Susan's Blog

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Am Here

Here is a lovely email that came my way today:

Dear Mom
How are you?
I,m good.
I,m havIng a great day.
I went to gym this mornIng.
I played street hoCkey.
Street HoCkey was fun.

I especially like his emphasis on “I.”

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Miss Ned

He is at Pycon, a Python Conference, in Chicago. 🙁

Friday, March 27, 2009

I Walk the Line

Years and years ago, when Nat was a baby, Ned was playing with him, and suddenly Nat looked at him and with a dramatic pause and a very wise face, he said, with such profundity, “ooo.”

Mr. Ooh made us laugh and laugh. Wiser words were never spoken.

I can’t tell you how much I look forward to 3:34 on Fridays. I miss Nat so much, and the first sniff of his face, the first scratchy skin of his cheek, and I feel a mother-animal sense of satisfaction. Food was our primary connection, and one of our favorite means of communication. Right up there with “ooh,” and “Feeeem.” So I fill him up with his favorite foods: ice cream and today, leftover Ben’s Z-Brayes birthday cake.

The first thing he saidwhen he walked in, was “Max.” I assured him that Max would be here soon. I believe that Nat’s “stim” talk is expressive of what he is observing, thinking, and feeling. I am not making up meaning here. I feel that this is true, and I have seen too many times that he does, indeed understand us even though what comes out of his mouth might be a bit mysterious.

This pleasure I feel around Nat is, of course, not unmixed. Nor do I feel unmixed about my other two sons. There is always worry, guilt, fear, regret woven in little black threads that make up the fabric of our relationships. I don’t mean that the whole blanket is black; it’s mostly deep ruby red, emerald green, azure, etc. All the jewel tones. But there are shadows and hints of other things. That is life. Max is leaving, growing up and away, silent, complex, mysterious. Ben is opening up, expanding, holding onto me in a way that I never thought I’d see. Z-Brayes is only the little fat tip of the melted iceberg.

With Nat, there is a mixture of all of those same things. Autism changes none of that. Yet I still also have a pang of dread when he’s here that I do not have with Max and Ben, a clammy ghost that lives in me and reminds me of the other side, (thank you, NancyBea, for getting me to think, and perhaps challenging my complacency. I mean that. NancyBea is a sharp thinker who keeps me honest, and I just wish she lived closer so that I could debate her more often!), the unpredictable and scary; the fear of not being able to handle his potential frustration with a world that talks way too much, too fast.

Things can change at a moment’s notice, as they did for that poor kid and his family. I do not mean to trivialize their pain or terror, but I do believe that complacency is the hobgoblin of entitled minds. No matter our sophistication, technology, literature, architecture, laws, and access to medicine: life is still red in tooth and claw.

And yet, man is also noble in reason, infinite in faculties, the paragon of animals.

So, the truth is, from both ends of the spectrum of life, you never know. You never know when all this is going to end. You don’t. You can’t live in fear, even when evidence points to reasons for fear. Nor can you live in blissful ignorance. I try to walk the line. Life can really bite you in the ass, and people can really surprise you.

I believe that my feelings and regard of Nat are understood (by him). Therefore whenever I speak about him now, I always try to speak as if he could comment. He has surprised me too many times for me to believe that it’s all just noise to him. You just never know what someone else knows. You never know what’s coming, either.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Beauty of Special O? Not Special At All!!!

An essay I wrote just after Nat’s triumphant performance at the Massachusetts Special Olympics State Games this winter appears today on

In case you have to be a subscriber to WBUR’s daily newsletter (and well you should be!), here is the text:

Special Olympics? Not ‘Special’ At All

BOSTON – March 25, 2009 – “I just want him to get a bucket,” my son’s Special Olympics basketball coach recently said about my son Nat, who never seemed to make baskets, buckets, or any other kind of scoring point in his games.

That never actually mattered to us, considering the severity of Nat’s autism. We’re just thrilled that he wants to be on the court, period.

But after President Obama’s Special Olympics faux pas, I found myself thinking honestly about it all. What exactly is it that makes us shlep all over the state to see Nat play the way he does?

I realized that sometimes I do want Nat to get a basket. But, having a child who develops outside of the normal milestones and expectations, you develop a keen sense of priority. Yet, there is this small secret part of me that gets fed up with having to have so much damned perspective. Sometimes, in the slow and frayed moments of the day, I get a little tired of shrugging things off.

Special Olympics is one of those things I can’t shrug off. I want the president and everyone else to get it. I want people to know what’s so special about the Special Olympics; that it’s not some big, dumb feel-good fest where everybody gets a medal for doing nothing. There are divisions, there are points, there are wins and losses. There are rivalries. There are obnoxious parents.

But there are also things you don’t usually see in “typical” sporting events. Like how during one game, all the action stopped while everyone on both teams let a frail elderly player just take shot after shot.

Or the way Nat suddenly figured out how to make a basket, then and there, during the State Games.

Oh, God, that look on his face. That pride. Me, too. You go, Nat.

‘Get ’em,’ I wanted to snarl.

At last, I could be the arrogant, obnoxious sports mother whose kid was a star! I could be just like every other parent of the high-scoring kid on the team, anywhere else in the world.

I think that’s pretty much all there is to it. The thing about Special Olympics is: You’re not special at all. You get to be just like everyone else.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Toys, Cakes, and Boys

Tabblo: Toys, Cakes, and Boys

Ben’s eleventh birthday is March 24th, but we had his party on Sunday, the 22nd.  He invited only his very best friends, and the entire party was just a big playdate, nothing planned. 

Except, of course, le gateau.  We decided to surprise Ben with a Z-Brayes cake (black-and-white stuffed zebra ornament from Grandma Shelly, a Chanukah present and now z favorite in the family.

I had to do this cake alone, because Ned and Max were out taking Nat back to his group home, and also shopping for B’s presents.  So needless to say, the cake was not as neat nor as well-engineered as usual.  Still, it was eaten joyfully by all.

For the actual birthday, I will be making One-Upcakes.  the One-Up is a mushroom creature from Super Mario, a Nintendo video game.  My sister knit some woolen One-Ups, which were a huge hit, and I modeled the One-Upcakes after those.  Tomorrow Ben’s 5th grade class will consume them.
See my Tabblo>

Sunday, March 22, 2009


If you don’t read Ned’s blog, today is the day to change that. Sometimes just when I think my heart can’t get any fuller, he goes and does something like that.

Live For Two

Out of the corner of my eye, through the wobbly smudgy glass of the old dining room window, I see the small black Honda Civic speed away with Ned, Nat, and Max inside. A pang of regret, of course, and as usual I wonder fleetingly why I feel that. I walk into the little kitchen and the flash of silver aluminum foil catches my eye, and even more, what lies under it: brownies. Those brownies made me want to cry. Max and Hannah made them yesterday, while Nat looked on, head bent awkwardly a little to close to them, hoping.

Nat left for his Home after lunch today, and because he would be missing Ben’s birthday party, I impulsively threw some cookies into his hands as he was leaving, my effort to include him. Then I saw the brownies, after he was gone, and thought, “What if he wanted those?” Of course even if he did, he did not ask for them.

And it seems like no one else around here even worries about that, except me. I think I’m the only one of the three remaining family members who thinks this way. That makes me angry.

Nat sees so many things, and probably wants so many things, but he rarely tells anyone. I realized that, as he drove away, that I was tired and down as I so often am after he goes, and that a big reason was that I do thinking for both of us. I see brownies, I want brownies, and then I wonder if Nat does. If I don’t think to ask him, he doesn’t get them.

I get exhausted when I am around him because I am always on some level wondering what he wants, what he is thinking. Perhaps that is the sadness associated around autism. I am sorry to offend autistics when I say that, but it is truly there, and we all deal with it. 100 or so interviews can’t be wrong. Even though there is profound happiness and love with our children, there is also sadness. I call it my communication blindness. Mine. Ours. So much that he can’t tell me. For instance, I don’t know if he has bad dreams and just kind of sucks it up, whereas I get to scream and have Ned hold me. Maybe that’s irrelevant now that Nat’s a man. Or is it? Ben and Max used to climb into my bed, crowding me with their delicious, small, warm humid bodies. My clingable self nourished them until they felt safe again to go back to their formerly evil beds. It just breaks my heart that Nat could have had the same kind of need and never, ever got the need met. For lack of words. Stupid words.

With Nat I have to guess, imagine, experiment, live inside his brain — kind of. Sometimes I forget to, and he goes without.

So just as when he was growing inside me, a tiny little Nat-fetus, I am still in some ways living for two. Then he goes off, and who is living for him then?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama Hears A Who

Oh, oh, oh. Say it ain’t so, O. Did you really have to go and make a crack against my beloved Special Olympics? Was Joe Biden writing your stuff last night?

President Obama likened his allegedly-low bowling ability to the Special Olympics on the Jay Leno show Thursday night. He then apologized to Tim Shriver, the CEO of SO, who of course took it very graciously.

Well, I am not as gracious. I don’t have to be. My darling Nat can run circles around the Prez. Well, even if he can’t, in SO that is entirely beside the point. (I could write a whole book on what the point of SO is — and I just may do that next.) I may love Obama’s politics (and I do), but he has got to get a Special education!!!!! Sure, it was a joke, but I don’t think it was funny. I fear that President Obama represents a large section of the people in this country, perhaps the world, who just don’t get it when it comes to disability. Sometimes I don’t get it. But when I do, I see that there is a whole world in every one of us, and when we make stupid assumptions, we are hurting ourselves, we are denying ourselves access to an entire world. We are becoming part of the problem. We are like the Wickersham brothers, who would just boil that dustspeck rather than try and hear those Who’s.

His remark is the height of ignorance. There are a full range of playing abilities in the Special Olympics, and many divisions. I would not assume anything about the athletes in SO. You never know when someone will put all of that God-given autistic focus into his game, for example, and pull a J-Mac on you.

Multicultural Night

When you’re a teacher you don’t always get to see the effect you’ve had on people. I am not saying it’s a thankless job, because I know what those are like (School Committee comes to mind). It’s more that you get so lost in the hectic classes, keeping track and trying to reach every single student. The noise, the questions; your lesson plan screaming in your head, not to be forgotten yet again; apportioning enough time for this and that.

I guess I had gotten a little burned out on the Baby Bellies. I teach at my lowpoint of energy, 3, because it’s an After-School Activity (offered by the PTO, 8 weeks at a time). I had decided to drop the youngest class, the kindergartners, for next time.

Last night our PTO had its annual Multicultural Night, which is an evening to celebrate diversity, with food and entertainment from all over the world. Our town is very progressive politically and focused on welcoming all; Brookline has around 50 different nationalities represented; being attached to Boston (but no no no not a part of Boston!) we are extremely close to all the medical schools and universities and so we attract many internationals. The liberal vibe, excellent schools, and ethnic neighborhoods also bring in families from all over the world. So the school populations are very interesting and multicultural.

This year I offered to get the entertainment. Last year we had African drumming; another year there were Korean dancers, I believe. I, of course, opted to get a first-rate Arabic bellydancer: my teacher and a terrific performer, Najmat. I knew that Michelle (her other name) would be engaging, warm, fun, and delightful.

I was right. She arrived on time, she had a berry pink gorgeous costume, and the minute she saw what it was like at our school, she just lit up. One little boy came up to her and asked for her autograph; I’m not sure that’s ever happened to her before.

Many of my Baby Bellies, past and present, were in the audience. It was an almost-full house. I had created a stage set the day before, with the help of Matt Keenan, an amazing artist and teacher at the school. Matt cut out large foam onion domes, which I then painted them in purple, gold, and rich green to look like Moroccan architecture. One of my Baby Bellies helped me finish the painting, and really did a surprisingly nice job. Matt attached the minarets to some free-standing props he found backstage, and then we had two 8-foot Moorish towers. I strung tiny Christmas lights on them, and lay colored veils to cover the risers in the back of the stage. Everyone who came in gasped. It truly was beautiful.

Ned started the music and I opened the curtain. Naj came out with her veil and just swept us away. Ned, who was in the audience with the iPod, heard my youngest students pipe up every now and then: “That’s snake arms! That’s a camel!” (naming the moves I had shown them, the camel, FYI is a body wave/stomach roll that also involves lifting the foot and stepping forward.) During the very last number, Naj asked “who wants to dance?” and the little girls (and some boys) mobbed the stage. Eventally some of the older girls came up there as well! Najmat, consummate teacher and professional, got them to spin and do other dance moves. She signaled to me to come join her, but I did not, out of respect for Ben, who was in the audience.

Later, Najmat worked on pulling a splinter out of her foot and gave the starstruck little boy the autograph. The parents were smiling — one father asked me, “So you do that?” I went and gathered up my veils — it seems I am always doing that at that school — feeling very energized, though tired, and also tremendously proud, of my teacher and my girls, and the fun and beauty I have brought to our little school.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Final Title

Here’s what will be on the cover:

The Autism Mom’s* Survival Guide: Creating a Balanced and Happy Life While Raising a Child With Autism (Trumpeter, 2010)
(*and Dad’s Too!)
[[copyline]] With insights and strategies from researchers,
professionals, and parents

Turning it in next week!! Thank you to all who let me interview them and to those who gave me your stories! I could not have done it without you.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Luck of the Nat-ish

Nat went to a Saint Patrick’s Day Dance (a “Shamrockin’ Party”) last night. All the usual suspects were there; the whole Quest social group plus others organized by the amazing Alternative Leisure Company, drawing kids from neighboring towns. Everyone in green.

I just love watching people respond to Nat. Last night, the woman at the raffle table asked Nat to guess the number of candies in the jar. “One, two,” Nat said. We laughed, and she said, “No, Nat, more!”

“One, two, free, four.” Nat said, pointing at the jar, the way he does.
“Nat, I mean like a big number, like 92…”
“92,” Nat said. And that was his guess. Later, he came home with the jar and the raffle prize.

I watched him stride into the gym like he owned the place.

And I guess he did.

(photo of Nat and a lovely girl named Liz thanks to Heather!)

Enough About Me, Let’s Hear About You

Wow. Here I am, thinking I’m done with the book, getting to chapter 6, combing through it for problems, and I realize I did not ask anyone about their self image!!!!

How do you think you look? How do you feel about your own self-care routines, as parents? I have already asked a lot of you what do you do for fun, but now I need to know: how do you take care of yourself? What is your physical self-image like? How do you make yourself feel good about who you are? There are so many (moms especially, of autistic and non-autistic kids) who have told me that it’s a miracle if they even manage to take a shower, they have so much going on. So what do you do? If you are one of the Infrequent Showerers, or if you take three a day; if you haven’t had a haircut in a year (that’s me, until recently) or if your highlights are the one thing you will not compromise — I want to know. Or the other, accompanying issues: exercise, diet, buying clothes, wearing makeup, dressing up? Any special routines or rituals that you have given up or that you have instituted, for yourself?

Comments right here are fine, but if you are willing to have a conversation, email me so I can call you. I am going to record your answers, so you have to be willing to be quoted. I don’t mention last names and I don’t have to mention your kids’ names, I only need your state/country.

This is your chance to brag, complain, shrug, whatever it is you do about that person in the mirror.

Thank you!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Strings Attached

I still torment myself with what I don’t know. I’ll never know, I guess, how Nat feels about living away. I still feel terrible every now and then about it, when I let myself. Today I let myself. I was with him in the afternoon when we took Ben to an appointment, and sometimes when I’m with Nat I feel lonelier than when I’m alone. I’m so sorry to feel that way, but I do. I wish I could always just feel all of his sweet Nat-ness, but today I just couldn’t. I still feel worried that he is sad not to live with us.

At times like these it doesn’t matter all the strides he’s made. Everyone tells me that, and they also point them out, like there’s a big checklist in the sky that is proof that we did The Right Thing.

But my heart doesn’t care about checklists. It just aches for the way things were. I know things have to change, children are supposed to grow up and move out, but some children feel more fragile than others, less ready. But it came upon us, this placement. We had so many terrible times together, with Nat scaring me and with my inability to understand what was bothering him. Some autistic people respond well to keyboards and PECs and stuff, but I truly believe that Nat often does not want to communicate, period. He wants to be unto himself. Well, don’t we all, at times. But the thing is, he just gets so irritable and out of control. He goes from zero to 60 over things that I can’t predict.

He has been so happy and calm these months. Why? He’s ready, says the crowd. The knowing crowd.

But I’m his mother, and I still don’t know. Sometimes it feels like maybe I don’t want to know. Knowing would be a letting go, and that feels like abandonment and I will not do that. That string, that string that he always loved to twirl in the sunlight; that string is tied around my heart and will always be there.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Home is Where the Heart Is

Today I gave a homeless man $20. I had $40 in my wallet; no singles. But I thought, “What do I need it for? Some Starbux and a sandwich? I have all that.” I gave it to him and he said I was beautiful, so it was worth it. Seriously, it was. Other times I’ve given $5 or $10 and they always say, “God bless you.” And that makes me feel good: the blessings, I mean. I can use blessings. And I walk away feeling like I have made a small difference in someone’s life.

And maybe I have. Maybe getting that much money makes the guy feel like life isn’t bad at all. Maybe it helps him get off the sidewalk and help himself.

I know people scoff and say, “Oh, he’ll just spend it on drugs or booze.” Where did that meanspirited attitude come from? Was there some study that came out with The Facts? Some anecdotal research? Gut feeling? How shitty.

But even my college students say that. They are certain that it is a waste — nay, wrong, even — to give a homeless man money when he asks for it on the street. “That’s why they have shelters,” people say. I think that is cynical. We have no evidence that this is where they all should be.

I once read a book, “The Glass Castle,” by Jeannette Walls. This was a memoir of a woman who grew up in Appalachia, with parents who may have been bipolar or something. She eventually dug her way out and went on to live a very healthy and happy life, even though by her adulthood her parents were homeless. It seemed, from the book, that they were homeless by choice. They saw themselves as the new pioneers, freethinkers not bound by civilization’s “stuck-up” ways.

I do not agree with them and I think that such beliefs are a set-up for a very hard life, of begging and suffering from cold, filth, disease, loneliness, etc. But her parents were happy. I learned a lot from that book, about how to hang on to your sanity in otherwise insane conditions; how to love flawed people without becoming flawed yourself; how to put yourself in others’ shoes.

Being homeless means a lot of scrounging, scrimping, and struggling. It means you have to rely on others’ sporadic generosity and your own wits and luck to survive. There’s probably much more to it that I can’t even imagine — though I do have a rich imagination — because I live in the proverbial ivory tower, like a princess on a hill. Or something like that.

I see some homeless who seem disabled somehow. Maybe they are autistic, and under no one’s care. Maybe they were always poor and so no one in their lousy school system diagnosed them. They missed out on being in The State System and now they are simply out on the streets. One guy I see downtown where I teach speaks with a really weird, raspy monotone, “Eh-nn-y spaaaaya-chaaaange– Miss?” I have seen cops tell him harshly to stop bothering people. I have seen others sneer at him.

Why do people think they can treat others this rudely, just because they are asking for money from strangers? Yes, it is a bit of a nuisance to have a stranger come up to you, especially someone who doesn’t seem clean or “all there.” But it is a human being we are talking about! Possibly with issues near and dear to my heart. Or other struggles. And let’s say there is something about life in a shelter that feels suffocating or somehow wrong? Am I to judge that?

Our society takes care of many who have trouble doing it on their own. What’s with the judgments? Is it somehow more okay if there is a nonprofit overseeing the money and doling it out how they see fit? Why? Why is it better to give $25 to some organization and not to a person who directly asks for it? Why assume he’s on drugs, and if he is, why judge him? Have you ever tried to break a habit, any habit? I have. It is the hardest thing to do. Imagine if your body hurts from breaking the habit. Imagine if you have delusions of some sort and do not know how to get help, and maybe people are a bit skittish of helping you precisely because you look like you need help!

We should just give people a break. Why do we need that loose dollar getting dogeared in the wallet? What is it for, the Tooth Fairy?

Left Out in the Cold?

You’ll have to excuse the digression, but following the discovery that Peking Man was older and survived colder weather than any other human ever found, I find myself wondering a lot about what life was like for Mr. and Mrs. Old and Cold, and their developing offspring.

The article mentions that there could have been physiological differences from us, namely that that guy’s body allowed more blood to flow to his extremities. So that would make him less prone to frostbite, I guess. And so then I thought, “All extremities?” which made me remember a conversation I had had with Ned one night at bedtime, about caveman sex. “What do you think it was like for them,” I asked Ned.
“I don’t know,” he answered.
I never accept this answer, from anyone anywhere. In fact, I hate, “I don’t know.” Make something up, do something, think! What was cave sex like? “But, do you think there was rape? Would the females have felt raped, if that had occurred? Was there monogamy, jealousy? Was there a such thing as taboos, such as incest, pedophilia?

This line of questioning led me nowhere. I could not remember a thing I had learned from my Anthropology class at Penn, taught by — no joke — Professor Mann. For the last decade, all Anthropology has meant to me is a fabulous line of clothing and home furnishings. But now, I want to know. What did they think like? How did they understand each other? This, of course, led me to wonder about Peking Man’s society in general. Would there have been autistics? Did the cave people with disabilities necessarily die earlier than others, or did someone take care of them? Did cave mothers feel love the way we do? Did they feel guilt, over not being able to teach their autistic cave children the proper, Peking-typical way to grunt? Ah, but maybe the autistic cave people had prominent roles in their societies. Maybe they were automatically loved for their differences, during a time when every new change to a person was probably hailed as important. “Look, Gork! That guy there can flap like there’s no tomorrow. Think of how well he can scare the Mammoths out of the shrubbery!”

I truly wonder if there has been any research done on the psychology of the cave people. Maybe SNL had it right, where the most misunderstood person in a cave man’s society is the lawyer, rather than those we may misunderstand in our allegedly civilized world.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Speaking At An Autism Conference At B.U.

On Friday, March 27th, I’ll be one of 4 speakers at the Boston University School of Law’s 5th Annual Health Law Program Conference. It is called “Exploring Justice: Autism, Law, and Public Policy.” The speakers are given 15 minute segments to present, after which there will be some discussion. I believe I am on at 11:15 that morning. Also there will be Stephen Shore and Helen Tager-Flusberg.

That’s all for now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Un-Spokane- For

This might seem like a strange blogpost, but at the very end of July through Aug 1 I am going to be in Spokane, Washington, accompanying Max to a conference. If someone in the autism community would like me to give a little talk or something while I’m out there, let me know. (Unfortunately I will not be in Seattle area, unless some group can get me out there.) I will be at loose ends, not at all sure what to do with myself during those three days. Email me privately.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Bee’s Knees

So today was the Brookline Education Foundation Annual Spelling Bee. The BEF is a private organization that raises (lots of) money for the schools, like an additional PTO or something. Teachers get grants to travel to other countries for the summer and study there, stuff like that. They also pilot programs in the schools — they did one for Asperger’s a year or two ago — and if the programs are successful, the School Committee steps in to put it into the budget. Many good programs have started out as a BEF pilot. So it’s a good cause.

The Bee is one of my favorite community events. Businesses and organizations but tables of three (three to a team) and then they get three people to spell for them. The PTOs all get teams and so do the people running for local office, as well as some school officials. I have been in the Bee in one capacity or another for about 10 years, starting as a Co-Chair of our SPED Parent Advisory Council, then on the School Committee, and lately, as a committe chair on the PTO (I’m the Newsletter Editor!). I’m a total Brookline dork.

Contestants try to get a clever name, playing on the spelling or the bee themes. There are “Spellbinders,” dressed as wizards, or “Alphabet Soup,” people with soup cans on their heads. As you can guess, the costume part is my favorite, although I am a pretty good speller, too. Every year I have come up with increasingly outlandish costumes for my team, but I have never yet won.

This year, along with Lisa, my teammate from last year, who is a friend and a real sweetheart. I also invited a newer friend, one of Ben’s friend’s moms, whom I didn’t know as well but had always liked from afar. She is very creative; she designed the school logo, that kind of thing. So with Toni on board, I figured we’d have some interesting stuff happening.

At first I thought I’d just tease up my hair and use all my bellydance hair extensions:

but Toni had other plans…

Toni took me to this amazing costume store in Cambridge: two stories of shlocky costume stuff!! I was in heaven. So was she. She had a strict vision of what she wanted us to be: the Bee-52s, complete with huge beehive hairdos. We bought yellow and black feather boas (get it?) and three beehive wigs, two red and a blonde. I figured I’d spray-dye my red one black. We also bought false eyelashes. Toni had the thing planned down to the shirts we should wear. I have never been with another person who was even more into costumes, camp, and glam than I am!

We looked great. Toni’s the blonde, Lisa’s the redhead.

We spelled — well, not so great. Lisa’s a doc, so she was our Chief Speller. We got out on the words “Chrysalis” (I insisted on two L’s but there’s only one, dammit!) and “Septuagenarian” (ua!). So after that, we just sat there and drew funny pictures and held them up instead of words, to get some laffs. When “balalaika” came up, I wrote it in Cyrillic letters (I know Russian). It went right by the judges! (Not even a smile.) I thought we should have gotten to be back in the swarm with that stroke of genius. Oh well.

But — we won the costume! Yay! Beeyoutiful.

What do you think?

A new look for me?

Don’t bee crazy.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Big, Big Little, Little

Max’s very first nickname was “Little, Little Sweets;” (Nat was “Little Sweets.”). Then it was shortened to Little, Little. And then, well, of course, he was never really little at all, and so he became…Big, Big Little, Little.

Now he’s the Biggest Little Little there ever was. He will be turning 17 on Monday.

Last night was the party, with a “Watchmen” theme.

Tabblo: They Watched the Watchmen

Max and his friends celebrated his upcoming 17th birthday (March 9) last night by ditching the Junior Prom and instead dressing up and going out to a sushi dinner — all eleven of them — and then going to see “The Watchmen” on opening night. Everyone came back here for the birthday cake (baked by Nat, Ned, and me, as usual) and champagne glasses full of orange soda. … See my Tabblo>

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Clinking, Clattering, Collection of Colligenous Candy

I am just bursting with … whatever you may call it, as long as it’s good. I feel like I have jellybeans in my head, everything is colorful and chewy.

I just sent some trusted beings the first bits of my book, for feedback. This is one of the final stages before I turn it in to Eden, my editor. (As an English professor, I find her name quite an interesting one, considering she is where my Creation ends up and takes form… maybe the Marketing Department is the snake? Asking for feedback is the apple, gives me knowledge that may hurt…Oh, shut up Senator)

It is unbelievable that it is real and here and a new being (my book). Jeez, that is how I really feel.

Okay, other news: I have a new dance teacher. A lovely, beautiful, warm and challenging woman from California!! I already have two combinations to practice. I’ve been dancing almost every night, with new confidence, and a real sword. (Only got hit in the noggin once! Ow! Get the boo-boo bunny, Neddy… 🙁

So with all the practice, I noticed I was isolating top from bottom more than ever, so it looked really good, despite any belly fat that is, sigh, a part of me it seems, for good. And it is good! It is a sign of my proud years, my childbirthing, etc. Right?

So I had Ned film the dance session and I LOVED it. I looked like a REAL dancer, because of the confidence and the isolations and the flourishes. yay.

Class went better this week; I felt relaxed and interested in the readings (another GREAT Updike, called “A & P”). I just adore him, may he rest in peace. 🙁 I’ll never get to meet him.

I got a whole bunch of new activities for Nat to do, with kids his age!!! That Alternative Leisure Company in Bedford Mass is just a dream come true. Also, Nat starts swimming on Sunday!!! The swim season has begun!! State Games are June 20 and 21st, at Harvard Stadium, I believe.

Oh, God, and there’s the whole Special O thing I have not even begun to write about, the funny stuff I observed in the basketball thing… the great stuff that will just make you laugh, and stuff. I’m getting there. My head is full; I can only type so fast!!

And now… off to make dinner, or some facsimile thereof. Jellybeans for the vegetable and Reeses for the protein!

Older Posts »