Travel Groove

Liev and I journey to beaches with trimestrial regularity. We breathe in crisp Atlantic breezes while connecting to exotic Wi-Fi servers with passcodes like “relax” and “eenjoy.” Years of beach vacations have blessed us with a comfortable travel groove.

We respect each other’s duties, preferences, and energy levels. I drive and tell convoluted special-interest stories. Liev types, prints and recites our schedules. Most recently, he lettered a giant “Excuse me, I have Tourette’s!” sign for the window behind him since some folks with Tourette’s flip people off as well as curse. A dozen members of the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club will attest to this.

We startle fellow travelers at rest stop vending machines with scheduled disagreements:

“Mama! Give me the quarters! I have to buy us Aquafina!”

“Liev, I want Smart Water instead!”

“NOOOO! Smart Water is a marketing gimmick! Don’t be a fool! You’re wasting our money! We have to buy Aquafina!”

“How about we get Dasani?”

“Oh, okay. Dasani is cool. Can I have starburst, too?

“NOOOOO! Starbursts are too sugary, and you will get diabetes!”

Heh.

Our groove means planning. Smallish totes of noodly soups, cracker assortments, and diverse dry goods nest in a basement corner. Next to them, sit boxes crammed with household tools, electrical components, and trip-only books and fidgets. Not only can Liev and I vanish on a whim, but we are prepared for any apocalypse lasting less than a week.

I sometimes worry my preparedness is excessive. Yet, as we move into our latest efficiency, I spot a desiccated pink dish sponge. It languishes beside an ancient bottle of lemon Ajax dish soap. Hah!  I whip out my new Scotch Brite sponge and green Palmolive in a Purell pump. I am so self-satisfied I whoop, startling a child sneaking behind our cottage.

The giant fan we brought not only drowns out our neighbor’s drinking party but also my son’s expletive-laden reaction to the case of Smart Water I packed.  As I replace the cucumber-overload bar soap with a bottle of Method unscented, I sing a happy song.  I will not spend my vacation semi-distracted by artificial melon residue!

All the toys and books, every sock and extension cord has a special place.  Liev sorts food into the refrigerator and fills ice cube trays as I plop electronics into the top leftmost drawer in our room. We go outside for fresh air and a tension release. Our beer-loving neighbors turn down their music to listen to our three-syllable debate. Liev wants to alert the front desk to the possibility that their ice machines might harbor pathogens.  I want peace and quiet.

“Salmonella! Legionella!  E. coli!”  Liev laments. “Even Typhoid and Cholera live in ice machines! Mama, we could die! It’s a public health issue!”  I know the truth. It’s hot. He’s hungry. Breakfast for dinner will be served and the front desk will receive an adorable, but disturbing note from my nine-year-old. Our neighbors side-eye us but buy their ice from the local grocer.

Fun times and emotional venting go hand in hand because overstimulation does not care. Mind-losing and hysteria are as expected as toilet breaks. So, if you see a mother and child heatedly discussing whether waffles should be eaten like pizza, cast your judgment aside. Cutting food into tiny pieces and forking it into your mouth is hard when you are trying not to shout unforgivable obscenities at nearby giggly teenagers.

Do not think our life hard or sad because we are so different. Most of our moments are double rainbow awesome. Imagine feeling so happy or excited you shout “Holy Cow!” (or a vulgarity of similar import). But instead of it being over the women’s tennis, it’s because waffles are delicious. Imagine never being able to dial that down, even though your brain tells you to chill because everyone is staring.  You learn to either hide from waffle-judgers or to say excuse me over and over again.

Well, life is full of excuse-mes anyway. It’s what you say to be polite when you might bother someone. Our bothers are just unexpected, that’s all. And isn’t the unexpected often delightful?

A Quiet Week Celebrates #AutismPositivity2015

One year ago to the day, I put my mother in a nursing home. I feared she would not last the month, let alone recover and look forward to resuming her life at home. Self-care this year has been the key to supporting my parents and adjusting to a new way of life.

Although my blogging subsided, self-nurturance thrived with art journaling. Simple techniques such as rubber stamping and vintage collaging let me put pictures to my feelings, which in turn spurred words and emotion.

Please enjoy my journey and nourish your own.

Warmest wishes,

sig2

Distance

 

Weight

 

Hips

 

Fly

 

Why

 

Dementia

 

Castle

 

Waiting

 

Pain

 

Resolution

Autism Positivity Flashblog 2015

Austism Positivity 2015

Sometimes we cannot do all the things…
Sometimes events are beyond our control…

This year’s Autism Positivity Flashblog has been shifted to May 15 to accommodate the needs of our team. We hope this will suit you as well! The date change is a lovely metaphor that embodies self-care, acceptance, mindfulness and accommodation in all the best ways… for many of us…

The theme for the 2015 flashblog is:

Acceptance, Love and Self-care

Tell us how you celebrate yourself, your Autistic family, friends or loved ones. Tell us how you celebrate the Autistic community. As you share your stories, art work, and poetry tell us how you integrate self-care into your life.

Let’s start a “tsunami” of positivity to honor Autistic pride, acceptance and love!

Join us in celebrating Autism Acceptance and we will once again flood Google with positive messages about Autism.

For the last three years, hundreds of bloggers have come together in a show of support and solidarity in response to negative stigma. The posts that have flooded in from all over the world have been a beautiful example of the power of strength in numbers. With so much negativity still surrounding Autism and the misinformation and misconceptions that continue to abound, we this year again invite you to participate in an intentional celebration of posAutivity and Acceptance within our diverse communities.

We welcome all of you, anyone who is Autistic, anyone who has an Autistic person in their life, and those who blog about autism to create a message of support, wisdom, hope, and pride to this year’s flashblog by posting to:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NCp1QzzX4jtKP2c-mv6hI0qqOHtaXYV_gzukBkgdAP4/viewform#start=embed

To participate:

  1. Publish your post on May 15th in the following title format: “[Your Blog] Acceptance. Love, and Self-care: #AutismPositivity2015″
  2. Share your post on Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media site using the hashtag #AutismPositivity2015
  3. Add your link to the Autism Positivity website (submit here or above) and grab the badge here.
  4. Share/reblog this message to your blog, page, etc.

If you have any questions, please contact us at autismpositivity@gmail.com

We can also be found on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThinkingAboutPerspectivesAutismPositivity

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/positivityautie/autism-positivity-2012/

Tumblr: http://autismpositivity.tumblr.com/

Twitter: @PositivityAutie

Ableist, They Cried!

Ableist, they cried, and I wondered what they meant. The refrain echoed across the blogs I read, the feeds I followed and the tumbling of social justice writers. What does “ableist” mean? Why are people angry, passionate, and consumed by this word? It feels ugly, like “racist,” but I did not understand.

Concepts confound me. They twist in my brain, making social and political issues abstract, hard to fathom.  Understanding ableism took time.

Dictionary words helped:

ableism (noun) able·​ism | \ˈā-bə-ˌli-zəm \: discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities.

Stories helped more. When I was ten, Dr. Seuss’s “The Sneetches” created my world view.  I can still visualize Mama Sneetch, smug and sneering, walking her child by the no-star Sneetches.

Ableists are Sneetches who consider themselves superior because of their mental and physical health. When people put themselves above others, their actions can demean, patronize, or exclude others. Like a contagion, negative attitudes spread, enabling stereotypes and de-humanizing worthy individuals.

Mama Sneetch

Consider a stutterer and the people who mock him. Is he less of a person because he cannot speak fluently? What about my mother, who tootles along the grocery aisles with her walker? Is she less of a person because she needs extra time to buy her free-range eggs and bruiseless apples?  Of course not.

At our local YMCA, a wheelchaired tennis player hauls an improbable amount of gear up and down the elevator. An ableist would swoop in and collect his gear and roll him to the elevator. A respectful person would ask if he needed help. I asked, and he beamed, “I got it!” I beamed back, “Cool!” In the elevator, an unspoken conviviality passed between us as if we were watching a friend blow out birthday candles.  

That warm moment motivates me to speak out against ableism. Every person deserves respect, fairness, and autonomy.