Saturday, February 28, 2009

Your Ten Year Mission: To Drive Your Mother To Distraction

My children are always having these conversations right out of Clerks or Big Bang Theory. The kind that make you shake your head and wonder, "What the hell was that?" I can never, ever do them justice, but they surely make me laugh.


JBean: This car is more advanced than Star Trek. It has automatic door locks.
JBear: The door is more advanced than your brain. You can't compare a self-sustaining spacecraft to a car.
JBean: My brain is smarter than...Star Trek..
JBear: Technically, the Enterprise is artificial intelligence, it has a personality. The episode where the Enterprise was going to be destroyed, that's where it was revealed it had an artificial intelligence..blah blah blah Ginger
JBean; No, it doesn't, it's not alive! It doesn't breathe!
JBear: Right,but that's what artificial intelligence means. It's smart, but it's not alive.It's a machine. It's artificial..(launches into a ten minute technical explanation of Artificial Intelligence..blah blah)
JBean: Your brain isn't alive.
circle back to first statement...

at that point...I turned the music up in the car...

T, who really likes loud music, I must since I listen a lot

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

♫This Dude's Got a Cat On His Head♬♪

How could this be comfortable for either of them??

sung to the tune of Laurie Berkner...

T, who believes cats walk all over us, but that's ridiculous

Monday, February 23, 2009

Zombie Brains Spock, Spock Deactivates Machine ...WHAT?!

just a quick follow-up to the Big Bang Theory post, specifically the Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock game...because I found this and someone actually made it work..add zombies! Everything is better with zombies:

The diagram is a bit confusing, but if you check out the site, the rules are a bit more straight-forward. Wanted the traffic to go over there for explanation. So go here, and make sure to comment on his genius, ok?

T, who knows my son will be all over this like a lizard on spit

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It All Started With a Big Bang

Lately, we have been watching Big Bang Theory from Netflix. I double-heart this show! I knew when the theme song was by the Barenaked Ladies that it was going to be irreverent, and it didn't disappoint. Big Bang Theory is about two theoretical physicists that are roommates, the hot chick who moves in across the hall, and how they and their friends relate to her. All of the scientists seem to be on the Spectrum, extremely high-functioning. It really shows them positively. I swear, I knew those guys in college! (I like to think I was the hot chick and not the geeky scientist-chick, but who am I kidding?)

From the moment they talked about playing Klingon Boggle, I was hooked. This is a funny, funny show. At one point, Leonard is getting lucky and Sheldon has no idea how to deal with the tie on the door...something he has never seen before. But here are a few quotes to whet your appetite:

"Explain to me an organizational system where a tray of flatware on a couch is valid. I'm just inferring that this is a couch, because the evidence suggests the coffee table is having a tiny garage sale."
"At least now you can retrieve the black box from the twisted smoldering wreckage that was once your fantasy of dating her and analyze the data so that you don't crash into geek mountain again."
"There wouldn't be any ass kickings if that stupid death ray had worked."

Suffice it to say, I woke my daughter up I was laughing so hard. I am pretty sure it is on Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS...but we started with Disc 1 of Season 1...gotta love Netflix! Just one thing, it might not be suitable for your kids (though I did let JBug, at almost 15, watch it...I previewed first) so use your best judgment.

(Apparently last night the cats loved it too, because they turned on the home theatre system at full blast last night and woke everyone but me. I guess I am a pretty sound sleeper, once I actually get to bed).

T,who asks which were you, the geek or the hot chick?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Part 2: Somewhere Over The Rainbow Lies an Autism Diagnosis ( I Don't Think We're In Kansas Anymore!)

This is Part 2...did you read Part 1 first?

JBear was diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism (HFA or Asperger's, depending upon who you ask) at around the same age as JBean. In autism circles, it was considered a late diagnosis. He never received early intervention because he just came across as "quirky" in the beginning. He really wasn't struggling the way you would expect, well at least not until the first grade. Then he started running from the classroom, hiding under desks. He couldn't function in a classroom. But JBean wasn't struggling at all.

I know I sound like I am in denial, but I really am not. There were a few behaviors that I couldn't quite put my finger on...they seemed Yes, she could play for hours alone, making elaborate games and worlds that were hard for her to share with others. Yes, she threw horrible tantrums. But then, maybe it was just normal and I was being paranoid. This was a preventative measure...if she was affected, the concern I felt was for the future, not the present..

The doctor played with JBean, taking notes. Then she had yet another cheery young assistant play with my daughter while she observed from another room. Finally, she was ready to give us the verdict. She sat back in her chair, and pulled her glasses off, setting them on the folder in front of her. She cleared her throat. She had done this a thousand times. This was just one more speech. "Mr. and Mrs. Cruz, she began, your daughter has autism. That's my diagnosis. She will need special ed, Occupational therapy and speech." She waited, eyes fixed on us. It was our move.

I didn't know what to say. It was happening again. The room was spinning, I fought to regain control. I explained to the medical professional that I homeschooled, and we would provide private services for our daughter, if needed. She pursed her lips and looked at me steadily. "Can you provide the support she would get in special education classes? She needs to be around other kids her age. She needs a trained instructor and support staff, or you are going to have trouble on your hands. You are not equipped to deal with this. I have an autistic child, I know what I am talking about."

I tried to keep my voice from quavering. At times like these, I had such a fear of authority. "I believe we can give her what she needs. Her brother was diagnosed three years ago and is doing very well. I held her gaze. "We will always do what is right for our daughter." She pushed her chair back and refused to look at me again. She sighed. "I'll have the desk write up my recommendations, and see you again in six months." She stood to leave, shaking our hand. We had been dismissed.

Hours later, as I sat with the letter in front of me, I thought about what it would mean. Yes, I knew how to deal with this. Yes, I knew interventions: sensory diet, brushing techniques, self-control strategies. But I was already wearied thinking of going back to Square One again. Autism is exhausting. How was I going to handle this? And why did I have to? What did I do wrong that caused my children to have autism? I didn't steal. I didn't sleep around. I was a good person, and I loved God. (Sure, I knew God loved me, but at that moment, I didn't care, I was feeling sorry for myself.)

Three years before, when we sat in the psychologist's office, and, after extensive testing, received a diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism, I was relieved. It was the culmination of a long journey and the label helped me make sense of JBear's behavior. I felt something close to relief. Now it had a name.

I have three children. The youngest is the last. That night, I found out my 5 year old, my baby daughter, the one who was almost 10 weeks premature and with whom I had spent a month camped out next to in the NICU, the one I carried in a sling for months because she could not bear to be away from me, had autism. There it was, in black and white. Autistic Disorder. I felt relief when it was my son. While the rest of my family slept peacefully,I sat up and tried to make sense of yesterday. I did not want the diagnosis to color the way I saw my beautful girl. Though she was the same child as she had been earlier that morning, something had irrevocably changed. That night, the night I was forced to accept what I already knew in my heart? That night... I cried.

T, who wants to hear your experiences

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Somewhere Over The Rainbow Lies an Autism Diagnosis ( I Don't Think We're In Kansas Anymore!)

This is Part 1.. the post was too long, so I split it... Will post the rest tomorrow evening...

It was 2 a.m and everyone was sleeping. I was staring at the letter, willing it to disappear. I wished like hell that I could go back in time, to yesterday. Yesterday, when I didn't know what I now knew. I wanted to go back before the appointment. before my husband and I walked into that building with the obnoxiously bright blue carpet and rainbow- muraled walls and had our world shattered, yet again.

Eight hours before, we had entered the glass building approaching the double doors of the suite, checked in with the cheery young receptionist and taken a seat in the waiting room until our name was called. I looked at my tow-headed five year old as she played with the office blocks. Surely, there was nothing wrong with her, right? I had initiated this; I had to be sure.

I took a deep breath and shifted uncomfortably in the hard chair. I imagined I could hear the ticking from the clock on the wall. It was hard to wait. My husband squeezed my hand encouragingly. Was he as scared about this appointment as I was?.

When our name was called, we followed another cheery young assistant in techicolor-scrubs to a small room, filled with toys. An older woman entered and introduced herself as the doctor. I cannot remember what she looked this point it doesn't matter. She asked us a lot of questions: did JBean play well with others? Did she have friends? Did she line things up? When did she walk? Talk? Eat? Did she sleep well? The questions continued, peppering me with the accusations that went unspoken. Could she read? Write? Count? Could she skip? What about throwing a ball? Why didn't you get intervention sooner? ...because we didn't know. Not really. Besides, doesn't autism only strike once per family? That's fair, right?

More tomorrow...

Here is part 2 in case you googled and only found this post, it continues the story

T, who found this a very hard post to write, but if it helps just one person, it was worth it

Friday, February 13, 2009

Comment For Autism --NOW

For Valentines...just in time. WHO says you don't make a difference? Go and comment on Party Planning Professor...'s the post I wrote. Every comment will earn a .25 donation for Autism Speaks. That's right, what you say is worth a quarter! More importantly, we gain autism awareness. So, make my Valentines Day...go do it! Now.

Thanks and love to you! T.

T, who appreciates it

For the Last Time, It's Not My Parenting

My youngest daughter was diagnosed when she was around five, I believe. We suspected she had autism, but you may have heard the saying, "If you've seen one child with autism, you've seen one child with autism." That's true. It is amazing how differently it manifests even just between the two children! We actually didn't even think she had autism, since it was so different from the way my son behaved.

My son lined things up..she does not, but she has to have things Just So. My son has pet subjects, she does not, or at least, none that are consistent. He had self-control issues when he was younger. She also has self-control issues. She is seven years old, but has a really tough time with transitions. Even when it is something she wants to do, she has a tough time moving from one activity to another. I feel that I walk on eggshells with this child, praying she doesn't melt down in front of the wrong people, and I am constantly making excuses for her behavior, and I hate doing that. But when you see a seven year old who is throwing a fit, screaming and frustrated about leaving the park, even though she is headed to her preferred-activity, ballet, what would you think? Be honest, what would you really think?

That's what I thought.

T, who is used to the judgment, and it doesn't bother me anymore

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Grammy Selection Committee is 14 Ninety Year Olds, a 13 Year Old and Somebody's Cat

On the Grammys...

Coldplay...I know you guys are all sexy and everything, and Chris Martin has an ego the size of a house, so he probably thinks he can wear whatever he wants...

Uhm, guys? The Wiggles called...they want their outfits back. Seriously. WHAT were you thinking??

And, M.I.A.? We get that you are pregnant and want us to know you are good with it. You are hip, you are cool. But the ladybug costume... did you get a discount? What possessed you??

And Grammy Committee...I get the whole musical fusion of styles, and for the most part, I really dig it. But THE Stevie Wonder. With the Jonas Brothers? You choose the least soulful group for him to collaborate with? It was scary, and really didn't work.

Also, we need to talk. TobyMac and Brandon Heath (who were nominated for best Gospel something or other) are NOT gospel. They are contemporary Christian. Oh, I know, they are gospel like Jethro Tull was heavy metal, right? Well, a flute is metal, so you got it half right.

While the Grammys have improved in the last few years, and I no longer want to gnaw off my arm when faced with the prospect of watching the broadcast, it is still woefully out of touch with what real music is. If you want to see real music in action, hit

T, who loves music & had to weigh in

Saturday, February 07, 2009

It's 3 a.m. I Must Be Lonely

The following exchange took place at approximately 3 a.m.:

(after watching Bones, a show about an FBI agent and a cultural anthropologist who is his partner)

Me: If Temperance Brennan and Seely Booth got married, they would be Tempie and cute!
J: [silence]
Me: And then her name would be Temperance Booth...sounds like a place to make a confession
J:[a bit of snickering, but I am pretty sure he is rolling his eyes in the dark]
Me: and if they have a kid, they could name him Telly. You know, Telephone Booth.
J: [sigh] Can I... punch you in the head now?

For some reason, this sent me into fits of was just so out of character for him to say... So then the poor guy, who is trying to sleep (we had just gone to bed) had to contend with me laughing so hard I had tears coming down my face...never a dull moment when you live with me.

see why he loves me?

T, who says aren't I witty?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Last night, I finally took JBug to see Twilight. She has been asking for a while, and our schedule lined up to allow it. First, we went at 10:15 p.m. which was a good time. Sunday night, all the kids are home in bed in preparation for school. Also, the city of Orange has a 10 o' clock curfew, so that meant we were alone in the theatre. Which was good, so I could talk through the movie. It was the only thing that got me through it. The director of the movie also directed Thirteen. And that's the problem. She treated all of the characters like they were angsty jr. highers. Truly, a waste. She took a decent teen lit book and destroyed it with poor casting, awful makeup and laughable acting. This Edward is not someone you would fall for. And the woodeness of Kristen Stewart really calls into doubt her ability to feel anything for him.

Sad state of affairs when the humans have more life and are more interesting than the vampires you are supposed to revere. Suffice it to say, that's two hours I won't get back.

T, who loves vampires, but not these

I am a Superbowl fan. I am not a football fan. There is a difference. I watch the Bowl for the commercials. We rate them and find it a lot of fun. Here is a link to this year's commercials, so you can share in the fun. Let's discuss in comments, shall we? Which did you love? Which did you think fell flat?

By the way, the game was decent. If you like that kind of thing...

T, who asks what was your favorite Superbowl commercial?

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