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Monday, November 30, 2015

Resource Monday: Educate Autism Offers Free Printable Aids

Just came across this and I wanted to pass it along: has a wonderful array of printable teaching aids - things like:

I've started using the motor skills printouts with my son as an extra reinforcement (since they cut back on his OT this year...grrrr!) and I've found them very helpful. The site is geared toward teachers but a lot of those printables can be used for extra practice at home. Keep in mind, this site originates in the UK, so spelling on certain words will be slightly different than here in the US.

You can never have too many visual resources when it comes to autism!

Once Upon A Time - Season 5, Episode 10 Recap: Everybody Dump On Emma

We begin tonight right where we left off, with Emma immobilized and Zelena cooing over a newly-made Dark One: Hook. In retribution for her taking his memories, he decides to take Emma's, and we'll just leave it at that and not address how it's possible that he's filled with all this dark magic and just had no inkling of it because he didn't remember. Welcome to the world of plot convenience, folks.

And in spite of that....holy damn am I loving the hell out of Dark Hook.


How is it possible that the man could get any sexier? How?? He seethes and I squirm.


Friday, November 27, 2015

It's Hard To Be Merry In A Mall: 6 Things Everyone In Retail Wishes You'd Do

The holiday season is upon us once again, and as I watch the commercials on TV, wade through the decorations at the Mall, and watch store owners prepping to open earlier than ever on Thanksgiving Day, I think the same thing I do every year:

Thank God I'm not in retail anymore.

I spent entirely too many years after college (thanks to that ever-employable Theatre degree) doing time in retail. I worked in clothing, shoes, lingerie, books and jewelry. I worked as a part-timer, seasonal help, full-timer, assistant manager, manager, and did five years as a district manager over a dozen stores in three different states. Throughout all that varied retail experience, I found one thing that just about all retail workers have in common:

They hate this time of year.

They love it when the commission check comes in (if they qualify for commission, that is - a lot of them don't), but during this holiday season when the milk of human kindness should be flowing and the holiday cheer should abound, you'll find very few gentlemen resting merry in the mall and the Christmas spirit is more like a shrieking poltergeist in the form of an angry woman denied a discount for lack of a coupon.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Thank You

To all of you reading this, Thank You.

For every word of encouragement dropped in a comment, on a Facebook post, Tweeted or just thought and felt...thank you.

Some of you have been with me from the beginning. Some came in later, and may not even remember how. Some of you read me faithfully every day, and some of you pop in every now and then.

Each and every one of you brings something to the table, and makes me a better writer, a better blogger, a better person.

So on this day of giving thanks, please know how thankful I am for all of you. Wherever you are, you've made a difference to me. 

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Over The River And Through The Words

Most people are getting ready for Thanksgiving
They're cooking and baking and cleaning and decorating
They're meeting relatives at the airport
And wondering if they bought enough yams
Me, I'll be sitting here with a keyboard
And a Turkey Lean Cuisine
Trying to take advantage of all this kid-free time
To hammer out a small portion of the writing I need to do
And a very, very thankful one at that
Pass the salt and pepper
And I'll try not to get any gravy on the keyboard.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When Your Kid Makes You Say The F Word

Okay, that title isn't fair.

I always tell my kids when they're screaming that no one makes them scream. They choose to do it.

So yes, I have a teenage daughter, and yes, I chose to use the F word in the middle of our heated argument.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Resource Monday: AutismTakeOn, a PostWaves Community

Today, I'd like to give a shout-out to AutismTakeOn, a community hosted by Postwaves (a community forum), where people share all sorts of stories and insights related to autism. 

They reached out to me via Twitter last week and I spent a few hours just perusing the page and reading people's stories. Being an autism parent can make you feel like you're in an isolation bubble some days, and reading all the stories, all the shared articles, helps you feel just a little less alone on the harder days and five times as joyful about the good days.

Create a free account and share your stories - they (and I) want to hear them!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy Friday - Here's A Bunch Of Stuff I Laughed Entirely Too Loudly At

It's Friday. Hallelujah. My brain is fried and I am so ready for some weekend. I always like to leave you laughing, so here's a collection of gifs that made me guffaw and snort in a very embarrassing way:

We'll start with the pranksters:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday: This Is A Good Week To Remember Who We All Really Are

In 1977, we sent a message into the blackness of space - one that may not be received until our civilizations have fallen, and we are all dust and memories. One that may never find another soul to hear it. But we sent it anyway.

A team of scientists, anthropologists, psychiatrists, linguists - all sorts of "ists" came up with these images, calculations, scientific data and songs to introduce humanity to the cosmos.

They did not include images of war. Or hate. Or suffering. They wanted whoever was out there to see the best of us.

If only we all wanted the same in our daily lives.

Today, I am thankful for the bounty of our world, and the diversity and unique voices of all the lives upon it. We all matter, and we're all in this together.

The final line of the video says it all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Not Yet, My Boy, But Someday...

I'm twelve now, he reminds me, every time he leaves for school
Find the twelve year old!
He squeals it from under the covers every morning
Another birthday passes
Another year of struggles
And marvels
And miracles
I'm twelve now, he tells me
I'm almost grown up
And I think not yet
Not exactly yet
But someday
And I wonder if I'll be able to close the door behind him
Without a care or a worry in the world
Not yet
I think I hear him tell me
But someday

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Autism Parent Wish: "I Want To Have A Conversation"

I came across this touching post by Erik Voigt on and he voices what so many autism parents wish: communication. Strong, direct, defined-as-we-know-it-to-be communication.

That last bit is important, I think. My son communicates with me all the time. Unlike Erik's daughter, David has a fairly good vocabulary. The problem is he doesn't use it like everyone else. He speaks to me in blocks of movie dialogue. He repeats inane questions or remarks over and over until you're teeth are gritting at having to answer him one more time. I love the boy to the moon and back, but some days (especially days when Mom has a writing deadline) it can be trying.

When I started writing my YA novel, I knew I was going to give my protagonist a sibling who was on the autism spectrum. There aren't a lot of books out there with solid characters on the spectrum, and when there is a character with autism, they're almost always Aspberger's (my son is not) which means they're very verbal and they're usually crazy intelligent almost to the point of superhuman.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Once Upon A Time - Season 5, Episode 9 Recap: This One Time, At Bear Camp...

Admit it, you'd love to see a spinoff called "Merlin's Angels"

So....the writers have left us scratching our heads and rubbing our bruised hearts and thoroughly befuddled, so they all looked at each other around the table and said, "What now?"

"I know!" said one. "How about a diversion!"

So let's clack our coconuts together and head off on an adventure back to Camelot, where Zelena and Arthur have just poofed away from Emma and Merlin to plot a way to get Excalibur back. There's something that can help them in Dunbroch, Arthur tells her, and off they go.

Over to Dunbroch now, where Merida is talking to her father's headstone, asking for his guidance as she rules the pansy saps that laid down their arms because she shot at their arrows. Her Mom shows up to remind her it's coronation day. And I wish to hell they could have gotten Emma Thompson to cameo. Dammit.


Flashback to Dunbroch "several years earlier" (not taking any chances with that timeline) and Merida's dad is breaking into the witch's cottage. Invaders are attacking from the south, so he asks the witch for some magic to "ensure the future of his kingdom." She tells him she wants an IOU in return and he adds his seal to the agreement.

She takes a piece of hair from Fergus's beard and makes some polyjuice potion a magic helm that will give him "exactly what he wants" if he wears it into battle.

Once Upon A Time - Season 5, Episode 8 Recap: It Takes Two To Make A Thing Go Ri-ight

We begin tonight with David going to confront Arthur, who takes off running with Killian in hot pursuit. He manages to get the drop on Killian, but Emma steps in to save her boyfriend, throwing Arthur into a tree.

Emma's deep voice is seriously not sitting right with me. I mean, I get why she's doing it but it makes my throat hurt to hear it. Anyway, Killian is touched that she saved him and lets her know that he believes Emma is still in there and he wants to help her. He refuses to believe she's not dark for a good reason, and Emma drops the bombshell: "I'm doing it for you."

Flashback to Camelot, and Merlin shows up to let Emma know that Arthur has bound him to Excalibur. He tells her that Arthur is going to order him to murder her family if Emma doesn't ignite the ember and turn it over, along with the dagger. Merlin also cautions her not to seek vengeance on Arthur.

Stop The Violence, Stop The Bombardment

I was out sick on Friday, and I live in a cord-cutter house. I have never been so grateful for the lack of cable television as I was this weekend.

That's not to say that I didn't see the news. My Facebook and Twitter feeds overflowed with it. Reddit clued me in before most of the rest of the world was even reporting on it. I logged into CNN and Google news, and felt the fist hit my gut. My hand settled over my mouth in horror as I read, and mourned, and then the hand turned into a fist, settled next to my keyboard.

And it still wants to strike out, and strike back.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Happy Friday The 13th! Check Out These Unlucky Saps!!

Holy cow, am I ever glad it's Friday. This week has been moving in dog years, I swear. But I'm kid-free for the weekend and I just bought "Game of Thrones" season one on DVD so I can get my Momoa fix (along with the various other mancandy on that show).

What was I saying? I sort of lost my train of thought after "Momoa..."

Oh yes. Friday. Friday the 13th, even! And in the spirit of this fine and spooky holiday, here are some videos of some poor schmucks with really terrible luck (note: some of these contain NSFW language/situations).

This one reminds you that winter is just around the corner:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thankful Thursday: It's The Moments That Make Up Your Life

This week, I'm unbelievably thankful for all the little moments that make a life worth living. For instance:

  • My son turned twelve yesterday. I took a moment before I woke him and watched him sleeping. Just seeing his chest move up and down and watching his peaceful face and realizing how very, very wonderful it is that somehow he's mine.
  • The cat climbed up on my bed this morning and laid down next to me, purring loudly. She wasn't smacking at me or headbutting me - just laying there, purring because she was happy to be next to me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Twelve Years With My Personal Superhero

Twelve years ago they pulled him from me
But a piece was left behind
Burrowing deep and taking root
I think he was endowed with so much capacity for love
That it overflowed
Leaking into me
And splashing onto everyone who's ever met him
You can't meet him and not feel it
Guess he missed the memo on kids with autism not having empathy
Because he loves and cares about everyone
No matter how they treat him
Twelve years ago he rocked my world
And he hasn't stopped since
Happy Birthday to my beloved David
Sunshine in a bottle, my silly-billy-crazy-patootie-head
Friend to all and superhero supreme

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

So It Turns Out There's A Scientific Reason For My Love Of Irish Accents

As a person with a Theatre degree, and a lifelong lover of words and language, I am an absolute sucker for a man with an accent. Or anyone with an accent, really. So much so that I have to work hard not to fall into the accent myself.

I'm especially undone by an Irish accent. Maybe it's my heritage calling to me, but it turns out there's solid science behind our love of certain accents, according to this article from CNN.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Resource Monday: A Helpful Chart For Dealing With Aggression In Autism

Reader Michael pointed me toward this helpful chart on dealing with aggression in a person with autism (click on the pic to make it larger). I like this way this breaks down the potential triggers and options for accomodation and then simplifies it so that anyone can understand and help.

They did leave off a few obvious triggers that any parent would know: fatigue, hunger and pain - which a child with autism may be unable to communicate well. Other than that, this thing is spot-on for helping them learn to self-regulate and providing them safe alternatives to deal with their feelings.

I was unable to find the original source for this after Googling the hell out of it - I did find it cited on several blogger sites but nobody's claiming they created it. If anyone knows the original source, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

Once Upon A Time - Season 5, Episode 7 Recap: The First Rule Of Dark One Club Is You Don't Talk About Dark One Club

You had ONE job, Snow....

We begin tonight at Emma's house, or should I say "under" Emma's house, where she's dealing with Dark Rumple. He discusses the history of Excalibur and tells her it's time to fulfill the promise in the blade.

And now we go back a thousand years ago. Two people are running through the desert, away from soldiers who are hunting them. One of them is Merlin but he's wearing rags. They're hot and dying of thirst when Merlin sees something glinting in the distance. They end up finding the holy grail. His companion grabs the cup and is instantly pulverized.


Merlin decides to take his chances, and takes a drink from the cup. The grail finds him worthy, giving him magic, and the desert blooms to life under his fingers becoming (I assume) the Enchanted Forest.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Happy Friday - Welcome To The Land of NOPE

I'll pass, thanks
It's Friday, and life is good. Part of the reason life is good is that I know when to say NOPE.

And in the spirit of knowing when to say NOPE, here are some things that definitely made me say it. Loudly.

Oh, look! That guy caught a fish!

Nope. Just...nope.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thankful Thursday: It's Been A Week To Be Thankful For

During November I like to do "Thankful Thursdays" to remind myself of all I have that's good in my life. Here's this week's rundown:

  • I am thankful that my neighbor lets me watch "Once Upon A Time" on her TV because I don't have cable and stinking ABC Family won't let you watch it online without a cable provider. I'd say they suck but they do have the only show I want to watch, so...they just rot. I have Hulu, but they make you wait eight hours to watch it, which only slightly rots. But my neighbor is awesomesauce.
  • I am thankful that none of my coworkers saw me trip up the stairs while texting and slam my phone into my face with enough force that I had a red mark for nearly two hours. Bet that's some great security camera footage, though.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: The Mashups Are Always The Best

David: (holding up Lego figure - headless, of course) Mom, look!
Me: Who's that?
David: It's Jedi Belle.
Me: From Beauty and the Beast?
David: Yes. And she is beautiful with The Force.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It Was Only A Bag Of Chips, But The Kindness Behind It Spoke Volumes

On Saturday, the kids and I were shopping in a town nearby, and we decided to round the trip out with lunch at Margarita's restaurant.

It was our first time to their chain, and we settled in with our food and our server was nice and it was all good.

Until my son started singing.

He does that, you know. He loves to sing, and most of the time, I don't discourage it too heavily. He's got a good voice and it makes him so damn happy and honestly, he's adorable when he's singing "Gaston" from "Beauty and the Beast."

But he was loud. And I kept shushing him, asking him to be quiet and respectful of the other diners - even went so far as to tell him we were taking our food to go if he didn't mind me. His sister wasn't aiding my efforts to calm him down - she's a teenage girl, and having your nearly twelve year-old brother singing Disney really loud with exaggerated hand gestures in a public place is seriously cringe-worthy. Autism is hard some days. Teenage girls interacting with autism make it harder.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sesame Street Has Launched A New Autism Initiative With Resources For Parents And Children

That's right! The most beloved name in children's programming has now launched an autism initiative, and this webpage, like everything we see on Sesame Street, is wonderfully presented and full of knowledge.

Sesame Street and Autism is dedicated to "Seeing The Amazing In All Children" by providing parent, child and even sibling resources (which I think are overlooked by a lot of sites).

From the website:

A recent study reveals that children with autism are five times more likely to be bullied than their peers—treatment no child should endure. While the differences between people with autism and their peers may seem significant, children share something far more important: unique qualities and talents that make the world an interesting place.

Once Upon A Time - Season 5, Episode 6 Recap: A Tepid Brew With A Side Of Mancandy

We begin tonight breaking into Arthur's prison in Camelot. The dynamic duo of Charming and Hook (that really ought to be a spinoff show when this one's done) are kicking ass and taking names. Merlin is there to break Lancelot out, but we find Merida locked up as well.

Belle (who came along only to carry a book, it seems) figures out how to open the magic enchanted bars on the cells by reading something out of the book. Merida insists on finding Arthur since he took her wisps but Merlin says they'll only bring her death and swears they'll find another way to rescue her brothers.

And that's pretty much the end of any exciting action in this episode. Seriously.

Forward to Storybooke now, where Regina informs Snow and company about Emma's slip regarding the fact that they freed Merlin back in Camelot. She suggests using the Crimson Crown to talk to Merlin, since she's figured out the communication spell that goes with the magical fungi. The problem is, Merlin will only appear to someone he's "chosen".

I would like to be chosen by Merlin. For whatever.


Belle suggests they use Rumple, since he's a former Dark One and she gets shot down. David thinks they should talk to Arthur, instead.

Off in the woods, Rumple's in an encampment bound up and sobbing over his chipped cup. He whispers an apology to Belle before he shatters it, using one of the shards to saw through his bonds.