Jill over at Yeah. Good Times. created an award, and Jenni B at Anybody Want a Peanut? bestowed it on me. This is a truly awesome award (awesome=ugly), so clap for me! I got a dancing kitten! And I'm “memetastic” and I don't even know what that means! As Jill says, “It's better than the Nobel Prize ... the economics one anyway.”
I'm not sure I really want this award, but I'm very scared of Jill, so here we go ...
The rules, should you find yourself in receipt of the Memetastic Award:
1. You must proudly display the graphic Jillsmo describes as "absolutely disgusting.” I don't know what she's talking about. I'm no graphic designer but I can tell this was done by a real professional. You should be teaching classes. I want to know more about this kitten. I particularly like the way the confetti only rains on the kitty in that one little square at the bottom.
According to Jill: “It's so bad that not only did I use COMIC SANS, but there's even a little jumping, celebrating kitten down there at the bottom. It's horrifying! But its presence in your award celebration is crucial to the memetastic process we're creating here.”
2. You must list 5 things about yourself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies. Quality is not important.
3. You must pass this award on to 5 bloggers that you either like or don't like or don't really have much of an opinion about. Jill: "I don't care who you pick, and nobody needs to know why. I mean, you can give a reason if you want, but I don't really care"
4. If you fail to follow any of the above rules, Jill will hunt you down and harass you incessantly until, according to her, "you either block me on Twitter or ban my IP address from visiting your blog. I don't know if you can actually do that last thing, but I will become so annoying to you that you will actually go out and hire an IT professional to train you on how to ban IP addresses just so that I'll leave you alone. I'm serious. I'm going to do these things.” She will. She's no longer Mayor of Target so she's got time on her hands.
5. (Not actually a rule for some reason) Once you do the above, please link up to the Memetastic Hop so that Jillsmo can keep track of where this thing goes and figure out who she needs to stalk.
5 things about AMANDA, 1 of which is actually true:
1. I weigh 100 pounds.
2. I have a superior, almost superhuman, sense of direction.
3. I used to work for Larry Flynt.
4. I help the police solve crimes through my psychic dreams.
5. My actual title is Lady Broadfoot of Windemere.
I bestow this award on the following lucky (lucky=horrified) recipients:
1. E. Peterman and Vanessa at G. at girls-gone-geek.com because I love to give a shout-out to my fellow fan girls. Unfortunately, they have a strong sense of aesthetic, and I'm not sure the dancing kitten is going to make it on to their site. Maybe you could give him a mask and a cape?
2. Ashley at Stinker Babies because someone just stole this hilarious blogger's yard sale sign, so she could use a jumping kitty.
3. Maura at 36x37 because she writes so beautifully about firsts, and I'll bet this is the first time she has received a dancing kitty as a gift.
4. Wendy from Herding Cats in Hammon River, because she'll provide a happy home to our maniacally delighted cat.
5. The Cat's Blog because he or she (I have no idea who writes this blog) loves cats and hasn't posted since 2009's post, “Problem with the litter box,” so I'm concerned about him/her (concerned=not really).
Check out their blogs...and be sure and harass them about when they're going to post the dancing kitty.
Total 10 comments
You asked for it, you sadistic people, and here it is: me unfiltered, unmade-up and un-flat-ironed ... Also, if you want to check out the blog post I mention in the vlog, that which inspired this great un-masking, read on:
Total 10 comments
Today the SITS Girls Back2Blogging Challenge has asked us to write about why we write, to blog about why we blog, to discuss what blogging means to us.
Last night, I started making a list, and it goes a little like this:
1. I get by with a little help from my tweeps.
Blogging has been a means of giving and receiving support, exchanging information, laughing with friends. Let's face it: I don't get out much.
Some people who I know in the “real” world tease me about my obsessive social networking, the way you would tease someone with an obsession with shoes or Halo or somebody who collected potato chips that look like the Virgin Mary. But I have very good friends online. They buck me up, make me laugh and actually help me solve problems. Never underestimate the power of a virtual hug. (I also have two Facebook friends who I'm convinced think I'm somebody else, but most of them know me.)
Sometimes, things just seem less scary when you can get them down in print and contain the whole event or issue or problem in a few paragraphs. You can stare at the whole thing all at once.
And then sometimes, as a mom, you're bursting with pride and want to share your joy with the whole wide world ... web. Thanks to blogging, I can brag to millions of complete strangers ... or at least the 12 people who are actually reading my blog.
Some people don't even realize they're lending support; I'm just lurking around, laughing at their jokes from the sidelines and admiring the pictures of their kids. Now that I think about it, that actually sounds super-creepy.
2. 1 Degree of Separation
Theoretically, everyone on the planet is only separated by six other people: You know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who can get a meeting with the President, for instance.
The Internet cuts that way down. You can email just about anybody. When we started this blog – and I say “we” because originally, Dave and I were both going to be blogging – we were interested in being able to start discussions about autism treatments and invite scientific debate. We wanted to talk to leaders in research and autism science and get their feedback on treatments and theories on causes.
We do some of that. But since Dave really hasn't had much time to blog about actual science, that part of the blog has been limited to my opinions of therapies like Floortime, Therapeutic Listening and Kindermusic; the great response from Science-based Parenting about how Vaccines Are Not Linked to Aborted Fetal Tissue; more and more about vaccines and rants against celebrities like this one and this one who shouldn't comment on science and a lot of conversation about what happens when I try to cook.
But a new goal that we're setting is devoting at least one post a month to new scientific research and discussion of it.
3. I'm lazy.
Rather than solve problems myself, I can read and learn from other people's solutions. When were playing the Pajama Game night after night with Billy, thankfully, I read about a similar problem my friends at Both Hands and a Flashlight had solved. And then, a commenter left a link to inescapable pajamas. If I hadn't had my tweeps, I'd still be up to my elbows in ... well, you get the idea.
I've benefited from input around the globe on issues from ABA therapy to zip-up pajamas and everything in between.
4. I always listen to Spock and JFK.
One of my first assignments after I moved to Los Angeles, as an editor/journalist at Sci-Fi Universe Magazine (still perhaps the best job I have ever had, barring motherhood), was to interview Leonard Nimoy. I was actually late to the interview, because I got lost, I was flustered and hot and nervous and star-struck, and he was just about the nicest man on the planet.
In order to calm me down, he started talking to me about why I had moved so far from home, what I wanted to do. Embarrassed, I confessed that I was yet another hopeful writer in a city where even hobos are writing screenplays.
Rather than laughing or even offering some meaningless trite comment, he got thoughtful. He said that when he was a young actor, still driving cabs because his career hadn't yet taken off, he picked up a young senator named John F. Kennedy from a Beverly Hills Hotel. When he told the future president that he was an aspiring actor -- probably feeling a lot of the same embarrassment that I felt about calling myself a writer -- JFK responded, “There's always room for one more good one.”
There you have it. Those are now my words to all of you: my tweeps, fellow bloggers, friends and writers in the “real” and virtual world. There's always room for one more good one. If you concentrate on being a "good one," then it doesn't matter what the odds are; you've already beat them.
I don't mean that in the sense that the world is just waiting for me to arrive and that I'm gonna shake it up JFK and Spock-style. But as many voices in the blogosphere as there are, there are never too many good writers.
There's always room for one more good one. Now go get 'em.
I have had a blast during the Back2 Blogging Challenge this week. Big thanks to SITS Girls, Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances for sponsoring this opportunity. Whether I win Thelma and Louise or not, I feel like I've already won.
I'm still after Thelma and Louise -- specifically, Louise (I think - she's the dryer, right?).
It's Day 2 of the SITS Girls Back2Blogging challenge and today we're supposed to post something we wish more people had read and explain why. I should probably have picked a subject deeper than my love of the crock pot, but it definitely qualifies in the category of "I don't think many people read it." Back when I started my blog, I didn't know how to work the Twitter machine and I still thought social media was some show on E! about celebrities dating.
Also, I want to show people that even though autism advocacy is super-important to me, I do write about other things. "Parent" is definitely my most important role right now, but there are other things that I ... am particularly not particularly good at.
So today feel free to make fun of ...
... My Cooking Skills
(originally posted 2/10/2010)
I cannot cook. My father always said that if you can read, you can cook, and it is true that I can follow directions, but that, to me, is not really cooking. Cooking skill is that magical sense -- at least it seems like magic to me -- that tells you to add a little more of this or that to make food taste better. If one ingredient is missing from a recipe, I am at a loss. I have no idea whether 1/2 teaspoon of paprika is essential or is one of those things you can leave out. I have no more idea what to substitute in its place than I would know how to change an oil filter (do oil filters get changed?).
Before I had children, it never occurred to me to want to learn to cook. When I lived on my own, it seemed like a whole lot of effort for very little reward. After all, if I cooked it, then I would end up eating it, and no one knew better than me how inedible my cooking was. Once when I lived in California, we had a minor earthquake, and some man -- I can't remember if he was with the gas company or the stove company (is there a stove company?) -- came to check that there was no leaking gas after the quake.
Horrified that I might be breathing invisible gas, I rushed him inside my apartment and in the direction of the kitchen. After a very brief inspection, he said, "OK, two things. First of all, your stove is electric, so I'm pretty sure you're OK. Secondly, it's still wrapped in the plastic it was delivered in ... so you haven't turned it on with that wrapped around it .... have you?" I had been in that apartment for 8 months at that point.
Once I got married, there was still no reason to develop an affinity or skill for cooking. I happen to marry an excellent cook who loved to spend time in the kitchen. I loved to hang out there with him, chopping things under his instruction, sipping a glass of wine and talking. David can cook anything with barely a glance to a recipe, but no matter what it is -- turkey sandwich or Christmas dinner -- it takes two hours. I'm not kidding. If he invests less than 120 minutes in the process, he doesn't feel like he's done it right. His culinary skills are truly awesome, but if you're really hungry, he's not your go-to guy.
Our schedules have gotten so busy with both kids, his full-time job, Billy's therapy appointments and life in general that we're usually not able to actually think about eating an adult meal until well after 8 p.m. On the Chef Dave clock, that means that if he's going to cook dinner, we're going to be eating after 10 o'clock.
Enter my new favorite kitchen device: the Crock Pot. Despite its hilarious (to me) name, it has been a lifesaver for our family. My mom bought me a cookbook of crockpot recipes, and I discovered that anyone -- ANYONE -- can cook with a Crock Pot. And it cooks on low all day and is ready for the adults to eat as soon as the little demons start snoring in the evening.
I'm not saying I never heard of a Crock Pot. I'm a Southern woman; of course I know what a Crock Pot is. They were lined up across long tables at every church pot luck, family dinner or company picnic throughout my life. But I thought they were difficult to use, and I thought you could only cook delicious, fattening Southern food in them ... because the people I knew who had them were really good cooks who always cooked delicious, fattening Southern food.
To my surprise, I found that even I could operate a Crock Pot. The directions: Plug in. Turn to "low." Come back in seven hours. Awesome. It's like cooking with a curling iron.
And I found all kinds of recipes in my new cookbook and online. I've made Chinese Beef and Broccoli (from my cookbook - see above), Chicken Tikka Masala, and a healthy Butternut Squash Soup. A couple of my favorite sites are A-crock-cook.com and Slowandsimple.com (which describes more than my Crock Pot).
Dave was dubious about the Crock Pot at first; he's suspicious of simple cooking. I don't know whether it was the tastiness of the final results that won him over, or the fact that I shared with him that it took seven hours to cook. But he's a believer now.
I still don't know how to cook. But I can fool people. And at the next family get-together, I'll have a Crock Pot of my own to add to the line. Watch out!
Your cooking post
Great Crockpot Post!
I Love Crockpots!
Crock Pot Love!
Total 7 comments
Quite a few mom bloggers took a hiatus, or at the very least slowed down their productivity, over the summer. That's one of the reasons The SITS Girls are hosting a Back2Blogging challenge this week. Many of our kids are in school (I'm writing this while Willow naps) so it's time to build some writing momentum.
AND we get entered into a sweepstakes to win the lovely ladies directly to the left, Thelma and Louise. As my dryer just broke and I've been hanging laundry out to dry all over the house, I would really like to bring either Thelma or Louise (whichever one is a dryer) into my home.
So each day there's a different writing prompt: Today, we're supposed to republish our first-ever blog post.
As soon as I read that, I got kind of a funny feeling in my stomach. I remember that first post. I actually wrote it long before I had a blog. I can't even remember why. My son's autism diagnosis was still new, and the “A” word still had a bitter taste in my mouth:
“Saying the A Word”
(Posted August 2009, written January 2009)
For the past 18 months, we've been chasing a diagnosis for Billy's delays in speech, his differences in motor function, his quirks of personality. My emotions have run the gamut from an extreme skepticism that there's anything "wrong" with him to a growing fear that our early doubts are entirely justified. I've worried, cried, screamed and pleaded with insurance companies, prayed, laughed at myself, and started the process all over again.
Actually, if I'm completely honest with myself, what I've been looking for the past 18 months, is an expert who will say, "Your son is definitely not autistic." I would demand of the therapists and doctors, "He's not autistic, is he?" because to me, that meant the end. That I would lose my son. That he would slip away from me and lose his smiles and affection and love of life -- all of which he has in spades.
Well, Billy's three now, and he's not slipping away -- but some of his differences from his peers have become more apparent. He's a bright, beautiful, extremely funny boy. He has an amazing memory and vocabulary. He can answer the question, "What is that?" almost every time. He recognizes animals, plants, people, the planets, food ... but he can't tell you what he did today, what he likes to do, what his name is. He doesn't ask any questions. He spends most of his time repeating entire books, the dialog of a whole cartoon, the question you just asked him.
I know what you're probably thinking: "All kids develop differently. Don't worry about it. Let him develop at his own pace ..." Believe me, I've heard it all. I've said it all to myself.
He can sing beautifully -- perfect pitch and rhythm -- has a catalog of over 100 songs that he knows, and he loves to dance. But he'll have a complete meltdown if you touch his head or offer him anything to eat except macaroni, oatmeal or chicken nuggets. A symptom of his sensory processing problems is his *extreme* clumsiness. It's like he's always looking at where he wants to be, rather than where he is, and he'll fall over the huge coffee table -- which he doesn't see -- in his desire to get to his ball on the other side of the room. He didn't see the edge of the slide, and he fell off and got himself five stitches.
It's not traditional autism. Or at least what I've always believed autism to be. He's loving and affectionate and emotional and funny. But communicating is incredibly difficult for him. It's like he has all this information locked inside him, and he can't make sense of it. So what comes out, instead of what he wants to say, are these things that he's memorized.
So on the advice of a neurologist, we went for an MRI. It was a harrowing experience. The drug they gave him to sedate him had hardly any effect, and when they put in an IV, a meltdown of Armageddon proportions commenced. The results of the MRI: nothing physically wrong. So we get our diagnosis: autism.
I asked our OT, "Is that what autism means now? A lack of brain tumor or seizure disorder or stroke? None of that and you're suddenly autistic?"
She was kind when she responded to me. "No, Amanda. There are benchmarks for communication delay, motor problems and behavior issues -- and Billy meets all of those."
I can say it: My son is autistic.
I'm lucky. He's only mildly autistic. Most of his problems are sensory-related. And she's quick to point out that with therapy, he probably has a very good shot at a complete -- or near-complete -- recovery. That's a word that didn't used to be used with autism.
I don't know why the word bothers me so much. It doesn't change the person that Billy is. He's more than a diagnosis. He's a fantastic boy that any mom would feel lucky to love. I guess it's kind of like the way I don't want anyone to know my weight. The number doesn't make me fatter, but I'm not exactly going around with it scrawled on my forehead.
Every day I question every instinct I have, every treatment decision I've made for Billy -- every decision I make full-stop, for both my kids. But I'm starting to see that that's just part of being a parent.
But the A-word doesn't scare me any more. Much.
I first posted this in August of 2009, but I had originally written it nearly 8 months earlier.
Now I read those words and the anger and fear is familiar to me, but I don't feel that way any more. My recent post, “Life is a Spectrum” is a reflection of how far we've come and how we managed set down a lot of those burdens of anger and stress along the way. It's such an accurate reflection of where we are now that I decided to change the blog to that title.
A few thoughts:
I would never use the term “mildly autistic” to describe Billy any more, nor to I talk about “recovery” any more. You don't "recover" from a differently wired brain. Billy is autistic. His brain is wired differently, in some amazingly wonderful ways, as well as some ways that cause him communication challenges. He's very highly functioning, but that makes him sound like that fancy washer or dryer and doesn't do justice to the fascinating child he is.
I realize now that saying Billy didn't have “traditional autism” was just my way of showing how ignorant I was. There are as many ways to be autistic as there are to be human. And my loving, funny, brilliant, gorgeous, HAPPY son is living one of them.
Also, I now know how much I weigh. Once you've faced your greatest fears for your children, stepping on the scale isn't nearly so scary any more.
Thanks to SITS Girls, Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances for this little moment of time travel. It's nice to be reminded of how far my brave little man has come.
The A Word
Total 4 comments