Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gotta have a fling

I am sitting here, minding my own business, writing like a, like a...fiend. I have a lot of writing to catch up on, and am mostly done. I reward myself with a fling, a candy bar that m&m Mars makes, that is like..well, not quite, but almost as good as sex. If sex was a finger of chocolate layered around a cookie and some truffle cream.

My daughter, Miss I am 15 going on 30, walks in. She is just visiting and I am half-listening when she grabs the wrapper, and notices who makes the candy bar. Now, I am in trouble. My daughter is, if not an animal rights' activist, certainly someone who thinks carefully about her choices. Last year, she took Biology, but didn't dissect anything. She did her entire lab assignments via virtual dissection. And ended up with an A. She is currently boycotting this candy company due to animal testing.

JBug: Ugh. You're eating that?
Me: Yup. Yummmy.
JBug: Some little mouse died so that you could have chocolate!
Me: That was nice of him.
JBug: ::eyeroll::: I meant, you are killing mice with that chocolate.
Me: Now chocolate is a weapon?? Must not hurt much. I mean, it gets so soft and squishy so quickly...

I win. She shakes her head, makes an exasperated noise, because honestly mothers can be so dense? and stalks out of my room.

Leaving me, to my chocolate. In peace. Now, who's the smart one?

T, who says don't come between a momma and her chocolate

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I've Never Done This Before, What Will People Think? - PR Spotlight

I haven't done this before, and I am sort of nervous. I know, there comes a day when you have to just, jump in. Because, everybody is doing it. But really, I have no idea what to do...and what if I get laughed at? Or worse, everyone finds out how inept I was, and it becomes the talk of the lunchroom! AHEM. Sorry, high school flashbacks from long, long ago...


My friend Adrienne is co-hosting this PR Spotlight thing with Tara, and well, I decided there's no time like the's now or never. Strike while the iron is hot. (And can I get any more really bad cliches in this post? I bet I could, but I will take pity upon you.)

Hi! You want to know who I am. So here goes. I am a writer, first and foremost. It is in my blood. I get up at night to take notes and my Posts in Progress folder is full of ideas and half-written witty posts that I will eventually publish to this blog. I am a mom of a teenager who is probably more brilliant than I am. I have two kids with high-functioning autism, and I homeschool all three of them. They don't define me. I have been married for almost twenty years to my best friend and tech support, he is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He doesn't define me either. So how do I define myself?

I write. My blog is over three years old, and I write about life, but I don't take it too seriously. I focus on autism, homeschooling and whatever else comes along. I am probably not as funny as I think I am. (but still pretty funny) I have good regular traffic, and almost 4,000 followers on twitter. I am PG-13 for the most part. I will not represent anything I don't believe in, or that doesn't fit with my blog. If we have a working relationship, know that you will be fairly and accurately represented with integrity.

I run a few sites, namely, this one, which is my primary blog. I also have a community blog, I founded, Autism Sucks. Other blogs I write are Sweet Schoolin' (homeschool product reviews) Sweet Talkin' (product reviews) and Geek 4 Kids, together with my children, products and information for kids who can't fight the geek DNA from their parents. I am the LA Special Needs Kids Examiner, and the TypeAMom Special Needs Parenting Editor, as well.

I am passionate about social media, and am an autism advocate for my children and for parents. I am a connector for parents, especially when they are dealing with autism and don't know where to turn. I very much want to help to equip other parents and caregivers in dealing with autism.

Special Needs families are a segment that PR is missing, because we are very loyal when it comes to products and services. My son is gluten-free and casein free and when we find products that work for him? We continue to use them. Due to sensory issues, I don't change products often. When I find something we love? We keep it!

I am very interested in homeschool products, special needs products, geeky stuff and toys for older kids. I love to do focus groups and really want to tell you what I think. I don't sugar coat things, I say what I think. Let's talk!

I am active in the community and have attended BlogHer the last two years. I am excited to see what social media is becoming, and hope to be in the mix as it continues to evolve.

You can contact me at

T, who says it's nice to meet you!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Like BlogHer, For Chocolate

I admit it, I love chocolate. Yeah, not exactly a newsflash, but there you go. I especially love dark chocolate. As those who love dark chocolate will attest, you have to take the bitter with the sweet. The opening notes of that first bite of deep, dark chocolate produce a sweet note on your tongue, but quickly gives way to an explosion of bitter that threatens to permeate your senses. To alleviate it, take another brick truckload bite of the chocolate. And so, I am ready to talk about the last night of Blogher. wait, don't leave! I swear this will be the LAST post about Blogher!

It has taken me this long to write about it, because, Saturday night was exactly like the chocolate I describe. I had a wonderful time, it was the best night of the conference. But it did come at a price. Let me back up. The Party du Jour was BowlHer, a PR fest off-site at a local bowling alley. Proceeds for the tip jars and t-shirts sold went to Autism Speaks, so of course, we had to attend. Also, isn't it fun to have your name on The List, even if almost everyone else is on the List, too? We got our wristbands and our hot pink boas and headed up the escalators to the bowling alley. We decided to skip the red carpet, because, personally? I have NO desire to be famous and see my ass profile from a thousand different angles. It proved to be a wise decision, when we got inside and found that the pictures everyone was aping for were being broadcast in giant-screen glory. Phew! Dodged that bullet!

Lucky Strike is not your father's bowling alley. It is upscale, with billiards and bowling (of course!), and an attached bar. The lights are low, and the atmosphere is decidedly that of a cocktail lounge. Much of the noise that keeps me out of conventional bowling alleys is muted if you stick to the bar. (That's not to say the music wasn't deafeningly loud, but then, most bars have that issue, anyway.) Since there was free beer and wine, naturally, I had to have a pomegranate martini. Because? That's just me. I don't drink beer, unless it is Guinness.

Amy & Astacia

Califmom made use of her Go Girl, (no, I am not kidding, that thing really does exist) and I hung with her and her and of course, her.(and him) Lots of laughter, and a couple of rounds to be had by all. A lap around the place and a stop to pick up the really awesome bowling bag-inspired swag bag (small, leopard print purse, that I LOVE) and then it was off to the CheeseburgHer party.

This year, it was held in the Presidential Suite, bitches! And it was wall-to-wall peeps, and it was hot. Yeah, hot as in, gotta be there but mostly hot as in, Lord, I must be going through menopause, ack, I need a cold shower, there's a lot of bodies crammed into this place! We were headed out, but took a wrong turn should have stopped for the map and ended up deeper in the bedroom instead of at the exit. Found some people we knew so we hung out in the Presidential bedroom, and really? Does that not have to be tweeted? I thought so, too.

While we were there, the party did not get busted, though I heard it was busted later. (See, that's the point.)

1) bag on head
2) eat cheeseburger
3)security shows up to impromptu party and throws everyone out.

Good time had by all. Since it was so crowded, we headed to the Chi-Bar for drinks, and I met miss britt and avitable, who, I am warning you now, has a site not for the faint-hearted. Adam is one of the most down to earth, kinda quiet, just genuine guys you will ever meet. Just meeting him? You would never know his testicles are famous. Miss Britt was a whole lot of fun tucked into a small package. (guys, the way into her pants heart is by reciting Shakespeare. Shhh!) I met Nancy, and ran into one of my favorite people, Lex. And I met church punk mom and Aman, both great people. It was my pleasure to finally meet Schmutzie and her husband, Aidan, the palindrome.

Because, I had a great time, hanging out with new and old friends, (and the remains of a bottle of bubbly that someone sent to our table when they left,) apparently, we were all knee-deep in conversation when another friend came over, said hello (though I didn't see her) and felt slighted and ignored. Because of how I grew up, I am the last person to want anyone to feel that way, but the damage was done. She was ticked, and made it clear. We'll get back to that in a moment.

After last call, some of us went to the lobby and did the late-night conversation thing that we are known for. We headed to bed around 4:30 a.m. Normal mode of operations at BlogHer.

Push came to shove, and through a series of events I still don't understand and can't process, based upon the earlier bar encounter, I lost someone I considered a dear friend. I now see that wasn't really the case, at least not on her side. Things were said to me that I wouldn't even let my husband say and get away with if he wanted to keep his and I believe we are better off not being friends. I wish her well in her endeavors, and I don't hate her or hold her anger against her, though I don't accept or own it. Either way. I didn't let a decidedly difficult time color my entire conference. It was the best, and even with that incident (boil on the butt of BlogHer blemish), I am so glad I went!

And just wait until next year! We are gonna tear that city UP!

T, who hopes to see you in NYC

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Friday, August 07, 2009

RIP John Hughes, your legacy lives on with my kids

Ferris Bueller. Claire, Brian, Allison, Andrew, Bender. Gary, Wyatt and Chet. Samantha Baker & Jake Ryan. Andie, Duckie, Blaine (that's not a name! That's a...major appliance!) & Steff. These names were engraved upon my psyche, at the Northridge Cinema in Central California as a teenager. I remember trying to avoid the well-meaning octopus who would try to cop a feel at the theatre, because, after all, he paid for the movie and the popcorn. And ok, sometimes it wasn't really a feel per se, as much as a... snuggle. Such was high school. And such was the feel of those movies. I grew up in the shadow of genius.

I was entertained on those nights by an amazing man and visionary by the name of John Hughes. He wrote the movies for my generation: The Breakfast Club. Sixteen Candles. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Pretty in Pink. Weird Science (I admit it, I wanted to BE Kelly LeBrock!) Movies that meant something to me. I can quote many lines, by heart.

It is so sad to lose John young, at 59. His movies and the music in them wrote the soundtrack to my life. And possibly yours. John Hughes has been mostly reclusive and out of the public eye for some years now..but he was not forgotten. I always hoped he would do something else, and Drillbit Taylor was not it. I hoped he would still speak for my generation, maybe a movie about social media, blogging? Alas, it was not to be.

First Michael Jackson. Now John Hughes. The 80's? She is over. I am no longer preoccupied with 1985, sorry, Bowling For Soup. We are moving on. With a heavy heart, to be sure. But, we are still moving on.

And now? I pull out all of my best John Hughes flicks and show my 15 year old what real movie making was. I only hope she enjoys them as much as I did at her age.

T, who is saddened that we lost a visionary too early and too young

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The one where I pause the funny, just for a bit

Yesterday was my littlest daughter's birthday, so we hightailed it to Disneyland to get her free stuff and so that I could pull my hair out because:

  1. it was 90- fricken -SIX degrees at 3 p.m.
  2. it's August and beyond crowded
  3. I am so over Disneyland, since I have lived here for years

But, it's what she wanted to do, so we did it. She had a wonderful time, and watching her eyes glow and her face light up with the intensity of a thousand suns? Makes the sensory-hell overload that is the Mouse House worth it. Spying her grinning with glee when the New Orleans Mardi Gras band threw her a bead necklace? Wonderment. And dancing with her in front of everyone? My heart was happy. SItting next to her on the sun-warmed sidewalk while she held my hand tightly and gasped in awe at the fireworks? Perfection.

I know these are things that so many feel for their little ones, and I don't want to discount that at all! But these milestones for me are hard-fought, since my littlest one has high-functioning autism. Yes, she speaks, and yes she handles herself, most of the time. There are days where she is selectively mute, or only communicates by singing. Or where she shuts down and tantrums because unspoken expecations have not been met. Autism is nothing if not a rigid master. But,all that aside, because today she turned 8. She acts closer to 5, and I know that. People think she is younger, because, on top of being more immature, she is almost more pixie-ish. With her huge almond-shaped sea green eyes, she looks more elfin than human much of the time. Combine that with her need to only ever wear dresses, and you begin to understand the character from Robert Heinlein's, Stranger in a Strange Land.

I have hope that she will one day be able to navigate the octopus tentacles of little girl relationships, but for now, I content myself with knowing she is a relatively happy little princess.

Today is a day of celebration. Time enough for tomorrow and worry about her future. Today, is the day we eat cake. Today, is the day we dance with abandon.

T, who really likes to dance

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Monday, August 03, 2009

How to party like a BlogStar, and get past all the velvet ropes

I am not really an extrovert, though I play one online, and in limited doses in real life. But I am truly an introvert, because the test is, do people drain you or give you energy? And honestly? people who don't start out online suck I need to have quiet time to recharge. I do genuinely like most people, and I enjoy hanging out with them, having conversations and just generally getting to know them. But eventually, I have to spend some time by myself, even if it is just a couple of hours. so don't let the door slam on your way out..your butt looks fab in those jeans! I'll call you!.

But some places, like BlogHer, I can keep going, (and going) for a finite period and figure I will crash once I get home. Breaks to take a shower in my room were really all of the time-out I needed. There were people to see, and new bloggers to meet and time to acquaint myself with others in my niche. Because? I didn't come all the way to Chicago to hibernate! I can sleep when I'm dead on the plane.

I met a lot of bloggers again, and some for the first time, and some for the first time but I felt like it was again and it was wonderful. My only regret is that I didn't get pictures with everyone; I did not want to appear to be some fangirl, I am a freakin' blogging professional dammit. So when I met Tanis again, even though her writing at Redneck Mommy rocks my socks, I didn't get a picture with her. (maybe it is better there was no evidence?) And same with Mr. Lady. I spent time talking to both of them, but didn't do the picture thing.

And when I ran into Her Bad Mother, again, no picture. And Casey, from Moosh in Indy...And, about a thousand other bloggers that I know and love from afar? Same thing. I am notorious for taking pictures of other people, with no evidence of my actually being there. What can I say? It's a gift. Some people are great photographers, I am great at ...leaving myself out of events.

But Friday night, I went to the official BlogHer cocktail party and met some long time friends from twitter. It was awesome to meet them. The party was a lot of fun, with karaoke, some dancing, and it was the first time I heard Michael singing Funky Cold Medina.(but didn't actually meet him until later.) Had a couple of drinks, the first one was a Sobe lemon martini. I swear Sobe water is not a good mixer... in any case. I make better drinks at home. You know when you leave ice cubes in a drink to melt and it tastes like booze-flavored tap water? Yeah, it was like that. The cranberry & vodka was a bit better, at the regular bar.

There was a photobooth , and of course, we couldn't resist, took some goofy pics with @califmom.(see? evidence I was there!). then we headed off to other parties.

I had to attend the Type-A Momfluence Party, since, well, I write for them and stuff. The bartender made the best drink: Starbucks Coffee Liqueur, vodka, Cream de Cassis and a splash of coffee. It was potent, and wonderful. At the appointed time, people showed up for the swag, after standing in line and just about killing one another for free crap. I mean, really. Is this how our mothers taught us to behave? I met more cool bloggers (Texas Red, Kelby Carr) But we were burning daylight, and there were more parties to hit! I mean, come on, when do I ever get to party hop??.

We sailed into the Mommy Needs a Cocktail Party, I was a tad tipsy, from the amazing Starbucks drink. The Mommy Party had an espresso bar and I was able to get me a nice mocha, with whipped cream. No more alcohol. I know my limits, people! And? We took these amazing pictures, because? It's just the way we roll. Silly, eh?.

A stop at the chocolate (dark!!) heaven fountain, and then we we headed to the MamaPop party...

After the check-in chicky found our name on the list at the door (which feels really good, by the way) we entered the bestest most Sparklecorniest MamaPop-iest party of the night, so says me. What made it so great? It wasn't the swag. (there was none!) It was the PEOPLE, people. All of the friends, followers and fun-makers from twitter and the Intarwebz were there. Megan, Miss, Yvonne, RLM, Michael, Britt, Leah, Shannan, Whit, George, Lex, Anissa, Shari and so many more. (I know I forgot you, and I SO hate that when it happens to me, so comment and I will add you, promise!)

The DJ was rockin and we all just danced up a storm. I dumped my shoes, which, by that time, though they were sexy, were making my feet hurt. I haven't danced like that in a long time, and it was absolutely the highlight for me. Again, no pics w/ me in them, since I took them. I really have to start accosting strangers asking people to take pictures of me at parties! @califmom ate unicorn ass, but I just wasn't in the mood. We danced some more and just had a grand time. Strains of "It Takes Two", "Word Up" and so many more songs I haven't heard in years just made our feet go with a mind of their own. It was a very successful party, and over too soon. But we weren't over. So.

We took the party to the Chi Bar and had a few drinks. Closed up the bar and ended up in the lobby, chatting, a bunch of random people, until bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, we trudged upstairs to get a few hours of shut-eye around 4 a.m. Just another night at BlogHer.

All too soon, Saturday was coming...and with it, our last day of BlogHer...

T, who hopes you like these recaps

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