Saturday, August 28, 2010

The fear that I am facing

Let's just get this over with. I have been agonizing over it, panicking and just generally freaking the hell out to even admit this, but here I go. She can't read. There, I said it. Call Social Services now. She is 9 years old, on the autism spectrum, home schooled and she can't read.

Ok, she can read a little bit. Like C-V-C words. Three letters, four. Not difficult combinations. So what the heck do I do all day, right? Since my kid can't read? And I am responsible? And I sit on the Internet all day? Whoah. Let's back the truck up, Jack. I have been homeschooling my children for 6 years now, and I am good at it. My eldest daughter is amazing, and gifted. My son has great spatial relations and comes up with some of the most interesting questions. And then? There is my youngest daughter.

If you have been reading very long, you know she is a complex enigma. She is smart. There is no getting around that. When she sits to do school work, I have to pry her away from it. She works really hard. She also has amazing imaginary skills. I would say she often lives in her imaginary world. Most of the time it works. We don't forbid her from doing what she likes, like playing with Playmobil and small figures.

But, she can't read. I used to think it was me...I was doing something wrong. I teach her the same way I taught my son. And teaching him was a challenge, because not only is he on the autism spectrum, he is also dyslexic. I had to learn a completely different way to teach. But it has paid off, for the most part. I was doing computer programs with my youngest, sitting together to read, doing a multi-sensory tile-based phonics program, and she still was not progressing. And that's when she told me.

"Mama, when I read, the words and letters move all over the page." Aha! I had long suspected dyslexia, now I had some idea that was part of the problem. I took her to her speech teacher (What? you didn't know she took speech?) and told her the problem. I told her I was thinking of eye therapy, and that we were headed in for an evaluation. She agreed that was a good idea.

The eye evaluation simply confirmed what I already knew. Her eyes have a difficult time tracking together, and her depth perception is off. Luckily, this can be corrected. It isn't that she cannot read because she can't...she can't read because her eyes aren't working together.

She sees her eye therapist every week. She sees her speech teacher every week. And with luck, and a A LOT of hard work (we have 20 minutes of eye exercises every day) her eyes will improve. When that happens, she will be able to read. I hope. Of course, there is a nagging fear that she will never know what it is like to pick up a book with ease and while away the afternoon. That maybe, though we are all good readers in this house, she will continually struggle and never really take off. That fear makes me want to curl into a fetal position and never move. But you know that's just not the way I roll. I will make this latest hurdle my bitch, the way I always do. And you'd best believe that I (along with her speech/reading teacher) will make sure she catches up. You will be one of the first to know when that happens.

posted from my iPad

Friday, August 27, 2010

I have a blogcrush on you

I took time out from my migraine regularly scheduled to attend the OC Blogger Ball. This year, it is at the Embassy Suites near Disneyland, and they have pulled out all the stops. The food: prime rib, cold vegetables and sauce... Canapes and mousse. Such a great time hanging out with my friends from OC Blog Crush. Nice to know there is strength in numbers. Thanks to everyone..and thanks to my lack of headache! posted from my iPad

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The pitfalls of social media: an apology, of sorts

I found the dark side of being plugged in, and really it's my own fault. Let me explain. I spend a lot of time online, with people I consider my friends. Many I know in real life (in fact, I don't even differentiate anymore...if you are my friend, you are my friend...period).

To that end, I spent five days in New York City around some of the smartest, sexiest and most cuttingly-funny women around. (and a couple of men, too). Is it any wonder that I let my guard down a bit and let out some inner snark? I have finally accepted something. I? Am funny. People will tell me so, and I never owned it. Now I do. I can be quick-witted and I am all about the entertainment. I see twitter as both a place to have relationships and a place to make people laugh. Last night, those clashed, much to my chagrin.

Like I said, I spent a week at Blogher, with women who were quick on their feet, able to define their humor in 140 characters and the snarky comeback was expected. and valued. Normally, I detox from that and become the person who can enter polite society again, but since I have had a horrendous headache off and on all week long, I haven't spent much time circulating in polite society. And I gaffed.

Last night, a friend threw a party. I had other events I was supposed to attend, but begged off so I could rest up and make it to the party. She is a single mom and doesn't get a chance to let loose that often. I wanted to at least honor her by making an appearance. We did so. The get-together was low-key, with good friends and some soft music. I guess I had NYC on the brain, and wanted the music and the good time I had there. Luau music wasn't doing it for me. So I tweeted that the music wasn't good. I was chatting with friends and wasn't really thinking about it. The obligatory replies came in, about the fat guy with the ukulele and the Wizard of Oz song. Cue laughter. Fun.

If the party had been thrown by one of thousands of my friends on twitter, they would have gotten it. We snark on twitter, someone else replies with a smart ass remark, we all laugh, The End. Well, I forgot that my friend isn't a blogger, and isn't a social networking addict like the rest of us. So the attempt at humor was foreign to her...and I hurt her feelings. Shit.

She called me out on my bad manners, and I tried to explain, but I am not sure she

understood. I went back and deleted anything that could have been misconstrued. (A comment about watching fireworks and I hash tagged it "is the party over") But last I heard, she is still pissed. The really frustrating thing is that in the past she has said some really awful and judgmental things to me and I have completely just dismissed them. I never even said anything to her about it, because, well, that's what's you do. I don't mention it for any other reason but that I think friendship goes both ways... you forgive. And you forget.

So. Lesson learned. Which is? Don't tweet anything that might hurt someone else? Or that all of your friends need to be bloggers. I am not sure which is right, but I am certain it is one of those.

I am too old for drama, people. Carry on with your bad selves. And I'll tweet you later.

posted from my iPad

Thursday, August 19, 2010

BlogHer in pictures

If a picture is worth a thousand words...


from my iPad

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Help, My Son Won't tell the TRUTH! (and yes, I CAN handle it)

Tuesdays are flashback days around here...which is really just an excuse for recycling a post you might not have seen. This week's post is about my son and the stage he went through with lying. Thankfully, it was short-lived, but at the time? I thought I would lose my mind.

Lately my son has been experimenting with creative truth-telling. Yes, it's a nice way to say he is lying his butt off. And it isn't like the things are that important. These exchanges are taking place with increasing frequency:

Me: Did you clean the cat box?

JBear: Yes, I cleaned the cat box, both the office and the bathroom. [earnest look on his face, not meeting my eyes, but then, with autism, he rarely meets my eyes]

[I check the box, it has not been cleaned]. Son, why did you tell me that you cleaned the litterbox when clearly you had not?

JBear: But I did. I cleaned it!

Me: JBear, I need the truth.

JBear: [scowling defiantly] I didn't clean it. I don't want to.

And then he goes and does whatever he was told to do in the first place. This can be anything from putting his clothes away, brushing his teeth, reading a book vs. playing Nintendo...

Now I know as a mother of a child with autism, I could be pleased by this latest development. Some idiots experts will tell you that a child with autism cannot lie. I present, exhibit #1: my son. And besides, being lied to is damned annoying. I want it to stop.

So I had a Come To Jesus talk with him today, and laid out some ground rules for him.

* You must try not to lie. A man/woman/person is only as good as his word, his honor is all he has. If he cannot be trusted, he will not have friends. (yes, some people hang out with other people who lie to them, but how do you ever know if they are telling you the truth?)

* Honor, meaning whether someone sees you as a person who is good and has integrity (can be trustworthy) will follow you the rest of your life.

* Character is who you are when no one is you take that cookie? Do you return that wallet?

* Your actions become your habits. If you continue to lie, it will become second-nature and you may not be able to stop.

There are such things as "social lies," and these can be complicated. But some situations are:

* If someone asks you if you like their haircut, I don't care if you think they look worse than a dog with it's butt shaved walking backwards. You do not get to say that to the person. It hurts feelings.

* You are not allowed to call your mother,"Old Lady," even if you do think 42 is old. There is a certain amount of respect that someone gets just for being older than you. Just because you think it doesn't mean you need to say it out loud. Engage your mouth filter.

* There are times you do not have to tell the whole truth to everyone, always. A bit is sufficient. People who call on the phone do not need to know your mother is in the bathroom, pooping.

* Sometimes it is kinder not to share the entire truth. You do not have the right to rub your intellect into others' faces, or make them feel small. Even if you really do know more about medieval weaponry than they do. /

* If you think someone is an idiot, keep it to yourself. Fighting words can get you into a fight. Yes, there are many idiots out there, but believe it or not, few actually know they are idiots. That's why they are idiots. Do not believe you are doing anyone a favor by removing the blinders from their eyes. They won't believe you anyway.

* There are times it is easier to go along with what someone says, rather than argue them into the ground. Exceptions to this are when your values are compromised, laws are broken or you feel uncomfortable in any way. (refer back to when people are idiots)

We have a long way to go in the area of truth-telling, but I believe we have a start now. Now comes the repetition. Did I forget any social lies that he needs to know?

What's the craziest white lie you know of...either your own, or someone else's?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

So I think I am dying

Why is it I just can't party like it's 1999? I mean, when I do, I get SICK. It's so unfair. Last year, after BlogHer? Sick. Fly to New Zealand, come home? Sick. And now? NYC... and came home.. sick. The difference is, I am pretty sure this was my daughter's doing. She came home from Kenya and she was sick.

I just can't party and bullshit the way I used to. My body doesn't bounce back the way it did back when I was...well, when I was 21. I am exhausted. And of course, the kids don't help. Why is it when momma is under the weather, the kids act out and don't sleep? As I write this, my son is still awake. It is going on midnight. I simply don't have the energy to fight with him. He is 11 and thinks he doesn't have to listen over little things like bedtime. And I guess, to me, that is kind of true. I am a night owl, JNerd is a night owl, doesn't it make sense that we would give birth to other nocturnal-living humans?

So my cap off to an exciting weekend was hot tea with lemon and honey and True Blood. Sadly. Next comes canasta? Retirement home in South Florida? Party and bullshit, people. I am not ready to quit, yet.

posted from my iPad

Friday, August 13, 2010

yes, I am a....

posted from my iPad

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I would write about it, but I can't remember it! (What happened at BlogHer?)

It is impossible to tell you everything that happened at BlogHer and not have you

  1. be confused
  2. laugh a lot
  3. lose complete respect for me

Besides I have no idea how to explain it all, much of it was a blur of jam-packed days, late nights, mornings that came way too early (as in, a couple of hours) and then get up to start all over again. Just know that BlogHer is about staying out late, and when you are in the City That Never Sleeps? never sleep. (See what I did there?)

When you are hanging with the greatest people on earth (I am not biased) that you only see maybe twice a year (if lucky), who wants to waste time sleeping? I mean, really. So I did very little of that which is really nothing new for me anyway. You all know I am half-vampire.

So, how do I explain BlogHer?

  • It's headed to your room completely exhausted, then getting a phone call and finding the energy to go out for just one drink. Until 5 a.m.
  • It's fighting tears as you listen to some of the strongest women who have dealt with adversity, and then laughing through them as @looneytunes says that "People aren't assholes." and then @anissamayhew responds, "Yes, they are." (guess you had to be there)

  • It's always having somewhere to be: lunch, seat saved during session, an after party somewhere else, so grab the caffeine and keep going, friends are waiting and they aren't getting any younger!
  • It's sponsor parties, and pedi-cabs and taxi cabs...halfway across the city for a pink-iced cupcake and the chance to say you were at that party.
  • It's food on the run, and tiny appetizers for dinner, $20 deli sandwiches and more booze than you (yes, even you!) can drink.
  • It's bloggers in various states of undress, and pictures being hidden from the public stream.(it wasn't me, I swear)
  • It's unplanned meetings and late-night breakfasts of omelets and bagels and lox
  • It's Sparklecorny, as you dance your ass off on the last night, knowing that in a few hours it will all be over. Bittersweet to say the least
  • It's eating McDonald's cheeseburgHers that in other circumstances you wouldn't touch. And? They taste good.

  • It's pictures and more pictures and overheard: If we are going to all be in bed together, I should at least know who you are."
  • it's having dinner and seeing a show, a carriage ride around Times Square and a couple of cougar catchers who cop a feel while taking a group picture. (again, not me)

  • It's running into New Yorkers who want to take us to where the party is, and they know all the best
  • it's discovering street meat..which is not nearly as dirty as it sounds

So that's what Blogher is. But the thing that trumps it all? Spending time with your friends. People who are near and dear, and that you love. THAT is what makes Blogher, I think. Yes, there are other conferences, and parties and get-togethers. But the people are what make BlogHer. I miss them all, already.

posted from my iPad

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It was her conference, too.

Did you see her? She was right there. Standing in the doorway to the entrance of the ballroom, lunch plate in hand, trying to find a place to sit. Everywhere she looked were tables, full of people engaging with one another. But no actual room for her. She paused at the entrance, then turned around. I still don't know where she ate lunch.

Or maybe she gained entry to one of the parties, and stood next to the wall, hoping someone would come and talk to her; help her to bloom. Did you ask her her name? Did you leave her standing in the lobby alone when you went off for the after party activities? DId you notice?

While we were busy running to our next session/lunch date/invite-only party what was she doing? Did you wonder if maybe she gave up and went to her room early? Who did she eat dinner with? Every year, I have an amazing time at Blogher seeing my friends and partying it up. I would be willing to bet that you do, too. But every year, someone comes home and writes THAT post. You know the one. Blogher sucks, people are unfriendly and I am gonna just go eat worms. And while we are not completely responsible for her choices, could we be more open to new people?

This was my third Blogher. I am kind of old-hat at this point. I am also old enough that I don't give a flying loon what people think of me, I am going to have fun. I recognize that I have a responsibility to get my ass out there, not hide in fear. So I don't. But what about those who cannot make themselves "just do it?" I may show no fear now, but there was a time, back in high school, where I didn't fit in. I was too "cerebral." (I know, right?) and wasn't part of the in crowd. That is, back when I thought all of that mattered. I still remember the hollow feeling in my stomach that came from knowing I just didn't belong. I don't wish that feeling upon anyone.

When I saw her, I did try to introduce myself. I invited her along with us. Sometimes. But I admit, often it was too much trouble, or I wanted to "hang" with my friends, and didn't feel like making that extra effort. Going back over the weekend, her eyes are haunting me. Full of naked yearning and wanting nothing more than to belong. And I was in a hurry, so I pretended I didn't see her.

But not next year. Honestly, I loved seeing my friends, and I had a great time with them all. But maybe there is more to this Blogher thing, you know? Maybe it's about women empowering other women, even when all that is needed is a place to belong. So, next year, I am going to make more of an effort for new people. Instead of seeing them as invading my territory, I am going to do more than just widen the circle when she comes up to talk.

How about you?

posted from my iPad

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Apparently, New York makes me sick

Sitting here in the lobby of the Sheraton, doing what bloggers do, you know. Which is? Find the nearest: 1) outlet for charging, iPad, phone, camera. 2) take advantage of free wifi in the lobby It's what we do. It's how we roll.

Speaking of rolling, I spent all day traveling from the OC to San Francisco (to pick up Califmom) and then from San Francisco, our non-stop flight stopped in Las Vegas. Awesome. And we had to actually deplane for 20 minutes before we could get back on again. Even. More. Awesome. By the time we got to New York, an entire day of traveling with only coffee, a horrible cheese plate and an even more horrible half a sandwich took it's toll. I was sick. DId I mention was up at 5:15 a.m. and went to bed at 2 a.m. Smart is NOT my middle name. Apparently.

So we catch a cab, after walking through a hot, humid airport that literally smelled like ass. And vomit. Can't forget that. Which is not conducive to keeping your lunch down if you happen to be ready to lose it, like I was. I bought some crackers and ginger ale and thought I was going to be ok.

Instead, my intro into a New York cab was throwing up in the back of it. SO. Not.Fair to have the hangover before I start drinking? And the weird thing, before that happened, my hands literally went numb. Long story short, turned out I had a migraine. After throwing up again in the hotel room, Leah gave me a magical unicorn pill (Imitrex, for migraines) and it made it all go away. So much so that when friends came a-callin I was able to jump up and party until dawn.

Night one, check.

T, who can't say so far that I love New York, but I love my friends. posted from my iPad

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Maybe if I pack a lot of Xanax

This time tomorrow I will, with all good luck, be in NYC, hopefully in my hotel. Asleep. I have to be up at the ass-crack of dawn, but thankfully, Starbucks is open then. I was worried for a bit, JNerd said they were closed that early, but it turns out they understand that vampires like their coffee before the sun rises.

I will continue to blog, never fear. Wish me luck, and let's hope I am not like this guy:

I am not hugely afraid of flying, but it isn't my favorite thing to do. So I hope it goes well. I am already frustrated over paying for my ticket and THEN paying another $25 for my baggage. It's ridiculous. I could see if I was only flying a short distance, but coast to coast? They have to expect people to bring luggage! I am tired of the skinflinty cost-cutting that airlines do.

Still, it remains the best way to travel, so we all put up with the crap. Right? I am a bit worried about my puppy. She is forlorn. Following me all over the house, I know she must know something is up. Sad that I know the kids will be ok, yet am worried about the dog. What does that say about me?

T, who needs to be in bed!

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