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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

My Tired Working Woman With Kids New Years Resolutions

The New Year is upon us - can you believe it? And like any self-loathing self-respecting woman, it's time to come up with a list of stuff I really wish I had the willpower and time to accomplish. Then I get to feel bad about it for the rest of the year.  

Well, here goes:

  1. I'll develop a daily plan and write it down in a notebook, and then try my very hardest not to misplace that notebook. 
  2. I'll spend at least twenty minutes outside in the fresh air every day. Okay, most days. Maybe just an occasional day. At the very least, I'll be sure to mention to my coworkers and family what a beautiful day it is outside as I glance out the window.
  3. I'll stop avoiding things that should be done. Like Jason Momoa. Yeah, I went there.
  4. I'll be conscious of every single bite I put in my mouth and remind myself frequently that I could just spread it on my thighs with a trowel and likely have the same effect. 
  5. I'll stop cursing at my cats. It doesn't phase them anyway.
That's all I've got for now. What about you? What's on your New Year To Do List?

Monday, December 25, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

What I've Learned In 15 Years Without My Mom

Fifteen years ago tomorrow, on my parent's forty-fifth wedding anniversary, my Mom went to the Emergency Room with what she thought was a bad case of the flu and never came home again. 

I got the call on Christmas night. We'd spent the previous few days teetering between hope and worry as she underwent surgical procedures, got worse, got a little better, got worse again. In the wee hours of Christmas night-into-morning, she breathed her last breath.

I was a brand new mother back then -  Anna was twenty months old. David wasn't even conceived yet. And as I stood there watching them lower her casket into the ground on New Year's eve, I knew the person who loved me most in the world was gone. I wasn't sure how I felt about any of that.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

10 People Who Know How To Christmas

Are we feeling the holiday spirit? If you're not quite there yet, then I've got a collection of people who can show you the way. Check out these daring holiday decorators!


Monday, December 18, 2017

A Teacher Forms An iPad Band With His Special Needs Students - Just Listen!

The students of P.S. 177 in Queens, NY have music in their hearts - but learning disabilities like autism can make it difficult to learn or play an instrument. Teacher Adam Goldberg found just the right instrument to channel all that unused creativity: an iPad. Check out their story!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Let's Feel That Holiday Spirit With These Hilarious Homemade Christmas Sweaters!

This is going to be quite the festive array, I assure you. We'll start with this one:

Makes me itch just to look at it.

And his one is bound to invite comment:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

45 Years Ago Today, We Took Our Last Steps On The Moon

I'd like to share with you Astronaut Gene Cernan's final words as he stepped back into the Lunar module:

"Bob, this is Gene, and I'm on the surface; and, as I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I'd like to just (say) what I believe history will record: that America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus–Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17."
Learn more about the Apollo 17 mission and its legacy here.

This was the age of dreamers and do-ers. We need to get back to that time. We really do.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

My Worst "Best Christmas"

December of 2000 was - and I know this sounds bizarre - my worst "Best Christmas."

That seems like a bit of an oxymoron, but when anyone waxes nostalgic and asks about my favorite Christmas memories, Christmas of 2000 has got to be at the top. That Christmas, after 5 long years of infertility, treatments, invasive procedures and petrie dishes, I was pregnant. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

What Can An Autism Therapy Dog Do For A Child On The Spectrum? Just Watch!

Therapy dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and are used for a variety of physical and mental health support. It's only been within the last few years that we've seen autism support dogs, and oh, are they ever making a difference! Just watch the video below to see the joy and constant comfort that Chester brings to Max, a child with autism.

Friday, December 8, 2017

It's The "What The Hell Is That?" Holiday Gift Edition!

The holidays are upon us, and if you're like me, you're wading through stores and sorting through websites in search of the perfect gift for that special someone on your list. Well, look no further! I have all your shopping needs contained in this one little post. Along with a whole lot of weird.

How about a denture bracelet? It's the must-have accessory of the season! 

But wait! There's more!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Need A Toy For A Kid With Autism? Check Out These Terrific Ideas!

Every year at the holidays, family and friends ask me what sort of presents they should get for David. Not so much of a problem now that he's old enough to appreciate and use a gift card, but when he was younger it could be a real head-scratcher. It could also be tougher when they didn't ask - because they were very likely to buy something that wouldn't get played with.

David, like a lot of kids with autism, doesn't always play with the same toys as the other kids. He also favors toys and DVD's geared toward younger kids more often than not. And sometimes, it's the odd things that aren't even toys that get his attention. One year, we bought him his own vacuum cleaner (he was obsessed with them). This year, he's fourteen and the present he wants most from Santa is an electric crayon sharpener. You read that right. And he's getting one, too.

If you have a child on the spectrum (or plan on buying a present for one), I've found two terrific videos you should watch. The first was made by therapists who work with kids on the spectrum and the second is from an autism dad who has a daughter who is low-functioning, and discusses the best sort of toys for kids who are lower on the ASD spectrum. You'll find lots of great ideas!

Friday, December 1, 2017

This Shall Be A Sign Unto You - That It's Friday!

It's Friday, and I'm ready to laugh. How about you? Well, sit back, take a load off and get ready to guffaw at today's collection of signage.

In a doctor's office:

"Honey, maybe we'd better keep looking . . ."

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sometimes Your Brain Is Just Tired

I am a bad blogger this week.

Sorry, folks, but sometimes, your brain just gets tired. And so does your body. And they team up to smack you around a bit and you just have to step back and get a grip on things.

The day job has been picking up at a massive pace, I have a new book project to work on (exciting announcement coming after the New Year!) with a looming deadline, David has been having a string of bad autism days, and my house is getting a massive deep cleaning after a year of neglect while the previous books got written. On top of all that, my body is telling me I need to get serious about a bunch of minor (I hope they're minor) health issues that I've been ignoring.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Amazing Things Happen Project - Showing The World Of Autism Through Illustration

A reader sent me this terrific link to a video with a lovely and well-researched illustration of what makes people with autism different - and how you may or may not perceive all those differences. Check it out:

The video is the work of animator Alex Amelines, and has won numerous awards and accolades at film and diversity festivals in conjunction with the Amazing Things Happen project - a project that animates the stories of people on the autism spectrum. You can find more information about how to take part here and you can also contribute to the project here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Birds Of A Feather

Early morning, Amish Country
Caught a flock of geese
Taking a rest in a cow pasture
Circling and floating on the morning air
As I sip my tea
And start my day

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

10 Amazing Staircases That You Really Need To See

Some time ago, I came across the pic above, labeled as "Stair Porn." It's just so beautifully fluid - I saved the pic because I thought it might be an interesting pic to share at some later date.

Then I came across another cool staircase pic, and another a few days later, and pretty soon, I had a blog post. So here it is and just because I think staircases are beautiful and cool.

This one I saved because it looks like the cover of my book. It's the staircase of an abandoned castle in Poland, from what I've been able to find in my research. It's beautiful!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fun On A Friday - Let's See What's Going On In Today's News

That headline kind of writes itself, doesn't it? But unlike our poor psychic friend, I know just what's ahead - a weekend! And then a week off the day job for me as I try to find my house under a pile of clutter and laundry, put up Christmas decorations, and edit a book. This time last year I was heading to Dublin. This year I'm home doing laundry. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. Anyway, here's all the news that's fit to print (and some that's not, really) for today.

Thank God this all got sorted out:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Typing This One Through The Tears

My daughter is currently laughing at me and I'm wiping my eyes and blowing my nose.

David just stood in front of me and grabbed me by the shoulders to tell me something and I realized he was looking me in the eyes. As a matter of fact, I had to look slightly up to see his eyes.

My baby is taller than me.

Anna thinks I'm an absolute blubbering psycho but I can't possibly put into words how this feels. And she wouldn't get it anyway - not until she has a baby of her own to tower over her someday.

Another Mom milestone of many, and a big one.

I'll be over here with the Kleenex if you need me.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Challenges Of High Functioning Autism

I came across this article last week regarding some of the challenges that face a person with high-functioning autism.

It's very easy to dismiss someone who's higher on the spectrum. They can often hold jobs, do average-to-well in school with some accommodation, and overall don't seem as "disabled" as people who are further down the spectrum.

While that's partly true, that doesn't mean being a high-functioning autistic lets you blend right in and function as an adult without any issues. I speak about this because I've got a son who just turned fourteen. In four short years, my son will be an adult, legally and physically. But his emotional state and social capabilities lag far behind that physical age.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fun On A Friday: How About A Nice Cup Of NOPE

There's just nothing like a healthy dose of NOPE to kick off your weekend! Here's what's noping around my head today:

Best served with biscuits:

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Fourteen Years Of Sunshine

Saturday is Veteran's Day, but it's also my son's birthday. It's also the first birthday he'll be spending away from me, since it falls on his Dad's weekend. I'm bummed, but we'll celebrate when he gets back. It's just hard for a mom on a birthday when she can't wrap her arms around one of the greatest joys of her life.

But I'm not here today to whine and moan about my kid being away, or my kid getting older. Both are unavoidable facts of life. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The 10 Movie & TV Characters I've Fallen Hopelessly In Love With

 It's so easy to fall in love with someone in the movies or on a favorite TV show, isn't it? They always look great and say the best lines and go to the most amazing places. Their house looks just like it ought to look and their love interest is almost as good for them as you are. Almost.

So here, in no particular order, are ten TV and movie characters I've fallen madly in love with. Because I'm sure you're just crazy interested in this. Or you want to ogle some mancandy. I'm not here to judge.

1. Rick O'Connell The Mummy

There will never be anyone more iconically heroic and impossibly handsome than Brendan Fraser in this movie. Never. 

2. Sawyer in LOST

James "Sawyer" Ford is a hard man to love, and you know he's going to leave you heartbroken. Loved the hell out of him, anyway.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Prior's Court School For The Autistic Opens A Bakery

Photo Credit: BBC

I wanted to share this story with you today about the Prior's Court School for  the Autistic in Berkshire, UK. They've put together a marvelous vocational program for their students on the autism spectrum.

You can find a great write up on the bakery (courtesy of the BBC) HERE.

More information about Prior's Court can be found HERE.

And while I was checking out all the buzz about Prior's Court, I found the video they made for this year's World Autism Awareness Day and got even more impressed and inspired. Check it out!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fun On A Friday - Time To Play "What Did I Just See?"

Admit it, you love that I put together these bizarre collections, don't you? And these are the cream of the crop - you don't even know the stuff that I've passed over [shudder].

Anyway, here's a collection of bizarre stuff that made me scratch my head and wonder what the hell I just saw. Happy Friday!

Continuing on the car theme (those are Barbie legs - click for the detail): 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Ten Minutes

I had a day yesterday.

Or, more accurately, I had one-sixth of an hour, but it was a doozy.

It all started with me wanting to be healthy. Which just goes to show you, that's a dangerous idea.

I was sitting at my desk at work - and this is a new desk, you understand because they moved me a few weeks ago since they're doing construction on my floor. So this new desk is right next to a conference room we've nicknamed "the fishbowl" because it's the only conference room on the property that has solid glass walls and doors, floor to ceiling.

So I was at my desk and realized I needed to use the facilities, and as I got up, I decided to try a healthy stretch I saw on some video somewhere. You can do at work and it doesn't really look like a stretch so you can do it easily - except I backed into my candy dish doing my healthy stretch (how's that for irony).

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Phenomenal Jack-o-Lanterns That You Really Need To See

It's Halloween! And one of my favorite parts of this holiday are all the creative and amazing artwork you can find on a common pumpkin. Here are a few fantastic works of pumpkin art!

This one's for the Star Wars lovers:

Monday, October 30, 2017

Trick-or-Treating With A Non-Verbal Autistic Child? Print This Up!

Trick or Treating can be a challenge with a child on the Autism Spectrum. There are lights and sounds and scratchy costumes, and the sugar, sugar, sugar! Some parents have an additional barrier if they have a non-verbal child, or a child with limited communication.

This was me for many years, but my little guy was always with someone and always able to get his point across. If a child is older, it might be uncomfortable for them to have an adult speak for them, so these cards can really help educate.

Just right click on the picture to save it to your computer and print from there:

Friday, October 27, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My Cat & Me - We're Both Feeling Our Age

I spend a lot of time hunched over a laptop these days, or squinting at a monitor, since the writer stuff is finally paying off. More often than not, I slide into bed with a crick in my neck or back.

I found myself a nice heating pad at the store with a 2-hour automatic shutoff, and I usually crawl into bed with it just under my neck and shoulder, and drift off to Dreamland -  that is, until a few weeks ago.

My cat and I have a routine, you see. She watches me carefully each night, and when I get up from the table or the couch and start shutting off lights, she walks to the foot of the stairs and waits patiently. If I'm having a late night and haven't gotten up yet, she'll jump up beside me and voice her disapproval. Sometimes she'll put a paw on my arm or even across the keyboard of the laptop, the fat bugger.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: My Forever Baby No More

You shouldn't put it in this bowl, he says. It's a little kid bowl.
But you always love this bowl, I remind him.
I'm a teenager now, he reminds me back. You should throw this away.
It's hard to remember that he's as old as he is. He still watches Blues Clues. And Thomas. He still likes to color with crayons. I just bought him a new box.
But he's fourteen in a few weeks, and more and more, he reminds me he's growing up.
No more beloved dinosaur plate and bowl. 
It's a small thing, but for him, it's so much bigger.
And I hope he never outgrows Blues Clues.