Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

As a good friend of mine pointed out this past week, I really grew up this year.

So, in keeping with that spirit, I vow to continue to be honest with myself, compassionate with others, and to show mercy when it can and should be offered.

I will continue to cherish and accentuate all the positives in my life with an eye toward improving all that I can improve about myself. While I can't promise to stop procrastinating, I am going to make a good faith effort to try.

And I am going to try to be more patient.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Maturity Rocks!

Having spent most of my life coming to grips with the fact that my head just isn't wired the same way as everyone else's, it's kind of nice realizing that the kids and I aren't so different from everyone else, after all.

Yesterday, my neighbor called to tell me that a group of the bus stop moms were going out for dinner and a movie, would I like to come?

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I quickly cleared it with hubby and helped figure out the when and where of it. Then the boys and I went out to donate the 10 bags of toys I sorted and bagged over the last month and went to Costco for a very late lunch and shopping.

(There went dinner, so I drank while everyone else ate, but I was totally okay with that, because remember: I am different and cool like that.)

I don't think I was mature enough to do this with this crowd 5 years ago. But last night was nice; six of us sat around and took turns dipping into different conversations. And as I sat there, the lessons of my sons' inclusion in their school, in the neighborhood, finally sunk in. My kids are more alike than different from the rest of their kids--hell, I always knew this on some level.

But I always thought *I* was so different. And the reality is, I'm not, really.

I was quite happy to just sit and listen. But one after another, each of the women at the table took turns asking me about myself, my family, the kids, what we do, and even though we as a family are not *quite* as integrated into the fold as the rest of the people representing their families at the table, it's a huge step ahead of where we were even three months ago.

And the movie was fun.

It was a lovely evening.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bigger than a Bread Box

Our day after Christmas was pretty much Christmas minus the unwrapping. There is nothing in the universe nicer than not having to BE anywhere.

Eventually, we all got a little stir crazy, so we got dressed. Hubby took the kids to the library; I told them to meet me at church when they were done, since I had to lector.

Fr. M was clearly bothered by something--even in joking around before mass, there was an unhappy edge to it.

I lectored, and hubby and boys showed up during the homily (and I was glad I didn't go with them to the library). Nic sat with me, and I saw hubby and G out in the congregation when I did the petitions.

The homily took me back a little. It was not scripted, and whatever he was feeling was pretty raw. It was an act of bravery, and he got his point across. (To me, anyway, but he always does).

After, the boys stopped over to see Fr. M, who clearly was happy to see them.

I asked him if he was okay, and he replied that he understood the torment my kids must go through, being different, being teased, and related a story about a relation he must have seen over the Christmas holiday.


So we had a micro counseling/bull session, wherein I told him that everyone has issues, that life is hard for everyone in different ways, and we all have different crosses to bear. "If it's easy, it's probably wrong, it's that simple," I told him.

He laughed, and it was a real laugh, as if I were able to physically lift the burden off his shoulders.

Some gifts are too big to be wrapped. And usually they are the ones that get missed altogether.

Unless, of course, it's something in particular you are looking for.

Had a Merry Little Christmas

And learned that less is indeed more.

The kids had a great time. We spent Christmas Eve in the company of ALL My sibs and their families this year. It made for a packed house, literally (27 people in a NE Philly row house), but it was a good time. We stopped by to help my uncle decorate his tree on the way home.

I was up before everyone yesterday am and came down and did some last minute 'Santa' work before the kids came down.

We bought much less this year, but the kids loved what they got. Perhaps because they don't want much to begin with, and perhaps because this year they could tell us exactly what they wanted.

In any case, I said we'd keep it simple, and we did. And it worked out fine.

We went to mass at our own church this year, and as usual, Fr M knocked it out of the park. We all stopped by to wish him a merry Christmas. Then off to BIL's.

We have nothing planned this week except dinner with my friend K on NYE. Nic has lost his puter until after the New Year--which is fine, because he is reading instead. We are also going to finish memorizing the damn multiplication tables.

YEAH. I'll finish cleaning up around here, and then time to relax. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Frog in Gradually Heating Water

Either there is something wrong with me or I am almost completely done holiday stuff, because I am not panicking.

It's the first. Still haven't even thought about holiday cards and need to purchase baking stuff. Still need to run out and get Nic's aide's gift. And I have two more interviews to do before the holiday (Nic blew up spectacularly while I was on speaker phone yesterday. It was not a good evening).

The house is clean, thanks to an impromptu dinner invite and the scramble that follows. Hubby usually hates me while we're cleaning, but ultimately he is happy a) we had a reason to clean and b) we socialize, and I think we need to do it more often, because it would keep us motivated to keep the place clean.

I'm looking for Nic's library book, which is rather pointless, because I don't think it's here. He's lost the computer until the new year because of his antics yesterday.

I have about 10 more questionnaires to get through for G's 6-year eval tomorrow.

And I need to finish a draft of my article--for me, if for no other reason.

I dunno. I should be stressed, but maybe I'm just beyond stressed. G's class party went fine yesterday, but he really does not feel like he is part of that class. And no wonder, all the kids in his class know each other from preschool. Bleh. I hope he has a different mix of kids next year.

Speaking of whom, here he is. Time for breakfast.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Answer is No

God always answers prayers, but it doesn't mean you'll like His answers.

The mix of yesterday's events reminds me that everything happens for a reason. At around 3:30 yesterday, I received news that I had on some level been expecting. There would be no 11th hour reprieve for the kids' pool. It shuts January 1, and their lessons for the rest of the year are canceled.

Taken with an early am invite for the boys to go to a neighbor's house in the pm, things balanced. It was clear by the last-minute nature of the invite that the issuer wasn't sure she wanted to make it. After all, what if I accepted?

Anyway, I told Nic about it when he got off the bus. Initially, he said no, G could go and he would be quite all right by himself.

I promised him hot dogs for dinner if he went. Grudgingly, he accepted the deal.

G was happy to have an invite for a playdate.

So I walked them around the corner. I reminded Nic of the rules. I think he was happy to be invited, but understandably nervous.

I was surprised when mom threw me out. I made sure she had my number before I left.

This was a first. This is the first time I left one--let alone both--boys at some one's house for a party or a play date.

Of course I sat the whole time with the phone in my lap.

When I got them a little over an hour later, my neighbors were already there getting their kids--and they were going to bring mine home. And hosting mom approached me and told me how wonderful my boys were--and they were welcome any time.


So when I pull back on the pool thing and look at the bigger picture, it *MIGHT* be possible to think that my kids are ready for township aquatics. The pool just opened, it's zero-grade entry, and by all accounts, the only thing it lacks is the play area their pool had. Considering both boys are swimmers now, it may not be a deal breaker.

SO. I'll be contacting the township next week and looking to fill the gaps left by the program that no longer exists (it does, but for my purposes, it's off the table, as it won't come back--if it does--until September).

I still don't have an answer to my neuro problem, but one crisis at a time.

Oh, Nic is also managing the bully situation. He's friends with B again, has his bodyguards, but his teacher would not let him go to the principal about the other ASD kid who suddenly can't seem to leave him alone. I told him to stop by and see her on the way to class Monday am.

I know the teacher doesn't want Nic to get the other ASD kid in trouble, but bullying is bullying--REGARDLESS of who is doing it. And it needs to get dealt with.

Friday, December 18, 2009

'Don't give up on me'

I really need to finish clean out operations. But the truth is, I am overwhelmed.

One part of me would very easily like to resolve this by sticking everything in a trashbag and out to the curb and let the landfill deal with it.

The more socially responsible (and OCD) part of me wants to get pieces of toys ALL together neatly and donate.

In short, the second part is really screwing me. Especially since toys and parts are scattered among three floors, multiple containers and even the stuff I thought I had all the parts for (and have given away) are turning up.

It's enough to make any OCD person insane.

Anyway, thinking on my friend M this am. We talked at length for the first time in months yesterday, and I am haunted by her words as we hung up--"Don't give up on me."

How many times in life have I given up on people? More often than not, I'm the one who is given up because I am not as bright, popular, flashy or pretty as some. Lest I sound bitter, I'm not--I'm resigned to the fact that I am one of those 'friends for a reason or a season.' My two best friends have been with me longer than 20 years, so I don't much care--I'm not a people collector.

But for some one to say that to me? I guess she knows I'll be here when she's ready.

She just wants to make sure. And that's okay.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Time

Generally speaking, you can remember your firsts and lasts.

To this day, I have no idea when the last time I saw my father was. I have maybe a half dozen memories that could be 'it', but I don't know for sure.

I didn't get to say goodbye, which also is something I have a hard time with.

Anyway, last night I got into the pool with the boys because I'm not sure there will still be a pool after break--at least this particular pool. So instead of my customary laps (I only got in two), I spent a good half hour rough housing with them both in the play area. You can tell they are good swimmers now--Nic doesn't exactly match me stroke for stroke, but he comes close.

If this is a last time, I want the kids to remember it.

And if not, it's just another great memory.

Ah, life. It goes by way too fast.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crazy productive

I sent the initial contacts out for my next assignment this am. And the rest of the day has been a buzz of productivity.

The van needed major service, so I left it and went to get work set up for our roof, which has apparently seen better days. So, we are in the queue for that and getting the gutters cleaned. What fun.

Then I spent the next two hours in Marshall's. It was so nice to be able to look at things in leisure and not have to worry about one kid or the other breaking something. I picked stuff up, put it down, wandered around the whole place two or three times.

Confession time: this will be a decidedly unfun Christmas. I just spent the better part of the last two weeks cleaning out toys bought with the very best of intentions that have seen little actual play and a lot of floor/clutter time. Time to give things to kids who will play with them and appreciate them.

So what I'm doing is quite novel--actually, for this generation. I do this anyway to some degree, but this year, my gift are by and large utilitarian. A coat, gloves, boots, sleeping bags for both boys. Sure, there will be books and music, but there is not one thing that neither boy will not use.

This actually feels pretty good. And my little one actually wanted very little this year, so I know he will be happy with what he opens on Christmas morning.

I know it's not about the stuff. Hell, I don't even want anything (but for my kid's pool to stay open, that would be pretty schweet). But, I know from talking to them both about this that it's going to be a good, happy day.

Because, beginning and end, we'll be spending it together, with our families. Thank God.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mercy and Second Chances

I just heard that Nic successfully handled another bus situation this morning. The kid has truly learned to fight some of his own battles.

That used to be a big phrase when I was growing up: "Fight your own battles." That was usually said when reinforcements were brought in, and I needed all the help I could get.

I realized while having breakfast with a good friend this morning what a huge, huge deficit I ran my entire life without my father around to coach me. I am here, and I can coach Nic, because I understand the unique challenges he faces.

My dad understood the challenges I would face, but he also knew he wouldn't be around to coach me.

Thirty-five years and change later, I get it.

In other news, I've had a little holiday cheer and mercy come my way. I know mercy when I see it, and I promise to try to deserve it.

I have my marching order, and now to get it done.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lessons from the Big Bus

Nic happily reported when he came home yesterday that "B listened."

What this little exercise established:

1) It took care of the immediate bullying problem, but it also

2) Established to all and sundry that Nic will not be a target--and that Nic will deal with this problem, not mom running to the principal on his behalf.

3) Showed Nic that he does indeed have control over some things and most importantly

4) Gave his self-esteem a huge boost. Next time it happens, he has a script and a course of action.

You should see him, when he smiles, he is lit from the inside. I am so proud of that kid.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Making My Peace

I excel at crazy-making prognostication.

It usually starts with an itchy, anaphalactic feeling at the back of my throat and spreads like a fever, until it has me jumping out of my seat and pacing the house like a caged animal.

Sometimes my worst fears are realized; other times, it's just PMS.

Right now, I find myself rocking in my seat and wondering where the latest threat is coming from. Health concerns, house worries, economic woes--I have a little of all these on my plate right now.

I should be pleased with the fact that my older boy is suddenly wise beyond his years. He told his chief tormentor this am (I saw him do it from the bus stop) that he has a choice--leave him alone or he goes to the principal.

I'm teaching him to fire a warning shot across the bow before attacking. There are reasons that this is necessary, but he doesn't necessarily know them. Nor do I, but hard knocks have taught me that it's so, regardless of the reason.

He smiled at me from his seat, and waved, as the bus drove away.

That's a first.

He's going to be okay. Regardless of whatever happens.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I'd be remiss if I didn't write a few lines on my big guy and the strides he's made.

Seven years ago, his future was a tabla rasa, or as good as. He had no speech and a diagnosis of autism.

Five years ago, he had little or no conversational speech.

Two years ago, he still tantrummed when words failed him. And they frequently did.

As recently as September, he was still unable to tell me when things were going awry in school or on the bus. Then we made the transition to the big bus.

And boy. Has he been schooled.

Kids with autism miss social cues. Nonverbal cues. They are literal. If some one tells them that he or she is their friend, they take them at their word, because it doesn't occur to them to say things for the sake of saying them. Speech makes it true to the child with autism, even if it isn't.

Nic has figured this piece out, and it wasn't clear to me that he had until I was giving a talk on Creating a Vision for Your Child. I described what happened with the laser pointer the other day, and while I was giving the talk, my phone went off.

The voicemail left me told me that Nic did exactly what he needed to do. He told the principal what happened, and the kids involved were talked to, and parents were called.

No big deal on one hand. But these kids weren't banking on Nic sticking up for himself. I'm sure it came as a rude shock.

One mom said to me, "The big bus scares me, how can you let your child on it?"

I told her it scared me, too. "But he's learned more about social skills in three months than he has in social skills classes in the preceding four years. Living in the real world? THIS is where it all starts."

To any typical kid, this is easy. But to a kid with autism, they have to LEARN all the stuff typical kids just KNOW as a matter of course.

And by God, Nic's learning....

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Worst that Can Happen

It's been a banner week in autism central.

Nic had not one, but two kids try to shine a laser pointer in his eyes while waiting for the bus in the cafeteria yesterday. Instead of confiscating the laser pointer, the teacher threatened detention, and the owner passed it to some one else to torment Nic.

Guess who's going to the principal this am. I anticipate call #5 for the school year sometime this morning.

G's new nickname is Sluggo.

I am presenting this morning on Advocacy and Creating a Vision for My Child.

Why am I picturing both boys wearing chain mail?

Because like it or not, I'm raising a pair of warriors.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Other Shoe

I'm just about finished another project, giving a talk tomorrow, and cannot escape the awful feeling that something really, really bad is about to happen.

Part of it might be the leak in the roof (discovered at 11:17 pm last night). Damage has been contained, but it needs to get fixed. Add that to the fact that as of right now, I don't have a batter on deck.

Further add that no one is looking to do any extraneous work right now.

Things have been going well, which means we are headed toward the inevitable down cycle. These things are good because they keep us honest, relatively idiot-proof, and priorities in check.

They're bad because while they will end eventually, as does everything, we don't know how long we're in for.

Girding for weather ahead. Because there is. And we're in for it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's a burrito kind of night

Easy dinner. Nic is back in the posse's good graces. For today. G is a thug.

Just another day in paradise.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Paella Made Easy

It's easier to think of this more as a framework than an actual recipe. Paella is actually a very forgiving dish in terms of what you add and what you choose to substitute. I will provide the original listing of ingredients side by side with my improvisations. I recommend following the recipe to the letter the first time, and then as you get comfortable with making it, improvise! This has turned into my signature display dish.

1/4 cup oil (I use olive oil, less because I use fresh, hot dinner sausage, but more on this in a bit)
2 cloves garlic (I tend to use three or four, but you use what you like!)
2 c brown rice (I have used Arborio, jasmine and brown--arborio is AWESOME)
4 cups hot chicken stock (I STRONGLY recommend making your own, will include a recipe below)
1 or 2 T saffron (optional--this is nice if you have in, but totally not a deal breaker if you don't)
3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges (I have also used canned and frozen tomatoes)
2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
6 artichoke hearts, quartered (optional--but REALLY good to have!)
2 sweet peppers, chopped
1 chicken, cooked and disjointed (I usually throw in part of a rotisserie chicken from Costco--if you have chicken breasts or a package of legs, that will work fine, too)
1/4 lb of chorizo (I use a lb of hot dinner sausage)
8 shrimp or prawns (I usually use about a lb of frozen shrimp that I've thawed somewhat under cold running water)

The recipe calls for a large shallow two-handled frying pan, but my biggest one wasn't big enough. I use a stock pot.

Okay, so heat oil and garlic and remove garlic when brown (I leave it in). At this point I also add the chopped peppers, tomatoes and sausage and let that go until the sausage is browned and the peppers are soft and the tomatoes have reduced a little. Add the rice and brown; then add the stock (if you want to remove a 1/4 cup of stock and replace with white wine, that's actually a nice touch).

Cover and steam (LOW heat!) until rice is almost done. Add peas, (you can substitute corn!), artichoke hearts if you have them, chicken and shrimp, mix up, cover and let cook an additional 10 minutes or until shrimp are pink.

And that's it!

Chicken stock is easy to make; put your chicken odds and ends in a pot add a few sticks of celery chopped up and a carrot or two (also chopped) along with a bay leaf, cover with water, and simmer for a couple of hours. Chill the whole pot in the fridge over night and strain the next day, freezing whatever you don't need in 4 cup containers (or whatever you have). It's a great way to use a rotisserie carcass! And it's also a heck of a lot cheaper than buying stock.

Let me know if ??

Monday, November 30, 2009

Living well and other thoughts

No chickens to chase this am.

But I do have to finish clean up operations in my living room and throughout the house. I am in the process of a major clean/clear out, and I will be finished come hell or high water by the end of the week.

I have a draft to write too, and that gets done today and tomorrow.

I have to be careful in times when work is not hectic; I tend to get sucked down all kinds of rabbit holes, and really, I don't have the time or inclination for anyone else's head trips. Mine provide me with more than enough entertainment, thanks.

I'm heading out later to see some people I haven't seen in decades--looking forward to that, actually. Time is the great equalizer, if not the great healer.

Fixer? Not so much. Although ironies are not lost on me. Am having a quiet smile about how some things worked out. Short-term losses for me tend to be long-term wins. Nice to see some of the pain bearing fruit and becoming something of beauty.

Stings eventually disappear. Still, they are necessary. Without sadness, there is no joy. And misfortune has a way of resetting priorities that get shuffled out of order in the good times.

The yin and yang of my life balances me, thus my family. Life is not easy, but I am thankful for all that I have--every day of my life.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chicken capers

I just spent the last half hour chasing a chicken.

It came strolling past my house as if chickens did this in my suburban neighborhood as a matter of course. Actually, up until about 6 months or so ago, they did. Then people complained, and they surrounded their yard with chicken wire. So chooks de-ticking my lawn became a thing of the past.

Until Sylvie strolled up the sidewalk.

The saner part of me told me to go get my newspaper and leave the bird to its own devices. But my conscience said no, you know where the bird belongs and you better get it home.

Paper abandoned (as well as my pride I suppose), I shrugged on hubby's jacket and began what I foolishly thought would be a five minute jaunt around the corner and back to the bird's house.


The bird thwarted me across three front yards and two back yards. She decided she liked the relative safety of the thick brush against our wooden fence. I'm sure if my driveway neighbors were awake, they were at the window with coffees in hand, enjoying the show, and wondering why the hell I was engaging with the fowl across the fence.

Eventually, I saw the owner in her robe in her back yard, and I waved her over. A fox had gotten into the chook house, and Sylvie (that's the fugitive's name) was the last one to be recovered. She came over and much to our collective amusement, her bird figured out a way to go around the fence.

Silly me. I thought I was going to take the bird for a longer walk.

Given my relative lack of shepherding skills, the bird was definitely the smarter of the two of us.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


This year more than any other so far in my life I approached Thanksgiving with a grateful heart. Times are hard, but we are surrounded by good friends and family, we have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food in the refrigerator. Honestly, I can't ask for more than that.

Actually, I can ask for Nic's former posse to leave him the hell alone on the bus, but one of the neighbor's older girls is doing that for me. Although, not for nothing, Nic has been instructed to go to the principal if it continues. And the chips will fall where they will.

I hate that it's coming to that.

Spent a wonderful day with my friend K and her kids in Baltimore yesterday. We hit the train museum, then had lunch and went for an explore in the inner harbor. That's one of my favorite places to go; the kids get to hang with their friends, I get to hang with mine, and we get to have fun together.

Nic even had elevator adventures. We went to the Top of The World while they stopped at the Aquarium (I am considering a family membership for a family Christmas gift--already got one to the Train Museum).

This is the last clear weekend until New Years. I want to get the kids over to the Hawk platform today, maybe take a run over to the Wissahickon for a bit.

GORGEOUS day--we do have to spend some of it outside.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Measure of How Far We've Come

I was driving around this morning when it occurred to me what was so different about my meeting with Nic's teacher this morning for semi annual conferences.

Hubby was there, and the kids waited in the hall-SOP. We reviewed his progress, appraised his strengths and assessed his weaknesses. Overall, a great meeting.

But what made this meeting different, I realized as I was driving, was that we met with Nic's teacher. The regular ed teacher. The AS/LS teacher was nowhere to be had. And that was fine.

When you consider that 4 years ago, that whatever questions I had for Nic's teacher were redirected to the AS teacher, I say that we've made huge progress.

Nic's teacher has taken full ownership of Nic as her student. HER student.

Do I dare think that he is no longer THAT kid?

Well, no. He will always be THAT kid, but not the same THAT kid he was perceived as 3 years ago. But when I consider the fact that he wasn't even talking seven years ago, he wasn't conversational until 2 years ago, and that only recently he's been able to tell me himself if he's been running into trouble in school--that's huge, huge progress.

But the fact that I was meeting with ONE teacher, the regular ed teacher--and not a whole team? WOW.

We're not done, but wow, how far we've come.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Do This!

We took a road trip yesterday to the Schermann-Hoffman Sanctuary, headquarters for New Jersey Audubon Society (NJAS) yesterday. I was a volunteer at the old store from 2000-2002; Nic came with.

Today, a three story addition abuts the the old house at 11 Hardscrabble Road in Bernardsville. At the top is an observation deck that gives you a 360 degree uninterrupted view of woodland; the second floor is devoted to an art gallery and state-of-the-art classrooms. And the store and offices are on the first floor.

NJAS deserves your support--they are excellent stewards of the precious little open space left in NJ, and anyone willing to go to the mat for open space in the country's most populous state deserves a medal for bravery and moxie.

If you find yourself in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello to Denis for me, and tell him and me and the boys sent you!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Heart Full of Thanks

I am just overwhelmed with feelings of love and gratitude right now. For my family, for my friends, for Fr M who once again knocked it out of the park when he asked the question: 'Who's in charge?'

I have long since ceded control of everything to God. There is precious little I have control over. What I do control is 1) what I do 2) what I think 3) how I react to what other people do and think.

So for me it's been simple. I have been kind to others. Forgiving. And giving when and where I can. I used to want to be rich and famous, and the older I get, the less these things suit me. I'm realizing that you can accomplish more quietly by how you live than by being all noise and light and no substance.

I'm realizing that my inner light is reaching a lot further than I first thought.

I need to keep following that, wherever it takes me.

As for the rest of it, coming to some realizations about other people and things I have known has been healing. Because now I know I did no wrong, and any wrong done me has been forgotten.

After all, nothing lasts but eternity.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big Picture Thoughts

Open house at school yesterday enlightened me on a few levels.

I have some ideas about what inclusion will look like for Nic in middle school that incorporate what I presented to task force last week. I also have some ideas about how to fortify his academic position this year--emails have been sent to his reg ed teacher and the SPED director.

The posse is making Nic's life a living hell on the bus and their dad was spoken to. Nic will have to put them on ignore. Easier said than done.

I need to speak with my middle school mom and hash this out before I head forward.

Maybe that's what the work lull is about--I need to get this done. Today.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Letting Go

The last little while has been instructive. Currently, I am between things (yet again), and I have some time to take stock and consider where I'm going and what I'm doing. I think these lulls are either exceptionally well-timed or just the divine mediator telling me not to forget to breathe. Because sometimes I forget.

Anyway, the sun shines brightly overhead and I have decided that I will do all my phone calls and door kicking now, and spend the rest of the afternoon outside enjoying the sunshine. Walking. Hiking. Maybe I'll go REALLY crazy and bring my binoculars so I can bird, too.

I don't even have to clean the house; the boys did that while I was at church yesterday. Gabriel and I raked leaves for an hour and joked about the coal he would get in his Christmas stocking if he didn't behave. We all went bowling with our church and spent a very productive evening getting some errands run, and then stopped for some quiet time at B& N. We had nonstop birthday library action (2 parties plus errands in between to return library books and buy presents for party #2) on Saturday.

The next couple of weeks are actually quiet, since we are on hiatus from swimming and PT. I've opted out of a couple things. Just trying to get a feel now for what the boys need. Both had bad days last week, and grand scheme, they were just days. Nic's on the outs with his posse, but again, nothing lasts, and he is not telling us he's afraid of the bus, so I'm not stressing about it.

It can always be worse. So I'm happy with holding patterns. Because this one is actually pretty good!

Friday, November 13, 2009

That Age....

I'm getting to a point in life where I check out the obits in the daily paper. More often than not I either know some one, or their sons or daughters. Often I am saddened by the sudden death of some one my age or younger, with small children, because I know too well what lies ahead for the family left behind.

Today, I struggle with two things. Hubby has to go in for additional testing for an ongoing issue, and they are taking a biopsy this go-round. That will happen sometime in the next couple weeks (guess it's not that pressing).

And I am struggling with something I have tried for too long to ignore, and realize I no longer can. Hubby has told me for as long as he knows me that I have restless leg syndrome, or something like it. In the last few months, I've been dealing with partial numbness in my middle and lower back that radiates to my legs. I can still walk, but this is a little annoyance that is not going away and is in fact getting worse.

I refuse to Google the symptoms. I'm talking to my PCP today. Hopefully, it's nothing.

But if it's not....

Not going there. No sense in borrowing trouble.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Speaking Up

So I found myself yet again behind the eight ball; I was slotted to present second on a two-speaker bill for our local task force today.

Speaker one went way over; I tossed my script out the window.

What was most important for me to get across to my audience is this: I am not sure what it will take to get the school districts to get community buy-in for inclusion. But I do know that, because I swallowed my pride, admitted wrong, weakness, and yes, vulnerability, I have people watching my kids' back, watching my back, and a good chunk of them I have never met or made acquaintance with.

I have the neighbor girl knocking on my door and letting me know when Nic is having trouble at school.

I have a few kids keeping tabs on Nic on the bus and letting the principal know if there are problems. And she lets me know.

So my message, in summing up the bitch kitty throw down and its consequences and in the multiple calls I have received about Nic since school started, is that I want people to keep building their coalitions--we do this anyway, but keep doing it, because it is doing good, even if it's not readily apparent. Keep connecting other parents to resources. Keep supporting one another.

It's not just about my kids--it's about ALL of the kids.

It takes a village to raise a child. It always did, and it always will.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Weighing Options, Running, Punting...

How did we get to November already? It just seems like last week I was worrying about how to spend the six weeks between the end of ESY and the start of school. I'm forever reminded that nothing lasts.

So doors shut, and as ever, windows open. I just inked a new contract yesterday. And as usual, the opportunity dropped in my lap out of the clear blue sky. I'm grateful for that.

School, well, let's see, we're up to four calls from the principal, two teacher meetings, one IEP meeting, one FBA (scheduled--I think...good point, better follow that up with a phone call on Monday). Gabriel is blossoming but having wardrobe malfunctions; Nic is struggling with his inner slacker.

G amazes me, because he has suddenly become quite the artist. He never drew so much as a happy face, and now he draws some pretty complex objects and landscapes.

Nic, meanwhile, is taking comfort in Collodi's Pinocchio, Poptropica, and power bowling in Wii. I think he is suffering from Weltschmerz.

DH just had a bunch of medical tests done, and the doctor called and left a message that he would talk to him on Monday. I don't like 5:30 pm Friday phone messages.

I just had a bunch of discretionary stuff pulled from me, which is probably fine, since I didn't have time for it, anyway. I stepped away from a couple things, which I needed to do for a variety of reasons.

I'm still trying to make my peace with some of it. I know I did what I did for the right reasons, but I'm having problems articulating what those are. Sometimes, you just know you are right, but can't say why. I'm trying to get the words together, because not being able to explain yourself lands you in other difficulties.

I'm thinking of an earlier betrayal that literally left me without words.


I think of where I've been, and where I'm going, and I know I am headed in the right direction. But sometimes, life has a way of piling work, kids, relationships, responsibilities and other sundry stuff in my path, and I have to figure out what I can move and what I can climb over. Sometimes I try to move the wrong things. Other times, I try to climb over that which can be moved and end up ass over teacups.

But I get up, brush myself off, and move on.

Some things that happened yesterday remind me of how far I've come. I had some news that at one point would have wrecked my weekend.

Now, well, we'll fix what needs fixing and start fresh on Monday.

After all, nothing lasts forever. Hard times least of all.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How Do You Spell Devastation?

L-o-s-i-n-g m-y n-e-u-r-o.

I just got the bad news at 10 am and now the reality is hitting. He's a crucial member of my team and he is moving 2,760 miles west.

(Banging head against a hard surface)

I'm meeting with Nic's teacher tomorrow am to discuss his grades, the science test he bombed, and ways to motivate him. Today, we finally got his EKG done and G dodged a bullet because he's actually running a temp and couldn't get his booster today.

Busy and productive day so far. But I am just devastated at the hit we just took.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Catching/Cleaning Up

My Phils aren't dead, but they are on a respirator. Go Lee!

This weekend was a blast--the kids trick or treated with friends for the first time, they were both what they wanted to be for Halloween, AND we did manage to get to Sesame Place for Variety's Spooktacular (and I got to catch up with people I haven't seen in a few months).

We had a great time, and managed to hold onto our clock/schedules despite the time change. I think it'll be a good week.

The kids' parties went off fine, I settled things out with the one room mom, we went to our first pumpkin carving party in the neighborhood, and I went to see BW for the fifth year running.

Jam-packed week. And I have to see if I can get the kids in for flu shots.

November ALREADY??

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

First ever trick or treating with friends. It's been a good one.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shoehorning into the Fabric of the Community

Don't have a whole lot of time to write, but wanted to get a few thoughts in. Had some work bluebird in and have been doing that, getting reconnected with people, went to a funeral, ran around getting H'ween costumes together, and today is the parties/parade at school.

I didn't get the email out until Wednesday about Nic's party, but that was almost scary in how quickly it gelled. People want to help, they just don't know how and need instructions. I asked, and I received. Yay, God.

So I went to a funeral on Tuesday for the priest who counseled my dad through his last illness. It was a gorgeous service, and there is nothing more entralling than 50 priests singing Salve Regina, a cappella, in Latin. The pastor gave a great sermon on reflecting on the word 'yes,' and how Fr Bob said 'yes' in his own life and death.

It was one of those times where I was very happy that I chose to be some where.

We were invited to a pumpkin carving/pizza party last night, so I brought the boys, a bottle of wine, and a small pumpkin. The pumpkin is cute, with a face that G designed, and it was a nice outing and a good opportunity for the neighbors to finally get to know my boys.

I think at the very least, we are no longer scary to people.

Hubby and I went to see Brian Wilson at the Keswick after. Mom sat for the boys, and they went to bed on their own for her (which is something they never do for us!)

We are making headway. Yeah, we're still odd, but we have Chase Utley hanging in our doorway, my kids at least want to be near the other kids, and the other kids don't seem to mind,'s good.

Monday, October 26, 2009


This is something I am coming back to quite a lot lately, and what I find so amazing is that the whole bitch kitty throw down that happened in my living room went a long way to knocking down my presumptions about myself and everyone else.

For example. I've spent years looking over the other side of the fence--or the driveway, I guess--wondering what 'normal' looked like to every one else and wishing I could have a piece of that.

I'm finding that every one else's normal is a mystery to even them.

Meaning, whatever I have managed to cobble up here does work for us, for the most part. We are not perfect. I am disorganized, DH is forgetful, and the boys have heads like granite. Most of our life is chaotic, unplanned, unscripted, and unedited--meaning, that our outdoor face is the same as our indoor face. What you see is really what you get, whether you like it or not.

I continue to p*ss people off. I find that the harder I try to please, the less that works out, so why bother?

(There are some things I need to bother about, and I am working on those)

Spending Saturday with an old family friend was an amazing experience. We talked at great length about humility, and I told him some of the things that have been happening here with me, us, and the whole nine. At 5 am Sunday am, I felt like I had all the answers.

I went to church yesterday, and the gospel of St. Mark was about the beggar who demanded to be given his sight.

Fr M knocked another sermon out of the park--talking about the demand, backed up by the faith that the demand would be heard--and granted.

And he went on to say that we don't always get our prayers answered--or we do, but they just aren't the answer we expect.

I've known that forever. But I needed to hear it yesterday.

More on humility a little later on, as this is all connected.....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Momentary Quiet

I shipped three projects yesterday; two for good, one I'm just waiting on a couple more revisions, then that can ship too.

So, now that I am officially jobless for the first time in months (and I don't expect that to last, because it never does), I will spent the coming week catching up on all the birthdays and anniversaries I missed because I was either crazed working or crazed in autism land or both. I don't expect anyone who doesn't live this to understand, so humility and an apologetic heart is all I have to offer, and people can accept or reject as they see fit.

I'm all about owning the balls I drop. And picking them up. And apologizing. And moving on. I don't blame anyone but myself. But I do struggle with bandwidth constantly, and sometimes I am just unable to keep up. All I can do is apologize when I can't. No excuses. This is what I did or didn't do, and I am sorry.

I'll be doing that a lot this coming week. I actually don't mind. I don't have a problem backing down when I am wrong. I used to. Then I grew up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

When Teeth Are Bared

So phone call number 3 from the principal this school year begins: "Do you have a few moments to talk about a behavioral issue?"

Talk about an offer you can't refuse.

Nic may perseverate, and it's clear where he gets it when mom says repeatedly "I don't believe he bit. He may have swung, but he never bit--not even as a toddler."

We finish the phone call with me telling the principal that I need his aide to call me. I have no contact with her--just primary autism support--and the troubling whisperings I am hearing tell me it's time I have a chat with the person who spends the most amount of time with Nic during the day.

So she calls. We talk. I wonder why she hasn't called me sooner with some of the things she is telling me and am doubly thankful I demanded the phone call. And handily, the behavior person is there, would I like to speak with her?

Oh. Yes.

So the picture emerging is that Nic is headed full steam toward a complete blowout, and as things were, it seems like everyone was waiting for it to happen before calling me in and telling me to help fix it.

I just finished my written request for what I hope will head it off before it happens and a team meeting.

I have learned--the hard way--that you don't wait until the blowouts happen. No news is not necessarily good news. Sometimes, they are just waiting for whatever it is to blow over.

But more often than not, it blows up.

I'm hoping he can hold it together while I get everything he needs in place.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Should Know Better

As everything is cyclical, I've decided I'm not going to stress. Yes, I have taken on more stuff even as I struggle to finish what I have, but for no other reason than to get me to clear my desk so I can keep moving forward.

This fall has been very instructive. I blew a lot of deadlines of every stripe and variety (and I have birthday cards from like February that I need to dig up and send, as well as the last few months because I am too overwhelmed to think), annoyed people, caused some one to shriek and call me names, disappointed the kiddies at least once and have generally embarrassed myself.

Technically, anyway, I should have embarrassed myself. But I seem to be beyond embarrassment. It's not that I don't care, it's just I reckon that people have bigger fish to fry. I'm still getting stuff done, and the amazing thing is that a lot of good has come out of some of my more disastrous outings.

I've gotten really good at making lemonade out of lemons. Apparently the people around me have learned to do the same.

It's a beautiful thing. Who knew that personal failings and shortcomings have a way of paying forward good things?

I'm not perfect. I never said I was. But I'm good. And I know how to make good come of even the worst stuff.

So, having said that, I'll keep on doing what I'm doing. It will not win me awards, make me rich, or otherwise bring me fame, but that all matters not. It's all about keeping everyone around me happy.

Smiling faces abound. I know I'm doing okay.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sweet relief

Some decisions make themselves.

One more thing comes off my plate.

Now I can proceed through the rest of the week with a clear head and heart.

And I celebrate the sixth anniversary of G's birth in a mere 4 hours. I think it's going to be a good week.

If only I could get Nic to talk about something other than Poptropica....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Taking a breather

Still swamped, but I think manageable.

So, the week has been a roller coaster. I got absolutely nothing done on Wednesday because I spent the day putting out fires, on the phone, trying to head off yet another face off.

The heading off worked and Nic's sit is stable. For the moment. Always subject to change if I am not careful. Who am I kidding, always subject to change, PERIOD.

Scored major clothes for the boys and I at the semi annual bag sale. They spent more time and energy upending the place than asking me for stuff. I was happy to get Nic and G new hoodies. I love rummage sales.

And I found new stuff for me, too. Pretty cool.

Today hubby and I celebrate 16 years married and we are on the downswing toward 22 together. It's been a ride, and a lot of fun, and I expect it will continue to be more of the same for as long as we are both running.

It's all good. I'm happy when everyone else is happy.

All I have to do now is finish the stuff in my inbox (hopefully by week's end) and will take a week or two to exhale.

That is, if I don't have more work waiting!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Head Down

I lost the whole stinking day to putting out fires yesterday.

Too much to do, not enough hours in the day, and I have no idea how these kids are going to get on without help....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What to do

So neighbor girl shows up on my doorstep with a friend yesterday after school, telling me Nic is having a hard time with some kids at lunch and on the bus.

I call Nic to the door. He insists all is well.

Neighbor girl insists that Nic is having problems.

Nic insists to the contrary.

Just sent a note to the support teacher. Never a dull freaking moment. I suspect that the truth is somewhere in between, as it always is, but how much is it bullying and how much of it good-natured messing around?

And of course bullying to some one might mean good-natured messing around to some one else.

And to further muddy the water, Nic can't tell one from the other unless it's really stinking obviously bullying.

I got nothing but heresay at the moment.

Frustrating. Some days I wish I could wire the kid.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Capsule Summary

I'm still backed up with stuff to do but wanted to quickly fill in some gaps.

On Friday, a boy from Nic's class showed up on his scooter after school. I was on the phone with Nic's teacher out front, so showed him in, thinking my boys would be happy for the company.

Er. No. I had to shorten the call because they chased him out of the study.

So, I get Nic's bike out of the garage and send him off with M. G and I followed to see if we could visit G's friend A from Kindy. Everyone's in, but I have an eye on the street, knowing that Nic is going to be coming back down sooner rather than later.

Sure enough, Nic rides by about 5 minutes later. I open the door and wave him in.

So I'm talking to A's mom, and M walks into the house without knocking and into the kitchen. "You need to force Nic to listen to me. He just left. Did you know he just left me? And my dad is coming."

I tell M that Nic doesn't do anything Nic doesn't want to do. He settles in and plays with A's younger brother, and they both gang up on Nic, who gets back on his bike to evade capture.

I send M on his way and things settle down. We end up staying for dinner. Dh shows up. We have a nice evening and have made some new friends.

I find a note thanking us for the visit in our mailbox the next morning. I write one back, thinking I should have written the first note, since we invaded their house, but anyway.

Andy's SIL had given us a couple of free tix to Dutch Wonderland that expired on Sunday, so we packed up the van and headed out. I wasn't thrilled to have to shell out another $60 and change for two more tickets, but we figured why not, life is short.

Didn't we find two people giving away free tickets? How cool was that. So we all got in for free and I was thrilled.

Considering what a hard sell it was to get Nic in the park, he had a blast. Both boys did. My mom brought us there with her BF a long time ago and I remembered very little about it, except that the Wonder House was kind of lame in an amusing kind of way.

Oh yeah. And the sky ride. I did the white knuckle thing going across. I'm not sure when that happened, but I remember having my legs dangle over the park freaked me out 30 something years ago, too.

DH liked the bumper cars. Nic liked driving the antique cars, G loved the fun slide. And I just loved the beautiful fall day and being out with my family.

We stopped at a great diner on 30 on the way home.

It was a good weekend.

While we are running into academic challenges, I have to say that Nic is making huge strides in his social growth. Gabriel loves K. It's exciting to see them both coming into their own.

They are, after all, growing up.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Still processing

I'm still not sure what happened here on Sunday.

Have to ship some work today, get started on another project and do another interview. Starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

G has settled into the new bus, Nic is doing fine--not great, but fine. He is showing me that he is getting the social pecking order and that he is working hard to establish a place in it.

I have mixed feelings about this, but the awareness he is showing is ultimately a good thing.

But his pride and stubbornness are unbelievable. Wonder where he gets those?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Check in

So G's back on the small bus. Nic was subdued at the bus stop this am, missing his brother, as I knew he would. I wonder if he is going to end up moving back to the little bus, too.

B is still not talking to him. Apparently the posse has turned on him.

I need to let him work it out. But I'm afraid he doesn't know how.

This is too damn hard for me to watch.

(and I am still swamped--have to make some calls, not looking forward to a conversation with a prima donna, but I might as well get that over with)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Waiting for the Dust to Settle

Blow up in my own living room. My doing, and as usual, bad tacticals on my part, clumsy, overbearing, and not without damage.

I apologized, but words are words. I am hoping with time that I can come up with the right actions to fix whatever needs fixing.

I feel hollowed out right now. But with a greater understanding--and empathy--for some one who up until now I *thought* I knew.

I learned this morning what I did not know.

I learned this morning a thing or two about how damaging my own assumptions can be.

I learned this morning that some one I thought was unapproachable is more so than I could have imagined.

Where will things go?

I will make it a point to extend myself.

I will make it a point to go out of my way.

I will try to make things better than they are.

I want to improve my corner of the world?

It's time. And I'm moving on it.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I am overwhelmed this week.

Work is a big chunk of it (although some of it was just mitigated with a phone call, I love you, T), but of course the kids loom large.

Bad evening with Nic last night. He had the need to explode. B told him he didn't want to be his friend anymore.

I know the way these things work, and that it's often temporary. But Nic is shattered over it.

G had a rough night too, come to think of it.

This is just hard. I hate that these things are so hard on my boys.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Think Again

I have heard plenty of stories about kids with IEPs told to stay home during standardized testing, the whole idea being that they will wreck the curve and funding by bringing down the score average of the school district.


Imagine my surprise when Nic's scores from last year's PSSAs showed up in my mailbox yesterday.

A quick tutorial for those not in the know; scoring breaks down into four levels: below basic, basic, proficient and advanced. SDs want scoring in the proficient range and above; it proves to all and sundry that they are at least teaching to the test.

(Which is why I exhort to all parents to do all sorts of extracurriculars by teaching in the larger classroom of the world, but anyway)

So, my Nic turned in a perfect score in data analysis and problem solving, and middling high to high scores in everything else.

Bottom line: proficient in both math and reading.

I have thereby earned the right to poke anyone in the eye who says that kids with IEPs bring down the testing curve. I'm willing to bet Nic had plenty an NT peer who did not perform so well.

Assume competence. Assume intelligence. Always.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

To the Wall

I have way too much on my plate at the moment, but I need a break. I'm thankful for the work, but I hate that it's feast or famine. I am officially gorged. :P

School seems to have stabilized, although I already have an IEP meeting for G happening this week. Back to school night was uneventful. Both kids are settling into the routine of school and the big bus. Nic's new interests in golf and Wii are netting him more people to talk to who are interested in the same things. G is reading to his classmates. Or reciting, since he's not really reading (as Nic was).

We managed to convince both boys to go to the carnival, and Nic had his first-ever Ferris wheel ride (he asked me if my first ride happened before or after my dad died--and as it happened, it was a few hours before, at my own carnival, and of course I didn't realize that was happening until later--interesting what Nic picks up on, and what he chooses to remember).

The big source of fun however was not the rides, but the dunk tank. The school principal, dressed for work in a button-down shirt, slacks and tie, took the first shift. And both my boys managed to knock him into the tank.

They'll be talking about that for weeks.

Cool thing, Fr M was there, and Nic went over and said hello to him, unprompted. I told Fr M after mass today that Nic doesn't ordinarily do that, and that I was pleased that he took the initiative. It was awesome to hang out with him for a little while, and the boys had a wonderful time bonding with the other kids over the fun.

A great time. But what would have totally made it? If they had friends to hang out with on their own. I went to my own carnival with other kids at about Nic's age. I saw plenty of kids running around in packs from ride to ride (love wristband action), and I couldn't help feeling a little sorry for the boys, stuck as it were with mom and dad. On the upside, they didn't seem to notice or care--this is what we do, and how we do it, and they are fine with it.

Not quite there. But maybe next year we'll remember to call B up and invite him along.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy 50th birthday, Haydee

Six years ago today, you celebrated your last birthday on earth; Seven years ago, you opened your house to my family while we transitioned from habitat to home.

I will never forget your warmth, goodness and radiance. You called us family, and you meant it. I will never forget how you upended your life to make ours easier, and I will be forever grateful.

Nic still speaks fondly of his Tia ChaCha. He should not remember you, but somehow, he does.

You may be gone, but you are never far from my thoughts and always in my heart. I love you, and I miss you. The world is a darker place without you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The story so far

Let's see, one kid sent to the principal's office for giving Nic grief, two AS kids trying to pants him on the playground, and he fell asleep in science class--all in the first two weeks.

And everyone is learning (surprise!) that G isn't Nic.

G wants to know a) when he is going back to preschool and b) when he's riding the little bus.

Hey, it could be worse!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


So I had one of those questionnaires to fill out for Nic's teacher....

1. What are some character traits your child possesses? Why would you say your child has these traits?

He is easily frustrated because he blows up when he doesn't understand something. Yet, he is persistent because instead of walking away, he hangs in there and works on whatever is frustrating him until he gets it.

2. What are your child's interests inside and outside of school?

Poptropica, math, computers, reading, swimming, soccer, tennis, golf, Disney/Pixar movies, elevators, and history

3. What are your hopes and dreams for your child's coming year?

To make one good friend.

4. What should I know about your child for him or her to have a successful year?

If you expect great things from Nic, he will not disappoint.

If you expect nothing from Nic, he will not disappoint.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Next Level

We're at the bottom rung, but we are definitely at the next level.

So far, so far. Nic is struggling with the whole concept that he and B both are allowed to sit with other kids on the bus and at lunch. I am impressed with his repertoire--he is sitting with different kids at lunch on different days. He has to get over 'having' to sit with B on the bus. (I worked a little 'social skills' into our bedtime reading last night).

So. G is doing fine with the transition to K; Nic is actually handling the demands of grade 4 pretty well--I'm not talking the academics so much as managing his 'stuff.' Could it be that some Executive Function skills are kicking in?

I have my own management stuff to handle, but I did the needful yesterday, now just have to settle into doing what's assigned me. I'll be busy into next month, and then I'll figure the rest out as I go.

The boys will, too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I am getting ready to go pick up G for K orientation. Tomorrow is his first day, both on the big bus and in big, bad elementary school. (Nic had a great first day, and he will get his own post later)

But, in going to pick up G today, we will be closing a chapter on the last 4 years of his life. So funny that I barely blinked when I was at this crossroads with Nic four years ago--and I remember how sad I was to send G to the same place, since I wanted him home a little longer.

But, as many things happen, this turned out to be a good move for G, and he had a wonderful four years with 3 great teachers. And it is with great sadness I will be saying goodbye to the best of the bunch today.

No one told her she had to go to as many as four IEP meetings in the course of a year for G, nor did anyone tell her she HAD to consult with his IU team to integrate their tactics into her classroom routine. She wasn't paid extra to do any of the extra work she so lovingly did to accommodate G.

She did it because she loved him, because she believed in him, and because she wanted him in her classroom.

Really, that's all any of our kids need. People who love them, and people who believe in them.

The last time I felt this way was when Nic's home team moved on--6 years ago. I cried for a week then, too.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Good Tired

So we finished the trifecta of city, shore and mountains with our annual pilgrimage to the mountains for CampEmerge, and since this is our fourth summer, we kind of know everyone by now. The boys had a blast, and Nic had a lot of fun playing with the numerous other 9-10 year old boys there.

They had a moon bounce for the first time this year, and G loved that.

We fished, biked, swam, paddle-boated, ran, hiked and played nonstop for two days. Now we're in clean-up mode, getting ready for the school year. Nic starts Wednesday, G has his last three days at preschool and starts K on Friday.

Am I stressing? I had a cup of coffee as I watched the sun rise over the Eastern Mountains yesterday am. I think I'm good.

Friday, September 4, 2009

All Summer in 10 Days

So we managed to cram in two road trips to 3 different states in the space of 10 days. You can call it a lack of planning, or you can call it life on the cheap. Money is tight, so flight was out. We ended up going to Baltimore and DC, cramming in (among other things) The National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, B&O Railroad Museum, WTC Observation Deck, The Mall in the Capitol (and ALL the memorials), Air & Space Museum, and Mount Vernon (there was actually a few more in here as well).

Nic's new hero is George Washington. Mine too, I think.

We just got back from the shore, doing hikes at the County Park in the mornings and the beach in the afternoons. We did rides at the boardwalk one night and had a bonfire roasting marshmallows another. Boys had a blast. I had the recharge I needed--the beach works for me that way.

Taken with all the great stuff that led up to it, I have to say it's been a very, very cool summer.

(Now to do laundry...)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More cool stuff

The red tail hawk perched outside the McDonald's yesterday had Nic talking for a quite a while yesterday. Kingfishers are a source of amusement to him, too.

While I work this am, I can hear Nic reading to his little brother. Days don't get better than this.

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.--Albert Schweitzer

Monday, August 31, 2009

Poptropica Unseated

So Nic lost computer privileges for being a bonehead in the big city last week. We were gone a lot of the last little while, so really, he didn't feel the sting of the ban.

That is, until today.

We spent the early part of day up at camp, me returning calls and talking to parents while he watched some videos. When we came home, he moaned that he had nothing to do.

The neighbor kids were out. Basically, I made him a deal; you go out there and play, and you can have Poptropica.

"15 minutes," said he.

"30," I answered.

So guess what, he was actually out there closer to 40 minutes, riding his bike, then climbing the tree with younger kid next door. And he came in when he had enough; THEY didn't go in, as per past, he chose to be done.


So, as my sister posited, is it compassion? Or is it guilt?

I say who cares? Today he exercised right of refusal--just like any other kid.

On another note, we played another round of mini golf tonight, and I won, but Nic didn't envy my winning so much as the hole in one I knocked in at the 11th hole (thanks to his choice--and he had a two on that hole).

He wants to get even. I may let him at the end of the week. :)

Oh, and as for Poptropica, his favorite thing? Golfing is his new favorite. Followed by tree climbing.

It's been a VERY cool summer, indeed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

One last PS

The kid who took Nic's bike is here, but of course he didn't apologize to Nic, as promised.

This is one of those days where other human beings don't impress me at all. Fortunately, Fr M presided over mass today. I needed that. The kids did fine at mass and earned themselves a mini golf outing. That went okay, and they probably wont ask me to go again until next summer.

Seeing all kinds of folk this week, very much looking forward to reconnecting with friends and family. (Perking up at the thought of the good in the people I know!)

Aspie redux, sort of a PS

I guess what worries me most about our boys is that they are cut from the same rough cloth as mom and dad, and that will leave them vulnerable to predators.

Doing my level best to teach them what I know, but their hardest lessons will be learned on their own.

And we're still getting schooled, anyway....

I wonder what dad would say about this world he's been gone from for almost 4 decades?

Believe it.....Or Not......

One of my biggest problems in the arena of human interaction is that I can be torturously slow.

I can't even begin to count how many conversations I've had with people that have started (with them saying to me) "Well, I *tried* to tell you......"

Usually said conversation is a result of me turning around and asking whomever I am talking to if they would please take that knife out of my back, and "by any chance, does it belong to you?"

People tend to take advantage of my good nature. One person ripped me off, and her co-conspirator threatened me with all variety of violence if I even thought of seeking recompense. (I let it go--the cost and effort of pursuing justice outweighed the benefits, and I'm sure that's why what happened, happened) Their PR campaign was impressive, well organized, and in the end, I saw I never had a chance.

Then there was another 'friend,' tangeantally related to the first two, who apparently saw 'Pigeon' written all over me and was quite incensed when I pointed out that her stories weren't adding up.

I'm trusting to a fault. Or I used to be.

Then there is a current situation that I'm dealing with; one friend tells me that she "told me so," even though she didn't really and should know me well enough to know that short, direct, precise language works best when talking to me, especially about things that matter.

Thinking about something that happened last week that obliquely relates; DH, kids and I were in Baltimore on our way back to our hotel, when we were accosted by a young man who first said that he had a question, wouldn't come any nearer....then said forget it and disappeared into the night.

Two mornings later, he showed up at our hotel looking for a free breakfast. I stared hard at him, because I recognized him. DH asked me what was wrong; I answered that we saw that guy the other night.

We had an extra breakfast coupon, and DH, maybe misunderstanding my perturbation, went over and slipped it to him. He got his hot breakfast and ate like a king. And was quite obvious about it.

He bothers me for a few reasons. His hair was cut close, even though he had a beard, leading me to think that there is something weird about this otherwise well-to-do looking guy in skanky clothes. Recently reduced circumstances? Drugs? Entitlement?

DH felt good about helping him, but I'm not sure we were right in helping him.

I haven't discussed this with him because I can't articulate my own misgivings. Just something about us looking like easy marks, and people taking advantage, because they can, and because we let them.

Thinking again of some one who tried to 'friend' me on FB, even though I know person harbors nothing but hate in said heart for me. But again, operating from what this person knew about me 'then', where does the blame lie?

I must have 'Welcome' stamped on my forehead. As time goes on, the smile leaves, and F*** Off is in its place.

I'm not bitter. Just amazed. Some people have no shame.

And they just keep on keeping on.

More power to them.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pondering Much

It's been a busy week and we are shoveling out. The kids are taking a breather in the other room while I think about what I want to say in a few short lines. Today's dad's deathiversary, and something with what strongly resembled his handwriting and no return address showed up in the mail this am.

I guess my puzzled silence concerned DH. "Open it, any idea who it's from?"

Turned out to be a very nice thank you note from Father M for dinner last month. He wrote us a lovely note, too.

Dinner was five weeks ago, and how funny that the note showed up today, of all days.

I'm okay. We've had a very busy week and will have an even busier week ahead as we finish cramming in all the activities we left to the last minute. I just finished up one project and have another waiting in its place (full speed ahead). And the usual stuff to sort out, too, of course.

School in T- 11 days. And we have something doing every day. Perfect.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cleaning up

Ready to put an article to bed, start another one, and a fall job just blue-birded in. I'm having a chicken-and-egg problem with anxiety, but it seems like that's abated for now. Had to wait almost an our to see my GP on Friday, but I just turned out the lights and power napped while I waited.

A lot of mortality reminders lately, as if they were wanted or needed. A friend just lost his mother over the weekend. Another friend is watching cancer take one of her closest friends. A friend of ours expressed outrage for all the sickness he sees around him, but I don't have the wherewithal for outrage, not about that, anyway. Dad's deathiversary is Saturday, and I have spent most of my life without him. Was that fair? Well, life doesn't deal in fair. I feel cheated more for reasons pertaining to my kids than myself these days. My mom feels just plain ripped off; THIS is the time she is supposed to be enjoying with him. Not that she's not having her own good time (she manufactures fun), but get her in the right mood, she'll tell you exactly what she thinks about his not being here.

I can't believe it's been 35 years.

I can't believe I can actually type that AND remember back to that time.

His death still casts a long shadow. There are some things you just can't 'get over.'

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Add a Little Haiku to Your Day!

Writing done, edit in
progress; only need to cut
1K this go-round.

and best movie ever...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Other Reason I Want My Kids Included

I want them in plain sight so this doesn't happen to either of them...ever.

And this one just in:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

There's No Question That Doesn't Have An Answer

even if the answer is "because," "I don't know," or "why the hell not?"

This whole 'teachable moment' thing is an admirable concept. However, I am unsure of its practicality when it becomes an all-encompassing 24/7 endeavor.

I need to find other outlets. Clearly, my combination of strategies, while it works for everyone else, has ceased to work for me. And that's a problem if it's my party.

I need to finish stuff up, clear my desk, and consider plans B through z.....

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Life Is One Big Happy Teachable Moment

So we went to the township pool for the first time all summer today. It was too hot to walk, so I just picked G up from school, we made a stop at the 'little library' around the corner and went to the pool.

Since it was already after 4, people were leaving. The 3 of us hopped into the pool and were thrilled to have a nice swim. Or I took G for a tow, Nic swam. All was pretty uneventful until we got to the second hour. Nic was hanging with a bunch he knew from school and it seemed to be going okay. Then I heard him yelling--the way he does when he is ready to run off the rails.

I called his name. I heard one kid scoff, "Your mom is calling."

I jumped in and swam over. They didn't see me until I was nearly on top of them and they started to scatter. I told the girl closest to me. "He has autism. Do you know that?"

The others gathered in. "You mean like autism awareness?"


"You celebrate that month?"

I gave her a hard stare, and shared it with the rest of the group. "We LIVE it. Every day." I pointed to Nic. "He's stuck with this. All he wants to do his play with you guys, and swim, and have friends. You give him a hard time, and he doesn't know what to do. He needs help, not a hard time."

One girl asked him "Can you swim in the deep water?"

He nodded vigourously. She high-fived him.

And off they went.

He came back about 20 minutes later, scowling at me.

"That one girl still kept picking on me."

I sighed. "Nic, I can't fight your battles all the time. Some people just don't get it. You need to put bullies on ignore. You know?"

We got out of the pool and he was quiet while he dried off. Then he asked the question I've been waiting for.



"Were you ever bullied?" He looked at me with an expression that told me he wasn't expecting me to get whatever it was he was feeling.

I gave him a hollow laugh. "I was bullied a lot. I was beaten up quite a bit."

He gaped at me in something that looked like awe. "Are you okay?"

I chuckled. "I am now. I wasn't then."

"You should have ignored them," he told me.

"Hard to ignore some one who's punching you, calling you names." These are not places you want to go, admitting that you were once weak, powerless, a victim. BUT...I'm none of those things now, and he knows it. Which is what I guess made my admission so shocking to him.

He just doesn't see who I was.

But now he understands so much better that I know who he is. And that he will never be anyone's victim.

Because he's getting schooled in the big bad world.

But no one said ANY of this was easy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Apropos of nothing 2

The following was taken 20 years ago. I would go as far as to say we were all kids, but I was already a self-supporting adult for a couple years by the time this pic was taken.

I loved this time. I was glad to have it, but no way would I go back to it....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

7 Years Ago, Right About Now...

It was a morning like this, sunny, clear, not a cloud in the sky, and hot. The things I remember are the brickwork on the ground of the office park we were in, the way the green of the trees contrasted with the deep blue of the sky.

And the black hole that suddenly became my son's future.

I stood in front of the doctor's office, dialing two numbers frantically on my cell phone: home, and dh's work. Nic, then 30 months old, laughed and chased a butterfly through the square.

He hadn't changed. But my perception of his future did.

He was not yet talking. He was a lovely little guy--when he wasn't screaming about something. He was beautiful, bright, and still the little boy I loved.

With a label. And a future I had no idea how to plan for.

I spent many an hour crying, cursing, bargaining with God in the weeks that followed. Never in his presence. Never where he could see or hear me. I kept a church and state separation of my feelings and doings for the greater good of my family. As far as they were concerned, it was business as usual; therapies, outings, looking for a house (DH had just gotten a job out of state). And I've all but forgotten about a lot of that time. It was a lost weekend that turned into months.

Seven years post diagnosis, Nic is still the lovely little guy he was, now growing up. He still has a quick bright beautiful smile. He's strong and smart, and he has a good heart.

He has gone through a lot, but he continues to grow, and learn, and evolve. And he refuses to give up, be beaten down or otherwise be intimidated. He gets frustrated, but it only makes him work harder, push farther.

I could not have dreamed then what he would be now.

And he's not finished.

(Neither am I)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

And now for some Haiku

Divine Mister S
I will bother you no more
if you send me work

Kids do not listen
I have lost my patience now
Costco won't happen

Resumes be damned
They breed before my eyes and
I need a break now

Monday, August 10, 2009

Good recipe I just made up: Scallop Stuffed Baby Bella Shrooms

OK, started with a pack of baby bella 'shrooms, took, the stalk out, chopped the ends off, then minced the rest. chopped fresh rosemary, added 1/4 lb of thawed scallops (minced), maybe an 1/8 cup of bread crumbs, 1 T olive oil, mix stuffing, stuff 'shrooms, pop into a 350 oven, drizzle with x-v olive oil and cook for 20-25 minutes. Awesome!

Just a note on the scallops if you are using frozen--thaw most of the way through, but not completely, because you don't want them to dry out in cooking.....(but the olive oil should help keep a barrier to keep the moisture in)

Managing my Expectations

So I dropped Nic off for day 1 of his program with a song in my heart and a skip in my step. His friend B was there, as was his brother. Some one to sit with, and his friend, no less. Kewl.

So I was writing the blog I wanted to write in my head on my way to the office. It took me about a half hour to unwind and think hard about what I was going to say.

After all, what if I got here with a triumphant post and then got a phone call to pick him up?

So I sat tight. Went to get him at the end of the program. Good news, he was still in his seat, bad news, B & Bro were no longer sitting with him (but he was sitting with a couple other kids).

And oh yeah, he was perched like a bird in his seat, feet on chair, sort of facing backwards.

Not a screaming triumph, but not a train wreck, either.

A year ago he couldn't have done this. Maybe in a year he'll be awesome.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Loves Me My Anonymity

We went to the Kindergarten Mixer at Please Touch Museum yesterday. They had an awesome resource fair, giveaways, and of course free entrance to the Museum.

It was a zoo. But it was a glorious zoo. And it didn't occur to me until this am that this is probably the first NON special needs freebie fest we've ever gone to.

What it means: I didn't know another soul outside of my own family.

Not STRICTLY speaking true--there was one or two people I knew, or at least looked familiar to me, but being there as 'private citizen' as opposed to N & G's mom (which is how I'm identified these days), I preferred to keep a low profile rather than draw attention to the fact that we were there. I think my family preferred that, too.

And the lack of accommodations mattered not--the kids were in the thick of things and having a blast. I was amazed that Nic liked it as much as he did. G was a bit overwhelmed by the crowds and noise, but he had fun, too.

So scratch the previous entry in a way. All the other stuff I beat my head against the wall make this kind of thing possible. That's why I do it. There is a payoff.

Sometimes the payoff is not immediately apparent, however. Especially when my older one starts caterwauling over the stupid Wii.

We capped it off by dinner in Manayunk. It was a pretty cool day.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should

So after I picked Nic up from his last day of summer playground (after I found his bike helmet dumped in a wheeled cart full of plastic crates, but anyway), it occurred to me that yeah, okay, it's fan-bloody-tastic that he can hold his own in the world of kids who don't have neurological issues (we won't get into psych--in fact, we'll not go there at all), BUT......

Because he can, does it mean he should?

All the stuff that gives me the greatest angst--the bus, basketball, even the township stuff in general--is all OPTIONAL.

Meaning, he will live and prosper just fine without any of it.

But again, living in the NT world requires that you play ball with the NTs--and learn all their crazy NT ways--even the bs is legit because they say so.

I'm reminded of Hugh Laurie's (love that man) quote: [on the difficulty of performing with an American accent] It's as if you're playing left-handed. Or like everyone else is playing with a tennis racket and you have a salmon.

The same can be applied to having autism and living in this world.

The bus is a done deal. Hopefully it doesn't cause either boy lasting damage.

On another note, G graduated from the IU yesterday, and it was kind of a happy/sad occasion. G had such a great time getting up and participating in the songs, full voice (4 years ago, Nic sat in the same ceremony, hand in chin, waiting to be done so he could have some cake). I choked up a few times because G's been with some of these kids for the last 3 years--his teachers have had him for as long.

And the other reason is that he was safe at this school. I know too well now what he is in for. I was SO naive when Nic transitioned to K 4 years ago.

Perhaps it's just as well I cleared the calendar for the next few weeks. I want the kids to enjoy life.

Because it's going to get very difficult soon enough....

Friday, August 7, 2009

August is the Cruelest Month

I could be referring to the late start of school this year, but I'm not. August is hard for me. Dad's 35 year deathiversary is at the end of the month, and Nic's 7-year dx anniversary is next Saturday.

Nic loves his number 7. And today is his half birthday.

In an effort to shake the funk that's descending, I am spending more time with the boys and appreciating how wonderful they both are. They are both sweet, smart, funny and beautiful. Yeah, okay, they aren't like everyone else, but that's what's so special about them. God broke the mold, both times.

I have plenty to keep me busy. I have a calendar to update, resumes to review, and about a thousand words I need to cut from the article I am working on. The article needs to be off my desk today. And I have about six months worth of correspondence to catch up on, and oh yeah, getting my phone expenses done (now over a year in collection) would probably be a good idea.

So the money hand off over the bike went off fine, and Nic took the life lesson better than I thought he would.

Sharkbait, the little catfish that came with Nic's fish tank, died the other night. He was a cool little fish and I am probably more bummed about his demise than the kids are.

After Nic's program next week, we'll have three weeks before school opens. Not sure what we'll do with it, but the way things have been filling up, I'm not all that concerned. We have a lot of good friends and good people in our lives. The boys have had a great summer, lots to do, and even if we lie low the next few weeks, it'll be good recharge time for them both for the year ahead.

Ahead for the fall: soccer, scouts, swimming, and I think they will both be taking canoeing lessons--kayak once they've mastered the canoe. I'm on the fence still about basketball, and I guess we'll wait and see how the bus works out.

I really do have mixed feelings about that portion of the program, but we'll see.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pilgrim, That's Gonna Cost Ya

I'm sorry, did I actually write here that summer playground was going swimmingly?


(ahem) k, so I drop Nic off this am when the head counselor accosts me with "I need to talk to you."

Any conversation that begins this way is usually fated to head due south.

"Um, okay?" Nic had headed over to the other kids but stopped in his tracks and looked sheepishly around at me. And all I can think is "oh, sh*t, what did you do NOW?"

So I hear a buzz of words, am able to pick out "bike," "accident," "tire knocked off," "stuff happens." I glance at a receipt shown me, dated Tuesday at a bike shop next town over for $21.40. I take the phone number proferred and say I'll work it out.

Nic throughout is hugging me, apologizing, and I tell him we'll discuss this later.

I get back into the van and start muttering to myself. How am I going to broach this conversation? DO I bring up autism? Well, no. Nic was just being a bonehead and he likes to crash into things. Sensory input or not, he knows better. And he was just in the damned pool, so don't talk to me about him needing input.

"Who are you talking to?" G asks from the back seat. I forgot he was there. I drop him off and start talking to myself anew.

By the time I get up to camp, I'm ready to turn this over to hubby. Who is not answering either phone.

I sigh, dial the other dad's number, get him on the line and ask "So okay, what did they tell you?"

It's not his son's bike, but his son was riding it. The other dad had in mind to hit G (dad I was talking to) for $20 and me for $50.

"I saw the receipt, it was for 21.40," I noted.

"I know, so I figured we'd split it," he said. "I was hoping he didn't get you for the $50."

I laughed. "My son's bike was $30 new and I got it for 10 used, no freaking way is this guy getting $50."

G laughed too. "Yeah, he thinks Tony Hawk gave it to him personally."

"Tell you what," I said. "I'll pay you at pick up today. I'll ask you to let me do this in front of Nic, because accident or not, things cost, you know? And this is going to cost him, and I want him to see how and why it works."

"Good idea, my son will be there, too."

We hung up. He wants to split it, but I'll cover it. I'm glad his kid was riding the bike, because otherwise I'd be dealing with the rip off artist. I figure the least I can do is cover the bill--he actually got the bike fixed.

Ah, Nic. Never a dull moment with you, kid.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Self Advocacy

My son, not quite 9 1/2, sat in on his first meeting with the school district yesterday.

His mission: to explain in his own words why he wants to ride the big bus.

He did fine; he was understandably nervous, looked to me a few times, and looked relieved when I clarified his position. The director from time to time would glance over at Nic and ask, "Is that correct?"

And Nic would nod vigorously, pleased to be part of the conversation. "That's right," he'd confirm.

The only difference between this time and all the other times I've discussed this with Nic is that there was another adult who is not dad in the conversation.

The end result: we're going to give it a shot. And cross our fingers.

This is Nic's first foray into the conversation about his life plan, but I figured it was relatively safe territory to start. Nic's first act of self advocacy came two years ago, when he punched a bully in the mouth.

This kid had been dogging him since K, and that particular day, he had another kid hold Nic down while he whaled on him.

And Nic hit him in the mouth. And drew blood.

I know the PC response is to be horrified, but I was pleased. Nic would never raise a hand to another kid, but I was so proud of him for having the wherewithal to defend himself. And he sent a crystal-clear message to anyone ever thinking about pulling this stunt on him again.

So, having him sit at the table, his big green eyes taking everything in, listening intently to the conversation (hey, it was all about him!), contributing appropriately, it's clear my handsome little guy is growing up.

Summer playground, meh, he's making it clear that he's tolerating it for my benefit. I think he'll like the program I signed him up for next week better. He's already pretty excited about that.

I think we are going to work the next few weeks on academics. I want him to hit the ground running when school starts.

Because he's already showed me that he is up to snuff on the social skills front...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Without a Net

So I dropped Nic off at summer playground a little while ago. I did some serious back-and-forth with myself over whether this was a good idea. He said so—after all, he is too old for G’s school, he tells me. He wants to hang out with kids his own age.

Well, G’s school is more expensive, but at least I know he’s safe.

Not that he’s not safe, BUT, always the danger of meltdowns, and he’s not sure what the deal is, never having done this before. Hopefully, he will be paying attention and let me know what he needs at the end of today to make the rest of the week work.

My stomach was in knots when I left him. Because despite his camo shorts and basketball team tee-shirt, he was looking pretty damned autistic this am. It happens when he is nervous. He blends better when he’s at ease.

I will be on pins and needles until pick up. I will be praying I don’t get a phone call. I will be praying he finds a friend or two to hang out with.

I wonder what it’s like to never have to worry about these things. I wonder what I would have fretted over if it weren’t for autism. Would I be worrying about what other people think of my kids? Would my kids be the ones who would run interference for the kids who needed it?

On a slightly different note, G wanted to talk to me about death last night. Hubby took the kids to see UP (again) yesterday afternoon, and this has been kind of haunting G a lot lately, the whole idea of going away and never coming back. I have not yet had this conversation with Nic, and again, the contrast between them is interesting.

I told him as much as I could, as simply as I could. It’s one of many conversations we’ll have. He is wise beyond his years, my little one. Yeah, I know what his IQ scores say, but that’s not the only intelligence there is. His emotional wisdom has some so-called geniuses (who are emotional pygmies) beat—and I’ll take what he’s got any day of the week.

Actually, he’s probably going to need me more in some ways than Nic does. Nic has the foundation now—he’s going places.

I just found out that G’s school is closed. Maybe he’ll be going to camp with his brother this week after all.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ignorance Persists (or why I am Warrior Mom)

I continue to be floored by how widespread ignorance is. This is emblematic of the kind of crap my kids deal with every day.

With all the autism awareness programs going on, you would think people would know better. And every day, I am reminded--firsthand, by my own experience in our own little corner of the world--how very far we have to go.

It's no wonder I've become the person I am.

The good news is that my boys will be tougher than anyone or any problem anyone can ever throw at them.

The bad news is that at 9 and almost 6 years of age, they are fighting on the front lines.

This is not something I want for them. But by dint of their situations, this is who they are.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Old Friends (Rock)

Just wanted to jot a few lines about the awesome day my boys had yesterday. Again, friends we have not seen in ages, mom asked what the right things to tell her boys were, and I said 'wing it, answer questions, but if they don't see a difference, don't bring it up."

So. Afternoon spent playing on a swing set in the rain, shooting each other with super soakers, playing Wii, watching vintage Tom & Jerry cartoons while moms play catch up.

Nirvana? Pretty damn close.

Summer has been AWESOME. :D And we are not done yet!

(Now back to my regular scheduled angsting lol)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Damn Boulder

I am still pushing that &*^%$$ thing up the mountain. If I get the words down, it will be easier to edit. I need to finish getting the words down by 11 or so. Then I can start making it all make sense.

But a conversation with DH last night actually confirmed that YES, this is a tough assignment on a number of levels. But I will get it done, and get it done well, because that's what I do.

But the southern fried nerves aren't helping much, and I need to figure out the kids' respective situations. I think I need a vacation. I will not get one. I need to figure out another way to recharge.


I found myself up at 4 when my little one wandered in. I remember his babyhood pretty vividly--more so than I expected I would, being so immersed in Nic and his issues back in that particular day. All he had to do was snuggle in next to me, and bang, there I was, almost 6 years ago, his little head tucked under my chin, Baby Paxil. All I had to do was pick him up and immediately I was in a happier place.

I remembered, too, an April afternoon 9 years ago when I was walking back from lunch with DH at the lab, Nic nestled in his sling, napping, holding my right index finger tightly as I walked with him.

I'm finding I remember more than I think I do....

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fr M rocks

I just got off the phone with him, and really, there is nothing that is not manageable after speaking with him. God speaks through him. It's amazing.

I just told him so, as a matter of fact. Thank God he's here.

Back to work.


I'm probably going to blow another deadline, but Nic's daily screaming fits have taken their toll. I literally CANNOT take another day of it.

I've sequestered him in the other room with the doors closed. Hopefully that will be enough. I'm sure he's going to start howling again the minute he starts losing.

I'm in a Catch 22--I need the Wii to get stuff done, but the Wii keeps me from getting stuff done because once he gets into howling mode, all bets are off.

Hm. Lots of coffee, notes here, game on. I'd love to have a draft out of here by 5 pm.