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

Monday, 30 April 2012

To ‘I Wish I Didn’t Have Aspergers': #AutismPositivity2012

The Autism Positivity Day Project: 
"We are asking every blogger in the autism community to write a message of positivity to #IWishIDidntHaveAspergers. So that next time that individual (or another) types that sad statement into Google, he or she will find what they need – support, wisdom, and messages of hope from those who understand."

From Our Adventures with Riley: A pseudo-Haiku poem for you

Life is not easy
Even for those who pretend
They may feel alone

Typical can change
There is good reason for this
No one is the same

Where it all begins
Look in the mirror to see
There is always hope

Together we can
With unconditional love
Make a difference

Written by:  Riley's Mom

Sunday, 29 April 2012

"My 10 Superpowers" (Monday Listicle)

I was reading a post over at My Whac-a-Mole Life (see...look over on the right again and you'll see I follow her too) and decided to also jump on the band-wagon of linking-up over at The Good Life for "Monday Listicles".  Well I think this may be my second link-up only this time I actually had to think of something to write.

The topic for this week "List 10 things you really like about yourself, things you are good at, your super powers!"  Here's mine:

1.      Purchasing wine.  I have the ability to go into a liquor store and scan the racks with lightning speed and accuracy for a bottle in my wine “bracket”. I don't discriminate therefore no country is overlooked however anything Chardonnay will be bypassed.

2.      Opening Wine.  (Images taken from Google.)  It has taken many, many years of research and practice to be able to become as proficient as I am at opening wine. So as a service to my readers, I am willing to share my knowledge to make life easier for those starting out on their journey.

This particular opener is for the Novice/Beginner. 
It is called the "Wing" corkscrew and is easy to 
to use and takes little effort.

Couldn't wait to learn how to use one of these babies.
Especially loved the sound of the "pop"!
After about 5 years using the "Wing" opener,
I graduated to this model.

I believe this was the next generation.
The "Self-Opening" Corkscrew.
Never particularly cared for this one
as it took an awful lot of twisting.

Next up...the "Lever".
This rig came with a cutter and stand.
No twisting required just coordination.

Finally for people on the go...
the "Travel" Corkscrew. Use
in cases of emergency only as
this one requires raw, brute strength.

3.      Tasting Wine.  I by no means consider myself a wine “Master” or “Sommelier” yet I’m confident I can twirl a glass with the best of them. I refrain from spitting it out as I do not think that is very ladylike and well haaaaalloooo…how wasteful is THAT!!!

4.      Drinking Wine.  My timeline in pictures (also from Google images).

Once upon a time, there was a girl who
lived in a cave. One day in her late
teens she was introduced to the
elixir of life (aka "Nectar of the Gods")
Life for her would never be the same.


She was a quick study and soon
developed a  more discerning palate.
"Real" wine however, would require a tool from number 2 above.

Moving out and learning to live on
a budget meant getting the most
bang for her hard earned buck.
Quantity over quality was her motto.


Travel to far away places (we're talking the United States, after all...she was on a budget) were on the horizon. "Baby" bottles and environmentally-friendly  packaging was discovered.

Finally at age fifty-something she
found her soul mate Kim Crawford.
As much as they would like, they only
 get together for special occasions.

5.      With superpowers like 1-4…is there need for anything else?!?!

Monday, 23 April 2012

"Who's on First in Riley World?"

Conversations in Riley World can sound a lot like the Abbott & Costello skit “Who’s On First?”

This first instalment of “Who’s on First in Riley World” involves lunch at school. On the days R goes to work experience he will take a sandwich for lunch as it’s a little quicker than cooking his lunch. Now by sandwich I mean 2 slices of white bread, 1 paper thin slice of deli ham, turkey or chicken that you can pretty much see through if you held it up to the light and absolutely no condiments what-so-ever. Doesn’t exactly make your mouth water now does it?

Of course there must be no visible signs of crust or any remnants of brown along the outer edges of the bread. Although R is in the routine of having ham on Mondays and turkey or chicken on Wednesdays, we found that with such a thin slice of meat there is actually no taste involved, have resorted to basically lying to him by only buying one type of meat for the week and continue to tell him it’s ham on Mondays and turkey or chicken on Wednesdays. Yes I know this is terrible; no, he has not said anything and yes we will probably go to hell for it.

When K (another “extended” member of our family) first took on the task of sandwich making/eating with R, we decided “the incentive” (aka McDonald’s medium fries in the small brown bag and a small sprite with no ice) would definitely be required. Riley would be asked to eat his sandwich “nicely” (no yelling or hitting the table) and he would not be penalized for the dry heaving and gagging we’ve come to expect when R tries new foods. Luckily McD’s is a major incentive for R and when he “earns” it, he is most proud of himself and will be the first to wholeheartedly share his accomplishments. Yes we are most definitely going to hell.

Apparently he has not been eating his sandwich “nicely” at school of late and so once again “the incentive” has been put into play. The conversation went something like this:

R:      (all excited coming in the house from school) I ate my sandwich nicely!!
Me:   Great job!
R:     Thanks!
Me:   Did you really eat your sandwich nicely?
R:     (looking a little sheepish) Yes (nodding his head)…I ate it nicely. (trying to sound convincing)
Me:   Or did you throw your sandwich in the garbage?
R:     (in his sad voice) I threw it in the garbage.

At this point, G pipes in.
G:      How many pieces did you eat? (G cuts his sandwich into quarters)
R:      I ate 4 pieces.
Me:   Did you eat 4 pieces or 2 pieces? (Again, I question his answer and offer him a choice of answers as often times he will just repeat whatever the second choice is.)
R:      I ate 4 pieces.

So at this point we’re pretty sure he threw 4 pieces of his sandwich into the garbage after eating it “nicely”. Oish.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Going to the Dentist

Over the last two weeks or so I’ve made 3 trips to the dentist with still more to come. Oh yay. Yesterday was particularly fun…a root canal.  :(  Now I know you hear horror stories about having a root canal. Well if it wasn’t for the fact that I am a total white knuckle scaredy cat…things actually went OK. I must confess that it has been over ten years since I have been to the dentist and while I could justify it, it really is irrelevant to my story.  I will, however, add some visuals for effect.  (Note:  All images are from Google Images)

How I most definitely did NOT feel!

How I actually DID feel!

How I probably looked...a not-so-young, 
scaredy-cat with a double chinAlthough you can't see
the white knuckles...note the closed eyes.  Oish!

So as I sat there gripping the arms of the chair until I had no feeling in my fingers, eyes closed, holding my breath…I pictured Riley in the dentist chair, arms crossed across his chest sitting “calmly” (ie. NOT screaming at the top of his lungs while scrambling to get out of the chair) getting his teeth cleaned.  I.KNOW!  Well…not so fast people. It’s taken two times of having to be put under…knocked out…we’re talking general anesthesia here; multiple trips to the dentist just to visit; still more trips just to sit in the chair; progressing to counting his teeth before finally being able to gain access to his mouth to actually “clean” his teeth. Thankfully that's all that's been required so far. I don't mean to sound discouraging for anybody just starting out yet to be realistic, this process has taken many, MANY years! 

Yes this felt like torture (for both R and me), was exhausting, and stressful. I also remember having coffee with another mom whose son also has autism and had to be put under for some dental work at the same hospital that Riley was going to go to. I’ll never forget her telling me how she had met some parents whose children were there for various health issues and how she felt, sheepishly saying her child was there to “get his teeth cleaned”. It was a reality check for the both of us.  Our boys were and still are, for the most part, happy and healthy. Yes we have our challenges yet somehow our challenges seemed pretty insignificant compared to those parents whose children had life-threatening illnesses. As one of my favourite quotes by T.H. Thompson and John Watson goes; "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

It really is a matter of perspective isn’t it?  I guess I'm gonna just have to suck it up for my upcoming visits to the dentist. I think I will use Riley as my role model for this one.  :)

Think about it...D

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Monday, 16 April 2012

"IDIOSYNCRASIES"...can you relate?

There are some great #hash tags out in Twitterland associated with autism. One of the first ones I came across and wrote a post about was #youmightbeanautismparentif. I found the tweets under this category put a smile on my face, were touching, cute, painful, profound, and some roll on the floor laugh my a**off funny (of course those were the ones I gravitated towards).  :) I think you could even say that that particular hash tag went viral with tweets coming from the autism community around the world. Some of the tweets brought back memories and even more, made me realize just how “common” some of our kids’ “differences” could be.

There is something about connecting with someone you have never met but who has experienced the exact same thing that is comforting. So I thought to myself…maybe there was somebody out there that could relate to some of Riley’s ummmmm “idiosyncrasies” who thought only their child had them. So here are just a few of R’s latest ones that come to mind.

1.      Person specific vocabulary:

Depending on who you are Riley has specific words that you can and can NOT use with him.  For whatever reason, certain people are only “allowed” to use certain words.  If you were to use an “unacceptable” word, he will correct you EACH.AND.EVERY.TIME without fail. There appears to be no rhyme or reason as to why although I’m sure if R could explain, it would make perfect sense. The words can change at any time. Some are short lived and even though others have been around for years (I am serious here), I personally can’t seem to remember MY restrictions until the word is halfway out of my mouth and before I can correct myself, will be busted by R. Here are a few examples.

R does not like me to say the word “alright” as a response.  He will immediately comeback with “just say OK” or “try and say OK”. After I correct myself he will respond with “that’s better”. I can pretty much answer with anything from yes to the cow jumped over the moon just so long as I don’t say “alright”. Go figure?!?!

If G refers to Riley by anything other than “Buster” (a nickname G calls R) these days, he will be corrected. Riley only started insisting within the last year or so.  More recently R has taken it even further and actually tried to sign his name as Buster at the DMV.  Don’t panic, we were not there for a Driver’s license but for a provincial ID card. We are still recovering from driving with J2 when he had his Learner’s license. Oish! 

Uncle Stewart can only be referred to as Uncle Stoo (with an emphasis on the ‘oooo’). Again his response is “just say Uncle Stoo” or “call him Uncle Stoo please”. This, however, applies to anybody within earshot.

2.      Three servings at meal time

Certain foods he likes to have in 3 servings; his chicken noodle soup, Mr. Noodles with “no seasoning” (remember he doesn’t like any visible signs of the green flecks) and perogies.  Hot dogs do not fall under this category and well, that pretty much covers his entire diet with the exception of a few other less desirable foods which he would prefer to eat in one serving and be done with.

3.      Then there’s walking:

J2 noticed about 3 years ago when they were walking to school that Riley would adjust his step to make sure he was exactly in step with him (ie same foot forward at the same time). We were quite intrigued when this first started happening. Later we would do a little shuffle step to see how long it would take R to notice…uh that would be pretty much immediately. Yah yah, sounds mean but come on…seriously???  R would find it amusing until about the fifth or sixth time.  :)  The real challenge would come if he walked between me and G and the two of us weren’t in sync. HA!    

So does your child have any of the same or different “idiosyncrasies” as Riley?  What are they?

Image from:

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Bless Your Heart...the Northern Way

Having recently returned from a 5-day gal pal weekend away it appears my brain has STILL not arrived so I’ve been madly looking for something…anything that I have even remotely started writing to post. Let me just say in advance…I’m sorry. I had totally forgotten about starting this post (it’s been sitting in my draft folder for months) until I was reading a blog that I follow over at “Bubble Gum on My Shoe” (look over to the right sidebar under “Blogs I Follow”…see I do follow her) and it twigged my brain.   

Anyways, one of the things I’ve found that would, and still can, be difficult at times is trying to stay positive when I am feeling overwhelmed from all the information I am trying to absorb, especially when we were starting our adventure into Riley World. Then came school. After 5 or 6 years of trying to navigate the world of special needs within the school system, one might begin to get jaded or negative. I think it was around that time I started to acquire an appreciation for a really good, ice cold martini with a twist. Tee hee.     

One of the strategies FG (Fairy Godmother) and I used when we were feeling particularly cranky or frustrated was that if we were to preface any comment with “Bless his/her heart”, anything we said after that could not be perceived as malicious, negative or down right rude. When repeating said comment to anybody else, the translated version would be used at all times.  eg.  “Bless his/her heart…what a stupid idea” would translate to “Gee, at least they’re trying” or “Bless his/her heart…are you f*ing kidding me” would translate to “Wow…I would have never thought to try that.”  Get my drift??? 

While reading Cari's (I like to think we’re on a first name basis...well...actually it's just that I don't know her last name *wink*) post "Kiss My Grits and Bless Your Heart", I realized we weren't really using the saying as it was intended.  After all here was a real, live “southern belle of sorts” (her description not mine) who “was raised in the South, y’all” explaining the meaning and appropriate time to use the southern saying. I don't think FG and I ever quite mastered the “side tilt of the head and the little brow scrunch" either. *sigh* It did work wonders for my sanity and always made me look like I was in control even when I was ready to rip out my hair.  

Go ahead…give it a try, just make sure both parties are on the same page as to whether or not you will be using the intended meaning (last chance to link over to Cari's post) or an "adapted" version of the saying. Hey, at least we refrained from saying "Bless his/her heart eh?"  :)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

I'm Going South...

In about 30 minutes I'm heading south with 4 gal pals for some sunshine, shopping and sisterhood bonding.


Do you remember waaaaay back when?  The days of playing outside until the street lights came on...the signal it was time to go home.  A day at the lake in the summer time jumping off a raft in the middle of the lake even if you could barely swim.  Ah yes and remember those beautiful bathing caps...

Birthday parties with games like musical chairs, pin the tail on the donkey or just dressing up...

Then came vacations away to tropical beaches, lathering ourselves in baby oil for the ultimate tan.  
No such thing as sun screen back in the good ol' days. this wasn't exactly us.  HA!

Every night was a weekend in our 20's...

Then we hit our 30's and started our own families.  We were all quite content to enjoy each other's company over dinner or a movie as long as it was without our kids.  :)

Don't know what happened to our 40's...our 50's just seemed to appear.  It's almost as if we wanted to start reliving our youth.  Having fun in the great outdoors...naturally...'s a slippery slope my friends.  

Soon dressing up for a night on the town will take on a whole new meaning...

I look forward to forming our own chapter of the "Red Hat Ladies"...

let's just wait a decade or two shall we???

Gotta love them...

See ya next week!

* All images were taken from Google Images

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

"Harmony" on #WordlessWednesday

Homemade Fresh Daily at Harmony Donuts - A North Shore Icon

Monday, 2 April 2012

I'm going GREEN this month

No I haven't gone all eco-friendly although I do recycle now.  But I am going "GREEN" this month and here's why:


Blue + Yellow = GREEN
(Two colours close to my heart)