Love. Listen/Observe/Read. Act. Repeat.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Overheard in the Wolfe House #87

(after the Bartonville Town Council meeting)
Sam: You're home early.
Peggy: I left early.
Sam: Oh, were they talking about the water tower again?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coming up

I will be providing some parent training at Region 10 in Richardson on May 7. I'll explain what Texas Parent to Parent does for families, and also the decision-making training I provided in New Braunfels and Corpus Christi last year. More deets to come.

Overheard in the Wolfe House #86

Sam: Can you get this cocoa buttermilk cake recipe for my graduation?
Peggy: Sure.
Sam: What goes with cake?
Peggy: Punch goes with cake. At an open house, you have cake and punch, and some little things. I can make some little candies. Do you want punch?
Sam: Sure.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Overheard in the Wolfe House #85

Sam: I can tell you want to learn more about midi sounds sets.
Peggy: Yes, I want to understand what you did with Sibelius.
Sam: Well, I'm telling you, Mom, it's beyond you.

Overheard in the Wolfe House #84

(as Paige walks into the room in her new gown)
Sam: Oh, yeah, that's right. Paige is going to prom. (pause) She's in sparkly blue.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Overheard in the Wolfe House #83

(while talking via Skype about his very first computer-build at nonPareil)

Grandma: Does it work?
Sam: Yes, Grandma, it works. It's a gaming computer.

Man and car keys, part two

When Sam got home from work last night, he said he was a little embarrassed by what happened. I told him everyone has locked their car keys inside their car from time to time. I've done it more than once. It's easy to do.

Then I told him that Ms. D (his speech therapist in high school) suggested a hide-a-key.

He looked at me quizzically for about ten seconds, and then a huge grin broke out on his face. "Did you put something on Facebook?"

(I was so excited that he connected all those dots.) I put something on the blog, I told him, and then linked to Facebook.

"People learn from our experiences, Sam," I said.

"I know," he said.

He was skeptical about the hide-a-key option -- he is his father's son, that's for sure -- but then agreed we needed to get more information.

We decided we'd go see a locksmith and determine whether hide-a-key is an option. We also are going to learn about calling a locksmith when you're locked out and other options.

What I've learned from this is how much we take for granted our children's ability to solve problems when we send them out into an ever-more-complicated world. When our children are born, we marvel at their first words, first steps -- but nature does all that. We parents don't do a thing.

After doing a story about moms with HIV, I recognized that what parents owe their kids is a set of survival skills. Those moms with HIV knew their time was limited and the best give they could give their kids is the ability to stand on their own two feet. Before then, I did things for my kids out of convenience or a lack of consciousness. I saw that I could be crippling them for the long term and changed my ways.

The kids, by the way, didn't always like it. They saw friends whose parents "did more" for them. Mark and I often got grief for that. (Michael thanked me last year, after helping several friends learn to do laundry. Big-time delayed gratification on my part, there.)

With Sam, I worry whether he has enough "generalized" problem-solving ability. I called my parents and asked for help those first years out of the house, and in my own apartment. Once they talked me through how to handle a simple repair or negotiations with a business, though, I could apply what I learned in other situations. I see Michael doing that now -- in his second year out of the house and looking forward to his first year in an apartment.

Sam is doing that to a great degree, yet I still have this nagging sense that life can still throw him lots more curve balls than he's prepared for.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Man outside, car keys inside

Sam called for help today; he'd locked his keys in his car after arriving at his workplace from his computer class at North Central Texas College.

I hopped in the pickup and headed across town from my workplace to his, calling him when I was at the light out front of Albertsons. He told me he was in front of China Garden buffet.

He never said anything about getting something to eat, so I didn't know why he would be hanging out in the foyer of the restaurant. When I pulled up, he didn't come outside. In fact, he went further in.

I went in to the restaurant to get him, and he was surrounded by three employees at the restaurant. I didn't like the looks of it at all. I asked him to step out into the foyer with me so we could avoid a scene.

He asked me to go unlock his car, and I told him I didn't know where it was, please walk with me. We were about halfway up the parking lot when he told me he was in the middle of lunch and he hadn't paid for his meal yet.

We turned back around to see an employee step out and toward us. I quickly explained the confusion, and we paid the ticket right then -- plus tip, even though the place was a buffet.

By this point, way too many things had happened out of order for Sam to catch up. But he was holding his cool pretty well.

We turned back around towards the car again, and got his keys out. Then he said he wanted to go back and finish his lunch.

I offered to go back and help him try to get back into the buffet, but the servers were ready.

"We saved his table for him," one said.

Sam and I tried to debrief the situation, since our miscommunications made it worse at first. We didn't talk about the elephant in the room, though.

How would you have solved this problem if I wasn't 15 minutes away with the spare key?

I plan on asking him that question soon. We'll see what he says.

Cutting and pasting and passing it on

The Learning Together Workshop Series Presents…

Employment for ALL! Customized Employment & the Discovery Process

By Michael Callahan, International Consultant on Employment & Transition

Saturday – April 2, 2011

Session #1 │ 9 – NOON

Session #2 │ 1 – 4

Education Service Center Region XI

3001 North Freeway

Ft. Worth, Texas 76106


According to the US Department of Labor, Customized Employment is defined as: Individualizing the employment relationship between employees and employers in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on an individualized determination of the strengths, needs, and interests of the person with a disability, and is also designed to meet the specific needs of the employer.

Participants will leave inspired and empowered with information and strategies that make employment a viable option for persons once thought to be unemployable.


The Discovery Process is a strategy used as a substitute to comparison-based testing procedures in that it utilizes already-existing information rather than information developed through formal assessment methods. It takes into account the applicant's entire life experiences rather than single instances of performance.

Mr. Callahan will review steps need to complete the discovery process. An interactive process that allows the provider to get to know the applicant and to assist in identifying personalized preferences and conditions for employment as well as individual contributions to be offered to employers.

Who Should Attend?

∙ Persons who have a disability

∙ Family members

∙ Education professionals

∙ Transition Counselors

∙ DARS Counselors

∙ Supported Employment Providers

∙ Employers and others interested in making employment a viable option for individuals once thought to be unemployable.


Call (817) 834-7700 or Email

Please provide your name, phone number and session title when reserving your spot.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Road Trip

Special Olympics, the equestrian events, are back in Bryan-College Station again this year. (They used to rotate around the state a little better, but I'm not surprised that some think Aggieland is the center of the Texas universe.)

Sam shared the dates last night and we went ahead and book his room.

In years past, I would wait until closer to the date, always thinking that there would be room at the inns. But, despite my thoughts that Special O isn't the kind of event that brings the masses to town, local hotels would be nearly sold out by the time I booked.

I only made that mistake about six times, and then I stopped.

I'm teachable, too.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Overheard in the Wolfe House #82

Peggy: How was internship today? Did you finish building that computer?
Sam: Not yet. We're going slow. (pause) Sometimes you have to repeat a step to make sure you got it right.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Overheard in the Wolfe House #81

(after arriving home from the Bartonville Town Council meeting)
Sam: Did that go alright?
Peggy: Yes, they are starting the moratorium.
Sam: I was afraid my behavior wasn't right.
Peggy: Oh, honey you were fine. I told you it's just like church. You have to sit a long time.
Sam: I didn't think they were ever going to stop talking about that water tower.

Overheard in the Wolfe House #80

Peggy: How was it at nonPareil today? Did you finish building the computer?
Sam: No. We just got parts. I'm going back Wednesday. We should finish Friday.
Peggy: Not much of a spring break.
Sam: Yeah. I'm making up lots of hours this week.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Overheard in the Wolfe House #79

Peggy (to Dixie): Oh, you bad dog.
Sam (from another room): I hope it doesn't have something to do with the kolaches.

Off-topic, but not really

My daughter, our youngest, decided to attend the University of Iowa this fall.

She has known for some time that she wants to major in English, and so had her sights set on the University of Texas.

For a time, I was feeling really smart about that Texas guaranteed tuition contract I bought when she was in kindergarten (oh, yeah, after tuition deregulation six or seven years ago I totally saw THAT train wreck coming.) And she's a really good student -- her GPA is over 100 points. It looked like things were going to line up nicely for her.

But because she's also in a good school with lots of good students, UT capped her.

The only way to be sure they would let her in is if she were in the top 8 percent. She's in the top 11 percent. UT says she's welcome to populate one of the campuses in the outer hinterlands (I won't let her go to UT-Arlington because they are drilling) and then they will let her come to Austin her sophomore year.

In addition to creating the financial train wreck of tuition deregulation, our legislature in their infinitely stupid policy making, told Texas colleges and universities -- the public ones -- they had to let in the top ten percent of every high school.

Now, Iowa knows what they've got when they've hooked a student like Paige. She scored so high on their admissions rubric, they offered her the regents scholarship package.

Got to buy lots more sweaters.

Texas never hesitates to squanders it best resource ... its people.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Overheard in the Wolfe House #78

Peggy: So what did you learn in class today?
Sam: Virtual machines.
Peggy: Tell me more about what that is.
Sam: Running Mac on Windows.
Peggy: Or Windows on Mac? Why would you do that?
Sam: I don't know.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

And one step back

Sam just told me he wants to ride in Horse-O-Rama on Friday. It's at Will Rogers Arena in Fort Worth, a place he has been to many times in the past decade.

I asked him whether he plans on driving himself. After all, it's a lot easier to get there from here than to nonPareil in Plano.

He just looked at me like I suggested he drive to the moon.


Overheard in the Wolfe House #77

Peggy: The Girl Scout cookies came today.
Sam: I saw.
Peggy: I hope I got the right kind.
Sam: You did. You got a lot.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Overheard in the Wolfe House #76

Sam (to the family dog): Dixie comes tomorrow. Are you excited, Gus?
Gus: (wags tail)
Sam: Well, I'm excited.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Overheard in the Wolfe House #75

Peggy: Next up is your taxes, Sam.
Sam: Yep.
Peggy: Maybe you should do your own this year.
Sam: You're not going to do them?
Peggy: I'll sit with you as you go through TurboTax. They make it pretty easy.
Sam: I guess I've got to keep growing up.