Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Daniel Radical-liffe

There's a kerfuffle going on across the pond. Daniel Radcliffe, the 17 year old who portrays Harry Potter in the movies, has taken on a dark, adult role in the play Equus. He has nude scenes. Check out the publicity photos in the link below. I'm not going to veer into the myriad lame jokes that pop into my mind. He's a 17 year old man/boy and I'm a 17 x 2 plus several year old woman.

The weird part is that Daniel looks EXACTLY like my brother Rich. It's jarring for me to look at the photos for that reason. Not because I'm looking at Harry Potter's, er Daniels inguinal ligament. That's the name of the muscle'ish lines on the lower belly that run "south" to the netherlands that we are forced to look at on every damn hip hop hoo-haw ever photographed. I'm old, I like buff chests, shoulders and biceps, keep your inguinal ligaments to yourselves, boys.

I think Mr. Radcliffe is making a brilliant choice. Unless there was some sort of clause written into his contracts with Warner Brothers about the types of roles he could accept outside of the HP movies, why shouldn't he delve into roles that will break him out of the Harry Potter character? He'll be alive and acting long after the 7th movie is a memory. Every so often the kid who played Eddie Munster pops up on the Howard Stern show. He's 50 something years old and people still call him Eddie. How many child actors self destruct, unable to shed their early personae?

People are saying "Well, I'll never take my kids to see Harry Potter again!" Please. Don't take them to see Equus.

Good luck, Daniel. And, ah, break an inguinal ligament.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/showbiz/showbiznews.html?in_article_id=432493&in_page_id=1773&ico=Homepage&icl=TabModule&icc=picbox&ct=5

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Don't get Huffy...

Too late. Here's my latest Huffington Post where I talk about my frustration that the general media seems incapable of asking the simple question: "What causes autism." We eagerly ask the "what makes people who eat three Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast and a bucket of french fries for lunch get fat?" And "why can't Grandpa, the diabetic with liver disease from drinking a fifth of whiskey every day for 40 years get an erection? But the world is mute when it's time to ask "Why are 1 in 166 kids being labeled with an "incurable" neurological condition. Darn it, there goes my blood pressure!

Kevlar vest on? Check. Bring it on George Glass. Bring it on.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-stagliano/late-night-with-an-autism_b_40012.html
Don't Be a Boob!

Have you read about the new trend (let's pray it's limited) of breastfeeding Moms swapping babies in an effort to bond? Yes. "Here, Tiff, you take baby Caytelinn and nurse her and I'll nurse your little Joenah. We'll be so close!"

I love my friends. Dearly. I've known many of them since before we even had boobs (except for that darn CBM who blew us all out of the water early.)

When we want to bond we drink cocktails. Make a phone call. Drop each other a note. Nurse each others kids? Not likely.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The death of civility. Or "I gotta have these!"

This post is for anyone who reads this blog. Frustrated writers? Grumpy autism moms and dads? Even the occasional family member who wanders in to say hello.

First: Click here: http://ella-studio.com/ and look VERY closely at the verbiage on the card. Then play around the site a bit. Really. Go ahead. I'll be right here waiting for you. Oh, cover your keyboard and hide the children.

Tick tick tick tick tick, get coffee, tick tick tick, get scone, tick tick tick DING!

Oh! You're back. So, what did you think? Is civility completely extinct or did you order a case of every style?

Potential uses for these include (feel free to add your own.)

1) To the neurologist who diagnosed your child and simply said "Come back in a year."
2) To the agent who never bothered to respond to the query that took you 15 days to write even though you sent a non-lick, self stick SASE and your stamp was straight.
3) To the insurance company who will not pay for speech therapy for your non verbal child but will pay for your neighbor's kids "deviated septum."
4) To the idiots who say "We're just better at diagnosing autism, there is no increase in numbers" as another private autism school opens up in your area. The third in two years....
5) To the anonymous posters everywhere who cut and run after ripping you apart. Wimps.
6) To the people everywhere who diss your dreams, stomp on your stretches of imagination and generally make you feel like crap.

No need to send one to the lovely Ella, who launched the company though.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Ri-ain een Spi-ain stiys mi-ainly ooon the pli-ain. The Ri-ain een Spain stiys mainly ooon the pli-ain. The Rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain. The Ri-ain een Spi-ain stiys.... ARGHGHGH!

Eliza here. Eliza Doo-lots that is. I spent two blissfully quiet hours this morning editing my MS. I have many more hours ahead of me. Whoo I'm having fun too. Am I demented? Don't most writers hate taking their "finished" work and making changes? Especially at someone else's behest? Not I, said the first little pig. I am having a grand time. Tells you a bit about the rest of my life, eh?

So today a rather boorish boyfriend got some manners and a nicer disposition. I'm thinking he'll stick around now instead of dumping my protag. This way he can give her fits and starts and kisses as another relationship gains potential. (Have I learned nothing from Ranger and Morelli, Mr. Big and every other guy in NYC?)

Lots of wordy detours got snipped away. Wow, is Kristin Nelson right when she talks about not falling in love with your writing to the point where it takes away from your story. Guilty as charged. I must have been in a fairly snarky, dark place when I wrote some parts of my book. Even I find them sharp. SuperAgent X points those spots out CLEARLY. I've softened some edges today. Changed a few words. Taken out some repetitious, whack the reader over the head stuff. My husband was out of work while I wrote the first draft. I can feel the ragged edges of my fears at that time in the MS. Today I can smooth them over easily.

I had done a good deal of this sort of editing already. But I was afraid of changing too much. Not sure why though. And I admit to ignoring some naggy areas hoping they'd miraculously go away. Call it newbie naivete.

This afternoon I popped into the library and gleaned a tidbit from a writing magazine in the 15 minutes I had to spare before picking up my 6 year old. "Goal. Conflict. Disaster." In every scene to move you along and ramp up the stakes. Keep the reader interested and turning pages.

Again. The Rain in Spain stays mainly on the pli-ain. Heck, I'll get there.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Write on.

Wow, what a day. Oh, today is a writing post. If you were expecting an autism post the current mood in the autism world is simply too glum. I'll write autism later this week.

Back to my writing. I prefer not to say too much. Loose lips sink ships and require extra Botox to keep them firm and in place you know. BUT.... (Kim dons her 7th grade persona.)

I had a conversation with an agent today that simply knocked me over. Plop. Someone please pick up Kim. She's fallen and she can't get up. This agent has gone over the top, around the bend and through fire for me. He/she is NOT my agent. Say WHA-HUT? Yes. I can personally verify that agents are indeed carbon based life forms, complete with a very healthy heart and soul.

This agent is working with me to, well, to ultimately sell my book of course. After all, that is his/her profession. But working with this person (a successful NY agent) is unlike any experience I've had as a virgin writer.

I am completely excited about making edits, rethinking parts of my book, adding, subtracting, cutting out a character or two, beefing up some others and generally getting my MS to the next level. The level where agent X says "Let's dance."

How many writers are fortunate enough to have an agent take this time with her? Not many. Today was a good day for my book. I'm darn excited.

And on we go.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

No longer screwed!

I just replaced the batteries on a new V-Tech toy and didn't need to use a screwdriver to get into the battery chamber. Honest to God! Like an old fashioned toy (circa 1985) I just popped open the little door to get to the batteries.

If you don't have kids, you might have missed the level four-terror alert-code red-sealed up tighter than an Opus Dei's private parts wave of toy packaging and production. You need tools to take a toy out of its package today. More tools to open the battery chamber.

Tickle Me Elmo Extreme arrived in his box tied down like Gulliver by the Lilliputians. The poor furry monster had at least 18 heavy wire twisty ties on his arms, legs and torso. I thought I had purchased the S&M version of Elmo by accident.

This V-Tech cursive writing board did require a screwdriver to unscrew it from its cardboard box, if I recall the litany of swears on Christmas morning at my folks house. But once free? That board needs NOTHING! Not even a penny, which was the required tool for the V-Tech Smile video games we bought.

I wonder if anyone at V-Tech has been fired for leaving the battery door open?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Congratulations to Will Turnbull and to his parents!

'With one foot in each world,' autistic man earns MU degree

By Joan KernLancaster New Era
Published: Dec 16, 2006 12:59 PM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - Will Turnbull is one of 25 Lancaster County students who will graduate Sunday from Millersville University with honors.

But he is the only one who is autistic.In fact, Turnbull, 32, the son of James and Ellie Turnbull, of Lititz, is the first person in Pennsylvania with his degree of autism (in the middle of the spectrum) to graduate from college, according to his mother.In August, he addressed the National Autism Conference at Penn State.“I think he’s going to find his niche as a public speaker,” said his mother.He has already found a job, with the Pennsylvania Action Coalition for Autism Services, giving presentations to people studying to be advocates for people with autism.

The irony is that Turnbull doesn’t speak. A “Write: OutLoud” computer program speaks for him.Nor does he write.With impaired fine-motor skills, he communicates slowly and laboriously by tapping a letter board, one letter at a time, or by typing on the computer, one letter at a time, with the eraser end of an unsharpened pencil.In either case, he needs someone —usually his mother, although at least 10 other people type with him — to aid him. When he taps the board, her finger steadies his hand; when he types, her hand grips his elbow.

Mrs. Turnbull has been with her son on his 10-year college odyssey, transporting him, sitting in classes with him, taking notes for him, asking the questions he types out on his computer.On Sunday, he’ll join more than 400 students, including about 167 from Lancaster County, at the 2 p.m. graduation ceremony in Pucillo Gymnasium. Master’s degrees will be conferred on 41 graduate students.With his new job, Turnbull hopes to take greater control of his life. He is planning to move out of the family home and begin working with a new, young aide. His mother hopes he will marry someday.“Now I’m out of a job,” she joked.And even though they get on each other’s nerves sometimes, she said they work very well together.“It’s been a privilege,” she said. “It’s been extraordinary.”

In his new job, Turnbull tells about his life.He has a movement disorder that sometimes interrupts his thinking.“A rush of emotions takes over his body, making it hard for him to sit down and get out what he wants to say,” Mrs. Turnbull said.He has sensory integration problems that make a flash bulb blinding, the music of a church organ unbearable, the switching on of the refrigerator motor maddening.“Our background noises are his foreground noises,” she said. “That’s the reason we never take him to Wal-Mart or Circuit City, where he would be bombarded by sensory stimulation.”He doesn’t eat pasta or bread because he can’t stand the texture. For the same reason, he can’t wear certain fabrics, such as wool and pique, and clothing tags drive him crazy.

Until he was 17, Turnbull was considered mentally retarded because he did not talk. Then a Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 teacher taught him to type.“Within a few months he was typing: ‘I want to be in regular education; I’m really smart; I’m a Democrat; I hate my clothes; I want to redecorate my room’ ” his mother said.

Two years later, he was on National Honor Society at Warwick High School. At age 21, he graduated from Warwick.It’s taken him 10 years to complete his undergraduate degree, with five years at the Lancaster campus of Harrisburg Area Community College and five at Millersville, from which he will receive a bachelor’s degree in English, with a minor in history.On Thursday, Turnbull took his last college exam, in literary criticism and theory.“It (the exam) was a great culmination to my college years,” he wrote.“I loved (the course). It challenged my thinking and helped me develop my own philosophy of literature.“It involved hearing the voices of all the disenfranchised — ethnic groups, women, even those with communication differences like me.”Writing these few sentences just hours after taking his last exam took its toll on Turnbull.

He interrupted himself frequently, bursting out with words, such as “Done,” and slapping his head or biting his hand, while obsessively folding and unfolding an index card in his other hand.“I’m trying to control my behavior,” he wrote after taking a break.“He’s getting 10 years of anxiety out,” said Mrs. Turnbull.She explained that even though he says, “Done,” he doesn’t mean it, and he slaps and bites himself instead of others, childhood behaviors he has unlearned.This type of behavior is what he calls his “deceiving exterior,” she said.“He tells people, ‘You have to look deeper and see what’s inside.’ ”

Turnbull, whose friends call him “Professor,” is planning to write a book about his life — “of living life under the guise of mental retardation while having high intellectual ability.”He will probably take the title from a poem he wrote in 1995 that ends, “with one foot in each world.”Mrs. Turnbull always thought they would have a big party when Will graduated from college.“But that isn’t his style,” she said.Instead they will celebrate “very quietly.”They’ll order in some pizza. His brothers, Dan, 28, and Jesse, 25, will come.“We’ll sit around, relax, savor the moment,” she said.“We’ll cry a little bit. But they’ll be good tears.”

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

When Make Believe is REAL

Wow! Miss G did just the greatest thing. I made a GFCFSF spice cake for dinner. Dad's away (again) and the girls did play! What the hell - cake is GOOD for dinner. I asked Miss G to get two forks to set the table. And she took them and made antennae and said "I'm an alien!" and then laughed at her joke. Imaginary play is a biiiig step in our household. Some kids with autism are very literal and concrete - lack of imaginary play is a diagnostic marker of autism.

More cake for my little alien! (We always DID think she came from another planet.)
Pinning Our Hope On The Stars

Many of you have emailed me that you noticed some of the stars at the Golden Globes wearing the blue puzzle piece pin from Autism Speaks. Yes, we are the red ribbon cause of a new millenium. It's great to see autism awareness blossom. And didn't that blue compliment Alec Baldwin's blue eyes well?

With 1 in 166 kids diagnosed today you'll be seeing plenty of autistic kids around you. And these kids will be adults in 10, 15, 20 years. Think about 1 in 166 adults who might not be able to join the workforce and who will rely on social security and what that could mean for your taxes, your own retirement, the work force you need to hire, your employees who will be struggling to care for aging parents and autistic adult children. Can you hear the alarm bells clanging away?

I've had relatives and friends ask how they can help. Where can they donate? What can they do? Well, if you can't move into my house and watch the kids while I call in the IOU Mark gave me for my 40th - a trip to Paris, you can still help. Offer to sit for an hour so Mom can get her hair done. Pop a Starbucks gift certificate into your neighbor with the autistic boy's mailbox. We need the coffee. Donate to an autism organization.

Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org) is doing a phenomenal job of raising awareness. And they have a huge staff of talented people working with them. You can't beat having the head of NBC at the top of your charity for publicity. OK, maybe Oprah could top Bob Wright for generating good press, but not until Autism takes over Africa.... (Oops, sorry, got a little Snarky there.)

The National Autism Association (www.nationalautismassociation.org) NAA is working toward immediate treatments for our kids and providing cash dollars to families in need. Their helping hand grant assists single parents raising an autistic child. Word is, we have a scary high divorce rate in the autism world. The stress can lead to drinking, marital wandering and even excessive blogging. NAA is run by a small group of parents like me. Wild eyed, sleep deprived type "A's" who are determined to find answers. Another wonderful group is in Massachusetts called Active Healing. They work with kids on the spectrum and kids with learning differences. You can find them (and the very handsome Sarge Goodchild) at www.activehealing.org. Sarge was the first professional to give me hope for my kids.

One day I hope to be able to take that trip to Paris because my kids are so far along that I can leave them with a sitter or family member for an entire week.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Soy sorry!

I blew it. And poor Miss Peanut is paying the price.

I fed my kids a yummy meal that I made in the crockpot. I used an organic cream of mushroom soup - dairy free. My kids are on the gluten free, casein free diet. No wheat, oats, rye or dairy of any sort. The soup was soy based - soy KILLS Miss Peanut. And I didn't read the label carefully enough.

She woke up screaming, with an obvious stomach ache (although she can not tell me so with words.) We came downstairs and I gave her activated charcoal. You can buy it at any natural foods store. The charcoal absorbs the yuck in her tummy. Just break open the capsule into a bowl, mix it with either applesauce or a bit of chocolate syrup and pop it into the child's mouth. In minutes, she felt better and is now comfortable.

Hey, Manic Mom? It works for hangover stomach aches too!

Oh, Peanut, miso sorry....

Friday, January 12, 2007

Another Cwrappy day!

Not that kind of crap. Wrapping paper crap. What's with this newfangled wrapping paper? I bought a roll of pretty paper to wrap two large Williams Sonoma gift boxes for a wedding we're attending next weekend. The wrapping paper came on a roll. Not too unfamiliar, right? I opened the roll and there are three sheets of paper inside, none large enough to wrap a box of snow boots, let alone my chunky W-S boxes. WTF is that? Three sheets on a roll of wrapping paper. Utterly useless cwrap.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

(Added, 9:20pm) I am reading the comments that keep coming into HuffPo and I am completely blown away. So many parents, so many stories, so many people fighting for their kids. Take a moment to read the comments - 39 and counting.

The Intensity of the Huffington Post Fearless Voices Comment Trail

Last week I ran a post on Huffington Post called "The Crappy Life of the Autism Mom."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-stagliano/the-crappy-life-of-the-au_b_37742.html?p=2#comments

I knew the post would generate comments. In fact, I sent an engraved invitation to controversy and she (he?) came a knocking. I didn't anticipate the deep chord I struck in so many parents. Here are some of the comments -- feel free to go over to the post to read the others.

To the parents who feel like I'm helping them in some small way? Thanks. To the parents who really dislike my voice, my writing, my approach? I'm happy to listen to you too. They don't call it FEARLESS VOICES for nothing.

This post brought tears to my eyes! I am the mother of 3 autistic boys and this post amazingly hit home. I can relate to what she says. Another cliche that always seems to rattle me is when people say.."God will only give what you can handle." I'm not angry with God but do people actually think that statement makes my life any easier?

From one autism mom to another, thank you for making me laugh today. I hope it helps to know that others understand where you're coming from all too well. Luckily I'm having a day where I can see that my son is a veritable pastiche of Bertie Bott's Beans -- both raspberry and booger. And that's ok for today.

You have very adeptly described a situation very to similar to the one at our home and at the home of my twin autistic nieces. In addition to the crapisodes, we have screaming fits, chronic pain, insomnia binges, and thrush, among many other "neurodiverse" characteristics.Thanks so much for telling the truth so bravely and boldly!

Yes, Kim, let's expand our vocabularies, starting with "neurodiverse". It has nothing to do with not helping our kids, or preventing behavioral change. Your characterization is crappier than the baseboards in your bathroom.Now let's talk about "recovery". Autism is a lifelong, neurological condition, but that doesn't mean it's degenerative. Your daughters will get better through education, parental love and acceptance, and the normal maturation process. Chasing magical cures is a distraction, and can actually interfere with real recovery. Our kids need rational, thinking parents, not shrill dingbats. You're better than that.

I'm sorry you choose to highlight the deficiencies in your child for the world to see. I can't help but think that you are a bit self centered. When was the last time you tried to engage an autistic adult in conversation?

I responded to that last comment by telling the person that I have recently made friends with an autistic adult in my town. She works in my grocery store and sings in my church. She's a delightful young woman who gives me tremendous hope for my own girls.

As always, I'm thankful to the folks at HuffPo for allowing me to post on their site.





Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Oh my....... Sent to me by not one but TWO friends from Cleveland. Guess my previous post didn't tick them off too much. This is pretty darn funny. Thanks Julie and Cheryl!

YouTube - Woomba
Armed and Dangerous

More dress talk - sorry. I'm looking for an outfit to wear to a wedding next weekend. Has anyone told the stores that it's January? In the North? Every damn dress is sleeveless. I really dislike exposing my arms and underarms in January. August? No problem. But in January my Italian/Irish/Venezuelan skin color is a cross between gray poupon and just plain gray. Ick.

The outfits with sleeves are dowdy - I don't have Italian grandma arms (yet.) Those are arms with the swingy flab where the good Lord intended triceps. I taught aerobics at a gym in Newton, Mass owned by Joe Esposito. He used to drill it into me - "Forget your legs, work your arms, Kim, or you're gonna get grandma arms!"

I can not wear a Pashmina with any skill (see previous post in blue) so that idea is out. Shawls remind me of Elvira. A sweater feels wrong for an evening wedding.

Blah.

Post Script: Thank you ANN TAYLOR. Perfect twirly dressy skirt with funky sweater top with self-belt. And fabulous customer service. Everything was SLASHED - the $128 skirt was $29.99! I celebrated by cleaning out Williams Sonoma for the wedding gift.... Thank you for your sartorial assistance!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Look at me! Or don't.

Oh my gosh, I'm Julia Roberts! Yes indeed. Today I was "Pretty Woman." Well not really. That's not accurate. I'll start again. Look at me, I'm Harry Potter! Nope. Ah, here it is. Obscure to most, but on target. Heeeere's Claude Raines! That's the ticket.

I went to the mall today. That's a bigger deal than you'd think. I hate shopping and I despise the mall. Not just because lugging my kids through the teeming throng (mere trickle) of shoppers is agony for everyone within ten feet of us, epicenter included; I've hating shopping since I was a kid. I got the "anti-girl" gene on that one.

I need an outfit for a wedding in Cleveland next weekend. The glamorous life of an autism mom/writer/chief, cook and bottle washer does NOT entail sparkly or festive evening attire, unless you count a pair of Nick and Nora PJ's with pink poodles. PJ's are rarely considered wedding attire, even in Cleveland. (Now now, don't scowl Clevelanders, I enjoyed living there for close to a decade. But it is my solemn East Coast, NY proximity duty to toss out that little barb. When you pay your mortgage this month and have money left over to buy food, sparkly evening attire and have change left over, feel free to have a laugh at my expense.)

So I dragged myself to the mall today. I walked through the women's (misses not "women's" as in womanly. I'm about as curvy as the number seven.) department in Lord & Taylor and Macy's without ever establishing human contact. Yes, today I was completely invisible to the sales clerks' eyes. All of them, and I saw several. I wasn't dressed like a shlub - I had on a nice turquoise sweater and Levi's and my new black short Uggs (which Mark had shipped from down under in time for Christmas, God bless him. See? HE knows how to shop.) and a gorgeous leather and fur jacket Mark bought me for my 39th birthday. Which means it's practically new...ish. So, there I was sauntering by the silk, meandering past the moire, veering toward the velvet and no one, I mean no one even asked "May I help you?" They didn't sneer at me or anything a la Pretty Woman. But I did have money to spend and was ready to plunk down cash for a new outfit.

The experience was depressing. The mall was deserted. The stores look ratty. I left empty handed and still have to find an outfit. Maybe the kids in Cleveland will elope - tonight?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Lucky 007?

The year is young and already I've heard great news from two writer friends. One is just a hair away from landing an agent. The querying process is daunting. And this woman has worked like a dog, diligently followed all the rules and of course, written a terrific book. (I've read it.) I'm thrilled for her soon to be announced success. The second is writer who had a large deal posted on publishing sites this week. Her debut novel has been sold. Congratulations to both women -- you're inspiring me to keep at it.

Here's to good fortune to all my writer friends in lucky 007.

I'm autismed out this week. I hope a few silly catalogs land in my mailbox soon so I can glean some fun out of them.
The 4 C's of Autism: Cause, Cure, Create and Controversy

I've been immersed in the duel-world controversy about autism recently, due in large part to my entry last week on Huffington Post. My title, "The Crappy Life of the Autism Mom" created a shitstorm. I expected that - but that wasn't my intention. No, I mean that, stop rolling your eyes!

There are many organizations looking for a cure for autism. That alone is a controversial statement. But it's true. I've got a question that precedes that concept though.

Shouldn't we find out if we are creating autism? That's it. Are we creating autism?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Glimpse of my Girl

Last night, Mark and I got one of those snapshots of the smart, engaged child that is our Miss G. Mark put Peanut's blankie over his shoulders and said "It's super Dad!" Miss G laughed riotously and hollered out without any processing time: "Dad is my hero!" Mark and I jumped up and down with glee. Miss G's speech has come so far from the non verbal three year she was. She is just the best little kid ever. All my girls are awesome (of course!) Those "typical" moments make our hard work seem like a cake walk. Worth every penny as Miss G. sails along toward an independent life. I'm so proud of her!

Here's one of the ironies of autism. As tough as it is to watch your child struggle with every day accomplisments that come naturally to other kids, it's a a gift to be able to celebrate even the smallest of achievements. Other parents take for granted the first words, the first day of school, the first sleepover. Mark and I celebrate every milestone, no matter how small. Miss M greets us with a loud "Hi Mom! Hi Dad!" and we're over the moon. Miss G calls Dad a hero and I cry tears of joy. Peanut uses sign language to tell us she wants something or points to her PECS picture and we cheer as if she has recited the Iliad by heart.

It's a wild ride, this autism.

Mom
Wadda Moron

Sigh... Feel free to call me a moron. I just paid $1.29 for an eight ounce bottle of Wadda Blast, which is half juice, half filtered water with 10% of a daily allowance of a couple of vitamins and a spill proof sippy top. A lovely young woman was stocking this new product on the shelves at my wonderful local grocery store (shout out to the folks at Poricelli's Foodmart.)

I thought "I'd like to support this small local company and their new product. My girls drink juice. I like vitamins. This would be convenient for school and a nice cross between plain water and sugary juice." So I bought two bottles to try.

I put the bottle on the table at breakfast. Miss G took one look and said "no." So I gave the bottle to Peanut. Poor kid picked it up, put it to her mouth and tried to drink it. I didn't see any swallowing going on. I fed her breakfast and gave her the Wadda Blast bottle again. Nothing.

Finally I tried it myself. It is indeed watered down juice and tastes quite good. However, you need to be able to suck a golf ball through a garden hose to get the stuff. That sippy top works a little too well for my girls. Porn stars would have trouble extracting the juice from that little bottle.

I'll go back to my Rubbermaid reusable cups with the straw that doesn't cause a hernia as you attempt a drink.

Wadda dummy.
The Pashmina

I need your help. A few years ago, my sister gave me a beautiful, blue Pashmina. I don't know how to wear it. No matter how I try (over the shoulders, like a shawl, on one side) I look like an idiot. Russian grandmas look more fashionable than I do with this soft, luxurious piece of fabric draped around my torso like a shroud. HELP!

Monday, January 01, 2007

The "Cringe-0-meter" for Writers

Miss Snark (www.misssnark.blogspot.com) just completed a marathon "Crapometer" where writers submitted their hooks for her scathing, insightful critique. I dare you to find a writing class at any major US university that could teach you as much as that Crapometer.

I've launched the "Cringe-o-meter" for writers to share their newbie stories. What have you done in the publishing process that now makes you cringe?

I queried a superstar agent over a year ago when I barely knew what a query was. It was the query equivalent of sending Spielberg the script from your third grade play and blithely assuming he will snap it up and start casting Julia Roberts and Robert DeNiro. I'm sure he hit the "reject" button after the first sentence. It was a true query suckerama. No hook, way too much plot, dry, no sense of my voice. In short. It makes me cringe to read it now.

So tell us your own stories of how you embarrassed the hell out of yourself, and how you learned the ropes. Feel free to use "anonymous."