Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Monday, 31 December 2012

Here's to 2013!

Hard to believe a year ago we were ringing in the New Year in the warm heat of the Mexican sun. *sigh*

Image from Google

Wishing you and your family the very best for 2013!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Here's to a Happy Holiday Season!!!

Lucky me got an early Christmas present last week from my new favourite niece GJ! Imagine my surprise when I opened the box (which I thought was one of R's Christmas presents that I had ordered) and in it was something for ME! Could there be anything better suited???  I think not. At a time when one might have a tendency to have a little too much cheer...this will ensure that I maintain a one glass limit.  

My NEW glass on the left holds an entire bottle of wine!

From our family to yours...have a wonderful, holiday season!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Do you hear what I hear?
#Monday Listicles

I think I may have put on 10 pounds reading everyone’s lists last week. Just in time for the upcoming holiday season. Hmmm…may need to revamp my Christmas list to include more of the “elastic” variety of pants.

For this week’s Listicles we were given three choices.  “10 Holiday Songs” from Rachee and her sister Mrs. RKFJ OR “10 Songs We Love, Hate or Love to Hate” from Stephanie OR a combination of both as our O’Great Listmaster Stasha suggested. In keeping with the holiday season I went with “10 Holiday Songs”. Clear your throats, put your dancing slippers on and get ready for some Rockin Around the Christmas Tree.

1.      The Christmas Song:  Nat King Cole
Who doesn’t know this song although I have to admit it was only recently that I found out the actual title. I mean really “The Christmas Song”???…whodda thunk it.

2.      Feliz Navidad:  Jose Feliciano
This song, which seems like it has been around forever, was written in 1970. Hmmm come to think of it…hardly forever.

3.      Feliz Navidad:  “Boney M” version
Ahhhh the disco era. I remember it well. I loved this version, which by the way for those who are mocking me right now, was THE best known version in the UK and Europe.

4.      Linus & Lucy:  Vince Guaraldi Trio
Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and of course Christmas were marked by the airing of a Charlie Brown special when I was growing up. Pretty sure a lot of the dialogue would not be considered “politically correct” these days.

5.      Jingle Bell Rock:  Bobby Helms
School dances were never very successful at my high school except for the once a year wait for it…Christmas Square Dance. Yup. Square Dance. I know I come across all hip and with it…this just confirms it right??

6.      Little Saint Nick:  Beach Boys
Did you know this song was written in 1963? I always associated the Beach Boys with sun, sand and surfing. Always felt like they were going to break out into a chorus of My Little Deuce Coupe. What do you think?

7.      Happy Xmas:  John Lennon
I have always loved this song. That is all.

8.      Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord:  Boney M
Yes another Boney M song makes my list. You are either with me here or feel free to move along.

9.      Do They Know It’s Christmas:  Band Aid
This song was written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 to raise money for relief of the famine in Ethiopia. The well known "We Are the World" came out the following year.

10.   Home - Christmas Version 2012:  Blake Shelton ft. Michael Buble 
If you only listen to one song in this list, I hope you take the 3:48 for this version of Michael Buble’s original and one of my favourite songs. Here is a clip from Michael Buble’s Christmas Special. He and Blake Shelton performed this duet which they dedicated to all the men and women serving in the Military. Loved it!

Go to YouTube and listen to the original version of Home here and the Christmas version here

Do you have a memorable Christmas song?  Is it from the past or present?  Please leave me your choice and don't forget to head over to Stasha's to see what everybody is listening to.  9 more days... 

Friday, 14 December 2012

A Special "O" Visit from Santa

Sung to the tune of the "Brady Bunch":

Here’s a story,
Of a boy named Riley,
Who was 4 when we found out ‘bout ASD,
Life would never be the same,
It would be different, would be key.

Then came Christmas,
It was so stressful,
Santa was a stranger dressed up all in red,
Loud and jolly,
He was so scary,
Someone who Ri would dread.

Fourteen years would pass before a Santa picture,
Could be done without tears and flaying arms,
Now he laughs and smiles for the camera,
Never dreamt, this miracle at Christmas time!

It’s Christmas time…
It’s Christmas time…
Still 11 days until it’s Christmas time!

Riley's conversation with Santa went like this:

Santa:  What would you like for Christmas?
Riley:   (spoken with R's usual enthusiasm) Frosty the Snowman, Shrek the Halls, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas and Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas.
Santa:  I will see what I can do for you.
Riley:   Yes!  (all happy and bouncing back to his seat)

We heard all about it over and over AND over all. the. way. home. The magic of Christmas never gets old in Riley World and a good thing!  :D

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmas Blast from the Past
#Wordless Wednesday

Christmas 1999
Go for it. You know you want to. Best caption wins...GO!

Christmas 2010

We Riley still has 13. More. Days to "wait patiently"......*sigh*

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Tis the Season of Eating...
#Monday Listicles

And so the countdown begins. The house is decorated, the tree is up and Riley is waiting ever-so-patiently for Christmas. Baahaaahaaa…yea right. As the old Meatloaf song goes Two out of three ain’t bad right?

Bridget came up with this week’s Monday Listicles topic:  “10 Things Food” since "it’s the season of eating right?"  Why yes…yes it is. Where do I begin. 

I love all things Christmas! I remember the magic of Santa growing up, playing Blackjack after Christmas dinner with the adults when we were kids and best of all being able to eat whatever we wanted and not having to worry about those ummm 5 or so…wait…who am I kidding here…10+ extra pounds. *sigh*

So in the spirit of Christmas I am going to take a walk down memory lane with some of my favourite memories of Christmas foods when I was growing up and how things have evolved over the years

1.      Pop and Bits & Bites:  A treat on weekends when we were growing up was “a as in one pop. However at Christmas…the pop flowed freely along with the very seasonal Bits & Bites. Pretzels were the first to go leaving a bowl of undesirable Shreddies. Who even likes Shreddies... well besides G’s brother?!?   

2.      Wine and Cheese:  Now that I am all grown up…wine flows freely and I have discovered fancy-schmancy taste treats like brie and my new found favourite “Applewood Smoked Cheddar”.

3.      Icy Cups:  Who remembers these foil wrappers?  We used to save them, pound them flat and make crafts with them. Stores like Michaels did not exist and if you needed popsicle sticks for that log cabin…get licking!

4.      Toffifay“Toffifay is too good for kids!”  Advertising in the 70’s…it’s no wonder I stockpile these as an adult.

5.      Mixed Nuts:  You knew Christmas was close when the bowl of mixed nuts and crackers appeared. All natural and childproof. 

6.      Pistachios:  The senior-friendly nut. With an increase in age comes a decrease in fine motor skills so back to the basics of using your bare hands to crack these suckers. Salt being an added bonus.

7.      Cabbage Rolls:  My mom used to make cabbage rolls only at Christmas. I guess because she was the only one who ate them. It wasn’t until later that I realized it was not just a Christmas food.

8.      Sweet Potato PieListed as one of the 10 everyday super foods, sweet potatoes have now become one of our turkey side dishes although I am pretty sure it was meant sans the melted butter and brown sugar topping.

9.      Japanese Oranges:  If you were really, REALLY lucky you might find an orange or two in the bottom of your stocking on Christmas morning. Back when I was growing up mandarin oranges came from Japan, were individually wrapped in green tissue, were packed in a wooden box and only available at Christmas time (or that’s how I remember it).

10.  Santa Strawberries:  Something new for 2012! Saw these on Pinterest or FB and had to give them a whirl. So cute and pretty darn tasty too! Yes I made these ones.

What do you like to indulge in over the holiday season?  Don't forget to head over to our hostess extraordinaire Stasha's place to see what everybody else came up with.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

10 Reasons I am an Awesome Autism Mom!
#Monday Listicles

This week’s topic “10 Reasons I am Great” was suggested by Bonny who blogs over at The Bonny Bard. I am sure many of you are thinking this would be a snap for me. Right?  Ummm…haaallooo?? 

Well like Stasha, I was in a panic. My very first Listicles topic was “My 10 Superpowers” which I pretty much nailed I mean…where I shared my not-so-hidden talents. That’s better. Having to come up with even more ways that I am great was a little too much for this old brain.

Since I have been *ahem* neglecting my blog a little lately, I have decided to kill two topics with one post and go with 10 Reasons I am an Awesome Autism Mom! *patting myself on the back*

1.      I still cut the crusts off Riley’s sandwiches and cut them into quarters. Yes I know he is 18. Need I remind you any visible signs of brown are unacceptable and will result in that quarter or likely the entire sandwich being tossed in the garbage.

3.      The first time Riley lied to me I was so excited and wanted to high five him! Did I mention he was around 12?  OK slight exaggeration but not too far off. R is brutally honest and the idea of intentionally lying in Riley World well...does not really exist. 

4.      I answer and ask the same questions over and over and over again. Every. Single. Day.

5.      I shop at multiple grocery stores because R only likes certain brands of food.

6.      I sit in the backseat so Riley can ride shotgun.

7.      “If it’s not too late you will call me?” Whenever I go out Riley likes me to call him on my way home and pick him up McD’s (medium fries in a small brown bag and small sprite with no ice please). The reception when I get home is SO worth the $4.35 every. single. time.

8.      I am constantly offering to buy Riley things because, until recently, he NEVER asked for anything…EVER. I would even buy the same DVDs over and over and over again as gifts because that was all R wanted/asked for. You’re welcome Disney.

9.      I am a short order cook and make R a separate dinner pretty much every night. Thankfully he only has about 3 items on his “menu”.

10.   I am only an awesome autism mom because I have practiced the same things over and over AND over again! Need I say more. Oish.  

  Could you say no to this face???

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Helloooo December!

I can’t believe it has been almost 2 weeks since my last post!  Were you worried???

December has finally arrived which means Christmas in Riley World. Oh joy. Nothing has changed in the patience department for Riley since last year. We STILL get to hear over…and over…AND OVER that it is December and he is waiting patiently for Christmas.

For those new to our adventures it goes something like this:

It’s December. Is it Christmas?  Waits for a response from someone…"No not yet”.  I need to wait patiently.

What do I want for Christmas?  No response necessary as he rattles off his list of desired DVD’s.

I need to wait patiently.  What do I need to wait?  Slight pause but no response required.  Patiently.

It’s not Christmas yet.  Followed immediately by…  Is it Christmas yet?  Not yet.

When is Christmas?  Christmas is in December.  A response is required here so R waits for someone to ask “When is Christmas?”   December 25th.

What do I want to open on December 25th?  Puurrresents.

Pretty sure I will be out looking for some noise-cancelling headphones for MYSELF this weekend and the Magic of Christmas...well that hasn't changed much since last year either.  *sigh*

24. MORE. DAYS.......

Monday, 19 November 2012

Things I Thought about in 2012
#Monday Listicles

For some reason I really struggled with this week’s Monday Listicles topic. Why???  Good question. Kerstin, who blogs over at “Auer Life”, picked “10 Things I Learned in 2012 (Actual Skill or Enlightenment)”. My excuse...I am 52 years old, have had 2 rounds of placenta brain and 6 rounds of chemo brain leaving very few brain cells in which to retain anything new. Thankfully I know all there is to know. Tee hee.

So I am going to put a little spin on Kerstin’s topic and pose some thought-provoking questions/statements in hopes of enlightening us all. Here we go…

1.      When did they change Christmas?  There is no other explanation for seeing decorations before Halloween.

2.      If wine oxidation is a common wine fault…why are wine aerators so popular these days?

3.      Are limes unripe lemons and green peppers unripe red peppers? Think about it…same shape just different colours.

4.      Why when you get older do they call it your “Golden Years”? Wouldn’t “Silver” be better? Nobody I know has golden hair…lot more silver or blue haired seniors out there if you ask me.

5.      Back fat and muffin top is considered a “positive correlation???
I think NOT!

6.      If yuppies are considered to be so much smarter than we were growing up…why do they shop at places like Whole Foods and pay twice as much?

7.      I know this is going to make me sound older than I am *wink*…the terms Social Networking and Social Media. Have you looked up the definition of Social?  Seems to me that most Social Networking or Media is done via email, texting, Facebook or Twitter. What happened to meeting up face to face and NO…Skype does not count.

8.    Aaaaand I got nothing else. 

It has been one of those weeks. Not to worry...I am still shopping for green bananas.  :)

Don't forget to check out what everybody else learnt this year over at Stasha's place.  

Until next time...

Saturday, 17 November 2012

A Glass Half Empty...

My glass has been half empty this week. Every so often things seem to wear me down. The change in weather…could be; added stress of R’s EEG…maybe; lack of exercise…absolutely NOT! Whatever it was…sometimes things are just blah. I am sure I am not the only one out there that has these moments. Right???

I mean the weather has definitely changed. The rain has started and with DST it seems like it is dark most of our waking hours.

Stressed out more than usual? Well if wearing my mouth guard all day is a sign…OK…slight exaggeration but my teeth feel like they are going to crack from clenching so hard. Since I did spend an awful lot of time in the dentist’s chair earlier this year it would suck  be a total waste of money be a darn shame if anything happened so instead I chose to refill my half empty glass.    

G is of the opinion I should reduce my alcohol intake. Yea…like THAT’s gonna happen! I mean I would…only I have worked really, REALLY hard to get to where I am and I am NOT a quitter!  :)

Sure I could probably use more  some exercise to have more energy and of course for fitness. One of the things that I blame for my recent physical demise is this thing called menopause. It sucks! The other is the fact that I detest exercise more than my muffin top and back fat. *sigh*

So until my big girl panties get too small (at which point I will move on to “Granny undies”…you do remember how I feel about exercise right?) I will restock the fridge regroup over the weekend and repair my rose coloured glasses with some duct tape cuz that’s how we roll in Riley World. 

Be sure to come back on Monday and prepare yourself to be enlightened with this week's Monday Listicles.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The EEG Experience

Imagine my relief when out through the doors walked a familiar face…the same technician we had 3 years ago when Riley had the ambulatory EEG done. She was wonderful back then and even wonderfuller (yes I know that’s not a real word) now.

She remembered us. Now this could be taken as a good sign or…not?!? I am going to go with the positive. Humour me. She remembered that Riley liked Winnie the Pooh DVDs the last time we were there. (Yes I know it too was in R’s file…she is still wonderful in my books!)  She had 2 DVDs on the counter ready to go. Being well versed in social etiquette R responded with a “No thanks. I don’t like that.” At least he’s polite. *sigh*  Off she took him to pick out something else. Did I mention how wonderful she was? 

When we finally got settled the technician began to ask the usual routine questions. She started with Riley. “How old are you Riley?”  “I’m 18 years old Leanna.” Wait. What? Who is he talking about?  

She continues. “What grade are you in?” Meanwhile I am frantically looking at her to see how she reacts to being called Leanna. “I’m in grade 12 Leanna (again with emphasis on the name).” That’s when I notice the nametag.

I am not sure how long it had been at that point. Maybe 5 minutes. Possibly 10. Probably somewhere in between. Regardless of how long, for all that time I spent talking with her; looking at her; I was too stressed to notice she was wearing a nametag. Riley noticed. What I am able to “filter” out when I am stressed, Riley takes in. This part (sensory processing) of Riley World is a part that can make it difficult for him to be able to cope at times.

Here is an example of how I can only assume it might feel to be in sensory overload. I remember a memory game I used to play. A tray with a number of items would be brought out. You would look at the tray for a set amount of time then the tray would be taken away. You would then have to try and remember as many items as you could. I feel my shoulders reaching for my ears thinking about it. Now imagine playing that game in a dark, dingy basement with poor lighting; there may be a slightly unpleasant odour in the air; rap music (ugh) playing loudly in the background; oh and just for added need to remember at least 90% of the items. How are your shoulders feeling now???  A little stressed???  This feeling?  I can only imagine to some degree is how it is in Riley World every. single. moment of every. day. I digress. Back to the EEG.

Lovely Leanna. I heart professionals like Leanna. She started by making marks on Riley’s head.  

“Ouch! That hurts!” Lovely Leanna would apologize. R would immediately reply in his sweet voice “That’s OK Leanna.” followed by “Shut up you stupid pencil!”  Replace 'pencil' with other objects in the room. Rewind and repeat multiple times.

Next came attaching the wires.

“Hey! You’re hurting me!” Lovely Leanna would apologize. “Oh it’s OK Leanna.” “Shut up you stupid glue!”  Again…replace, rewind and repeat.

Once again we have come to a new fork in the road. At 18 when Riley is stressed he does not want to be comforted by me holding his hand any more.  He does not want me to cuddle with him any more.  He does not want me to lie down with him any more.  Yes this is a good thing in so many ways (he is, after all, 'physically' a young man) yet I am struggling with how to try and make him feel better? I tried to redirect his attention to the video store and McDonalds (his choice of incentives picked beforehand). When this stopped working I tried saying nothing. I sat beside the bed with my hand on top of the blanket over his hand. It is always a crap shoot with chances of hitting the "meltdown button" getting higher and higher as time goes on. Thankfully we were almost done.

“I’m tired.”  Lovely Leanna would say “I know you’re tired. You can go to sleep in a few minutes.” R came back with “NO! I’m NOT tired anymore.”  Oi-vay.

A few tests to make sure everything was working then it was time to dim the lights and hope that R would fall asleep.

“Shut up you stupid!  That’s stupid!  I don’t want to go to sleep anymore.  This is stupid!”  Again...rewind and repeat. 

In the end Riley did fall asleep. He was more than happy to have everything taken off and head to the video store and McDonald's for a job well done! A small price to pay for a stressful afternoon. I, on the other hand, had a nap and an adult beverage or two when we got home. Results due tomorrow. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Going for an EEG (the Sequel)

Did you know about 1 in 4 autistic individuals may begin to have seizures during puberty? Riley was almost 15 when he was diagnosed as having Complex Partial seizures. He has been on medication since diagnosis and has been seizure free to date.

This Wednesday at 1:00pm Riley will be going in for another diagnostic EEG to see if he is still having seizures as we have noticed some behaviours lately that are similar to previous symptoms. An EEG is the only way to monitor seizure activity before making any adjustments to his medication. 

The first time Riley had a diagnostic EEG it was inconclusive so a 24 hour ambulatory EEG was required (an entire blog post in itself which I will save for another time). In preparation for the EEG, it is best if Riley is sleep deprived as they would prefer it if he falls asleep during the test (something that did NOT happen the last time). This means keeping him up until midnight on Tuesday night and waking him up at 5am. Since his appointment is not until after lunch that means he can go to school in the morning. Lucky them. I have my reasons. No need to judge too harshly here.

We are 2 days away from the test. Time to let Riley know this is going to happen. How do I go about preparing R you might be wondering? Well since this is not his first time; R is 3-1/2 years older and much more cooperative than when he was younger, I am going to start at the most logical point. I go to his visual schedule and add “Lunch at Home” on Wednesday. Yup you read that right. Seeing Lunch at Home on a school day is THE best thing EVER in Riley World. I later added doctor and hospital to his schedule and had a brief chat about it with R who, by the way, was more interested in adding McDonald’s after the hospital to his schedule.

So for tonight we are done talking. The hospital has a great on-line photo book explaining the procedure that I will go over with Riley tomorrow.

I will be sure to let you know how it all goes.  Wish us luck!  

Sunday, 11 November 2012

10 "Fictional" Facts
#Monday Listicles

Fictional = FAKE!!!

Yes…that is what I had at the top of my list this week as a reminder. I admit it. My book club will confirm it. Even after 14 years in a book club, I still have trouble remembering that fiction means NOT real. I get that fictional characters are not real but for some reason I have a mental block when it comes to non-fiction and fiction books. Let me explain. For some reason, in my mind, I relate the word fiction to “fact” and non-fiction would therefore be “not true”. Think about it. Normally anything with a prefix of “non” equates to something not-whatever. Right??? 

Oi-vay. I know...enough already! Let’s move on shall we?  This week Anja who blogs over at Cocalores picked this week’s Monday Listicles topic…actually 2 topics which Stasha is letting us pick between. “10 Things James Bond or any Secret Agent” OR “10 Fictional Facts About Me" (One must be true and you must guess which one)”.

So although I am still not sure if I got this quite right…here is my list of 10 - only one is TRUE.

1.      I prefer water to alcohol…especially wine.

2.      I prefer exercise to sitting around having coffee at Starbucks with friends.

3.      I prefer camping to five-star, concrete, lavish hotels with running water and flushies.

4.      I prefer cleaning the house myself as opposed to having someone else do it.

5.      I prefer to go to a nightclub over spending an evening in with friends.

6.      I prefer grocery shopping to clothes shopping.

7.      I prefer spam to filet mignon.

8.      I prefer 1 ply to higher ply paper products.

9.      I prefer a colonoscopy to a mammogram.

10.   I prefer hot flashes to a relaxing hot bath.

Can you guess which one is TRUE???