Some days just aren’t worth getting out of bed for

I’m so over this day.  I was over this day hours ago.

First, I slept really late.  OK, I had no place to be this morning so it wasn’t a big deal but it still through me off my morning.  Then my elbow and knee have been hurting all day as though I twisted them in my sleep.  And the first thing I see on my news source is Carrie Fisher died.

After lunch I went to my room and what to my wondering eye should appear but three (3 — THREE!) massive hairballs yacked up on my bed.  Merry Christmas, love CDK!

I took Riley to see a movie.  Well, that was the plan anyway.  We went to the theater and it was crazy busy!  I haven’t seen that theater so busy in years!  So we wait in line, get our tickets, then go to the massively busy concession stand.  Just when it was time for the lady in front of me to order, the cash register broke and it took them several minutes to get the register next to it prepared.  There was also no carbonation for the drink machines.  When Riley went to fill her cup with a non-carbonated beverage, we got separated in the crowd.  It took me a good 10 minutes to find her!  I was about to freak out and start yelling for her!  I asked the ticket-takers at the door and one of them had seen a girl in a blue coat with hood sitting outside theater 2.  The same movie was playing there but it started half an hour earlier.  Our movie was in theater 16.  I find her sitting on the floor by the doors completely in tears.  I tried to talk her down so we could continue on to our movie but she was close to full autistic meltdown mode.  Fortunately I was able to get the tickets refunded and we left.

We stopped at the Dollar Tree on our way home and I got AA batteries for the new clock I got for Christmas and a frame for the picture Riley drew me for Christmas.  Once home, I fix up the clock and hang it on the hook, replacing my Grandmother’s Kinkade print.  Two minutes later it falls and the frame broke.  My dad was trying to adjust the frame to glue it back on when the whole thing shattered and the glass facing broke.  So now I have a plain circle with Roman numerals for a clock.  Sigh.

Then I put my picture in the frame and left it sitting on the coffee table to take to my room later.  Glad (CoDependent Kitty) curled up on it.  When he got up Fursley decided to give it a try.  Fursley is nearly 10 pounds heavier.  He broke the glass.

Seriously.  What?  Fine.  Whatever.  I got myself some chocolate milk (rice milk, of course, damn food “sensitivities”).  And ended up spilling it all over my favorite pajama pants, my shirt from Riley’s school, and the chair I was sitting in.

I’m really just so over this day.  Seriously.  Maybe someone put a curse on my day.  Maybe it’s because today is December 27.  Maybe I was just due for a rotten day.  All I know is I’m done!  I’m going to get ready for bed now.  I haven’t put the mattress protector (yes, the cat yack soaked all the way through) or sheets back on my bed yet but right now I don’t care!  I need to put this day behind me and try again tomorrow!

peacock-card

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Ten Commandments of Love

  1. Live your life in a state of quiet meditation that you may better hear the quiet voices of your teachers speaking from deep within your soul.
  2. Be not distracted by the ills of the world for there are many and they will vastly overwhelm you. Focus instead on the ways to help heal the pain.
  3. Demonstrate servant-leadership. “How can I help you succeed?” The measure of success of those you lead becomes a portion of your own success. By lifting others up in this way you raise yourself higher.
  4. Do not blindly follow any leader or teacher. Even the best make mistakes. Others may be deceptive and are not who they claim to be.
  5. Never forget to love one another as God has loved you. For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son to teach the world to love and forgive and be generous with one another.
  6. Teach all who are willing to learn. Give generously to all who ask or are in need. Love all unconditionally.
  7. Pray God’s blessings on the world daily.
  8. Do what you can to help. Do not fear that you can not measure up to the generosity of your wealthy neighbor. You will never be judged by her yardstick, for good and evil performed by her is hers alone.
  9. Study the great teachers of Love daily that you may be a shining example of their students.
  10. Do not boast of your good works. Allow them to speak for you and be their own reward. If you need applause for giving to charity then it was not a charitable act.

 

This list came to me in a meditation recently. These are certainly high goals and not all of them are easy. It all makes sense, though.

  1. This one is difficult. How do I quiet my mind to listen to the wisdom within? Sometimes it feels impossible. I guess when my mind is whirling is when I most need to go to my room and close the door and sit in solitude for a few minutes to work out what it is distracting me.
  2. How can I avoid being distracted by the ills of the world?  There are so many and they are everywhere.  It seems that hatred is everywhere and love can be hard to find.  This is when I need to focus on one thing I can do.  I can sign a petition, donate to an organization that helps fix one of the evils, pick up something someone dropped, smile or say something nice to someone.  It feels inadequate but every little drop of Love spread into the world helps.
  3. For some people servant-leadership is just who they are.  They innately recognize that the better the people around them do, the more they themselves thrive.  How wonderful to know someone like this!  How much more wonderful would it be if the world were full of these people!  For many of us learning this way of leadership will be challenging because so many of our role models have been bossy but I believe it would be worth it.
  4. Always do your own research.  If someone tells you something that doesn’t sound right, look into it.  Not everyone is looking to help and some people just make legitimate mistakes.  It happens.  If a teacher becomes agitated or upset that you’ve asked a question or researched their information then they are not helpers and you should proceed with caution.  If they rejoice with you when you come up with independent answers and will discuss new information, then they are worth hearing.
  5. Love, forgive, be generous.  Love everyone regardless of your differences.  Those are petty reasons to hate.  Forgive people who have wronged you.  It is a difficult thing, to drop such a burden.  But carrying around the resentment and anger will only harm you.  Be generous.  Give what you can, when you can.  If all you can give is a smile, smile generously.
  6. Teach what?  I guess whatever it is that you know that someone else wants to learn.  Tricky one, that.
  7. Pray God’s blessings on the world daily — God certainly knows that our world needs all the blessings it can get!
  8. This is a good reminder.  You can only do what YOU are capable of.  Don’t fret about what your neighbor is doing and fear that your efforts will look pitiful in comparison.  It’s not a competition.  There will be no comparison in Heaven.  If your neighbor donates $1000 and all you can give is an hour of your time, then give that hour and know it’s precious.  Remember Cain and Abel.  Cain was a farmer and offered fruit from the ground rather than picking fruit himself.  Abel brought the fat from a firstborn animal of his flock.  God did not compare the two brothers’ offerings.  He told Cain to bring a proper offering.  It was Cain who compared their offerings and became enraged.  So it is with us.  Our efforts are not compared to each others’.  We may make that comparison ourselves but the truth remains that we can only do what is within our abilities.  And I thank God that I will never be held up to anyone else’s measure.
  9. Study the great teachers of Love.  Oh, what a lovely idea!  There have been so many wonderful teachers throughout history!  Jesus, the Buddhas, the current Dali Lama, just to name a few obvious examples.  I definitely need to read more Love!
  10. “If you need applause for giving to charity then it was not a charitable act.”  So true!  Wow!  How often do we hear about the anonymous person paying off layaway accounts or other such wonderful acts!  Not often enough!  But why are they anonymous?  Why not share their acts with the world?  Because they are out to help others.  If their identity becomes known, would it compromise their ability to help in the future?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But they are doing it for that good feeling you get from helping and they are known to Heaven by their deeds.

 

So my translation of my meditation may not be 100% and my interpretation of this translation is probably less than perfect.  But even with any errors these still seem to me like good ways to live a Love-filled life.  Some of these may be fairly easy while others are decidedly more difficult.  I guess I just have a new set of goals for myself.

 

In Love,

S

A City called Now

As I continue cleaning out my bookshelves I’m finding more old musings and short stories.  This one could be better but I like the concept so I’m typing it for safe-keeping 🙂

A City Called Now

You’re standing in a train station. The station is beautiful. There are intricate tapestries and many statues and gilded fixtures.

The single track that runs through the station is the only way in or out of this great city.

This city is called Now. The weather is variable – some days sunny, some days rainy. There are many roads and buildings to explore.

One way down the train tracks is the town of Old Now. It is deserted and desolate. The yards are overgrown and the buildings are boarded up and crumbling. The only remaining residents of Old Now are the hobgoblins in neighborhoods with names like What-If-Land and Regretville. Tourists who visit too long on Memory Lane risk being held hostage and never returning to Now.

Going the other way along the track takes you to New Now. This city hasn’t been built yet. There are no neighborhoods, no buildings, and only a few street signs labeled “Maybe Street” or “I Wish Lane”. Visitors here spend their time thinking about what they want the city to look like. They wander wistfully around dreaming of grand buildings and beautiful gardens. They risk getting lost and having a hard time making their way back to Now.

The train station in Now has a secret. The truth is there is no train. There is no way to get to Old Now or New Now. Now is the only place that is real. There is no way out but it goes on forever. There are thousands of neighborhoods to explore. There are countless roads to walk and an infinite number of buildings. Many of them are beautiful beyond description while others are things out of nightmares. But it’s all right here in Now and if you don’t like where you are, you can choose another road. It might be difficult to get there but as long as you aren’t lost in Old Now or New Now you can find a way to a part of Now that you like better.


This musing needs a good re-write but the reminder to live in NOW, not the past or the future, is something I need once in a while!

Five Happiness Habits

Last night the bookshelves in my room started throwing things at me so I took it as a sign to clean them up!  Sorting through the books and the stacks of paper and the endless craft supplies has been quite interesting.  I’ve found all sorts of hidden treasures!  And I’ve only done one set of shelves!  I’m saving the other one for tomorrow 😉

One of the best things I found was a paper titled “Five Happiness Habits”.  It’s in my handwriting so I know I wrote it down but if I copied any of it from other sources I apologize now.  I’m just going to type it here as is.

Five Happiness Habits

1. Be kinder than necessary

If someone is rude, smile and wish them a nice day.  If children leave garbage or toys on the stairs, push it aside instead of stepping on it.  Try to make someone feel a little better for having crossed your path.

2. Accept what cannot be changed

Life isn’t fair and some things just really suck.  Get over it.  Everyone has challenges and problems but not everyone lets that hold them back.  Accept, adapt, and adjust.

3. Tell the truth

Lying or even just softening the truth has never done you any good.  Just be honest, with other and with yourself.

4. See problems as challenges

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task or a chore.

5. Let go of negativity

Focusing on the negative attracts more negativity to your life.  Focus on the good, positive things in your life to attract more good, positive things.  Re-watch “The Secret”.


OK, so there’s nothing truly groundshakingly original there but it’s all good advice.  I’ll be posting the original paper where I can see it daily and perhaps I can better incorporate some of these attitudes into my life, especially #4!

Empty Bowls; i.e., starving in a house of plenty.

I have been ill for the last several years and my house has fallen into a shameful state of affairs suitable, to my disgrace, not for living but for one of those reality clean-up shows.  I am now graced with the gift of health enough to begin the reparation process.

As I clean the kitchen I find bowls.  Bowls in cupboards.  Bowls on shelves.  Bowls nested inside of other bowls.  Bowls of all shapes and sizes and materials.  Some left from when my children were young. Some plastic sets with lids, two complete sets plus some extras! Some borrowed from my mother, now returned.

I also threw away pound after pound of expired food – cans as many as 10 years past their use by date!  I haven’t even lived in this state for 10 years!

How often do we say or hear “I’m hungry” or “There’s nothing to eat”?  How many neighbors do we have who actually ARE hungry and have nothing to eat?  While we sit here in our houses of plenty, staring at our empty bowls, and whining.

What is, what was, what could be

Saturday afternoon I received some bad news.  It’s not that it was unexpected news.  I knew it could happen this early.  But I hadn’t thought about it in a while and thought I had a few more months.  When I learned the extra time was not to be, I had to move forward with planning for this new circumstance.

Unfortunately I don’t handle bad news well.  It’s Tuesday evening now and I’ve had this knot in my shoulder since Sunday morning!  But I’m finally moving forward with some alternate plans.  Not enough yet but it’s a start!  And I have a month to work things out.

Saturday was also closing night of Tyler’s play!  I only got to see 2 shows but it was opening night and closing night so those are the 2 I would have chosen.  He had a great time and he is sad it’s over but I know he’s happy, too.  He’s missed a lot of sleep the last couple of months!  But the next project will come up very soon (he’s involved with 2 local theaters and the new drama program at his high school… it won’t be long!) and once again he will never be home and will wish he could take a nap.

Riley is doing awesome!  Having three part time teachers rather than 1 full time teacher doesn’t seem to be bothering her at all.  Plus she’s in practice for the Special Olympics Equestrian event.  We were there earlier this evening and they finally took the lead rope off the horse!  She was riding independently in the spring but her new coach had never worked with her before.  The show is in 4 weeks and we’re already excited!

As for me, the word is stress!  Yesterday Riley had therapy so I spent 3 hours in the waiting room!  The last hour was pretty nice but before then, ugh!  I really wanted to suggest to that other mom that her verbal reprimands were going unheeded and perhaps he would respond better to distraction or some other option but decided to just shut up with the unsolicited advice.  Because, seriously, almost nobody wants to hear it!

I’m trying to take my stress out on planning for the future, cleaning up my home, and crafting.  I did have a bag of M&Ms yesterday.  Chocolate just seemed the thing to do at the time!  But I kicked my butt this morning during my workout 🙂  I was also hoping a good workout would help this painful knot in my shoulder.  I guess it helped some.  It’s gone from knotted kite string to knotted shoe string so that’s something!

Maybe this week I’ll share a craft I’ve been working on.  But then the question becomes, which one!  Greeting card?  Clock?  Jewelry?  Bookmark?  Decisions, decisions, so many decisions!

So what is?  Change!  Always change!  Ready or not, something WILL change!  What was?  Tyler’s play.  My procrastination.  The lead rope from Riley’s horse!  What could be?  The beautiful (yet terrifying) thing is I have no idea!

IN MY EXPERIENCE having a child with autism is…

IN MY EXPERIENCE having a child with autism is frustrating.  Why doesn’t she understand me?  Why won’t he listen?  Just tie your own shoes already!  Therapy.  Testing.  IEPs.  School therapy.  School testing.  More meetings.  She threw a fit at lunch today and we don’t know why.  Was the cheese melty or the vegetables cooked?  For a long time she refused to eat anything brown.  He won’t eat a sandwich with condiments on it or anything with mayo.

IN MY EXPERIENCE having a child with autism is stressful.  She forgets she needs to be quiet right now.  He picks on her to get a reaction.  She reacts.  Violently.  He thinks he’s smarter than everyone else.  She can say “4 times 8 is 32” twenty times in a row and forget it on the 21st.  The restaurant made the food wrong and meltdown is imminent if they don’t eat soon!  I just want to scream!

IN MY EXPERIENCE having a child with autism is sad.  I didn’t get the experiences I expected to have with my little girl.  There are things that she just wasn’t/isn’t/may never be able to do.  Other experiences have filled in for what I thought I wanted.

IN MY EXPERIENCE having a child with autism is full of questions ranging from guilt-induced to unanswerable.  What did I do wrong?  Nothing.  That’s counter-productive, harmful thinking brought about by grief and guilt.  When will she (fill in the blank)?  In her own time… or not.  What will happen when she’s 18?  Will she be able to work?  Will she be able to live independently or will she always need a caretaker?  Will she ever be able to have a family of her own?  Too many questions!

IN MY EXPERIENCE having a child with autism is a major learning experience!  I have learned patience.  Now I can wait for her to finish her own sentences and tie her own shoes.  I can listen to them fight and not intervene until it’s obvious neither of them can change the course.  I can scrape a perfectly delicious meal into the garbage and make her a bowl of ramen noodles (OK, not often but as long as she’s TRIED it!).  I can sit through a public melt-down and smile and wave at anyone who stares.  I can explain to anyone who asks what set her off (usually, I know the kid pretty well now).  I can sit for hours at a time in waiting rooms with other parents and a magazine to keep me company.

IN MY EXPERIENCE having a child with autism is joyous!  It took her a year to potty train.  Her first steps were at 17 months.  She was pre-verbal until she was five.  Learned to ride her bike at 8.  Brought home a party invitation from a classmate… and actually wanted to go!  She used a full sentence to state a request instead of a single word or, worse yet, a gesture.  Those early years where other parents have a milestone seemingly every day are filled with questions and why-nots but we get many of the same milestones just spread out over a longer time frame.  Making them much more precious and joyous when they do occur.  We also count every little accomplishment as a milestone where as many parents may overlook them.

IN MY EXPERIENCE having a child with autism is full of every kind of loving imaginable.  Giggles, hugs, cuddles, cats, horses, smiles, running across a store with a big smile to a certain toy then running back screaming “MOOOMMMMMMM!” as though she hasn’t seen me in a year, storytime, throw a blanket on her head, fits, meltdowns, emotional upheaval, major mood swings, roller coaster, my worst day is your Tuesday, your worst day is my Thursday.

I want her to grow and to learn.  To have better control over certain behaviors that make her a bully target.  But never to change.  She is sweet, loving, caring.  Strange animals come up to her so she’ll pet them.  Horses, cats, even chickens.  She doesn’t like dogs much, though.  They’re too loud and bouncy.

I know other families have a much harder path than I do and I know there are parents who would change their disabled kids in a heartbeat if they could.  If I were in a harder situation, I may want to, too.  But that is not my path.  My path is a 16 year old with Asperger’s Syndrom and a 9 year old with PDD-NOS/autism.  And although some days seem as though bedtime will never come, my life is an adventure.  An adventure that my kids make well worth any frustration or stress or headaches.  And I love them for the perfectly imperfect, amazingly amazing individuals they are!

Sabotage? I think not!

Riley is doing amazing!  Seriously.  Incredible.  The difference in her in just the last few months is unbelievable.  Her speech.  Her social skills.  Pretty much everything.  I was terrified at taking on multiplication again after the summer since it was so hard in 3rd grade but it feels as though she assimilated that information over the break.  She’s doing great!

I’m doing wonderful, too!  I’ve lost nearly 15 pounds in the last month or so.  I’m really close to a milestone!  I’m wearing pants I haven’t been able to squeeze into for months and they’re comfy!

Then there was the weekend…

Oh dear.  Run, run, run.  Busy, busy, busy.  Tyler had his play performance on Friday night then two showing on Saturday.  Riley and I went to a symphony concert Saturday evening.  (It was a fundraiser for the ranch she where she rides and they host the Special Olympics horse show.)  I ended up having dinner at 4pm at Steak N Shake.  Single burger with fries and a diet coke.  Then everyone… both kids AND my parents… ordered ice cream!  Ugh!  It’s soooooo yummy!  And I sat there sipping my diet coke.

So of course I had to have a snack at the concert (concession profits also went to the ranch).  Thankfully they provided some veggie chips (surprisingly good), fruit and bottled water.

Then Tyler’s play let out right after our concert (at adjoining venues, conveniently) so he just HAD to go to McD’s to hang out with the other actors some more.  So here I am at McD’s with an excited 16 year old, exhausted (and grumpy) 9 year old, my very tired daddy, and me.  Again, all these calories are just flying around me!  Did you know McD’s is now putting calorie counts next to every item on the menu?  I love it!  Fruit ‘n’ Yogurt Parfait!

I’m so proud of myself!  I just went over 1200 calories for the day!

Today wasn’t much better.  I didn’t even get lunch today!  Busy, busy, busy.  Run, run, run.  What’s a gal to do?  I’m sure I’ll make up for it tomorrow!

But with everything against me and temptation abounding and stress through the roof, I stuck with my desire to be healthier and fit into more flattering clothing.  Sabotage will just have to try harder next weekend!  (I don’t mean that as a challenge… really!)

The little things

It’s all about the little things.  The random hug from Tyler.  A note in Riley’s daily agenda saying she’s having a good week at school.  A friendly message from someone I wasn’t sure if I’d hear from again.  Purr therapy from my cat.  Realizing I chose the PERFECT shade of blue to paint my dresser.  Knowing someone who can find great homes for all these orphaned clothes we’ll never wear again.  My Libman Freedom Mop.  Slice-o-matic… never will I dice a cucumber with a knife again!  A fresh peach dipped into Greek yogurt with honey.  Feta.  The scale saying 1.5 lbs lighter than the day before.  Seeing Riley excited about the book fair at school next week.  Baking soda and vinegar.  Borax.  Being able to put my right hand flat on the floor when I try to do a push-up.  OK, that’s not a little thing… it’s HUGE!  Wearing those jeans that have been hanging in the bathroom for a month waiting for me to be able to squeeze into them 🙂  Walking the block with my neighbor for a little morning “walk n talk”.  Saying goodbye to the kids in the morning.  Welcoming them home again in the afternoon.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll bake them some cookies.  Beautiful days like today!  White, puffy clouds.  Opening the windows.  Just BEING!  I guess the little things really are the big things, aren’t they?

And it begins…

That nightmare that made 3rd grade so difficult for Riley and me started again today.  Just a week into the school year and she’s already whining and complaining when it’s time to do homework.  Everything else is great.  She gets up on her own.  Gets dressed without a fight (with a bra, even).  Bounces happily to the bus.  Even bedtime has minimal fuss.  But homework… What is it about homework?

There is something about having to do any sort of homework that just turns her into a whining, procrastinating, complaining diva.  You know what her homework was tonight?  She had to spend 10 minutes reading her library book (about cats, as they often are) and practice multiples of 4 for the quiz tomorrow.  That’s it.  It really didn’t require the 10 minutes of whining that preceded the 15 minutes of actual work.  Or maybe it did.  What do I know?

Starting tomorrow she will begin homework at 330.  That’s right after snack time and only 30-45 minutes after arriving home.  Maybe doing it earlier means it won’t interrupt the flow of her evening.  If that’s what causes the mood swing.

She also has an absolute obsession with going into a cartoon world or having cartoon characters come visit her.  Listening to her go on about what it would be like if she found a way into Ninjago City gets a tad tedious after a few hours.  She was working on a great little story about the Pound Puppies going to Ponyville.  I was really enjoying that one!  But she hasn’t worked on it in a few days.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll find her pages and ask her to keep going.  She’s so creative!

Around here I really never know what tomorrow will bring.  But, truthfully?  I’m okay with that 🙂  Each day is a new adventure and most of them are quite enjoyable lately!