Confessions (of a crazy costume mom)

I love Halloween. No. I. Love. Halloween. Maybe it’s the actress in me. Maybe it’s the girl who loves a good horror movie. Maybe it’s the insane ADD/OCD/COC (crazily over-creative) mom in me that can’t believe she gets a chance to use her powers for good and not the evil it usually inspires. I LOVE to make costumes for my kids. The entire process is exhilarating for me. I love sitting down with them and deciding what they want to be. I love drawing up the design. I love figuring out how to execute it (it’s like a big puzzle). And I even love putting it all together. When my kids ask for a store-bought costume. I actually get upset. Why? Because I’m crazy.

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My husband and others do not like me at Halloween because I become something that borders on psychotic. My kids often won’t decide on what they want until a couple of weeks before the big event and then I drop everything to get those damn costumes ready. My kids can eat later. Who cares if we’re out of toilet paper and they didn’t brush their teeth for a week. I have to make a Rancor with cardboard and dental floss, dammit! They can wait.

I think my first costume for one of my kids that I actually made, was an octopus. Yes, an Octopus. Couldn’t have been a ghost. It had to be a cephalopod– 8 freakin’ legs! And I’m not a seamstress. Did I mention that part? My mom is a brilliant seamstress. She offered to teach me several times when I was a teenager, but I was like all, “No, Mom. I don’t need that crap. I’m not having any kids. Now, leave me alone so I can go sneak some Purple Passion into the movies with my friends.” But everything changed. I have 3 kids (and I only go to movie houses that serve liquor instead of carrying an inconspicuous, clinking beach bag into a show). Now, back to the octopus. I somehow figured out how to make an octopus out of two bed sheets, some stuffing and metal coat hangers. AND I sewed it together with a second-hand machine I bought off a neighbor. There was some crying involved as well as many creative uses of the “F” word, but I did it. Once I made that one, I was hooked and determined to make all of the costumes.

And I’ve made a lot. Unfortunately I don’t have most of the pictures, but I’ll share a few that I have on my computer from the last few years.

Ash Ketchum and Mr. Mummy from 2010. I had to sew parts of the mummy on him and cut him out of it.

Ash Ketchum and Mr. Mummy from 2010. I had to sew parts of the mummy on him and cut him out of it at the end of the night.

An old white leotard left over from a play I directed and some strips of an old white sheet tea-dyed was all I needed for the body. I used paper towels and makeup method from Marth Stewart to do the face. He got lots of compliments all night especially since he stayed in character, moaning and walking stiffly. Ash Ketchum was very excited when a neighborhood dad yelled out, “Ash Ketchum, catch ’em all” to him.

Freddy and Darth Maul of 2009.

Freddy and Darth Maul of 2009.

My son had no idea who Freddy Krueger is, but once he saw this in the store, any hopes of making him a costume was dashed. Freddy is a fun killer in more than one way, but, honestly who can resist a knife-glove? For a 6-year-old, little Darth sat incredibly still for that makeup job I did on him.

Jack Sparrow. I can’t tell you how excited I was that my theatrical child chose Jack. I was determined not to buy a single Jack costume piece and I didn’t. All of the clothing was bought at the thrift store and then altered to fit him (I’ve gotten a little better at sewing but don’t look real close or you’ll see the fabric glue). The wig was a Wal-Mart reggae wig that I cut, braided, and wrapped with beads I strung myself. The bone is made from this amazing stuff called Model Magic by Crayola. It is incredibly light weight. I had the synthetic hair from some theatre thing I did. I used eyelash glue instead of spirit gum because that stuff is rough on skin and stinky (I know). The boots are my old barn boots (probably added to the pirate smell), and the sash is an old bedsheet I drew lines on with a marker and yardstick. The only costume piece is the plastic gun that I paid over $10 for and broke in about 4.5 seconds.

Jack Sparrow-- saavy?

Jack Sparrow– saavy?

Why are we out of rum?

Why are we out of rum?

Because I took so much time on Jack, my oldest son got ripped off. He agreed to a store-bought costume to save mommy’s sanity. I had to pay him back and let him chose a complicated costume for the next year. I was thinking maybe he’d pick something from a video game or a Teen Titan or something. Nope. He decided to make up for the years he’d chosen bought costumes and he chose an alien. Not just any alien– THE alien. Ridley Scott’s alien (another movie he hadn’t been allowed to see yet). But I didn’t panic. I got excited, because, once again, I’M FREAKIN’ CRAZY. And I was determined not to puss-out and buy anything. But since I apparently love to torture myself, I decided to give myself a $40 budget. Yep. And I did it.

The beginning. A bicycle helmet, two dollar store pitchers, glue and paint.

The beginning. A bicycle helmet, two dollar store pitchers, glue and paint.

Cheap, fake nails trimmed a painted silver. Hot glue alien gums. Pool noodle lips.

Cheap, fake nails trimmed a painted silver. Hot glue alien gums. Pool noodle lips.

I can’t keep my house clean or remember parent-teacher conferences but I can make an entire alien out of hot glue, recycled Tupperware, cardboard, pool noodles and paint.Then there was more hot glue than is probably legal to use on one item. I used it to hold shit together and make glistening, drool and ligament. There were strings of hot glue on everything in my house. I burned my fingers. I even sat on the damn gun once. How many people can say they’ve burned their ASS with a hot glue gun? Yep, I’m that kind of special.

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Not a great picture but you get the idea.

Not a great picture but you get the idea.

My son has sensory issues from his autism so he won’t let me put makeup on him. It would have looked better if I could have blacked-out his face but no big deal. Everyone wanted pictures with him but some of the really excited kids tugged on his pipe insulation-tail and popped some of the staples holding the chest plates together (I was still putting it together as he ran out the door. It’s not perfect but it’s not bad for something I made for less than $40. My other son had to take on less complicated costumes. Max went as Ace Ventura. I bought all of the clothes at the thrift store and altered them with safety pins and fabric glue. The hair took the longest. He stayed in character and actually got recognized by some of the parents. My youngest son wore a costume I’d made for his older brother when he was younger– a rattlesnake, with a tail made with tiny plastic maracas to rattle as he walked.

Ace Ventura-- pet detective (and hairspray hog).

Ace Ventura– pet detective (and hairspray hog).

I had to dig up my old '80's hair teasing skills for this.

I had to dig up my old ’80’s hair teasing skills for this.

And that’s just a glimpse into my craziness. Another confession. Another reason to keep your kids from playing with mine. Are any of you crazy costume parents? What’s the craziest costume you’ve made? Come to the dark side and share.

My bloated rattlesnake. I got a little carried away with the stuffing so we just pretended he'd eaten the neighbor kid dressed like Mickey Mouse.

My bloated rattlesnake. I got a little carried away with the stuffing so we just pretended he’d eaten the neighbor kid dressed like Mickey Mouse.

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Mommy’s Little Helper Monday (Earth Day Edition)

Well, crap balls! Or should I say organic biodegradable spheres of manure? I totally forgot it was Earth Day so I am missing out on a well-planned blog based on the theme. I’m going to have to wing-it all ADD style. I’d been planning on an entire post devoted to the beauty of wine and then I get this Earth Day reminder. I ain’t got no time to look for new photos and come up with an entirely new idea, so I’m just going to have to find a way to make this look “green.”

Kermit kept it green by trading in his Harley for hybrid scooter that converts pig poop into fuel.

Kermit kept it green by trading in his Harley for hybrid scooter that converts pig poop into fuel.

The first thing I wanted to share with you were the bad ass, best-thing-ever I found this weekend. I’ve been working really hard to slim down our budget (which is saving us some green- I know, too freaking early for bad puns), and I’ve done great. I haven’t bought anything I didn’t NEED for a few months now. That got blown to shit when I found these.

A mommy sippy cup! I nominate this product for a Nobel prize.

A mommy sippy cup! I nominate this product for a Nobel prize.

They are beautiful and bring a tear to the eye, but they aren’t earth friendly. They’re plastic and plastic is bad in Earth Day land. It’s good for when Mommy gets drunk and trips down the steps because it won’t break, slit open an artery and ruin the floor she just mopped for the first time in 18 months, but bad for the environment. I just watched part of a documentary called “Bag It” about all the nasty things plastic does to the environment. If you want an excuse to drink, go watch that. If you weren’t clinically depressed before, you will be.

And aside from being plastic it was made in China (I know, shocking). So not only were they made with Satan’s version of glass, it was probably made by a lady who got paid half a wonton for 12 hours of work. Holy crap, my ADD went down a depressing path. Turn back! Turn back! Find something shiny!

Fact: Nothing distracts a girl from depression like cute shoes.

Fact: Nothing distracts a girl from depression like cute shoes.

Like those? I got those for my b-day. Now back to Earth Day happiness and how to make my new sippy cup environmentally friendly. I can’t change what it was made from or where it came from but I can make sure to use its powers for good and not evil. I decided that I could use it to multitask when it isn’t full of wine. Here’s the list of possibilities:

It could hold my car keys so I’ll always know where they are.

I could eat an organic salad out of it for lunch.

I could carry it with me to drink out of while I plant a tree or assist in a roadside clean-up (being put on a prison chain gang would be the about the only way you’d catch me doing that second one).

I could take it to the beach to give drinks to sea turtles.

I could take it to drink out of while I pretend to be interested in buying a hybrid car. I could even share with the sales guy because caring for your fellow-man is an Earth Day kind of thing to do and sales guys take a lot of crap.

I can drink organic wine out of it.

When I die I can have my ashes put in it.

See, there are lots of ways to make this little guy show the world that your past doesn’t have to dictate who you become. So, don’t be a hater of the sippy cup. Let it teach us about goodness.

"Green" grapes

“Green” grapes

Now this is where I would put in the libation portion of my post. I had planned on some random stuff about wine I like, but, man, this Earth Day thing has really screwed this all up for me. I guess if you think about it, wine isn’t horrible for the earth. Grapes grow out of it. Grapes are good. The sun helps them grow so we can call grapes solar-powered, right? And grape vines only drink the amount of water they need to live. They don’t take half-hour showers or leave the water running while they’re brushing their teeth. Grapes don’t drive gas hogs or use plastic bags at the grocery store. Grape vines give shelter to little bugs and wine to us, which is like fuel!! Holy merlot!! I didn’t realize how environmentally conscious grapes are. And if I’m drinking wine that should make me the same by proxy. I feel so much better. I’m going to go pour some wine in my plastic cup and celebrate.

Happy Earth Day, folks. Go drink some wine to support it. Turn the bottle into a candle holder and the corks into…well, whatever corks are good at.

photoSee, I helped the earth today. I didn’t waste water by taking a shower or brushing my teeth before I sat down to work. I didn’t waste energy by changing out of my jammies, and I “recycled” by using my middle son’s headphones because my oldest son stole mine. Damn, I’m good.

Confessions (of my inner 12-year-old)

Ok, I’m cheating a little here. I’ve been trying to think of a way to introduce my new followers of my Blonde Undone blog to my original/larger blog Wckedwords. I’ve also been toying with a way to just merge the two since I can barely keep up with both and still remember to bathe my kids. I thought I’d give the Undone folks a glimpse at the nonsense I write on the other blog. The difference is the posts tend to be longer, more heart-felt, and occasionally darker. No pressure, but here’s a post I did to commemorate 12-12-12 last year. And because I still act like a 12-year-old boy I thought I’d share it with you. If you were a child of the ’80’s you’ll get most of this. Enjoy!

This many

I like the number 12. It’s not my “lucky” number 9, but it’s still a number that gives me good vibes. But I guess I could say that I like numbers in general, especially those with some ‘magical’ hint to them.

I wanted so badly to get married or do something else significant on September 9, 1999, but it came and went with no real hoopla. When I found myself pregnant in 2008 and knew I would have to have a c-section in August, I quickly scheduled it for the 8th. My “magic” baby came into the world at 8:28 that morning and that night I drunkenly watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics (the Chinese also think 8 is a magic number). When September 9, 2009 came around I drove to Fate, Texas and mailed out my first round of query letters for my first novel.

Now here it is, 12-12-12. We won’t see that again in our lifetime. I haven’t thought too much about it. Today I had to go to the doctor and have a biopsy. I wouldn’t put that on the top of any lists on how to celebrate a numerically special day. In fact, I spent the rest of the day trying to forget the beginning of it. But now that I’m at home, lying in front of the fireplace, I find myself thinking about the number 12 and why I like it. What I’ve realized pretty quickly is that it’s not because the number conjures thoughts of a dozen cupcakes or the movie Twelve Monkeys, it’s because I immediately think about being twelve years old and that was a kick-ass year.

It was the ’80’s and I was in the sixth grade. Back then that was still considered elementary school so you weren’t thrown into the shark tank of middle school. You had one last year to be a kid and that was cool. We were the top dogs at the school- the BIG kids. We ruled the playground, the bus, and everything else in our minds. I have very vivid memories of that year and they all make me smile. So to honor this once in a lifetime event, I’m going to recount my top twelve memories of being 12 years old.

12. Recess– Hell, yeah!! Since we weren’t saddled with the social worries of middle school we still relished in our post-lunch break. Dodgeball. Oh, yes. We played dodgeball with ferocious enthusiasm and there were no worries about broken noses or lawsuits. We didn’t pick on any certain kid. We were all fair game and if you didn’t get your ass out of the way, you got hit. There was also Red Rover. I can still remember looking at the opposing line and picking out the weakest link. Strategy!! And then there was kiss chase, but because we still thought like kids we truly didn’t want to get kissed or do the kissing. Well, at least I didn’t. In fact, I was a hired gun. For a little white girl I could book it. Only two kids in the class could keep up with me and they both went on to play college sports. The other girls would have me do the catching so they could do the kissing.

11. Home perms. This should probably be put on a “childhood traumas” list but I’m one of those people who has always worked through the bad by finding the funny in it, and what’s not funny about a homemade fro? Being financially challenged, my family was thrifty. My mom had told me many horror stories of her fuzzy-headed perms she’d had to endure as a child but that didn’t stop her from giving me one. I’m not sure if she decided it was a family tradition or a right of passage, but I still remember the hours of her rolling my hair in little plastic rods, rinsing my hair in the kitchen sink until I felt like I was drowning, and the smell of the perm solution that lingered for weeks. The result was a blonde afro that my friends described as something that reminded them of one of their mom’s Bichon dogs. Yes, I was a damn hot 12-year-old.

I tried like hell to find a picture of the fro and couldn't. Here's the super-short boy-cut that freed me of the fuzz.

I tried like hell to find a picture of the fro and couldn’t. Here’s the super-short boy-cut that freed me of the fuzz.

10. The Chicago Bears– My 6th grade year was the year the Chicago Bears were the shit. There has been no other time since then that an entire country knew the names of almost every player on a team. Has any other team cut a song and music video? Hell no. The Super Bowl Shuffle, baby. Walter, Jim, and the Fridge were household names. I loved Jim McMahon and his sunglasses. Hell, when I think about it, maybe that’s when I really started liking the number 9.

9. Magic Pimp Jacket– I got a jacket that was the quintessential bad ass ’80’s jacket. It was black satin with a silver, glitter unicorn on the back. Yes, you read right and I can feel your envy. I remember the moment I saw that sparkling piece of awesomesauce hanging on the wall of Spencer’s gifts. I knew it had to be mine and I begged for it. When I got it, I wore the freakin’ crap out of it. When I was milk monitor (two 6th graders would walk to all the classes first thing in the morning to sell milk for a dime a carton) I made sure I wore my jacket so I could hear all the younger girls ooh and ahh over it. I was the flyest milk pimp on the block.

8. Madonna– Her singing skills were American Idol reject level at best and I’m pretty sure she hired some of my fellow 6th graders to write her lyrics, but she changed the face of music. I happened to see her infamous performance on American Bandstand and her rolling on the ground in her lace skirts and singing about virginity (or her lack of it) shattered the double standards between men and women performers. My mom also HATED her and her skankalicious ways. That hate meant that I HAD to wear 20 black rubber bracelets on my arm just like her and watch Desperately Seeking Susan no matter how horrible it was.

Just her bra strap showing alone made her Satan's whore in my house.

Just her bra strap showing alone made her Satan’s whore in my house.

7. Field Day– While Madonna plucked at the budding teenager hiding in my depths, there were still activities that kept me firmly planted in my childhood. Field Day was the bomb-diggity because in those days kids didn’t get ribbons just for showing up. Hell, no! You had to earn those bad boys with blood, sweat, and tears. You were expected to compete and that effort was rewarded with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons that were handed out in front of the entire school. Field Day was my Olympics because I was crazy competitive and had inherited my father’s track skills. Nothing felt better than beating boys who were a foot taller than me in the standing broad jump. I’m sure my old elementary school had planned to erect a statue of me on the playground before all of the education cuts.

6. The Movies– There are several movies that I can remember vividly from that year: Back to the Future, The Goonies, Gremlins, Footloose, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Splash, Starman, The Neverending Story, The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. There were other movies released that year too that I’m sure my mother made me wait to see but they are still some of my favorites: Amadeus, Romancing the Stone (we actually currently own a big, black Bronco with the vanity plate LTL MULE in homage to Pepe), Red Dawn, Beverly Hills Cop, Children of the Corn, Firestarter, Dune, The Terminator, Nightmare of Elm Street (I had to wait a few years to see that one), and one of my top 5 all-time favorites– Sixteen Candles. “Oh, sexy girlfriend… No more yanky my wanky!” Seriously, can you name another 12 month span of time that produced that many classics? Nope.

Pretty sure every girl of the '80's dreamed of living this scene. Any boys who were smart enough to reenact this for their girl probably got an automatic trip to third base.

Pretty sure every girl of the ’80’s dreamed of living this scene. Any boys who were smart enough to reenact this for their girl probably got an automatic trip to third base.

5. G.I. Joe and my Bro.- One of the people responsible for keeping me firmly rooted in my immaturity was my brother. He was 3 years younger than me, hyper, and funny as hell. He had tons of Star Wars, He-Man, and G.I. Joe figures that we’d play with. But don’t think that we played with them like normal children. We’re both overly creative, warped souls so our play mirrored that. We made up new names and personality disorders for all of our action figures. I hated dolls and the two or three I had were given makeovers that included tattoos and mohawks. They were ditzy skanks used as props to enhance the demented scenarios we’d create with our toys. I remember a sailor we renamed Popeye who was a sadist and then there was another guy we named Weiner who had an obsession with hotdogs and a well below average IQ. We probably needed therapy but at least we laughed a lot.

Innocent toys became of prison-worthy gang of nut jobs when left in the hands of Ash and her little bro. Robot Chicken has nothing on us.

Innocent toys became of prison-worthy gang of nut jobs when left in the hands of Ash and her little bro. Robot Chicken has nothing on us.

4. WWF Wrestling– It’s embarrassing to admit, but we watched wrestling. I can say that we were under no delusions that it was real, we just thought it was hilarious. We hated Hulk Hogan and all his “little Hulkster” bullcrap. Our favorites were Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jake “the Snake” Roberts, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant, and the British Bulldogs. It was all ridiculous and loads of fun.

3. Stephen King– This was the year I was introduced to one of my biggest literary influences. Until 6th grade I’d stayed safely in the realm of Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, A Ring of Endless Light, A Wrinkle in Time, The Chronicles of Narnia, Bunnicula, Black Beauty, Little House on the Prairie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and other elementary classics. That all changed when a Japanese girl with worldly parents moved to our school. She was wicked smart and her mom let her read adult books. She and another boy in school were reading Stephen King. I borrowed Pet Semetary. My mother was concerned when she found it, but once I told her the 2 smartest kids in school where reading it, I was in the clear and forever hooked.

Proof of my King addiction.

Proof of my King addiction.

 

2. Miami Vice– There had been few celebrity crushes for me but that all changed one fateful night when I spent the night at my grandmother’s. She was busy in the kitchen and letting me watch television unsupervised in her bedroom. That night I just happened to see the pilot episode of Miami Vice. I don’t know if it was the music, the Ferrari Daytona Spider, the pastel clothes, or Phil Collins singing about something being in the air, but I was immediately and completely hooked on Don Johnson and all things Miami and/or Vice. By the 7th grade I had posters and calendars on my wall and secretly wrote episodes of the show (all with my barely pubescent ass as the love interest). I hated Sheena Easton when she was cast as Crocket’s wife. Skank. But in all seriousness, Vice was an amazing show that changed how tv was made. And I still love Don and squealed when I saw he was playing Kenny’s father on Eastbound and Down.

But seriously, how could Don not have wanted some of this puberty-mangled jail bait sexiness? I mean, look at that flannel and those high-waisted jeans.

But seriously, how could Don not have wanted some of this puberty-mangled jail bait sexiness? I mean, look at that flannel and those high-waisted jeans.

1. Illinois Jones– I’m sure you’re scratching your head with that one, but I’ll explain. I had a BFF in 6th grade that was the jelly to my peanut butter. We were thick as thieves and had identical senses of humor. She was a spunky redhead that kept me laughing. We lived only a couple of blocks from each other and spent pretty much all of our time together. We dressed like Punky Brewster together, watched Madonna together, and saw Pee Wee’s Big Adventure together over and over again. Our other favorite thing was to write stories. Our best creation was a comic based on Indiana Jones, but our hero wasn’t the suave archeologist embodied by the beautiful Harrison Ford. Nope. Ours was a bumbling moron who tried his best but was plagued by a love interest named Scarion who would pop up at inopportune times and ruin his chances of glory. We kept ourselves entertained for hours creating these stories and I guess in all honesty, it wasn’t the stories that left such an impression; it was the friendship and the safe harbor we provided for each other. We drifted apart over the next couple of years but I’ll always cherish the laughter and adventures we had.

Why do kids need video games? These two stick fugures provided us with hours of entertainment.

Why do kids need video games? These two stick figures provided us with hours of entertainment.

And there are my memories of being 12. Were you a child of the ’80’s? Were some of these top memories for you too? If not, what is your best memory from that age? Don’t be shy. I’ve outed myself so come join me.

Wicked wishes- Mrs. Sonny Crocket

Confessions (of a Black Thumb)

Kevin Costnar had a voice whisper to him from the cornfield, “Build it and they will come.” If that same voice was to whisper to me there would be a couple of differences. First, it would most likely be the voice of that creepy little Malachi from Children of the Corn, and second, it would say, “Plant it and it will die.” Yep, if I plant anything other than my ass in this chair, it will die a long slow death before going up to the greenhouse in the sky (or the festering compost pit below depending on the moral character of said vegetation). While others have a green thumb, I have a black one. Now, it’s not particularly evil (like it’s cousin Toe J. Simpson–that’s a story for another blog), but it kills shit, nonetheless. It wants to be sweet to the plants: love them and squeeze them and water them and feed them….and accidentally kill them. My thumb is like Lennie from Of Mice and Men.

My thumb = death

My thumb = death

Because of this tendency to commit botany-cide, I pretty much refrain from planting things, but that doesn’t mean I don’t give it a try every once in a while. There was the one year my mother brought over her BIG, BEAUTIFUL house plants to live on my glassed-in patio. In less than a month, they withered from a green canopy fit for howler monkeys down to something wilty you’d pull out of a dish of lo-mein. But I’m not taking full responsibility for this manslaughter. Sure, I didn’t really water them outside of an occassional spilled beer, but I also think it was the withdrawal from the constant stream of Marlboro smoke they received at Mom’s. The proof was that they made a full recovery when she rescued them from their deplorable conditions at my place.

So I stayed away from plants for several years until around 2009 when I decided to plant tomatoes and peppers in pots on the patio. And they did well!! I was constantly shocked when I’d go outside and they were not only still alive, but producing little veggies (or maybe they were tumors). That went great until I woke up one morning and they had been reduced to twigs that Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree would have made fun of. On the twigs were big, fat caterpillars with horns. I deal better with animals than plants, so I decided that at least we’d get to watch them turn into the Hawk Moths they would become. They started making cocoons and then the birds found them. Talk about a massacre. You’d think that would be enough to convince me that God would just prefer if I left his leafy creations alone, but I have a short memory, so I tried again.

I went way out of my norm and tried this crazy thing called “watering.” I did that to the azalea bushes out front and then went really crazy and planted flowers. For the first time ever I had a colorful front yard. That lasted exactly one week before the mother of all hail storms came in and beat the chlorophyl shit out of the garden. The storm was so bad that it made our fence look like somebody had taken a machine gun to it. 40k in damages. 8k on just one of my cars alone. The flowers should have been the least of my worries but I was furious that my one moment of botanical glory was taken away by a freak storm.

Now it’s 2013 and that’s been more than enough time to make me forget about the two plagues already sent to warn me to cease my bad behavior towards plants. This past Saturday my ADD whispered “Let’s plant flowers” in my ear and I drug all 3 boys to Lowe’s and loaded up on petunias for the sunny spots and impatients for the shady. Things have gone alright in my opinion, but I recently found out that not everyone feels the same. One particular flower wants to tell his story by sharing his journal. At first I wanted to shut him up so I could keep up my little charade of gardener going, but I just learned another hail storm in moving in tonight, so this may be the only thing we’ll ever hear from Tommy the petunia, so here we go…

Meet Tommy the petunia and some of his roomies.

Meet Tommy the petunia and some of his roomies.

Day 1:

I’ve been moved with all of my neighbors I’ve gotten to know in the greenhouse. It was a long, bumpy ride, but I’m still stoked about seeing the world. I can’t wait for the freedom to stretch out my roots and really see what this world is all about. Til tomorrow –Tommy

Day 2:

Wow! Finally made it to this country called Lowes. It’s really crowded so I’m guessing it’s a pretty metropolitan kind of place. Not all of the locals are friendly and I don’t understand some of the languages, but its all kosher. Me and my bunk mates have settled in at this little hostel on shelf 2 of aisle 6. I at least got a shower to wash off some of the dust from travel. I can’t wait to see what the next leg of the trip will be. Laters– Tommy

Day 3:

Dude, it was a crazy freakin’ day. There was like a parade of these huge people like the ones I’d see in the greenhouse. They came in and out, taking entire trays of my friends with them. I was getting a little down, thinking about all those lucky bastards getting to head out for their next big tour. But then–THEN, it was my turn. This woman came in with 3 smaller humans. They were really loud and talked about farting a lot, but the smallest one snatched up my bunk along with my 5 roommates, and put us in a cart. There was another bumpy ride and then I was unloaded. The leader of the group they call “Mom” seems really excited, but in  a “needs some meds” kinda way.

Don't look her directly in the eyes.

Don’t look her directly in the eyes.

She at least took me and some of my mates out in the sun. It feels good to be alive and out enjoying God’s green earth . Ahh…Wait. What’s that? It’s big and shiny…

photoOh…I see. I think she’s just making a soft new pad for me to chill in. I’m totes cool with that. Ok, she’s picking me up and…Wait! Wait!! Oh, sweet Jesus, she’s turning me upside down!!! Oh, God!!! Stop the shaking! Please stop the shaking!!…Oh, holy hell!! She’s pinching my ass…I’m falling…Oh, God, I’m falling. Somebody help me. I’m naked and her fingers are in places that they shouldn’t be…Oh, hey…wait. She’s putting me in that hole she dug. Wow. This is nice and warm. I’ve got room to stretch. Not bad. I feel like a total tool for acting like a punk-ass wuss. The boys aren’t going to let me live this down. I just need to chill and… Oh, my God!! What the hell is that?!?!?

photoOh, wait. She’s just making my bed extra soft. Yeah, I know– call me “Mr. Overreaction.” I must have some sort of jet lag or something going on. Maybe somebody slipped me some bad stuff in my food while I was in Lowe’s. Never know about some of those crazy foreigners. I just need to chillax and take some deep breaths. Photosynthesis meditation, baby- Carbon dioxide in…oxygen out…All better…and hey, there. The scenery is improving…

photo…How you doin’? Nice buds. Wait! Where you going? She waits ’til I get all chill and then she leaves me. I guess that’s chicks for you. Oh, well. Time for a slumber. Laters– Tommy

Day 4:

Things are going pretty well. The sun is up and birds are chirping. I’m getting to know my neighbor, Carl. He’s as chill as they come. Nothing shakes his mellow. A fat bumble bee was swarming around him and he was all like, “Hey, brother bee. Come partake in some of my pollen goodness. Use part of me to make your sweet honey.” He’s like a purple Yoda. I think I can learn a lot from this dude. Check ya later– Tommy

Carl

Carl

Day 5:

It’s another awesome day on planet Earth. Things are going pretty good. I guess my only complaint is that I don’t get the regular showers I had in Lowes. I’m feeling a little parched but nothing to complain about. I think I’ll spend the day basking in Carl’s wisdom. Peace and love, brothers– Tommy

Day 6:

I’m feeling a little dry today. The sun here is great and all but it’s getting a little too hot to go without a cool beverage. Carl’s just taking it all in stride. I just need to suck it up like him…Oh, wait. It looks like I have a visitor. Maybe she brought some water.

photo

Oh, God!!! That so wasn’t water. Where am I? Why in the hell did I deserve that? I’m good to people. I mean, there was that one time I didn’t call that hot little begonia the day after our roll in the mulch, but she acted like she’d been in more than one greenhouse, if you get my drift. This sucks!! I have to get some water. Oh, wait!! Yes! It’s one of the two-legged people. He’ll help a dude out.

photoWhy?!?! Sweet god of geraniums, why?!? I thought humans used toilets. Why do the male ones pee on everything? That was so not cool, dude!! Go get a REAL waterhose and wash me off. In the name of Miracle Grow and all that’s holy, please get me some water.

Day 7:

Still no water. My face is feeling crispy. I keep stretching my roots as deep as they can go, but no water. I got bit by a grub today and a bird shit on my head. I’m starting to realize I’m in hell. It’s like a horror movie. Carl isn’t looking so good either. If water doesn’t come soon, I’m not sure what will happen. Pray for me– Tommy

Day 8:

We lost Carl. He’s gone on to a better place. He’s the lucky one.

RIP Carl  February 12, 2013- April 15, 2013.

RIP
Carl
February 12, 2013- April 15, 2013.

Day 9:

My prayers have been answered. There are clouds in the sky. Even these serial killing assholes who have me captured can’t beat nature. Come to papa Tommy, sweet mother’s milk. I’ll drink it in and grow strong again. Then I’ll avenge Carl’s death. Just wait, crazy garden lady. Just wait.

To be continued…

Mommy’s Little Helper Monday – Tax Day Edition

It’s Monday, but it’s not just any Monday– it’s Tax Day Monday. It’s the day all of the procrastinating folks sift through mountains of receipts and try to figure out how to convince the government that their new bass boat is a business expense and that their dog, Mr. Fluffy-nuts, is actually a child they adopted from Russia (it was the radiation from Chernobyl that made all the kids over there grow extra legs and lick their own butts). For all of you that get healthy refunds and still use an EZ form, I got a special public service announcement for you…

bum giving finger(See, I told you I look horrible before my Monday liquor coffee.) But for the rest of us who aren’t already scoping out new flat-screens, eyelash extensions, and other necessities to spend our refund on, today is a day that feels a lot like a violation. For us it feels like when creepy uncle Gary’s wondering hands get a little too friendly at the family reunion.

So if you’re one of the folks who will be taking a shower all Crying Games style after today, or if you’re one of those lucky people awaiting a refund, there’s plenty of reason to drink this Monday. And on that note…

The Libation:

If you’re doing taxes today you ain’t got no time for fancy drink making, so I’m making this easy enough to do even after hours of brain-draining tax shit. Step 1: drive your ass to your local Sonic. Step 2: Order yourself a slush. Step 3: Pour some vodka, rum, PGA, or whatever else floats your boat into it, and enjoy.

There are 398, 929 possible drink combinations at Sonic (according to them), so if you can’t find something that tastes good with liquor, there is something horribly wrong with you. And because today is tax day, why not be patriotic and order a blue coconut, ocean water, watermelon, strawberry or cherry. And because we’re feeling it in the old pocketbook or bra (yes, I’ve seen women who keep money in their bra), I’m passing on this little hint: All day today you can get your mixer drink half off!! Tax Day Happy Hour, baby!

Maybe you can try a “Why didn’t I keep that !*%&*#$ receipt watermelon cooler”, or a “Can I claim that keg party as a charity event? cherry smoothie”, or even “Uncle Sam kicked me in the (blue) coconuts slush.”

sonic tax (2)

And speaking of hints…Duh- I Already Knew That Helpful Hint:

Apparently there are plenty of other big businesses out there who want to ease the pain of paying taxes (something they don’t know much about) and offer freebies today. Arby’s and Cinnabon are just two of the places who are willing to throw you some salve in the form of carbs. Here is a link for other free crap to help you get through Creepy Uncle Gary’s Groping Day (I laughed quite a bit over the free Trojan Vibrator give-away for L.A. and San Fran citizens…they’ll be the ones smiling at the post office). Another link is here.

So to all of you hard-working, tax paying readers out there, Happy Monday from me and Uncle Gary.

Uncle Gary

Confessions (of my inner White-trash)

I have enough embarrassing photos of my children to keep my life with boys series going for a decade, but I get bored pretty easily (You did catch that whole ADD thing about me, right?). So I’m going to mix it up and embarrass myself, too. While rummaging around on the internet for healthy recipes to cook for my family (I can hear my husband laughing all the way from his office), I came across this little thing called a Challenge Meme. Essentially it challenges a blogger or anyone with an internet account that gives them the ability to annoy others from great distances (Facebook, Twitter, and the particularly horrifying Twilight fan fiction sites–we must never forgive them for birthing 50 Shades of Grey), a prompt to write about everyday.

There are lots of them out there ranging from the mundane to the insanely specific. We’re talking everything from writing and drawing challenges, to crazy shit like organizing and green smoothie challenges, to the little bit pathetic ones like Justin Bieber and Spongebob. I’m not sure I really want to know what’s involved in a 30 day Justin Bieber challenge and I’m pretty sure that 30 days of green smoothies would also be classified as a 30 days on the toilet challenge. But back to my point, this idea appeals to me. My ADD loves it some lists. It wants to be organized and a list with specific, attainable goals, tickles the shit out of it. It gets all giddy like when it used to take tests in school. There was no way my ADD could make it through hours of mind and butt-numbing homework, but it thrived on tests. They were short and required hyperconcentration. If my ADD hadn’t rocked it out on the ACT I would have never gotten a scholarship, which means I probably would have never gone to college, which means I could have very well ended up a stay-at-home mom with a blog…Uh…hmmm….Just give me a sec to run down to the liquor cabinet and numb that pesky part of my brain that likes to do things like make realizations….

Trailer 3

…Ok, all better. Back to this challenge idea. I’ve decided to do a 30 post challenge about confessions. I’m not sure why that’s what popped up, maybe it’s the new Pope; but I think it could be fun. I can embarrass myself and my family, and you get to laugh and be thankful that I’m not responsible for your care. So let’s get down to business with my first installment.

Confessions of my Inner White-trash

I was born in Tennessee and raised in Arkansas. I’ve never lived in a trailer or a shack. We were poor but we weren’t poor white trash. I had shoes I just chose not to wear them as often as I should have, and we certainly ate beans and cornbread on occasion. People assume that all Arkansans are hillbillies and rednecks, but I’m going to give you a quick lesson on the classification system of Southern crackers (white folks, not saltines).

Country: People known as “country folks” are good people who’ve come from a long line of people who made their living off the land or doing manual labor. They may not be educated but they’re smart, often wise. They love God and their family above all else. They typically aren’t very worldly but they don’t see a need to be. They enjoy simple things but they are not above leaving cars, old washers, or even school buses out on the back of their property to rust away. My extended family would be classified as this (including the school bus).

Rednecks: These are country people who like the finer things in life, which mostly means things with big wheels that you can drive through the mud. They are louder and more brass than country folks. I even dare to say that many lack some of the manners of the country folks. They are more apt to be in your face, sometimes with a gun. What they lack in refinement they make up for with ingenuity.

Trailer Trash (AKA: poor white-trash): These folks are pretty much the dumb cousins that the country folks and rednecks couldn’t stand to be around. They don’t have the wisdom of the country folks or the drive of the rednecks. They don’t need no school or nothin’! They like their life of government cheese, brawls with gas station hookers who stole their money, and visiting the jail more than once a year. Not all people who live in trailers meet the qualifications to be trailer-trash. It takes a special brand of stupid to make this cut. (side note: there are way more trailers in Florida than Arkansas.)

Hillbillies: Take the poor white-trash, move their trailer to a mountain and replace their Pearl beer with some moonshine. Give them a possum coat for good measure.

Now, I don’t think I fit into any of these categories but you can’t grow up in this rainbow of diversity and not have it rub off on you. So, here is the proof that somewhere down deep inside there is a Country-Redneck-White-Trash hybrid that occasionally gets my ADD drunk on some canned Coors and influences its creativity. And here is the proof that will probably provoke my husband to go into hiding:

When your inner white trash gets a hold of your ADD it will tell you that a perfectly good substitution for having to drag your kids, a caravan of shit, and your bloated self down to the pool is to create your own waterpark in the back yard…

Come on down to Wild Bucket Country! Free pork rinds with every admission.

Come on down to Wild Bucket Country! Free pork rinds with every admission.

When you actually get snow in Dallas (which never freakin’ happens), your inner White-trash will help you engineer a snowsuit from hand-me-downs and recycled crap from the garage…

"Mama, I'm goin' back to the igloo-trailer for my possum blanket and a hot beer."

“Mama, I’m goin’ back to the igloo-trailer for my possum blanket and a hot beer.”

(Yes, those are latex gloves from the garage over his mittens secured with masking tape. Target bags over his double-socked feet with more tape. Ain’t no snow gonna keep my boy from havin’ fun with his cousin-brothers.)

When Christmas comes around and you have a toddler who wants to pull the Christmas tree down over and over again, your inner white-trash will help you rig that sucker up to withstand a F1 twister with nothing more than a Lego table, an empty crate, and some twine. Your children will then dress for the theme…

"Mama, can we make more of those fancy ornaments out of fishin' lures and beer cans?"

“Mama, can we make more of those fancy ornaments out of fishin’ lures and beer cans?”

Well, there you go. You can take the girl out of Arkansas but you can’t take Arkansas out of the girl. If you want to witness the depths of my inner white-trash please go buy a copy of Fifty Shades of Puddin’. Who doesn’t want their erotic love stories to take place in a trailer park? (Yes, another shameless plug so I can support myself when my husband divorces me.)

Mommy’s Little Helper Monday

Yes, it’s Monday again. I’m still struggling with that fact myself. My coffee hasn’t worked nearly fast enough and I look extra lovely today wearing a nightgown Holly Hobby would find too conservative and a robe that has an honest-to-God zipper up the front. Add in my it-was-wet-when-I-went-to-bed hair and my dark circles and I pretty much look like Medusa if she was living at an assisted living center. And because I look like this, I guarantee that our contractor will pop by to check on our bathroom situation. So, before I permanently scar the psyche of some young man, let’s get to the good stuff…

The Libation:

The Colorado Bulldog

"Seriously, you can cancel my neutering appointment because I'm pretty sure those suckers froze off an hour ago."

“Seriously, you can cancel my neutering appointment because I’m pretty sure those suckers froze off an hour ago.”

I have no idea why they call this drink a Colorado Bulldog; all I do know is that they taste a little like a chocolate shake, go down too easily, and influenced many of the stupid decisions I made in my 20’s. They are essentially a White Russian if that Russian has been Americanized in the south by becoming addicted to trailer park protein shakes, also known as Coke (or is that Mountain Dew? I get confused). Here’s what you need to make your own:

photo

You’re probably wondering about the little illustration instead of a beautifully staged photo. Honestly, it’s a lot faster for me to doodle this out than find all of the ingredients, clean a spot to take the photo, and stage it to look like something you’d see on Pinterest instead of a crime scene photo from an episode of Police Women of the Appalachians. The other thing you’re probably wondering about is who the hell would mix vodka and milk? Trust me, I thought that too. Give it a try, and all will be good.

Directions: Get out your prefered drinking recepticle wether that’s a camouflaging Starbucks cup you can take with you in public or a blinged-out pimp cup that says “Mommy’s a Crunk Be-otch” or whatever. Drop in some ice and your jigger of vodka– you know, that weird little two-sided funnel you thought was some Martha Stewart brand eggcup for quail eggs you got as a wedding gift (Seriously. Who the f%ck eats quail eggs?) . Add a jigger of Kahlua, and your jigger or two of milk (cow, soy, almond, hemp, goat, yak, whatever). Mix that up. You can even use your fancy martini shaker if you think the sound might lure Daniel Craig over. Once the White Russian part is in the glass, add a splash of Coke and your done. Yay for vodka! Now this is not calorie friendly ( I only drew the recipe with a Diet Coke because I like to look like I care), but neither are those tater-tots you just scarfed off your kids plate because you didn’t want them to go to waste.

Speaking of eating your kids wasted food…Duh–I Already Knew That Useful Tip:

We’ve all done it, and most of us have felt guilty about it. We’re moms not vacuums, but for some of us with OCD tendencies (raising my hand over here), it can be hard to see food go in the trash. I’ve caught myself more than once eating something off my child’s plate instead of letting it go where it should. If I was a person truly qualified to give advice I would be giving you a tip on how to tell yourself you’re worth more than those extra calories and all that other great bullshit, but I’m not. Instead I’m going to enable your behavior because…well, because misery loves company. So, here is my “helpful” tip. If you are facing down a Spongebob bowl half-full of Krap Kraft Mac-n-cheese and you can’t squash that overwhelming desire to eat it, sprinkle some Sriracha sauce on it. Seriously! It was pretty good, but I guess if you numb your tasetbuds first, everything goes down easier (I bet that Bizarre Foods idiot person carries ass-loads in his suitcase).

If you manage to lure Daniel Craig over with your martini shaker, let us know if he's wearing these under that suit.

If you manage to lure Daniel Craig over with your martini shaker, let us know if he’s wearing these under that suit.

Now, I’m supposed to give you something funny to keep you going on this Monday, but I feel like my funny bone is having to work hard today. Maybe all that spring cleaning yesterday broke it? I don’t know. I guess I could scour pinterest or Facebook or I could be really lazy and just post some random photo from my files. Yep, that’s the winner because I’m actually really, REALLY behind on my current novel and have to get my ass typing (my ADD just shoved an image in my brain of ass cheeks typing…Ahh, I love my ADD). So here you go, a photo I took of some fabric that I swear on a bottle of rum was being sold at JoAnn’s…

Are you beating a drum or are you just happy to see me?

Are you beating a drum or are you just happy to see me?

Yeah, I noticed that there seemed to be a theme to todays post, too. Not sure why. Anyway, here’s the “cover my ass” portion of the blog also known as credits and disclaimers: Medusa is still going strong and doesn’t need a retirement facility even if she is getting a little incontinent with age; the bulldog photo was found here; trailer parks don’t actually allow protein shakes on their grounds; Police Women of the Appalachians isn’t a real show but totally should be; Martha doesn’t sell eggcups for quail eggs (she carves them by hand and gives them as favors at her annual Spring Equinox parties); I’ve never seen a mommy hide liquor in a Starbucks cup (its hard to type that without thinking lightning is going to strike me);  Daniel Craig is probably not going to fall for the martini trick…again; and you can actually buy those undies here.

Happy Monday– Ash

Life With Boys– part deux

Maybe I should title that “Number 2”, as in the secret bathroom code developed by our ancestors before they were even walking without the aid of their knuckles. Yep, nothing that has even the slightest link to poop will escape a boy. Crap and crapping is considered highbrow art in the world of the male child. They set up miniature think-tanks under the monkey bars at school to hold summits about how many ways they can talk about it . If you want to get the attention of a boy under the age of 15 simply work in the word poop, crap, pooh, poo-poo, dookie (how they hell do you even spell that), or whatever else they call it into a conversation.

Let’s say you’re lecturing telling demanding begging them to clean their room. All they hear is blah…blah…BLAH…BLAH…sound of muffled sobs…blah…blah… sound of wine bottle being opened…blah blah. But if you slip “pile of stinky poop” in right before you get to the important stuff, you’ll have their attention.

I’m not sure why I’ve started this off with a discussion on poop. I guarantee that my ADD is involved since it saw “part deux” and chased it down a shiny bunny trail, but it could also have to do with the fact that our house that normally contains 3 functioning bathrooms is currently down to one–mine. There was apparently a leak going on under my boys’ upstairs toilet (a bathroom that’s odor reminds you of a primate house on a scorching summer day) for some time. We didn’t realize it until we found a puddle in the bathroom below it and the paint peeling in there and the living room. Anyway, the floors are torn out and that leaves 4–FOUR people with male genitalia using my bathroom. Insurance doesn’t understand that some people’s safety could greatly depend on how fast they get that check cut.

Just how upset would our HOA be if I built this in the yard?

Just how upset would our HOA be if I built this in the yard?

But enough about poop and bathrooms, let’s get to some more photographic evidence of what living with boys looks like.

When you’re a mom of boys your son will decide…

Who can resist a sparkly wedge that gives your calves some extra lift?

Who can resist a sparkly wedge that gives your calves some extra lift?

…. that your sequined flip-flops are ideal for a leisurely spin on his bike.

When you’re a mom of boys you’ll discover that a little thing like a nosebleed…

"This tastes a little salty."

“This tastes a little salty.”

…will not keep them from enjoying a fine PBJ.

When you’re a mom of boys one of them will eventually beg to make pancakes by himself, and because your drinking (3 boys, remember?), you’ll agree. If it’s your artistic child he’ll make a doughy replica of a minature weenie dog…

IMG_0499…but he’ll also make something else in the “weenie” family…

IMG_0430

He’ll then try to convince you it’s an elephant, but you will not be fooled because you’ve never seen him think an elephant was so freaking funny.

Happy Friday!!

Cowardly Lions

Usually this blog is the place I put my funny spin on being an ADD mom raising ADHD boys. I created this blog separate  from my primary blog, Wckedwords, so I wouldn’t bore the folks looking for heavier material with my ridiculous attempts to raise my children without a mental institution getting involved. Today’s post is on the serious side. April is Autism Awareness Month and my oldest son has autism. Life has been hard for him and a couple of years ago I wrote a piece about that struggle. I’m proud of it because outside of my Fifty Shades of Puddin’ series, it gained the most attention of all my posts. It was even read in churches and portions placed in newsletters. It felt good to help shed some light on what it can be like to raise a child with special needs, especially one who is being bullied. The first post I wrote on this blog was actually another serious one about the same subject– A Tale of Three Amaryllis. I hope that you’ll take the time to read them and possibly share  with others who may benefit from reading them. I promise to go back to making you laugh on Friday.

Thank you for your support– Ash

courtesy of wikimedia commons

courtesy of wikimedia commons

April has once again come and gone. It shouldn’t seem different to me than the passing of any other month, but it does. You see, at some point April was designated as Autism Awareness month. During this time store chains ask people to donate money at check-out and tape paper cutouts of puzzle pieces on their walls. More than once I’ve stood there with my credit card in hand, staring blankly at the cashier as she waits for me to answer if I want to add a donation to go towards Autism Awareness. My son is Autistic, but she doesn’t know that. Do I give a dollar so my name can be scribbled on that puzzle piece and taped on the wall when I’ve already spent thousands of dollars fighting for my son? Do I laugh like I want to and say, “Trust me, I’m more aware of Autism than you’ll ever think of being”? Those are thoughts that run through my brain as I slowly nod and pay the extra dollar.

Sometimes I feel like I’m a bad Autism mom because I don’t fight on a public platform. I don’t organize fun runs and social gatherings. I don’t wear a blue puzzle pin on my lapel. I don’t even have an Autism ribbon magnet on my car. Quite frankly, it sucks most of my energy just trying to research and implement what I need to be doing just for my own child; so fighting for the thousands of others seems daunting– even crippling. But saying that I don’t fight publicly is not saying I don’t speak about Autism. I do every day, and I have literally bibles full of materials and everything ever sent home concerning my son’s “special needs.” I’m open with people about what he has to the point that I’m having to stop myself. I tell him he can’t let Autism hold him back, yet I find myself using it as an excuse so that others won’t just think he’s weird, impolite, or just unintelligent. Most people look at me now and say something like “Oh, I didn’t have a clue,” and then I realize that I just labeled him—handicapped him– in the eyes of others. I say I want him to be treated normally, yet I’m making sure he isn’t.

My son’s Autism has made him an easy target for predators. Just like in the animal kingdom, predators are able to pick the easy target out of the crowd. They sense their weaknesses, and once their prey is in their sights– they go in for the kill. My son has more than once been on the receiving end of targeted abuse. At school he has been physically attacked more than once on the playground by the same child who waited for him to wander away from the others as he often does to play by himself. Another child thought it would be funny to try to shove his head in a toilet, but we were lucky that some other kids went for help. At a summer skate camp my son figured out quickly that he didn’t have the same physical skills as the other kids so he resorted to riding his board by sitting down. This annoyed another boy to the point that he hit my son with his skateboard and then stole his shoes and equipment and threw them over a fence where he couldn’t reach them. Each of these encounters has left my son with bruises that run much deeper than his flesh. He always puts on a tuff façade and holds his tears at bay until he finally breaks; and I hold and rock him as he weeps in my arms, and I do my best to hide my own tears as his pain rips at my soul. As his mother I want to be the soft place for him to land, but also the solid, unmoving support that holds him up when he’s feeling weak; so I don’t cry in front of him. I march on like he does until my own wall crumbles and I find myself shut in the laundry room where the sounds of the machines will drown out my crying as I sob into a dirty towel.

These are the times I become consumed with my anger, fears, and sadness while forgetting the blessings of my son and the opportunities he gives me and others to grow as humans. So here it is May, and Autism awareness month has come and gone again without me officially recognizing it. I think it’s because I knew it would be so difficult for me to do and I wasn’t sure what message I wanted to give. I don’t want people to read this and only have pity for him and the others like him. I don’t want the bullies and predators to be the ones whose actions are remembered; so I decided to post below the speech I’ve formed in my head more than once when I’ve been crying in the laundry room. This is the monologue I rehearse in my head, that if given the chance, I would deliver to the bully who’s harassed my son. This is the message about Autism I want to share.

Dear Bully-

Today you made the decision to hurt my son in one way or another. Something inside you whispered in your ear that by making my son feel less, you would feel greater. You chose to put aside kindness and inflict hurt. You and you alone chose to do this. I know that you had reason for doing this. You hurt inside. Someone in your life has made you feel like you made my son feel. For once you wanted to feel like you had the power, and so you chose to make my son feel even weaker than he already does.

I imagine it was easy for you to do. He’s small and doesn’t have many friends around him to help keep him safe. He probably didn’t even fight back at first because he didn’t quite understand what was happening. But you accomplished what you set out to do: you made him feel even more different, more of an outcast, more of a loser. As a mother I can say that I truly ache for you and whatever makes you hurt inside. You did not ask for whatever unfairness has found you, but neither did my son. He did not ask for the doctors to make mistakes at his birth. He did not ask to be born not breathing and have to be revived. He did not ask for countless illnesses and a first year of life that was physically excruciating. He did not ask for a condition that made his clothes feel like razorblades against his skin. He did not ask for sounds and smells and lights to be amplified by his senses to the point of being painful. He did not ask to feel like he isn’t even connected to his own body. He did not ask for Autism. He did not ask for you to remind him that he will never have the “normal” life you do.

You probably would never want to admit that you and my son are similar, but you are. You both feel less about yourself because of someone or something else. But that is where the similarity stops. You see, my son has every right to be just as angry as you. He has every reason to want to go make someone feel as bad as he does—but he doesn’t. Everyday my son chooses to take a different path than you did. He chooses to stand back up and walk back into the groups that make him feel different and bad about himself. He chooses to smile and try one more time to make a friend. He has done this everyday of his life. You knock him down and he gets back up. He chooses not to bully to make himself feel better, and that is why he’s my hero. He is the bravest person I know. His courage runs deep and the saddest thing is that you will never know those things about him because you only saw the outside. You saw a coward where I see a lion.

Maybe if you had taken a different path you could have been friends. Maybe you would have found someone that would have understood your pain and stood by your side, but you chose differently. You physically overcame my son, but know that you did not win. You’ll never win until you learn to choose differently, and my son and I pray that one day you will.

“What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?” -The Cowardly Lion The Wizard of Oz

M.L.H. Monday III

You know it's true.

You know it’s true.

Well, congratulations! You obviously survived the holiday weekend if you’re reading this. I don’t know about you, but this is how the Easter holiday typically plays out for me–

Good Friday. Desperate shopping Saturday. Easter Sunday. Half price Reese’s eggs Monday. Regretful Tuesday. Celery sticks and water Wednesday.

Sound familiar to you, too?

Actually, holidays and I have a love-hate relationship. The artsy perfectionist part of me loves the opportunity to use my creativity and skills to make everything sparkly and fun. My ADHD and tendency to run in circles does wonders at throwing wrenches in my Martha Stewart approved plans. I dream of baskets hand-woven from the grass I grew and reaped myself. Organic eggs from my organic fancy chickens that are dyed in organic dyes from beets that I juiced with my feet while dancing with my perfectly dressed children under a maypole laced with violets and pansies. But once my ADHD sticks its dirty little hands in the mix and sucks away my time, the kids are more likely to get a shoebox filled with a Lunchable and a half-eaten Snicker bar that smells oddly like Merlot.

Speaking of Merlot, let’s get on to the first part of Mommy’s Little Helper Monday– The Libation:

I decided to stick with the Easter theme and came up with a cocktail that I’ve christened “The Bunny Tail.”

photoNow, I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks. Just follow these detailed instructions and you too can be sipping on a Bunny Tail before you’re kids get home from school. First: Get out a wine glass. Second: Clean the glass (sparkling clean from hand washing with your organic soap and organic cotton dishrag, or glittering from chemicals, or smudged from a spit-n-shine–you choose). Third: Open a bottle of wine by any means necessary (pick out the glass if you had to break it open). Fourth: Pour wine into glass. Fifth: Place holiday-themed Pez dispenser into glass. Ta-da!!! If it doesn’t come out quite right on your first attempt, don’t give up. Everything gets easier with practice and you’ll be making them like a pro in no time.

Now, on to the useful tip that I usually call the Duh–I Already Knew That Helpful Tip, but in keeping with the Easter theme I’ve decided to provide you with a craft idea. I literally have two armoires overflowing with craft supplies, so who better to pass on a little project? This will be my Half-ass Martha project, also known as a “Seriously? It’s Another @!#$&*%  Holiday? Craft.” A little twist to this lesson is that I know not everyone has access to all of the supplies I do, so I’ve dumbed it down to something everyone can do. So, without further ado, meet Corky!

Corky, a special Easter friend.

Corky, a special Easter friend.

I know that I’m really pushing this Monday with the complicated drink and now this intricate craft, but I have faith in you; and besides, you can’t grow if you don’t push yourself. First: find a cork. If you don’t have one there’s something wrong with you go buy a bottle of champagne, drink it, and use the cork. Easy. Second: grab a cotton ball and a cotton swab. Third: cut the swab in half. Pierce two holes on top of the cork and shove those babies in there. Fourth: Glue the cotton ball on the Franken-bunny’s ass. Fifth: draw a cute little face with a Sharpie, markers,  make-up or whatever you got. Done!! Now display your masterpiece right in the middle of your Waterford eggs or whatever priceless treasures you possess like the ones above.

Wow!! You’ve made it through another M.L.H. post. I’m sure you learned more than your “Monday brain” can handle but I have faith in you and the wine aisle at Trader Joe’s. So, happy Monday, folks!! Oh, and ….

Happy April Fools’ to you and Happy Birthday to my mom (you have no idea how appropriate that is for her).