children
(almost all of whom are in the Autistic Spectrum Disorder category).

They are but a few pages in length each...
and each a different story of their child, or children...
all of whom are unique in ways in which we...
 as parents of children on the spectrum...
 can appreciate.

What the book is not...
is a collection of stats or medical jargon.

It is neither a plea of sympathy to the world...
nor a condemnation of the world or of the gods for giving them...
what some may consider...their trials.

 What this book is...
is a very interesting brief look into the daily lives of
the parents and of their children.

Some stories are humorous...
others...inspirational...
all are from them to you.

That is what makes this book so valuable.

It was written and presented as if you were with each author...
sitting in their living room, and over a cup of coffee...
having them talk to you...
heart to heart...
soul to soul.

I had first learned of this great book from a blogger 
whom I regularly follow.


His name is Yuji Fukunaga
and he is a talented writer who tells of...
 the trials...
the momentary frustrations...
the resulting adaptation and conquering of those...
sometimes frustrating situations...
the momentous leaps of growth in his son...
and of the causes and effects of his son's 
reactions to situations and to various therapies applied. 

He writes an almost daily article on his son Kai...
who is a seven year old boy with Autism.

He is also the author of the 4th article in the book (page 17).

For parents of children on the spectrum...
in reading the Hanabi Boy blog...
you will see all the similarities of conditions and reactions
that you have experienced with your children...
or will experience... if your children are still young...
through the Father's writing of his, and his son's, thoughts and reactions.

I see so many similarities in his son, Kai...
and my son, Alex...
that I feel comfort just from reading his blog.

I have also gotten some great ideas from his blog.

Below is a direct link to the page from Hanabi Boy blog
that has the link to Amazon to purchase this great...
almost 200 page book
(at just over $11.00 you simply cannot pass on this opportunity).


I get no compensation for this article.

What had driven me to write this is the inherent goodness of...
the author of Hanabi Boy...
the man...
Yuji Fukunaga...
as you will read in his article in the book.

His honorable actions are a tribute to all that is good in human beings.

His choice was one of Love and Compassion for others...
where even some biological parents fail to do for their own.

As parents of children on the spectrum...
I am sure you already have all the books from all the "experts".

Get this book...
you will have gotten wisdom from true experts...
the parents of spectrum children...
and written in a way which only they could write...

Heart To Heart...
 Soul To Soul.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Riding The Magic Carpet of Anticipation In Reno


Song:  Magic Carpet Ride

Group:  Steppenwolf



Oh...you had to have seen that one coming.

A rather cheap association of song to article title...
but, still...somewhat appropriate.


The following are of pictures of us in Reno after Alex's 
testing and our tour of The Davidson Academy.
This is of the pure fun portion of our time spent in Reno.



Typical skies of Reno
(just outside of Reno proper...at our hotel on the outskirts)

As it is High Desert
(Reno city being at about 4500 ft. elevation)...
the air is crisp...more arid...
the air is very fresh as there are no major industries anywhere near...
very few particulates in the air rendering views of crystal clarity...
very few bugs in the air...
a very nice feeling.


We had eaten out one night at our Hotel/Casino
(all you can eat Lobster and Prime Rib).



The game (Keno) which has the worst odds of winning normally...
is where we made the most money
(actually, our consistently favored game to win with...not by much...
but just enough to pay for dinner and sometimes for the whole trip).


The game I tried for a few minutes
(Five Card Draw).

The lack of time spent on this game...
was a direct reflection of ...
and in direct proportion to...
 the sum of credits not added...
due to insufficient knowledge of the necessary variables
to render a financially sound betting tactic....

OK...OK...OK...!

I lost my A** on this game!!!  :)

I know...I know...
I have shamed myself in the bright light of my Nephews...
who very much excel at this particular game...
sorry guys  :)

I then switched back to the game of Keno...
where it became fun again for me.

My wife was actually the big winner in the trip (Keno).

Our all you can eat Lobster and Prime Rib feast was easily paid for with her earnings.







Ichiban all you can eat Sushi Bar and Teppanyaki Grill...
inside Harrah's Hotel and Casino...
was actually, not only VERY good...
it was a bargain...
considering how much I eat.

The Filet Mignon salad was excellent...
as was the freshness and flavor of the fish used in their Sushi.



Some things never change...
Alex still likes to sleep with his arms above his head.

He was so worn out by the day's events...
he went to sleep almost immediately upon our return to our Hotel.

Our trip was one of not only fun...but of dual purpose.

We had not only eaten out and gambled a little bit...
besides the testing...
we were also looking at possible future areas in which to live.

We shall be moving there shortly.

We have set our immediate sights upon 
the educational opportunities that exist there for Alex.

It is what is best for Alex's future...
therefore...it is where we shall live.

We are filled with excitement at all the possibilities...
a new beginning...
a period of accelerated growth...
 a journey we have yet to embark upon...
of unlimited striving for a future we have yet to achieve...
of new sights and sounds...
experiences...trials...
of the resulting rewards of effort and planning.

To aim for something...
to take the appropriate steps toward achieving it...
that is what fills us with great expectations.

The great anticipation at the coming events 
which we can now set into motion
is to be our ...
Magic Carpet Ride
into the future we envision...
and are actively working toward.


A little dramatic perhaps...
but as true drama is a natural result 
of living life with a passion...
without which...
life has no flavor...no colors...
I chose to live life with planned...
Passion...
Drama...
Magic.

Even were we to fail...
it wouldn't be for a lack of effort...
it wouldn't be for a lack of planning and action.

It WOULD, however...
be a temporary state.

We would be merely set back in time...
not in spirit.

We would merely regroup and adapt...
strive ever onward...
upward...
forward.

Why?

Because that is what a Tiger does...
and that is what my son...
Alex...
IS.

(as are your children...never let them forget that!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Home Schooling - The Use Of Rumors As A Sieve


Song:  Under Threat

Artist:  Veigar Margeirsson



(Picture gotten from a Facebook friend's post)

Almost everyone has experienced a negative rumor...
one designed to marshal a group against another group or individual.

It is an attempt to use the power of the finger (ahem...index finger)...
to merely point at an individual and to make a false negative claim...
in an attempt to bring social pressure to bear with the threat of ostracization...
or even worse...direct intervention through a variety of bullying tactics.

It is also an attempt to unify the originator's group against a common...
albeit innocent, enemy.

It is the ease at which they may make an unsupported claim...
and remain anonymous as the originator (I heard that...)...
that it is so often used as a tactic of aggression.

In general, it doesn't matter what a person thinks about you...
however, to think that their negative thoughts cannot lead to negative actions...
would be naive.

It is the negative actions which must be addressed if they become unbearable.

To try to battle every rumor would drain you of time and effort...
of such a great degree that with a simple sentence from them...
they could cause great stress and effort in your trying to prove innocence
where it would be almost impossible to do so
(a rumor is designed to be almost undefendable just for this purpose...
which makes the originator's behavior all the more indefensible).

It is an attempt to sabotage a rival...
to hopefully cause them to be so stressed at the rumor 
that their overreaction to it would cause it to be even worse
than the rumor.

It is their ultimate aim to cause self destruction
or to paint a bullseye on back of their target
and a green light to attack at will from all others...
but they will settle for social ostracization...
leading to isolation and self doubt.

As a child on the spectrum...
they may face these tactics more often.

What makes this especially heinous is that many on the spectrum
don't know what to do about it.

They are generally loners and, so, are already isolated.

A Queen Bee type often targets them as they are considered easy prey.

What I have stressed to Alex...
is that a person's mind is his own...
it is their actions or inactions which are in his realm of concern.


In the above article I have described what Alex has been taught to do
when dealing with overt aggression. 

He ALWAYS has the right to self protection...
no matter from whom.

When dealing with rumors however...
it is far better to...
realize that because you are considered a threat...
that you should actually be flattered.

They consider you smarter...better looking...or stronger...
AND...
they fear you too much to take you on themselves.

As people often hide behind a facade...
they hide their cards until an event causes them 
to show their hand.

Just by observing who looks upon you as you hear of the rumor...
looking for the shiny eyes of glee...
of the unmistakeable look of anticipation in their body language...
of their suppressed smiles as you are questioned about it...
(the ones of evil intent feed off of the target's reaction)...
your child will be able to tell which are the ones to cut from his life
(a spectrum child has little inherent ability to read facial expressions 
or body language...but he can be taught them...or learn from experience.
Korean Dramas are great for teaching empathy and body language).


The ones who shun him merely as a result of the rumor
are the ones who don't think critically...
the sheep of the world who are followers...
those who are easily misled.

They are of the willfully stupid people who don't wish to 
think for themselves
(by willfully stupid, I mean of their own laziness...
not something out of their control).

They, too, are to be left behind...
 as at best... they are opportunists.

They will betray at a moments notice...
depending on which way the political wind blows.

As they lack the will to think for themselves...
they constantly look for someone who will do their thinking...
selling themselves into intellectual slavery...
and looking to get ahead by political maneuvering 
instead of through their own intellectual efforts.


Life is too short to have any of those sort around.
There are simply too many good people to be with.

By having a rumor work for you...
you turn what was intended to do you harm...
into something which helps you make determinations
about who are to be a part of your life.

You are using rumors to act as a sieve...
filtering... separating...
the wheat from the chaff...
 the flour from the clumps...
friend from foe...
the critical thinker from the chumps.

Just to not prejudge those who, out of reasonable caution...
wish to merely distance themselves from the whole affair...
a few words of defense is usually all that is needed.

With minimal effort and just a few words...
the rumor may be dispelled in the minds of rational people
by placing the effort where it should have been in the first place...
on the person making the assertion...
by merely saying...
"Oh...how so?"

A baseless assertion is difficult to defend.

As there will be no direct evidence...
just suppositions...
all that need be said afterward is that for the listeners
to think for themselves and to make their decisions accordingly.

The actions to follow would be to observe those
who either support the rumor or reason.


I say...

Have your child stand his ground...
to look around him with 
the eyes of an Intellectual Warrior
and the air of a King of Righteousness
(not religious in connotation).

Have him let all those who intended to observe and judge him...
know that they are being observed and judged (by him) as to which decision
they arrive at...and it is they...and not he...who shall have to live with it.

Have him make the ones who stand for 
dishonor and deceit...
slink away.



In the long run...
the ones who did not partake in the rumor mill
will respect the intelligence that was displayed
in using minimal effort to place the offender on the defensive...
thereby making it too expensive of a tactic to employ
on your child in the future.

It exposes the perpetrator or perpetuator of the rumor...
not only as a coward who attempted to use the group...
but one who is a danger to the group...
 as a person of no honor... has no boundaries.


A false rumor is an opportunity to...
 unmask the enemies of reason and honor...
to separate friend from foe...
and a chance to display the finely polished Armor of Logic...
 the finely honed edge of the Sword of Intellect...
and of the great Warhorse of Reason upon which you ride...
a Royal Knight of Justice...
all the while remaining fully humble and modest ...
at least in action :)




Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Dream Trek - Another Step In Alex's Journey


Song:  Dream On

Group:  Aerosmith


To live a life without stress...
in complete comfort...
without the full exploration of the unknown...
is to place yourself in an artificially small box.

A man without a dream... is dead inside.

A man having a dream without taking the steps
necessary to achieve it...
is committing suicide of the soul.

His cowardice will forever prevent him from achieving true happiness.

The soul eating regret will either drive him to, once again, dream...
and to strive for them...
or it shall strip him of his wings, fangs and claws...
turning him from a Tiger... to a kitten.


A child's prime mission in life...


is to fully explore himself and the world around him...
to learn and to apply.

It is to search for that particular mountain on which to climb.

It is to realize that he is a Tiger in training...
his eyes constantly scanning the horizon for a more efficient
path up that mountain...
to have an insatiable appetite for life...
and to strengthen and use his claws and fangs...
 to take down and devour
any challenges in life...his prime prey.

It is to realize that it not only all starts with his dreams...
but that it is in the striving for his dreams that gives him the energy of the gods 
to relentlessly pursue them.

It is to realize that to achieve a dream is to open up all new possibilities
and to unlock the resulting, forever growing, new dreams.

It is to realize the courage of a Tiger...
to be constantly on the hunt...
ready to tangle with the most daunting of prey.

It is to realize that with proper preparation...
he will eventually achieve the majority of his dreams...
and he will realize that his attempted but failed dreams
merely increase his hunger and desire to pursue his dream
in, perhaps, another fashion...at a later time...
after sharpening his claws and building his strength
to once again take down, even the most dangerous of prey.

It is to realize that so long as he does not give up...
he shall eventually become the king of his realm...
the Tiger.

It is the dream that shall give that Tiger... his wings.












(Alex relaxing in our hotel in Reno)


We have just come back from another step toward
one of our and Alex's dreams.



Video Description Of The Davidson Academy


We had gone to the Davidson Academy in NV
to get the latest updates in admissions and requirements...
to help stoke the passions and drive of Alex to want to be 
 part of such a grand dream as to be admitted to the Academy.

As of now...
there are approximately 140 students.

The Davidson Academy hosts only the best and brightest in the nation.

The requirements are stringent... and the competition fierce.

Although we still have a ways to go to prepare Alex
for consideration for such a grand dream...
we have taken another step toward that particular mountain.

Alex had taken a test that the Davidson Academy had hosted
(Not a test by Davidson Academy...merely one of two major tests
used in the initial consideration for admission).

We had Alex take it to discover any weak areas that he may have
so we may more fully concentrate on them.




Right now...
it is our dream to turn Alex into that Winged Tiger...
so he may fully explore the depth and breadth of his dreams.

His prime mission in life now...
 is to prepare for the achievement of his dreams...
and most of all...
to always....

Dream On.



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