Donovan is an aide in the special needs class 7th period, which is really pretty awesome. It's exposing him to some of the difficulties those with disabilities experience on a daily basis, he gets to feel helpful (something that he loves), and he gets to do a lot of fun things like eat cake and go to the movies.
If every middle schooler knew how awesome aiding for this class was, there'd be a waiting list.
Today they went to see Big Miracle about Alaskan whales; the movie was partially filmed here in Anchorage last year.
He got a soda and some popcorn before the movie and ran into a confusing altercation with the cashier that resulted in him being made to buy two sodas when he only wanted one. He was understandably bummed about this because he didn't want two sodas and an adult in a position of (some) authority over him told him he had to buy two sodas.
After we got him from school and he relayed this unfair story to us, we drove back to the theatre and asked for a manager. The manager listened very closely to his story, understood what happened, and refunded him $5: more than the cost of the extra soda.
I wonder if the cashier had treated him in this way because he was with a group of special needs kids. And that makes me really angry.
The three of us talked about it in the car on the drive home and Donovan admitted to being nervous, but he was very happy with the manager and the outcome. I am so proud of him for standing up for himself to an adult when he was being treated unfairly.
I had planned on taking one photo each hour on the hour today for Leap Day, but after the theatre soda incident was resolved I forgot to take any more photos. And I'm okay with that.
I immediately said "that sounds like fun!" because it did and I love talking about my self portraits and Lord knows I've done enough of them.
But then I realized that this was Public Speaking With Capital Letters and started to freak out a bit.
I've not had much experience with public speaking, but the experience I have had has not gone well. Have you ever heard about those people who forget to breathe while speaking publicly and you think Ha Ha Who Forgets To Breathe That Isn't Even Possible Loser?
I make sure to take in enough oxygen but somehow never get to the exhaling part which, as it turns out, is pretty damn important. So I end up talking faster with a higher and higher pitch and then fall over dead.
Not really but metaphorically which means real life in my head.
Which is traumatic, okay?
So I did the only thing I could do: I avoided thinking about it. I spent a lot of time napping and reading a book during the three weeks before my agreement to speak and the actual engagement.
Until the long Presidents' Day weekend when I knew I needed to Buckle Down™ and Do This Thing For Serious™. So I brought all of my stuff to the coffee shop and I made an outline. Steve was very helpful with this, all of his writing skills came in very handy, and he had me think about my hook and the purpose of why I was talking to these people and all of that good stuff.
I'm very glad I forced myself to be prepared for the talk. I've been in a number of similar photographer presentations that was either an awkward slideshow with no commentary, or an awkward slideshow during which the photographer describes what we're seeing in words.
"And here I am on ice skates in a field in the middle of July. I think it's funny because it's true."
At least four different people asked me if I was going to have someone record my talk on video and I was all HELL NAW but then Steve went ahead and did that anyway.
Full disclaimer: I haven't watched this and I don't think I will. But I kept breathing the entire talk and didn't fall over dead once, so it couldn't have been that bad.
1. Start a bunch of white rice to steam early because you always forget this part and dinner is always waiting on the rice to finish so make sure you start it first.
2. Chop up a bunch of vegetables: green peppers, yellow zucchini, carrots, and onion. Put into small bowls to wait their turn.
3. Chop up a few chicken breasts.
4. Get a box or two of Japanese curry mix and break into pieces.
5. Arrange everything in a pleasing manner on a white cloth napkin. Get the step stool from the garage, bounce a flash off the ceiling and take those photos. Yes.
6. Dodge questions from the teen about when is dinner ready? what is the step stool for? are you actually taking photos of vegetables? why are you so weird?
7. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken and stir so it doesn't all cook in an unpleasant lump. No one likes chicken lumps.
8. Add in the sturdier vegetables: carrots and onion. Fry everything for a few minutes, then add water according to the instructions on the curry box. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked through.
9. Add in the curry squares and the softer vegetables (zucchini and bell pepper). Continue summering uncovered, stirring frequently, for a few minutes until the curry squares are completely melted. Or until the teen comes in and says that it smells ready.
10.Serve over the hot steamed rice that you started before doing everything else.