Monday, December 28, 2009

Look! Birthday Cake!

Decorated by Gianna no less. And then, Kim left it on the dining room table after serving a mere 3 slices. And Bella got a hankering for another slice. Or handful!

And that was the end of the cake!

Hello, Back Nine! (Maybe 11th hole?)
46 today.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Is it January Yet?

Random photos, Sunday gravy prep.
GFCF Peppermint creams for cookie party.

The Giginator.
Rudolph GFCF cupcakes. Have a wonderful winter break, everyone.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas, Friends.

(Borrowed the idea from Stephen Parrish. )

Friday, December 18, 2009

Conflict_of_interest_pic CDC Did Not Properly Screen Medical Experts for Financial Conflict of Interest on Vaccine Safety

If there's one story the NYT has avoided, it's vaccine safety. No matter how many drugs they'd "out" for being dangerous, needing recalls, or pharma ghost written studies or their myriad other hard hitting journalism about pharma, vaccines were always the Virgins in Church, piously pristine. Maybe not.

Read the full article by Gardiner Harris in the New York Times, HERE.

WASHINGTON — A new report finds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a poor job of screening medical experts for financial conflicts when it hired them to advise the agency on vaccine safety, officials said Thursday.

Most of the experts who served on advisory panels in 2007 to evaluate vaccines for flu and cervical cancer had potential conflicts that were never resolved, the report said. Some were legally barred from considering the issues but did so anyway.

In the report, expected to be released Friday, Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, found that the centers failed nearly every time to ensure that the experts adequately filled out forms confirming they were not being paid by companies with an interest in their decisions...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Island of Misfit Toys Diorama is BACK!

My brother, who is an architect, made this diorama last year. Isn't it fabulous? Enjoy! (And if you need a gorgeous house built or remodeled, he's with a firm in Bethesda, Rill Architects.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

15 years old today.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Let's Make Gluten Free Whoopie Pies!

I love to bake. And my kids are gluten and casein free, so I sort of have to bake. We made holiday shaped Whoopie Pies this weekend. A Whoopie Pie is a sandwich of two pieces of soft cake with a cream filling (almost like an Oreo but softer) inside. So, follow our story, won't you?

First, you need a helper. Bella stepped up to the plate.
I tried the new BC GF mix. Excellent. I was really pleased with it.

Use a holiday shaped "Cookie" pan. They make nice detailed shaped cakes. Only fill them about halfway, to cover the full shape, otherwise they'll rise too high and dome.

Mmm, here's the first pan. Cakey! Holiday-ey!

Cooling on a Santa mat. Onto the filling. I couldn't remember how to make it. Fear not! I have a cookbook!
When I was 11, my Mom gave me, "Kim's Cookbook." In it is a recipe for Whoopie Pies. Along with Chinese candy (remember the butterscotch chip and chinese noodle candy?) and many other favorites. I've had this book for close to 35 years and I treasure it. I bought a replacement on e-bay just in case anything ever happens to this onw- shocked to find it! The publisher was part of American Greetings, I think. Oh, you can't believe I'm that old? Ha! Look down.

My Mom inscribed the book. Isn't that the very best?!

Here are the ingredients for the filling. I used a Kosher corn free powdered sugar - although any kind will do.
Here's the finished product. Yum. I think. Are they good?
Gianna looks pretty happy! Guess they ARE good!
When Your Child Needs You.

Last night, my Mia, who will turn 15 next week, was very sad. She was crying, almost sobbing. And she was desperately trying to tell me what was wrong, but she doesn't have the words to do that. She was saying, "Fix it! Fix it!" and "Elmo?" and I paced the house looking for a broken Elmo toy. For a while I thought she wanted my laptop - she likes to ferret it out from where ever I've hidden it and log herself on. We keep one CD-ROM in it, a Blues Clues game - in case we're traveling and she needs some entertainment. She tore my room apart looking for the laptop.

Bella went to sleep easily around 8pm. Gianna's eyes were closing as we tackled her night time reading assignment. She crawled into bed at 8:30. Mia was still crying and roaming the house. She'd say a word here or there. She tapped her finger into her palm, "Can I have.... Can I have... PLEASE?" But she couldn't tell me the noun - I ask her, I try to help her. I wrack my brain trying to piece together her thought process to see what she wants.

I was tired. We'd had a snow day. So from 5:30am until 8pm it was just us girls. We drove Mark to the train station at 7am to catch the train to Newark airport. Then we started on the world's longest day.

I gave Mia Melatonin to help relax her. She finally got into my bed - which she NEVER does. IT was clear she needed me. I just wanted some quiet time to read and then go to sleep. But I let her into the bed, put her three snowmen, six arts and crafts Halloween friends she now carries everywhere next to her. She grabbed them all and lined them up in a different order. The RIGHT order. I stroked her head.

She stopped crying abruptly and fell asleep.

This morning she handed me one of her snowmen - she has three. And she named them Mommy, Daddy and Baby. She loves that little family. I looked at the snowmen, and noticed that one of them is missing a fuzzy pom pom button. AH HA!! FIX IT now meant something to me.

She took my hand, and placed MY finger on the missing button. "Fix it."
I hugged her and promised her six ways to Sunday that today I will fix her family. That's my job. I'm her Mom. And I must fix her family.

I'll be at JoAnn's or Michael's the second they open today.

Friday, December 04, 2009

I Denied my Inner Guidette.

There's a new reality show called, Jersey Shore. Remember the two, buff, Mafia wannabe's on the Soprano's? Jersey Shore elevates their ilk to godlike status as it follows a group of Italian kids/young adults at The Jersey Shore. No Madam Marie here. None of Sandy's Fourth of July love at the boarwalk. Not a hint of the heartache of Puerto Rican Jane.

Some folks are finding fault with the show for its stereotypes. Tanning beds and abs are Italian? Since when?

I went to a prep school. The minute I walked in, freshman (pardon me, IV Class) year, I realized there was this thing called the WASP - and I was not one of them. It was the first time I had ever felt any difference from my peers, a teeny tiny taste of feeling inferior, although nothing like other groups feel every day even in 2009.

I straightened my hair. I wore hot pink wide whale cords (for which I will NEVER forgive my sister who dragged me to Olken's in Wellesley to buy them.) I bought Bean boots (still have them and wear them.) I wore grosgrain ribbon headbands. I was a preppie. With a vowel at the end of my name. So not really a preppie at all.

How much more fun would it have been to have embraced my inner Guidette? I had the perfect hair for a mountainous spray on top of my head. I had the right lips for copious globs of pink gloss. I had big eyes that begged for sparkly eye shadow and six coats of mascara. I had a cute figure that would have looked kickin in tight jeans (wait, I did wear Sasson, does that count?)

Not sure I'll watch Jersey City - Boston Italians aren't Jersey Italians, though now I'm mid-way between the two in CT. I find it amusing that the show exists. It doesn't offend me. And maybe I'll check out the abs for a minute.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Heroes of Autism Video

I'm not sure (yet) who within our community made this video. It's really nice - thank you. And thank you to all of the heroes in the autism community who fight for our kids - and yours. Whether they have autism, or not.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fire teddy bears By Kim Stagliano

Your pretty red house is on fire. You're on the second floor with your kids. The stairs are gone. You call the fire department. They tell you they don't go to red houses. They assure you that your house is not on fire, it's just your imagination. They hang up on you. Then they disconnect your phone lines. Smoke is choking your children, flames licking their feet. Do you throw them out the 2nd story window or let them burn to death having been told your house is not on fire? You may choose to let your kids burn to death. Good on ya. Get out of my way, though. I'm throwing my girls to safety.

That's my response to the Chicago Tribune accusing us of performing "uncontrolled studies" on our kids. (Our medical doctors are thorough and safe, by the way.) The AAP and mainstream medical doctors have abandoned our sick kids. They offer us nothing. Do they really expect us to let our children suffer? And why does it bother journalists like Trine Tsouderos and Pat Callahan that some of us are improving our children's lives?

Who on earth would tear down progress for so many kids and moreover, why?

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.

I deleted the comment thread - I don't need any wolves in sheep's clothing co-opting my posts for their own gain. Nor do I need anon commenters bashing my readers.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blind eye Chicago Trib Wants Autistic Kids to Remain Sick

From The Chicago Tribune is running another series of articles stating that "risky" treatments are of little use to children/people with autism (HERE). (Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics, in their backyard, will tell parents to use powerful psychiatric drugs with little to know knowledge of how they work or their long term effects on kids. Talk about risky.) We'll be sharing more info with you about the interview process these journalists followed and what did and did not make their final article. In the meantime, we invite you to send Patrician Callahan (, Trine Tsouderos ( and Editor Gerould Kern ( a polite email sharing how treatments have improved your child's life. When you send you email, include a copy in our comments, please.

We beg to differ with the slant the Tribune is taking. Children can make tremendous progress and we will share stories with you from our recovery category. Start with this little girl, who is using speech for the first time. If you ever figure out why people with autism are NOT supposed to see improvement or, God forbid, recover, let us know. The anger, skepticism and outright denial of medical care for autism is stunning.

From August, 12, 2009 (HERE) : Yesterday, we told you about the 2009 National Autism Association Conference in Florida this November. The video below is a gorgeous advertisement for why you should attend the conference. This beautiful, nine year old child was non-verbal until just weeks ago.

Her Mom has attended every National Autism Association Conference. Because this child is Aly Fournier, daughter of NAA President Wendy Fournier. The video is called "Aly's Letters." Just see if you can stop smiling while you watch this.

From Wendy on 7/24/09: Friends, I have a miracle to share with you! It's all about Hopeism. My daughter Aly is 9 years old and severely injured by her vaccines - diagnosis: Autism. She has never had functional language. I have a recording on my computer of her saying Mama when she was about 11 months old. I haven't heard it since. The last 7 years have been more difficult than I can say, but many of you don't need an explanation, you're living it.

When Aly was diagnosed, I hit the ground running. I soaked up everything I could about autism, vaccine injury, therapies, biomedical treatments, attended conferences, asked a million questions, talked to doctors and other parents, spent sleepness nights searching Pubmed. I was absolutely convinced that she would be perfectly fine and recovered by First Grade.

First grade came and went, she'll be a 4th grader this fall. She's been making slow progress over the last couple of years, but painfully slow and no big "Wows". She's finally potty trained which I am extremely grateful for! She's sleeping through the night, with rare exceptions. She's using picture exchange to make very basic requests, but is still unable to tell us how she feels, or if something hurts.

This past winter was so hard. I looked at her one day and really saw her. It hit me like a truck how sick she is, and I started grieving for everything that's been stolen from her and our family. The holidays, dreaded birthdays that simply mark the passage of another year without recovery, the joy of having friends, going to the movies, being able to play outside without the worry of her running into the street, and family vacations? Not even a possibility.

Enough of that, I'll get to the good stuff. This past week, my non-verbal little girl started SAYING letters. Looking at them, pointing to them, and getting the sounds to come out of her mouth. She's never been able to do anything like this before. It's AMAZING! I've been hesitant to even say anything about it because I'm so terrified that it will go away. But I need to share this with all of you who have been fighting so long. When Aly's 9th birthday came and went, I was beginning to wonder if she would ever be able to find her voice. And now she has! Hope has been dumped all over me and I'm filled with excitement about what's to come!

Update – 2 weeks later: Aly is now verbally labeling all of her letters, numbers to 10, and naming about 35 objects and people - including Mommy! She has also started using her voice to request her favorite things – showers and cookies!

Lee Silsby logo 09 The treatment category is sponsored by Lee Silsby, the leader in quality compounded medications for autism.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not Not Your Daughter's Jeans

I'm half horrified. One quarter secretly pleased. One quarter just plain depressed. I haven't tackled the laundry since we got back from Cleveland, except for the kids' clothes. So my jeans are mostly in the hamper. I'm sick to death of wearing Levi's. Day in. Day out. Bootcut. Straight leg. Boring.

Today I realized I had almost nothing to wear. My choice of clothing these days resembles the car selection in the USSR in 1970. "Do you want the black or the so dark gray it's black Trabant, Comrade?

I slunk (slink, slank, slunk, right?) into Mia and Gianna's closet and eyed a pair of tan cords from Target. Could I? Would they? Aw, hell, why not try?

They fit. A kids size 16. Whoopedoo. I have the figure of a child. But they are too short. And flared. Really hideous. So I tucked them into my Uggs, to make the sartorial statement that much more pathetic.

I need a shopping spree. Badly.

Friday, November 13, 2009

We're Off To Cleveland Again.

Tomorrow we're driving to Cleveland (500 or so miles) so we can do lab work at The Cleveland Clinic on Monday morning. We see a neurometabolic geneticist there (Dr. Natowicz) who is tops in the country and a living doll to boot. I calm down just sitting near him. First off, he's brilliant. Second, he has a twinkle in his eye and a real scientists desire to investigate plus a clinicians need to help his patients. The lab tests are so sensitive, we need to do the work there. So off we go.

Mark is going to connect with some old friends he hasn't seen them in 25! And they weren't in preschool at the time, if you get my drift.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Smith Island Cake

I love to bake. It's therapy. I am determined to make a Smith Island cake for Christmas. We have a houseful going to my parents' in Massachusetts. My brother and his partner and my sister and her husband and son plus two bonus family members will be together this year! My sister's stepsons, who are now men in their 20s, wanted to come to Grandma and Grandpa's too for a New England Christmas. They live in Texas, who could blame them for wanting to trade cowboy boots for Bean boots for a few days?

I learned of the Smith Island Cake in Cook's Country Magazine. It is the offiicial dessert of the State of Maryland. And I'm a crab. So it's a match made in heaven. It has a secret trick. You don't cut those thin layers. You bake 8 flat cakes using 2/3 cup of cake batter each. Ah ha!!! The frosting is ganache - easy to make and use.

So, Smith Island, here I come!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Brooke Shields Promotes Rx to Grow Eyelashes.

I saw an ad last night for this new prescription product (which to me, makes it a drug) called " Latisse ." In 4 months you can have longer lashes.

Jumping Jiminy on a stick, what crap will women fall for next and is there nothing some doctors won't sell to their patients? Brooke Shields is the spokesformermodel hardly needs more hair on her eye area, aren't the eyebrows enough?

In the meantime, the side effects include:

1) Eyelid skin darkening which MAY (ha ha!!!) be reversible. Sweet. Please consult with Bobbie Brown or Estee Lauder to make sure darkened eyelids are going to be in for the next hundred years.

2) Potential for increased brown iris pigementation which is likely permanent. Fabulous! It tursn your eyes brown. Then the idiots at Allergan can sell you BLUE contacts to make your eyes blue again.

3) Potential for hair growth on skin surfaces that come into contact with Latisse. So don't spill it on your cheeks or you'll look like Wolf-girl. (What is this shit, Rogaine for eyes?)

Here's a thought - get false eyelashes. Get a tube of Maybelline. Now, if this is a solution to a problem for women with a true medical condition, or perhaps post chemo I can kind of sort of get it. But the ad is targetting ALL women.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Dear Dingbat at William Raveis Real Estate Marketing:

"Find a home from your cell!" probably isn't the smartest email subject line you could have written to promote your new cell phone app. I am picturing inmates poring over ranches, Colonials, contemporaries. "Ah, JohnnyTheShiv, someday we'll bust outta here and I'll buy you that Cape Cod on Elm Street with the loot I stashed under the stairs at my Grandma's house."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween from Dominican Academy, Plainville MA (sort of)

Halloween maybe 1986 or 1987. Martha was my roommate - love her Trivial Pursuit card costume! That was my 5th grade uniform. The waist is elastic. It still has the red and blue ball point pen markings in some of the squares that I drew in while drifting mentally away from class, as usual. Sr. Lourdette was my teacher. She was the best. I also have my 6th grade blue and red jumper. And a couple of jackets from cheerleading for the Plainville Packers and dancing for the Young Sophisticates dancing school. Dig the Polaroid film and the shiny Danskin tights. UGH!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Suck It Willliams Sonoma

I blogged about the outrageously priced Halloween cakes in the Williams Sonoma catalog. I know, I know, it's Williams Sonoma, it's supposed to be grossly overpriced, right? Now - I happen to love W-S. I ask for a gift card from there each Christmas. My husband used to sell them fine products that they promptly marked up so high you needed a fine linen embroidered hankie to wipe the blood off your nose.

They showcased three darling Halloween cakes from some bakery somewhere. the cakes were $89 or $99 dollars. And they were tiny! An 8" tall cake is not going to feed "8-10" unless your idea of a serving is a petit-four. That's their ghost cake in the photo.
I wrought my revenge, however, by stealing their concept and making my own ghost cakes yesterday for our Church School party. How easy was it?

I used left over fondant from the wedding cake I made. Rolled it out. Cut it into circles with a lid. Draped it over store bought minim-muffins and added two dabs of tube gel decorating icing. Phew! I'm beat. (Roll eyes here.) For my girls, who can not eat the muffins, I made GFCF rice treats and draped the fondant over them. Total cost? About $5 for 14 servings. Scary, huh?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Who me?

A friend sent me this letter the other day. It seems that the tone, tenor and general insanity of this letter writer reminded my friend of someone.... I'm shocked, I tell you. I did not write this letter. I do now wonder if I have a long lost sister. Read it and have a good laugh.

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your 'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I
appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or
Dri-Weave absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa
dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in
tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary
Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how
crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and
secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? I'm guessing you
haven't. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can
already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few
minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my
husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.' Isn't the
human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen
quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customer's
monthly visits from 'Aunt Flo'. Therefore, you must know about the bloating,
puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying
jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for
most women.

The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just
crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... Which brings me to the
reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful
I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always
maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words:
'Have a Happy Period.'

Are you f------ kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny
middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing
happiness, is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned
above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless
you're some kind of sick S&M freak, there will never be anything 'happy'
about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and
lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local
Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in
a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you have to slap a moronic
message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's
actually pertinent, like 'Put down the Hammer' or 'Vehicular Manslaughter is

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately,
there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my
maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your
Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending

And that's a promise I will keep. Always. . ..

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Writing, Ranting, Reading


My book is coming along pretty well. I got feedback from my editor that didn't start with, "We've burned your contract. What were we thinking?" which was a relief.


I'm pretty annoyed with the soda/beverage industry. Have you seen the ridiculous ad against the Soda Tax - the angry Melina Kanakaredes looking model is with her child in the grocery store lamenting that they can't buy crappy junk food - BECAUSE OF THE TAX ON SODA. Lady, lay off the soda. Skip the Lucky Charms. Buy the broccoli.


Just finished A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I'm reaching childrens and young adult books these days. I find them more honest, less sappy, and frankly, more interesting than most of the books I've picked up in the last few months.

So what's new with you?

Monday, October 26, 2009

I wrote a HuffPo for our Friend Who Died Last Month

My Friend With ALS. He Died Quickly.

I'd appreciate if you'd pop over and comment.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This Feels Like a Skirt that's Just A Bit Too Tight, but Looks Nice.

A Parishioner in our Church is a staff writer for The National Catholic Register. He wrote a lovely article HERE about our family. It's beautifully done and I accept the kindness with open arms. At the same time, it feels a bit uncomfortable to me, as we are not perfect Catholics, nor do we want to be, frankly. We have our differences with the Church. And if our priests make us pray for the Yankees and the Giants one more time I might stand up and scream, "Is that holy water or Kool Aid!"

Mark and Kim Stagliano couldn’t have been happier. Posing with their three young daughters right after 14-year-old Mia and 13-year-old Gianna, the two oldest, made their first holy Communion together last year, they thanked God for the amazement of his grace.

“Having that picture in our house of the girls in their white dresses,” says Kim, “is visual proof they made their first holy Communion, and we’re able to walk together as a family to Communion on Sunday.” All three daughters have autism.

Before the Staglianos became parishioners at St. Theresa Church in Trumbull, Conn., Kim attended her nephew’s first holy Communion in Ohio, and she remembers thinking that Mia might not be able to make hers...

On the other hand... The title of my Kimoir is, "All I Can Handle. I'm No Mother Teresa." And I mean it. I am NO Mother Teresa. I'm not even Moms Mabley (look her up, she's even before my time.) I can be a rotten wife, a pathetically icky Mom and a snarky b*tch.

However, we have gotten back to Church since moving to the Godless heathen Northeast. And it's precisely because St. Theresa's staff and Parishioners were kind to, and welcomed, our three children.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Design Flaw

This is our microwave oven. It pulls down, like a stove. See those giant hooks? They latch the oven closed. If you are wearing a sweater, and you pull your cup of coffee out of the microwave, there is a good chance that you will snag your sweater on the latch hook, spill your coffee and swear in front of your children. Design flaw.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Saving deets New Book By Brother of Boy with Autism: Saving Deets!

Zack Gonzalez is a 16 year old whose brother Ethan, aka "Deets" has autism. Countless siblings are dealing with the issues of having a brother or sister with autism. Few are able convey the gravity of that experience, their hope for some form of recovery, engage in charitable work and offer advice to families the way Zack has done so well in Saving Deets.

We have a signed copy for one lucky Age of Autism reader. Leave a comment HERE to enter. I hope you go to Zack's site HERE and order a copy, to support him.

From his site: Saving Deets! is Zack's first book. It is his family's journey with his autistic brother, Ethan, aka Deets, told through his eyes. The book covers, acceptance, recovery and making a difference

The book is filled with heart-filled stories and pictures from Zack & other hand-picked families. It is bold and controversial, yet soft and loving. It also includes helpful tips and information including different charts.

The book is $18.50 but exclusively sold for only $17.00 when purchased from & you get to choose which organization you would like to donate a potion of the proceeds to. The book can also be purchased at: Trafford Bookstore
& will soon be available World-Wide in all bookstores this November!

Friday, October 09, 2009

GM Flexible Earnings Card from HSBC GO TO HELL.

Hi - not a lot of time. Count your blessings. But I need to complain to you, to the Banks, to President Obama.

Each month, I pay my minimum plus $150 to a credit card with $3000 on it. (Try moving twice in twelve months with a job loss in the middle and see how much savings you have.) I pay my bills with online banking. I go in, click the payee, make the payment. Takes me five minutes. I haven't licked an envelope in years.

During a recent 31 day month, it seems that my payment arrived at the credit card company, HSBC, too early. So it was in the previous billing cycle. I got off kilter with them. They assumed my next payment was LATE. I have paid every month, the same amount. They can count nine payments this year.

My interest rate went from under 10% to 30%.

I called - they saw I had made every payment and then some. They agreed it was a function of the longer month and my having clicked SEND a day too early. They even removed the $29 late fee! The interest rate must remain for SIX MONTHS.

Because of this, I assume, my Bank of America loan, again, which I am dutifully paying off on time every month, closed down and renegged the credit. Fine by me, I had no intentions of using any credit. We're in paydown mode only. But I have made every payment on time with them - they docked me because of the other card.

This is insane. President Obama, you've offered too little as far as credit card reform and by giving the credit card companies a large window before they must toe the line, they are running AMOK.

Friday, October 02, 2009

You gotta have friends.

And boy do I ever. Mark and I took the kids to Cleveland for a funeral for our dear friend Jim Garibaldi. Jim died on Sunday am, perhaps of a heart attack. He had ALS. His funeral was a fine tribute to him as a loving husband, devoted father and all around success.

In order to attend the wake, I had to ask for help. So, who you gonna call? Michelle O'Neil of course. You know her blog don't you? DON'T YOU? My goodness, race on over to FULL SOUL AHEAD and start reading! She has a beautiful daughter named Riley who has Asperger's and who is doing so very well. And a darling pip of a son named Seth (I hope he liked the skeleton ball I bought him!) Her husband Todd is a dream. Truly.

She came to the hotel laden with goodies for my girls and wine for Mark and me - aaaaahhhhh. It's funny, I have family members with whom I would not entrust the girls for two hours and feel secure. With Michelle, I walked out the door knowing that all was well. No stress at all.

I hope you have friends on whom you can call when you need help. It's a learned skill, asking for help. Fortunately, practice makes perfect. And I've had plenty of practice.

Thank you, Michelle.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


This was in my gmail. Could someone alert the Ghanamanians (what do you call them?) that I stopped selling ASI and T-shirts about a decade ago.

Ministry of health Social welfare department P. 0 Box m44 ministries Accra, Ghana tell/fax +233248646213 Email


the ministry of health and social welfare of the republic of Ghana through the Government of Ghana has received grant and loan from the international Development Association and international fund for social welfare Development respectively toward healthcare improvement and social welfare project, and we intender to apply part of the proceeds of the grant and loan to payment under the contract for procurement of two million pieces of t-shirt for the campaign against HIV/AIDS.2.

Having known your company as one with international recognition we intend to contact your company to supply the required t-shirt to this organization with 100% advance payment by us upon fulfillment of our official obligation. We shall send our official requirements and specification of the desired t-shirt to you once Acknowledgment letter is received. If you are interested in this contract please reply within 24hours of this letterRev. Mr.mark kwesi frankSecretary (S W DEPT

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Poopin' with Jenny McCarthy

Last night I dreamt about Jenny McCarthy, Mom, actress, author, child health and safety activist and advocate and funny, funny lady. Men who dream about Jenny get the sexy part. Women who dream about her might be looking for hair or makeup tips, or info on how to help their children. Most women, that is. Me? We compared poop.

I was a party at Jenny's house. She was not there. I had to use the bathroom and I snuck away to her bathroom for privacy - and I think to run away from my children for a moment. Now, if you are like me (and most women, I'm convinced) pooping is reserved for the home field. Pooping in public places is verboten. The newswoman on Howard Stern Lisa G admitted to pooping at work occasionally and the team immediately came up with an intro song for her that sounds all proper and newlike except the lyrics are "Lisa G Take Shits at Worrrrrrrk."

There is a product selling like gangbusters to address this tissue issue - check it out, it's called Poo Pourri. I kid you not. Mark knows the woman who invented it. It's essential oils you spray onto the toilet water before using the toilet. People think you just crapped an orange when you leave the stall.

So, back to the dream. I am on the toilet when Jenny walks in. She is surprised. As am I - and apologetic. Then she says, "Wait, are you pooping? Here, look at mine!" And somehow her poop appears on the counter. And we compare.
This is what autism Moms do. We examine our kids' poop all the time. For texture, color, smell (it's hell but the off smell off the offal off smell can really tell if you're child is well) and creepy critters. Yes, worms. We rarely examine each other's though.

Tonight, maybe I'll just stay awake.
(My apologies to the Coprophilia crowd who is now sorely disappointed in this post.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Saving ben Win Dan Burns's Saving Ben: A Father's Story of Autism

We're giving away TWO free copies of Dan Burns's, Saving Ben: A Father's Story of Autism. Click HERE to enter at Age of Autism. (If you've any trouble commenting, you can enter by sending an email to

If you don't win, you can order a copy at a 30% discount by clicking, HERE, select "add to cart" and use discount code 3B. You can also order the book at Amazon. Visit Dan's website at SavingBenBook. Here's a letter from the author.

Hi Age of Autism Reader,

I’d like to tell you about my book, Saving Ben: A Father’s Story of Autism. People Magazine called it “A wonderful read that will make parents look at their own children, disabled or not—and find so much to cherish” (Sept 14, 2009).

Other reviewers had this to say:

  • “Powerful and inspirational, filled with and tragedy and triumph, it’s the story of one father's journey to hell to rescue his son from the grips of autism. I could not put this book down.” Nancy Master, AoA reader and mother of a formerly autistic child.
  • “A great read, and inspirational, teaching us that we can overcome obstacles with faith, hope and determination.” AoA reader Lisa Hunter Ryden of the NAA Central Texas Chapter.
  • “This book is not just about autism. It is about struggling against prejudice. It is about trying to access information clouded by egos and stereotypes. It is about fighting an archaic system. And of course, it is about the strongest force in the universe: the love a parent has for a child.” Sylvia Pimentel, AoA reader, moderator of the Sacramento Autism Biomedical Group and parent of two boys with autism.

    Questions or comments? Write to me at For more details, see my website at I hope you enjoy Saving Ben: A Father’s Story of Autism.


    Dan E. Burns, Ph.D.

  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    STEPHEN PARRISH (click that name, it's a link.)

    Remember that name - his book "The Tavernier Stones" is coming out next year. THE TAVERNIER STONES, "a fast-paced story involving a cartographer and jewel thief who join forces to recover legendary, lost jewels and solve an ancient mystery," will be published in 2010 by Midnight Ink.

    Stephen lives in Germany - he knocked my socks off with this post. Please read it, don't be put off if your politics differs - read to the bottom. Get a tissue.