Food Boxes, the Fourth of July, and a Trip to the Movies

Isaac’s Log—Stardate: 2018.191.
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Happy belated Fourth of July!
Here’s everything that’s been going on in my life since I last blogged.
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Recently, Mommy took Levi to see Dr. Thom. We were supposed to have been approved for OHP (Oregon’s medicaid program) by then, but apparently something didn’t process through right or something, and it seemed like they weren’t going to be able to see the doctor. Fortunately, while the receptionist was on the phone with the OHP people, someone ushered Mommy and Levi in, so Levi was able to get care anyway. It sounded like Dr. Thom was very helpful, and was able to get into contact with a specialist, Dr. Shih (whom Levi had seen before), to try to get Levi an appointment—which is now officially scheduled for a couple of weeks from now.
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Last week, Mommy and Daddy had a weeklong break from school; so Mommy chose to stay at Grandma’s house with Levi and I, so she could be there with us on the Fourth, while Daddy decided to go back to the house at the coast to study. On the 1st, Mommy attended a play based on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility with Grandma and Stephie, the tickets for which Clay had bought for all three of them for Mother’s Day. They sounded like they really enjoyed it, and that the actors did a good job in their roles.
That following Tuesday (St. Thomas’ day, a week ago today), Mommy took me to our old parish in town, so that we could help volunteer with the food boxes that the St. Vincent de Paul Society hosts there. It had been well over a year since I had been—I think I’d only been able to go once or twice since my head injury—and it was really great to get to help out and see everyone again. I had a lot of fun—although I unfortunately overworked myself by accident, and ended up very shaky without realizing it (fortunately, I didn’t have too many down days afterwards)—and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to go again next week.
The next day, Wednesday, was the Fourth of the July. Mommy went with the Tevebaughs in the morning to see the parade in town, and it sounded like they all had a good time—although a lot of people came into town to celebrate, so it was crowded and loud (I was on the fence about going, but I’m glad that I wasn’t really able, since I generally avoid noise and big crowds when possible). In the evening, Sandy and Papa surprised us by cooking a Fourth of July barbecue, and we set off fireworks Sandy had bought (which she also shared with some neighbour kids who came over). I had been hoping to go see the big fireworks in town, which we had been able to for the past three years, but unfortunately Levi wasn’t feeling well enough; so, instead, we watched fireworks on the big TV in the living room. All in all, it was a fun day for me, and Levi felt a little better the next day.
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Our country’s now 242 years old; I’m looking forward to 2026, when it’ll turn 250. Plus, at that point, we’ll have to have a different president than Donald Trump—even assuming he wins reelection in 2020 (unless the 22nd Amendment gets repealed sometime between then and now for some reason, which would be really terrible, but I really doubt that that will happen). Having him as our nation’s leader is one thing that seemed to dampen people’s enthusiasm for the celebrations a little, more so than last year, which to me is totally understandable; but the Fourth isn’t about Donald Trump, it’s about Americans as a people. Personally, I think it’s probably better not to totally leave patriotism to the far-right, or to let the president define what kind of country we are (despite the legislative and cultural power he has); I think we should instead foster an inclusive alternative, a patriotism that unites rather than divides—and celebrates not just who we are, but who we hope to be. Maybe if we can get people really hopeful for our nation’s future again by 2020, we’ll have forged a sort of nationwide cooperative optimism that will help us elect an administration that’s both more unifying and more competent than our current one (or at least doesn’t run the country like a game show); I certainly at least hope we don’t elect a president that would somehow make me miss Trump, that would really suck.
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Slight tangent: I know it sounds kind of silly, but I’m actually kind of excited about the 2020s, largely because it’ll be a decade with a really easily agreed upon abbreviation—we’ll be referring to the Twenties, and we won’t mean the 1920s anymore (which will admittedly be a little weird). Throughout most of my life, there hasn’t really been a universally-accepted abbreviated term for the current decade (excluding the 1990s, of course; although back then I couldn’t ever really speak anyway, so it’s not like I ever had the opportunity to say “The Nineties” during the decade). I’ve seen some people refer to 2000-2009 as “The Aughts”, although I’ve never actually heard anyone call them that in real life (I’m guessing it’s a regional thing or something), and I think most people simply call the first decade of the new millennium “The Two Thousands”; which, while it gets the general idea across now, might be confusing for people in future decades (after all, it’s a term that could technically refer to the entire 21st century). I’m not sure what people will call the current decade in the future; quite possibly just the “Twenty Tens”, even though that feels kind of awkward to me. Personally, I’ve tried to refer to the 2013-2019 period we’re in as the “Twentyteens”, which seems a little more catchy to me, but it doesn’t really seem to have caught on that much. I think it’d be kind of funny if 1920s fashion had a revival in the 2020s—bowler and cloche hats, that sort of thing; you never know, it could happen. And who knows what sort of technological developments will take place, and the kinds of problems we’ll be able to solve with them? It’s a brand new decade, a lot of things could happen.
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Alright, sorry about that digression from our regularly scheduled programming. Back to “What I did last week”.
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Last Friday, on St. Maria Goretti’s day, Mommy drove me to my piano lesson at Kristin’s studio. I hadn’t been able to have a lesson since February, so I was both really excited and a little concerned about being rusty; fortunately, the lesson went really well, and I had a lot of fun. It was really great getting to see Kristin again; and the homework she gave me includes a bunch of improvising with chords in different keys, which I’m hoping will be much easier for my head than having to read a lot of music—plus, it’s really fun!
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We unfortunately didn’t get to go to Mass the next day; we weren’t able to go on the Saturday before either, since Levi wasn’t feeling well, but Mommy said that she’ll take us tomorrow morning, which I’m glad about—even missing just one week feels like a long time to me without the Eucharist. On a positive note, Papa and Grandma were able to get a couple of new couches for free, and they’re the kind that double as recliners. The negative side is that they’re too uncomfortable for Levi to sleep on; but Grandma helped get him a mattress to use, which he says is even more comfortable than the old couch.
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Last Sunday afternoon, we were able to go to matinee showing of the new Incredibles movie (which, oddly enough, is actually called Incredibles 2, instead of The Incredibles 2) with Papa. We had been planning to go for a long time (it was our Father’s Day present for Papa), and I’m glad that we were all feeling well enough to go, and that Papa didn’t have to work that day (a woman at his work was forced to work thirty days in a row; I’m really hoping that my bill idea gets through next year, so it’s no longer legal for companies to do that to their employees in Oregon). We had a fun time at the movie; in my opinion, it was funnier than the first film, and the action scenes were very well done. My one real gripe with it is that my brother and I had to close my eyes a lot during the fight scenes with the Screenslaver; to be fair, there was a warning for people with epilepsy about the flashing lights, but I think even most of us without epilepsy would appreciate it more without the overdone hypnosis screens—and I think that Pixar could easily have accomplished the same effect without so many flashes. But, on the whole, I really liked the movie; it was fun getting to see new superheroes, and I enjoyed Michael Giacchino’s score (he even wrote theme songs for Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone). After the movie, we all went out to eat at one of our favourite Chinese restaurants, and I was so hungry that I ate almost everything on my plate.
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Yesterday, Tami, Grandma, Papa, Mommy, Levi, and I all watched the finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Tami introduced the series to my brother and I on I think June 23rd, and we watched all three seasons in less than three weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed the series; it has a great balance of humour and drama, is very well animated, a detailed but cohesive plot, and excellent character development. I’m really glad that Tami shared the show with us (she has all three seasons on DVD), and I’m excited about rewatching it. We’re actually planning on rewatching the whole first season, since Mommy didn’t start watching it with us until toward the beginning of the second one. Pretty much all of the characters are likable, but I think my favourite in the series is Katara; although I also really like Sokka, and Iroh is awesome.
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Tomorrow is the feast of St. Benedict; who has a special place in our family, since he was the patron of Ora et Labora Academy, which is what we used to call our school when she homeschooled us. When I graduated, I didn’t think that I’d actually miss school; but, six years on, I don’t think I fully appreciated the predictability and structure it gave to my life—especially earlier on, before my brother and I were basically unschooling. I’m really grateful that my mother worked so hard to teach us, that she’s always been there for my brother and I throughout all of our various issues, and that she was able to instill a love of learning in us that I still have to this day (I know that sounds super cheesy, but it’s true). I don’t know how well I would have fared in a more “traditional” school environment; guessing from the extremely short period I attended a public school, and my experience doing college work online a few months prior to my head injury, my guess is that I wouldn’t find learning new things as intrinsically rewarding as I do now. And I think having the one-on-one interaction really helped me; Mommy is pretty much always great at explaining things to an autistic mind, and I was always able to learn both in books and projects at home where I was comfortable, as well as from day-to-day life in my interactions outside of the house. Judging from the—often quite lacking—special needs resources available in rural public schools—especially during the 2000s (see, there I go again, haha), when I would’ve been in elementary school—I honestly kind of doubt that I’d even be verbal most of the time, had I had to attend classes in actual classrooms. Plus, I never had to deal with real peer pressure, and any bullying I’ve experienced was pretty negligible—on the whole, homeschooling is a pretty great deal, at least when it’s done well.
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Next week, the Tevebaughs will be leaving to visit family in Texas and Oklahoma, my friend Zack will turn twenty-three, and my cousin Wyatt will turn three. Now that we’re already partway through July, it’s almost been two whole years since I had my concussion; however, I’m feeling substantially more hopeful than last year (yesterday, I even stacked a whole wagon’s worth of wood all on my own), and I’m looking forward to celebrating Christmas in July with my family.
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Today’s Question: If you could bend any element from Avatar, which would you choose, and why? I think I’d be a Waterbender, since I’d want to have a chance at having healing power.
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Today’s Joke: Singing in the shower is all fun and games, until you get shampoo in your mouth; then it just becomes a soap opera.
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-Isaac““

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