Monthly Archives: January 2012

Prince of Studio City

Scene:  living room, int.  super adorable and precocious child, sitting right next to daddy, gets up, walks across the house to where mama is laying down with a headache.

Child:  Mama!  Want some more water!

Mama:  Go ask daddy.

Child:  NO!  Mama goes to kitchen!

Mama:  Child, i am laying down–go ask your father.

Child:  No! (bursts into tears)  MAMA DO IT!!

Father (from other room): Come here child, i will get you some water!

Child:  NO! NO! NO!  MAMA TO DO IT!

aaaaaand scene.

This has been playing between our four walls now for a week or so.  Ah yes, once I have been lulled into complacency, Ben goes through another phase.  For now he is attached to me–and only to me, and daddy is persona non grata–just a slave building the pyramids…

Here’s the thing though–while he is attached to me and REFUSES to listen to daddy WHATSOEVER, with subsequent screaming, he is not so attached that he is super affectionate or whatnot.  It’s not as if he clings to me, refusing to leave my company.  Nope–he simply wants me–and only me–to serve him.  Like the pharoah’s personal body slave or some shit.

(sorry–just envisioning the servant from the 10 commandments telling Nefertiri that Moses was “born of Hebrew slaves” with her face all scrunched up.  *giggle*–for which there is NO image on the interwebs ANYWHERE. But Hey, Easter’s comin.  It’ll be on TV soon.)

And as i ask my friends and family what they would do–they all say the same thing–remove yourself.

Well, if you’d like to pay for my spa day, go right ahead.

As a SAHM, it’s not always easy to remove myself.  I’m the one he see’s 90% of the time.

Daddy gets home late, and only gets an hour or so a day during the week.  I hand over most of the reins on the weekend, but that’ s only 2 days, and then Ben is back to “so shall it be written, so shall it be done”

[on top of this, he has a cold–which almost ALWAYS means regression in some form.  Mostly self-regulation–so the screaming isn’t very…controlled, if you will.  He will scream if i wont’ help him, scream if the computer won’t load fast enough, scream if his french fries are luke warm, and scream if gravity refuses to let his hot wheels cars fly far enough. Hell, i think he’d scream because his screaming was too loud. I know i am about to…]

I am trying to keep it together, but you know that last parenting nerve we all talk about–if he plucks that mofo one more time, i might have to hop in my chariot and run over a few folks.  wait–wrong Charlton Heston movie.  You get the drift, though.

So if you see a wandering Hebrew around, looking for someone to deliver, as frogs are falling from the sky, just point him in this direction, k?  A quiet vacation in the desert might be nice for a change…

Categories: Autism | 7 Comments

Magic! **flashy hands**

I’m a little troubled, y’all.  Ok, not troubled, but in a moral quandary, if you will.

Lately–in TV & movies there have been more characters with “autism” (the kid in Touch was first described as having Autism, but is now said to be “emotionally disturbed”–more thoughts on that lil change by ThAutcast) than there have been in the past. And while i celebrate their step into the limelight, it’s actually starting to bug me.

The first (that i started paying attention to) is of course Max from Parenthood.  He doesn’t really bug me much–he’s a bit more… self-aware than an actual kid with Aspergers might be–but it’s TV. if characters on TV were like real life, most of the time we wouldn’t watch because a) it would be too boring or b) it would be too uncomfortable(think Hoarders).  So TV and it’s writers need to find the mix between the two that keep the audience coming back  I get that.

Let us not forget the undiagnosed Sheldon COoper on Big Bang Theory.  I know Chuck has said that Sheldon is not an Aspie–but Autie moms know better.  If you wanna call him PDD-NOS to feel better, Chuck, we’re ok with that.  Acceptance is really the only way to come to terms with the diagnosis…

But let’s put Sheldon and Max aside.  They are not who I want to address.

No, I want to discuss the rise of the “magical Autie”.

You know the kind:  their “gifts” help solve crimes, or reach new understandings about life, or keep Keifer Sutherland’s acting career going.

I will admit, I haven’t watched Touch or Alphas or Numbers for that matter–because frankly none of the shows work for me.  I’m not a crime show gal, and I tried to watch Alphas and found it wanting.

But maybe I avoid for another reason?

I am all for giving attention to Autism and getting people to recognize that it is something everyone will have to deal with (probably) in their life time.  You will meet at least one person on the spectrum–unless you live on a desert island with a volleyball.  And even then…

(think about it–non verbal, lack of eye contact, detached from the situation….)

And I am all for celebrating the “quirks” our children with Autism have.  And finding a way to make those quirks work FOR them rather than against them.  Yes yes.  (can you tell I’ve been having this argument in my head for a while?)

But, an image is evolving that may not well serve the Autism community.  Not every kid with Autism can solve 20-year-old cold cases.  sorry.  Some of them will never be able to live on their own or even hold a job.  They can’t all count cards and win big in vegas.  But they also have value.  They also have lives that are very real and rewarding.  They also have parents that try to help them every day to live their lives to the bet of their ability and find joy–in whatever form that takes.  But they aren’t celebrated or touted, or even written into movies or films as anything other than a hardship or sadness.  WE SEE THIS HOLLYWOOD.  We aren’t blind.

A few years back, my Old Man pointed out the role of the “magical negro” (coined by Spike Lee) to me in certain movies and TV shows.  You know the kind–the African-American companion that has all the answers and helps the white protagonist through the most difficult times–like a crappy movie about golf?    I guess I’m just afraid that folks with autism are gonna be lumped into this category as well.

Look, it’s hard enough to fight the Rainman stereotypes, without someone looking for special gifts in my son.  Sure–he may have special gifts.  He may learn to defy gravity some day that helps up live in space (this prediction made solely on the fact that he fights gravity on a daily basis, often ending in screams of frustration, only to try his impossible upside-down hotwheel racetrack scenario again.)–but if he does have that or other gifts, I’d prefer they develop naturally.  Moreover, I’d like people to value him because he’s a cool dude, and not because he can visualize wormholes.

So, Hollywood, while I commend you for trying to represent a part of society’s sometimes disenfranchised, could we have a little less miracle-working?

Categories: Autism | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Trolls

When I was a kid, the only kind of troll that mattered to me was the one in the Billy Goats Gruff story. And those annoying, creepy-faced troll dolls that look like Snow White’s Dopey, degraded with a pedophile smirk.

But with Al Gore’s nifty invention of the internet, it seems a new kind of Troll developed.  With many offshoots.  Let us take a moment to examine the many species of internet troll here on…Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Internet Kingdom.

ALLCAPSWILLIE: 

  • THIS IS THE GUY THAT PUTS ON THE CAP LOCK, IGNORES EVERY LOGICAL STATEMENT YOU MAKE AND SIMPLY SHOUTS AT YOU BECAUSE YOU DO NOT HOLD HIS WORLD VIEW.  HE FEARS YOU WILL MISS HIS STATEMENT AND THEREFORE ROT FOR ALL ETERNITY IN THE FIRES OF HELL.  HE’S ONLY DOING THIS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.  WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN?!? AFTER ALL, HIS CAPS LOCK DEMANDS YOUR ATTENTION!

Not to be confused with:

@Prays4usWillimena:

  • She spends a lot of time saying her rosary while she trolls the internet looking for sinners.  She was beaten by nuns a lot as a child and feels that the best way to live life is to punish others for their wayward views and blasphemous thoughts. Belly shirts should not reveal a belly! Jesus would hate that sooo much!

RandomFactSue:

  • Sue is the gal that reads your post/blog/article and doesn’t really get it, but it mentioned Canada, and therefore must be about Jihadists or how bologna is made.  And she tells you about it, it great detail, even though you were writing about polar bears. And even when you try to talk her down regarding the heathenous hoard to our North, she then reveals what she was thinking all along: that you are part of the problem. You must be Canadian.

SLIGHTLY related to:

Always-comes back to (abortion, Obama, homosexual agenda, partial nudity) Franklin

  • Oh, you mentioned Canada?  Well then it’s all Obama’s fault because of ObamaCare and those damn socialists trying to destroy the foundations of American freedom.  Harry cries a lot when no one is looking, tries to like his neighbor—no not that one, the WHITE one—and has a large gun arsenal.

Creepy sexual innuendo Hector

  • Oh, you mentioned Canada, did you?  Well you know what is just like Canada?  His penis.  #NovaScotia

(I don’t even know what that means, but I am sure that it’s against Sharia AND Iowa law.)

Threats of personal violence because my penis is so small I can’t even masturbate John

  • Unfortunately, a few of us are familiar with this guy.  Sometimes these frightened creatures operate supposed charities/cults.  They are a scary part of the interwebs—and I fear we spend a lot of time convincing ourselves they are just harmless cowards.  But if a coward gets enough gumption and support, they do cowardly things.  Report this jackass.  Immediately.  NOT KIDDING.

Says exact opposite to get a response Charlie

  • This is usually the troll we can identify right off the bat—because their comment is usually starts with something like “you’re obviously an idiot” or “people like you”.  They obviously lead a sad existence living on liver paste and All In The Family reruns.

Variation 1—contrary with slurs to get a greater response Ramone.

  • You know this guy—his response is usually peppered with the word “retard” or “skank”.  The chances of this guy being a 19-year-old girl is very high. The chances of this guy ever talking to a 19-year-old girl? Low.  No, think lower. There ya go.

Variation 2—member of the opposing team  Sheila

  • More often spotted on sports blogs; a member of the opposing team’s fandom who is determined just to ridicule / emasculate the team in question.  You know—like high school, but without them ever having to take the risk of competing in anything , performing in front of a crowd, or looking anyone in the eye.

@AttentionWhoreAnnie

  • Oh, Annie.  You try to join the conversation, but it becomes obvious in two comments that you are just a sad, 40-year-old man living in your mother’s basement.  Get out a little.  Experience sunshine.  Pet a dog.  Maybe even bring in your mail.

Inappropriate screenname Dicky

  • He actually makes coherent statements and is capable of a well thought-out conversation.  But how can you ever agree with ANYTHING said by “charming_rapist_69?”

I have been – thus far – lucky enough to avoid the attention of these trolls with my trip-trapping hippie rants.  Even though it’s considered a rite of passage for every blog to attract the attention of a troll, I am kinda glad they haven’t seen me in my hunting blind yet.  It allows me to watch them more closely, and mock them relentlessly.

And thanks, Al Gore! This series of tubes is really something else.

Categories: Snark | Tags: , , | 13 Comments

SOC Sunday: The Right Guy

#SOCsunday
So, I totally married the right guy.

Not that there was a line of ‘em or anything.  Its just that there are times in our marriage when he reiterates why i knew  in my bones the night i met him that he was the one for me.

Friday there was this blog/story about a little girl denied a life saving transplant at a Children’s hospital due to her mental capacity.  And it pretty much had me in tears all damn day. (links will follow)

THat a team of doctors decided that because she was developmentally disabled that her quality of life wasn’t WORTH the transplant set off alarm bells in me that i am still a little worked up about.

BEcause it feeds that fear i have that Ben will never be “accepted by the tribe” if you will.  That his diagnosis, no matter how cute, or brilliant or quirky he may be, will mean he is deemed a second class citizen.  It takes every mama bear nerve that i’ve got and just plucks the hell out of them and rubs them with sandpaper and then pours lemon juice on them.  They are WORKED NERVES.

But that’s not what this post is about.  Without telling him how this sotry made me feel vulnerable and XANAX seeking, my husband took up the gauntlet, shared the link to the petition started by fellow special needs mama SUnday, (and lemme just say, one group of women you DON’T wanna get riled up are SPecial Needs mamas–it’s like there’s an unofficial phone tree that gets activated, and hell hath no fury, etc etc), actually CALLED THE HOSPITAL in questions, made numerous posts on their FB page, found out their major donors and developed a plan to contact them, and on and on.

(now lemme just say, my Old Man has escalation issues when his sense of justice has been triggered.  He knows this–and has learned to just stay the shit OUT of things becuase it would get him into trouble, and cause him undue amounts of stress.)

But it was these actions that made me feel secure and whole again, becuase i knew (even though i KNEW) that no matter what, this Hairy cave man of mine would stand up to the lions of injustice if our son was ever in need of it.  That were our child to be threatened by tribe, we would pack up the teepee and strike out on our own, and he would protect us with every breath.  It was primal and spoke to a deeper genetic code than wedding vows and joint tax returns.  IT was that “my hero” moment that wives have now and then that make you overlook the underwear on the floor and the cheetos dust on the duvet.

Yeah.  He’s the right one.

**************************************

Here is the link to the orginal blog story dicsussing the issues, and here is the link to the petition started by Sunday Stilwell.  And if you’re still worked up, here is the FB page of CHOP.  Let’s make a big enough stink about this so that someone will pick up this little girl and approve the transplant she needs!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: One down…

Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Memory Lane…(in which I stray from the humorous and wax philosophical on the current educational system…)

{Since a friend accused me of phonin’ it in recently… *ahem*}

So a few of my bebes that once sat quietly and worked diligently in my classroom are now grown-ass adults with opinions and shit.  (Not that they didn’t have opinions when they were teenagers–JEEZ did they have loud and openly shared opinions)  A few of them have friended me on facebook.  And sometimes it kinda makes me fucking feel OLD.

Let me first say I am proud of my bebes.  Some graduating with history degrees from UCLA (you go girl!) others still attending school, some watching over and teaching today’s youth and at least one gave his mama a kidney and is becoming an engineer. (Jerome, I will brag about you until I die or you kill a hobo.  And even then I’d prolly still brag…”He hid the body REALLY well!”)

I’ve got other bebes as well that went on to UC schools, or non-UC schools, or community colleges or the school of life, that I don’t talk to.  Not out of spite or anything–its just the role of “former teacher”–if they wanna talk to you, they will.  Otherwise, your time with them is over and they go on to live life.

[Same for me--I am "friends" with a few of my former teachers.  Not all of them.  Not because they all sucked (although some of them certainly did) but because I feel no compulsion to contact them.]

I should also mention that I have some bebes who are behind bars, living lives of questionable decisions or are six feet under.  Still my bebes.  Though a few of them need a good smack on the mouth.  With a chair.

Teaching came to me late, and was never my first love.  I was good at it, got a few stupid awards that don’t really mean shit other than some administrator wanted me to be happy so I’d support their bullshit ideas, but it burned me out in 7 years–as predicted by my mentor Anne Diver-Stamnes.  She told me.  I didn’t hear.  I couldn’t remove myself enough to take care of myself.  I let the idiocy of others chip away at my good intentions.  I exhausted myself.  Physically.  Mentally.  Spiritually.

I don’t talk about it much–the reasons I left.  Mostly because I felt really guilty about it when I did.  I mean, even if I hadn’t gotten pregnant with the most amazing child in the universe who coincidentally needs me a skosh more than a typical kid would at this age of intensive early intervention & therapy, I think I still would have had to leave.

Yeah, I see the shortage of teachers and I wonder if I was selfish or if I was smart. (Although, lemme say in all honesty that the shortage rarely seems to hit the history departments of high schools.  Most history teachers, once entrenched, rarely leave.  I mean–what ELSE do we do with this degree if we aren’t as cool as Sarah Vowell and write hip books about pilgrims and war memorials?)

I see the stories about crappy teachers and think, did I do the right thing or was I rat leaving a sinking ship?

*squeak*

The pat reason i give about why I left was the absolute idiocy of the schools I was working in and the fact that I was supposed to manage 5+ classes of 40+ kids who were barely at reading level, facing silly rules about stupid words that meant nothing to kids who may not have even gotten three square and had no idea how to back up their opinions, or how to even formulate a well-thought hypothesis.  IN THE TWELFTH GRADE.  They did a great job of repeating what adults told them, and what the internet told them, and what sports figures told them, but many seemed scared to actually voice their own genuine thoughts.  (Which, when they did usually showed remarkable insight and observations about life).  I was punished for not reinforcing  their practice of filling in bubbles about facts anyone else would look up with google, because instead I made them USE those facts to form those opinions I was talking about earlier. ANd this made me the bad guy.  The black sheep.  The one with no respect for authority.

HAH! (yes, that was supposed to sound like Mrs Kerbople–the most honest teacher out there…)

And while those reasons are just fine, and tend to satisfy anyone with the burning need to know why I left, in the deeper recesses of my thought, I must admit, they were not the primary reasons.

The way the system is set up, I believe, it destined for failure.  And beliving that, I felt like an absolute hypocrite for working within it.

And exhausted beating my head bloody against a system i KNEW would not change in my lifetime.

My world changed a few years into my teaching career when i read the book “A Different Kind of Teacher” by John Taylor Gatto, in which he points out the obvious flaws in the system, and lays out a plan on how to change it.  All i can say is if you teach or are interested in education, READ IT.  And while i’m at it, may i also suggest Literacy with an Attitude, by Patrick Finn–the second book that kinda put a nail in the coffin for me.

On a weird lil side note, my principal at the time borrowed the Gatto book and never returned it. Of course she didn’t.  It was sedition, pure and simple.

Now, a lot of this is moot since i am now focused on helping  Ben through early intervention.  Whatever my reasons, excuses, etc that i have about leaving education, none of it matters now.  Ben is my first priority, and if i were still teaching, i wouldn’t be able to give him even half of what i give him now.  Yeah–this may change in a few years as he improves (which he is doing at an alarming and awesome rate), but for now, mulling over why i left seems like a waste of time.  And the one thing i don’t have a lot of these days is wasted time… (unless i’m on Pinterest–SUCH a timesuck)

But in the end, I had to make a decision:  stay and change it to the detriment of my sanity, or leave and pursue other dreams that may never bloom?  I suppose to some  I was a quitter on a lot of levels–and that same some  never hesitated to tell me just that.  And possibly I deserve it.  It was pretty Sarah Palin of me to leave at the height of my game.

But I also made a vow to not apologize when I did it.   No matter the bebes I left behind.

Now some of those bebes are growing and maturing and working daily on becoming better people.  And as i look on their growth, i again focus on mine.  It’s not the actualities of the path you are on, but the authenticity.I would not be who i am today without my years teaching in the inner city.  I would be no where CLOSE to where i am today.  Staying or leaving has no weight–it was the experience that forced me to grow.  What i do with that growth, well, we’ll have to wait and see.

In any case, I will say it’s great to stay in touch with some of my students, because it can be a daily reminder to think about intention and authenticity, which can only be a good thing in my book.  And i get to cuss around them now.  and really speak my mind without worrying about some parent crawlin up my ass about something i said in class.  That part’s kinda nice too…

Categories: Uncategorized | 6 Comments

SOC Sunday

Haven’t done this in a while, but since i am up at 4am, hey–why not, eh?

 

#SOCsunday
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I don’t get it.  I just don’t get it.

I’ve been following a couple incidents quietly involving organizations that say they help Special Needs kids, but then act inappropriately.  One involves bullying and lack of transparency, and absolute VITRIOL spewed by the owner toward anyone asking questions.

You know, the thing they tell us on Sesame street to do when we want to understand something?

And there are two issues here that concern me.  One has to do with taking advantage of parents of Special NEeds kids, but also the blind trust that some of those parents put in people.  The other is the amount of trolling a person is willing to go to.

I don’t know which one bothers me more.

I suppose it is just easy to say, that knowing what kind of douchebags are out there, it makes me never want to donate to or apply for anything from a  charity.  PT Barnum echoes in my head.  But i *get* the desire to help your kid, i really do.  When i see Ben kicking ass, i think, “how much better would be be with A or B?”  But as i have a certain mistrust of humankind, and charities in general, i shy away from them as much as i can.

But what is startling to me is the amount of time effort and absolute HATE someone is willing to spew toward anyone.  The owners of the organization i’ve been reading about has really spewn some ugliness.  Like, name calling, invasion of privacy, libelous HATE.  Toward people just asking questions.  I can get saying something snarky here or there if you feel you are being attacked–but this is downright TROLLING, and is frankly the main reason i am not even mentioning the site itself because i have NO desire to get drawn into it.  Just observing it makes me wanna take a xanax.

THe anonymity of the internet has not improved us as a people, i don’t think.  It gives cowards a very loud voice.  And when cowards have a loud voice, shit happens.  Ask the Jewish population in Poland–oh, that’s right, there aren’t many left in Poland anymore…

I’m off to be nice to someone today. Although i feel (cynically) that me being nice to someone won’t change a goddamned thing.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As a word of warning, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE investigate any charity you feel like donating to or applying to for help.  Do NOT prove Barnum right.  Ask for documentation, ask others who are involved, and if there is a HINT of something wrong, or your gut just says, “no”–then run.  There are plenty of other organizations out there willing to actually HELP others.  And i must say, if it’s a special needs charity, and sounds too good to be true, looks doubly hard.

Categories: SOC sunday | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Oh, For the Love of…

As successful as i have been avoiding these things, i’ve been slapped with a restraining order bloggy meme, bestowed up on me by the ungrateful psychotic lovely Flannery over at The Conner Chronicles.

This is called the Sunshine award, which is completely appropos because i am just a bucket of fucking sunshine.  If by sunshine you mean misanthropic snark and hatred of the stupid.

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award. Riiiiiiiiight.
  2. Link back to the Blogger (or Bloggers) who awarded you. See Above
  3. Answer the following questions, down below.
  4. Pass the award out and victimize ten other Bloggers letting them know, of course, that you’ve nailed them.

 

Favorite Color?  i always go with my stock answer: PLAID.  shuts people up right away.  Makes ‘em think yer a nut.  However, i am excessively fond of orange.

Favorite Animal?  When i was a teacher, i let it be known that i liked frogs.  And JEEZ did all the frog crap ever known to the universe find itself upchucked upon my desk.  so much so that i don’t really like them anymore.  Lately it’s been hummingbirds, because those lil fuckers are mean and battle scarred.  I watch them from my front window daily.  They also buzz my tower on a regular basis, and i appreciate their ballsiness.  especially since *I* am the one feeding them.

now that i’ve said that, please do not send me every hummingbird image ever made.

Favorite number?  the ones that would win the lottery.  It’s what we’re all thinkin, right?

Favorite drink?  Before the onslaught of the hipsters and those SITC broads, i used to drink cosmopolitans.  In fact i immortalized my love for this drink in a short story i never submitted anywhere because i suck (and it’s too long)  ahem:

The Ritual.  Silver tumbler. Icy glass. The helpless lime crushed in his Goliath hands.  My Odysseus, conquering my Cyclops with a quick shake and lime twist.  The pink concoction that seems to be my only link to being a lady.  Everything else about me seems to say one tough broad—but here comes that fragile martini glass again, with the pinky thrown out for balance and show.  My mother always tells me that I have always had delicate hands.  Her friends used to come over to watch me eat when I was a child.  She tells me this when she is out with me and wondered who this monster is that is wolfing down the hot wings and what it did with her little girl.

Facebook or Twitter?  I’m on both–and as Flannery pointed out, we all just use them to cross promote our blogs.  I’m on FB more than Twitter.  Mostly because every time i have time to get on the Twits, no one’s there that i was thinking of talking to.  Or the conversations are so numerous and fast that i get lost in the feed.  SO yeah.  Apparently i’m an old woman, so i’m on FB.

My passion?  Passion.  like being into something so whole heartedly that you think of nothing else.  Right now I’m on a sewing bent to make bags–like purses and lil cosmetic bags.  This will change, maybe even today.

Giving or getting presents?  Hello?  Getting presents rock!  But, i will confess i like to MAKE stuff to give as presents.  Giving something store-bought is nice and all, but it’s not as rewarding as giving a gift made by your own hands. (and spit and baling wire)

Favorite day?  During the school year–MONDAY.  the first day i get a break, AND Ben had ABA therapy at home that day so it’s a little easier on me all around.  SOmetimes i even get to sit and have a cup of coffee and READ something.

Favorite flower?  Tulips.  please spare me any “Holland” references.  I like tulips before i had Ben, and before the diagnosis.  I think it’s because i remember my mom planting them outside our trailer in Indy. (yes, we lived in a trailer.)  They were the first flower i remember paying attention to.

 

Ok this is where i’m supposed to tag other folks.  10?  really?  i think not.

1. First of all my bestie over at Chocolate Wasteland

2.  Amanda at AmandaBroadfoot.com

3.  Kris over at Confessions of  a Pagan Soccer Mom

 

enjoy people. hah!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments
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