Friday, October 31, 2008

A Halloween Story By Michelle O'Neil You Must Read

Click HERE to read a portion of Michelle O'Neil's memoir. It's a Halloween memory from what I am learning was a very difficult childhood for Michelle.

Take two minutes and get ready to enter a fun house that turns into a haunted house that turns into a rollercoaster that turns into a bumper car that turns into a bag a Halloween candy where you're not quite sure what's going to be inside. I think that's called a "page turner" in proper publishing parlance.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Aloha! Patricia Wood won!

Forget Halloween Candy! WIN a Signed Copy of Chris Grabenstein's The Crossroads (written for ages 8-12) Ghost Story for Halloween!

Leave a comment to enter the contest!

"An absorbing psychological thriller as well as a rip-roaring ghost story." —BOOKLIST STARRED REVIEW


"A well-told ghost story with plenty of twists and chills. This riveting tale is written in short, easy-to-read chapters, making it a good choice for reluctant readers. Throughout the story, the main characters grow closer to one another and gain heroic traits while the "bad guys" reveal greater depths of wickedness and insanity. Readers will relate to Zack and enjoy the book's scare factor and adventure."

Hi, friends. I had the pleasure of meeting Chris this past summer. He and I share a fabulous agent. Chris makes our agent money. I make our agent laugh, but I'm working on the money part. ;)

I'm a big fan of giving children books as gifts for all holidays. Halloween included! Check out Chris' Young Adult books at his site HERE. There's an audio sample, which is very cool. And Mom, you can read a chapter to make sure the book is right for your child's tender age. Then poke around Chris' site for his adult (no, not that kind of adult) mysteries too!

We'll only have one winner but you can buy The Crossroads HERE.

And check this out! You can invite Chris to your school - which a very cool way to get kids crazy about reading. Remember having guest speakers and getting out of class for an hour. Pure joy.

To my fellow writers, would you please help spread the word on your own blog about these fun books for kids? It's so important that we support one another!


The Dickie D Cup

Let's see, what do politics and Thanksgiving have in common? Stuffing! (The ballot box and the turkey, of course!) I'm a huge fan of The Vermont Country Store . I love their selection of old time merchandise, retro favorites, healthy foods, and more. I was clicking through their site and found this:

Do you know what that is? It's a "Dickie." A Dickie is an ex-husband of Stephanie Plum, of the Janet Evanovich (stopping to kneel, cross self, assume "we're not worthy pose, standing") books. It's an entire line of work clothes, not that Ranger would ever be caught in them. Morelli might have a pair of two in his closet though. It's also a pseudo-turtleneck that really just provides the top bit, as you can see.

In 9th grade I wore Dickies under my goofy preppy sweaters. One day, I discovered that if I tucked the son-of-a-gun into my bra, "voila!" I had boobs. Swear to God. I don't know what I expected come Spring, when the Dickie disappeared and so did my chest.

I've never told that story. But I don't mind telling you the story. I was a Dickie D cup. Well, maybe a solid B.....

Splenda Plus Fiber! Wow! Now you can fart and poop too!

I really dislike artificial sweeteners. Have you noticed that since Nutrasweet arrived in our Diet Coke in 1984 we've gotten fatter and sicker than ever? Sugar free doesn't mean healthy. Do you really think you can fool the human body into accepting a substitute for the one substance required to make energy? That would be glucose. Sugar. Required to create ATP. Our basic source of energy. Yes, in addition to ogling a cute boy in Class IV (that's freshman year for you non preppies) biology, I paid attention too.

Splenda, which turns me into a fleeing latex balloon after about 4 bites (pfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpf) is now available with fiber. Because you really need to get fiber in your coffee or iced tea, right?
God almighty, eat an apple. Choke down some All Bran. I suggest you pass (gas) on this new Splenda though.

(PS) My former landlord works on the Splenda account at McNeil labs. I've never shared some of our stories from that little yellow house in CT. The filthy walls, the broken appliances, the slimy green exterior, the splinter filled deck.... Ours for over $2000 a month! One day I'll bust loose on that one. The house is for sale. She fixed most of the broken stuff AFTER we moved.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just when you think your head is going to explode.....

Saved by my daughter. Long day. Shit flying. Too much to write about even. So Gianna was holding Mia's cup of coconut ice cream - "Mia, time for ice cream!" And she's eating it while she holds it. Then she catches my eye. I can hear her little mind, "Uh oh! Mom saw me eating Mia's ice cream too!" I said to her, "Go for it Gianna (I only give them a thimbleful anyway.)" She beamed and dug right in. "So, Gianna, WHY did I let you eat more ice cream?"

"You love me."

Yes, I do.

If You Lean to the Left, Check out This Blog! (I think I just caught a glimpse of myself in 40 or so years! And I like it!)

Margaret And Helen

The photo is NOT of Margaret or Helen. Nor does the quote apply to them. I just think it's funny. Here's the intro to the blog:

"My name is Helen Philpot. I am 82 years old. My grandson taught me how to do this so that I could “blog” with my best friend Margaret Schmechtman who I met in college almost 60 years ago. I have three children with my husband Harold. Margaret has three dogs with her husband Howard. I live in Texas and Margaret lives in Maine."
Good Lord. This is an ad for a revival event in California to protest Gay Marriage.

To Keep my Blog from Leaning too far to the (religious) Right, there's also THIS video. You get decide which video is the joke, OK?

Some of the most important men in my life are gay men. Including my brother Rich and his partner of 17+ years; my girls' Uncle Ed. They are generous, loving, hard working, tax paying, law abiding citizens. Kind of just like you and me and every other decent person you know. Some of the biggest advocates for my children are gay men. I can not abide by an entire section of a religion praying against them. You are entitled to your religion. Use it for GOOD - Use it to HELP people. Don't use it to tear other people apart. Please. If a loving gay couple wants to get married that in no way influences my marriage. Does every Church have to marry gay couples. No. So what's the problem.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Misfit_toysAutism and the Island of Misfit Toys

I just ran THIS piece on Huffington Post. I hope you'll swing over there to leave a comment. It's not "pro" either candidate. Thanks.

There's been a lot of talk about disabilities on the Presidential campaign trail. Sarah Palin has been presented by the McCain campaign as an expert in disabilities by virtue of the fact that she has an infant with Down Syndrome and a nephew with autism. The Obama campaign has put out statements regarding the Senator's commitment to disability issues and correlated that to having a staff member with a child with autism.

Well aren't we just in the news, autism Moms and Dads? Big whoop, I say. Newsflash, autism is to the disability world what cervelles de veau is to a snooty, French restaurant menu. Sure, it's French food, but it ain't Chateaubriand, no one quite knows what to make of it, and very few people order it...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trader Joe's, Do You take Me for One of THESE?

No, not a country singer. I have neither the boobs nor the voice to be a country singer. I do have the potential for the hair though. Trader Joe's gave me a nasty shock at 5:47 am as I prepared breakfast. Their GFCF waffles now have just SIX waffles per box. The price is the same. But instead of 8 there are 6 waffles. I'd rather pay 25% more for the waffles than have to pack more boxes into my freezer. I am not happy. Remember when a pound of coffee became 13 ounces? It's bullshit.

Also, it looks to me like VAN's is now making their GF waffles - they have added SOY PROTEIN, which is the reason I stopped buying Van's. So now I will have to stop buying 15 boxes of Trader Joe's GF waffles too. DAMN! Screw it, we'll eat Coconut Ice Cream for breakfast.

Trader Joe's I am not happy with you. That said, are your new rice krispie bars GF per chance? If so, I'll love you again. It's $1.50 less per box than Enviro-Kids.

(PS) That's Patsy Cline. Get it? A "patsy?"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Turtle Mountain Coconut Milk Ice Cream & Yogurt!

Hooray! My local Stop & Shop brought in Turtle Mountain coconut milk ice cream for me! I bought almost every container today. I haven't seen the yogurt yet - that's another buyer. It's such a treat to give the girls yogurt again!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Flu Shot Season is Here. Got Mercury? Yes, 25 micrograms in every shot (ages 4 and older.)

I have a piece on HuffPo about New Jersey's new flu vaccine mandate for babies and toddlers. Hope you'll add a comment over there. Thanks. Kim

Read, New Jersery to Require Mandatory Kidney Donation HERE.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm becoming obsessed with The Texas State Fair

I can't explain it. I just want to go to Dallas to the Texas State Fair. It seems like the penultimate American experience. Sweet Jesus on Vytorin they chicken fry BACON!!! They fry jelly beans. Who the hell ever decided to batter and fry a jelly bean??? I have to try one. Chocolate covered waffle balls? (What do they do with the waffle penises?) Put 'em on a stick and fry 'em of course! THEY FRY THE DINNER ROLLS!!!! Check out this food list from the site. It's completely and utterly insane. I MUST go.

Chicken Fried Bacon – Thick and peppery Farm Pac® bacon is seasoned, double-dipped in a special batter and breading and deep-fried. Served with a creamy side of ranch or honey mustard sauce. Served at N30 located on Nimitz at MLK. Winner of Best Taste in the Big Tex Choice Awards competition.

Fried Banana Split – A mixture of banana and honey peanut butter is rolled in balls, battered and deep-fried and topped with assorted, delicious fixings, including powdered sugar, caramel and chocolate syrups, chopped peanuts, whipped cream and banana split flavored ice cream bites then fittingly crowned with the traditional cherry. Served at the Auto Grill inside the Automobile Building. Winner of Most Creative in the Big Tex Choice Awards competition.

Fernie’s All-American Fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich – An American classic with a State Fair twist. Two slices of white bread filled with a blend of American and cheddar cheeses, dipped in an egg and milk batter and lightly coated with panko bread crumbs for extra crispness. Served with a side of shoestring potato sticks, a pickle spear and tomato soup dipping sauce. The All American Meal! Served in the Dock Restaurant inside the Embarcadero Building. Finalist in the Big Tex Choice Awards competition.

Texas Fried Jelly Belly Beans – Jelly Belly Beans are rolled in funnel cake batter and fried to a crunch. People can share the treat with friends and try to guess the flavors before biting down.

Enjoy at the Granny’s Funnel Cake stand C6 at the south side of the Coliseum and at Rico's Burgers, stand C7, behind Gateway Pavilion. Finalist in the Big Tex Choice Awards competition.

Deep Fried S’mores – Marshmallow cream and chocolate chips are sandwiched between two graham crackers, dipped in a feather-light batter and fried to a golden brown. The campfire-inspired treats are dusted in powdered sugar. Included in the menu at stand N9 located near the Embarcadero entrance. Finalist in the Big Tex Choice Awards competition.

Fire & Ice – A pineapple ring is battered and deep-fried, then topped with banana-flavored whipped cream that’s been frozen in liquid nitrogen. The smoking concoction is ladled with strawberries and syrup. Fire & Ice is served by Abel Gonzales at the family-run stand on Nimitz Drive. Finalist in the Big Tex Choice Awards competition.

Fried Chocolate Truffles – A silky-smooth, handmade, dark chocolate truffle is rolled in cocoa powder before being battered and deep-fried. The melting chocolate goodness is dusted in cinnamon, sugar and cocoa powder. Located at N24 stand located on Nimitz near the entrance to the Creative Arts Showplace Theater. Finalist in the Big Tex Choice Awards competition.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Waffle Balls – Plump fresh strawberries covered in a thick chocolate shell are dipped in a sweet, waffle batter and deep-fried. Dusted with powdered sugar and served on a stick. Served at the Belgian Waffle stand G39 located on the NE corner of the Esplanade. Finalist in the Big Tex Choice Awards competition.

Fried Pop Rocks Fundae Blast - Ignite your senses with this explosion of Tastes. Fried Ice Cream covered in Hershey’s Syrup and Pop Rocks. Your fuse is a Twizzler rolled in Pop Rocks. While you disarm it, you’ll find an Atomic Fireball inside . . .“Fire in the Bowl”! Stand FW-22 located on Fun Way across from Lost Children Building.

Fried Dinner Roll – A savory dinner roll lusciously filled with cream cheese and covered with a sweet batter, placed on a stick and deep fried to perfection. Stand TB-14 located in the Tower Building.

Fried Cake on a Stick – A delicious, chocolate covered white cake filled with strawberry jelly and cream, dipped in sweet batter and deep fried until golden brown and served on a stick! Stand TB-14 located in the Tower Building.

Green Bean Fries - Fresh Green Beans lightly battered, deep fried, and served with a side of cucumber ranch dressing for dipping! BW’s Fried Ribs stand TB-1 in the Tower Building.

Texas Bar-B-Que Eggrolls - BW’s Chopped Beef in an eggroll wrap, deep fried to a delicate crispness, and served with BBQ sauce for dipping or ignite your senses further with a splash of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. BW’s Fried Ribs stand TB-1 in the Tower Building.

“Jalapeno” Deep Fried Gorditas - Jalapeno flavored gordita cooked on the grill and then deep fried, stuffed with beef, chicken, or bean & cheese, and finally topped with lettuce, tomato, guacamole, and cheese. Festival Mexican Foods stand FW-25 located on Fun Way St.

Fried Apple iPie – A warm, delicious crispy fried apple pie with just a hint of cinnamon, is smothered in rich vanilla ice cream and topped with an edible iPod “like” mp3 player and whipped cream. Real working souvenir “ear-bud” earphones complete this tasty iPie experience! Desperado’s stand N-19 located on Admiral Nimitz Circle.

Fried Snowballs – Fresh from the fryer! A lightly battered Snowball (cupcake) dusted with powdered sugar! Shirley London and Sons stand M-19 located on The Midway at the intersection of The Midway and Martin L. King Blvd.

Fried Honey Bun – A lightly battered Honey Bun, served fresh from the fryer with a light dusting of powdered sugar! Shirley London and Sons stand M-19 located on The Midway at the intersection of The Midway and Martin L. King Blvd.

Deep Fried Apple Bites ­– Fresh cut apples dipped in a homemade batter, deep fried, and then covered with a caramel sauce and cinnamon topping! Puff Palace Concessions stand FW-9 located on Fun Way Street near the intersection of Fun Way and Martin L. King Blvd.

Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce – An old favorite returning after several years absence! Warm bread pudding chock full of real butter, cream, and rich cinnamon flavor served with a creamy rum sauce. Newport Concessions stands G-13, G-23, FW-33, FW-1, M-22 located throughout the grounds.

Mini Chopped BBQ Slider - Sweet, tangy and juicy chopped barbecue beef brisket on a mini bun. Just the right size for a taste of Texas barbecue. N-11 The Dock and N-10 The Cantina located inside the Embarcadero Building, and at G-1 The Funnel Cake Stand on Grand Ave. across from the Old Mill Inn.

Mini Chicken Fried Steak Slider - A miniature crispy chicken fried steak patty served on a mini bun with a side of cream gravy. A bite size version of "Big Texas Taste". Stand N-11 The Dock located inside the Embarcadero Building.

Dessert Shooters - A 3 oz. serving of rich and decadent desserts. Your choice of three fabulous flavors: Chocolate Oreo Mousse, a layer of Oreo cookie crumbs, creamy chocolate pudding, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, sprinkled with more Oreos and a cherry on top: Strawberry
Cheesecake, Graham cracker crumbs, classic cheesecake filling, strawberry sauce, whipped cream and more graham cracker crumbs: and Vanilla Caramel Supreme, crushed Vanilla Wafers, creamy vanilla pudding, rich caramel sauce, whipped cream, sprinkled with more Vanilla Wafers and a cherry on top. N-11 The Dock and N-10 The Cantina located inside the Embarcadero Building.

Jalapeno Tamaritto – Ignite your taste buds with two Pedro’s Tamales wrapped in a warm flour tortilla, topped with chili, cheese, and Pedro’s spicy Jalapeno relish! Pedro’s Tamales stand TB-18 located in the Tower Building.

Ignited Moon Pie­ - The Original Moon Pie, lightly battered and deep fried, then gently sprinkled with powdered sugar! Stand N-9 located near the Embarcardero Building entrance.

Fruit Bag Drinks ­– Fruit, juice and ice combined in a clear bag with a straw for slow sipping. Savor the flavor of the juice and then eat the fruit! Benz Food Company stand CBP-1 located in Cotton Bowl Plaza.

Beefy Fried Queso Bites ­– Queso mixed with taco meat, breaded in a zesty batter and deep fried. Stand FW-46, Guacamole Paradise, located inside the Thrill Way Area.

Chick-a-Mole Bites – Guacamole mixed with a taco-flavor shredded chicken and cheddar/Monterey jack cheese, breaded in a zesty batter and deep fried. Served at Stand FW-46, Guacamole Paradise, located inside the Thrill Way Area.

Crispy Fried Cantaloupe Pie – Diced cantaloupe seasoned with brown sugar, cinnamon and coconut milk, rolled in a flaky pie pastry, and then deep fried. Topped with powdered sugar and whip cream. Gigi’s Food stand TB-22 inside the Tower Building.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fire_alarmHuffPo: Stagliano Hosed by Leary

Here's my contribution to the Denis Leary controversy on Huffington Post titled, "Hosed by Denis Leary." Pop over and leave a comment, won't you please? Click HERE.

Note: Denis Leary has tried to put out the fire with a statement: HERE.

NEW YORK, Oct 15, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Denis Leary issued the following statement today in response to comments about his new book, "Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid." The people who are criticizing the "Autism Schmautism" chapter in my new book "Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid" clearly have not read it. Or if they have, they missed the sections I thought made my feelings about autism very clear: that I not only support the current rational approaches to the diagnoses and treatment of real autism but have witnessed it firsthand while watching very dear old friends raise a functioning autistic child. The point of the chapter is not that autism doesn't exist -- it obviously does -- and I have nothing but admiration and respect for parents dealing with the issue, including the ones I know. The bulk of the chapter deals with grown men who are either self- diagnosing themselves with low-level offshoots of the disease or wishing they could as a way to explain their failed careers and troublesome progeny. Of course, this entire misunderstanding can be easily avoided simply by doing one thing -- reading the book. Taking one or two sentences out of context -- especially when it involves an entire chapter devoted to the subject -- is unfair and ill-advised. Too often in this country, everything gets reduced to simple sound bites and very very often those sound bites are not truly representative of an author or artist's point of view. Please give me the benefit of the doubt by reading all of what I wrote before attacking me. SOURCE Denis Leary Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

A "Real" FDNY Firefighter Writes to Denis Leary

The best thing about Age of Autism is that we can be immediate - assuming I'm near my computer, which I pretty much am all day. I'm working away here when I check my gmail box. There's a submission from a woman named Maria Dwyer, sending me a letter her husband, a retired FDNY firefighter (and yes, he was on duty on a certain day 7+ years ago) sent to Denis Leary, a pretend firefighter.

He's RETIRED because he had to leave his career to take care of his son with autism. Please take a moment to click over to A of A to read his letter. The emotion is, well, scorching hot.

AssholeDenis Leary. Yawn.

Denis Leary knows the power of the autism community. That's why he's using us to sell books. I think it's a crappy way to get publicity. Choose a vulnerable population and go after them. I suppose the Post chose the blurb that would get the most rise out of readers. It's shame that the book even has such a comment in it. But, you know what they say about opinions....

Can we have a giant, "Whatever." for Mr. Leary?

"There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can't compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks . . . to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don't give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you - yer kid is NOT autistic. He's just stupid. Or lazy. Or both."

New York Post Gossip section.

(PS) My apologies if you're offended by the graphic. It seemed fitting.

NachopeismpostcardAre you attending the National Autism Association Conference??

From our friends at NAA: The National Autism Association is pleased to present NAA's National Autism Conference sponsored by Care Clinics. The conference is being held at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center & Spa, Broward County's First State-Certified Green Hotel located in Fort Lauderdale, FL on November 13 -16, 2008.

Click HERE to learn more and to register!

NAA is a must for parents of newly diagnosed kids who want to treat their child's autism. And for us older parents, it's a fantastic way to keep up to date and recharge our batteries.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Join_usMaybe I'll meet Stephanie Plum! Or Morelli! Or Raaaannnngggeeeerrrr....

I'm speaking at this rally in Trenton, home of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum. See how seamlessly I weave my writing and my autism worlds together? Like Besty Ross I am! LOL! This rally is NOT anti-vaccine, it's about allowing parents to maintain control over their children's health.

One Thousand People Expected To Rally For Vaccination Choice
at the State House in Trenton, NJ on Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 12:00 p.m.

Rally Information: Rain or Shine, Thursday, October 16, 2008, Noon- 2 pm, 125 West State Street, Trenton, NJ, for more rally details.

NJ Assemblywoman Charlotte Vandervalk, Board-certified Pediatrician Dr. Lawrence Palevsky and National Vaccine Information Center co-founder Barbara Loe Fisher, will join NJ parents and professionals at a rally in Trenton for vaccination choice.

Nearly one thousand people are expected, requiring Trenton to close the streets to accommodate the crowds. The speakers represent a cross-section of society including medical doctors, nurses, chiropractors, scientists, clergy, educators, soldiers, politicians, journalists, autism activists, homeschoolers and many parents.

The NJ Coalition for Vaccination Choice (NJCVC) invites you to rally with them by the steps of the State House, outside Gov. Corzine's office. The group opposes the four new vaccine mandates including an annual flu shot for children ages 5 and under, required for daycare and pre-school. NJCVC supports the passage of bill A260/S1071, a conscientious exemption to mandatory immunization which will permit parents to select all, some or no vaccinations for their children. A form of this parental right already exists in 19 other US states. All legislators will be in Trenton for a Special Session. Fox News plans to cover the event. Fox aired a live segment on vaccination choice in NJ on October 9 (see HERE and HERE). Press urged to cover this high visual impact event: signs, banners, balloons, photos, children, music, personal stories, legislator appreciation ceremony.

Rally Information: Rain or Shine, Thursday, October 16, 2008, Noon- 2 pm, 125 West State Street, Trenton, NJ, for more rally details.

Contact Louise Habakus 917-553-4634.


12:00 pm Introduction

12:05 - 12:45 pm Featured Speakers

12:45 - 1:45pm Rapid Testimony Sequence

1:45 - 1:50 pm Photo Montage

1:50 - 2:00 pm Legislative Sponsor Recognition Ceremony

2:00 pm Closing Remarks

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The hell with politics... Here! Have some pastry! Mangia!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

So, um, how do you think it went in Philly at the Flyer's game tonight? I'm afraid to watch the news.... Did the Broad Street Bullies welcome Gov. Palin for the puck drop or hip check her back to Alaska? I gather Ed Snider, the Flyers' owner is a GOP bigwig. What do you think of his inviting the GOP VP candidate for some free ice, er, airtime? Now, if he put her in uniform? Even I'd tune in!

8:00pm: Here's my answer. Deafening boos. Ouch. The video doesn't look too bad though. Read about the night and watch a clip HERE.

Two Autism Books on NYT List! Jenny McCarthy's Mother Warriors and John Robison's Look Me In The Eye.

Wow! I was reading the NYT book review, looking for Jenny McCarthy's Mother Warriors (which is #8 in non-fiction) when I saw that John Robison's paperback of Look Me In The Eye is #11 in non-fic paperback! Congrats to both!

Have you bought your copies? Both are excellent books to give to friends, teachers, family members, doctors. You can buy Jenny's book HERE (and support a really good group of people helping kids with autism.) And John's book HERE.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Some old. Something new. So Glad I'm in a State that's Blue!

Click HERE! Gay marriage doesn't change my marriage one iota. Doesn't diminish it, ridicule it or lessen the meaning. And look at it this way, if people who are anti-gay marriage reaaaaly think about it, what better way to stop gay sex then to allow official marriage? (I see you nodding your head....)
Petra Won The Ugly Suit! Petra is Dutch. Can you find the "Dutch touch?"

Petra makes me feel like a monster sized fat pig.

You must go to her blog to see photos. HERE.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

When genius strikes!

I just has a surge of genius! (Apparently the surge was unaccompanied by a grasp of grammar. I meant "had.") A book title! "Murders in the Rude Morgue." Obviously (I hope, if you're a reader) a play on Poe's shortstory, "Murders in the Rue Morgue."

I am HORRIBLE at coming up with titles. And this blast of erudition just popped into my mind. Now, to write an entire book around it. Oh, that.....

Tonight at sundown, Yom Kippur begins. The day of atonement for our Jewish friends. I never know how to acknowledge the holiday properly. I know it's not "Happy Yom Kippur! Hope you don't spend all day begging God for forgiveness!" That's sort of like saying, "Happy Good Friday!" A little help anyone?
Lots of good information about Barack Obama's background for those who already believe he is our best choice and also a good read for those who do not.
We know so much about McCain's heroism and bravery some 40 years ago. He has a long record from which we can determine his qualifications and experience. Obama doesn't have that benefit. Maybe this will help. A dear friend in Texas sent it to me. She's busy dodging We Love Sarah hockey pucks in her state! Speaking of Gov. Palin, I saw a tally that indicated that McCain mentioned Joe Lieberman three times last night, and Sarah Palin ZERO. Now that's weird.
Wanna See Disdain in Action?

McCain sounded like he was pointing out a thief in a lineup. Sickening? You betcha. I don't expect the candidates to love each other. I do expect mutual respect and not this crazy old man nastiness.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Rainy Days Are Here

Trade pubs announce Linens n Things is closing its doors. Gone. Who's next?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Bruce Springsteen and Kim Stagliano. Oh yeah, didn't I tell you? We both write for HuffPo. (Insert groupie scream here....)

Jenny Gardiner's Blog

Jenny is a good friend and a great writer. Check out her blog

Charlie_nowJeanne Cantkier blogged this story at her site Charlie in Wonderland. I asked her if she'd share it with my Age of Autism readers. And I wanted to share it here too. Thank you, Jeanne. Here's what Charlie told his Mom:

“I gotta have those meds so I can talk.”
“Talk about what?”
“Just talk. Like what I didn’t do when I didn’t use my words.”
“Charlie, do you remember when you didn’t talk?”
“Do you know why you didn’t talk?”
“It was my brain Mom.”
“Your brain? What does that mean?”
“I couldn’t talk because my brain wouldn’t let me.”
“How come?”
“Because my brain wouldn’t let my voice work.”

By: Jeanne Cantkier

Charlie was not born with autism; but, as time went by, there was a dull sense that, compared to my two older children, something was different. From age two until age six, he exhibited many puzzling problems (some might say rogue symptoms), which garnered no more than a “don’t worry” from the pediatrician. Problems such as: chronic diarrhea; chronic sinus problems; loss of language; no eye contact; no social interests; many sensory issues; no understanding of danger; a very high threshold for pain; nosebleeds; escaping/running away; random screaming; tantrums; sleep problems; severe hyperactivity; migraines; and seizures. Somehow, this brief description does not quite express the hell in which we all lived, especially Charlie.

Charlie_sadFor the past three years we have been implementing biomedical interventions with Charlie for his various medical problems, which we now believe were caused by vaccines he received between birth and eighteen months of age (and then again just before the start of kindergarten).

Our initial introduction into the world of biomedical interventions was provided by The Autism Solution Center. Through information we learned at workshops we attended at the center, we decided to start off with a casein free diet. We were shocked when, within one week, our nonverbal, non sleeping child was starting to talk and sleep. We then pulled gluten and saw major improvements with eye contact, more speech, and even better sleep. For a year and a half, and under the guidance of the center’s then DAN! doctor, we did some basic biomedical treatments with vitamins and supplements. With each treatment, Charlie leapt forward in his recovery.

One year ago, we began working with a new DAN! doctor, Dr. Georgia Davis. Through thorough testing, we were able to determine a new, more aggressive course of action to treat Charlie’s many medical problems. Because of Dr. Davis, our son's complete recovery is within site. In addition, several months ago, we took Charlie to see Dr. Arthur Krigsman at Thoughtful House. Dr. Krigsman's treatment has brought with it incredible improvements in Charlie's recovery and quality of life. Having said that though, even with so many improvements, the past year has been very difficult and frustrating for everyone involved - two steps forward, three steps back.

Through the course of the year, my husband and I would talk a lot about how the treatments we were giving Charlie must surely make him feel better, because he never complains about any of it - not the dietary changes, not the medications, not the tests. Instead of complaining about new treatments, which would be understandable, Charlie asks three questions, “What exactly is going to happen?”, “How is this going to help?”, and “Will this make it so I can eat regular junk food again?”

We’ve all been amazed to watch as with each step of his recovery, Charlie’s language and communication skills have improved. In the past few months he has been able to talk to us in ways he never had before. He has told us stories about when he was nonverbal, such as:

“I gotta have those meds so I can talk.”
“Talk about what?”
“Just talk. Like what I didn’t do when I didn’t use my words.”
“Charlie, do you remember when you didn’t talk?”
“Do you know why you didn’t talk?”
“It was my brain Mom.”
“Your brain? What does that mean?”
“I couldn’t talk because my brain wouldn’t let me.”
“How come?”
“Because my brain wouldn’t let my voice work.”

Then there were stories of how his brain was feeling when we discovered he was having seizures:

“Mom! Help! My brain is rocking. Make it stop Mom.”


“Mom, my brain is fighting me.” With this one he drew a picture depicting his brain, as a separate entity than his body, wearing boxing gloves and literally fighting him.


“Mom, there is slime on my brain and in my belly... make it go away Mom... it’s going to explode.”

Lately there have been statements made about his overall recovery, the way he is feeling, and about autism. Such as:


“Yes Charlie.”

“Am I in autism?”

“Are you… what did you say?”

“Am I in autism Mom? I am ain’t I?”

“Sweetie, don’t say ain’t, say aren’t…. and… well, yes, you do have autism… that’s what they are calling it right now anyway. <<under my breath>> I like to call it vaccinosis!”

“But why Mom? Why am I in autism?”


“Was I born in autism?”

“No, you weren’t! You were born healthy, happy and most definitely NOT in autism.”

“But why did I get put in autism?”

“Well, that is complicated… let’s see… first you were given some shots that made you sick… things we didn’t even know about back then… you got really sick in your belly and then started having all kinds of allergies… but we didn’t know it … so we kept giving you the foods you were allergic to… that made you get more and more sick… but then we found a way to help you… your special diet… your medications… and now you are doing much better… you aren’t anywhere near as sick as you were before… and now Dr. Krigsman is fixing your belly… and Dr. Davis is fixing everything else… soon you will not be in autism anymore… you may not be now… just still a little sick… that’s it… but I’m doing everything I can to get you better sweetie.”

“Thank you Mom. I do feel a lot better. No more slime in my brain and monsters in my tummy.”

“That’s right! And you’re doing such a good job… being such a big boy… Mommy is very proud of you for all of your hard work to help us get you better.”

“Thank you Mom. Thank you.”

Hearing Charlie talk about what it was like for him “in autism” just proves to me the silent suffering he has endured, and the suffering all of our kids endure.

My son was not lost, he was in there all along. He was aware. He had a voice; but his brain would not let him use it. Now that he can express himself so well, communicate so clearly, he lets us know what it was like for him in those dark days. He is a window into the world of autism.

Charlie has struggled valiantly to free himself from the claws of autism. He wants recovery for himself just as much as we want it for him. He does what needs to be done, and with no complaints. He is my hero. He is my Warrior Son.

Jeanne Cantkier is the mother of three children: two teenagers (Calvin, age 14, and Julie, age 13), and Charlie, who will turn 7 in a few weeks. Charlie was diagnosed with autism at age 4.

Friday, October 03, 2008

How Was the Debate?

Palin didn't buy herself a ticket back to Alaska. She didn't throw up on herself. She got her talking points out cogently for the most part. She can read. She can bring the energy industry into most conversations. She can say, "Joe Six Pack and Hockey Mom" in a sentence. If her accent were "da Bronx" America would run away screaming. Her Minnesota/N.Dakota "Didja bring a tater tot hotdish?" accent boggles my mind. Is that what Alaskans sound like? She sounded like the Northern version of Hee Haw to me. No can likey.

Expectations were low. She exceeded them. McCain gets to live another day.

And her eye makeup... Fabulous! Who did that? (See previous post about my weird dream as Sarah Palin's makeup artist.)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Katie Couric Again

Gov. Palin can't name a single Supreme Court Ruling. Except the one the reporter asked her about. Roe v. Wade. Can't name a single Supreme Court Ruling. Not even Bush v. Gore!!!

Meanwhile, don't ask me why.... Last night I had a dream I was applying Sarah Palin's makeup before the debate. No, I did not stab her in the eye with the mascara wand. She's a very pretty woman. I kept her that way. Why was I applying her makeup in my dream??

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Are you in New England? You can see John Elder Robison HERE. And also Augusten Burroughs (John's brother.) The event is on 10/4 at the Asperger's Assoc. of New England conference.

John's paperback release of Look Me In The Eye is now available. You can use it as a school resource (some of the swears were removed from the book for this purpose.) Click over to Amazon HERE to purchase a copy. The price is reasonable - it's a great holiday gift for teachers and therapists too.

I'm full. But I'm starving. I want cake. I have no cake.

Fair and Balanced! And Blind!

Watch the older woman and man in the back booth on the left hand side during the "Who's going to vote for McCain." What a scream! Is this for real???