Life With A Side Of Autism

LIFE WITH A SIDE OF AUTISM

Monday, October 31, 2016

Once Upon A Time - Season 6, Episode 6 Recap: Pop-Tarts, Pirates & People From The Past


Ain't no Killian like a seething, wet Killian

Tonight we begin "During the Time of the Dark Curse" (loving these generic time references - much less likely to trip them up on continuity), and Hook is aboard the Jolly Roger, barking orders at his lackluster crew. He soon discovers he's got a stowaway on board. The man refuses to give his name, choosing instead to ask a question:

"Is taking revenge against the Dark One worth it?" Of course, we all know how pre-Emma Hook will answer that question, but they're suddenly interrupted by a submarine passing under the ship, freaking Hook out because he assumes it's a sea monster. The man pushes Killian into the sea, and jumps in after him.

Next we see present-day Killian hiding the golden shears in a toolbox in the shed because he's a pirate who knows nothing about hiding treasure, apparently.

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Toys R Us U.K. To Host Sensory Friendly Shopping on November 6th



Next Sunday, November 6th, Toys R Us Stores across the United Kingdom will be hosting a "Sensory Friendly" shopping experience.

Opening an hour earlier, the stores lights will be dimmed, music will be muted, and fluorescent lights will be kept at a minimum. There will be no announcements blaring over the public address system, either.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Check Out These Hilarious Halloween Costumes


It's that time of year again - let's have some fun with Halloween costumes!

Check out "Amazon Prime"


How 'bout some love for Oogie Boogie baby?



Thursday, October 27, 2016

What's Your Local "Gotta Have It" Food?






That, my darlings, is pure paradise on a paper plate.

That is a Turkey Schwartzie Hoagie from Primos Hoagies, a Philadelphia area institution. And oh, my good Lord, y'all. . .

So good. I mean soooooo good.

That's thinly sliced delicious local Thumann's turkey breast, Primos famous cole slaw, swiss cheese and russian dressing all on a chewy-on-the-inside, crunchy-on-the-outside seeded roll that is to die for.

I get one of these every few months, ordering the large size, eat wayyy too much of it to the point of being ill, and that holds me for a few more months until I gotta have one again. I had one yesterday and oh, baby, was it ever good.

That's only one of the delicious things that migrate to my hips in this neck of the woods. 

What about you? What local thing makes your mouth water? Tell me all about it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: You Remember The Little Things



Don't forget your tea! I say, as I hand her the cup
And off she goes to school
Today is a cold day
The first big frost of the fall
And a cup of hot tea (with cream and loads of sugar)
As she boards the bus
Is exactly what she needs to wrap her hands around
Someday, when she's thirty
These school days will all be a blur in her memory
These cold and early mornings
These boring bus rides
But she'll remember those cups of tea
And the mom who made each one
Handing it to her with an I love you! Have a great day!
It's all in the little things
The little things are made of love





Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Listicles And Clickbait And Slideshows - Oh My!


As some of you who've been with me since the bitter beginning may recall, I started my blog career as the Divorce Blogger for Woman's Day Magazine.

I managed to hold that post for over four years, blogging five days a week about divorce, parenting through divorce, parenting a special-needs child through divorce, being a single mom, being a lonely single mom. . . it was empowering. It was grueling. Sometimes, it was depressing. It was a fantastic, cathartic learning experience and my readers helped me in ways that I could have never imagined. It brought in critical income at a time when I desperately needed it, and for all of that, I am and will always be incredibly grateful.

But then things started to change. Woman's Day was bought out by Hearst Publishing, and they weren't so terribly interested in the relationship I'd built with my readers, because honestly, there just weren't enough clicks. A few hundred loyal readers with solid advice and a community of support and sharing for women and men who find themselves foundering was not really the goal there.

The goal was clicks.

Monday, October 24, 2016

When An Autism Mom Sees Her Son Make A Friend, It's A Beautiful Moment


I have to share this picture, and this wonderful, heartlifting story. This is  Kainoa Niehaus, and he just got his autism service dog. That's his mother behind him, watching the son that can't abide touch - the son who won't let her or anyone hug him or hold him close - cozy up to his new best friend, without any prompting, and without any reservations. Her face says it all, and so does his.

His mother Shanna detailed her feelings out in the post that accompanied the picture:

See this moment? I've never experienced a moment like this. 
This picture captures the face of a mother who saw her child, who she can't hug, wash, dress, snuggle and touch freely lay on his new service dog of his own free will, with a purposeful, unspoken attachment.
This is the face of a mom who has seen her son experience countless failed social interactions on the playground in an attempt to have a friend. Any friend. Any kind of connection.
She has sat with her son while he has cried at night for months because he has no consistent connections outside of the family no matter how hard he tries and no matter what he works hard on in his Autism therapies.
It doesn't transfer to the natural occurring world for him. And now she is sitting behind her son silently watching this moment, with the air sucked from her lungs, and no words to say.
You can find Shanna's original post on the Love What Matters Facebook Page.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get another box of Kleenex.

Once Upon A Time - Season 6, Episode 5 Recap: Secrets & Saviors



Tonight we begin in Agrabah "Many Years Ago," where we see Jafar, deliciously evil, turning beggars and thieves into rats as Aladdin works the crowd, picking their pockets.

As he's counting his ill-gotten booty, Jasmine shows up, and it turns out Aladdin is an immigrant to Agrabah from somewhere in Liverpool. He sounds like a chimney sweep and I expect him to break into song and dance at any moment.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sorry Folks, I'm Mostly Brain-Numb


I am seriously running on fumes between my ears right now. I'm blazing through the 2nd revision of the sequel to my YA novel and the deadline is looming. To make it worse, the day job is running me ragged lately so I'm pressured all over the place.

I need a week off. Or a month off. 

Anyway, I'm probably going to put some reruns up on the blog for the next couple of days until I can get a grip on this deadline. 

I am a bad blogger this week, and a tired human being. Sorry.

I'll do better next week, I promise.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Once Upon A Time – Season 6, Episode 4 Recap: New Hair, Same Old Rumple


Tonight we begin with a frustrated Rumple, who grabs some scissors and emerges from his back room with an ultra-short new hairdo only to run into the Evil Queen and Hyde, who are seeking a certain cameo necklace.

Rumple decides to kill Hyde just for asking, only to find that he can't - just as Regina can't kill the Evil Queen (plot point!).

Hyde laughs off Rumple's attempt and takes the necklace, reminding Rumple that their deal specifies that Rumple can't stop him. Rumple then reminds Regina that she promised not to hurt Belle, and Hyde reminds Rumple that he never made that promise, which applies only to Regina. Got it? Good.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Happy Friday! Let's Check Out The News!

Great news!

It's Friday! Hallelujah! And while we're all sprinting toward the weekend, let's shake open a newspaper or switch on the TV and see what's going on in the world around us.

Hey, if you need money for the weekend, you can apply with this guy. I'm sensing there's some history here...



Thursday, October 13, 2016

Heritage vs Culture: Americans Do This Differently



Anna and I were having a discussion over the weekend about Columbus Day and its origins. She was feeling a little conflicted because she's got both Italian and Native American blood in her veins. Columbus, as you know was a masterful explorer, and especially around the Philadelphia area, he is celebrated with a lot of revelry.

But there's no denying that Columbus was also a sonufabitch, enslaving, murdering and raping indigenous people everywhere he went.

Heritage is both a priviledge, and sometimes, a burden. Columbus is certainly not the perfect representation of all Italian people (who have made tremendous contributions to the public good across recorded history), but to ignore his crimes in the name of cultural pride is wrong.

Speaking of cultural pride; that brings me to my next point in the heritage discussion. I've spent a lot of time hanging out in online forums across the years, most of which feature members from all over the globe. There seems to be some irritation from people in other countries when an American shows up for a visit and proudly proclaims, "It's great to be here! I'm Irish too!" Or, "I've always wanted to see Paris - I'm French, you know!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: In The Time Of Colors


Cold in the morning
Just enough so that you feel cozy
Under that big comforter
Warm in the afternoon
But not overly so
Dappled sun on rainbow leaves
The smell of fireplaces
And scented pumpkin apple candles
My favorite season
Wish it could stay longer

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Our Legal System Is A Pain In The Ass


I spent the morning in court.

I've been embroiled in a "situation" for about three months now, and today I had to take a day off of work to drive to the county courthouse, wait two hours, and get an extension on the extension that I got before.

This is a civil case, by the way - nothing criminal going on. It involves the non-payment of a traffic citation for expired emission and inspection stickers that I didn't know was still unpaid. It's a long, convoluted story that involves a local magisterial court dropping the ball on mailing part of the citation and me not following up when I made payments to be sure they'd all been received and the gist of it all is the state decided to suspend my driver's license - something that has never happened to me ever before.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Once Upon A Time – Season 6, Episode 3 Recap: Oh! My Ovaries!!



This recap went up a little late because I had to watch that trainwreck of a debate. I think it was brilliant airing it right after this show. I will never complain about plot holes or convoluted timelines ever again.

Anyway....we begin tonight by flying over (or should I say 'under') the cuckoo's nest, down into the basement of Storybrooke's hospital, where Regina hopes to find a way to Hyde's cold, dark heart with some pasta, cheese and red pepper flake.

Alas, her evil self has already beaten her to it, and Hyde demands to be released if they want any information from him. Regina fumes, because she's forever one step behind her evil self.

Now we go to Granny's, where Henry shows up with the unofficial census of Untold Story visitors when in walks Ashley (a.k.a. Cinderella) with her toddler daughter, Alexandra. Henry spies someone new in Mennonite wear and while he's interviewing, Emma watches Hook be SOFA KING adorable with little Alexandra.
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Friday, October 7, 2016

Fun On A Friday - How About A Big Cup Of NOPE


What do you think? Is that NOPE enough for you? If not, then strap in - there's more sphincter-clenching fun to follow!

Check out the view:


Thursday, October 6, 2016

What Are Your Can't Not Sing Songs?


 Music can be a powerful thing. It's used in multiple therapies, it lifts your soul, it makes you cry (lookin' at you, Adele...) and it takes over your body and makes you dance sometimes. An earworm can drive you to the point of madness.

Did you know that in the first Operation Desert Storm offense, the military surrounded Saddam Hussein's compound and blasted Rock the Casbah by the Clash non-stop at earsplitting volume? And who can't sing along with that chorus? I'm betting the first few hours were a lot of fun - for our side, anyway.

So I know it's crappy grammar on this question, but bear with me: What song can you not not sing?  I mean it comes on the radio in the car, or at a party, and suddenly you're singing (sometimes at the top of your lungs) because you just can't not do it. That kind of song.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Killer Clowns From Cyberspace


They targeted our school! she says breathlessly. They're coming for us!
Says who? I ask.
It's all over the internet! And clown sightings! They're closing all the schools!
I haven't seen any school closings, I tell her. You all need to calm down.
You know I hate clowns, she reminds me.
Ever since that scary clown at a birthday party (not hers) accidentally stepped on her foot, she's been sure they're all out to kill her. 
And these bozos are not helping.
Save me from killer clowns and dramatic teenagers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Here It Is: My Top-Secret Mega Delicious Hot Spiked Apple Cider Recipe!


Hallelujah - it's boots and sweater weather again (well, for some of us, anyway...) and since we're inching closer to Halloween, I'm getting everything ready for my favorite Halloween tradition: the making of the hot spiked cider.

It's been a staple on Halloween night for all the years I've lived in my neighborhood, and now they call me "The Cider Girl." On Halloween night, I hand out candy to the kids, and I keep a jug of cold apple cider for the underage passers-by who find themselves thirsty. 

But for the grown ups? I have a huge, simmering crock pot (and I mean this is big! I got it at Costco!) of hot spiked apple cider that is just freaking a-MAZ-ing. I end up refilling it at least twice through the night, and now adults show up with their own mugs, dying for a taste of this cider. It's that good.

Warning: it does pack a wallop, so give out 8 or 10oz cups of the stuff and don't sample too heavily yourself. This is the kind of cider that goes down so smooth and easy, you aren't aware how bad off you are until you need to test gravity by standing up. You'll also find yourself calling it "Psyched Spider" after a few mugs.

 Here's how it goes:

Monday, October 3, 2016

Once Upon A Time - Season 6, Episode 2 Recap: Mommy's Home!


We begin this evening in Regina’s vault, where the Evil Queen and Zelena go to grab a generic but decorative box of magic. The Evil Queen wants to use it to teach Regina that she "can’t escape who she is."

On the other side of town, meanwhile, Henry is walking Regina to Granny’s so she can give a mayoral pep talk to the new arrivals from the Land of Untold Stories. He creatively titles this: Operation Cobra, Part 2.


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Snow and David are organizing food and lodging for all the new arrivals and mayor Regina gives an inspirational speech about fresh starts. In walks Belle (to everyone's surprise), and she’s looking for a place to stay. Hook decides to rescue a damsel in distress and suddenly makes it his personal mission to find her lodgings, because Emma wouldn’t wish the mattresses at Granny's on her worst enemy, (she says in front of all the people they just gave room keys to).

Then she mentions to Killian that she's decided to talk to Archie about her issues. Killian is glad to hear she's talking to someone, even if it's someone who hasn't shown their face for a few years and cannot possibly know the things that trouble her like the people she's lived through them with. But what do I know, right?