Wednesday, August 29, 2007

School days!

Well, the kids are off to school tomorrow. They need their routines back. We don't do well with long stretches of open time. Today I tried to take them to this HIDEOUS PLACE to kill a couple of hours. I needed food. I thought it would be fun. Not so much. Completely overwhelming. Too big. Too noisy. Too many people. It's like a Costco sized farm stand with a thousands little rooms to navigate and loaded with Disney sized animatronic orange juice cartons singing to pigs and skim milk bottles. W-E-I-R-D! For the first time in a long time I abandoned ship (cart) and we bolted.

Bella starts 1st grade tomorrow. It's bittersweet for me. Technically it is 1st grade. Technically. I told her school starts tomorrow and she gave me a HUGE smile. Bella's no dumb bunny. Mia enters 7th grade. I went to my first dance in 7th grade. Had sleepovers with friends. Begged my parents for a CB radio so I could talk to truckers. (Denied, smart move Dr. and Mrs. R.) Miss G heads to fifth grade.

I'm proud of my girls. They navigate the world with style and a certain panache. Even when I drag them to highly inappropriate places (I didn't mean to!) We stand out, that I can promise you. But I don't give two shits. I explained to one woman as I frantically searched for an exit in that labyrinth of a farm store on steroids, "This is autism. It's too much for us in here. We need to leave." And she gave me a nod that said, "That's cool. Do what you got to do."
Chicken Soup for the Soul featuring Michele Illionardi!

Michele Illionardi is Mom to three beautiful little boys with autism. She spoke at "Writers on Autism" last June with Barbara Fischkin, me and others. She was also featured in the documentary, Autism Every Day. Michele has a chapter in this new Chicken Soup release about swimming lessons with a young instructor named John.

So what are you waiting for? Here's the link to buy your copy, at Amazon. What a lovely gift for the Mom you know who has a child with special needs!

Michele and I have a running joke. She has three boys with autism.I have three girls with autism. We're an autism Brady Bunch! We've yet to iron out the critical detail of which spouse dies and which gets the divorce.... Her Ralph and my Mark have not been invited to vote. And we're each still searching for an Alice.

Congratulations, Michele!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Summertime and the Living is Queasy.

Miss G strikes again. Or, "Mom, this smoothie tastes funny." This is what happens when I take a shower. I come downstairs all fresh and clean and smooth and shiny and have a near heart attack as Bella admires the slimy, dirty, sharp and shiny mess Gianna has prepared. Allow me to explain.
Mark has started making fruit smoothies for his breakfast. He made one today at 6:15am before he skedaddled to LaGuardia for a flight. Sometimes I hate the guy. "Bye honey! See you in three days!" and off he goes. Meanwhile, I have to turn water into wine to get a sitter and plan one lunch in NYC. But I digress.
Miss G decided to make herself a smoothie. A tomato and half and half and orange juice smoothie. Mind you, Gianna is on a milk free diet. But Miss G. knows that. Miss G also knows that sometimes life takes over and she gets a taste of ice cream. As long she gets her digestive enzymes. So you see the bottle of enzymes? She took that out of the cabinet herself. She knew she was using milk and needed her enzymes. The knife? That freaked me out. Bella could have easily grabbed it. I love my sweet Bella. I would not want to find Bella looking like Carrie. Nope.
I explained to Gianna (while trying to push my stomach back down my throat to my belly) that she couldn't make herself a smoothie. No knife. No milk. No getting enzymes from the cabinet. Then we cleaned up the mess. It was 7:45am.
How's your day?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Do you ever get hungry and just HAVE to make something for yourself? That's me today. Not sure why, but if I don't get some macaroni into my body soon I will faint dead away. So I'm making myself a lunch of fusilli a la carbonara - except I don't have any pancetta, so it's not really a carbonara. My improvised version will do. Before you alert me that I am pregnant I say to you: A) a POX on your house and B) No, I'm not. and C) No, I'm not.

Do you have any favorite foods that resemble parts of your body? This is fusilli:

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I guess American Gladiator is making a return to the airwaves. So let's come up some captions for this pouty lad. I'll start.

1) Now we sing "Fabi-oh, oh, oh your boat."

2) You vant to link my lollipop?

3) I'm too sexy for my oar

4) Vill dees cue-teep hert my ea-ah?

5) Gladiators: Christians! Lions! And a huge "Dum Dum"


The girls start school next Thursday. They need the structure and sociability of school. I'm thrilled with their placements. I see lots of learning and growth ahead of them. This is the first year in three years they've had consecutive years of school. Our two moves in two years wrought havoc on their sense of calm. Adult life sometimes impinges on what they really need, which upsets me. But we had to move and we made it through. I'm grateful.

It's difficult to fill the summer hours with meaningful, interesting, engaging, therapeutic (sometimes) and FUN activities for them. They had ESY and there was a camp for Bella and Gianna, but we still had every afternoon to while away the hours. Mark travels quite a bit, so we're used to being "just us girls."

Yesterday I took them to a local park. The rain had swamped the swings and gotten into the slides. They didn't care. They had great fun swinging (Mia even pumped her legs a bit!) and Bella was gloriously laughing as she went back and forth. Gianna loved climbing every slide as I ran to the bottom and used my new sweater to wipe the water off.....

We had a great time together. Then we came home and made GFCF double chocolate chip blondies. And ATE THEM FOR DINNER! Dad's away, so not much cooking. They had veggies at lunch and hey, every so often you need a treat for dinner.

I was glad to get home. It's always interesting taking the three out. They seem to have a pact: "You run East, I'll run West, You run South. GO!" And I have to decide which little life to save first. We do fine in stores. I'm the woman barking the odd, short sentences. "Hand on cart!" "Be safe!" "Watch car!" "Mia! S-T-O-P". I get lot of looks. Once I got an email from a teacher who happened to see me in Target telling me she couldn't believe how well we navigated the store. I don't know, you develop your system and make it work. We live in the world, we damn well better figure it out, right? The world ain't changing for us.

I have a rule. Leave the house with three. I tuck three into bed each night. 12+ years into this unusual motherhood journey and I haven't lost one yet. ;)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dear Gabriel, by Halfdan Freihow, An Autism Memoir

I just finished reading, "Dear Gabriel" by Halfdan Freihow. It's a "letter" from a father to his son with autism about their life together. Originally written in Norwegian, even in translation, the stark prose is striking. Funny thing is, autism in Norway is very much like autism in America. Love is love. Confusion is confusion. Fear is fear. Compassion is compassion.

A father's point of view is often clearer, perhaps I'd call it better distilled than a mother's - at least this mother's. Men can push aside the emotion and write. My writing about autism often resembles this:

Halfdan Freihow's writing on autism more closely resembles this:

You see the difference? Both of these photos are called "sunshine" in a search. But they are quite different in their expression. I really enjoyed Freihow's spare descriptions that got right to the heart of his son's autism.

You can buy Dear Gabriel HERE.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

7:00pm addendum: Allow me to be clearer....

My children FOUND craft paint and "madness ensued" to use a much dreaded query letter phrase. I found one of Mark's beers. Mark, is blissfully in Cincinnati (who knew that was even possible) so I managed the paint mess on my own, but I did get a really nice compliment from a stranger tonight.

I took the kids to special ed personal training (don't ask) and a Dad was there with a girl who was clearly a child with autism. Bella marched up to him and performed her usual greeting, which involves a good swipe at the crotch. He looked at her and said, "She has beautiful eyes." (I think his eyes were watering from her "hello".) Then he look at me and said, "And I see where she gets her eyes." Through your agony even? Aw shucks. A nice compliment from a younger (30's?) man? I'll take it.

Of course, I'm wearing baggy, stretched out jeans, my morning attempt at makeup is long gone and the scum on my teeth rivals five day old pudding. Yet, I smiled allowing my lips to stretch just a smidge away from my teeth and said thank you, as I prevented Bella from further emasculating him. On the way home I realized I wasn't wearing my wedding ring. I took it OFF to clean up the God damned paint that Gi and Bella smeared all over my guest room.

So I guess the hideous mess described below was worth it? Jesus, does Mark have any more beer in the downstairs fridge? Sam Adams, I need you, my colonial savior!

Here's the original post.

Craft paint. Children. Home. Quilt. Boredom. Turquoise. Wedding Album. Children. Skin. Craft Paint. Children. Black. Home. IEP's. Boredom. Magenta. Bed sheets. Craft Paint. Clothing. Rain. Craft Paint. Boredom. Children. Home. Out of beer.
Acting Class

Miss G started an acting class yesterday. And she spoke on camera! A parent of a child with autism had an idea and made it happen. She turned an idea into this class.

That's how most of our progress in autism has been accomplished. Heart sick, head strong parents who say, "I can do more." Thanks, Jill, Gianna is having a blast.

For those of you who would like to see me get beat to death today, click here:

I guess I'm one of the heart sick, head strong parents too.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Thank God Elvis is dead. I'm watching TV and an ad comes on. A bunch of jubiliant middle aged men singing and dancing and having way too much fun in a most unnatural way. Singing a version of Viva Las Vegas. Damn they look happy! And so diverse! "There's a black one. And a white one. And a brown one and a yellow one." (Make sure to sing that using the tune from "Little Boxes" the intro song on Weeds.)

I take note of the musical instruments in this contrived yet impromptu jam session. Bass, guitar, and what's that??? The skin flute. (Stop blushing.) It's an ad for Viagra and the idiot men are singing about "Can't wait to get home!" Hardy har har! Men! So witty, so much fun! So happy they need a pill to get an erection! VIVA VIAGRA! That's what they are singing. Viva Freaking Viagra.

I hate pharmaceutical ads. I really do. Smiling, vigorous, beautiful people trying to sell you drugs for conditions that make you pale, limp (truly) tired, bloated, breathless, dizzy and worse. I want my doctor to tell me what I need, not Madison Avenue. And I love Madison Avenue. Just not for drugs, OK?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Eat for God's Sake!

First, I am not poking fun at eating disorders, OK? I've seen girls who weigh 85 pounds and it's dreadful for all concerned. BUT..... Today's women are so consumed with "self" and "image" and staying young and thin that I think the level of selfishness involved is what is really the problem.

Studies show women who get cosmetic surgery are more likely to commit suicide. You have twenty year olds undergoing cosmetic surgery for what? To look 13? What's next, pulling all your teeth out of your head to acheive that four month old look?

What has happened to us that we are so focused on image that we make ourselves sick, we deny ourselves food, we submit to invasive surgery? I just ate two donuts. I worked out for 30 minutes this morning. And I ate the God damned donuts. They tasted good. They felt good on my tongue. I will not throw up my donuts. I liked 'em.

I can't wait to be an old woman with crazy white hair and harsh pink lipstick and cream blush stuck in my wrinkles. Nuts? Maybe. But I plan to allow myself the luxury of growing older. I'll try to look as nice as I can every day - but really, harm myself to do so?

When you have kids with challenges you get a healthy dose of perspective. You wake up to a perspective ENEMA every f'ing day. You go to sleep on a perspective pillow, and it ain't filled with soft down feathers. Worry about my body to the point of self-injury? Who has the time?

To the gal in the article below - good luck sweetie. To you and to your kids, if you have them. Oh! And the NYT article I read this morning? "Regular women undergoing cosmetic surgery." A women took out $10,000 in loans to pay for fake tits so she'd fill out a bathing suit top. After she had kids her boobs disappeared. Hey pal, my KIDS disappeared -and I buy padded swimsuit tops..... And twenty somethings using credit cards to pay for cosmetic surgery but they will not pay for HEALTH INSURANCE! Docs worried about that trend. Terrific, Tiffany will have the biggest boobs in the ER when she goes there for health care. Fabulous.....

This is from the Boston news:

Most people think of eating disorders as a problem that strikes girls and young women. But increasingly, experts say eating disorders are becoming an epidemic among baby boomers,

At 41 years old, Lauren is finally gaining control of her body and her life. She has suffered from bulimia and anorexia for 25 years. I consider it like a heroin addiction, Lauren said. I was terrified at this time last year that I was going to die.

Lauren is not alone in her struggle. Experts say between 1 and 3 million middle-aged women in this country have anorexia or bulimia. One out of every 10 eating disorder patients is over 40.

There's probably a several fold increase in the last decade of middle-aged women seeking treatment, said Dr. David Herzog, director of the Harvard Eating Disorders Program at Mass General Hospital.

According to Herzog, a mid-life crises, or the fight against mid-life weight gain can trigger eating disorders. They may be married or suffered a divorce. They may be have had a recent loss of a parent, he said. There is pressure out there to maintain a more youthful appearance.

Dr. Herzog said some women have been struggling in silence for years. But whether the patient is middle-aged or a teenage girl, he said characteristics to look out for are primarily the same.

"They may be restricting their intake or they may be binging eating or engaging in self-induced vomiting or purging behavior, said Herzog.

Lauren wants people to know that women of all ages are winning their personal battles with eating disorders by getting help from treatment centers like MEDA, the Multiservice Eating Disorders Association, of Newton.

Lauren said she is not bulimic or anorexic anymore. I am feeling amazing. I'm learning myself again, I feel healthy, she said.

The Great Gray Lady Meets Perry L. Crandall.
Here's the copy from today's NY Times, "New Releases." This isn't a review, mind you, just a notice of a new release. I expect to see Perry in the Sunday Book Review this fall though, don't you?
By Patricia Wood

310 pages. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. $24.95.

In the line of literature’s holy fools, running from, say, the utterly simple-minded Chance in “Being There” to the bombastically cunning Ignatius J. Reilly in “A Confederacy of Dunces,” the protagonist of Patricia Wood’s first novel lands somewhere in the middle, not far from Forrest Gump.
Perry L. Crandall’s I.Q, is 76, and as he says, “You have to have an I.Q. number less than 75 to be retarded.” He has lived a cosseted life in a small seaside town with his aging Gram. “She always called me lucky and honest,” Perry reports before explaining, for our benefit, “Being honest means you don’t know any better.”

Gram also, fortunately, warned him about his craven relatives. But then Gram dies, and Perry (named for TV’s Perry Mason) wins the Washington State Lottery, and the family buzzards circle. So do a few angels. But Perry is up to the challenge. “What a crock,” he exclaims at one point, before explaining, for our benefit, “Crock means untrue or a lie. It can also mean a pot you cook beans in.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Backspace Agent Seminar

Are you a writer seeking a literary agent? THIS event could change your life. Your career. Your attitude. I met my agent Eric Myers at last year's event. It's worth the trip to New York. It's worth every penny. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go.
Is This Pat Wood's Blog?

I know, the seafaring creatures belong on Pat Wood's blog.

However, we went to The Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio on our vacation and saw all sorts of creatures. The main attraction was the manatee exhibit. My Gianna adores all things manatee. Somehow the manatee speaks to Miss G. She is my nature girl. John Robison talked about autism and the calming force of mother nature on his blog last week.

We're also a carousel family. Yeah, I guess it's that whole spinning/autism thing. I have photos of my kids on dozens of carousels. This beauty is at the Columbus Zoo too. Miss Bella's vestibular system was SO out of whack for so long that she couldn't handle the motion of a carousel. Cranio sacral therapy and The Listening Program helped her little brain reorganize itself and now she rides with a huge smile on her face. You can't see her sweet little face because I am smooching her. You would too if you saw her. Her sisters are behind us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


We logged 1500 miles on "Vacation" to Ohio..... I'll catch you up as soon as I finish my beer. Or two.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Twelve Minute Mile? Just call me this......
I just got back to working out. I joined "Planet Fitness" which claims to be a "judgement free zone" although I judged pretty much everyone I saw there today. Wedgie Man. Scary Buff 50 year old Asian woman. Cute blonde twenty something with the great legs. (Beyotch!) Heavy African American woman with a lotta junk in the trunk (she was the only one I gave a "you go girl" under my breath.)
I am officially molasses. Turtle girl. Slow poke Sally. I used to run a nine minute mile. Zippity do and I was off. I ran a ten minute mile with TWO KIDS in a jogger when I was 34 years old. I am now grunting out a 12 minute mile on the Ellipitical. I will be down to a ten by Halloween.
I love the ellipitical. It combines the pace of running with the workout of stair climbing. If you sent an elliptical to my house it would have clothing draped all over it. I can not work out at home. Never could. And contrary to what Linda Evans used to teach, lifting coffee cans while dusting doesn't count for a work out. I need to be in a club. Go. Workout. Come home.
Twelve minutes. If I were an egg I'd be way overcooked wouldn't I?? Ten, I'm on my way.
Moms, HPV vaccine is new and untested over time on young girls. BE CAREFUL! Log onto .

My point is that you need to educate yourself about your child's healthcare. Some pediatricians will take a cautious approach, others will not. HPV is NOT recommended for girls under 15 by its own researcher, Dr. Diane Harper at Dartmouth, although it has been approved by the FDA for ages 11+. If your child is sexually active, you might consider teaching her about condoms which will protect her from HPV, HIV, STD's and pregnancy. I worry about our kids. I do.

In May 2007, it was reported that over 1,600 adverse reactions, including three deaths, had been linked to Gardasil, Merck’s new vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV).Among those reactions, 371 were classified as serious, and, of the 42 women who received the vaccine while pregnant, 18 experienced side effects including spontaneous abortion and fetal abnormalities.

It appears those reactions, and deaths, are steadily rising. A review of the National Vaccine Information Center revealed the following statistic about this vaccine: 2,207 adverse reactions to Gardasil have been reported. (Kim's Note, vaccine reports are like rape reports. Grossly underreported versus the actual number of occurances.) Among them:

5 girls died

31 were considered life-threatening

1,385 required a visit to the emergency room

451 of the girls have not recovered as of July 2007

51 of the girls were disabled Gardasil “may be more dangerous than consumers have been led to believe,” according to one public-interest group, and an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine has also raised questions about the vaccine's effectiveness.

From Barbara Loe Fisher, vaccine safety advocate: "Because Merck only studied GARDASIL in fewer than 1200 girls under age 16 in pre-licensure trials, it is critical that doctors and parents be made aware of the nature of the initial adverse event reports coming into VAERS and that they report serious health problems after vaccination when they occur," said NVIC President Barbara Loe Fisher. "There are twice as many children collapsing and four times as many children experiencing tingling, numbness and loss of sensation after getting a GARDASIL vaccination compared to those getting a Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis) vaccination. There have been reports of facial paralysis and Guillain-Barre Syndrome. And doctors who give GARDASIL in combination with other vaccines are basically conducting an experiment on their young patients because Merck has not published any safety data for simultaneous vaccination with any vaccine except hepatitis B vaccine."

Educate yourself parents. Go to the VAERS site and learn about the adverse injury reports on vaccines so you can make an informed decision for your kids.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

In the revision groove.
What does it mean when your revisions/writing just flow on out of you? I am have a grand old time working with my book. I am laughing out loud. My main character is really having a rough time of it. Poor thing!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I know it seems early to announce this, but in the autism community the Moms and Dads have to plan early, early, early! :)

John Elder Robison is going to be presenting and signing his debut book LOOK ME IN THE EYE on September 26th at 7:00pm at RJ Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road in Madison, CT. ( CALL NOW TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT! Their phone number is 800-74READS.

In LOOK ME IN THE EYE, John describes his life as a non-verbal child, high school dropout, electric guitar designer for KISS, successful business owner and husband and father. He explains how he navigated through his Asperger’s in a world that did not understand him. His brother is Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors.

I’ve read Look Me In The Eye and felt like I was getting a snapshot of how my girls think and feel about the world around them. No matter where your child is on the spectrum, from full ASD to Apsergers, John’s book will give you a new insight into the thought processes and perceptions of the person with autism. And John is a fabulous story teller. The book is laugh out loud funny in some chapters and break out the tissues sad in others.

John’s eager to connect with “Autism Moms and Dads” so get a carful of friends together and I hope to see you at RJ Julia on September 26th. You can chat with John on his blog at and link over to his site at


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sigh.. Hey, EOH'er keep scrolling down........

Congratulations, Julie Pozda!

The winner of the signed copy of Lottery is Julie Pozda. Julie, please send me your mailing addresses at and I'll send the book tomorrow. Congrats!

And thanks to everyone who entered!

Saturday, August 04, 2007


The contest below is still open. We're going over the river and up 95 to Grandmother's house for a big* birthday party for my Dad. I'll be back Sunday to draw the winning name from a hat. Mark is going to play "Price Waterhouse" and select the winner to avoid any impropriety.

I'll post the winning name tomorrow and how to contact me with your address (hint, click PROFILE and there's an email icon.)

* How big a birthday? We was in WWII. He was a kid when the stock market crashed. He's in good health, physically fit and adores seeing his grand daughters. He's 85 today. So off we go, GFCF cake in hand. Check out Namaste Foods for the BEST GFCF cake mixes!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

WIN A SIGNED COPY! (contest closes Sunday at noon Eastern)

Easiest contest ever devised. What can I say, I'm lazy. To enter simply leave a comment with SOME sort of name so I can announce the winner on SUNDAY. "Anonymous" can not win Lottery. "Lukey Spookey Poopy Pants said" can though. I don't care what name you use. Get creative. Okey dokes?
I'll announce the winner, on SUNDAY, you email me at with your address, I'll send the copy. If I accidentally pop one of my kids into the envelope keep her until school starts, won't you?

How did I snag a signed copy? Easy. I pretended that I was a snark gaggled snapping Monrovian blowsfish (very rare) and bobbed about Orion until Pat put her head into the water with that camera of hers and tried to snap my photo. I grabbed her, wrestled her into the giant clamshell I'd turned into a mini sea-palace.

"I need a signed copy of Lottery for my blog contest!"

"Why, why, you're not a snark gaggled snapping Monrovian blowfish at all! You're a NEWBIE! Newbies are DANGEROUS!"

"Damn straight we are. Now, where's the copy?"

"Never! I'll see you in the Remainders pile before I give you a signed copy."

"Then you'll never see your Muse again."

"Toulouse? I don't believe you."

"How about I draw a new house for that architect husband of yours - a house of horrors! Now hand over the loot! I mean the book!"


"All right. I was afraid it would come to this. Start signing or you'll never get to dry land to see your name at the number one slot of the New York Times best seller list."


It's all in the bait, people. She signed a copy for me and I released her back into the wild. She's yours now. Be good to her. Buy her book. You won't regret it.

(It went like this: Pat, I'd love to run a contest! Would you send me signed book? Of course, I'll send you two. One for yourself, one for your contest.

Order a copy at Amazon here.
Win a Signed, First Edition Copy of LOTTERY!

Tomorrow's the Day!

Patricia Wood's LOTTERY debuts

And I have a signed copy for YOU!

Lottery is the story of Perry L. Crandall, whose IQ is 76. When Perry wins $12,000,000 in the Washington State lottery his friends, foes and family circle the wagons around him. As the mother of kids with cognitive issues, Perry touched my heart.
You'll see this book on the best seller lists within weeks. Here's a chance to win a copy signed by Pat! Details on how to enter tomorrow.