Category Archives: Isolation Recreation

All-Too Autism Aware

It is April 2nd (or it was when I started writing this) and the annual Autism Awareness Day promotions fly across my social media feeds. They include some very positive and heart-warming testimonials by parents of autistic children. These are beautiful and touching reminders that it is important to say nice things in addition to the complaints that crop up in the day-to-day struggles of raising a child–any child, really–regardless of any spectrum they are on.

But it is also hard to mouth these sentiments when you are worn down to a nub of exhaustion and your nerves jangle from your beautiful child’s explosive and self-injurious behavior. Some days, I struggle to find the funny. I might need to bite the head off of several chocolate Easter Bunnies first. Please stand by.

Bunny-cide. Eating up the rage one chomp at a time.
Continue reading All-Too Autism Aware

To Max in Sarasota, Florida at AT&T

Around this time every year, I go through an annual event which involves dramatics and hysterics in equal measure–negotiating my contract for a better rate on my internet and tv services. Warning, to anyone who does not know me, this story involves cursing–and not just the witch with a cauldron kind.

There’s a lot of swearing. A f*ck-ton, if you will.

Proceed with caution.

Continue reading To Max in Sarasota, Florida at AT&T

Nothing Going Wrong, Please Stand By

I like to describe myself as a humor writer. Someone who looks at the chaos of life around me and finds the funny in it. But, there is something about life in Covid lockdown that suggests I am actually a disaster-seeking opportunist. You be the judge.

Continue reading Nothing Going Wrong, Please Stand By

A Boy, A Book, and the Gulf Between Them

Forgive me, this is a hard post to write and I’d like to do justice to both the joys and the sorrows in their turn. It is a post about discoveries and magical thinking–the good and the bad involved in both. This is about a book–and a boy who will probably never read it. I would separate them, but the two things are inextricably linked for me. It would be like dividing the sun from the moon.

Be warned, as it is written on ancient maps past the edge of the known world: Here be dragons!

***

Continue reading A Boy, A Book, and the Gulf Between Them

Mission GISH-Possible

What have I been up to, you ask?

Oh, not much.

Just…

….GISH….

For the past week I have been making bizarre requests from friends, neighbors (one of whom questioned why I needed an ax and should she be worried, the other who handed me one with no questions) and completely perplexed, but nice strangers.

I’ve traveled for supplies, stumps, wings and more, keeping safe-distance practices during our unusual interactions, all in pursuit of a life beyond the ordinary.

It always starts with a small idea…and then it steamrolls into a massive production. GISH keeps me hopping for days on end until, suddenly, it’s all over and all that is left are the memories.

And the photos.

Let me share them with you now. (Brace yourselves, if you’ve never experienced unbridled GISH, perhaps you’d best be near the fainting couch or have your salts handy?)

Here we go….

Continue reading Mission GISH-Possible

Walking Buck Creek Trail

There was no plan before we left.

We just took off together—as if lured by sirens singing.

Beneath the stars, you steered me to the places that you love,

made mysterious by the flare of rockets red glaring.

Through the cemetery and down the hill

To where the waters waited,

And the path was still and free of people.

We walked along Buck Creek Trail that Fourth of July.

Chasing fireworks just out of reach.

The flash bang of concussions meeting us in the dark.

As slick, silent waters slid past a fallen tree.

Fireflies flickered, semaphore signals, beneath a gibbous moon.

When I was younger, I thought it was called a ‘Gibbon’ moon.

I couldn’t help but wonder…

Do monkeys dance bathed by lunar luminescence thinking it is day?

Or does the Man in the Moon wear a simian grin?

My, how that mischievous moon loomed large.

A low-hanging pendulum ticking in the tree tops.

Playing peek-a-boo behind Earth’s shadow

While the jealous sun searched for its hidden lover.

And as we walked through the humid musk

Of night smells and sulfur from plentiful explosions.

Every inhalation left an acrid taste upon the tongue.

Around each curve we anticipated the next cascade to come.

But we never quite caught the pattern of their detonation.

Overhead, we spied

…A glimpse.

…A spark.

A flickering emanation—a sky lantern floating.

The softness of a scene unmarred until…

BANG!

Followed by an emptiness–ears still ringing.

Eyes straining for a light in the dark.

Then the skies rained down with jeweled profusions.

The distant constellations twinkling in the smokey aftermath.

When the pyrotechnics paused

We waited…wondering…

“Was that it? The last one?”

But no.

A serpentine hiss trailed an invisible propulsion

Launching upward, arcing toward the vault of heaven.

Earthbound, we held our breath in anticipation…

Will it wax with radiance, or fizzle, wither, and die?

Or will it flower, hanging time itself upon a belt of sky?

Silver sparks streak, descend.

Causing seizures of joy in small children.

Cascades of tinsel dripped down from a dark blue heaven.

You laughed and pulled me forward through the night

Following an ever-moving horizon.

You never caught them—the manmade stars you chased.

But then, that was never your goal.

You wandered the night in search of adventure.

Lured by a golden monkey moon winking down at us,

As if imparting a cosmic joke before we departed.

Back through the cemetery we went

Where the little chapel hides in hedgerows

Sparklers briefly crowning the trees in red, white, and blue tiaras.

And there was no tomorrow yet to fear.

There was only the night and the steps we took beneath a silvery moon.

While the fire flies danced to a tune only they could hear…

…in the dark

…on the path

…along Buck Creek Trail.

Back to a Future Past…

I’ve been afraid to state an opinion.

Afraid to rock a precariously tiny boat on very troubled seas.

A friend recently suggested I “Woman up” or, in essence, to stop being a coward.

So here goes:

I am truly terrified of COVID-19. Everything I’ve read convinces me this is a plague of biblical proportions. And that’s saying something coming from an agnostic!

But even more than a highly contagious disease, I am afraid to lose friendships because of COVID-19. So afraid, that I have not asked people to wear masks when I’m in close proximity. Even though I have worn mine in my yard…while by myself…while weeding.

I desperately cling to friendships, even when the cling-ee isn’t that keen on tolerating the stranglehold I have on them. I have lost friendships before. I will likely lose friendships again. Possibly over this. And I truly hate the thought.

I have been a coward; and I’m going to try very hard to stop. But even contemplating telling my friends my position, I’m feeling a welling, choking sensation I haven’t felt for years.

TIME TRAVEL SEGUE–NO, NOT THAT KIND OF SEGUEA BACK TO THE PAST KIND:

I had a job once at a place we’ll aptly refer to asDeepHell University.” It was in the fundraising department. I had a very challenging boss who, in her defense, had a very weird secretary. Me. I was the secretary.

(TRUE CONFESSION: I accidentally read a highly personal email from one of her friends when the I.T. guys accidentally linked my new email to my boss’s mail system–and I read it…and replied to it…at length…because I literally did not understand what the internet was and how it differed from emails.) This happened the very first day I worked there, but the boss forgave me. Kind of.

We managed a rocky half-year of an increasingly challenging relationship. This boss made me nervous. Like cat-on-a-hot-plate-in-a-room-full-of-rabid-pit-bulls, nervous. I took everything she said as criticism or complaints. I felt stupid, clumsy, and unsuited to the job. Everything I heard sounded like blame and hostility. I became so nervous I would plot a course around the entire department in hopes of avoiding seeing her. (Her office was right next to me, but around a corner.) It got so bad, I started doing a thing. A thing I did NOT know I was doing. I started holding my breath. I passed out several times before finally wising up and seeking professional help. I’m lucky I didn’t give myself permanent brain damage via concussion or oxygen deprivation. I have never been so grateful to be fired from a job in my life.

BACK TO THE FUTURE…MEANING THE CURRENT OR PRESENT DAY:

So, if you see me, and I keep a six foot distance from you while you are unmasked, do not be surprised and try not to take offense. Please understand, I am not judging anyone. I am not trying to make any kind of political statement. I’m just trying to make the best choice I can in a very bad time in our world.

I’m supposed to see family tomorrow. They prefer to go maskless. (Apparently they didn’t have the same fantasies about becoming Zorro I did as a child.) I really want to see them but I’m also a ticking time bomb of terror–albeit one with a love of alliteration. It tears my heart in two when I’m faced with this dilemma. I don’t want to be considered a nagging worrywart. And yet, if the wart fits…

So I’m asking them to move the get together into the backyard. And crossing my fingers that I am not dropped from future invitations of this kind–especially seeing as I organized this one. But my family has forgiven flakier behavior than this. [More on this topic in another blog post. I’ve confessed enough for one day. It’s best to spread the crazy out a little bit at a time.]

I’d like to think someday we’ll be safer and these extreme measures won’t be necessary. But that future isn’t here yet. (I’m feeling an overwhelming need to throw in another Back to the Future reference, but I’m coming up blank. You’ll just have to picture me driving a Deloreann and wearing a white, fright wig.)

And for those of you too young to get that reference, here’s a YouTube clip. (Proving I am slightly more technologically capable than my younger self.)

Back to The Future Present Tense–Plague Edition

Do you hate me now?

If you knew that, by catching COVID-19 there is no one who can watch my son, would that make a difference? Any sign of even a cold nowadays, and I lose all the help that comes into my home throughout the week. Help that keeps me from going bat-guano crazy. If I really caught COVID, I would be on my own, struggling to take care of a special needs child and afraid to ask anyone to help because I just couldn’t risk exposing somebody else to the disease.

So I will wear a mask. I will try to stay a six foot distance away. And I will not hold my breath waiting for others to understand. I am scared. For all of us!

In parting, I ask you, my viewing audience:

What would you do if you had to choose between friends…and safety?

What would you choose?

…a question that tempts me to include the following:

Out-of-Focus Musings of a Disturbed Mind

Head Rush

I was complimented recently on my writing, it came via someone with a tenuous Facebook connection. It’s the first time anyone who wasn’t a friend or blood relative (and therefore obligated to like my writing or at least lie to me and say they do) told me they found my writing funny. (But funny in a good way.)

It made me feel, just for a nano-second, what it must be like when famous people get recognized. It was awesome and I thanked him…and then felt like a total fraud because I haven’t given two thoughts to my blog in months!

You can thank/blame him for this post.

Continue reading Out-of-Focus Musings of a Disturbed Mind

….And then this happened

Last night I tried to write a blog post. I was struggling to put into words how I feel about the situation in Minneapolis. The anger that permeates all the news regarding race in our country. The helplessness to change anything.

And then I went upstairs to check on my son and was reminded of WHY you never leave him alone for any reason…

This happened because I told him I was going to cut his hair the next day.

I often wonder whether my son is actually listening to me.

Now I know.

He is listening with a vengeance.

And a plan.

Below is a link on Facebook to my reaction to his styling techniques.

If you are struggling to get through depression or the continuing of Covid-19 isolation, or you could just use a laugh, it is my gift to you.

Also, you won’t be feeling so bad about your own hairstyles now, will you?

I just can’t stop laughing every time I watch this.
How can you NOT love this face!

I GISH, Therefore I am.

I participated in a 24-hour fundraiser this weekend. You might not have noticed me other than by my absence.

I was busy…

Making this:

That is one cake topper, one pizza, and one edible tire constructed from rice crispy treats and homemade fondant. I may not rock, but I certainly roll!
The choice of Star Wars figurines was based in part on what I had on hand, and as an homage to my husband who loved both obscure musical tributes and tiny action figures.

I spent at least five hours constructing my homage to a famous album cover. I thought it was only a cake on the cover. I was certain. And then I looked at the actual album and said…”Oh, shoot.” (Or words to that effect.) But rather than finding something easier, I doubled down on the crazy.

I also took part in a Zombie Teleconference. You can check out the video link or here’s a picture of me on the couch with my son for evidence….of questionable parenting.

Zombie Mommy – Kinda says it all doesn’t it?

I also did this to demonstrate “camouflage in an urban setting with the goal of kid avoidance” skills:

Sadly, yes, that’s my actual laundry pile.

Despite my valiant efforts, the kid found me.

Totally caught! Drat!

The beauty of GISH is in how it pushes you somewhat outside your comfort zone. I didn’t set up a Zoom meet-up, but I participated in three. In addition to Zombie Conference calls, we had a sing-along to The Police classic: “Don’t Stand So Close to Me!” I am now much more impressed with those acapella groups that coordinate a sing remotely. Not one of us could keep time, nor pitch. Sorry Sting.

I juggled, quite badly, with some equally toss-and-catch-challenged individuals. But being good at things isn’t the point of GISH. It is entirely possible to go through a whole weekend and miss the point in the effort to finish just one more task. But I tried hard to pay attention.

For example, when I made this simple poster with my son, you might not be impressed unless you know how hard it is to get my kid with the program–any program. It felt like a Mom-Win. The kind you can feel good about.

This was quite an effort for both of us!

While I am proudest of my Let It Bleed album cover, I am also glad that I tried to do things I am not stellar at.

Drawing, for example. With about an hour left to GISH IT UP, I sat down with my son and he painted his ‘calendars’ while I drew a picture of what my soul would look like as a bird house–with a flame alight inside:

This was my third effort. This was the ‘good’ one.

I know I cannot draw well, but I’ve learned from taking part in GISH that it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to have talent to enjoy doing something. If it brings me a moment with my son, who lives in a hard-to-reach world even if he’s only a room away. It also let me connect with people in other countries and time zones. (This led to a momentary zombie conflict, but it resolved without any brains being eaten.) This is what victory can look like despite being quarantined.

If my shaky squiggles and flowers give me joy, that is reason enough. Art serves the soul. Creativity expands your horizons–even if you can’t leave your house. When we were little kids, we knew the power of a box of crayons and a blank sheet of paper. There are worlds to build and dreams to pursue.

But now, after getting four hours of sleep in 48-hours, I’m ready to “Take a nap. A good one.”

The picture I submitted to GISH.

And this is how I really look when sleeping:

You can understand my reluctance to share it…but it’s too funny not to!

Ordinarily I’d make an effort to wrap this all up with nice tie-ins, but I am literally falling asleep at the keyboard. Instead, I’ll let you know that I would do it all again…but probably not all in one day!

Tire–not as tasty as it looks.

Fondant: a French word meaning your floors will be sticky and covered in sugar, and your cakes will be beautiful but too sweet to eat.