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Monday, June 30, 2014

My List Of Really Great Mother/Daughter Movies

Anna and I both love movies. All kinds of movies. We quote movie dialogue like you would not believe, and during some of these movies, we've had some of our best, most connected mother-daughter moments.

"I love this scene. I watch this movie every Mother's Day because this scene says it all."

"She's rolling on a bathroom floor, crying and saying 'Thank you.' I don't get it."

"That's because you're not a mom yet, Anna. She just killed a buttload of people, battled for her life and came through it all with the one thing she wanted: her daughter. And now she's crying tears of pure joy and saying 'Thank you' to whatever and whoever made that happen."


"Watch it again, when you have a kid. Promise me."


Yes, reader, that's right. Anna and I watch "Kill Bill" together. She's always had a good head on her shoulders where movies are concerned (and in general), and at thirteen, I'm cool with her watching R-rated movies.

That being said (meaning, some of these might not be appropriate for your child - look them up first), I have a list of a few of our favorites, and I think they're really good Mother/Daughter fun. Here's the list, in no particular order:

Friday, June 27, 2014

To My Niece, Who Is Marrying Tomorrow

Tomorrow is your wedding day, beautiful girl, and I still find it hard to believe that you're not still way too young for this. This, of course, has nothing to do with you. I will believe this even if you were marrying at sixty.

What I'm trying to say is this is more a reflection on me than on you. You are ready for this. You've got your guy, and he's got you and your family loves him and his family loves you and you love each other and you're doing this thing.

Your parents have modeled love and marriage for you as long as you can remember. They're thirty years strong this year, and speaking as the person who ensured that they met each other all those years ago, I can tell you that we all knew they'd done it right from the get-go.

So on top of their crowning achievement at marriage, and standing in the rubble of my failed quarter-century of life with another person, I wonder what I could possibly tell you in the way of marriage advice. I'm hardly what you'd call an authority. For God's sake, I'm a divorce blogger. I wouldn't blame you if you asked me politely to wait outside while you said your vows, just in case.

I do think that I can give you some words of wisdom, however. I may not know how to make a marriage go more than two decades, but I do know what I wish we would have done more, in hindsight. So let me at least throw those your way, and hope some of it sticks.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

What Does Intimacy Mean To You?

I've been doing a lot of research lately about relationships and trying to read a lot of male bloggers, because I really do enjoy hearing what they have to say about love, about sex, about making relationships work, about breaking up and about the reasons why their past relationships have failed.

Fascinating stuff, all of it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Another Date Night

So it's just you and me? 
Your sister is sleeping over at her friend's house. So it's just you and me, Bubby.
And we can have McDonalds?
Sure, we can.
And we can sit and talk about our day?
You bet.
How was your day, Mom?
It was okay - I had a lot to do at work
I had a lot to do at camp
I bet you did. I bet you had more fun than me.
I wish you could be at camp. We could go on the swings.
I wish I could swing with you, too.
But we get to have McDonalds and we are having fun now
Yes, we are.
Now is important
Yes, Bubby. Now is important. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's A Pain In The Ass When You're Proud Of Something And Can't Really Crow About It

I accomplished something amazing over the weekend, and I can't really even crow about it. Well, not like I'd like to, anyway. I finished a trilogy.

Let me clarify that. I just finished writing a trilogy. A big, incredible trilogy. And I can't really crow about it too much because it'

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dear Guy I Don't Know Who Just Facebook Messaged Me

I just got your message.

Hello Pretty, (You wrote

How are you?...I hope you are doing good....Don't be surprise about receiving a message from me...I was just fooling around the site when your beautiful picture got my attention and my breath skip because you are drop dead cute,i will appreciate it if you give us a chance to know each other better..that's if I'm not talking to another man's woman.

Well, now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Someday, Maybe

It's getting harder and harder not to give up on the idea of somebody out there
Maybe just as lost as I feel
Maybe just as lonely
But just when I think it's easier to write it all off
My heart remembers what it felt like to jump, or flutter
Or fly
And I think to myself

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Daughter Can Write - But Please, Don't Ask Her To

Many of my friends and neighbors have told me how very smart and funny my daughter is. That's not a brag, (Okay, it is a brag) and I fully agree with their assessment. Anna is very, very witty and clever, great with words and can craft a pun that will have you laughing as you roll your eyes over it.

And if you talk to her Language Arts teacher, she'll be happy to crow about Anna's tremendous skill with the written word. Her preferred genre for writing is horror, believe it or not, and she can write stories that will leave you wide-eyed while lying in your bed at night, wondering what the hell that sound was.

So, to answer the question that some of you have asked me on occasion - yes, Anna can write. Anna can write really, really well.

But please, don't ask her to. She hates it.

Friday, June 13, 2014

An Open Letter To My Son's Teachers On This, His Last Day Of Elementary School

Dear Teacher, Aide, Therapist, Learning Support Staff, Secretary, Principal, Counselor, Nurse, Janitor, and Cafeteria Worker,

For five years, you have taught my son. 

Some of you are shaking your head thinking, "I'm not a teacher..." but I'm here to tell you that yes, you are.

When I sat down six years ago at the County Intermediate Unit with a group of teachers and therapists, and representatives from the school district, I remember quite vividly that I held a pen in my right hand. I did this for two reasons. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The National Autism Association Is Giving Away Free or Discounted Big Red Safety Boxes

I just wanted to flag this for anyone who has a concern with a child who wanders. As many of us with children on the spectrum are aware, more than half of all children with autism will wander away from their safe environment, and of those who wander, one third will be non-verbal. The National Autism Association is offering free or discounted kits. Their "Big Red Safety Box" includes:

1) A be REDy printed toolkit including:

  • A caregiver checklist
  • A Family Wandering Emergency Plan
  • A first-responder profile form
  • A wandering prevention brochure
  • A sample IEP Letter
  • A Student Profile Form

2) Two (2) Door/Window Alarms including batteries
3) One (1) RoadID Personalized, Engraved Shoe ID Tag*
4) Five (5) Laminated Adhesive Stop Sign Visual Prompts for doors and windows
5) Two (2) Safety Alert Window Clings for car or home windows
6) One (1) Red Safety Alert Wristband

Click here for more information.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Yeah, That's Him

Yeah, that's him.

My bacon boy.
My just-a-few-days-away-from-being-a-middle-schooler.
My bright ray of sunshine on a daily basis.
My role model in all things perseverance.
My undying faith in the power of an optimistic attitude.
My teacher, my buddy, my source of occasional exasperation.
My son.
My son with autism, who I wasn't so sure was going to be able to handle elementary school when they told me they were going to mainstream him in with his peers.
They're not his peers, my mind said, fearfully.
He doesn't think like them. Doesn't talk like them. Doesn't do like them.
And now, five years later, he still doesn't think like them.
He only occasionally talks like them.
But oh, my goodness, does he ever do like them. Everything. All of it. Exceeding my expectations and leaping right over my fears with an endless, energetic bound of enthusiasm.
Friday at noon he'll be a middle-schooler.
I'll be there as he hugs the teachers, the principal, his therapists and aides.
And I know I won't be the only one crying.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Half-Assing Your Way Through Gym Class - A Time Honored Tradition

The school year is finally coming to an end, and my daughter's grades are great. Mostly.

The one sole exception to this is, somehow, gym class. I know she hates gym. I know she sits out a lot, even though she loses points when she does. I've talked to her about this. Her father has talked to her about this. It finally got critical when Daddy threatened to take her beloved phone away from her if she didn't work harder at getting her grade up.

In other words, she has to participate. He's frustrated, because he was a high school athlete, and he looks at his beautiful, long-limbed, strong-armed, fast-running daughter and doesn't understand why PE is a class she could possibly be having any difficulty with.

To him, PE is a no-brainer. You show up, you put on your gym clothes, you particpate, you get an "A." Simple.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Lest We Forget

Army Sgt Major Robert Blatnik returns to Omaha Beach, Normandy France
 (credit: Doug Dunbar/KTVT/KTXA)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Caught You

Doors slam and voices raise
Shouts of Mooooom! Fill the air
It escalates to toys hitting the walls
Feet pounding down stairs or across the floor
He hit me!
She hit me!
Don't push your sister!
You! Stop egging him on!
Sent to their separate corners
Glaring and far from duly chastised
I throw my hands up in exasperation
Even as I remember how often and how fiercely my brothers and I once fought

Then: silence
And I look to where they threw the blankets and pillows down on the living room floor
I see them both
He's using her as a chair to watch TV from, upside down
His hand twined around hers
She's tickling him
I'm smart enough not to let them know I caught them having fun with each other

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ellie's Guide To Theoretical Dating, Volume One: Bad First Impressions

Before I get into actual dating again, I've decided that I need - as Dolores Umbridge would so heartily endorse -  a more practical, theoretical approach. In other words, I'm going to think about it and talk about it a lot before I actually get out there and really, you it.

So here's the first part of my theoretical approach to dating: There will be second chances.

Let me explain.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Conversations With My Teenage Daughter: Fish Tacos

Over the weekend, I took the kids to one of our favorite spots: The Movie Tavern. If you have one of these anywhere near you, go! Not much more expensive than dinner out and then a movie, but you get to enjoy your food while you view. The kids love the novelty of it, and the food is always good.

We had already ordered our food and were enjoying our drinks, watching previews and waiting for it to arrive. Most of the servers in that place are young and very perky, and my thirteen year old daughter had her eyes on a server named Ryan who looked like he was in his teens and was completely and utterly totes adorbs. OMG.

(Those are my words, by the way, not hers. She wouldn't be caught dead calling anyone "totes adorbs," but I digress...)