Sunday, June 28, 2015

Reasons to be sad and unhappy

The one and only time I was on a horse, it stopped and rolled over on to its back. I had to jump clear so I would not have been crushed.

I did not get back on that horse.

While I was away I received an email from my son's mother saying that he was accepted into a equine therapy program about a half hour north of us. I've heard that horse riding may be beneficial for autistic children and I was as pleased as she was that he was accepted. It's been funded through some generous donations so it's free to us and the other dozen or so participants in the program.

Why not, right?

The orientation session was this afternoon. There were a number of screaming, quirky kids in the corral. My son was not happy more or less from the get go. There was a ceiling fan in the waiting area that bothered him. The noise other people were making bothered him. The smell of the barn probably bothered him.

He went to his mother's car and got in the back seat saying "Bye bye" and "Time to go" over and over.

We waited for him to calm down and then brought him back into the barn to wait for his turn to get on the horse. He did not like getting sized for the helmet. And when the time came, he did not want to stay in the area where the horses were. It's not that he was afraid of the horses, but this was not what he wanted to do today. None of this was in any of the routines he knows and he reacted in the only way he knows how.

The horses seem to be quite chill and I'm very impressed with the ability of the volunteers who work with the kids. One of them while on a horse for the first time, was asked to put his hands over his head, "It's too dangerous" was his logical reply.

Sometimes, ok, most of the time I have no idea what to do to help my son. We're blindly throwing therapies, treatments and coping solutions at the wall - trying to find some hope in whatever sticks. I wonder who we're really doing this for. Him, or us. He can't sit there in his iPad all day, watching videos (do as I say not as I do) it's my job as a parent to try and socialize him. So I try not to once again feel like a failure as I read about all these super fantastic and authentic parents leading and teaching their kids to all kids of accolades.

Meanwhile, we cheer when my kid plays with a garden hose.

In two weeks, the sessions will have fewer kids and we'll try again. Maybe this time he'll be ready to take the next step.

As if that was not enough, on Saturday I found out that one of my co-workers died on Friday. She worked next to me and was one of the most giving people I've ever met. I know her health was not great, but this is a real blow, and not how I wanted to end a vacation. She'd been with the library for about fifty years. Not sure what kind of maelstrom I'm going to be going into Monday morning.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Queue up Local Hero theme

Waiting for boarding in Glasgow. It's been a great trip full of family, cool things to see and great beverages. Team Moss won second place at the Sparkle Horse pub quiz on Monday night and had a fine day boozer yesterday drinking our winnings, a 25 pound bar tab.

We took a fine tour of Central Station and I found Third Lanark.

My wife and I had a lovely, lengthy walk from the west end to town and found Rip Van Winkle bourbon near the end of it.

My Father-In-Law drove us to the Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies and told me about his old Citroen.

Got to see my Sister-In-Law develop her business first hand. She's doing amazing work. Her Instagram account is where the magic happens.

Most of all, I miss my Son. Saw some pictures from the week and I think he's grown a couple of inches. It will be great to seem him tomorrow.

Ok United, it's your turn to get this right.

Monday, June 22, 2015

An even longer walk

Before we left I put together a list of things I'd like to do while on vacation. Would have been impressed if half of them were accomplished. To my surprise we got most of it checked off!

Yesterday my lovely Wife and I hit the west end for a bit and then we walked, and walked, then walked some more. Walked so far back into town our return ticket went unused.

Found one fine bar. So fine they have the elusive Rip Van Winkle on the top shelf. Took a trip to Scotland to finally get to try it. Verdict: it is really good but others can line up at 3AM for a chance to get a bottle.

Also found what Scotland would try and call a juke joint. I'm not sure if actual research was done, but putting pictures of blues musicians on the walls of a generic pub does not a juke joint make. It's not that it was a horrible place, it is not, but an amusing aside to the trip.

A little more walking today, a tour of Central Station, which I'm a bit stoked for, more food and a pub quiz.

All is well here but I'm getting reports of rain at home and worried about flooding in my basement. Hope all is well.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A good birthday walk

Been trying to avoid the news, but it's hard to not see the effects of the tragedy in Charleston. I live in a racist, violent country - ruled by guns. If rooms full of dead children and adults will not make us take a hard look at it, nothing will. The nation is not capable of real change, other than security theater.

So I unplugged yesterday while my wife and her sister went out to do sisterly things and wandered around Glasgow for the day. Took the train into an unknown part of town to me and visited the park where Third Lanark used to play.
An interesting, ghostly experience that was only missing morning mist on the pitch. Since I was there, I strolled past Hampden Park and had no idea it was in such a residential neighborhood, not unlike Wrigley Field.

Managed to get on the right trains at the right time and got back to Central Station intact. I keep getting turned around when in downtown Glasgow, my compass does not work, but once I find the Clyde River I can figure things out. Found an old chip/breakfast shop and smiled my way through a language barrier to get some food.

These people had some very, very thick Glaswegian accents but we were all nice to each other. They asked where I was from and so on. The chips were not good, the fish cooked ok, the tea was excellent as was the patter. Heard some outstanding cursing, great breakfast conversation to overhear.

Was lucky enough to remember to visit the Britannia Panoptican, one of the oldest Music Halls left in the world. It was a thrill to stand on the same stage where sixteen year old Stan Laurel made his theatrical debut, in 1906. The hall is being slowly restored and Judith Bowers is doing amazing work in stewarding the process, mostly on her own.

By then I was ready for a proper drink and headed to the Horseshoe since I missed it on my last visit.

After that it was time to once again hit the Pot Still. Fell in love with this place my last visit and that love only increased. Got into a fine conversation with a gentleman from Northern Ireland, had some good advice from Frank the proprietor and the whiskey was excellent. If there is a better selection of whiskey anywhere in the world, I'd like to see it. After a few my wife and sister showed up at the pre-determined time to get me out of there while I could still walk, but not before I had a Mortlach that was distilled in 1984.

Quieter day today. All continues to be well here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Awake with the birds and seagulls

Dealing with 4:30AM jet lag is not a good time, but I am finally on vacation. While United Airlines continues to suck in communication with delayed customers, they have tried to improve their food. We even received a complimentary glass of wine before our meal. Sure, it smelled like something out of a diabetic horse, but it's the thought that counts. Plus, we were not on flights that were cancelled, or so late we missed a connection to Brussels.

So the discomforts of economy are relived by the happiness of our destination. We crashed, then took a well advised walk, ate a great meal and I ended up snoring on the couch for about five minutes while we watched Two Days in Paris.

And here I am now, awake on the same couch eight hours later.

To the city later, a visit to our Brew Dog overlords and smaller Kelpies before seeing the big ones on Saturday.

We're good here, even if sleep patterns are a mess.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I've been more active on Instagram

It has not really been quiet but there's not much for me to say about the busy. We've had my son the past two weeks and that's kept us active at all hours. We're prepping for our trip tomorrow and getting stoked for Belle and Sebastian tonight.

I can say it's been a decent vacation so far, all 20 hours that have happened.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Even the tiny country of Togoland has a message for me

I am contacting you for the claim of my late client fund, who is a
native of your country that was deposited with the bank here in Lome,
Togo. I am soliciting for your confidence in this matter; this is by
virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential. Though I know that
a contact of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive, but I am
assuring you that all will be well since I know everything about my
late client fund.

I have decided to contact you due to the urgency of this matter. Let
me start by introducing myself properly to you. I am Barrister Martin
Keen, the personal Attorney to my late client Engr. F. D Plunkett
(Snr) a contractor and importer here in lome-Togo and he was involved
in a ghastly motor accident along Nouvissi express Road. He was
banking with Bank, Lome Togo and had a closing balance as at the end
of September 2008, worth $ 4.5 million usd (Four Million Five Hundred
Thousand United States Dollars).

The bank now expects the Next of Kin to come forward as a beneficiary.
Efforts have been made by the management of bank to get in touch with
any of the Deceased Family or Relatives, but they have met with no
success. Now the management under the influence of the bank director
and Members of the Board of directors has made arrangement for the
fund to be declared Unclaimed so that they can share the money amongst
themselves.

In order to avert this negative development, as part of my duty, I
decided to track his last name over the Internet, to locate any member
of his family. Hence I have contacted you, all documents and proof to
enable you get this fund will be carefully worked out by me for this
claim. I have secured from the probate an order of Mandamus to locate
any of the deceased beneficiaries, and more so I am assuring you that
this claim is 100% risk free.

On the receipt of your response I will furnish you with detailed
clarification as it relates to this mutual benefit transaction.
Respond to my confidential email (barr.martinkeen02@gmail.com) for
full details.

Thanks
Yours faithfully,
Barrister Martin Keen