Saturday, April 21, 2012

Gooey Brownies

S:  I hope we win our first game.

Me:  Have faith in your team!  And remember:  it's not whether you win or lose - it's how you all play the game!

S:  (blank stare)    Uh, have you seen us play?

Truth be told, they aren't that great.  Savannah described her softball team as the Bad News Bears of junior varsity.  She's on a team with a few girly girls, some more concerned about getting their hair messed up by the batting helmet than hitting a home run.  But in my eyes, they might as well be World Champions.  They accept my daughter for who she is.

Asperger's Syndrome is quirky thing.  It limits social skills and peer relationships.  Savannah hasn't had any real, typical friendships.  She prefers solitude.  Reading, creating stories, obsessing over vehicles - which is her thing.  (If you are considering an automobile purchase, vintage or right off the showroom floor, you'll want to consult her first).  It can be difficult to steer conversations in another direction. So when she shows an interest in anything else, I'm eager to see where it takes us.

When she first mentioned playing for her school's team it was at the suggestion of one of her teachers who happens to coach the upperclassmen. When she agreed to attend a practice, I was thrilled.  She was grinning when she got into the car afterward.  She was officially on the team and looking forward to a competitive season (too bad her team wasn't...) They haven't won every game, but that's the last thing on my mind. 

I'm just so proud of my Brownies. 

They are adjusting and settling into our new normal.  Happily expressing themselves, growing, and doing well in  school.  Mariah recently placed third in her school's Science Fair.  She'd probably have placed higher if I had regained feeling in my left index finger sooner.  We both learned a valuable lesson: insulated wire + battery terminal  = heat.  Yowza.  She was selected  for a musical program taking place at a local amusement park. Singing and performing seem to take Mariah to her Happy Place. 

Everywhere Isaiah goes lately seems to be his Happy Place.  His IEP meeting this month was encouraging. Everyone gushed at how well he is meeting his goals. I adore his team and appreciate that he has been able to have the stability of a small, familiar environment. We were out and about the other day when a friendly woman approached and greeted my son by his first name. She knew Mr. Popularity from school.

I really need to get out more.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Toby McKnight told me that the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded.  We were in junior high school  - way before the Internet, iPhones, and instant streaming. Initially, I misunderstood what he said.  Challenger had been plagued with issues prior to that doomed mission - a mission that was different in more ways than one.  There was a teacher on board.  Televisions in school offices everywhere were tuned in for the historic launch.  What I thought Toby said was, "The space shuttle didn't go up!" So my flippant reply was, "Oh they'll never get that thing up!"

Of course what he actually said was, "The Space Shuttle blew up!"  I stood there dumbfounded.  He wasn't making any sense.  I remember the somber tone of the school rest of the day.  I remember watching the replay of the explosion over and over again on television that night.  A somber tone of a nation followed.

Discovery was the Shuttle that gave us all hope after the tragedy of the Challenger.  The first Shuttle to go back into space.  It also became the first shuttle I would ever see airborne with my own eyes as it "flew" its last mission from Florida to D.C. this week. Thanks to my tipster brother, I didn't miss it. 

The emotion of that moment Discovery came into view on the back of a 747 and escorted by a minuscule jet, in comparison, is now etched into my memory.

Not bad for a weekday morning.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Vice Grip(e)

Parenting children with Special Needs has taught me to be less judgmental in all areas of my life (except driving - some people are still idiots behind the wheel).

As much as I attempt to "understand and appreciate" other's choices, there are a few things that people continue to do in 2012 that simply stump me: 

(1) Smoking.  With all of the studies.  All the restrictions.  All the warnings. People still smoke cigarettes.  Hats off to anyone who has quit successfully.  It is definitely a challenge, but it is definitely worth it.  No one around me smokes,  but it takes me aback when I see people flicking butts out of their car windows (which is a whole 'nother annoyance).

(2) Super-Sizing.  Even before the infamous documentary was released, it was safe to assume fast food was best in moderation.  I remember that going to McDonald's was a treat for us back-in-the-day.  It wasn't anything we did regularly.  It has been a quick, easy choice for me as a parent, but I know a steady diet of that crap isn't a good idea.  Asking them to increase the portions seems like a recipe for disaster, literally.

(3) Tanning.  Obviously not everyone is born with my melanin and my ability to bronze automatically in the sun.  But with so many other - less carcinogenic - ways to brown up, I can't grasp why someone would bake herself on purpose.

Ah well.  I eat pork, chemically relax my hair, and hate to exercise.  And I could eat Chick-Fil-A seven days a week, but they are only open six.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Nook Hook

In my defense, it was "The Hunger Games", after all.

Remember a few months ago when I declared e-readers were the work of the devil didn't hold a candle to actual paper books? That no matter how colorful a Nook or how on fire a Kindle was, they would never replace books in my life?

Well, I've been Nooked.

Mariah's entire school received brand new Nooks courtesy of Panera Bread. They sponsored a mind + body fitness field trip at a local resort. The Nook was the students' surprise parting gift.

I was impressed, but not interested. Have I mentioned I have a bookmark with strips of bacon on it?

Enter: The Hunger Games and all of its mania. I am a firm believer in "reading the book before watching the movie". And Bandwagon-Jumping is one of the few sports in which I actually participate. The decision was made on a gloomy, wet Pajama Saturday. Dowloading the book to the Nook was e-a-s-y. And even though I attempted to "lick my finger and turn the page" on more than one occasion, that e-reader won me over. I bought and downloaded the second book of the series less than a week later.

Flipping through an actual book is still enjoyable. And there's nothing that can replace the stanky perfume samples and maddening subscription cards that rain from fresh magazines. To reaafirm my faith in the Paper Word, I took the kids to the public library last week. I gushed to them about the countless hours I have spent in libraries during my lifetime. With renewed enthusiam I approached the librarian at the information desk. Newly-minted Library Card in hand, I inquired about "Mockingjay" - the last book of the Hunger Games series. The one I had been more than a little eager to finally read. That's when I heard the snort and giggle from Librarian #2. My odds of hitting the recent record-sitting lottery would have been better than getting my hands on that book. I was informed the waiting list was a mile-long.

I could hold my place at #115 for a library book that could be borrowed and downloaded to an e-reader in about 11.5 seconds.

And that, my friends, is Reason #6,780 why robots are destined to take over the world.