Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Socks & Neurodiverse Thinkers



I watched as my son, Elijah, balanced himself on my mom’s lap with the wobbly legs of a novice walker. He seemed so enthralled with the picture hanging behind her.  I can hardly remember a time when Elijah did not talk. That may have something to do with the fact that I talked to him from the first moment that I was aware of his existence. Full on conversations without the baby talk. Although he kept looking at the above picture and saying “socks!”.  I wasn’t understanding how he was seeing socks. I studied the picture for a long time and finally the image of socks emerged.  The shadows cast by the lodge poles in the old adobe house were indeed creating socks. He wasn’t confused or getting anything wrong, he was seeing socks!

My son Elijah is now 24, creative, hilarious and a neurodivergent individual.  I have spent many years reminding myself to look for the socks; to try to see things from his perspective. Always trying to remind educators that he may not be a typical kiddo, but there’s so much beauty in that. To please begin with positive attributes in every IEP meeting, especially when he was in attendance. To the doctor who wanted to medicate him at two, but not diagnose him, a hard NO. I am thrilled that Elijah challenges the way we look at some things. To the person who told me early on that I needed to break his spirit, thank goodness that I didn’t take that advice. When he was younger and I was his advocate (that never fully ends, by the way), I tried to remind everyone that Elijah is full of possibilities and abilities, not disabilities.  To help them see that neurodiversity is not a negative, but only another difference like any other. Elijah and I have discussed that it is completely up to him whether he chooses to disclose these traits or keep them to himself.  I’ve tried to raise Elijah to be a strong self-advocate and to be proud of who he is, and I feel he is largely successful in that. He’s now an open-minded, capable, polite, thoughtful, insightful young man that happens to be on the autism spectrum.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Time and Tide Wait for No Man

I swear too much.  I’m not looking to apologize for this.  I just feel duty bound to inform you.  If you’re easily offended, then you may find this challenging to get through.  I like my spicy little words and I’ll be damned if I stop using them. I used to try very much to conform to what I thought others wanted of me, but really, over time I’ve come to understand that it’s better for me and everyone involved if I just be true to who I am. 

Some of these lessons in life take a long time to learn.  Mastery of who we are is quite a long process.  As I like to say, sometimes ‘the becoming’ can take a lifetime.  Maybe reading about my little boogie to the point I’m at now, will help you on your journey or at the very least be somewhat entertaining for you.  

Later this year I'll be 55! Fifty fucking five! Double nickels, I can hardly believe it. It seems like a whirlwind of a trip and the longest damn slog I’ve been on, all at the same time.  It’s weird that it can feel like both, but once you have kids that whole time space continuum thing gets all wacky like that.  Parents understand when thinking about their teenager or grown child that it can seem like yesterday that you had your sweet little angel all while seeming like millennia. 

I don’t pretend to be a master at many of life’s lessons, that’s for damn sure.  I know there are some lessons that I will never learn.  Some never become a part of your curriculum; others I could probably write a dissertation on.  One thing remains constant, life goes on.  Whether she’s being a bitch or being funny, life moves on.  As a teacher of mine used to always say, “Time and tide wait for no man.”   Yes, I know he was quoting others that came before him, but pretty deep for a high school art teacher.  As a kid, you think you understand shit like that, but you don’t, not really.  My dad used to say, “The older you get, the faster time goes.”  My thoughts at the time were ‘sure, sure, 24 hours is 24 hours’.  Now, I know just what he means and I’ve figured out why it seems that way too.  That, however is a discussion for another time.

I started documenting my story to help myself.  It’s been a long trek because I would get diverted by global pandemics, hard times, shiny objects, etc.  So it’s been a long, slow process putting this all down on paper.  It’s been a good pilgrimage though.  I do genuinely hope that it helps someone out there on their own long, strange trip.  But the initial process of putting all of this down was a personal therapeutic choice.  I know there are people who won’t like the fact that I’m putting all of this out there for public consumption.  But hey, I didn’t like the abuse that I suffered at your hands either, so now you have something that you have to live with.  Oh and if you're one of those people, fuck you!

**Note: This is an intro I wrote for a something I've been slowly (way too slowly) working on.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

 Wow, it's been crazy these past few years.  I basically gave up reviewing YA books and do not write anything in that genre any longer.  

2020 has been insane!  The Covid-19 pandemic ravaging life as we know it across the entire planet.  I chose this year, smack dab in the middle of the pandemic to change myself.  To finally wrap my head around the way I eat and how I use food as a soothing mechanism (and NOT do that anymore). 

I've started addressing my trauma and how to cope with and overcome the scars it's left behind.  I'm now down 42 lbs in the past four months.  I'm determined to keep going until I'm where I want to be.  

I've left this poor blog to languish.  I may attempt to revive it and breathe some new life into it.  However, it will be entirely different.  

I would love it if you choose to join my on my journey, but certainly understand if that's not what you prefer to do.  

Wishing you all love and light on your journey through life!  

Certainly reach out to me with any questions.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

A blurb from the author's webpage
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.
But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

My Take

Beth and Ryan definitely seem at odds in the beginning.  Those situations always make for the best stories though.  Beth is cast as an outsider from the beginning.  Interestingly though, she does have a friend there but it’s also Beth’s internal feelings of being an outsider that make her distance herself from everyone.  I liked the characters in this book.  They were a group of close-knit kids.  It was interesting to see how they differed from the inner city kids where Beth had come from.  They were all close-knit, all just kids, but with very striking differences in some ways.  I’m giving this one 4 daring kisses!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Screwed by Laurie Plissner

A short blurb from the author’s website:  Flattered by the attentions of Nick, the cutest guy in school, seventeen-year-old Grace Warren, captain of the math team, lets down her guard and gets pregnant the night she loses her virginity. Hopeful that Nick will drop to one knee and propose when she breaks the baby news to him, Grace is heartbroken—Nick wants nothing to do with her. Her best friend, Jennifer, thinks she should get an abortion, but Grace is certain that her morally upright parents will insist that she keep the baby. After she comes clean to her folks, they surprise her by insisting that she terminate the pregnancy to avoid humiliating the family. But when she sees the fetus on the ultrasound, she decides she can't get rid of it. Deciding to save the tiny life growing inside of her, Grace must face the consequences of being that girl--the good girl who got knocked up.

My Take
I loved this book!  I really liked how there were little vignettes on the more major characters.  It really gave you a good glimpse into everyone and their reasoning for doing the things they do.  The characters were wonderful; flawed, rich, full of life.  I loved Grace for standing by her convictions, come what may.  She was strong and vibrant.  Great writing that sped along keeping me turning the pages.  I’m giving this one 5 expectant kisses!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton

A quick bit from the author's webpageI can’t weep. I can’t fear. I’ve grown talented at pretending.Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one—Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.

Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadowy menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?

My Take

I really did not see how the main character could get through the entire book devoid of emotion.  I would say the author was successful in moving the story with that in place.  Seeing emotions and elements as people was very interesting.  I really was pulled into this story.  Elizabeth was relatable, which I thought would be tough with an emotionless character. 

The story took surprising turns and really kepy you gripped to it.  You felt as though you truly knew the characters in the end.  And what about that cover, huh?!  Pretty awesome!  I'm giving this one 4 1/2 emotion filled smaks!!  <3

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of an early book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Some of Tim's Stories by S.E. Hinton

A short blurb about this book:  A teenager when she first gained fame, now a seasoned writer, Hinton offers in Some of Tim's Stories the culmination of her life experience- incisive portraits of characters shaped by circumstance and one another. The stories in this collection merge into a larger narrative about two cousins, Terry and Mike, whose lives and families are intertwined but whose paths lead to very different futures: one in prison, the other enduring a guilt-ridden existence working a bar.

The tales are made especially distinctive in the telling. The "author" of the stories is a bartender named Tim- the "Mike" of his own narrative-whose idiosyncrasies are perfectly captured in Hinton's intriguing use of metafiction. The book also features exclusive interviews with Hinton conducted by Teresa Miler, host of public televisions's Writing Out Loud.

My Take

What a pleasure to again get to read a work from the author who began the Young Adult genre.  S.E. Hinton is a master writer.  Each of these stories was very insightful and by the end you felt as though you had a larger story overall.  I loved the interview portion in back.  I considered it an additional treat.  S.E. Hinton's books are always timeless.  In my opinion that is the mark of great writing. It can survive time and speak to generations of people and still be relevant.  I'm giving this one 5 short kisses!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of an early book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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