Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Living His Dream

Ben has been very fortunate in his choice of schools. I am so glad he persevered when I was doubting the wisdom of letting him going far, far away. Davis has many fabulous offerings. Here's a sample:
  • The STEP program provided an in-depth orientation to campus life just before school started. It began with a four-week intensive residential sampling of college life, complete with residence hall living, dining commons meals, classes, and counseling. All at no cost to Ben. Once a student has been accepted into the STEP program, they remain with the program through all four undergraduate years.The University wants to ensure the success of these special kids.
  • He has been accepted into the BUSP program. It's a special program for students who want to pursue research in biological sciences. In the summer between Freshman and Sophomore year, it provides two free summer school sessions along with a stipend to help with living expenses. Sophomore year he is guaranteed a job in research.
  • He has become interested in the community gardens and the domes housing
    He has been taking meals there several times in the past couple of weeks. I can imagine him living in the domes when the time comes.
  • He is investigating research travel through Wallacea
Oh, Ben, the places you'll go, the things you'll see.

And he witnessed his first campus protest. He did not partake, because he has yet to form an opinion, but he will be doing his research to find out how he feels about the position of the new UC president on immigration issues and he will be watching to see what actions she takes. Ben has never been political in the past and it's exciting to see this awakening.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Trouble With Tribble

The trouble with Tribble is that he has only three legs. Kevin and Rachel adopted him after he had lost his right rear leg in an encounter with a car. It doesn't slow him down much. He is very adept at scrambling up onto high places by pulling himself up with his front feet. He's a bit clumsy and noisy, but very determined. He also has a voice that cannot be ignored. The "Awww" factor with this cat is very high so he gets lots of love and attention.Here he is resting on a quilt I finished while visiting Kevin and Rachel this week.

 I went up to Kansas City on Wednesday evening so I could go with Rachel to her chemo appointments on Thursday and Friday. Thursday's session was no problem. The chemo protocol for Friday is more difficult to tolerate and takes longer to administer. Rachel is such a good patient. She is taking very good care of herself and is doing everything she can to aggressively attack any unwelcome cells in her body. I'm sure she'll be victorious. The chemo had left her feeling a bit unwell Saturday morning when I left. She expects the effects to linger a few more days and then she will be feeling better by midweek.

Kevin is working in Mississippi for the next several months. He comes home Friday night and leaves on Monday morning. Every fifth week he spends at home. It is hard for him to be gone while Rachel is undergoing chemo, but they are coping pretty well.

I expect the holidays will be rather quiet around here. Ben will be in California for Thanksgiving and I think Danny is planning to be there also. Rachel and Kevin will probably not be with us as they will be avoiding travel and exposure to any unnecessary germs while Rachel's immune system is depleted from the chemo.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Reporting In

Robin would have been 52 years old today, but instead, she is forever 39. Like sister Colleen said today on Facebook, I wish I could have seen her red hair turn gray. I still cannot believe she is gone and yet I can't imagine what it would be like if she were here. I want so much for her to know the joy her boys have brought to me. There are so different from each other, so unique, yet both are amazing, wonderful kids.

Ben has dreamed of being an entomologist for nearly as long as he has lived with me. I think he went straight from paleontologist to entomologist when he outgrew the dinosaur phase. His grit and determination in gaining admission to UC Davis were all his own doing. I had hoped he would stay close to home for a few more years. Only when I realized he would never forgive me if I thwarted him, did I give in. His getting to Davis is entirely due to his grit and persistence. His focus is amazing. And now as I see him unfold, I'm pretty sure he was right.

Never a kid who was interested in what he wore, he found REI in California and for the first time developed an interest in shopping for clothes. He learned to dress in a way that expresses who he is -- outdoors clothing for the field-bound research scientist. He attended the Entomology Club Fall Social and seems to be enjoying that small community within the huge campus population. I was so afraid to let him go and yet he has navigated with confidence since leaving home. He does laundry, buys textbooks, gets into programs and activities that are important to him, deals with roommate issues, seems to be eating, sleeping, getting places on time, and living like an independent adult (except the money part, although he is frugal). Most important, he seems to have a good sense of who he is and where he is going.

Ben is smart, funny, introverted, literal, kind, logical, intense, and honest. He's an exceptional person and I believe he will make an important contribution in the field of entomology.

Logan is loquacious. He can chat up anybody. He's interesting, interested, funny, smart, personable, sweet, and extroverted. He loves to dress in business clothes -- suit and tie. He recently upgraded his backpack to a brief case and uses it to carry his books and school supplies. He likes speech and debate and belongs to the Literature Club at school. He is participating in the International Baccalaureate program at his school. It is a rigorous and challenging program and he is working hard at it.  Just a couple of days ago, he asked me to get him a subscription to The Economist. He wants to be a lawyer. He will be a good one.

The differences between the two boys fascinate me. So different and yet both so wonderful. Thank you Robin.