Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Lessons Of Friendship

Hi everyone! I'm Mrs. Tantrum, T asked me to help keep an eye on the place while she is at something called camp. I am worried about her as camp is a scary place from what I hear. I am also worried because she asked me to post for her. I mean she is on ALL TOP, and I am just ALL MEDIOCRE...has she lost her mind? I don't know, if you aren't certain, and aren't easily offended by a fierce potty mouth head over to my regular house Momma's Tantrum to see what I usually am up to. 

I met T over on Twitter. She has been a blessing in disguise on those days when Bacon is giving me convulsions because of his Asperger's. He is 4 and was just diagnosed last October. The whole thing of finally finding out "what was wrong" was a HUGE relief, as it meant that I was not a FAILURE as a parent. It did mean however re-learning EVERYTHING I thought I knew about parenting a child. 

T is AMAZING. (I know you all know that already, but I want to tell you again.) She helps me on the days I need someone to say, "I get it. It is hard, but it will get better! Remember to breathe." She also reminds me to eat my vegetables and have a yummy Frappuccino from Starbucks every now and then. (Not that I ever need a reminder to go to Starbucks, but I do need a reminder to mix it up now and then!)

I only have one with HFA, I cannot imagine the kind of days that T has with 3. The days when they are all losing it, and they are at home during lessons with no where for her to go. Those are the days I try to let her know that I too understand, and to let it out. Those are the days that I wish that there wasn't thousands of miles between us! Those days are the ones I wish she was a couple of doors down so I could take the kids and let them all lose it together. 

Try to remember whether you have a "neuro typical" kid, or a "non-neuro-typical" kid the most important lesson that I have learned from T, to be there to lift up your friends. Be there to lend a hand when they need it. Be sure to ask for help if YOU NEED it. Above all, be present and be sure to learn as you go. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, it is actually better to ask for help than to suffer through things alone. 

Mrs. T, who is guest posting for T who is alone in the wild w/teenagers!

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Who Are You? WE Want To Know!

Sometimes it feels like there is nothing new in the Blogosphere. But Citizen of the Month got it right. If you consider yourself a "nobody" or just not a CRSB (Celebrity Rock Star Blogger©) then you owe it to yourself to check out what he is doing to make the Blogosphere a happy place.

T, who is in, how about you?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary

Hi Send Chocolate readers! T has bravely trusted me to guest post for her this week while she's off enjoying some waves and tunes up North. When I'm not guest blogging for T, I write for califmom.

One thing that T and I have in common is parenting children on the spectrum. My 11-year old son was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was six. It wasn't a shocking diagnosis, in fact it was a relief to finally have something official to call Bug's mix of unique behaviors.

There's a saying among the Aspie community, "If you've met one kid with Asperger's; you've met one kid with Asperger's." There are many similarities, but each child and person with Asperger Syndrome is utterly unique. It is not a one-size-fits-all world.

With that in mind, I'd like to offer some of the tricks-of-the-trade that have worked for solving various dilemmas in our family. As the title says, your mileage may vary. Heck, my mileage varies on some of these. It never fails that as soon as we think we've got this all figured out, Bug throws us a curve ball.

  • White Noise -- A Godsend for sensory issues. We use a fan in Bug's room. It blocks out the sounds from other family members, and helps him relax at bedtime. In earlier years, we used a sound machine.
  • Shorts Without Pockets -- Bug went through a phase of putting EVERYTHING in his pockets. It was a major compulsion, which included fistfulls of condiment packets from hot-lunch. One laundry load was treated to an exploding packet of soy sauce. That day, I went to Target, bought 5 pairs of shorts without pockets and the problem was solved. Without the pockets, he didn't think to hoard things on his person (just in his backpack, which was much more manageable). Eventually, he outgrew this and is back to pocketed pants.
  • Multiples -- Whether it's a favorite stuffed animal, underwear or book, buy multiples. You will never regret having a back-up.
  • Display Collections -- Bug is a hoarder. He likes to collect things and keep them. Hoarder can make for a cluttered environment, but collecting can look purposeful with just a few tweaks. One way to turn your hoarder into a collector is to group like items and display them. I bought 3 shadow boxes from IKEA, painted them to match Bug's room, mounted them above his desk and filled them with his collection du jour. Right now, that's rocks and Pokemon figures. In the past, it's been Hotwheels and stuffed Neopets.
  • Elastic and Velcro -- Fine motor skills, aside from those associated with LEGO building, elude my son, so elastic waist pants and Velcro fastened shoes have been essential to him being self-sufficient. Keeping his clothing simple allows him to dress himself with less frustration. We like less frustration.
  • Visual Cues -- Bug is on the high-functioning end of the spectrum, but he still benefits from visual cues. When he was younger, this meant charts showing pictures of each step of an activity. Once he started reading, written words still carried more weight for him than the spoken word. So, I send him chat messages when I need him to get off the computer, or email with things I want him to know about. We've had quite a few humorous chats this way, and actually makes Bug more social rather than less. He's willing to interact more often using Chat/IM as a tool. (As an aside, I must mention that we have strong Parental Control software on our family's network. So, Bug's not out chatting with the entire Internet, just our family.)
  • Giant Suitcases -- Sometimes, when you travel with a kid who is very regimented, you need to bring it all with you. We have a giant blue suitcase that is Bug's. When we take a vacation, he can pile all of his stuff in there--his latest LEGO creation, half-folded clothes, Pokemon cards, his special pillow, a herd of Webkinz, and whatever else he's perseverating on at the time. If we're flying, we check the bag. If we're driving, we have a minivan with plenty of room.
  • Headphones -- I quickly tire of hearing that Nintendo DS, and the world can get noisy, so a set of headphones that Bug wears to prevent me from hearing his games, and allow him to tune out the often overwhelming sounds around him help us all keep our sanity. Bug uses his headphones when he needs to hear something that's annoying to others, or when the sounds of others annoy him.
Having been Bug's mother for 11+ years, I could go on with this list, but I'd love to hear comments from some of you about the tricks and solutions you've come up with to help your child. I'm am forever intrigued by the creativity our kids inspire in us.

What makes your child's life a little easier? What keeps you sane?

Zemanta Pixie

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I will be on vacation at Camp Rock for a few days, but never fear, I didn't leave you high and dry. I have a couple guest posters filling in for me, as well as a surprise or two. Don't miss me too much! I promise to miss you as I will have no Internet at all :::sob::

*I told a friend I was attending summer camp with my high school kids from church. At Spirit West Coast. She said "Oh, so you're going to Camp Rock!" Uh, no... summer camp, kids, music...dang. yeah, I am going to Camp Rock.

T, who misses you already

BlogHer: Get Over It!

Only the shoe department was closed, BlogHer was all-inclusive

Can you stand one more post about BlogHer? No? Well, sorry, but I have to write it. There is no snark here, and lots of love, but also some truth, I think. It is not my way to slam or gossip about others. I pretty much run a kind blog and live by the credo that if I wouldn't say it to your face, I damn sure won't write it here. Just because I know how to type does not give me the authority to hurt others with my words.


This medium is powerful. Even if you only have ten readers, those are ten people you can conceivably influence for the good. I always try to remember that though you all sometimes come across as just pixels and screen names, you are real people, with real feelings. You can be hurt, or angered by what you read. You may go to bed and think about it. It might really affect you, even though it is online. It is easy to bring into your offline life. All that to say, I don't understand the meanness that I am seeing concerning BlogHer at all!


I am no longer twenty-something. And maybe my perspective comes out of my experience. But people treat you the way you give them permission to treat you. You give them the power to hurt your or make you feel inferior. They don't have it unless you surrender your own will to them. So some of the "cool kids" didn't talk to you at BlogHer? SO WHAT. There were enough of us there that would have talked to you if you approached, and honestly, probably did.


me with Military Mama, littles, and GeekMommy

I don't know some of the Celebrity Rock Star Bloggers that some are so up-in-arms about. I know the group that tends to comment on one another's blogs, but for crying out loud, that's what friends DO for one another. There doesn't need to be a tear in your beer because they aren't commenting for you! They have established relationships. Find new bloggers to connect with. They exist. The Blogosphere is HUGE and there are a ton of people who would love to link to you, be your comment friend and just overall wet themselves with joy for the traffic.


I have nothing against the cool kids. They don't need me to defend them. I met some of them and partied with a few more, and they are awesome. Do I know them well? No. I have twittered with a few here and there. And will they remember me? I couldn't tell you. But you know what? I don't care. I had a great time at BlogHer, would go again in a heart beat. Because? It was what I made it. I didn't sit around and feel sorry for myself, I jumped in to meet the women (and men) that I wanted to know. There wasn't hero worship, there was simply a meeting of the minds and a sincere admiration for their work. In some cases, they knew mine. In others, maybe it made them want to see it. And then again, maybe not. I don't care. I went to meet women, validate my passion and learn a bit along the way. That's exactly what I did.


Leah, Aaron, Sarah, Mary, Lucretia & Shannon...the Lobby Party

It's funny, because I wrote a post about whether I should even attend BlogHer. There were so many reasons not to go. But I figured if I hate it, or I don't fit in, or they hate me....I had a vacation from my family in a luxury hotel. How could I complain? Sure, there were fears. I went to BlogHer not knowing a soul in real life. My expectations, though, were that I would fit in fine.


I was never a popular kid. I was the geeky one in high school, maybe I tried too hard, or didn't know what to do. I wasn't athletic and I wasn't beautiful or stacked. I was a late bloomer, and didn't "find myself" until my mid-twenties. My interests were too cerebral I was once told by my high-school crush, "You're too deep. We want to know what color the car is, and you want to know what the paint is made of." Well, crap, just shoot me, then. Because I am who I am, and I always was. I stayed true to myself, and it worked out well.


I guess what I am trying to say is that there were over a thousand women attending BlogHer. And you couldn't find anyone to connect with? Really? Or you just couldn't be part of the A Crowd, and it felt too much like your experiences in high school so you sat in a corner to pout? If I see one more post that compares BlogHer to high school or college, I swear, I am going to lose it.


Leah, living the dream and making the most of BlogHer

BlogHer was NOT high school. It was grown women, socializing with one another, getting to know one another, and in many cases connecting in a very strong way with one another. There will always be those who appear to be having more fun than you are. That's a given. The question is, can you find the fun there is to have? If you always look at the quarterback, don't be surprised if he is eyeing the cheerleader...and we can't all be the cheerleader but there are lots of other fish in the sea. Smarter ones, too. So the A-List bloggers didn't give you the time of day. Did you introduce yourselves to them, or snark about them from afar? Because not giving them a chance is just flat wrong.


For me, high school was over twenty years ago. I am over it.

Are you?

T, who doesn't want to hear anymore nastiness

These are some of the amazing women I met at BlogHer (more to come): califmom,Lucretia, ShannonRenee,Tara, Lara, Stephanie, Jennifer, Angela D, akaMonty, Sarah, weirdgirl,Kristina,To Think Is To Create, Crummy Cupcake, Susan, The Karianna Spectrum, Missy, Squid, Lori,Jean

Monday, July 28, 2008

They're Going To Take Away My Cool Mom Club Card

The kids when they were younger. JBear is around 6 here, all about Indy

I hate Indiana Jones.

This is a confession I cannot make to my son, who is obsessed with All Things Indy. Since the age of four, (he's nine now) when he donned the infamous Indy fedora bought on a summer trip to Disneyland (it has the Indiana Jones logo inside, and he wore that thing for two straight years) We actually went through three hats because he wore them OUT. Indiana Jones has been a strong interest that my son comes back to again and again.


One of the hallmarks of high-functioning autism or Asperger's is perseveration. Really, it's a 50¢ word for "all the subject, all the time." Even when the last thing you want to hear about is said subject- for the love of God and all things Holy! ...It still continues.


As I said, this particular obsession has been alive since my son found out about it in Kindergarten and honestly? a lifetime of red Kool-aid and twinkies for the child that let that cat out of the bag. And yes, his mother, too. Especially his mother...


In our house, we have Indy action figures, Indy computer games, Indy Wii. We have Indy Legos, an Indy Whip, hell we even have Indy cereal. We have numerous thrift-store-find Indy outfits. It's so bad that my son commandered my tan messenger bag because he thinks it makes him look more like the satchel-carrying Indy. That's right. My nine year old carries a murse. I'm so proud.


Ask a psychologist and he will say that perseveration serves a purpose. It holds the child's anxiety often, and gives him a go-to subject ripe for conversation. Ask me, and I'll tell you that it's damned annoying.


Don't get me wrong. When my then-four year old came home and made it All About Indy I was thrilled. How cute, a four year old who has a role model! I admit, I indulged his play. A lot. I bought him tan pants, and shirts that looked perfect for his adventures. We bought him the aforementioned fedora. He watched Raiders of the Lost Ark and later, The Last Crusade. (he didn't see Temple of Doom, it's a bit rough around the edges for kids) We bought him the G.I. Joe Indiana Jones figure.

My adventurer, out and about

When people admired his appearance, I loved it. And when he was chosen to be featured at the Sword in the Stone show at Disneyland because he looked like such a cool kid? (and of course, cool kids have hip moms) I preened. I even overlooked the fact that he had to wear tan pants, everyday, even all through the 90 degree Southern California summer. "Creative Expression," don't you know?


My son vacillates between various interests. They are almost always mass-market media-inspired. The characters he has glommed onto have been a changing array: Robin Hood, Captain Jack Sparrow (I put a stop to that when he "stole" my wallet out of my purse and then told me about it... when asked why? "What do you expect, I'm a pirate!") Frodo Baggins, Peter from Narnia , Link from the Nintendo game, Legend of Zelda....and of course, the one that started it all: Indiana Jones. Each of these phases requires various accoutrements such as outfits, accessories and of course, toys from the lines of Commercial Cash Cow and Put China On Top By Importing Cheap Poisonous Plastic Crap. It keeps us on our toes.


I thought we had put the Indy love to bed, because we hadn't seen much of the fedora or the toys in quite a while. And then, the newest movie was announced. My son picked up his Indy Interest with a vengeance. He talked constantly about the movie.

What did I think it would be like?(I don't know)
Would Indy be old? (yes)
Would he still have his whip? (probably)
Would there be scary parts like in Raiders? (some intense scenes, I imagine)
Will you buy me the Lego Indy stuff (save your allowance)
Will I get to see the movie soon (when it comes out son)
What will it be like? (ARGH..the sound of me choking on my tongue as my brain explodes)

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.


He saw the movie opening night. He very much liked it. Shortly after that, we bought the Indiana Jones Lego Wii game. It is very entertaining, even if you are just watching it, highly recommend it, as an aside. The obsession came to a full rolling boil. He played the game. He talked about the game. He played the game. He talked about the movie. And the game. GAH! I was never so happy as when he finished the last level of that game.


Things seem to be settling down, now. He is still crazy about Indy, and he will corner anyone to tell them so. But there are signs that Indy may have run it's course this cycle and there is an inkling that change is on the horizon. My son created a level in his Nintendo game after this particular interest. What's that? The newest interest? The one that with just a small nudge from me if I'm not careful, will become a monster on a feeding frenzy? Star Trek. Yes, you heard me right. my son is becoming a geek. I suppose it isn't surprising given his genetics.

But...but...Star Trek??

God help us all.

How about you? What you are sick of?

T, who figures she will be assimilated

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Flowers at the Swings

The Blogosphere is big, but it is also little. And when one hurts, we all hurt. That's why Jennifer at Pinwheels along with Shannon, have started a Flickr group to honor Evan's memory.

Simply take a picture of flowers near a swingset and upload it to: Swingset Flowers for Evan Kamida Christa took the first picture, what a beautifully simple and moving idea.

Memorial information and the donation fund can be found on Vicki's blog.

My flowers are posted. It wasn't much. But it was something. I am so very sorry, Vicki.

If you want to spread the word, please do.

Also, take a look at a mother's love

Thank you for caring

T, who wishes it was more

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yes, But Does It Come With a Wardrobe?

We're driving in the car on the way home from a birthday party this afternoon. I am already feeling pretty good, because, though all the kids there were on the Spectrum, mine are less high-maintenance than most who were there.

We are listening to my iPod and tooling along, when a small voice comes from behind:

"When I grow up, I'm not having a lion because they are much too hard to train."

Because, you know, you can just go to any neighborhood Pets R' Us and buy a lion...

Amazing the things that kids say...and Spectrum kids seem to say things that are even more random than most.

What's the funniest or most random thing your child (or a child you know) has said?

T, who is constantly entertained

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Now You Know Why I Drink Decaf

actually, I am slightly manic, it's why I don't sleep...

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?

I am a HUGE Starbucks fan.. grande decaf mocha w/ chocolate whipped cream, that's my poison

How about you? Do you drink caffeine? What's your favorite drink?

T, who is up too late because of too much caffeine

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Magnetic Personality?

Welcome to new readers from Blogher! Glad you are here! I decided to post a favorite post from days gone by for your entertainment.
and my husband's chagrin
He is headed to Germany on a business trip next month. Shall we take bets on what he brings back?

A couple of weeks ago this exchange took place:

Jon: Honey, I have the opportunity to go to France for a convention.

Me: Oh, really? (meaning, woohoo, when do we go??)

Jon: it's completely last minute, and I have to get a passport. It will be boring, computer geeks all day

Me: Oh, really? (meaning woohoo, when do we go??)

Jon: yeah, what do you think? Do you think we can afford to pay for you to come along? What about someone to watch the kids?

Me: Probably not. I am very jealous, you know. I would really like to go. (meaning, I would really like to go!)

Jon: Yeah, next time.

Me: Well, at least bring me back something.

(then I went in the bedroom and cried and moped around a couple of days)


So, I killed him drove him to the airport, and I was stuck parenting 3 kids alone for a week. And still managed to stay mostly sane. It was no small feat. (or maybe it was the small feet...the pitter patter of them!) I will spare you the trials of that week...there isn't enough Xanax. Suffice it to say, he owed me. Big. Like, bring me back some bling from France big. Got it?

So I pick him up at the airport, and if you have ever been to LAX, you know what a zoo that place can be. I hadn't been there by myself before. What can I say? I live a very non-jet setting life. After circling the place twice, and pulling into the wrong parking garage and ending up going out the exit we arrived to pick him up. It is after 3 p.m. I have three children in tow who are tired, and ready to see their father. But no! We have to wait for the plane to deboard, he has to clear customs...did I mention I had three very antsy children with me? An hour later, he finally materializes and we head to the car. Once there, he gives the kids their souvenirs. Little beanie baby teddy bears that say the name of the city he was in: Lyon. How cute! Teddy bears for the kids. As I shiver excitedly, thinking of what he brought me. Jewelry? Candy? Something racy? ooh lala? Uh, no.

Ladies and gentlemen, it would appear the romance is over. THIS is what my beloved partner of 18 years brought me back, all the way from Europe. (not the frog, that is my cool magnet from the San Diego Zoo)

That's right. A kitchen magnet. I suppose I should have spelled it out to him. I mean, I have been married to him for so long, I should have remembered that when I say "Something" he hears, "something." In his defense, he was at his conferences all day, and the shops close early in France. And then on Saturday, there was a rail strike, so he couldn't get anywhere. And he is a computer coder, in any case. WYSIWIG- what you see is what you get. I know how literal he can be. And he is a great guy, but face it, he lacks imagination. He goes all the way to Europe and stays at the Holiday Inn.

And it had a really nice view of the slums behind the hotel, too. And did I mention it was 29 degrees and cold while he was there?

But. Big but. He went to France! And brought me back a kitchen magnet! This is the part where I throw a fit, and it might get ugly. Ah, forget it, I'll spare you that. You came for fun and games, not a huge downer.

Still, the magnet, it has a decent stick to it. You know how some magnets slip down the fridge whenever you put anything underneath them? This one stays. So, there's that. And it is cosmpolitan, sitting there next to the pizza delivery magnets and the kids' magnets and the "Carpet Cleaning, One Room $25" magnet that came in the mail. It makes me seem mysterious and interesting.

I'm keeping it. I want something to remind me on our 50th Wedding Anniversary of that Time He Went To France. It will make a good story. Either that, or it will be Exhibit A in the divorce hearing.

T, who must have a magnetic personality

So, what's the worst gift or souvenir that you ever got?

edited to add, I really do love the guy, honest

edit me rest of story

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Constant Comment...and so on....

There were so many comments from the last post, that I decided to address them in a post, to make sure to hit all of them.. Thank you all for commenting, you make this blog what it is.

heather: yes, exactly. There are times I will write a post that I think is important, and it will barely get any feedback. I don't think that means no one is reading. Unless you are a Celebrity Rock Star Blogger (CRSB), less than 3% of those who read actually comment. And then, the CRSBs often get comments so others can show off their own links or just be seen.

.

GeekMommy: yes, we did talk about this in the wee hours of the morning...you helped me put my feelings into words, and I thank you for it. ::mwah!::.

Thomas Dzomba: Yes, comments are only a part of the picture, but without them, it feels like playing Concentration and forgetting where the pairs are located. Or is it just me?.

Mel: thanks, and I like to read you, too!.

Elizabeth Channel: yes, I agree you cannot depend upon comments for self-worth. Write for yourself, first. I think that comes across in your content..

Loralee: funny on perspective, because I think a lot of bloggers would consider you as such..

Jody Reale: very good point, wherever you are, that's where you are supposed to be?.

Kate: I think it is hard to get off the "comments as currency" bandwagon, just due to the way the Blogosphere is set up. It's easy to say, much harder to do..

Gayle: thanks for the chocolate, and I agree with you about the overuse of advertisements. They can be distracting.

tarable: I agree, I also couldn't care less what the boys think. And, I'll sit at whatever table I please. Blogher was less like high school than I had been expecting, that was a pleasant surprise..

Liz: you make a good point; it is very important to know why you blog in the first place..

MPJ: I read about Google pulling your "ads" and it doesn't make a lot of "sense." I know there are other groups out there that have a better CPM, so check those out..

califmom: if you had a penis, it would have been grounds for a much more interesting (and freaky) weekend.....

Summer: thank you.

Susan: somehow the comments from my peers make me more excited than the possibility of getting paid to write. I am not sure why that is..

Marcy: the wonderful think about the Internetz is that there are so many different blogs and groups of people who blog. If you aren't interested in one, you get to click through until you find one you do like. What made Dooce so popular is she was one of the very first to do what we are doing. That, and she is a good writer. Truly, the comments I see on the CRSB sites are not "good post." They are pithy, and insightful and invite discussion. That is what I want to further here, as well..

Lara: I am over 20 years out of high school and sometimes that feeling comes up and knocks me in the nose and I ask did I ever really leave?.

Laura: exactly, writing is a state of mind. It's what we do..

Inzaburbs: you make a good point about blogging being a hobby or a job. Something to consider. And my strings are all tangled these days, I have no idea what leads to where..

Kacey: yes, my IRL (In Real Life) friends don't understand blogging or the Blogosphere. Not sure they ever will..

Maddy: welcome to the community, and to the discussion.

T, who says keep the conversation going, please!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What I Learned at Blogher '08 #2

cross-posted at Blogher.com

I've been thinking long and hard about this Celebrity Rock Star Blogger thing. Just what constitutes "good enough" to hit the stratosphere in the Blogosphere? Why can certain bloggers post pictures of their shoes and end up with 120 comments when some bloggers pour their heart and soul into posts, and get little recognition or feedback? Most of those Rock Star Bloggers are really nice people. with just a few notable exceptions, mostly those who have bought into their own press.


I have come to the conclusion: it isn't that people are rude or cliquey, they are just full.


There is a concept that the older and busier we get, the harder it is to make friends and keep them. Women are mothers, wives, employees. We are consumers, voters and bill payers. We have little to no extra time. So when there is time, it is finite. Interactions are like strings, tied to the person. The person might tie a string around family or a close friend, who has a child the same age. More strings go around a career, volunteer work, school duties. Eventually, though the person might be willing, there are simply no more strings to be tied anywhere. They are all tied with other commitments.


I see the Internet as similar. Many, many bloggers have those they read regularly, are chummy with and interact with. There simply isn't a lot of time left over to discover blogs that were previously unknown to them. Even if those blogs are good. I am sure this is why there are so many experts out there willing to teach bloggers how to drive traffic to their sites. It isn't enough to be a good writer, you have to be willing to sell yourself as well. Content may be king, but his bastard son is promotion. I find this difficult.


As women, we are taught that if we just do a good job, keep our head down, someone will notice our hard work and reward us. When those "rules" are flouted, it feels like a betrayal. Women who do become good at promoting themselves are called bitches, money-hungry, and even pimps. Trying to go against this paradigm can be difficult; socialization is a tough taskmaster. For some, this comes easily. For most, it can be like pulling teeth. It can be very uncomfortable to be the one to stand up and publicly tout your work. And yet, sometimes that is exactly what is needed.


For me, I am solidly in the middle of the pack. I am not a Rock Star, but I'm not a newbie, either. There are bloggers who inspire me and I humbly say that I know I am an inspiration to others as well. There is always a struggle in trying to get new readers, especially readers that participate in the community you are trying to create. I get solid traffic, I think. I know friends lament not getting comments, or even readers. And honestly, I love and live for comments. After all, this blogging thing for me, is about connection.


I blog because I want to connect other parents who feel alone when it comes to autism. I blog because I want to educate, entertain and energize my audience and friends. (that's you) I write because I have to, if I want to breathe. But I blog because I want to make a difference. Readers help make that difference. It can be disheartening when there are a small number of comments on a post that holds a part of you. The most I have ever had was a bit over twenty, and that was because I was giving away Starbucks gift cards! But...I try not to get wrapped up in all of it.


This weekend at BlogHer, I learned a lot of things. But the thing I came away with? I am on the right track. I am doing it all the right way. I write from the heart, in a transparent way, not focused on stats or monetization. I simply want to share my experience, and to share in the community that bloggers have created. I love this blogging thing. And, true to the BlogHer theme, I am reaching, definitely... but I am not using my blog as a stepping stone. Yes, I want to write professionally, which is defined as actually getting paid. Stephen King said it best:

""If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented."

I will just keep doing what I am doing, and where it leads is anyone's guess. I don't want notoriety, at all! I simply want a sense of community here. Oh, yeah and if some agent wants to hand me a butt-load of money to advance my book, so much the better. Recently, I started using the term, "writer." I have always wanted to be a writer, but never considered myself good enough. Now, I have decided to own it. You have to tell yourself the story you want to hear.


How about you? How do you feel about comments? How do you encourage readers to participate?

T, who is a writer, dammit

What I Learned at BlogHer '08 #1

I have been trying to make sense of everything I learned at Blogher08. And while some things will take some time to marinate, here are the simple things.

  • You must give people a chance, don't assume you won't fit in. I met a lot of amazing women this weekend. A few will be lifelong friends.
  • Shoe porn is great for parties, but seriously wrong for schlepping the hills of San Francisco
  • Don't, upon pain of death, eat at the Denny's on Mission in San Francisco, unless you want to miss an entire half-day after throwing up from food poisoning.
  • no matter how "low on the totem pole" you think you are, there are still people who may look up to you
  • Don't believe everything you are told. Especially from guys who are full of crap.
  • Maybe you aren't as tech stupid as you think
  • If you walk back to the hotel at 4 a.m. be prepared to be serenaded by a homeless guy doing Ray Charles
  • At 4:30 a.m. they deliver the USA Today at the St. Francis. It may be hanging on your door when you get in.
  • Even if you get in at 4:30, you hang a shirt over the clock radio, and pretend it is midnight
  • It will almost work
  • If you want the free booze, make a decision early as to what party you will attend. Otherwise, be prepared to BYOB
  • The real party is happening in the bathroom. Without you.
  • If you want the good swag, get there early.(see above about Denny's..then you might get the really expensive bluetooth headset instead of hanging your head over the toilet)
  • Ask for a room with contemporary furniture. They will put you in the tower. The tower has double-paned windows.
  • Double-paned windows will come in handy when some drunk fool starts yelling, "ADRIAN!" at 4 in the morning
  • They will also come in handy when the entire male population of San Francisco sings Mama Mia at around the same time. Opening night, you know
  • Memorize the location of your room. Do not rely on the signs in the hall. This tip comes in handy after some jackass moves all the signs around to point the wrong direction
  • It is impossible to converse with bass thumping in your head
  • No matter how small your blog is, you make a contribution to the Blogosphere
  • Blogging Rockstars are just like everyone else. Only with more traffic. And maybe more problems. And varying degrees of friendliness.
  • No matter how long the conference is, it isn't long enough

How about you, what did you learn?

T, who misses it, and is already planning for next year

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

The One About the Wild Party

More pics...this time of the People's [sic] Party. This is the 2nd post, if you haven't seen it, scroll down and read the first one underneath. By the time we got to the People's Party, the booze was gone. We skated to the Newbie Mixer, no booze there, either. I had to cave and buy an $8.00 beer. And they had NO black beer, no Guinness, no Bass...drank Heineken. Not my first choice. Checked out the mens' restroom where the very drunk Bloggess was holding court with some random guys from Yahoo and @lauralovesart. (that sounds nasty, but I swear that there was just talk) Oh yes, and got licked by Mrs. Flinger.

Ended up in the bar with CalifMom, Laura and her "entourage" as she called her, name was actually Angela.

We watched the Bloggess get really drunk (or rather, remain so) were hit on by two very inebriated Spanish men who wanted to talk about sex, and had Denney's at 3 in the morning, which made me sick the next day. I missed the opening, and my first session praying to the porcelain god. And the sad thing? I didn't even drink enough to get sick, so I didn't even have the pleasure of the buzz before I got sick. Managed to get up around noon, after heaving my guts numerous times. Felt waaay too much like my college days. Do NOT, under pain of death, eat at the Denney's on Mission in San Francisco. Took an HOUR for the server to take our order, then it makes me sick. Nice job, Denneys.

Yes, that is me with the Bloggess, her royal Jennyness. She is not nearly as funny in real life. She's funnier! And cute as a button. can I describe THE Bloggess as "cute as a button?" Hanging with @lauralovesart and @GeekMommy (not pictured @califmom)... serious friends for life me with Backpacking Dad...he's awesome, brought Mommy Wants Vodka, Aunt Becky to party in form of bottle of Grey Goose. What a guy. Everyone was toasting to Aunt Becky, sorry she couldn't be here.

Will post more tomorrow. Wish you were here!

T, who will sell a kidney to come back to Blogher again

First Day of Blogher: Pace Yourself!

Weird thing about a blogging convention: you don't have time to blog it! So, I will tide you over with some pics for now. Promise I will put more content when there is time!

self-portrait of T. on a jet plane Remind me to tell you about the bitch from hell I sat next to. One word: entitled rich bitch ok that was three words.... (couldn't be that rich, she was flying coach)
Riding the Bart into San Francisco. Very cool, awesome train
heading to the AllTop/Kirtsy party with @To Think, @GeekMommy, @blogworld (Rick), @Tarable and @pagirly
@GuyKawasaki's house, his back yard was bigger than my whole house
More of Guy's backyard: How the Pretty People live
still more of Guy's yard, you haven't even seen the pool! unfortunately my camera battery died..

Blogher is awesome, will post more in another post, so this one isn't so load heavy

T, who is still trying to absorb it all

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The One Where I Have a Meltdown

I got nuttin creative for you today.

I have so much to do before Blogher I am running around with my hair on fire. Haven't had time to do any writing.

Here's why:

Tomorrow:

1. I have a La Leche League meeting. That will take most of the morning. And yes, I have to be there.

2. I have to finish my laundry, make a packing list, pick my final outfits and shoes (oh, the shoes!) and accessories.. Figure out what the HELL I am going to wear to the two parties on Thursday night and the other parties the rest of the weekend. I am pretty much a jeans/heels person, but I have a couple of dresses, so I have to make a decision..not my strong suit

This is worse than my high school reunion!

3. I have a therapist appointment one of the ways I stay "mostly sane" with the family that I have which means dropping my kids off at my in laws, then going to my appointment, picking them up and battling evening traffic home.

4.There will be no time for me to get my snaggly toes done professionally before I fly out on Thursday, so hopefully, tomorrow night I will have time to at least paint the darn things.

5. My son, who had his braces tightened on Friday was in so much pain with canker sores that he literally laid at my feet, holding them for most of the day. when he wasn't begging like a crazy man to play Nintendo to take his mind off the pain Also, little one, who is just "out of sorts" glommed on to me like a barnacle, all day long. She was either sprawled across my lap, or glued to my side. Pretty funny for a person like me who has closeness issues.

"FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING HOLY, GET THE HELL OFF ME!"

which I said in my head...

6. I was not able to get much of anything done today. The same items on the list that were there this morning are there now. I wanted to run screaming, into traffic today. How much screaming and fits am I required to endure? And at what point does my head explode? I can barely think, JBean has this high-pitched scream when she is angry, it turns my blood to syrup. It makes me crazy. It makes me want to drive a spike through my ears. It makes me unable to think. So I didn't print out my iitnerary or my invitations and I haven't gone to get my swag, either.

7. I need to go get new Spanx, the ones I have have done spanked all they are gonna spank. This body, after three kids, well it needs some help. And if I wear a slinky black knit dress (which I am considering) I will have to superglue everything into place. If I don't manage to get to the store...well, it might get ugly. And you will see me wear my jeans on Thursday night with all the hot bloggers. (Yes,I have considered that the invitation came to the wrong person..) Yes, I will look like a gradeschooler next to the cheerleading squad... so I have to make time to get to the store.

Autism Sucks in a serious way

Let's hope I have time to finish doing all the things I need to get done, make my flight and get to the hotel. I am having a panic attack just thinking about it. And that's not even touching on the fact that I know no one in real life that will be there, and I am completely out of my depth, and and and... That's enough for tonight. I have to go and find a fire extinguisher now...

T, who really wants to go, but is feeling very overwhelmed by circumstances

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Monday, July 14, 2008

SOMEONE Is Messing With My Son, And There She Is!

People always ask me why I started homeschooling. The short answer is that it was best for my family. The long answer is a lot of stories like the following. Before you jump all over me, understand that I don't paint with a broad brush. There are good autism professionals out there, some might be in your district. That's great! This is my experience...

"No, no, no! Let me Go! Please!" I knew that voice: it was my son. And he was being hurt. I quickened my steps, breaking into a run on the way to his classroom. He needed me, and I would be there. It had been a long journey. Earlier in the year, my son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. and we were all on edge- He wasn't handling life in the classroom well; he wouldn't attend to his schoolwork, and he wasn't socializing well with his classmates. He had a history of eloping from the classroom which means run the hell out and off campus or just withdrawing under a desk, refusing to engage.

So when I rounded the corner, I had no idea what was in store for me. I ripped open the door and entered the classroom. My eyes immediately went to his teacher, who was sitting in a rocking chair, reading a story to her class. Or rather, that is what she had been doing , before. Now, the book hung in midair and she looked like a deer in the headlights. I followed her gaze and my eyes went straight to my son, who was standing at his desk. But he wasn't alone. There was a woman towering over him, with her arms wrapped around his small, skinny wrists, and he was struggling to break free. She was wrestling my son! Tears were flowing down his face and his voice held a note of panic: "Please, let go let go Please! Ow ow You're HURTING me!" Now, I know there are times that kids need correction but there is never a time to put your hands on my kid. He saw me and yelled, Momma" with all the fear and desperation that you hope that cry will never hold. That's when Mama Bear took over.

"I don't know WHO you are, but my son has autism," this is the first time I had really said this out loud to anyone "and you leave him alone!" She looked at me calmly and said, "I know, I'm the Autism Coordinator." the hell you say?! Is this your normal modus operandi? And I don't know what came over me, because I am not eloquent under pressure, ever. I tend to cry instead, much to my embarrassment.

"Well, then, you know he doesn't like to be touched. Get your hands off him immediately! Can't you tell he is terrified? Did you even READ his file?" She dropped his hands and he rushed towards me, crumpling into my arms, sobbing. I saw red. I comforted my son as best I could. (remember, there is still a teacher trying to teach class amidst this commotion!) Once he was reasonably calmed, I asked to speak to the "Autism Coordinator" outside.

She was extremely apologetic, she knew she was wrong. She ran her hand through her hair. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, it got out of hand. He, didn't want to work with me, I insisted, he dumped the game on the floor. I wanted him to clean it up, so I took hold of his hands, doing hand-over-hand to try to get him to comply. I'm sorry you're upset." "UPSET?" I took no quarter. "You realize that my son will never let you near him again? He has a a very large heart, but if you hurt or betray him, you are done. He won't give you another chance. Did you even read his IEP before you showed up to work with him? He does not respond well to the 3-Step Prompt! He will shut down on you! He is too smart for that, you know it is usually used for kids who are lower-functioning! What were you thinking? What makes you think it is okay to put your hands on a child, especially one you don't know?" I took a breath, trying to calm myself. I am, by nature, a non-violent pacifist. I wanted to hit this woman! She was around my age, and was the expert? She should know better! She spoke: "I just put my hands over his hands to guide in clean up. He freaked out. It got out of hand, I'm sorry." She truly seemed to be. Or, maybe she was worried I was calling my attorney to file litigation.

I get how difficult autism can be. It is unpredictable. It is messy. It doesn't do what it is told. The approach has to change for each child. But with my son, respect is yours, as is devotion, until you show him disrespect. Part of the Autism Spectrum is a very black and white thinking, and little shades of grey. You are either a good or bad person, you are a threat or you are a friend. And, back then, at age 6, he wasn't able to distinguish the difference. over the years, he has learned a bit more of the subtleties of life, and with a lot of work is able to distinguish between bad people and bad decisions. If the "Autism Coordinator" had just done her homework on my son? Perhaps reading his IEP as she was rushing from school to school? The whole situation might have been avoided. My son still remembers, and it was four years ago.

Oh, and lest you think I overreacted about my son, his teacher later told me, "I felt like I was witnessing abuse."

So, a message to those who work with our kids on the spectrum: take the time to get to know them. They are people, not paper or projects. They are more than "Reinforcers" and "Behavioral Process Analysis." They are, first and foremost, children. Treat them the way you want to be treated. You might get better results that way. You will certainly have less irate mothers with which to deal.

T, who will always defend my kids

Sunday In The House With Me

Trying to tell my 6 year old little daughter anything can be a losing proposition. When she was born, it was obvious she had a forceful personality. She was what Dr. Sears termed, "high needs." I carried her around in the sling pretty much the first two years of her life. would you believe she still asks to be carried in the sling? Long after she is too big and my back is too weak... Here are just a few examples of her er, perseverance.

Trying to get JBean dressed is a huge chore.I still have to walk her through it: walk her to her room, help her pick out her clothes, make sure she gets dressed and be on hand to help with the odd sleeve. She can get dressed on her own, for the most part, but seems overwhelmed by the choices available. If I narrow down those choices, none are suitable. They are too scratchy, the wrong color, the wrong fabric, not ____________ enough...it is enough to make me pull my hair out. I refuse to engage in a power struggle with her over clothes, but that doesn't stop her from trying. She is six and these struggles are more appropriate with a three year old. This is the only area that she insists she needs one-on-one help. She even brushes her teeth on her own! of course, that is what a "developmental delay" is...not always easy for me to remember that...

This last time, she told me she just wasn't going to wear clothes anymore. I explained that she couldn't go out of the house then and she just retorted: "That's fine, I will just live here for the rest of my life!" I pictured her at 30, with cats and a computer, still in the room down the hall... oh boy. By the way, we were late to church because she wouldn't get dressed.

Jbean 1 Momma O

Later, we were in the car and she was singing and counting to herself. "12, 13, 15..." and, always the homeschool momma, I gently chided: "14 comes after 13... 13, 14, 15." She just looked at me as though I had grown two heads. "I know. I like it this way." Uhm, ok? Never one to leave well enough alone, I engaged again, "Well, if you count skipping numbers no one will understand you. They count in order." She sighed, long and full of exasperation at how stupid her Momma was. "THEY don't count the way that *I do. This is the JBean way!" As if that said it all. I guess it did.

Jbean 2 Momma O

Lastly, she loves coins. Her Sunday School teacher gave her a quarter. I don't know why, it doesn't matter..that's not part of the story. The quarter fell in a crack in her carseat. Recently, after the black widow activity we have had around here, JBean has become somewhat phobic of dark, small, enclosed spaces. She didn't want to put her hand in the crack because, "there might be a black widow in there." OF course, I did my Momma Best to reassure her: "Honey, black widows don't like people or activity. There wouldn't be a black widow in the crack in your seat. They wouldn't even be in our van. It's ok. There's nothing there." From the backseat, a small voice pipes: "...Except the quarter." Well, yes except for...oh hell.

Jbean 3 Momma O

T, who says it's a good thing I can blog this, or I might take it way too seriously

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

The One Where I Write the Words Pt. 2

This is part 2. You may want to read Part 1 first..

Reading helped me develop my own voice as a writer. I sat at the feet of the masters: Anne Lamott, Christopher Moore, Martha Beck. Wally Lamb, Rebecca Wells, and yes, even Jane Austen. These writers made me laugh, cry and yearn to express myself. I wrote stories, some I even finished. I wrote bad poetry. I wrote in my journal. I wrote my heart.

In 1995, I found the Internet. And with it, an entire smorgasbord of information available at a moment's notice. I was in heaven. I admit that books took a backseat to the 24-hour library with no due date. I still found time for reading, that is, until my children were born. Fiction-reading gave way to books on baby care, prematurity, child development, and in time, autism, sensory integration disorder, giftedness. I didn't notice my fiction reading was waning. I was too busy. As my children grew, I introduced them to the library. Once they could write their names on the card, a whole new world opened up to them. And me, once again. I would check out books and, due to being busy, would return most unread. Poor, sad books...

Skip to the present...my blog and my writing take up a lot of space in my life. There doesn't seem to be time to read fiction. I read now for information. I read for homeschooling, I read for autism and behavior and web design. But for the most part, extra time is devoted to my writing. I rarely watch television anymore.

On Sundays after church, we often go to the bookstore to buy each of the kids a new book. I love the bookstore. I love the smell of new pages. I love the sound and the atmosphere. I love watching kids reading. And I admit, I buy books, too. For though I rarely read anymore, my heart didn't get the memo. I buy books I don't read. I have every intention of reading them when I buy them, and might get through the first few chapters, but I will get distracted fairly quickly. Real Life is a fickle lover, and he demands much of my time. There just isn't much time left over for Books. Right now, I see the book, sitting on the bench across the room. It gives me a baleful stare. "I hold great delights for you, m' lady..." Yes, books talk this way. You didn't know? You have to listen... "Come, enter me and find your bliss." And I shake my head, wave it off, yet again, in favor of the dishes or the laundry or writing.

I have a new love. It is love of the written word. Of this person: Jenn and this one: Jenn and this one: Ken and of course, this person (like she needs my little link for popularity, but she is still an influence, so I include her) Jenny And I hope to add to the conversation. The word that I write; that I so tenderly place on the page, I set it there like the newborn babe that it is. It needs care and attention. I write. I read. I rewrite. Because I? Am a wordsmith. And someday, those rectangular obelisks will contain my words. And with them, a part of me.

who are your influences? what made you a writer? when did you know?

T, who has it in her blood, I think

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

The One Where I Write The Words Pt. 1

If you are looking for the list of contest winners, click here.
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Like many, my love affair with the strange rectangular obelisks began almost before I could walk. I carried them around, from place to place, sometimes taking a bite from them as well. I could never understand the grownups who approached me with consternation on their faces, telling me I had to keep things out of my mouth. It tasted good, why not eat it? As a toddler, I would use them to build tiny worlds for my plastic animals. They stacked well.

I will never forget the joy I experienced when I realized those prized rectangles gave way to words that I could read. It opened up whole new universes to me. I loved sitting on our threadbare seventies blue-flowered couch, my young brother wide-eyed and tucked into the crook of my arm, as I read to him from my dog-eared copy of Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever. He is in his thirties now, and still remembers, and can quote, "And then the big brown moose came crashing through the woods..." I was a very expressive reader and he would squeal in delight and beg me to continue again and again.

I remember the confusion and yes, pride, I felt when I won a reading contest in the second grade without even breaking a sweat. You want to give me a prize beyond just letting me read? Really? My parents said I read too much. They would shove me outside, and I would skulk out with a book hidden under my clothes. My job became finding the best "reading tree" I could, then climbing into it. I would pull out whatever current book I was devouring and lose myself between the pages for hours.

I read my way through my elementary school library, my public library and my high school library. As a teenager, always on the prowl for material, I found Stephen King and Dean Koontz and V.C. Andrews and had a tough time setting limits on my reading. I will never forget, reading The Shining in the wee hours, and hearing heavy footfalls in my kitchen, sounded like redrum, redrum! I had just finished reading the REDRUM description and my heart hit my toes, thumping wildly. Turns out, I had read all through the night and my father was up for work at 5 am. . He was in the Army and wore combat boots: they have a very heavy tread. Even after all these years, my heart thuds heavily in remembrance.

In time, reading gave way to my own writing. I guess you could say it was my "gateway drug."

T, who is letting it all hang out, do I need to put it back?

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Starbucks Giveaway: And The Coffee Goes To...

Thanks so much everyone for helping me celebrate my birthday! So many people entered the drawing, I wish I could buy coffee for everyone!: But I let my trusty random number generator choose for me, by number of each comment and here are the WINNERS:(winners, leave a comment so I know you sent me email)

Trish
Scott
Kate
Kelby
Happy Needle Blog
Mel
babsm
thatgirl

Congratulations to all the winners! Now, here is what I need from you... see the email link at the right hand top of the blog? clicky clicky and leave me your snail mail address (promise I won't stalk you, can't afford the airfare) l will mail you a Starbucks card, so you can have a coffee on me!

T, who wishes she could buy you a cup in person

Oh Geez, Not a Meme!

This cow has not been tipped...it is why she is happy

Laura @ Lauralovesart tagged me. So, here you go.

I apologize ahead of time, but I tend to follow rules...

Six Random Things About Me

(that I haven't already shared? Is there anything left??)

  1. I love the sound of the ocean, but I hate the beach. I hate the sand and that it gets all over everything. I can't stand carting me, the kids and all the paraphernalia necessary for the trip across the sand, trying to find a place, then traipsing back. I hate paying to park, and I can't stand that the beach is crowded with tourists.
  2. I have a grey thumb. It isn't black, because things don't die, they just limp along and don't flourish. I have tried, I am just really a lousy gardener.
  3. Before I had kids I had a job as a barrista (in an independent coffee store), a food server in an upscale Mexican restaurant and a multimedia producer. I have never had a "career," it just worked out that way. After the kids were born, I came home and have remained a stay-at-home./WAHM.
  4. I have actually been cow-tipping. I didn't participate, I stood in a pasture in my high heels and watched a bunch of drunk guys, while rolling my eyes. Contrary to the physics professors, it is possible: I've witnessed it. (What else do you do in a town called Prunedale?)
  5. I am trying to teach myself to play the piano. JBug and I started at the same time. She is playing songs out of books and I am....most assuredly NOT. Reading music is very hard for me. I think it is a spatial thing.
  6. If I was to give you directions to get somewhere, I would give you a list of turns to make and street names. I grew up with "landmark navigation (turn right at 7-11) which doesn't help in an urban environment that has three 7-11s on the same street. I can read maps, but I don't like to. I seriously <3 Google Maps..it has step-by-step directions for driving.Sometimes it is wrong, though. My GPS is JAC..aka a frantic cell phone call to my dh...which has happened on more than one occasion.

THE RULES:

  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Write six random things about yourself.
  4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
  5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
  6. Let your tagger know when your blog entry is up.

The rules state I have to tag SIX other bloggers (sorry!) so I am tagging:

Shannan @ From Cribs To Car Keys
California Mom @ California Mom
Missy @ Meanwhile Back At The Ranch
Shash @ Diary of a Crazed Mommy
Mrs. Tantrum @ Momma's Tantrum
and to prove I am not a sexist, I tag: Shawn@ Backpacking Dad

T, who plays nice with others

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Pennsylvania Leads the Way, California, Step Up!

All eyes are watching Pennsylvania where lawmakers recently passed a state bill that will require insurance companies to begin covering autism treatments a year from now, next July. Private insurance companies doing business in the state will be required to cover diagnosis and traditional therapies considered by experts to improve communication, behavioral difficulties and learning deficits. Under the law, insurance companies would have a limit of $36,000 in benefits annually that they must provide for those who need it.

Insurance companies balked at this, saying that it would raise premiums. The PA lawmakers continued their work to pass the bill and now PA has a precendent-setting law on the books that could force insurance companies to cover needed treatments. Early-intervention can make a huge difference once diagnosed, and this law will ensure that those who need the care will get it.

California is known for the groundbreaking laws, so will we follow suit? One can only hope. In a state that allows Regional Centers to determine coverage on their own, with no state-wide mandate, there are many who are diagnosed and are falling through the cracks. Regional Centers will often delay decisions to run out the clock before a child starts school. Then, the treatments can become the school district's responsibility. In a system that is all about passing the buck, it would be good to see some accountability.

What could the average family do with $36,000 for treatments? Here is an example:

  • a year's worth of Occupational Therapy (52 weeks) @$100/visit $5200
  • a year's worth of psychological therapy (50 weeks) @$135/visit $6750
  • a year's worth of speech therapy (50 weeks) @$130/visit $6500
  • a year's worth of doctor visits (DAN) (10 visits) @ $400/visit $4000

That leaves $13,550 left over, for..incidentals.

What could you do with $36,000 per kid, annually until age 21?

Honestly, one of the hardest things about homeschooling is that we pay for all therapies privately. It puts a strain on our finances.

The point of insurance, is to provide care to the people who need it, and possibly turn a bit of a profit in the process. But the insurance companies have forgotten they are first and foremost an avenue for care. It is time to hold them accountable.

edited to add: Yes, in CA many are able to get coverage under other labels for certain treatments, for instance, DAN doctors, but it is a "don't ask..don't tell" type of arrangement. Some don't divulge that their child is diagnosed with autism, for fear at some point, their care will be denied as a "pre-existing condition" under HIIPA laws. If the insured doesn't carry continuous insurance, when next insurance is obtained, companies can deny services. This leaves many in fear and paying privately for services.

Are you listening, California lawmakers? 1 in 150 kids are diagnosed with autism. Two of them are mine. Now that Pennsylvania has done the right thing, when will California step up?

T, who just wants what is fair

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Then How Come I'm Not Smarter?

Today is my birthday. And so I figured, what do I get myself? Hmmm... and then, I found it. The perfect gift for me, because I don't need or really even want anything. And because, yes, I am now the age of Life, the Universe and Everything. I think I will stay here for a while. Don't be surprised if I start celebrating the anniversaries of my 42nd birthday. Yes, that sounds mighty-fine.

But enough of this..you want to know what I am getting myself, right? Right? Ok, here you go.

Because, one can never be without one's towel. This is dangerous.

The Towel is perhaps the most important invention of whatever century it was invented in. The Towel is the most massively useful tool to take with you on your trips throughout the universe. It is handy for oh so many reasons: you can sleep on it, rub food and sauces on it for later consumption, use it to signal for help, wrap it around your head to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugbladder Beast of Traal, or to dry off. And most importantly, strags (non-hitchhikers) will assume if you know where your towel is you are also in possession of quite a number of other common items like a toothbrush or a space suit (which means they are more apt to lend you said items if you ask to "borrow" them). Our Towel is black, rectangular, and made of velour. It is based on the award-winning design of the Anti-Flatulent Fighting Towels of Flogulon Beta, with a little clip in the corner to attach it to things. It measures 16" X 25" and has the number 42 imprinted on it for some random reason (apparently the printer had a special affinity for the product of 6 and 7). The printing is done using a tone on tone effect, using a glossy clear ink over the black towel for a nice subtle effect. But seriously, you need this Towel. Because if you have one, everyone will look at you and say, "There's a frood who really knows where his towel is," which is perhaps one of the nicest things someone can say about you.

*It's ok if you don't get the reference to Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy.. consider yourself less geeky than you thought.This? Is a good thing.

What? You want one too? Get it here

T, who plans to do something for me today

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