Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

May the year to come find blessings, and joy; forgiveness and peace; contentment and strength of will. But more importantly may our children, and we, find acceptance and love from our fellow travelers on this great human adventure called the planet Earth.

Auld Lang Syne was written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788. That's why the version I chose was played by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. You don't get more Scottish than bagpipes and the highlands. For more information about the history of this song go HERE.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne* ?
For auld lang syne, my jo (or my dear),
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes,                                             
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
and gie's a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

Until next time,

Happy New Year,

In Scottish Gaelic you say...."Bliadhna Mhath Ur" pronounced "bleenæ vah oohr."


Friday, December 30, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

It's Official- My Life is an Episode of The Big Bang Theory

Note: Clicking on most of the links in the post will take you to snippets from TBBT.

OK we love Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Howard (yes even Howard), Penny, Bernadette and Amy. Nope don't like Pria not one rupee. Not because she replaced Penny in Leonard's affection, but because quite frankly, she is an insecure bitch. Listen when I first started dating my husband an old girlfriend of his used to call to say hello. I had no problem with it. I talked to her and was very friendly. I knew quite frankly that my future hubby adored me and that noone was going to come between us. (Yes, after awhile the old girlfriend did stop calling too.) I do tell the boys that if you are dating someone who is so insecure in your relationship, you need to get rid of them. They should trust you. Trust is a major component of any relationship and if there is none there, there is no basis to move forward-hormonal attraction notwithstanding. But I digress...

So anyway, we continually watch The Big Bang Theory reruns. We have all the seasons on disc and when we can't find anything else to watch, which even though we have 1000 TV channels is really most of the time, we resort to TBBT. We have our favorite episodes of course...the first season when Penny gives Sheldon the napkin with Leonard Nimoy's DNA. The time Sheldon couldn't figure out the graphene wave and hid in the children's ball pit. All the episodes with Sheldon and Leonard's mothers (two very fine comedic actresses). Sheldon and Amy's rather unusual relationship. I also like the growth of the characters in the show, especially the Penny Posse. I like that Penny has gone from valley Nebraska girl to being friends with the kids from the nerd table. I like that Amy has developed some sort of social life and Bernadette, is just so freakin' adorable.

My boys actually see themselves in the characters. Well they see themselves in Sheldon. CM1 has taken to knocking three times whenever he wants to enter a room. CM2 is anal retentive when it comes to language and correcting everybody. (Honestly that's not an emulation of Sheldon that is really just how he is.) CM2 is also very didactic, and if you talk about computer games, watch out. He may not like physics in the theoretical sense, but he certainly won't let anything he considers to be ill-information pass as unredressed. CM1 also seems to like to sit in a certain spot and reminds everyone where that spot is. CM1 also, like Sheldon, cannot let an idea go without resolving the problem. His latest Holocaust class may be over, but woe to anyone who doesn't want to discuss man's inhumanity to man.

I am not sure when my life actually morphed into a TV sitcom, but I can tell you that we definitely live there. Last night at dinner CM1 brought up the subject of gamma rays and Bruce Banner. How it is totally illogical and wanted to know just what was Stan Lee thinking? Apparently gamma rays in any true amount would not have changed Banner into the Hulk, it would have melted all his internal organs. We did try to explain to him, that Stan Lee probably just picked some scientific idea out of thin air and applied it to a comic book hero. That is all. He could have just as easily picked x-ray rays or neutrinos. Hulk agreed...Moving on....

The we started guessed it... Spock. "Live, long and prosper," to be exact. The boys kept seeing who could make the Vulcan symbol the best. CM1 could only do it with his left hand. I could do it with my left hand too, just not so easy with my right. CM2 was ambidextrous and hubby couldn't do it at all. I then regaled the boys with the story about how they came up with the sign in the first place. (Yes, I am a huge Start Trek geek and do know this one by heart.) Leonard Nimoy, being Jewish, knew of a symbol that the rabbis used to bless the congregation when the Torah was removed from the Ark on everyday but Saturday. The rabbi would make a hand gesture in the shape of the Hebrew letter shin, which is the first letter in the word shadai (another name for God). So that's where the Vulcan symbol of peace comes from. OK, cool. Not bad. The boys were impressed. Moving on....

CM2 piped up with his own comicbook story issues...this time about Spiderman and Mary Jane. Apparently at some time in the storyline, Spiderman and Mary Jane are married. But in order to save his aunt's life, Spiderman had to give up his marriage to Mary Jane. CM2 was annoyed because he thought the storyline stupid. That it was used only as a "theatrical device" (his words) to get them to break-up to continue the story of Spiderman. Something more about evil corporate greed and the underhanded manipulation of society.

He is in college afterall and that is the point in your life, you have to believe in the "evils" of corporations and capitalism. Of course as with most college students he doesn't work in the reality that if he didn't have money he wouldn't have an education, computer or video games, never mind food, clothing, shelter, doctors...well you get the idea.  Of course we do fix that little bit of oversight regularly....Heaven forbid we could have escaped this developmental stage of cynicism, knowing-it-allness and taking to heart too much of the unrealistic, illogical, economically unsustainable  crap he is fed  in school. As I have mentioned before, the easy part of development we don't get, the stupidity that gets picked up by kids, that we get to deal with.

I mentioned that Aunt May would probably be glad to have died if she knew that her living would have ruined Spiderman's chance for happiness. Hubby chimed in that the choice wasn't Aunt May's but Spiderman's. CM1 was annoyed that we weren't talking about the Hulk anymore. CM2 got really mad because we weren't actually discussing his theory of dishonest comicbook writing and manipulation of comicbook readers. He was additionally insulted that anyone would use so transparent a  writing technique.

The interesting part of the conversation is how hubby and I actually joined in and began to discuss these Spiderman issues as if these were real situations. We took the conversation and topics very seriously. I think mostly because to the boys these were real topics.

I am glad that the boys have something to talk about. I am glad that they are practicing social conversation. What is not good is when they get upset if you don't agree with them with how the "comic" story should have turned out. It's not that they don't know its all fake. It's not that they don't know that they are talking about comicbook characters. Yes the issues are real to them and the topics very compelling. However, I think our next lesson, is learning how to mitigate when to get upset and when not to. Every topic is not  overarching, life-effecting, or life-changing. We definitely need to work on topic differentiation and  emotional investment.

There is, without a doubt,  always the upside to arguing about comicbook characters. At least for a few brief minutes, they stop worrying about the bad things that can happen in life (Holocaust, terrorists, wars, politics, economy, etc)...Of course there is The Big Bang Theory episode when Sheldon and Leonard do get robbed. We do have a security system, so, so far so good. However,  I definitely see an electrified net at some point in my future too...but you will NOT  find us moving to the very North Midwest ever. With all due respect to Boseman, Montana, and its sister cities throughout the great American Plains....its freakin' cold there. 

Live long and prosper.

Until next time,


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Kudos for a New Approach to Bullying

I have to give kudos to a Massachusetts school district which has outlawed celebratory birthday party clothing in school. Now what does that mean? It has become de rigeur especially in middle school parties, to give out party favors with the birthday child's name on the t-shirt or hoodie. The children who attended that party would wear the party favor the next Monday in school. I remember as my boys went through middle school and there were myriads of bar and bat mitzvahs, the children would wear the "party clothing favors" the following Monday to show everyone which celebrations they had been invited to. Of course, my children never got to wear any celebratory clothing as they were never invited to any parties.

When your child  is bullied, alienated and ostracized by their peers, the idea that your child's aloneness is even more pronounced at times can come as a devastating reality to your child and yes to you as well. The idea that other children can torment your son or daughter in just one more way is hurtful, harmful and psychologically destructive. It has been acknowledged that those who are chronically bullied suffer from a form of PTSD. In our house we have first hand knowledge of this phenomenon, because we are certain that CM1 suffered from PTSD for years after he left our school district. It took years of therapy and understanding to get him to come out of his shell and to think that there may be human beings out there who could be kind to him.

It has already been proven that 95% of those with aspergers or an autism spectrum disorder report that they are bullied in school. More than 75% of all students report that they have been bullied at some time in their educational life. The idea that there is some way to mitigate this nasty tendency among their peers is welcome.

So here I am watching Fox News Saturday (yes I like Fox News don't start heavy breathing), its Christmas Eve Day and they have a discussion about this ban on party favor clothing. Here comes along this mommyblogger, ElizabethEsther, to say that she thinks the ban is a bad thing. Children need to learn to persevere. They should in essence buck up and deal with it. It will give them a real world view on how to handle problems. Of course, the psychologist on the program explains about the alienation and the tendency to use the clothing as a weapon in bullying. He explains that school is NOT the real world and it should be a safe place for everyone.

So I send the mommyblogger a tweet:

you have never had a child ostracized, alienated or bullied. For a person who invokes God u lack compassion

Needless to say she was rather incensed. Told me her child had been bullied and that she never said she had God on her side. (which is not what I said). I told her that her lack of compassion was upsetting.

She then retweeted my tweet so all her followers could harass me. I guess God fearing people can't be told they are wrong. Would you believe there are people coming to her defense. Apparently if you don't allow children to be bullied they will turn into OWS members. Seriously, got that tweet from one of her tweinds.

Someone needs to tell this blogger and her followers that Lord of the Flies is not a parenting how-to manual, but a warning about children and their propensity for ostracism, alienation, and the cruelty of bullying.... Its a warning that adults do need to intervene in their children's lives,  teaching children right from wrong, ethics, morals, compassion and acceptance. Yes it is also a major allegorical story, but it has upfront lessons to teach as well.

By the way, Merry Christmas. I believe this is the birthday of the Lamb of God.

What do you think? Or better yet, what would Jesus think?

Until next time,


UPDATE: By the way I just had an additional thought. 

Just because you don't think or know that you are bullying someone doesn't mean you are not. As I mention continuously, we love The Big Bang Theory in this house. In the latest episode Leonard confronts a bully from his youth. In the meantime, the Penny Posse sit down and go over some events from Penny's childhood. It became apparent that Penny was a bully. She had no idea and never thought she necessarily hurt anyone. The episode was how she tried to apologize but it was just too late for some.

The upshot of the story is that our actions matter and that we as parents truly need to take responsibility for what our children are doing. Teach them right from wrong and how their actions do have a long lasting effect on others. In fact perhaps, those who think they do not harm anyone else by their actions, or that a simple t-shirt has no effect, need to think again.

Watch the episode HERE.

P.S. For those who are wondering what we did when the boys were bar mitzvahed, we invited their entire teams. Noone was left off the list, even the children that were not always so nice to both the boys. I knew the bullies and their minions would not come, and if they had they would have been welcomed.

My oldest child had only 9 out of 50 children invited come, as I said, he was severely ostracized and even those who were not the  "bully posse" did not want to stick up for him. So many of the other students did not bother to come to the celebration. You just did not act nice to CM1.Their loss of course. Meanwhile we had invited dozens of people with their children so it ended up a big kids party anyway.

Meanwhile CM2 had all invited children come. It was a noisy, happy, overly stimulating game room party organized just for teens. It was expected that if you were invited you came to that party. It would have been unthinkable for someone not to come unless they had to go to grandma and grandpa's house. As I have always said, same school district, different year, better parents. Without question, it all really does depend on the upbringing. (Interestingly there was only one girl that did not come to CM2's party. Her brother was part of the "bully posse" that had picked on CM1.)

And yes we gave out tie-dye t-shirts for CM1's party and hoodies for CM2's party. Yes the children all wore them the next Monday to school. But either you had been invited and just did not come (CM1) or everyone in the class had one (CM2), so noone was left out. Everyone knew that they had been welcome. I practice what I preach.

Merry Christmas

May this holiday season bring you joy, comfort and especially peace.

Afrikaans: Geseënde Kersfees
Afrikander: Een Plesierige Kerfees
African/ Eritrean/ Tigrinja: Rehus-Beal-Ledeats
Albanian:Gezur Krislinjden
Arabic: Milad Majid
Argentine: Feliz Navidad
Armenian: Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Azeri: Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Bahasa Malaysia: Selamat Hari Natal
Basque: Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Bengali: Shuvo Naba Barsha
Bohemian: Vesele Vanoce
Bosnian: (BOSANSKI) Cestit Bozic i Sretna Nova godina
Brazilian: Feliz Natal
Breton: Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat
Bulgarian: Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
Catalan: Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou!
Chile: Feliz Navidad
Chinese: (Cantonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun
Chinese: (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
Choctaw: Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito
Columbia: Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo
Cornish: Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Corsian: Pace e salute
Crazanian: Rot Yikji Dol La Roo
Cree: Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
Croatian: Sretan Bozic
Czech: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish: Glædelig Jul
Duri: Christmas-e- Shoma Mobarak
Dutch: Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast
English: Merry Christmas
Eskimo: (inupik) Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo!
Esperanto: Gajan Kristnaskon
Estonian: Rõõmsaid Jõulupühi
Ethiopian: (Amharic) Melkin Yelidet Beaal
Faeroese: Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjar!
Farsi: Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Finnish: Hyvaa joulua
Flemish: Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar
French: Joyeux Noel
Frisian: Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
Galician: Bo Nada
Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!
German: Fröhliche Weihnachten
Greek: Kala Christouyenna!
Haiti: (Creole) Jwaye Nowel or to Jesus Edo Bri'cho o Rish D'Shato Brichto
Hausa: Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka
Hebrew: Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Hindi: Shub Naya Baras (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
Hungarian: Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Icelandic: Gledileg Jol
Indonesian: Selamat Hari Natal
Iraqi: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Irish: Nollaig Shona Dhuit, or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat
Iroquois: Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay.
Italian: Buone Feste Natalizie
Japanese: Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Jiberish: Mithag Crithagsigathmithags
Korean: Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Lao: souksan van Christmas
Latin: Natale hilare et Annum Faustum!
Latvian: Prieci'gus Ziemsve'tkus un Laimi'gu Jauno Gadu!
Lausitzian:Wjesole hody a strowe nowe leto
Lettish: Priecigus Ziemassvetkus
Lithuanian: Linksmu Kaledu
Low Saxon: Heughliche Winachten un 'n moi Nijaar
Luxembourgish: Schèine Chreschtdaag an e gudde Rutsch
Macedonian: Sreken Bozhik
Maltese: IL-Milied It-tajjeb
Manx: Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa
Maori: Meri Kirihimete
Marathi: Shub Naya Varsh (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
Navajo: Merry Keshmish
Norwegian: God Jul, or Gledelig Jul
Occitan: Pulit nadal e bona annado
Papiamento: Bon Pasco
Papua New Guinea: Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu
Pennsylvania German: En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
Peru: Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo
Philippines: Maligayang Pasko!
Polish: Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie
Portuguese:Feliz Natal
Pushto: Christmas Aao Ne-way Kaal Mo Mobarak Sha
Rapa-Nui (Easter Island): Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua
Rhetian: Bellas festas da nadal e bun onn
Romanche: (sursilvan dialect): Legreivlas fiastas da Nadal e bien niev onn!
Rumanian: Sarbatori vesele or Craciun fericit
Russian: Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Sami: Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Sardinian: Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou
Scots Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil huibh
Serbian: Hristos se rodi.
Singhalese: Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
Slovak: Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
Slovene: Vesele Bozicne Praznike Srecno Novo Leto or Vesel Bozic in srecno Novo leto
Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Swedish: God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År
Tagalog: Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon
Tamil: (Tamizh) Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
Trukeese: (Micronesian) Neekiriisimas annim oo iyer seefe feyiyeech!
Thai: Sawadee Pee Mai or souksan wan Christmas
Turkish: Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Ukrainian: Srozhdestvom Kristovym or Z RIZDVOM HRYSTOVYM
Urdu: Naya Saal Mubarak Ho (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
Vietnamese: Chuc Mung Giang Sinh
Welsh: Nadolig Llawen
Yoruba: E ku odun, e ku iye'dun!


Until next time,


Friday, December 23, 2011


Time to dance......

Dutch talent Erik van den Boom is only 14 years old, but produces quality house music like he's been at it for years. This young mastermind is currently studying Physics at the university of Delft, after graduating from the gymnasium at the age of 13. When near a studio however, it's the beats that lure and the bass that gets him. Erik's dreaming big and takes a leap on winning the Nobel prize as well as fixing himself a spot amongst the producer and DJ elite of today's trance scene.

Until next time,


What Child is This

Until next time,


Thursday, December 22, 2011

D is for Hanukkah (aka dedication)

Since it is still the holiday season, I thought I would continue my journey through the alphabet a little playfully. This week is the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah. You can link here to my other Hanukkah post about self-determination. Now the word Hanukkah actually means dedication in English, so I am going to use it as my letter D.

The reason the holiday is given the name of dedication is two-fold. One is the fact that the Holy Temple, once it had been liberated from Seleucid control by the Maccabees, was rededicated to the glory of Holy God. The other point of dedication is the fight that the Jews fought against the Assyrian-Greeks to maintain their Jewish traditions. It would have been easier, if the Maccabees and their followers just gave in and went along with their rulers, incorporating Hellenistic ways into their lives and their children's upbringing. But nope, the Hasmoneans, wouldn't have any of that. True to who they were, the stubborn and stiff-necked Maccabees, dedicated themselves to the future and fought to make it the future of their choice.

However, something interesting has been happening lately and that is a rewriting, or retelling of the tale of the Maccabees by historians to make their fight seem not so grand. They talk about how in reality the fight was less a fight against the Assyrian-Greeks and more an internecine fight among the Jews of Judea. Something akin to a civil war. There were the more religious Jews, the Maccabees, who fought the more assimilated Jews, the Hellenists, who asked Antiochus Epiphanes to come to their aide in the fight. (Go here for an interesting look at the history) So apparently, the Jews have always had that tendency to argue amongst themselves. Only in this case, it led to a civil war. But what came about from this war, was a direction, a dedication to how the future should be lived. (Sadly the same type of civil war raged in the year 66-73 against the Romans, led by the Zealots. This led to the destruction of Jerusalem and eventually in 135 the beginning of the 2000 years of diaspora for most of the Jewish people.)

I suppose its the same with any civil war. The American civil war, was no different. There were groups of people who came to cross purposes and visions about how this nation should function.  The Civil War decided the future trajectory of the United States. It defined the concept of liberty for all and began the definition of how we see humanity as a whole today.

As the Jewish Civil War of the Maccabees, which began the idea of self-determination for a people, the American Civil War commenced the idea inherent in the modern era of human rights. For up until the moment that the 13th amendment was passed, there had never been a codification of the fact that all persons, no matter the color of skin or creed could be considered human enough to be free. With the acknowledgement of the humanness of all persons the march towards today's vision of equality of personhood is inherent in our  American way of life.

No, it has not been a straight line from the Maccabees to the American Civil War and to today. There were eons of terror and torture and man's gross inhumanity to man. (Including  decades of mankind's ignorance here in the Untied States as well.) And yes, in today's world, so much and so many live without the acknowledgement of their humanity and deny the humanity of others, especially the denial of the humanness towards those with disabilities. But what we have found throughout human history is that there is always a small dedicated group of people who are willing to risk all to bring about a better tomorrow and a better future for themselves and their posterity.

No they don't always succeed. In fact history is replete with periods where these dedicated few are destroyed, marginalized and murdered. But somehow there is that indelible human spirit which tries once again to stand up and say....It is my life and I will live it as I see fit. Noone has the right to take from anyone their right to their own future. It is what we dedicate our work and our existence for when it comes to our children.

This song has great meaning in our household. Bon Jovi sang it at the Concert for New York right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. People cannot perpetrate such horror and believe in the humanity of all mankind. Read here, here and here, about some recent events involving terror and evil.

We do not just dedicate our time and effort into therapy, doctors and education for our children simply to make them stand out less in the world or to teach them how to navigate a typical world with a nontypical brain. We dedicate our energies to our children so that they will not be marginalized, destroyed or even murdered by a world that does not understand them. We dedicate ourselves to a future whereby our children will be seen not as autistic human beings, but as first and foremost human beings. Our children are entitled to that. (Read HERE.)

So as those who came before, throughout history, whether the Maccabees, the American colonists who stood against the might of the British empire,  those that fought at Gettysburg, wore the purple sashes of the suffragettes, fought against Nazism-fascism-communism, marched for civil rights and still fight the good fight against those who are unable to see the human in their neighbor,  I dedicate myself to the premise that all human beings are all entitled to a future. All human beings are entitled to life's choices. All human beings are entitled to feel loved, wanted and welcomed. All human beings are entitled to live in a society that understands them and celebrates their gifts while helping them with their deficits. All human beings are entitled to their humanity.

I suppose that is my next step in life. Now its time to dedicate teaching the rest of the world and to getting the rest of the world to acknowledge the humanity of those with disabilities. We who dedicate ourselves to this, recognize that we are in the forefront of a nascent movement. But what a movement it is and what wonderful soldiers and fellow travelers we bring with us, our children.

Until next time,


Feliz Navidad

Until next time,


The Battle Between Your Present and Future Selves

From TED :

Daniel Goldstein studies decision-making -- especially how humans make economic and social decisions over the course of our lives, and how we can give ourselves the right incentives, reminders, and rules of thumb to make long-term smart choices rather than short-term fun choices. He runs the blog Decision Science News. He's a Principal Research Scientist at Yahoo! Research, on leave from a post at the London Business School.

As usual TED leaves you food for thought.

Until next time,


Thinking Person's Guide to Autism

It's here....the book you have been waiting for. The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism is out. If you buy no other book about autism this year, buy this one.

Buy Your Copy Now!


Steve Silberman, investigative reporter for Wired and other national magazines, declared Thinking Person's Guide to Autism his Book of the Year (!):
Covering a wide range of nuts-and-bolts subjects — from strategizing toilet training and and planning fun family outings, to helping your kid cope with bullying, to identifying the issues that a skilled speech-language therapist can work on with your child, to spotting and avoiding “autism cults,” to navigating byzantine special-needs bureaucracies and providing your child with appropriate assistive technology, to fighting for your kid’s right to an individualized education — the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism is bracingly free of dogma, heavy-handed agendas, and pseudoscientific woo. What distinguishes it from, say, the fine guide for parents recently made freely downloadable by the National Autism Center, is the heart, soul, fierce intelligence, and subversive wit of the authors and editors, which shines on every page. Offering observations from parents, professionals, and autistics themselves, the book is a welcome dose of optimism and uncommonly good sense.

From Sullivan at Left Brain Right Brain: Thinking Person's Guide to Autism: The Book:

The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism has been a very successful website with excellent discussion for some time now, and now the book is available. You can buy it on Amazon. From CreateSpace you can read the short blurb:
Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (TPGA) is the resource we wish we’d had when autism first became part of our lives: a one-stop source for carefully curated, evidence-based information from autistics, autism parents, and autism professionals
Having read the first two chapters I agree with the statement above. It is a resource I wish I had when my kid was diagnosed. Sure, I’d have loved to have read this book before and been better prepared.

 From Caroline Miller at Child Mind Institute: Parenting and Autism: Uncommon Empathy Required

We hear that one of our favorite websites, the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism, has a new book out today, a collection of pieces by their thoughtful and emotionally astute writers. You can buy it here, and they say the Kindle edition will be available soon.
It's a good excuse to try to describe what's so valuable about the voices collected on TPGA.
I think it's the power of personal experience combined with hard-headedness about information. It's the combination of warmth and realism: you feel the love the writers have for their kids (and other people's kids) even while (or exactly while) they are telling the truth about how difficult it is be to be a parent to those kids, and how imperfect we all are at it.

From Jean Winegardner at The Washington Times Communities (and a contributor to the book), in her Holiday Gift Guide: Books About Autism:

One of the best sites on the web for information about autism from parents, professionals, and autistic people themselves, the editors at Thinking Person's Guide to Autism have just published their first book featuring contributors (including the author of this column) offering many points of view.  

TPGA is a unique book.  This book will help you understand the different types of supports, educational opportunities and choices you have for your child in today's ever changing world from other parents' perspectives. Additionally, professionals will help you understand the myriad of therapies and medical issues and choices. Furthermore, for me this book offers an additional unique perspective to help in my understanding of my boys. The voices of autistic adults. When you want to know how an autistic person feels about any myriad of challenges, there is an article about it. If you want to know how an autistic person handles work, school and personal relationships, there is an article about that too. I have my copy and even after all these years of autism advocacy, its amazing to realize just how much I can still learn from others. TPGA is written by and for parents, professionals and autistics. This book is truly the voice of the autism community. I just love it.

Until next time,


Also to be honest, in the appendix they have listed my blog as a parenting must read. I didn't know that when I bought the book. I can't tell everyone how honored I was to be included. It means so much. Thank you to the editors of TPGA for acknowledging my work.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Review: Trueman Bradley- Aspie Detective

I wanted to make everyone aware of a rather fun novel called Trueman Bradley: Aspie Detective by Alexei Maxim Russell. This book is ideal for the new novel reader, young tween or teen. It is perfect (depending on their reading level) for older elementary or middle school students. This book tells the story of Trueman,  a youngman with aspergers syndrome. After being raised in the midwest of the United States, our protagonist  decides to strike out on his own in New York City, as homage to his favorite comic book character, detective Slam Bradley.

Trueman is a sweet youngman who has lived his entire life in a quiet country town with his grandfather as his sole support. The different people, smells, sights, and sounds of New York create immense challenges for him. Through his exploration of his adopted city Trueman discusses his aspergers syndrome and how it effects him on his sojourn. He openly discusses his coping mechanisms, how his brain works and how he teaches people the best way to deal with him.

Meanwhile, while learning to understand the City around him, Trueman uses his immense memory, knowledge and uncanny skill set to solve crimes and help the police. Sadly, as in real life, Trueman does find adversity and discrimination along the way simply because he has aspergers syndrome. However, he rises to the challenge. In fact with the help of some new found friends, he is able to stand up for himself and live the life of his dreams.

If you are looking for a good book that will help your aspie feel better about themselves or understand that they are not alone in how they react to the world, this is a good book to give them. They will be able to see much of their own issues, explore coping mechanisms and even find some humor in their own idiosyncrasies. Additionally, it is also a great book for any typical sibling of an aspergean. This book will go along way in helping them figure out the aspie in their midst.

If you are a teacher, a social worker, or psychologist, this is a terrific book to use during diversity education, in order to promote compassion, understanding and acceptance for those who "march to their own drummer." Trueman Bradley is a wonderful way to teach others how aspies think, feel and understand the world around them.

Buy it HERE at amazon

Here is the bio about the author: Alexei Maxim Russell writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry screenplays and dramatic scripts. In addition to being a writer, he is an advocate for building awareness concerning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and his interest in AS inspired him to create Trueman Bradley, a positive role model and hero for those with AS. He hopes the book will help people to understand that AS is not a disability, it is a different way of thinking and not a "wrong" way of thinking. Alexei lives in Winnipeg, Canada.

Go HERE to the main website for Trueman Bradley.

Until next time,


(This is a non-paid endorsement.)

Deck the Halls

Until next time,


Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Hanukkah

Tonight begins the holiday of Hanukkah. I know I posted these songs earlier, but hey...(Look at the comments below, I messed up the date. Hanukkah actually starts Tuesday night. Thanks Julie.)

Over 2200 years ago (year 165 BCE) the Maccabees led the Jews in a revolt against their Assyrian overlords in order to celebrate their religion as they pleased. (Yes, we won. Huzzah.) Today Jewish children everywhere remember the first war for religious freedom. Unfortunately in our world, people still die simply because of how they chose to pray or not pray to God. May God have mercy on all of us.

By the way, God definitely has a sense of humor..

BTW that's a menorah zebra

REJOICE for religious freedom....

Here' s the Hanukkah video that Staying Afloat recommended I add:

Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday)

Until next time,


Carol of the Bells

Until next time,


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Little Drummer Boy

Until next time,


Mom's Day Out NYC

I always tell everyone that you need to get out with a friend or by yourself to just do nothing you don't want to do. Well I get out bimonthly with brilliant-computer-sis. I go get my haircut, we go out to lunch and then we go window-shopping (OK on occasion I do buy myself a present too, or send our mother something she likes as well.).

One week before Christmas my goal was to go see the Christmas windows at all the stores and to see the Rockefeller Center Tree. She forewarned me that its was a madhouse down by 30 Rock, but hey I thought she was being over-dramatic. Holy freakin' cow... It was a sea of people...well more  than what you generally have in NYC...It was a sardine can sea full of people.

New York's finest had blocked off all the streets around the tree to traffic so even the roads became the sidewalk and still it was human gridlock. Never mind what it was like in front of the stores, with people waiting to see the windows. Never made it to see the windows after the tree, honestly  I had had enough. Could barely get in the front door of the store. Then we could barely get out of the store to walk away. Thank heaven there was no emergency. The EMTs could never have gotten through. (I kid you not.)

It's funny though how whatever you do your thoughts do come back to your children. I had had an idea before I left on my sojourn that it would have been nice if hubby and the boys met us at his office, which is not too far from Rockefeller Center, to go see the tree. Just something fun and different to do. But hubby being the Wise Old Sage that he is knew better. "Not for them," he had said. I thought he was just being a stick in the mud.

Well as I waded through the thicket of people my thoughts went back to that conversation and I thanked my lucky starts that he was a little more on the ball than I was. There is no way that  the boys would have felt anything but a terrible sense of being overwhlemed. There would have been no fun, enjoyment or happiness. There would have been some yelling, maybe a meltdown but definitely there would have been young men telling me I was an idiot.

So all in all it was a successful day. My hair is cut off and cute (If I do say so myself). We had a lovely lunch at my favorite restaurant. While I waited for Brilliant-computer-sis at the restaurant's bar (Yep had my requisite glass of champagne too), I chatted up some tourists from Australia.  I was very glad to hear that they were having a wonderful time, not only in New York but that they had enjoyed California as well.

Then after lunch we met a lovely couple from Iowa who actually were trying to navigate the NYC subway system on their own. I gave them kudos. The wife actually asked me how I was able to get around. They were so confused. I pointed at sis and told her I only do it when I have her with me. I think it made the Iowan tourist feel not so bad about being disconcerted. Glad to hear they were having a great time too. "A dream come true to visit New York City," she said.

We love tourists and go out of our way to be very nice to them. In fact the tourists we met were shocked how nice people happened to be. I honestly think that Americans, especially New Yorkers get a very bad rap worldwide. We may not smile all that much when someone walks by (busy lives and a very driven existence), but if you need something, anything, New Yorkers are the most generous of people. Of course we have our morons. I sometimes think its simply because we have so many people who live here that it seems that the morons overwhelm. Honestly they just happen to get most of the press. So ignore them. If you are thinking about coming the NYC please will have the best of times. I promise.

After chatting up the tourists we ran some errands sis needed to do and as i said earlier we did go down to the Tree like I wanted. I did mention to brilliant-computer- sis that next year she was to remind me of this lunacy if I mentioned that I wanted to go see the Rockefeller tree again.

"Can I tell you I told you so?" she asked.

"Yeah, I'll give you that," I graciously added.

Nope have no idea who the chick with the white cap happens to be, but I couldn't get a shot without her in it. If I stopped moving I was not sure I wouldn't  have been swallowed up by some kind of vortex created by all the human movement. It reminded me of that Star Trek episode, where Kirk was supposed to be the catalyst to bring disease to an overpopulated planet. There was a scene in the show where people would not move one step in front of themselves on that planet. That's what it was like in front of and around that tree

But the tree was very pretty though....

Until next time,


Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Italian Christmas Donkey

One of my tweinds did send me a Christmas video they thought was fun...

Until next time,


Friday, December 16, 2011

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Until next tree,


C is for Creativity

When we are creative we show our uniqueness. When we are creative we express ourselves. When we are creative we allow our souls to soar.  When we are creative we exhibit our own humanity. When we are creative we are stronger.

By the way for all the special needs-warrior-parents..this one's for you..It's Garth Brooks  The River in sign language.

So stop reading my blog already and do something that makes your spirit fly today.... but remember come back here tomorrow. I will have something new to say. I always do. Its part of my charm....

Until next time,


UPDATE: I had a Kelly Clarkson video up instead of Garth Brooks. But anyone who supports Ron Paul is anathema in my book. Furthermore, she supported him and claims she did not know that he supported racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic doctrines. She also did not know that he called for the destruction of the State of Israel, that he said he would not have stopped the Holocaust, that Iran should have the bomb, that 9/11 was done by the CIA, that the Trilateral commission runs the world and that we should end the Fed, and every government aide program to even American citizens. She did not know that Ron Paul was a guest on a neo-Nazi radio station and happily took pictures with the leader of Stormfront the neo-Nazi group here in the USA. She is a moron and Ron Paul is wack-job. He is anathema to everything this country stands for and what our forefathers died for.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kung Fu Hanukkah

This is so cute I couldn't resist.

Here is the explanation from their You Tube site about the video:

Kung Fu Hanukkah from The Hashmonites

In ancient Israel lies the home of the Macabbees... In modern Israel on the very same spot is a small town named in their honour- Hashmonaim. A group of children from Hashmo bring the story of Hanukkah to life as modern day Kung Fu and Ballerina Macabbees. On a rainy day in Kislev when Shalom and Matan were home sick from school they wrote their own version of of the Kung Fu Panda song "Kung Fu Fighting" and changed it to "Chanukka Lighting" (with a little help from their Mom, Sarah). They invited their friends to come make a movie with them.

All the parent got involved and roped in friends and family to get it this video done- thank you Dena Lerner, Sarah Nadav, Robin Greenspan, Shani Greenspan, Esti Green, Elisheva Lieberman, Shimon Greenspan, Dave Nadav and Jon Nelson from Eden Mi Qedem who sang and mixed the song

Special thanks to Roladin for donating the doughnuts and Happening for providing the Angry Birds.

Until next time,

Jingle Bell Rock

Until next time,


Gift of Life...Be A Match...To Life-L'chaim

In conjunction with The Gift of Life Organization, the Maccabeats and Mayim Bialik have teamed up to make everyone aware of the need for bone marrow donors. The fund drive asks that people donate $18 in order to process the DNA swabs already collected and those they hope to collect in the future. Yes, 18 is an odd number to ask for. We usually are asked for donations in levels of five, ten, fifteen, twenty and so on.

So why 18 then? The Maccabeats and Mayim, being Jewish are asking for that number. You see, 18 is an important number in Jewish culture. Long before arabic numbers became the norm for everyone, the Jewish people used the aleph-bet (or Hebrew alphabet) to denote numbers. In fact, even to this day, for religious purposes, numbers are still written with hebrew letters.

Now when using the aleph-bet  to count,  the Hebrew letters that are combined to denote the number 18, chai/yud, is the word for life, or "chai." So Jewish people worldwide tend to give gifts in groups of 18.

go to MakeSomeMiracles to donate. 

Think about giving some life-"chai." Donate $18 so someone, somewhere,  who needs a bone marrow transplant may live.

By the way, just in case anyone asks, no this is not an organization for Jewish people only. It is merely a fundraising gimmick for Gift of Life being used during the Hanukkah season. If you do not want to donate through the Maccabeats/Mayim website you can still go to Gift of Life and give what you can. But if you donate $18 with Mayim, you may win an autographed picture from the cast of The Big Bang Theory (just saying).

L'CHAIM -To Life  

Until next time,


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SNTR: Meet the Creator of "Max Gamer" Dr. Frank Gaskill

Today's Raising ASD Kids and Teens hosted Dr. Frank Gaskill the creator and developer of the Max Gamer comic book series.

Listen HERE to the interview.

You can find the comic book   HERE.

You can find out more about Dr. Gaskill and his practice group at Southeast Psych  HERE.

You can see Dr. Gaskill in his video Aspies are Awesome!!!  HERE.

Until next time,