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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Problem With Autism (Sometimes) Is Calling Everything A Problem

Please take this survey! The post begged. They were researchers looking for information from parents of children on the autism spectrum. 

Specifically, they wanted to know about the way we handled certain aspects of behavior that were common to children on the spectrum: decreased eye contact, fixation, perceived lack of interaction.

Notice I use the word "perceived," I wish they had.

See, my problem with the survey was that certain words were being used over and over. One of those words was lack.

Does your child lack coping skills? Does your child show a lack of interaction?

Pre-autism me would have answered those questions with a definite yes. But you see, I've since learned to speak autism. To hear it, even when it can't find the right words, or say them in the right way, with the right facial expression. Even when the words won't come at all.

Monday, June 29, 2015

11 Great YouTube Channels That Will Eat Your Life

You Weren't Planning On Doing Anything Today, Were You?

At some point over this last weekend, I got directed to a cool YouTube video that led me to another and another and eventually I'm watching some weird series on giraffes in the wild Serengeti and it's seven hours later. I was sucked down the YouTube hole, and time had no meaning anymore.

And since today is Monday and we're all back at work (well, you are - I'm home with a sick kid), I figured I'd keep you from your assigned tasks by leading you down the primrose path to YouTube land myself.

Here's a list of some really awesome life-eating, time-stealing channels you can watch on YouTube:

Friday, June 26, 2015

Love Is Love - Whether You Expected It Or Not

When my daughter was born, I had all kinds of visions of the future.

She'd be beautiful, of course. And smart. Mustn't forget smart. And someday, I'd be helping her dress for her first dance, taking pictures of her and the lucky guy who had her on his arm.

Well, two out of three happened. Because this year, her eighth grade year, she went to her first formal dance, with her girlfriend.

Her girlfriend, who is a girlfriend.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Minor Annoying Things Guaranteed To Make You BatSh*t Crazy

This week has been a never-ending list of annoying things. I have a good friend who refers to this phenomenon as "a confluence of irritants." I have a very long list, but two of them are relatively minor:
  • I'm wearing shoes that squeak for some reason every time I walk today.
  • I have a bug bite in the center of my back that brushes against my chair every so often.

Those two things are annoying me to the point of madness. Seriously.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Writer's Block Is Only One Obstacle

Did you come out to the porch to write?
We can help you write!
Is there room on your lap for me?
Next to the laptop maybe?
Instead of the laptop maybe?
And while we sit
He can sing you the song of his people
Or give you a demonstration
Of feline schizophrenia and agility
While chasing that butterfly
Just outside the screen
We can help.
We can help you write.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Life Is Becoming An Untranslatable Word #amwriting #TuesdayThoughts

[Pic credit:]

I actually came across this list of untranslatable words some time ago and planned to write a blog post about one, but I found that I related to too many of them on some level or another.

For instance, there's Fernweh (pictured above) - feeling homesick for a place you've never been to. I found that happening just recently as I did some research for a book. The more I learned about the place, the more I yearned for it. I still do.

Ireland...someday. Someday, Ireland.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Keep Your Body Fluids To Yourself, Please (Unless Invited)

That particular sign appeared on the door of a mini-market, and I feel their pain. I spent some years in retail after college, and I can't tell you how much gross, sweaty money I had to handle in the summertime. 

And believe me, money is dirty enough. If you're a retail, restaurant or bank worker you know what I mean. I used to finish my shift with blackened hands, and that was even in the colder months. Summer? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Let's Hear It For Dad! Here's A Collection Of Awesome Dad Stuff!

It's almost Father's Day! And if you're lucky enough to have a great dad (like me!), you should be reminding him of just how awesome he is. Here's a collection of great and awesome Dad stuff to put you on the right track.

First, we'll start with the Dad who's entirely too social on social media:

And how about these dads? Age is just a number, folks (at least until you throw your back out):

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Kids Don't Look Alike...And I Think It's Been Good For Them

Whitney talks about her own resemblance to her siblings and how that cemented the "we're all part of a family" feel for her growing up.

I get that.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: There Are No Words, Not For This One

Open my yearbook, she texted from her father's house. 
Look up this name.
So I did and replied that I did and she replied:
He was in my grade
He killed himself yesterday
My mind struggles to wrap around the enormity of it
And so does hers, I suspect
He wasn't a close friend
More like a friend of a friend
But the school is small
And fourteen is too young to be looking at mortality
And the pain that would make it look like a relief
So I stare at the screen of my phone 
And I text her and tell her that I don't know what to say
It's awful, but that's not a strong enough word
It's sad, but that's not a strong enough word
It's heartbreaking to imagine what his family is feeling
And that's not a strong enough word
Because there are no words for this
There just aren't.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Number Thirty Four: A Special Needs Parent's Biggest Fear

While we were on vacation, and I was lounging in languid splendor on a wicker chair by the pool, I watched an elderly woman come in with her son. They must have been regulars, because the life guards all seemed to know them.

She walked with a cane and a very pronounced limp, and by the time she crossed from the gate to the pool area, she'd had to rest a couple of times, and she was very short of breath.

She was also leading her son, who was blind. And as she talked and interacted with him, it was clear he was disabled in other ways as well. His communication skills were child-like, and he had a few bouts of disruptive behavior that she quickly settled each time. But when she helped him into the water....oh, the joy on his face! He loved it. And it was clear to see she loved him loving it.

I wanted to go up to her and ask "What's it like? Getting older? And having someone you still have to look after? What should I be planning for, just in case? Do you have other children? Do they help? Do you want them to?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Camping Should Be An Adventure - Except For When You Set The Table On Fire

So I took the kids camping and we all had a good time but I set a table on fire.

Which isn't normal for me. Really.

We camp every year, and I've been camping all my life, so I've pretty much got it down to a science now. I can pack the car in under an hour, we can get camp set up (with two tents on the site) in the same time frame, and breakdown in a little over that.

And in between we frolic at the campground pool and ride bikes and play mini golf and eat ice cream from the campground store and make s'mores and whoa Nelly can I make a slammin' fire. 

I think I might be able to survive a zombie apocalypse, I really do. I mean, if they have showers and flush toilets. Because I won't camp without them. Or an air mattress. 

Come on, I'm not a teenager anymore. I gotta have something between me and the cold hard ground. And since Jason Momoa didn't come along for the ride (heh!), I had to settle for an air mattress.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dear SUV Guy: Thanks For Making My Night

It was just a routine trip to the grocery store after a routine day at work and I was heading home to my routine life and feeling pretty average about it all.

Nothing spectacular. Just me being me.

I was tired. I'd like to say I was having a great hair day or I just felt great all over, but that wouldn't be the truth. I was tired, and I'm tired a lot.

I'm a single Mom. I work two jobs. I have teenage daughter in a twenty five year old body and boy with autism in the throes of puberty. None of that is easy. And more often than not, it leaves me feeling kinda....well, I guess "drained" is the right word.

And that was me last night. I drove home from work in traffic, I stopped at the grocery store with the measly twelve dollars I have to spend until payday, I got in my car, and I started driving the remaining two miles to home.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Smoke Gets In My Eyes (Or Maybe Just My Overactive Imagination)

A haunted house can chill the blood or bring a smirk to the face of any cynic. Me, I just take it all in stride. Oh, I don't have a haunted house. I'm just haunted all by myself.

It began nearly ten years ago, and at first, I thought I must be encountering it naturally. I'd be driving in my car, or walking in a shopping mall or cooking dinner in my house and there it would be: the smell of cigarettes.

I don't smoke. Never have. Neither does anyone in my house.

Monday, June 8, 2015

My Son's Advice To All You Graduates: Grow Up To Be Yourself

David and I attended a neighbor's graduation party yesterday, and as this was a kid who was barely a toddler when I first met her, it was both wonderful and bittersweet to realize she's a grown woman now, and heading off to college.

I wanted so badly to rattle off some sage advice, something that would hold her for all that comes ahead - but the truth is, it's her life now. Navigating her life from the seat of my own is not only arrogant, it's useless.

But I do have one piece of wisdom to share, and it comes from the mouth of my son, at age five.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Fun For Friday: Another Edition Of "Today In The News!" #funny #weekend

Happy Friday! Next week, I'm off camping with the kiddos, furiously smacking spiders in tents, cooking marshmallows over a campfire and getting bug-bit and sunburned.

And I wouldn't trade this time with my kids for the world.

So while I'm out and about, I have the blog here set on autoplay, re-running a few posts that I hand picked for your entertainment. Have fun while I'm gone, and there had better be some liquor left in the cabinet when I get back.

In the meantime, have some fun catching up on the latest headlines:'d think she would have felt something.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

This Post Will Make You See Red - Figuratively Speaking, Of Course

I was doing some research for a book I was working on recently, and I needed to know how someone from Ireland would refer to having their period. So I asked my good friend Google and Google led me to this list, which was a real hoot.

And yes, my character was definitely wearing a jam rag.

Come on, how can you not at least giggle a little over that one?

And that, of course, led me to remembering the blog piece I did based on this list of problems that could get you admitted to an insane asylum in the late 1800's.

You'll note that "Uterine Derangement" is on the list. That's a thing. It really is.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: The Dreams We Keep Inside

What's this? I ask as I pull it from his backpack. 
The pack is stuffed full with year-end things
Odds and ends pulled from the bottom of a locker
Or a teacher's file folder
And this...I don't know what it is
It's a picture, he tells me
I made it
A picture of what? I ask
And he says "dreams"
I feel a tightening in my gut
Is this supposed to be Daddy? I ask
Pointing at the man
Do you miss Daddy sometimes?
He shakes his head 
No, that's me, he tells me
I'm going to be a daddy someday
And I will be a great one
And my son and I will play a lot
And we will be best buddies
I nod and I blink hard
So he won't see the tears forming
And I say
That's a wonderful dream
And you would be great
And I go in the bathroom
And I shut the door
And I let the tears fall


Ellie's journey with her son David has been one of joy, patience and discovery - one that changed the very framework in which she used to view autism. Through David's eyes, she's learned that an autism diagnosis isn't the end of the world - it's just the beginning of an interesting new one.
Available at Amazon for Kindle - and Smashwords for all e-reading device.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Stepping Up On My Soapbox While Trying To Hide The Cellulite On My Thighs

Yesterday, I was on Reddit and somewhere in a thread about something or other, someone got into a discussion about fat and/or unattractive girls on OK Cupid. I'm not going to quote the guy exactly, but the jist of his comment was that OK Cupid is a meat market (as are a lot of the free online dating sites vs the subscription ones) and fat/ugly girls always put "I'm not looking for a hookup" in their profile. He very scathingly pointed out that as a fat/ugly girl, she shouldn't be too picky.

And of course, Reddit has a largely male, largely young demographic, so the discussion devolved a bit into hookup stories and stories about fat/ugly chicks who were too snobby for the way they look. I didn't jump in because honestly, I'm just so tired of it. And these guys are clearly assholes or trolls so whatever.

But it is irksome. I've been a hot girl and I've been a chubby girl and I've been somewhere fluctuating in between and yes, it's true that when I was heavier, I didn't get as much attention. I got dismissed a lot more. I got called ma'am instead of miss. And I had guys who assumed I'd hop on anything just because there wasn't a crowd of men willing to hop on me at that moment. And when I was ready to date again, the first thing on my agenda was dropping the extra weight to give myself a better stocked playing field. And getting healthy. But mostly, I wanted to be sexy again.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mind Blowing Thoughts: Time And Relation

I happened upon an online discussion a while back that really got me to thinking about time, and our place within the spectrum of things. There were all sorts of interesting tidbits thrown about in that discussion, and here are a few that really stuck with me:

  • Orville Wright of the Wright Brothers died in 1948. Neal Armstrong was born in 1930. That means that from 1930-1948, the first man to fly and the first man to walk on the moon were alive at the same time.

  • Men who fought in WWII had grandpas who fought in the Civil War. Men who fought in the Civil War had grandpas who fought in the the Revolutionary War.

  • Oxford University predates the formation of the Aztec Empire by more than a century. Oxford was founded in the mid-twelfth century, and the Aztecs formed around 1300.

  • I've mentioned this one before, and it still blows my mind: Cleopatra lived closer in time to the moon landings than she did to the building of the great pyramids.