Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Miracle That Didn't Happen

Flipping through my FB, and Twitter feed I can see an array of autism related articles, and blogs. Just looking at their titles one can see a gleam of inspiration, and awe-ness that many of the pieces contain within. The feelings of warmth, and love. I think those pieces have their place, but sometimes the sweetness gets to be too much. I often feel like I am watching the end of a South Park episode where one of the characters always turns, and says "You know what? I learned something today." then continues to speak about the important life lesson they learned in that episode.

Why does that bother me? The short answer to that question is 'bother' would be a strong word. I certainly don't feel like I get to tell other people what they should write about. I'm not about to censor other people's words, because my experiences don't match theirs.

It just feels... awkward, or maybe too artificial in some ways to always be a parent of kids on the spectrum whose experiences aren't nearly that enlightened.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

#Autism Awareness Month- Love it or Loathe it?

Today kicks of the start off Autism Awareness Month. Began by the Autism Society in the early 70's to address the need for concern  and awareness of autism nationwide. Autism Awareness Month is a month to educate, connect, and advocate for the needs of those on the autism spectrum. In 1984 World Autism Awareness Day was adopted by congress, and officially  by the UN in 2007 as a day of autism awareness for the entire world to observe every year on April 2nd.

Today, the world indeed seems to be aware of autism. We have certainly come a long way from the early years of connecting with others in the late 60's when the Autism Society was formed. We now have not just national attention, but international attention focused on the issue of autism. With all of that attention focused from so many different backgrounds of people conflicts are bound to arise. The autism community is not immune to human differences of opinion that can bring even the most well meaning ideas to a screeching halt. Some want awareness for a cure, others to raise money for prevention, and research. Others just simply want their neighbors to know that their child is a unique individual with a happy future, and that acceptance is paramount to any other reasons for the campaign. Still, many others feel the entire campaign overlooks the humanity of the people involved, and instead portrays autistics as statistics, instead of real living people. Many point to the fact that adults are almost totally overlooked as every campaign slogan, and graphic speaks only about children.

Many of us in the autism community have conflicted feelings about Autism Awareness Month. I have seen some express that they aren't looking forward to it at all. Is that how the majority feels? Would most just like to skip it? If so, how has this grand intention of autism awareness turned so sour that even those that this month is about don't want to participate?  I wanted to hear from those in the autism community about how they feel about Autism Awareness month. Below is a collection of direct quotes from a few people within the autism community about the subject. Please add yours to the comments section.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Then There is Bipolar

Today is World Bipolar Day.  Those of you that follow me, and or my blog might be wondering why that matters to me, or why I'd choose this subject to post about.

A couple months ago I sat at the doctor's office, and I heard those words. The words that I had been avoiding for some time. Our family doctor hinted, and my daughter's counselor had used the term mood disorder. I didn't put the pieces together. Maybe, I didn't want to.  Maybe I just needed to get things calmed down from so much else happening before I embarked on yet another journey.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Could It Be Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

I can't recall a time in my life when I didn't have at least some stomach trouble. It mostly would arrive in the form of bloating, and extreme gas. There were times when it would become a little better. Sometimes, it would be mostly gone for a few days. Lately, it has been intolerable. I am constantly bloated, full feeling, gassy, and not able to go to the bathroom. I exercise quite a bit, and make a huge effort to be healthy. I really educate myself quite a bit about what that means, and do what most would call clean eating. The issue is the cleaner, and healthier I eat the worse I feel. This sent me to trying a juice fast earlier this week in an attempt to try to clean out my system, and give it a rest. I was desperate. Willing to try anything.

I got so very sick.

This is where I really began Googling, and asking questions. I came to the conclusion through lots of research

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Toxicity of the New Fitspirational Movement

It seems here in the last few years that being 'fit' is trendy. You can't scroll through any social media without seeing photos designed to be inspirational, and motivational. Fitspo, or Fitspiration as it's called is everywhere. It's staring at us from magazine covers as we check out at the grocery store, and screaming at us from our television programs. Photos of half naked women fall across our computer screens posed in dim washed light with sweat dripping off of their body. Motivational words splash across the photo letting us know that we can't give up, we need to train hard, remember to never quit, and that we can have or, be the person we want if we just try harder.

Are these posters really healthy? Are the ideas behind the words motivating? How is this trend affecting girls, and women everywhere?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Wait! Don't Throw That Away! Tasty ways to reuse stale bread.

Do you throw away most of the heals on loaves of bread? How about when it gets dry, and stale? Stop throwing it away, and start using it!

It's so simple, and easy to reuse stale bread slices, and inedible heals (to most people- I am fully aware some of you eat the heals, but we don't unless we're making french toast), and buns. As long as the bread product is not rancid, or moldy this works well with any of them. Some people prefer to not use heals, or buns, and cut off the crusts, but I have tried it many times over, and the crust has never bothered anyone, or given my finished recipe a poor result.

How to do it:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I Want To Be An Approachable #Autism (self) Advocate

A few weeks ago I made a mention on my personal page about some comments I had heard recently from Bean's attendant care worker, and a few other people that were less than politically correct. Some of the comments were downright insensitive, and misinformed. My special needs community friends on FB were appalled. I was as well, but I saved that reaction for behind the scenes.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

How to Cope With Generalized #Anxiety Disorder

In my last post I discussed what Generalized Anxiety Disorder is, and what some of the common symptoms can be, and how it manifests in my life. In this post I would like to discuss some of the solutions to the issues caused by GAD. I have been doing lots of researching to come up with what I think is a good, basic starting place to address general anxiety worries. I will be trying all of these myself.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

For as long as I can remember I have been a worrier. I worry about worrying. I expend an incredible amount of time pre-planning, and preparing for everything to the last detail. While it's true that this has been a well developed skill in which I utilize to help my incredibly would-be chaotic, high level of need household functioning smoothly my worrying antics have a dark side. I lose sleep, energy, and optimism to worry. It's hard to see the good side of anything when you're always preparing for the worst.

There is a clinical name for this excessive amount of worry, and anxiety when it impedes one life. It's called Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD? 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lung Leavin' Day 2014- Letting go of fears

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by Cameron Von St. James about joining him, his wife Heather and many others in celebrating Lung Leavin' Day 2014 .  

I was intrigued by the idea of doing something a little different than the usual autism related posts. When I read Heather's amazing story about being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma and the risky procedure that saved her life I knew I wanted to be help tell others about Heather's journey. Today we celebrate Heather's 8th year cancer free. It is the day 8 years ago she had her left lung removed- thus the name her sister-in-law coined Lung Leavin' Day!

 February 2nd is not just a day Heather and her family celebrates as being cancer free, but also a day they want to share with others to encourage them to face their fears. Every year the Von St. James family builds a fire in their backyard, and throw plates with their biggest fears written on them into the flames.  It's a tradition of letting go of fears, and celebrating life.

I have thought about what fears I'd like to toss into the fire the last few days as I anticipated writing this post.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Social Media and Dignity- When does sharing go too far?

"I had to go out in that storm to round up our horses, because my husband was too drunk AGAIN to do it. Pretty much like every other night."  a mother at our playgroup for kids birth to age 5 added to the conversation. She was mostly speaking to me as I was at the table with her, but her response to the horrible thunderstorm that had gone through our area was completely audible to the entire room. Everyone shifted awkwardly in their seats, and eyes lowered to the floor. I muttered something about "Sorry to hear that", or maybe it was "That must be hard." I don't quite remember. It was a good ten years ago that this occurred.  I don't remember exactly what I said back, but I think I said something to ease the tension.  I hated the feeling of all the momma judgement in the room.   It was only a decade ago, but long enough for social protocol to have shifted for what was private, intimate information, and what was okay to be shouted to a room of acquaintances. This woman's very private proclamation was socially awkward, and made the entire room uncomfortable. The social atmosphere was not one of best friends, and this private information was violating the small talk conversation style that was happening at the time.

This was life pre-social media.

Now seems to be the age of over-sharing  How many times do we come across Facebook posts, and tweets about subject matter that we would have never shared with a group of virtual strangers 10 years ago? We seem to have forgotten about the circle of familiarity rule. Suddenly, everyone's private life is in our face with information that we used to save for family, and close friends.

There's a specific kind of over-sharing that makes me particularly cringe.

Friday, January 17, 2014

You're Autistic?! No Way!

I don't always tell others about my AS diagnosis, whether I know them well, or not.  Sometimes I do, but with quiet trepidation as I await the response. I will not lie. The response determines how likely I might be in future  to disclose my diagnosis. I always blurt it out quickly, through the sound of my pulse rushing in my ears making me almost anxiously deaf to the world for that moment I await the response from the other party. I lean in, hoping for some sign of acceptance... I almost always get one of two responses.

The most common- "I would never

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Inner Aspie is No More!

I'm sure that many of you have already noticed that I have changed my FB page to Thoughts of an Introverted Matriarch.  Now, it's time to change this blog, as well.

I have been moving away from the term 'aspie' for awhile, and am wanting to incorporate a broader theme to my writing. You might have noticed that I am blogging about recipes, and other topics in addition to autism lately.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Autistic Student- Won't vs. Can't

It seems pretty common to hear parents of ASD children talk about a time when someone told them that their child can't or won't be able to do this, or learn that.  I come across stories like that all the time. As wrong as I think that is, that has been rarely my experience with my kids, or even myself. As a matter of fact, it's been the opposite.

I don't know how many IEP meetings that have been called by me to discuss services for Bubby. No one has ever said "He can't do it." It's always been "He can if he tried."

Friday, January 10, 2014

One Track Way

There are days, weeks even, that my head is swelled with ambitious writings, and tales waiting to be typed. Thoughts spill out in such quick succession that it's almost hard to catch them in words. To convert the images that are flowing through my mind to typed print is a challenge. I love those times.  I wish that I could quit my routine, and write for days when this happens, capturing the ideas before they float away to be never pieced together again in full by my conscious mind.  Of course, I cannot.  I still have meals to make, laundry to wash, pull-ups to change, and a child to homeschool. These are not negotiable. However, in my writer's mind I could dream all day writing one track ways entertaining myself days.

I'd like to try to describe this one track way.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Being Alone

I woke up to my husband asking me if I was okay. I tried to open my eyes, but they were all stuck together, and I was stuffy from what appeared to be sobbing.  I recall the dream I was having before I awoke, and I was sobbing in it. It affected me so much that I must have been sobbing for a while in my sleep by the looks of my pillow.

The details of the dream aren't important, but the theme is. It was about being not wanted by anyone, anywhere. I had nowhere to go that I was welcome, and yet I had to exist somewhere. The paradox was what made me feel so awful.

I have since realized that the dream was important in that it symbolized how I really feel in real life. I do talk a lot about support, and that sort of thing on this blog.  Online, and in person support is very important for special needs parents. I think if I needed some advice, or support in that area I would be able to find it online.  What I don't have is in person support for other life events.  I literally have no one to call if I had an emergency, or just needed to talk about private matters. I don't know if this is due to my autism, or just the way life is for my family, or what exactly it is that attributes to this secluded existence. I don't have any family to call on either side if I really needed help, and I have not managed to find any close friends to that I could turn to in times of need.

What does that mean? How does that effect one's life, you might ask.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

5 Easy Tips for Eating Healthier on a Budget

One of the things that astounds me about America (and probably other countries, too) is how unaware we are of nutrition. I mentioned a bit of this in this entry. We are diet obsessed, but that's not the same as being healthy. Even when I do hear people talk about healthy eating it's usually all about organic whole foods markets, and posh foods many of us don't even know what they are, nor could afford on a regular basis. There is a gray area between eating a bunch of junk because we don't know any better, and going to the extreme of being that know-it-all health nut that has a huge grocery budget at their disposal.

So, how do we eat better on a budget? What are some basic rules?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Look Back at 2013

Thinking back on this last year I can say that it has been without a doubt eventful. It's been one of those years that one grows leaps and bounds as a person. I talked about hard topics like loneliness, what it's like not to fit in anywhere, and even my natural desire to not blend in.

I covered so many school  issues with both boys that made me step out of my comfort zone. I tackled situations that I never thought I could in my wildest dreams. If you'd asked me last year if I would have been okay with attending so many IEP meetings where I was very plainly considered the enemy while people behave behind the scenes in the most unethical way possible I would have said 'possibly not.' Yet I did. When Beans got hurt  at school I wanted to run away. I didn't want to be the squeaky wheel, and even though in the end  Beans ended up homeschooled it all ended up okay as I learned to believe in myself. I overcame almost every fear that I had this year, up to including going on our local news, and giving an interview about the situation with the school, even though Bubby is still governed by the same special ed unit. If you'd have asked me if I would, or could do something like that the year before this last year I would have said absolutely NOT! It's not my nature to be in front of cameras, and it's not my nature to be loud.

This year we discussed that autistic children can be very giving

Blog Milestone and Sincere Thanks!

Last night I went to sleep feeling almost like a child awaiting a visit from the tooth fairy. You see my blog was about to reach 200,000 hits! I was about 30 away when I went to shut down my computer at 11 PM. I knew that probably within the hour my goal would be reached, but watching numbers turn is a lot like watching paint dry, so.... I resigned myself to wait until morning. This is what I woke up to!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Super Easy Creamy Noodle Salad

This recipe is a favorite in my house. I make it for every holiday, and barbeque.  It's easy to make, and is really tasty. There is a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of variation with this salad. That is why my measurements will be a little on the suggestive side. I would always recommend using the least amount, then letting it set for a few hours before adding more of the items that might make the noodles too soggy, or runny.  You can always add more dressing, or mayo, but you can't take it out once it's mixed in. The consistency tends to change a bit after it chills.

What you will need:

* 2 1/2 C. of spiral noodles (I typically try to use about 1 cup of wheat noodles to make the salad as healthy as possible without effecting the taste too much)

* 1 can of olives-chopped

* 1 cucumber diced

* 1/4 to 1/3 cup Italian dressing

* 1/3 to 1/2 cup mayo


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Mix the other ingredients with the noodles, and chill.

There is a lot of add ins one can use to spice up this salad.  I like to put in about a quarter of a chopped onion.  Also, grape tomatoes, bacon bits, and cubed cheese  make a nice addition.

This recipe makes a generous size bowl of salad, enough to feed several people.