Wednesday, December 21, 2011


So for some reason, this note will not publish to my friends' feeds. I wonder why? I'm trying again by posting it to my blog.

So my kids have always been happy watching Nick Jr, upon which they do not show commercials (except maybe for other Nick shows, but not for STUFF.) Lately, though, they are too grown for the channel. Dora, Yo Gabba Gabba, Max & Ruby, Olivia-- our staples for years-- just not cool enough for my big kids. Sigh.

Now, Sean wants "Cartoon Network". Maia just wants to watch things like Spy Kids (movie) and/or Alvin & the Chipmunks or Mr. Popper's Penguins. (And dear Spy Kids, thanks for teaching my aspie the phrase Butt Head. Love, Me.)
The problem with Cartoon Network is that they show a bajillion commercials for CRAP. Tub Goo that makes your bathtub into a swamp (I suspect it's some kind of gelatin...) faux Build A Bears, those stomper slippers... etc.

And on Cartoon Network they have this lovely little thing:
It's funny. I actually kind of like it. But add repetetive song to kid with Asperger's and imagine someone waking at 5 AM singing this song over and over again. Yeah. FUN!! (NOT).

And dammit, Barnes & Noble, I liked going to the bookstore because Yeah, I had to fight off a few book related toys, especially with Maia, who wants every stuffed animal on the planet. But now I have to fight an entire Freaking SECTION of toys before I get to the kids books. Toys they WANT NOW and MUST HAVE OR THEY WILL DIE!!!!!!!!!!!

Le Sigh. Le Wah. It's the battle of the modern parent, and I understand it, but I long for the innocent days of Nick Jr, and being able to blithely pretend that all those crappy toys out there did not exist.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


the morning is cool
the grass is wet
summer has let go, finally.

the sunlight is somehow slanted
its intensity simpler, soft.

I dreamed of small mice hiding. 
Of water rising and covering everything.
Of my mother, and planting trees.

If there are any fairy tales in this,
they are the kind that do not end with an easy moral.
Kaw  Oct 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I am not in this picture.

That girl is not me.

I've met her, but she never likes me, at

Sometimes, I grow on her.
Sometimes, not. 

I am probably still at home,
obligated. Eternally third place.

I still look for signs that you miss me.
Find none.   
Why did I never notice, before?


It sneaks up on you
the tiniest of moments
the smallest of acts.

and there. again. a broken heart.

the summer heat, the green shade,
the cool splash of water against your skin

but all this and nothing
all this is loss, again.

it's been an entire year of cruellest Aprils,
falling hard into beauty but finding you are not there.

Not there.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


That is my word of the day.  Sitting on my back porch deck under the oh so green canopy of trees that are filled with happy songbirds, my kids playing nearby, the cat flipping his tail in challenge to the boychild who just avoided an annoyed kitty cat scratch.  It's hot, but every so often there's a slight cool breeze.  I've had one coffee and plan to get another soon. 

Our yard is pretty well screened on all sides by jungle-y vegetation-- a very large clump of bamboo, some vine-draped trees, a neighbor's very tall hedge.  In spite of being in a neighborhood known for small, close-together yards, we have quite the estate back here-- trampoline, pool, kid fort, my plucky fish ponds.  At certain cooler times of the year (or, as now, in the early morning) there's just no place else short of being on a white sand beach that I'd rather be. 

It's been a wild and crazy ride the last few years.  Things seem to be settling down a little bit, and I'm hopeful that we can continue to have moments like this of being purely happy with where I am. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Autism Moment # 54,738

It happened again.  And I'm kind of venting, kind of mad, and usually, I don't complain about this but today I've just had it!  I have a sick stomach after I really meant to have a nice, fun lunch with my kids, who deserve to do fun things, too.  We hide in our backyard almost every day. 

For years and years, we did not go out to restaurants.  Sean's behavior would be so unruly, with him making his "stimming" sounds and needing to jump up and wiggle and sometimes his joy at hearing his voice echo so he will repeat a sound over and over again rather loudly, that we just stayed home. 

But in the last year or so, he's gotten to where we can venture out to restaurants that are "family friendly."  We do NOT go to quiet, intimate dining places with hushed whispers & creamy white tablecloths and wine lists longer than an old style yellow pages phone book.  But we do go to places like Olive Garden (which he loves) and burger joints.  And often, I plan our trip there to be just a little past peak lunch time, so it's not crowded. It's just that it is NOT predictable when a day will happen that he is NOT quiet, like he can be. 

Today, though.  We stopped at an old favorite for summer school time that is on our route back & forth the school where Sean is in summer school, kind of across town.  Herby K's is a one of those "character" places with awesome food but not so fancy atmosphere-- sort of like you've gone over to your friend's house and are sitting on their patio (in fact, the part where we like to sit is quite literally the patio of an old house that has been "plastic-ed" in and has AC and plants everywhere and a very long communal picnic bench where everyone sits next to each other, regardless of whether you knew them a minute ago.) 

I haven't been there in a while, but I LOVE their gumbo.  Sean loves that they have sodas in the old fashioned small green glass bottles.  (Maia also loves the gumbo, and the kids' menu which she can color).  We stopped in, got a seat "above" the crowd-- sort of the balcony benches, so, sort of apart from everyone.  I was semi relaxed because the place is noisy, and no one usually gives us a second look.  And usually, because Sean loves it so much, he's kind of on his best behavior.

But this group of people who got there a few minutes before us, a group of maybe 8, caused the "happened again" moment that makes my stomach clench and me to no longer enjoy my lunch out with my good kiddos. 

Listen:  this group was not quiet themselves-- telling loud jokes and letting their very young kiddo play with a fork, then laughing at her when she stabbed herself in the face (?!) and--seriously-- not taking said fork away from the child until she did. it. again.  So it's not like they really had any room to throw stones from their glass house.  I wouldn't have even cared to notice except that the fork stabbing behavior happened after the below mentioned issue, so I was very hyper aware of them.  (Andrew tells me I shouldn't let it bug me but it Just Does.)

But Sean was happy, and stimming a little bit.  This means he was happily jumping up and down to look at the restaurant from our "porch" high perch rather than sitting still on the bench.  And he was eating sugar packets (yes, he spilled one down on the ground before I realized what he was doing, since I was setting up Maia with a game to keep her occupied.)  The only person who really should have cared about that was the waitress, who knows us as regulars, and to whom I apologized & tipped well.

The sugar dropping is when the "turning around to stare at us" started.  The mom (maybe in her mid to late forties) of this group of several young women literally turned fully around FOUR times.  Without, mind you, meeting my glance but just to look in our direction (which was not exactly a normal place for her to have been looking, given that it was only us, and we were up and in a corner away from her.) 

And it's not like he was being THAT unusually loud.  They also nudged each other pointedly a couple of times when he was making noise, and said something in each other's ears.  If he's really being wild, I leave, even if it's a noisy place.  But seriously-- we have a right to be there too.  

I had to restrain myself (and the inner b*tch that comes from my loud, sometimes obnoxious upbringing) from saying "He has autism-- what's YOUR problem?"  or "rudely stare at special needs kids much?"

I mean, seriously.  One look at us would be all you really need to establish that yes, he is behaving a little more wiggly, a little louder, than your average kid.  And I am (apparently) letting him.   (Although sometimes I think that I am even more annoying to those around me with  my attempts to correct him with "Sean sit, Sean behave, Sean don't be so loud").

Because it's impossible to stop him.  Imagine talking your cat into doing a few of the "normal" tricks your dog might be perfectly happy to perform and you've got the difference between an autistic and a "normal" kid. 

Get your cat to fetch, or maybe roll over a few times on command.  That is how it is to talk Sean into sitting still, and not stimming a little bit.  You don't have to turn around repeatedly to ascertain that yes, it's still us, the only other group in the restaurant with you, making all that noise.  (And let me repeat-- they were very loud themselves!) 

This is one glimpse into our world, folks.  It's something that families with autistic kids go through all the time, and I do understand the "neurotypical" person's reaction.  We are a bit odd.  Yeah.  Granted.  But didn't your mama teach you NOT TO FREAKIN' STARE?!

That many times and you're attempting to shame me for my child's "bad" behavior.  You're giving me that look because you think I should "do something" about his noise, his quirky wiggling, his looking at you for more than a second.  His yelps and odd noises. 

All I ask of folks is this:  anytime you see a parent (whether they are neurotypical or not) with a kid that is being "unruly" in your judgement, bite your tongue.  Don't stare.  If you really are curious, ask.  Some parents would get mad, but some are willing to explain.  I get so tired of telling people "he's autistic; he's not trying to be bad".  I think if it were a more physically obvious disability, adult people wouldn't make such a big deal about it. 

Look somewhere else.  You don't have to ignore us (eye contact is just fine, just like with any other human being you encounter in a friendly situation.)

The person you are staring at might be the "clueless jerk" you think they are who is oblivious to their child's behavior or it's quite possibly YOU who is being a little clueless and ruining someone else's lunch, or judging them without enough information.  I know that since I have had an autistic kid, when I see a mom or dad who has a squirmy, yelling kid (of any sort), nowadays, I just leave them alone.  I mind my own business.  Because I don't know WHAT it might be, and I also know that she/he might be just ignoring something they could fix or they might be picking their battles and worrying about the stuff you can fix over the unchangeable nature of their child's life. 

You have no idea how nice it is when Sean is acting a little wild and no one stares at us, and people just go about their own lives and I don't feel like I have to apologize for my family's existence. 

Okay.  Rant over.  Sorry for being so crabby about it but since I didn't want to make a scene in the restaurant, I am writing to the universe in the hopes that this message gets through to at least one person who might think about acting like this woman did today.  Just. 


Friday, May 20, 2011

Music of my wayward youth: AKA What About Prom Blaine?!

There is this radio station on the XM satellite that plays "First Wave" music, which is essentially the stuff we listened to if we were slightly "alternative" back in the 80s.  I didn't LOOK it, but I so felt it.  I was listening to a song that they were playing this morning and it made me think of the soundtrack of that time period. 
Back then, I was prone to heart wrenching crushes on people that I would never tell them about.  I wrote poems and secretly sent them to the crushes and was really kind of shy.  I stayed that way for so long and I think it's kind of funny now, but there were guys who probably had crushes on me and why didn't they ever approach?  I don't know but it was kind of lonely.

I was in drama, and French club, and never had money to do fun things even though I had a serious job, too.  School was way too easy, and yet, I still made Cs sometimes because I didn't bother doing the work.  I loved being in band but it didn't exactly make me the coolest kid, and I never got invited to the fun parties for some reason (I so would have gone, by the way).

I think I identified most with the Molly Ringwald character in Pretty in Pink, and yet I would have dated Duckie instead of the rich guy. 

Songs by Psychedelic Furs, or Simple Minds,   (there's a reason this is my phone ring tone) or the Cult  throw me right into a nostalgic tailspin.  Sigh.  It makes me want to write bad Emo poetry right. this. second. 

Also, Charlie Sexton.  Oy, oy oy!!   I'm all verklempt.  And for some reason, speaking Yiddish. 

But the point here is that for some reason, this tone, this sound, these bands and songs are how I hear my high school years, my young adulthood.  Yes, somewhere in there is Bon Jovi & Duran Duran and even Janet Jackson (one of the first albums I ever listened to nonstop was her Control album.)   Also, Prince plays very heavily on rotation, but somehow in a different way. 

Anyway.  I kind of feel like putting on some Esprit clothes and wandering around a mall listening to my Walkman playing cassettes now.  Or maybe just remembering a time when that's what we did.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Siren Gets a Haircut

Really. She couldn’t explain
it was such a relief
to spend fewer hours
combing through those
salty green tresses
with starfish combs
and pinning
it up with mother of pearl pins.

This short
bob with bangs
made her head feel

She seemed to think more

Like, for example:
why waste so much time
singing sailors
into the rocks?

Maybe, instead, she could
      read a book
      write some poetry
      take a lover
who didn’t
drown immediately.

Learn something
      about the sky,
for once.

Already she could hear
   the strains of
      Revolution in the air.

Kaw.... May 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Fuss: Why I Loved the Wedding Hoopla Today

This morning, because of one glass too many of wine whilst watching silly TV, and my tendency towards insomnia, I woke, in spite of my deciding to blow it off and DVR it, at 3:30 am. I thought "Maybe I'll watch the Royal Wedding Live after all."  I loved it.  Teared up a couple of times.  Ended up feeling glad that I spent the time & effort to watch.

You might ask:  Why?  You're not even close to British, why do you care about these spoiled heirs, their wedding, the pomp, the taxpayers of England's bill?  Why did you spend four hours watching something when they don't even know you exist?  And also?  The princess motif is harmful to most women.  We can't be princesses, and we sell ourselves short if we decide to be "just." 

I am very tired now as a result, because, moms don't get the day off.  Field day, and juggling business needs, and grocery shopping, and gas filling up, all still happened in spite of watching princesses and princes wed in a lavish but somehow intimate ceremony in a place that I have happily walked. (Westminster Abbey was one of my favorite historic sites in London, and I even recognized on the TV one of the deacons or priests or vicars or whatever he actually was... he pointed me to Aphra Behn's grave, actually, which is in the courtyard there. He seemed a bit surprised and also pleased that I was looking for it, way back a few years ago, and I totally recognized him today bustling about.) 

I think my tiredness right now was ultimately worth it.  Why?  For one: I am an English major.  We are steeped like a hot tea bag full of black tea in a pot filled with literature, history, culture, and such.  Chaucer.  Shakespeare.  Virginia Woolf.  Aphra Behn. Oscar Wilde. J.M. Barrie. Arthur Conan Doyle.  Guy Ritchie. Terry Gilliam.

Much of it is British. I am ultimately an Americanist, a Modernist, someone who is filled with appreciation for popular culture, art, and all that makes us the Yanks we are.  But I do love my education.  I am glad to have the history that ties us to that tiny island.  And actually, from my Irish heritage on my father's side, I am about four generations back a British subject.

For two:  it's a wedding.  I like ALL weddings.  I teared up when Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro got married.   I like weddings!!  It is simply super cool and not at all ironic to celebrate love.  Commitment.  Faithfulness.  Hope.  It doesn't ultimately matter if they don't work out perfectly, because who does?  What matters, for a moment, is that weddings renew our own memory of our own special ties, of our own hearts filled with that optimistic leap into the future.

During the ceremony, the main preacher in charge mentioned that,  ALL weddings are royal weddings.  We are all partly touched by that hand of grace, of beauty, of joy.  Even if we step into a Justice of the Peace wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt bought at goodwill, we are participating in a gesture of hope and an abundantly optimistic view of the world wrought of the future.  Whatever happens, for a moment, we are Golden and even Pure.  It doesn't matter if we are not pure or golden in real life.  If we don't spend a lot of cash on the party.  If we aren't actually retiring to a castle where the servants are all small British teapots and talking Gallic candlesticks.

I have seen a lot of cynicism about the wedding.  Hell, I didn't watch on purpose any of the ridiculous media build up in the weeks before (I will admit it was on the TV at the gym, and so I have seen, if not heard because my earbuds were tuned to Charmed, during commercial breaks, a few segments on fashion and hats and the history of the Royal Couple's courtship.) 

I just have to say:  don't be a cynic.  Don't be disillusioned with the way people seem to be enthralled with this event.  If you don't want to watch, that is totally fine. You don't have to love it like I did. It was a damn long ceremony.  And frankly, the British taxpayers I saw didn't seem any more annoyed with footing the bill for the security (the family paid for all the other stuff, by the way) than WE do for an Inauguration ball and security, or a special airplane for every member of the Presidential family.  It's part of the deal. 

The danger of the internet Snark Fest is that you may actually, in trying to be "above it all" and away from the mass of public crowd-i-ness, actually miss the reason some of us are watching because I try to say nice things as often as possible.  So here is my nice thing:

Ultimately we really are all Princes and Princesses of our own little domains.  Even if we grew up in a trailer park or two (as I did) we have a moment where we are a princess.  I had my day of bride-zilla ness.  I don't think I was that bad, and my dress was bought at a consignment shop and my sister and Grandma catered my wedding.

And yes, my little princess won't wear a real diamond tiara, (she's more likely to own combat boots) and she won't preside over state dinners, (but she will grow up knowing which fork to use and basic rules of etiquette) she will go to college and learn about the world.  And maybe she'll stay home and raise her kids in an old fashioned way, or maybe she'll work and have a stay at home dad. 

And, like the two folks who got married today, I hope she will try her best to make the world a better place. 

And my little Prince will respect his wife (and all people).  He will not be too caught up in himself to notice that other people don't have it as easy as he did.  And he will be kind, and listen to those who love him, and he will try to learn from the mistakes of others. 

And I hope my Prince will try to make the world a better place, too.

Prince William has spent a night on the streets of London as a homeless person.  I haven't.  He didn't have to.  He has gone to Kenya and done environmental "missions" that are not the "pampered elite".  He lost his flawed but beloved mum when he was 15, in an incredibly public way, and as a result, has seemed to learn to take it slow and steady himself.  Harry has escorted a wounded soldier back from Afghanistan in a pointless war that hasn't ended.  He might be kind of a doofus, but he seems like that guy you knew in high school who screwed stuff up and partied a bit too much but ultimately was someone you could call if you had a flat tire on a rainy day.   Catherine seems committed to being a good person, and she is not a blushing virginal bride sucked into the abyss of breeder-hood and naive lies.  I actually don't know that much about her, to be honest, but the fact that the couple lived together, that her mom seems to be a pretty damned tough cookie who took her family from coal miner to Royalty in three generations is pretty fucking impressive. 

I don't know what they will do with their power, but in the prayer that they wrote, they seem committed to being good public servants.  I hope they will live up to what they asked today.
God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.

In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.
There is a good lesson to be learned in that prayer.  Whether you are British or not, whether you are an anti-establishment type or not.  Whether you are Christian, Buddhist, Atheist.  We should all strive to: Serve.  Love.  Focus on what is real.  Share Joy and Love.  Appreciate your family.  Be generous.  Comfort others. 

In that light, why would I NOT want to watch a day of parties and joy, whether I am British, Martian, or what?

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I have written a similar blog, long long ago (it usually comes in election years) about this but couldn't find it today to link to, so I'll just do it again. 

I am a Third Wave Feminist, a "Born Again Pagan," a radical wild dandelion tribe woman, a dancer & writer and many many other things.  One of those things includes being a (pause for effect) Republican.

Right now, the elected government has been being a pain in the butt.  The threatened government shutdown that luckily is not going to happen because they pushed a last-minute budget through (see what they can do when properly motivated?) has been stirring the pot.  But honestly....the reason why they finally compromised is because BOTH sides of the party aisle were being doody heads who wouldn't compromise on issues on which this country is going to have to learn to compromise.  Our budget is not healthy, and we collectively need to figure out a way to make it work.  I am not a financial genius, but there are plenty of them out there and we need to figure this crap out, and not make a ridiculous grandstand issue that makes us look like a bunch of fighting children.

But more to the point.  I have been a Republican since I registered to vote for the 1988 presidential election, a newly minted 18 year old voter.  Let me tell you, even then I didn't vote "party line"  and the candidate for president that I voted for didn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of winning.  I voted for him anyway.

I didn't really know the difference back then (thanks a lot required Civics and American Government course that didn't really teach me anything.)  But the definition of Republican as "the party that governs LEAST" was appealing to me.  I don't think the government should be all up in anyone's business.  Especially personal, private business.  I also don't think the government should lean towards a social platform that aims to "fix" every social ailment by throwing (our, voters) money at it. 

I am crazy progressive on where to throw that money though.  Kids in this country should not go hungry.  They should get medical care.  They should be able to go to school, a good school, where teachers are well paid and respected.  If anyone in this country, whether they are a drug addict or model citizen, gets sick, they should be cared for by our medical industry without penalty, and at rates that are really affordable, and don't put them into debt forever.  I don't believe in handing out money willy nilly to adults who refuse to work, who spend that money on "welfare Cadillacs", either.  I am a "teach a man to fish" kind of person. 

I am pro-choice, pro-gun, pro-rehabilitation of criminals Majorly Pro Peace, anti-Imperialism. Pro-kick butt when necessary.  Pro Love, pro-John Lennon.  Pro-marriage of ALL kinds.  Pro-yoga, pro-attachment parenting, pro-healthy environment, pro-alternative energy research.  Pro-capitalism, making the free market direct research and progress. 

Now, to quibble a bit: I'm not entirely sure about the death penalty, though I know if someone killed, deliberately, someone I  love, that pro-gun part of me would want to take that someone out.  I said above I am pro-choice, but I have to admit that I am not especially fond of abortions.  I would like that option to be there, safe and legal, and don't think you should have a vote if you don't have a womb.  But I would like it to be a last ditch one for desperate moments... we should focus our energies on preventative measures, and also, on CHOOSING adoption and spend more money at making sure the children in our foster care system are truly cared for, and not just a paycheck for someone who isn't really caring for them.

Now.... all those things said.  I do not like the direction some Republicans go.  I will, given the option, fire their asses.  The super conservative neo-religious right part of the Republican party is not my friend, and I refuse to let them take over.  One of the reasons why that is the case is the reason why I am writing this post.

Republican bashing.  Hate against an entire group of people for the narrow-minded, negative actions of the loudest, most annoyingly squeaky wheels.  There is a reason why "the tea party" is trying to establish its own party, because it is NOT the Republican party.  It's a lot of whack jobs who make a lot of good soundbites on TV and so get reported.  A lot.  But they do not represent ME.  It is not synonymous with my party.

And people who I genuinely like, in trying to fight for rights and fight wrongs, who consider themselves liberal Democrats, but like to call Republicans nasty names.....seriously.... cut it out.

This is wrong, and it hurts my feelings, and I would like to point out the hypocrisy of a group that says they are open minded humanitarians who are bashing and hating on a lot of people THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW.  Replace the phrase "I hate Republicans" with any racial group or women or religious or ethnic group and you can see what you're doing.

I also want you all to know that there IS a voice in the Republican party for intelligent, liberal, thinking.  This is why, after all these years, I stay registered this way, even though for the last three presidential elections I have voted for  a third party candidate because I am SO ANGRY at the two main parties for being more of the same old same old, and offering me kool-aid laced with poison at every turn.

I just hate to see others drinking that poison without questioning their own built in biases.

I do NOT agree with the more ignorant jerkface Republicans who want to set women's rights back, and who want to criminalize miscarriage, and turn women into a walking womb/incubator with no choices.  An that is one reason why I stay registered.  To vote that kind of ignoramus OUT. 

I'm venting, because I want you to know.  Glenn Beck and the hate rhetoric of narrow minded idiots are not MY Republican party, but what party is it that contains those who are calling me nasty names simply because I stay here and try to keep fighting the good fight to bring my party back to the PARTY THAT GETS IN YOUR BUSINESS THE LEAST?  I do not think it's the government's right to tell me what to do on a daily basis, even if it's for my own good. 

Truly open your  minds, those of you who have called Republicans "Repugnicans" or "mean old white men" or "the rich who don't care anything for anyone but themselves."  Please.  And when you want to hate on people, be specific.  I don't mind you hating on the idiots, but try to not lump me in with them.  Hateful bigotry is hate, period. 

If the things you are saying are not actually making the world a better place, if they are making someone sick to their stomach every time they see your posts, then what are you doing in the world?