Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Years goals.....moving the goals out and finishing them.

Well, the holidays are done. Clearning up and cleaning out....recycling the wrapping paper, tossing out the garbage. That is the easy part.
Reorganzing- Now that is tough. We had helped the boy reorganize his stuff from last semester. I had showed him how to set up the files and what we were saving. Papers he had got back from his english prof, math homework, his PE stuff, a textbook that is falling apart....all in the same place with spots for the coming semester and his new classes.
This is also the time of year that the cuter half and I start cleaning or reorganizing the "gift closet". This is a closet that we store our winter coats, put our gloves and tea light houses.....OK MY tea light houses, we have a percolator (a giant coffee maker; when I was a little girl I only knew how to make terrible coffee in the percolator scary huh?) and candles, pictures to frame and some other good stuff.  This year we organized enough and decided to purge some old coats and some jeans that the boy will never wear again....Thought for the day NEVER shop for your kid during their sports season they get skinny and are too lazy to work out more and gain weight so they can't wear the new clothes.....
We have several goals for the new year. Some we are finagling to complete before the end of this month. Others we are trying to plan for the new coming year.
Our first goal was to get the good garage sale items out of the house.
We have some great rummage sale finds. Seriously, before the economy tanked you could buy some really great stuff cheap. Now, not so much. It is harder to locate the good stuff at a decent price. Anyway we ended up with some great finds and once it comes in the stuff never ever leaves. Most items in our home have this habit of mating in our cabinets. We have NO CLUE where some of this stuff has come from and yet we have a pile of dishes we have never seen before located in our cabinets.....I seriously do not know where these sets of two plates have come from. Please, this is us, we don't do two plates; we want ten just in case someone comes over here for dinner. Although recently I think our max is five people for dinner. The plates I am thinking of were purchased and a rummage sale....I believe they were from Red Lobster when the store was redesigned. Actually the plates are fine but they are flipping huge. We don't need to eat that much, the cute one and I are chubbos anyway. We don't need more help.
All the more reason to get stuff out of the house. We have too much stuff...the home office needs major renovations....the home office is a dressing room, a library and a room of crap and junk. Actually it really isn't is stuff we are trying to sell for a friend when we can actually download pictures again on our computer. We have this great stuff and are slowly trying to sell for what we can and it is doing OK. However this one class the boy took the teacher assigned a gia-normous computer program for the class that basically took over our computer and all the extra space. SO we couldn't do much with anything until the week prior to Christmas. I am still trying to figure out if I should take the system off or just leave it until I know we don't need it anymore.
So there are boxes on boxes of stuff that isn't ours.
Oddly enough, we really need to reorganize in here and at one point it was fine but right now it is out of a scene in the program "Hoarders". And I get it, I totally understand where those people are coming from. How do you function? How do you let go? What of mine can I keep and what can I get rid of and damn it when will I be able to walk in here again without breaking my neck? Thankfully this is only in the office where it is a nightmare...the rest of the hosue is cluttered but not as dreadful as the office.

As I pointed out to the cuter half, I think the reason our stuff got out of had is that we are depressed. Dealing with the boy stuff, and his hanging and his being annoying has taken its toll on both the cuter half and I. I tell the boy "One kiss on the top of my head" and he refuses to listen. However, if I try to knee him on the balls he gets mad at me. What about my personal space? Stay the fuck away from me and stop being annoying.... (I never ever said that I was Mother of the Year- I am not and will never claim to be EVER). I admit I am not good with the boy hanging on me. I have never been good with feeling like a piece of meat....I just don't like it...creeps me out totally.

Yup, overwhelmed depressed mom here.  Which is why the cuter half and I decided it was time to loose the excess. Not just our excess fat, but the excess stuff of ours that we don't really need. So we are planning our escape from the extra.

We decided to start with candles. We have a bookshelf full and belive it or not actually burn ours and we have used up and got rid of lots but we never ever need to buy more tapers again ever. We have more that we will ever need. Deciding to go through the candles and get rid of what we don't need was hard. We went through all of them and then in reorganizing the dining room found more (!!!!). I bit the bullet and actually tossed 2 faded out candles and a broken one (but wait, take the broken one and cut the broken piece off and use it- that is called being a craft store junkie never toss anything you might need it).

I swear after years of the two of us working at a craft store we both have OCD; we never get rid of anything that can be used. For example, when the garbage hits our curb it is REALLY garbage. No one would ever garbage pick at our house. We use it until it really is trash. It is very rare that anyone would stop here and pick anything up....we just use it until there is no further use. So today, throwing stuff out was a real pain in the neck.....when I tossed those three candles I reminded the cuter one that we still had a long way to go but at least this was a reasonable start. We then had the floodgates opened and were able to reorganize more stuff and decide what goes where and why and we even found empty boxes for broken items that we needed to toss as the broken stuff was already tossed and we certainly didn't need the boxes any longer.

So for us, cleaning out is going to most likely be more than reorganizing or throwing away our junk. I think it is going to be us re-vamping our personal space, reviewing what we need to do and reordering the goals for the new year. We are skipping out on new years resolutions as we never keep them anyway. But if we can finish ONE GOAL for the year....then we are doing great.

"Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)"
Anthony works in the grocery store
Savin' his pennies for someday
Mama Leone left a note on the door,
She said,
"Sonny, move out to the country."
Oh but workin' too hard can give you
A heart attack
You oughta know by now
Who needs a house out in Hackensack?
Is that all you get for your money?

It seems such a waste of time
If that's what it's all about
Mama, if that's movin' up then I'm movin' out.

Sergeant O'Leary is walkin' the beat
At night he becomes a bartender
He works at Mister Cacciatore's down
On Sullivan Street
Across from the medical center
He's tradin' in his Chevy for a Cadillac
You oughta know by now
And if he can't drive
With a broken back
At least he can polish the fenders

And it seems such a waste of time
If that's what it's all about
Mama, if that's movin' up then I'm movin' out.

You should never argue with a crazy mind
You oughta know by now
You can pay Uncle Sam with the overtime
Is that all you get for your money?

And if that's what you have in mind
Yaeh that's what your all about,
Good luck movin up, cause I'm movin' out!

I'm movin' out...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Aspergers and the holidays.

Once again that wonderful time of year is upon us.
Fun smells, pretty decorations, fancy cakes, parties and all the good stuff....even a nice glass of moscato for the adults and we are in for a good old fashioned Christmas.

Our holiday is a little more low key this year. The boy has a stick tree in his bedroom- partially decorated. Normally he has his full tree bursting with ornaments and no room for homework or papers....the reduced tree was at his request.

Thinking about the holidays made me think of any number of things. People I miss; my Daddy, my aunts, uncles, reminds me of how life goes on and we either miss out or appreciate what we have....I know I am happy and the cuter half and I have a really full busy life. The boy is doing is what it is and we are doing our best to make the most of it.

There are a couple of links I am going to share here:

The Daily Mail is an excellent resource for articles about Autism and Aspergers this one about social anxiety and Susan Boyle is a really good read:

Then there is a blog about Austim and the Holidays that you might enjoy; although I will tell you that change the child's name to "the boy" and you will have our experience almost to the exact time frame:

After reading this blog post I started thinking about what gets at me through the holidays: I think that the most frustrating part of the holidays for me is what I call the "hanging". The boy hangs, all over me. I feel like I have a 180 lb blanket that drapes itself all over me and then dribbles in my hair. YUCKO. I know he doesn't mean to and I know he is excited about the holidays, seeing his favorite Aunt and being with his grandparents (both sides).....and no school and nuthin' to do....but OMG the shoulder and neck pain and the fact that I am not a person that appreciates being suffocated....or manhandled. Although my favorite chiropractor LOVES the holidays and the appointments I need to make so I can move my neck again- I gotta say there are other things I would rather be doing.

UGH. This is where I end up feeling and sounding like a harridan straight out  of hell. "Do not touch me if you want your ____ to remain intact."

Now for the letter- I had my own but I can't find it so I located this one. As the author recommended vary it to your needs:

The following is a letter (or email) that you can send to relatives and hosts of holiday gatherings who might need a crash course in what to expect from your Aspergers (or high functioning autism) child. Feel free to copy, paste and print this letter. You can use it as is, or edit it to make it more applicable to your unique situation:
Dear _____, (e.g., Aunt Sally)

I understand that we will be visiting each other for the holidays this year! Sometimes these visits can be very hard for me, but here is some information that might help our visit to be more successful.

As you probably know, I am challenged by a hidden disorder called Aspergers, or what some people refer to as High-Functioning Autism. Aspergers is a neuro-developmental disorder which sometimes makes it hard for me to understand the environment around me. I have barriers in my brain that you can’t see, but which may make it difficult for me to adapt to my surroundings.

Sometimes I may seem rude and abrupt, but it is only because I have to try to understand people, and at the same time make myself understood. Children with Aspergers have different abilities. For example, some may not speak much, and some write beautiful poetry. Others are whizzes in math (Albert Einstein had a form of autism), or may have difficulty making friends. We are all different and need various degrees of support.

Sometimes when I am touched unexpectedly, it might feel painful and make me want to run away. I get easily frustrated, too. Being around a lot of other people sometimes feels like standing next to a moving freight train – and trying to decide how and when to jump aboard. I may feel frightened and confused some of the time. This is why I like to have things the same as much as possible. Once I learn how things happen, I can stay pretty calm. But if something changes, then I may have to relearn the situation all over again!

When you talk to me, I may not be able to comprehend everything you are saying to me if there is a lot of noise and distraction around. I usually have to concentrate to hear and understand one thing at a time. You might think I am ignoring you, but I am not. Rather, I am hearing everything, but not knowing what is most important to respond to.

Holidays can be hard for me because there are so many different people, places, and things going on that are out of my ordinary environment. This may be fun and adventurous for most kids, but for me, it can be hard work and extremely stressful. I often have to get away from all the commotion to calm down. It would be great if you had a private place set up to where I could retreat.

If I can’t sit at the meal table, please don’t think that I am misbehaving or that my mom and dad have no control over me. Sitting in one place for very long is often very hard for me. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the smells, sounds, and people. When this happens, I just have to get up and move about. But please don’t stop eating on my account. Go on without me, and my mom or dad will handle the situation the best way they know how.

Eating in general can be hard for me. If you understand that Aspergers is a sensory processing disorder, it’s no wonder eating is a problem. Think of all the senses involved with eating (e.g., sight, smell, taste, touch) and all the complicated mechanics that are involved (e.g., chewing and swallowing). This is something that some kids with Aspergers have trouble with. I am not being picky. I just can’t eat certain foods because my sensory system is overly-sensitive. (Hope you understand.)

Also, please don’t be disappointed if my mother or father doesn’t dress me in fancy clothes. It’s because they know how much stiff and itchy clothes can drive me nuts! I have to feel comfortable in my clothes, or I will just be miserable. When I go to someone else’s house, I may appear bossy and irritable. In a way, I am being controlling, because that is how I try to fit into the world around me. I like things to be done in a way I am familiar with or else I might get confused and frustrated. It doesn’t mean you have to change the way you are doing things. Just please be patient with me and understanding of how I have to cope.

My parents have no control over how my Aspergers makes me feel inside. Kids with this disorder often have little things that they do to help themselves feel more comfortable. The professionals call it “self regulation,” or “stimming.” I might rock, hum, flick my fingers, or any number of different things. I am not trying to be disruptive or weird. Again, I am doing what I have to do for my brain to adapt to the environment. Sometimes I cannot stop myself from talking, singing, or doing an activity I enjoy. The professionals call this “perseverating,” which is similar to self-regulation or stimming. I do this only because I have found something to occupy myself that makes me feel comfortable. Perseverative behaviors are good to a certain degree because they help me calm down.

Holidays are filled with sights, sounds, and smells. The average home is turned into a busy, frantic, festive place. This may be fun for most kids, but it can be hard work for me to conform. If I fall apart or act-out in a way that you consider socially inappropriate, please remember that I don’t possess the neurological system that is required to follow some social rules. In any event, I will try very hard to be on my best behavior when we get together during the holidays.

Thanks for listening. I’m looking forward to seeing you.

________ (Aspergers child’s name)


Monday, December 9, 2013

Math and other stuff.....

I am stepping out into uncharted territory. This should be surprising to no one as I am especially good at taking my foot and inserting it firmly and directly into my mouth. Tonight's escapade is in part talking about the boy and school.

First off, I stink at math. My brother, who is UBER smarty pants used to be drafted to try and tutor me in math.....he wasn't so good at teaching me but he is super smart (physicist smart which is really sick but kind of cool). Anyhow I really stink at math; like so bad that I used to write my son's elementary teachers notes: "I have helped with the math homework and it is automatically wrong and please help him make the corrections because I don't know how to" bad.

Tonight was among the first really using the expensive calculator required for HS. This thing is almost as smart as our car and not quite as smart as our computer. Our kitty Garfy is pretty smart too, he can turn the printer on and off with a step of a paw.....that kind of inanimate object smart that makes parents cringe and kids smack their hands together so that they can learn a new gizmo to scare the old people half to death. This calculator is ridiculous and ironically now that he is in another math class because it does so much automatically he is not allowed to use it....he has to go back to the ones he had in middle school. The middle school ones were pretty blue color and did some neat stuff but nothing like this newer bad boy.

Thankfully, my cuter half is much better at math than I am. Being married to him makes me look smarter than I really am. He is so smart, and right now his smartness is getting him frustrated with the boy. The boy is changing his mind about a lot of things and apparently it is happening without our knowledge. First off is the likely change of is gonna happen. The boy had a, well lets say "unsupportive" teacher in a cooking class. She basically changed his mind about anything to do with cooking and after meeting her I totally get where the boy is coming from. He says that she is a "screamer" and for an Aspie that automatically goes over really well (sarcasm here).

Anyway, in HS there were nights that the cuter half calls "teaching calculator" not teaching math. Put it this way, the cute one was so annoyed at those evenings he wanted ME to contact the math teacher and let her know that she needs to teach math and not calculator....SERIOUSLY? What in the world would I have said???? I like this teacher, she is super nice and really smart....and here's good ole Mom who could barely pass a math class to save her life. This ought to be good.

I will say this for one HS teacher HE TAUGHT MATH. He might not have been good at some things(social interactions with parents were not his forte)  but HE DID teach math and got our son caught up to almost grade level in a years time. Which from what we can tell has dropped dramatically this we were wasting the year learning calculator......thus the cuter half's frustration with the Special Ed math teaching system.

Teaching the traditional methods (sans calculator) may be the best way to do you know what to plug into the blasted expensive calculator when you don't know what to do in the first place??? At least with the old way you learned the formulas and other stuff and how it all worked (at least the other people did, I think I was hiding in a band practice room pretending I knew what I was doing)..

Anyway, today's lesson kids: TEACH MATH NOT CALCULATOR!! - from the cuter half.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Have you ever seen "Metropolis"?

This is a movie that I experienced for the first time in college.
It was a 1927 film that was considered early science fiction. When I first saw it was in the 1980s and it was considered an art house kind of movie. I remember watching it in Jeff Thompson's art class. Jeff was an experience. He taught me how to visualize art - I also learned spacial reasoning. Which for someone with poor vision in one eye and good vision in the other I am a walking eye strain. His classes helped me mentally figure out distances, packing and what looks right. "Less is MORE, less is MORE. Go with less. It is better art if you DON'T put it in."

Anyway, "Metropolis" was something that I always thought was too weird for me.
Then I saw it.
It wasn't weird. It was sad. It was a story about the plight of the workers and the uber wealthy living off their labors.

Winkipedia describes it like this, "In the future, wealthy industrialists rule the vast city of Metropolis from high-rise tower complexes, while a lower class of underground-dwelling workers toil constantly to operate the machines that provide its power. The Master of Metropolis is the ruthless Joh Fredersen, whose son Freder idles away his time in a pleasure garden with the other children of the rich. Freder is interrupted by the arrival of a young woman named Maria, who has brought a group of workers' children to see the privileged lifestyle led by the rich. Maria and the children are quickly ushered away, but Freder is fascinated by Maria and descends to the workers' city in an attempt to find her."

There is much more to it that this but really, it was a real eye opener for a naive college student- although those who knew me might think differently.
Some people were fascinated with the movie, the Art Deco, the use of tall buildings, the Biblical references to the Tower of Babel. There were references to the "red light" district in Tokoyo. It had the features of a total freak out weird movie, yet the stills and the silent part of it were what made the story more compelling.

I have hear there were remakes but I do not see how anyone could replace the orginal cast nor the un-computerized special effects which took more talent than we would ever see now.

The shooting of the 1927 movie was draining on the actors, the director, and the times.
This is working at the highest level to get the best out of the most and the people working it were largely unknown and had little prior acting experience. Maybe that is why it is so powerful or maybe it was this description by Brigette Helm (Maria):
"Helm recalled her experiences of shooting the film in a contemporary interview, saying that "the night shots lasted three weeks, and even if they did lead to the greatest dramatic moments — even if we did follow Fritz Lang’s directions as though in a trance, enthusiastic and enraptured at the same time — I can’t forget the incredible strain that they put us under. The work wasn’t easy, and the authenticity in the portrayal ended up testing our nerves now and then. For instance, it wasn’t fun at all when Grot drags me by the hair, to have me burned at the stake. Once I even fainted: during the transformation scene, Maria, as the android, is clamped in a kind of wooden armament, and because the shot took so long, I didn’t get enough air."
The website for the actual movie is pretty interesting. This link
is available but make certain you have a good computer. It was hard to manipulate.

There was lost footage that was located in Argentina in 2008 and the movie was re-leased with the cut footage in 2010. It appears that Lang himself was at a loss as to why anyone would be interested in a movie that was no longer available. Although it took awhile it appears that he was wrong. His movie was still out there. It just took awhile, and the right people needed to find it.