Wednesday, November 11, 2009

School Board 2, My Comments

This post is a continuation of my post from early this morning on last night's School Board meeting. It is also, however, an interruption of the topic of that post. I will return to that topic shortly, but wanted to post here, now, the comments that I prepared to read last night. This is in it's entirety as I was unable to finish my comments due to both the time constraint of two minutes AND the fact that I lost my place while I was reading and had to repeat part of a sentence. I am leaving out the salutation and identification info at the beginning.

It does not please me to be here tonight.

You have heard many of my neighbors give details on how tonight’s Action Item is the result of inappropriate and unprofessional behavior by members of this board. This information is available as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request. It is shocking that citizens in this school district must file FOIA requests to have the facts about their schools. It is especially disgraceful in light of the fact that this board revised it’s Code of Conduct for School Board Members in August.

A4 of that policy begins: That my fellow board members and I should take the initiative in helping the people of this community to have the facts about their schools…

It is offensive that these words have been so quickly forgotten and replaced with behavior intended to spread disinformation. As a special ed parent, I cannot communicate with the members of this board or administration about any educational issue that my child may have if FOIA is the new preferred method of disseminating information; I will not participate in violating my child’s rights.

And where does a communication process that requires the use of FOIA as a starting point proceed to? I’m afraid to imagine what the next steps may be. I am personally trying to avoid a due process hearing for my fifth grader by working my up the chain of responsibility within the special ed department. But when elected representatives don’t represent and communication is at a standstill, what is the equivalent of due process for an entire neighborhood?

Meanwhile, I have heard new, good options for the students of Dulles North that you may never hear if this process continues to intentionally pit neighborhood against neighborhood. Stop now and do it correctly and openly.

I will end where I started, it does not please me to be here tonight. I should be in room 105, engaged in the presentation by the Parent Resource Center on transitioning to middle school with IEP.

In hindsight, I should have gone to the presentation!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

To the School Board: YOU DON'T GET IT!

For almost a year, Dulles North parents have been dealing with boundary issues. And tonight the process lost at the expense of the children in Lansdowne. Adding insult to injury, Bob Ohneiser - the duly elected school board member of the affected children - LECTURED Lansdowne parents from his cushy chair behind the dais.

I got involved in this last year when Little Dude was a fourth grader and the boundaries for all levels of schools were affected - elementary, middle and high school. I didn't think at the time that he would be moved for 5th grade or that our neighborhood would be moved for middle school, although here is a link to a plan that everyone denies has ever been promoted to take part of Lansdowne out of Belmont Ridge Middle School. I worked with others who were interested and self-selected myself to work on maps. Having been through many boundary changes with our older two children, I was familiar with the process - including when Stone Bridge High School opened. As a group, we pretty much determined that Seldens Landing would be over capacity, but moving one section of students to another elementary school to overcrowd them by the same amount was silly - a neighborhood elementary school should be overcrowded with it's own students, not with a handful of students from another neighborhood.

The staff and the school board apparently agreed and there were no boundary changes for our elementary school students. Middle school was more difficult, from a map perspective, but after many options by parents all over the Central and Dulles districts and, of course, the staff, it became clear that in one, two, or three years they would all be over capacity. So the same reasoning must have prevailed and the middle school boundaries were not changed.

But then we have the Almighty Stone Bridge High School!

Our family moved to Ashburn Farm (planning zone DN28) when Ms Giggles was in 3rd grade and Floggy was in 6th grade; I was pregnant with Little Dude; we moved from Ashburn Farm when Little Dude was starting kindergarten, and Ms Giggles was a Freshman and Floggy was a Senior at the Almighty High School. I never anticipated that Little Dude would go to the Almighty SBHS. And I am not alone among my neighbors with elementary only children, hence the poor turnout at neighborhood and school board meetings by parents of elementary aged students. Frankly, I think they trusted their neighbors with older children to represent the best interests of the community when it came to high school planning.

There were a number of different priorities that members of the community had. Teens at the Almighty Stone Bridge, naturally wanted to stay there. Younger sibs in middle school naturally wanted to not only follow their older brother(s) or sister(s) to the Almighty SBHS, but wanted to maintain the friendships that they had developed in middle school.

As a community we learned about the academic and social benefits of the feeder system, and liked what we learned. Everyone agreed that this was a common priority. We agreed that we wanted our children to have not just a stable neighborhood, but a stable school community. As a neighborhood, we will never be big enough to need a 1600 student capacity high school. Even with the largest elementary school in the district, we will not ever have 400 students in a grade, although we are over half way there with current second grade.


Our children attended Seldens Landing with the children from neighboring University Center until a new elementary school was built near One Loudoun and University Center was moved just over a year ago. Our middle school aged children have attended Belmont Ridge with children from Belmont Country Club, Belmont Green and part of Ashburn Farm.


Before I get into the particulars on tonight's meeting, I think we need to remind ourselves of the terminology that different groups use to describe our children. The Board of Supervisors refers to our children as seats; the School Board refers to our children as students; I have personally birthed three children that I call by name or refer to as my/our (older or younger) son and my/our daughter.

So who did what that was outrageous tonight?

I am compelled to start with Dr Hatrick because I hope that I can be as persuasive as he tried to be tonight.
Dr. Hatrick, nice try, but frankly, I don't believe you. It is futile to say you weren't steamrolled when: 1)members of the community have copies of the actual e-mails that were sent; or to use your experience on the job as justification for being able to hold your own when : 2)you clearly lost the grade weighting for honors classes debate; and most importantly: 3)I have never seen you have so little regard for the children that we have entrusted to your care. If you truly believe that it is in the best interests of the children who live in Lansdowne to become an academic and social island in your school system then I have been trusting you for way too long. We might all agree that it is the politically expedient thing to do, but I am not talking about seats, I am talking about the best interest of the teenage children that you have just agreed to isolate. There is a better process and there are better options. And I believe that you have the education and experience as both an educator and an administrator to know that this isolation is not necessary. I understand that the increased high school enrollment figures, especially for Briar Woods HS, were a surprise and that the original staff recommendation from last spring is no longer an option. But for a person who gives a great speech on the world that you are preparing our children to enter, this lacked any notion of the innovation that I hoped that you would model for those children.

And now the gloves come off.

Bob Ohneiser. I sit here trying to come up with one word that appropriately describes my impression. But maybe I should just describe the behavior and let the rest of you decide! You are the school board representative for the majority of the Lansdowne neighborhood, and at this exact moment I am jealous, for the first time, of my neighbors who happen to live in West Goose Creek. Clearly, you did not represent us tonight, and it seems that you have spent quite some time preparing to not represent us. And you have not communicated with us, in any manner, not only what your position is about where our teenagers should go to high school, but that you were going to throw us under the bus! You have also not solicited any input from us as to what we would consider reasonable, would be willing to accept, or what our priorities are. And on top of that, you had the gall to lecture us DURING A SCHOOL BOARD MEETING! Why didn't you meet with us sometime in the past two weeks? Is your precious phasing more important than our children. We think not, but it seems you disagree. And the whole hat demonstration was ridiculous. But not nearly as laughable as presenting it to the principal of Tuscarora HS. For anyone who was there or watched it on TV, maybe the word "Wegman's" is all that we will ever need to remind ourselves of your spectacle tonight.
There were plenty of comments from my neighbors about your phasing plan: What happens if you have a current 8th grader and a current 9th grader? How is it beneficial to a family to have two children, especially two children only one year apart, going to different high schools? How do we get out of Tuscarora? If you have a freshman when the next boundary adjustment is made and our children can go to school with children in nearby neighborhoods closer to home are we stuck at Tuscarora? Yeah, it's a nice new school - FULL OF STRANGERS! And you did not have our permission to trade 130 of our children for your pet project.
Do you realize that we do not want to drive our children to Lucketts or Point of Rocks to visit their new friends or work on a project. And we have no interest in having our children with drivers licenses making that trek up and down Rt 15.
You need to come here and meet with us, in person.

And it's almost 3:30am and I need to get some rest. More tomorrow. After the PTA meeting, but before the IEP meeting hopefully.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Are We Just a Bunch of Whiners?

While I prepare to update what's going on in the special education part of our lives, here's one more link to an article by an emergency room doctor that was published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Autism Benefits from Health Reform Bill

From the website:

News Center

Senate Finance Committee Passes Health Insurance Reform Bill Containing Menendez Amendment for Autism Insurance Reform

Washington, DC (October 13, 2009) -- Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, today applauds the members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee for their 14 to 9 passage of a health care reform bill, the America’s Health Future Act, containing an amendment for autism insurance reform.

The amendment, introduced in September by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and passed by the Committee with the support of Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), will prohibit discrimination in benefits against people with autism by including behavioral health treatments as part of the essential benefits package.

“We are grateful to Senators Menendez, Baucus, and their Committee colleagues for passing this health care reform bill. The legislation will ensure that families dealing with autism will be a part of larger health care reform,” said Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks. “Short of finding a cure for autism, there is nothing that can have a more significant impact on the lives of people with autism and those who love them than putting an end to insurance discrimination.”

“I am proud to have included a number of my amendments in the legislation, which will help lower health insurance costs, protect consumers and expand access to health coverage,” said Senator Menendez in a press release. “My amendment to guarantee the coverage of behavioral health treatments will help bring economic security and peace of mind to many families dealing with autism or other behavioral health conditions.”

The next step is for the Finance Committee bill to be merged with the Senate HELP Committee bill passed earlier this year. The combined bill will then head to the Senate floor for a vote. Once the Senate and House have passed their respective bills, they must go through a conference committee before reaching the President's desk to be signed into law. Please visit for updates on health care reform and the elimination of insurance discrimination related to autism.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Freedom to Speak...or Not

I have been intentionally silent here for quite a number of weeks. The health care debate continues to take place and I continue to wonder if we will have health care reform, health insurance reform, or just change with no real reform. We each have an opinion or idea and I'm not interested in participating in a battling of the blogs. But I have had the opportunity to hear Mr Wendell Potter, the former VP of Communications for Cigna, speak on various programs and I find his opinion to be well informed and worth posting for review. Here he is speaking before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Comm.

It's possible that the venue of a House Democratic committee is not your idea of fair and balanced, so is a a 37 minute interview on Bill Moyers Journal that I found to be very informative and even handed:

If you're interested, here is a link to Wendell Potter's blog .

And in case anyone has forgotten that Medicare is a well run and popular government program that seniors might want to share with their younger citizens, I offer this final video:

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Thursday, August 20, 2009


Near the end of "Health Care I," I put up a link to That link wasn't working so I am re-posting another link here for

Hopefully this one will work!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I have to say that I enjoy having a blog and the process of blogging! But it is still a learning process. Clearly, my blogs about special ed issues are the easiest to produce as they are personal and, during the school year, they affect my day to day and week to week life. I recently added a tool that when I write something, it will give me other sites that I can link to, but I've found that all of the sites that it recommends are other opinion sites; usually I am look for fact sites, so I haven't found it to be very helpful. I have been trying to find a counter tool as I have talked to numerous people who follow my blog, but aren't willing to sign up as a follower...even an anonymous follower! I had something on earlier, but it tracked where people signed on from - "Leesburg, Facebook; Timbuktoo, Google" and the like. I'm not interested in where people live, and even less interested in having it actually show up in live time on my blog, so I've removed it and am still looking for something that will give an idea of how many folks check out the blog on a regular basis. So if you see weird things appear and then disappear, don't be intimidated. I'm just trying to find tools that will help me to do this better.

I pretty much consider myself to be politically moderate as I can split a ticket with the best of them, so I follow a variety of blogs - especially local blogs. There is an advantage to listening to what all sides have to say on specific issues, so I may put up a box with the blogs that I follow. You might be surprised at what I check out most days! If you have suggestions of blogs that might be interesting, feel free TO MAKE AN ANONYMOUS COMMENT and let me know (hint, hint on the comments thing...I'd rather have a dialogue than post a journal).

Thanks to Ms Giggles for helping me to post the You Tube video in the previous post. I only hope she can do something with my actual, outdated sewing website tomorrow before she leaves on Friday to go back to school.

Will give an update on my beloved kids soon.

When is Bipartisan Reform, not Bipartisan?

Well, I haven't tried this before, but this piece of video from the Rachel Maddow show last night pretty much sums up where we are on bipartisan health care reform. Let's see if I can actually post it here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Health Care IV

continued from Health Care III, below

If I don't make better progress on this, I'm going to have to ask my teacher friends to help me with the roman numerals, lol!

Next statement:
Page 42: The "Health Choices Commissioner" will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.

My Response: The commissioner will establish plan standards, along with other duties including establishing and operating the health insurance exchange. I think the second one is more important than the first, but.... If your employer offers you a choice, there will be different insurance companies offering plans at three different levels as was stated before, essential, enhanced and premium. If you have Medicare now, you do not have a choice now. This accusation is misleading.

Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.

My response: THERE IS NO MENTION OF ILLEGAL ALIENS AT ALL! This statement is a lie.


False: Illegal Immigrants Will Be Covered

One Republican congressman issued a press release claiming that "5,600,000 Illegal Aliens May Be Covered Under Obamacare," and we’ve been peppered with queries about similar claims. They’re not true. In fact, the House bill (the only bill to be formally introduced in its entirety) specifically says that no federal money would be spent on giving illegal immigrants health coverage:


Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

Also, under current law, those in the country illegally don’t qualify for federal health programs. Of interest: About half of illegal immigrants have health insurance now, according to the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center, which says those who lack insurance do so principally because their employers don’t offer it.

"Misleading GOP Health Care Claims" July 23

– by Brooks Jackson, Viveca Novak, Lori Robertson and Jess Henig

Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Health card.

My response: This section is a listing of goals for financial and administrative transactions. The real change noted here about health plan beneficiary ID cards is that they may be machine readable for accuracy. It is not a National ID Health card; if you have Medicare, you will have a Medicare card; if you have Blue Cross/Blue Shield, you will have a BC/BS card; if you have Aetna, you will have an Aetna card. This statement is incorrect and misses the point of the paragraph.

Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.

My response: This section allows for electronic funds transfers so that the entire billing process can be automated. In other words, when your health care provider submits an electronic bill, they can now be paid electronically. This has nothing to do with health care consumers. This statement is incorrect.

Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)

My response: OMG, while researching this question I ran across this entire list of "highlights" on this paper posted by Liberty Counsel. It is adapted from this blog post from Peter Fleckenstein. And is also posted on

Here is the beginning of what is posted on FreeRepublic:

Health Care Bill Summary From Peter Fleckenstein’s Twitter Account:
Peter Fleckenstein’s Twitter Account ^ | July 24, 2009 | Peter Fleckenstein

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2009 12:45:47 PM by COUNTrecount


If you aren’t going to read the entire HealthCare bill, here is a summary:

PG 22 MANDATES the Government will audit books of ALL EMPLOYERS that self insure!!

PG 24 Line 116 Government effectively sets prices for ALL private health plans.

PG 30 Line 123 THERE WILL BE A Government COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benefits you get.

PG 37 Line 132 The Government will be reviewing grievances about themselves and will decide on appeals for rejected claims.

PG 29 Line 4-16 YOUR HEALTHCARE IS RATIONED!!! Additionally you can reference PG 15 Line 19-25.

PG 42 The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your HealthCare Benefits for you. You have no choice!

PG 50 Line 152 HealthCare will be provided to ALL non US citizens, illegal or otherwise.

PG 58 Government will have real-time access to individuals’ finances & a National ID HealthCare Card will be issued!

PG 59 Line 21-24 Government will have direct access to your banks accounts for electronic funds transfer!

I think I need to take a little break and compose myself. But before I do I want to remind you of how I started this series of postings:

Wayne Lauten is a good friend of mine and if he says he has read the first 500 pages of the “health bill” then he has.

Guess Wayne Lauten isn't such a good or honest friend of Dad-in-law. Sad, just sad.

Health Care III

Happy Sunday!

As a reminder, I am responding to an e-mail that my father-in-law forwarded to me from someone who supposes to be highlighting the negative effects of the first 500 pages of H.R. 3200, the house bill on health care reform. I posted the entire e-mail in Health Care I and began discussing the comments that Dad-in-law made. In Health Care II, I continued and also included descriptions of some of the terms being thrown around. I am now going to start addressing the actual e-mail highlights.

Again, here is a link to H.R. 3200 so you can look up these pages for yourself.

The e-mail begins:

Subject: A few highlights from the first 500 pages of the Healthcare bill in...

A very frightening prospect, but this is what some idiots have voted for.

Contact your Representatives and let them know how you feel about this. We, as a country, cannot afford another 1000 page bill to go through congress without being read. Another 500 pages to go. I have highlighted a few of the items that are downright unconstitutional.

My response: No one has voted on anything yet; will let you decide if this is "unconstitutional."

Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!

My response: Pages 21 & 22 mandates a study of the insured and self-insured employee health care markets. Studies are done to gather information or test a hypothesis; audits are done on data after something is done. This is incorrect.

Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!

My response: This entire section speaks to the cost-sharing of insurance. Cost-sharing is the paying of deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments (not premiums). This limits the cost-sharing to $5000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family. This is not rationing of health care, but specific dollar limits placed on the out of pocket expenses of consumers. This is incorrect.

Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)

My response: This section establishes a Health Benefits Advisory Committee. The committee will recommend covered benefits and the elements of three types of plans: essential, enhanced, and premium. In other words, someone has to decide what is in the "essential" or basic plan so that consumers and businesses can compare apples to apples. This is to aid in implementation of contents of the bill, this is not addressing any coverage issues a consumer may have after they have purchased their insurance. This is incorrect.

Sorry, but I have a party to attend, so I'll let you chew on these few and be back later. Enjoy your afternoon!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Health Care II

OK, to pick up from where I left off, I guess I need to address my father-in-law's final phrase of comments in the e-mail that he forwarded:

(2) I happen to be happy with my insurance and medical treatment – and really do not know anyone just now who is complaining – most folks who have worked are satisfied maybe the cost of insurance has gone a tad high but then so has milk.,..

Dad, come on, you are a federal retiree and on Medicare; you live near a large, renowned medical center. Of course you're happy! But do you know this about us: when our beloved ALM started with his current company (based in Europe) a couple of years ago, they did not have health insurance available for their American employees. We had to self-insure and these were our costs: 1) $900 a month for me, Ms Giggles and Little Dude, 2) $500 a month for ALM (Floggy was working full-time and had his own employee sponsored plan). So, $1400 a month, a $600 per person deductible and NONE of our pre-existing conditions were covered - at all, including medications! NOT MY IDEA OF A TAD HIGH!

But what does an exclusion for pre-existing conditions really mean? Well first of all any physician appts for those conditions would not be covered. Neither will blood/lab tests nor any procedures. With a history of high blood pressure and high cholesterol would they have paid for the care if ALM had happened to have a heart attack? They would have certainly done everything in their power to relate it to a pre-existing condition and therefore deny coverage. So, unless one of us had an accident or a serious illness that was NOT at all related to anything we had ever had before, this was not really health insurance, but emergency insurance.

I don't know what you pay for prescriptions with the new Medicare (unfunded) drug plan, but here are some examples of ours. WITH health insurance, Tricor is $50 a month; I got a new RX from the dermatologist for an ointment for my psoriasis, she gave me a coupon for $50 off the first tube and I still had to pay a co-payment. When it's gone, I can't afford to refill it! And as far as coverage and treatment are concerned, there is this: Little Dude's lack of visual motor integration is nearly curable with occupational therapy, but our private therapy had to end in December of 1st grade when the insurance wouldn't pay for it anymore. We are now at the mercy of the school system, who doesn't seem to think that providing the appropriate treatment and eliminating this problem (and the corresponding annual costs related to eventually providing him with a laptop computer) is directly related to his academic performance, so what he gets is piecemeal. Great health care delivery system there - not!

Deep breath.

Before I get to meat of the e-mail and it's descriptions of what the bill says, I think it might be a good idea to define what we are talking about.

Universal Coverage - This, of course, means that everyone is insured. Universal coverage is mandated by the states for auto insurance and we all pay a premium for "uninsured motorist." Since citizens aged 65 and older are all covered by Medicare, the insurance companies do not have to provide coverage for the demographic group that utilizes the most services. Imagine the cost of your auto insurance if the highest risk group, ages 16-25, were covered by a government administered "Motoristcare" program! Mandating that young people have health insurance would bring down the costs for all of the rest of us as they are the most healthy group of our population; the cost of services would be spread out among a larger group. And when they do need care, it would not be "uninsured patient" care that the rest of us end up paying for anyway.

Socialized Medicine - In it's purest form, this means that government provides for everything and the entire health care delivery system is controlled by and paid for by the government. Doctors are employed and paid by the government; hospitals are owned by and run by the government (think VA hospitals). There is no option on the table that provides for government take over of hospitals and doctors offices. This will not happen.

Single Payer System - For those 65 and older, Medicare is a single payer system; Everyone is covered by health insurance through the government. Implementation of a single payer system would essentially be providing Medicare for all citizens. I would imagine that younger, working citizens would have to pay premiums that would "save" Medicare from going "bankrupt."

Public Plan Option - A Medicare type plan that would be one option for consumers, and possibly small businesses, to choose as their health insurance plan. A good description of the public plan option approach is available here at

Medicare - A Universal Coverage, Single Payer, Public Plan for US citizens aged 65 and above.

I'm running out of time here and wanted to start on the list of highlights. I thought I could pick out a dozen or so and just dismiss them right off, but every time I review the list, I have comments to make that there is no longer time to do at this sitting. So, I will revisit the list tomorrow until we make it through the pages.

Have a healthy night!

Health Care I

Well, I said I was going to address the health care situation, and since the discourse has reached the level of lies by members of congress and screaming by voters at members of congress, it's time I actually wrote something on the topic.

I recently received the following e-mail from my father-in-law:

Wayne Lauten is a good friend of mine and if he says he has read the first 500 pages of the “health bill” then he has. I do not know nor care how you voted but I certainly do hope if you voted for the “ONE” that you have by now come to your senses. Look at some ‘problems’ HE has not correctly addressed: (1) 46 million uninsured. Only if you count all illegal; all y young folks who for one reason or another have decided they don’t need insurance just yet. If the GVT wants to give health insurance to ALL who CANNOT AFFORD IT I have no objection and I do not think that number (maybe 10 million) will break the bank. (2) I happen to be happy with my insurance and medical treatment – and really do not know anyone just now who is comp[laining – most folks who have worked are satisfied maybe the cost of insurance has gone a tad high but then so has milk.,…please take the time to read the message below.

Subject: A few highlights from the first 500 pages of the Healthcare bill in...

A very frightening prospect, but this is what some idiots have voted for.

Contact your Representatives and let them know how you feel about this. We, as a country, cannot afford another 1000 page bill to go through congress without being read. Another 500 pages to go. I have highlighted a few of the items that are downright unconstitutional.

Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!
Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
• Page 42: The "Health Choices Commissioner" will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.
• Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.
• Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Health card.
Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
• Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
• Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.
• Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)
• Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens
Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.
• Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.
• Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No "judicial review" is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.
• Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.
• Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives.
• Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.
• Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll
• Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll
• Page 167: Any individual who doesn’t' have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.
Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them).
Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.
• Page 203: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax." Yes, it really says that.
• Page 239: Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected."
Page 241: Doctors: no matter what specialty you have, you'll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!)
Page 253: Government sets value of doctors' time, their professional judgment, etc.
• Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries.
• Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.
• Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!
Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions.
Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government.
• Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited for owning and investing in healthcare companies!
• Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval.
• Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on "community" input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN.
• Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing.
• Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc.
• Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.
• Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone).
• Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia?
Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time.
• Page 425: Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.

Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends.
Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient's health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.
• Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.

• Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.

• Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage.
• Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and rationing those services.

Now I am going to go through these items, but before I do, here is the link for House Bill 3200. This is the pdf format so that you will have the same page numbers as those referenced above.

First of all, let me address my father-in-law's comments.

I do not know nor care how you voted but I certainly do hope if you voted for the “ONE” that you have by now come to your senses. Look at some ‘problems’ HE has not correctly addressed: (1) 46 million uninsured. Only if you count all illegal; all y young folks who for one reason or another have decided they don’t need insurance just yet. If the GVT wants to give health insurance to ALL who CANNOT AFFORD IT I have no objection and I do not think that number (maybe 10 million) will break the bank.


How many of the uninsured are U.S. citizens?
I have heard there are 47 million people without health insurance. How many of these are U.S. citizens? What is the makeup of the remainder?
The vast majority of the uninsured are citizens from working families.
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The "47 million uninsured" figure is from the 2006 U.S. Census Bureau report. In 2007, the Census Bureau reported that the number actually declined somewhat, to 45.7 million people under 65 (the age of Medicare eligibility).

Ever since health coverage became a major issue in the 2008 presidential campaign, we've received periodic questions from readers who wonder whether a large percentage of the uninsured are non-citizens or illegal immigrants. They're not. According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, 79 percent of the uninsured are native or naturalized U.S. citizens. The remaining 21 percent accounts for both legal and illegal immigrants.

Kaiser does acknowledge that non-citizens are more likely to be uninsured than citizens, because they are often restricted from public coverage and "are more likely to have low-wage jobs and work for firms that do not offer coverage." (Around 60 percent of Americans have insurance through their employers.) According to the Census Bureau, 43.8 percent of non-citizens are uninsured, versus only 12.7 percent of native-born citizens and 17.6 percent of naturalized citizens. But saying that non-citizens are more likely to be uninsured is not the same as saying that most of the uninsured are non-citizens.

What else can we say about the uninsured? More than 80 percent are from families in which at least one person works (70 percent from families where at least one person works full-time, and an additional 12 percent from families with a part-time worker). Two thirds are near or below the poverty line, making less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Only a small number (20 percent) are children, but nearly half are below the age of 30. Non-Hispanic whites make up two thirds of the population but less than half of the uninsured, and they are also more likely than any other race to have private insurance. The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a report, incorporating 2007 Census data, that covers these and other characteristics of the uninsured. -Jess Henig

Again from
Claim: Many of the uninsured are young people who think they're invincible. The National Review Institute writes: "More than half of the uninsured are between 18 and 34 years of age, a group which has relatively few expensive health issues and for whom self-insuring (paying their own medical bills) makes sense." Actually, only about 40 percent of the uninsured are between 18 and 34, according to the Census.

Is this younger group uninsured by choice? KFF said young people lack insurance for a variety of reasons: "Many low-income young adults lack access to affordable private coverage since few are full-time students or full-time employees, few have jobs that offer employer coverage, and few have access to coverage through their parents."

Similarly, the Institute of Medicine reports that "adults who decline offers of [employer-sponsored insurance] ... are more likely to be in poor health with high-cost medical conditions." So those who turn down available coverage don't always do so because they're in great health and don't want to pay for it. Many find it to be unavailable, or can't afford it at the price offered.

Claim: Many of the uninsured can afford private health care. About 9.1 million of the uninsured have household incomes greater than $75,000, and 10 percent (about 4.7 million) make more than 400 percent of the federal poverty threshold, according to KFF. In 2007, the most recent year of Census statistics, a family of four at 400 percent of the poverty level would have a household income of $84,812 or more.

So it's true that many of the uninsured could, in theory, spare the
$3,354 average annual employee contribution for employer-sponsored family coverage, or even the $5,799 average premium for individually purchased family coverage. But it's also true that 66 percent of the uninsured make less than 200 percent of the poverty level according to KFF, which is less than $42,406 for a family of four in 2007. And a family's premium costs may actually be much higher than the average for individually purchased insurance, depending on the number of dependents, the ages of family members, their state of health and the state in which they live. For instance, the average annual premium for individually purchased family coverage in Massachusetts, according to America's Health Insurance Plans' Center for Policy and Research, was $16,897 in 2006-2007 (before the state changed its insurance plan), and in New York it was $12,254.

Furthermore, even those who can afford coverage cannot always get it.
AHIP found that 72 percent of 2006 applications for health insurance were eventually approved, while the rest were withdrawn, not processed, or denied for medical or non-medical reasons. And of those who got coverage, 11 percent had to pay a higher rate than requested.

Claim: Many of the uninsured already are eligible for public coverage. That's true – NIHCM found that in 2006, 12 million of the uninsured were eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (formerly SCHIP) but were not enrolled. These were disproportionately children 6.1 million of the 12 million are under the age of 18, versus only 20 percent of the uninsured as a whole. NIHCM posits a number of possible explanations: People may be unaware of the programs or not know how to enroll in them; they may experience administrative hurdles to enrolling or staying in the program; or they may fear the stigma of public assistance. Some states also periodically institute CHIP enrollment caps, which may keep eligible people out of public programs. Utah, Georgia and Florida all had caps in 2007.

Here's another group that does fact checking; I like their "truth-o-meter:

This is already really long, so I'm going to post it, run a few errands and be back soon. Post your comments!
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Thursday, July 9, 2009

IDEA Fairness Restoration Act

Today, Thursday, July 9, 2009 , please call your Congressional Representatives and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 2740, the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act. Ask friends, colleagues, clients, and family members to call too. It will only take a few minutes.

The IDEA Fairness Restoration Act will allow parents to recover the cost of expert witness fees if they prevail in a due process hearing. This bipartisan bill will help to level the playing field and make the right to due process affordable for parents.

If you do not know who your Congressional Representative is, go to and put your zip code into the box in the upper left corner. Dial 202-224-3121 (TTY 202-225-1904). This is the main switchboard. Ask for your Congressperson's office.

It is helpful to ask for the Education Aide, but you can also talk to the person who answers the phone. If you get voicemail, please leave a message. Tell them you are a constituent and would like the Congressperson to co-sponsor H.R. 2740, the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act.

Over 200 organizations support the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act, including the Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates, Inc. (COPAA), Easter Seals, National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC), National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), LDA, DREDF, TASH, CHADD, Center for Law and Education, Epilepsy Foundation, Autism Society of America, United Cerebral Palsy, Our Children Left Behind, and many others.

A few minutes of your time CAN make a difference. Thank you for your support.

Warm regards,

Nanci Schiman, MSW
CABF Program Manager

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another Set of Links

I know I promised to get to the health insurance topic, but I want to try to upgrade my blog before I start that conversation. In the meantime, I am saving another group of links that I want to post so I can close all of these windows and get some speed back to my computer.

The Supreme Court handed down a decision last week that affects parents of special ed students that are seeking reimbursement from the school system for a private school placement. The decision is here. An easy explanation is here. ABC News broadcast a report that we in the DC area did not get to see as it was the same night as the Metro crash. Here is the link for the ABC report; it is titled "Public Pays for Private School." Finally, here is a response from a fellow blogger about the broadcast.

CBS News had a Leesburg family on their broadcast recently as they reported on the lack of health care benefits for children with autism in Virginia.

I've been keeping up with events in Iran on Twitter; here's a link to one of the groups that is providing information.

If all goes well, I should have this blog upgraded this afternoon and will start on the health insurance question! Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

While I continue to gather my thoughts about the health insurance topic, I keep running across interesting articles on education and special education. This one is about learning to read using phonics: Child Development Institute.

And here's one on the possible genetic link between autism and anorexia: Time

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Have a few interesting links to post. The first is a blog by Jennifer Laviano, a special ed lawyer in the state of Connecticut. Find her blog here: special ed lawyer.

And here is a link to a Leesburg Today article about the FBI investigating LCPS regarding the Wheatland land deal. Interesting reading, if you follow the links in the article. If you have trouble, here is one for The Center For Public Integrity article on Wheatland.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More on SEAC and ASL

Went to the Special Ed Advisory Comm (SEAC) meeting last night. I wanted to be impressed, but I wasn't. I think that good work is done and good information is distributed, but I expected a more professional atmosphere. Maybe I'll attend some other advisory committees so I have a better comparison. The results of the Town Hall meeting were not available yet, a real disappointment as that means that the school year will end without a public airing of the findings. Approximately 10% of the parents of special ed students took the online survey, about 655 as I recall. This was deemed to be a good response. I didn't mention that I started the survey three different times, but didnt finish it once as it seemed either to vague or asked me to identify myself if I was willing to be more involved (which I am) thereby nullifying my privacy.

There is always talk of parents and/or students rights being violated at special ed meetings; there is also a lot of re-inventing the wheel. But the most disturbing thing I heard was once again about American Sign Language. The specialists for the hard of hearing and deaf students are at Frances Hazel Reid Elementary. The deaf & hard of hearing students attend specials (art, music, PE) with the hearing students of their grade level, but the hearing students have received no instruction in ASL so they cannot communicate with their classmates. Parents and grandparents were at the meeting last night to ask that the hearing students receive instruction in ASL to improve this situation.

Looking forward to continuing with this group and working as a PTA rep for Little Dude's school.


Am trying to follow events in Iran through Twitter. Wish I could read this blog.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

National Health Policy

Would like to start a series of posts on national health policy. But I've recently read the following post from The New Yorker and am still digesting it.

Feel free to post your comments.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Odds and (Loose) Ends

I don't want to leave yesterday's post about the declining rate of mental retardation among African American students hanging out there with out some comment. First of all, I think the fact that the rate is declining, especially among misdiagnosed students, is of course a very good trend. But I admit to being very surprised that this was an identified problem at all. I know that I can be naive, even at my age ;), but after watching the School Board debate grade weighting, it's easy to think that our highly rated school system has to only make some minor adjustments to provide ALL of our children a world class education. Clearly, I wouldn't spend so much time here talking about special education if there weren't serious improvements that need to be made for this group of students. There is another advocacy group for minority student achievement, the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee. I am not a part of this committee, but support their efforts to improve achievement among the students that they are working with. But now I wonder if the SEAC (special ed advisory committee) and the MSAAC might not both benefit from a joint sub-committee. I know I want more data about the mental retardation rates stated in the goals. How old are these students? What were the conditions they did have if they were misdiagnosed? Is there data that also relates the rate to income level? Are the MR rates of white students from the same planning zones also increased? How did the rates come down? Have they identified nutrition, lead paint, lack of appropriate medical screening or some other potential cause? We need more information about this.

We are getting a new principal who is currently an assistant principal at a Leesburg school. Our current assistant principal is also leaving to become the principal at a small school in the county. So, we will have all new administrators when school begins in the fall. Will be interesting to see what changes are made.

Summer Programs
Talked to the OT this morning about summer activities for Little Dude - more cursive writing. Actually, I'm going to start with capital letters this summer as this is a specific area that needs practice. Bought a copy of the Type to Learn program that the resource teacher is using for keyboarding and we will continue this also. Going to sign him up for "math camp," which pretty much leaves writing content. Need a variety of methods for this to continue to be interesting over the summer. Most of all, I need to set up a schedule to accomplish this work that starts soon after school is out!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This Is Disturbing

Copied from page 65 of School Board Goals Status Reports 2008-09

(available on Board Docs under Superintendent's Evaluation)

G. Programs and practices will be in place to eliminate the disparity in achievement among identified racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups.

  • The overrepresentation of African Americans identified with mental retardation (MR) requiring special education was further reduced. Among MR students, the percentage of African-American students decreased from 16.67% in 2007-2008 to 15.42% in 2008-2009.
  • The Virginia Department of Education certified in the 2008-2009 school year that LCPS no longer has significant disproportionality in special education and in specific disability categories.
  • According to the most recently published Virginia Special Education Performance Report, LCPS was not identified as having disproportionate representation of African-American students in special education or in specific disability categories that was the result of inappropriate identification.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Epiphany! A possible solution to the coloring dilemma: use Power Point! The purpose of the map coloring should (a tricky word, I know) be to enable the students to learn the content, as we are not training our children to be illustrators. And fourth graders learned how to do power point presentations this year, so why not do a power point presentation instead of tracing and coloring a map? I don't anticipate this accommodation for Little Dude being a problem with our team, but it seems to me that this is a change that needs to be made for all students. Can you imagine Dr Adamo and his staff not doing the boundary maps electronically and literally coloring maps instead? I sure can't. So, I just need to figure out how to advocate for all of the students, not just Little Dude and not just other special needs students who need this modification.

Meanwhile, Little Dude's resource teacher is already working with the tech resource person to see about scanning forms into his neo-alpha smart and she's talked with the OT about working on the specific fine motor tasks we identified he'll need for MS. I'm going to meet with the OT and Little Dude during one of her final sessions with him this year to go over his summer program. Still need to find out about using a flash drive/memory stick on the neo to hold all of the data.

So, those are the two steps forward. Now for the one step back.
Went to the Volunteer Breakfast at school and chatted with the President of the PTA, especially about the Special Ed Advisory Committee PTA rep position. I like our PTA president; she has set a very nice tone for the school this year. I haven't noticed the gossip that has been present in previous years. We talked about the educational aspect and providing a safe, quiet space during PTA activities for students and families to use at their discretion. And then she mentioned that she thought it was nice that the special ed teachers worked with all of the students in the classroom as a way to ensure the privacy of the students getting special ed services. I. Wanted. To. Scream! This is exactly how Little Dude was denied his 30 minutes of special ed support for writing in first grade. HE needed 30 minutes of intervention; he got a walk by with a "how's it going" instead. And every single minute that the resource teacher was performing at the level of a parent volunteer, some child was not getting the services that they not only needed, but that the district was legally bound to provide. (insert scream here) This is NOT good. And this is why I'll never know if he would require the level of services that he currently receives if he had had the opportunity to benefit from the intervention that he DID NOT RECEIVE. And citing privacy as a reason to not do your job is inexcusable; any decent parent volunteer can pick out 80% of the special ed students in the first month of school.

(cool down period entered here)

I've finally learned one other lesson: least restrictive environment and most appropriate environment are not the same. It is not always beneficial to provide a child's intervention in the classroom. Writing support when the class is actually writing is the most advantageous and is not disruptive to the teacher or the other students. The OT services that should have been provided when Little Dude was in 1st and 2nd grade were not appropriately given in the classroom and I am sure that the same walk by took place resulting in no improvement. Amazing how long it takes to learn the correct questions to ask.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Middle School Visit

Well, I've been busy living my life and haven't had time to report on it! But I have to relay my experience at the middle school last Friday.

I met Little Dude's case manager/special ed teacher at the middle school Friday afternoon. I think she had been there for a meeting or two, but hadn't had the whole tour. With the two older kids, I've been to Farmwell Station, Harper Park, Eagle Ridge and Belmont Ridge, so the layout of the building was familiar. We met with the 6th grade special ed teacher/department chair to get an idea of what to expect in sixth grade so we could make any changes in fifth grade that would allow for a smooth transition to middle school. Personally, I wasn't interested in eliminating the stress that all students have when they first go to middle school and have lockers and change classes, I wanted to see what could be done to eliminate the stress of having accommodations or modifications that might not be effective in a totally different environment. I think the MS special ed teacher was probably initially wary about our visit a year in advance, but by the end of our visit I know she was our convert to our way of thinking!

There are, of course, some fine motor tasks that we have to attend to in the coming year: using a combination lock, tying shoes, and I finally admitted that he can't actually snap his slacks - he's skinny enough to slide them on and off. With the necessity of changing clothes for gym, we will have to work on these. But we had some other opportunities present themselves. One of the easiest to add to our "let's see if he can do this" list was the use of the middle school agenda. It's smaller and not particularly easy to use for a student who writes about the same size as a second grader. We're going to get an extra one from the middle school at the beginning of the year and see if, after a few months of use, he should write in it or type out his assignments and glue them into it.

The MS has some alpha smart machines in the language arts rooms, but Little Dude has his own Neo-alpha smart that will stay with him through his schooling, so we are trying to figure out how to best use this keyboarding/notebook device. If we can scan forms into it (like science experiment forms) then he can just fill them out electronically and print them off (it's wireless to the printer in his classroom now).

As we were ending our time together, we made out way back to the MS special ed teacher's office to review our list of action items. Somehow we made our way to the topic of map coloring and the MS teacher showed us a project that is typical for MS: a poster sized, colored map of North & South America with an attached report of just more than one page. This is precisely why I have required the accommodation of no grades for coloring to continue to be included on his IEP. The MS teacher expressed some frustration regarding getting teachers to modify these type of assignments for the many students that the resource teachers work with that are unable to appropriately complete the tasks required to finish these projects. I was reminded of Ms Giggles coloring maps in high school and the necessity of finding a way to modify these projects for years to come.

But we finished with all three of us realizing that our time had been well spent; we can spend fifth grade trying different strategies that will give us good information to relay at our joint elementary/middle school IEP meeting next year.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Since I'm sitting here waiting for a car, I can take the time to do an update.

I've been working on the vanity stool the last couple of days. My fingers hurt from pulling out about 100 staples; clearly this was machine upholstered. But I can finally see the end of this particular project. If there's enough fabric, I'll make a reversible bottom cushion instead of the attached one that came with it. Waiting for a car to be available to go get interfacing at the fabric store so I can finish this up.

Watched the school board meeting on TV the other night. ALM thinks I'm out of mind to watch these meetings, but there really is a lot that takes place. Missed the beginning where the new principals for the new high schools were announced, so had to look up the info on board docs. Unfortunately, saw Little Dude's OT listed as one of the employees who is resigning at the end of the school year. We had two OT's last year and then a different one this year, so I'm not anxious to change once again, especially since the last two have been providing both services and information beneficial to the team and our plan. Just learned this year from our current OT why he rights down the middle of the page; wish someone had educated me about this at an earlier date as this has been driving me crazy for years. Now I can let it go and concentrate on the content.

Anyway, back to the school board meeting. There didn't seem to be any announcements on elementary level leadership positions so will have to wait to find out who our next principal will be. I also missed the public comments from Dominion HS parents about the suspensions of students after drinking wine during a recent field trip to France. In other words, all of the fun viewing was over by the time I tuned in! Heard the discussion on grandfathering fifth graders, but didn't hear a single word about special exceptions for special ed students. If Little Dude was affected by a boundary change in fifth grade and I didn't know what options I had, I'd be ticked. We've been planning for his transition to middle school for the last two annual IEP meetings. And his caseworker and I are trying to plan a joint visit to the middle school before finals start to continue this planning.

The discussion on grade weighting was tense, but I was glad to see that all of the advocacy of parents was not ignored. What is the advantage of taking Honors classes if there is no weighting available for the extra work and commitment? And who wouldn't agree that the Science Academy coursework should be weighted? Will have to tune in next time to see what happens. Not going to get involved in the Wheatland issue as it is now a dead deal, and we have our own problems with land and a high school right here in Dulles North.

Yeah, SOL's are finished for another year!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So Sew

I really don't like to be cagey. Got a cold call this morning about window treatments, and not surprisingly, one of the first questions was about pricing. As a consumer, I certainly understand why cost is near the very top of the list of questions, but as a service supplier, I have to be careful to vet the calls and make sure they're legitimate potential customers. Giving out my pricing information to possible competitors due to my own naivety can leave me idle. But we made an appointment for a consultation next week, so I relayed some basic figures.

Am developing quite the list of possible projects:
Current project - reupholstering a swivel vanity stool for the daughter of a neighbor & Bunko friend.
Next project - roman shades for a bay window for a friend & Deacon-to-be at church.
Quotes Given:
Bunko friend who will be a repeat customer with a pillow order; waiting on fabric.
Neighbor, fellow Mom of an '08 grad & Bunko friend who wants living room treatments; waiting on fabric also.
Dear friend who wants new cushions & pillows for outdoor use; might have found what she wanted and will only require alterations to existing covers.
Church couple spoke with me at coffee hour about window valances; need to make consult appointment.
And this morning's cold call; moving into newly built home in fall - I like her time frame of 5-6 months!

Have been dragging my feet on the current project as upholstery is not on my list of favorite hits, and there are a lot of mechanical parts to this stool. But rainy days are the best for sewing, so I'm trying to get it off of my to do list.

Little Dude has a cold with no fever, but quite the runny nose. Dosed him up and sent him to school as the VA Studies SOL is tomorrow and I'm sure they will practice for it today. He made an 86% on the online practice test this weekend, so he should do fine.

Ms Giggles worked at one or both jobs all weekend. She looks like she could use an extra day of sleep, but we all know how happy she'll be when the paychecks start.

Floggy called many times over the weekend. He and Gramps got the car towed to the Mechanic School on Friday. Since he doesn't have cable or internet where he's staying, he called for updates on the Indy 500. But when he found out that we had left money in his account after loaning him the deposit for the tow bar, he walked to the grocery and then back with a whole lot of dairy products. Reassured him that it wouldn't be spoiled; boy was he happy.

Finally went to see Star Trek yesterday with ALM & Little Dude. Ended up at Tally Ho theater as Brambleton Fox was sold out. Movie was great, but we might need to see it again on a bigger screen with better sound. Nearly had an accident on the way home as a young female driver in a rear wheel drive car did two 360's across 4 lanes of traffic and right in front of us. But the ABS worked perfectly and we stopped without skidding; didn't get rear ended either.

And Little Dude knew the purpose of Memorial Day.
A great weekend.