Friday, March 16, 2018

Fortune Cookies, Coffee and Laughter

I was not prepared to write anything this week, until Kenya visited my facebook page and mentioned that I should post the video of my son that was there today. So that is pretty much what I did and all I really could do here at (shhh) work (shhh).

There is nothing like the sound of my son's laughter. Especially his "can't stop belly-laugh". It is highly contagious and you cannot be in anything but a good mood after you hear it.

There will never be anything like my son's laughter.

Facebook Status 3/16/18
Reading fortunes at the Chinese Restaurant (we had snow on my birthday so we chose the close-by option for dinner) - Video includes pauses for eating - he had to finish one before opening another - and for laughing - some of the laughing is in his the fake over the top, breath-out laugh that makes me nervous that he will pass out.... #FortuneCookies


Facebook Status - One year ago

He's finding my day long - looking for my coffee, finding it cold in the microwave, reheating, looking for my coffee, finding it cold in the microwave, reheating, looking for my coffee, finding it cold in the microwave, reheating debacle highly entertaining. #WhereDidILeaveMyCoffee

Nothing like it!


Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular prompt (different formats each week of the month).
this week's Finish the Sentence Stream of Consciousness post! Write 5 minutes on the prompt word "Laughter." 

Hosted by Finding Ninee and Sporadically Yours

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Here I go again...Safety and Danger

(Apparently, I have not gotten this topic all out of my system. Also, for the record, I do not focus on the downside, but I do write about it from time to time. I have, in fact at times been accused of being too lighthearted on both of my blogs - so I just cannot win.)

I have told you anauseam that DC does not understand safety or danger. I have told you that I tell stories; individual stories, to show you how his mind works - so that it is clear to you that every autistic individual is NOT the same. 

We keep hearing and reading:
If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism,” ~ Dr. Stephen Shore
but it does not seem to carry over into our real life views and assumptions.

So I tell stories, about my child and about his autism. 

I tell stories about his inability to communicate even though he is verbal.
I tell stories about the things he has come to figure out and learn and things that are still works in progress.
I tell you that he is unaware of danger and safety issues, no matter how often these things are explained to him.

Just telling you that, does not seem to make you believe or understand, so I try to tell specific stories.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

This post IS about Star Trek Discovery

((off topic))

I wrote a post about the first part of season one of Discovery and I tried hard not to spoil anything. Without being able to spoil, there was not a whole lot I could say.  The post went in another direction and turned out to be more about what distracted me (fun things) than about anything else.

(See: This post is supposed to be about #StarTrekDiscovery)

This post will be more about some of my own theories or hopes for the next season. We have a very long wait for season 2 so some of my theories may change, but for now this is what I have.

I may have offered some of these opinions in other posts or on the #MomsGoingBoldly Pod Cast but am not going to go through everything again to check what I said and where I said it, so please bear with me.

After watching the first half of the season, I wondered whether those first two episodes were really necessary. Most of what happened in the first two episodes (which to be honest, if it were not for the pod cast I would not have stopped watching there) could have been taken care of in exposition or flashbacks. It seems now after watching the rest of the series, those two episodes were there only to bring us the Captain Georgiou character back story and only the Georgiou character backstory. It still seems to me that bringing this character's story into the Discovery story-line could have been just as easily accomplished through flashbacks.

After those first two episodes, it became a whole new show and it was fantastic.

There were things that I did not pick up on right away because I did not realize at first that this was more of a serialized Star Trek and not a stand-alone episodic show like TOS. Elizabeth (Host of #MomsGoingBoldly) picked up on the whole Voq / Ash Tyler conspiracy before I did . But once I realized that this would not be a collection of stand-alone episodes, my compulsion for having to figure out everything kicked in - many times over the rails, kicked in - but it was there every moment.

The biggest question, in my and everyone's mind at the mid-season finale: Was Ash Tyler really Voq and we had that question answered rather quickly in the second half of the season.

I still believe that the IMDB page "error" that listed Shazad Latif as playing a Klingon on Star Trek Discovery (you know the one that was quickly removed?) was all a ploy to build interest in the new series. Knowing Star trek fans would be out in force looking at everything printed or posted, I strongly believe that this "accidental" addition to the IMDB page and then the sudden appearance of an "unknown" actor being credited to the role was all done to get people talking and to help generate fan theories around the show and character.

It certainly worked and whoever came up with that idea deserves a big promotion and raise. Hats off to Star Trek Marketing.

The second half of the first season was even better than the first. We visited the Mirror Universe, which was probably no surprise to anyone, but still fun. We had been a little bit (more than a little bit) leery of Captain Lorka and all of those fears came to fruition when we discovered he was not the prime Lorka at all, but the mirror universe Lorka! Leaving the fate of prime Lorka, who was dismissed as dead a little too quickly by Admiral Cornwell, up in the air. I am hopeful that we will get to meet Prime Lorka eventually.

The death of Dr. Culber at the hands of Ash/Voq was devastating at the time, but even at the time, I felt that this would not be the end of Dr. Culber. Unless you are working in a Joss Whedon production, I do not believe that anyone would hire Wilson Cruz and set up this lovely relationship with Paul Stamets only to have it end so abruptly in the very first season. You just don't.

(Full disclosure; After Kol was killed I did go on the record on that episode's pod cast as saying, "You don't cast Kenneth Mitchell as an unrecognizable Klingon only to kill him off in the first half of the season". And so far, I guess the show's creators may have done just that very thing. So what do I know?)

But....according to some of the articles, tweets and posts I have read very recently, I might have correctly taken my assigned seat on the  "Dr. Culber Lives" bandwagon.

Let us not forget that lone spore that fell on Cadet Tilly's shoulder. Is it a piece of mirror Lorka? Is it the piece of Dr. Culber that we met in the mycelial network? Is it something else all together? Of course I am hoping for Dr. Culber, but it really opens up a lot of different avenues for the show to take.

L'Rel has taken control of the Klingons.... for the time being. 

Mirror Georgiou is still out there. We surely have not seen the last of her.

I am guessing that we have not seen the last of Harry Mudd either.

When we left Discovery, they were on their way to Vulcan to pick up their new captain. My first question is why is Saru being passed over?  The next question - who is this new captain? My money is on T'Pol but really only because they are headed for Vulcan and I really cannot come up with another character that we have seen before who would be alive during this time period. But who knows, it may just be a totally new character all together. Jeffrey Combs? I am waiting for him to make an appearance somewhere along the line. It IS becoming tradition.

At the very end of the last episode, while on their way to Vulcan, the Discovery received a distress signal from none other than the USS Enterprise - Captain Pike to be specific.

This was exciting to say the least. We all know that the Enterprise's science officer in this part of the Star Trek timeline is none other than Mr. Spock.

I am excited to see who will portray Captain Pike, but I am not 100% convinced that we will actually get a Mr. Spock (an observation of mine that I do not think made the cut in the final episode's pod cast - but I did not listen to it all over again to be sure).

I am really not 100% convinced that we will see either (more-so, Mr. Spock) but I would be very happy to be wrong. Casting these two characters will be very difficult, indeed.

I have one final observation/obsession/theory that I cannot seem to shake. Due to the treatment of Voq by the Klingons, the manipulation of his body and mind by L'Rel and because that manipulation/surgery and reprogramming did not go as expected and left him as basically one body sharing two vastly different personalities, memories and allegiances; I believe there will be a breaking point. A break from both Klingon and Human. Maybe a failed attempt to revert to his Klingon body combined with the added confusion and stress of being not one or the other; but something will lead this character to drop both the Voq and Ash identities and become the character we all know as "The Albino" from DS9.

I may never see pay dirt on this theory, but unless I see Voq/Ash's death at some point during this series, I will continue to believe that he is The Albino. It will be fact, if only in my own head.


This blog is used for shorter posts, off topic posts, for longer Facebook statuses and apparently complaints about dentists and doctors :) . Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time 



Plans and the weather

(24 hours in Facebook Statuses)

Night - Facebook Status

DC has big plans for tomorrow. Tomorrow is his scheduled 6 month IP (no E, he’s out of school) review. Although he does not in any way enjoy attending these meetings, he is excited because he knows that after the meeting I can stay and have lunch with him in the program’s restaurant. Friday is also, library day. After the library we are supposed to have dinner with his aunt and uncle - which he is also looking forward to. Now we hear that there is some sort of “weather” on the way for tomorrow. How much weather - we don’t know because I am not allowed to watch the weather, due to his belief that watching the weather actually brings the bad weather. 
In-between pacing and asking me over and over again about the meeting, lunch, library, dinner (to which I cannot give him definite answers) and opening the door to look out and yell “snow go away” (it’s not snowing) he is also announcing
“ My ‘twenty-seventeen’ birthday”. He just flipped the calendars this morning to March so he’ll be announcing his birthday to me all month. #ItsWhatsNext- He has a lot on his mind tonight. #Help 

The Following Afternoon after hearing about the weather, the meeting, lunch and dinner all morning before his transportation arrived, Facebook Status

Last night I posted about DC’s plans for today, the weather, and his growing anxiety over all of it. So far it is just wind and lots of rain so his program and meeting did not get cancelled (although I did have to avoid tree limbs in the roads all the way there and there still is a BIG threat of the power going out - which hasn’t occurred to him yet.... we’ll cross that bridge later I’m sure). 
When I arrived he was still out of sorts and wigging out over dinner (he was no longer concerned about lunch because I was there, so he knew lunch was on).
We were waiting in the conference room for his case manager who was late (did I mention that DC HATES these meetings???).
His case manager arrived and for some unknown reason did not notice that DC was upset right away (???) and began asking him questions which only made him that much more upset.
(Note: When DC is upset he will generally answer any question with the last thing you have said)
Finally he realized DC’s anxiety and asked:
“DC is something bothering you?”
DC: Yes!
CM: What is it that is bothering you?
DC: You!
(I am the mother so I am not supposed to laugh..... but I did)

The photo is of the finally calm and happy DC having “lunch with Mom”

Now let’s all join hands and hold our breath for dinner and begin praying to the power gods, please. This wind is getting scary.


Later...... (personal facebook page - no link)

aaannnd .... the lights are flickering.


3:20 PM

Apparently his program lost power sometime after I left, but he had library and dinner on his mind so believe it or not, it was not the first thing he said when he got home! (Progress??)

4:09 PM

So far so good - DC and Mrs. H. left for the library.

(I am left-handed, in case you might be wondering)


4:40 PM 

DC and Mrs. H arrive back home

Quick thinking on Mrs. H's part...... Treats!


5:27 PM Facebook Status

As much as storms and wind frighten him, he seems much better when he is able to watch what’s going on. Due to the high winds I wouldn't let him go down to the garage and watch with the garage door open, he decided to take position on the stairs in front of the front door.
#Whateverworks (dinner is still on, so far)

6:30 PM Facebook Status

For those who may be new here: I do not normally post this many times in a single day - 
Now, moving on...
We were able to go to dinner with his Aunt and Uncle (can you say, Phew?). He even received a few early birthday gifts.

(The photo is of the finally calm and happy DC having his highly anticipated dinner with his aunt, uncle and Mom)

As expected, with dinner being out of the way, he is now perseverating on the wind and the power going out. I made the mistake of saying “So far, so good” and due to that error in judgement, I will be hearing that phrase in my sleep tonight. 
#SoFarSoGood #StillPrayingToThePowerGods
The wind has actually died down considerably, but he’s too far into “storm mode” to hear any of that.

Later at home
All plans for the day have been checked off his list (in one way or another). Now it is time to devote his full attention to the storm, which in reality was not a storm anymore - it wasn't even raining.

Mom, so far, so good
Mom, I am brave
Mom, wind go away
Mom, look out the door

Mom, so far, so good
Mom, I am brave
Mom, wind go away
Mom, look out the door

Repeat....125 times...

Mom, wind will be over tomorrow

Repeat ...72 times...

Edited to add, because how could I forget...

Ms. (Lastname), the wind will be over tomorrow. (He skipped right past "Mom" and "Vickie" and went straight to addressing me formally. I don't know why. He calls me Vickie quite often because he has been told and is aware that he is an adult and he decided that he should be using my adult name. I don't know the reason for the Ms. - :) )


Finally it was time for bed.
He did wake me up twice which was an upgrade to the 4 times he woke me up the night before - so ... progress.

Morning came - the sun was out. The wind had died down to next to nothing.


It was OVER!


Moving on....

"Mom, DC's 'twenty-seventeen' birthday is coming soon"



This blog is used for shorter posts, off topic posts, for longer Facebook statuses and apparently complaints about dentists and doctors :) . Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Guest Post: Restaurant Pet Peeve - By Doug #DougSpeaks

((off topic))
Since this site seems to be the site for my complaints (usually about the dentist, the neurologist or the eye doctor), I thought I'd have Doug take a crack at one of his pet peeves.

Doug is not usually one to complain (shhhh, don't tell him I said that), that is my job. He normally lets things go - too often in my opinion. When something happens over and over again to the point where he actually wants to write about it - it's something, trust me. Especially when it happens more than once during one single weekend trip. Not that this sort of thing has not happened to us for years, but two or three times in as many days put him over the edge.

There was that one Valentine's Day when we actually were able to go out without DC, so we did not have to chose a restaurant that served burgers and or wings. The table for two was half the size of the table pictured above.

We got our drinks and appetizers (table - full). Within 5 minutes time they came out with our entrees (with sides). When we asked where we were supposed to put all of these plates, they offered to wrap our appetizers to go. Seriously.  After removing everything from the table; salt and pepper, oil, candle, wine list - they managed to fit everything on the table. But of course now everything was getting cold. 10 or 15 minutes after that fiasco, they brought out the salad - you know, the salad that is supposed to come out after the app and before the entree. Again, they offered to wrap it so I could take it home. Who wants to take a dinner salad home, really?

(In my option, Doug is being nice with his 25% estimate - I do believe it happens far more often than that)

So here, first in the series I am going to call #DougSpeaks is:

Doug's Restaurant Pet Peeve

HELLO HELLO HELLO, is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home?
          Hello class and welcome to Basic Restaurant Service 101. Let me start by mentioning that I don’t care much for fine dining. I am much more comfortable in a 3 or 4-star setting. With that being said, I also understand that I am going to get 3 or 4-star service as well and that is just fine with me as most times the service is acceptable.

When I go with V&DC we usually order appetizers. My gripe is that occasionally, I will say 25% of the time (usually in chain restaurants), the entrees are delivered before we are finished with the appetizer.

Now class let’s read from our dictionary –

APPETIZER: A small dish of food consumed before a meal to stimulate one’s appetite.

Most menus list these items as ‘starters’ or ‘appetizers’, but in many cases the headline should say ‘Slam these down as quickly as you can. Your app will be served with a three-minute timer … Ready? GO!!’ 

Basic restaurant service guidelines state that an entree should be served 5 to 7 minutes AFTER the appetizer is finished to give time to clear the table and prepare for the oncoming meal. Does anybody read this stuff? I found that information in less than five minutes. Who trains these people? Maybe I/we have a target on my back and it only happens to me, I don’t know, but it happens often enough to start raising awareness.

Here is a typical scenario and a couple of lines you are welcome to use if this happens to you: [table full of plates and appetizers] [server (or someone from the kitchen) arrives with entrees while apps and plates are still on the table]

Response #1: OH GOOD! Please set those down directly on top of our ummm … APPETIZERS!

Response #2: Excuse our ignorance, we don’t get out to eat much. Which of these items are we supposed to eat cold?

Now a good server would recognize that there is a problem here and make an effort to correct or compensate the issue. This has been done at times, but again not very often. 

If your comment(s) go unnoticed or ignored DO NOT LEAVE A TIP ON THE APP!
It is possible that I am over reacting and it’s possible the way things are done has changed over the years. After all, if I do have dessert I order it AFTER dinner. (Otherwise it may show up half way through the entree and would probably go something like this: [server shows up at the table with dessert in the middle of dinner] ‘Okay, who had the chocolate sundae?’ ‘I did, just dump it on top of my mashed potatoes and gravy please.’

          That brings us to part two of our lesson today which is entitled ‘Taking control of your dining experience’.

As you can probably tell, I am tired of leaving these places feeling rushed and disappointed so they can turn their tables faster. (My apologies to those many servers who got it right)

Here’s a tip that allows you to take the control of the pace of your dining experience and away from them – especially when it’s busy. 

Order your appetizers and drinks and only your appetizers and drinks first NO MATTER WHAT THE SERVER SAYS!!

Once you are about ¾ of the way through your appetizer go ahead and order the entrees. Then wait until you are done with the entree, of course, to order dessert if you are so inclined.

Now I’m not one to complain. That’s not how I want to spend my night. I usually just walk out quietly when I’m/we’re done and do my venting (and laughing a little) in the car. If you should run into an app mishap at any time as described above, feel free to leave a copy of this article on the table before you leave as a protest. I haven’t yet, but I may start soon.  That concludes our lesson today. Thank You for your attention.  ~ Doug     

This blog is used for shorter posts, off topic posts, for longer Facebook statuses and apparently complaints about dentists and doctors :) . Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The day the doctor decided to explain my 26 year old son's autism to me.....

DC has a standard appointment with his neurologist once every three months. The appointment described below was 6 months ago. I started writing about it at the time but got sidetracked by my many dental issues. He had an appointment in November that was uneventful and another today that we will cover at a later date.

This is the same doctor who for some reason can not seem to get his blood pressure in one, two, three tries - which always serves to aggravate DC to no end. The last time DC was so angry the doctor asked cluelessly "Is he acting that way because he is trying to tell us something?" - UGH!

In preparation for this appointment, in an attempt to avoid a problem, I tried to explain to DC that it is not his fault if the doctor has to keep trying to "squeeze" (get his blood pressure). The doctor just must not very good at it. That made DC laugh and knowing it was someone else's fault made him even happier. I hoped it would also keep his aggravation level from spiking. 

DC has been on seizure medication for two years now. I am supposed to report any change in behavior to the doctor.

I noticed little things when he first started the medication. He had a few crying episodes - all out "ugly face" crying with tears (he never cried, even as a baby - he would scream, but not cry. He almost never has tears.). Both times it happened, it went on for quite a while and both times over the Barney song.

I also noticed, not very long after he began taking the medication that when he got anxious over the things he normally gets anxious about, his anxiety was a little bit higher and it lasted a little bit longer. All of this had been reported to his doctor, previously.

His anxiety and meltdowns began to get even more intense in the months between our appointment in May and this appointment in August (See: Welcome to Monday Meltdowns and Alone).

I explained this to his doctor. He asked when this tended to happen. I explained that it  was not limited to Monday mornings, but Monday did seem to be a pattern. I also said that I realized that Mondays are difficult for many people but.....

(I was cut off)

He laughed at me and said:  "Well nobody likes Mondays".

(I think I just said most of that)

Me: I understand that most people do not like Mondays and it may be that DC does not like or never has liked Mondays, but it had hit a new extreme now. 

Dr: (Still laughing) Everybody hates Mondays.

(So, listen. I am old. I am tired. I am out of patience for many things and many people and this guy was working on my last nerve.)

Me: (without going into the details of his meltdowns here) DOES EVERYBODY DO (THIS) AND (THIS)???? IS THAT WHAT "EVERYBODY" DOES? REALLY?
I am not saying that he never gets anxious, I am not saying that things did not bother him before. What I am trying to tell you is that that things that normally bother him are now bothering him to an extreme.

Dr: Does it happen every day?

Me: No, because he doesn't get anxious everyday.

Dr: Well if it doesn't happen every day then there is no need to worry about it.

(I often repeat back what he has just said to me because his answers do not always seem to make a lot of sense. I think hearing it played back to him word for word with, I admit, a bit of an "are you kidding me?" tone in my voice, helps him to see how ridiculous his responses sound)

Me: So you are saying that if the anxiety and aggression does not happen every single day, there is no nothing to worry about?????

Dr: Well no, not every day, but if something that normally upsets him, seems to upset him more; I need to hear about it.

(Didn't I just say that??)

Dr: So what do you want to do? Do you want to change is medication?

Me: I don't know. You are the doctor. You asked me to report changes in behavior and that is what I am doing. I don't know if a medication change will help or if there is another with less side effects.

Dr: Well you are asking me to change his medication.

Me: No, I am not asking you to change his medication. I am reporting behaviors. I do not know if another medication would make things worse or better. You are the doctor. Do you think this change in behavior would make a medication change necessary or would another med have more side effects? I am just telling you that he seems much more anxious than he was and his anxiety is lasting longer. He doesn't seem to be able to get a grip on it as easily as he used to. I am not asking you to or asking you not to change his medication - I am reporting changes in behavior as I was asked to. 


Dr: Well you know, he has autism and because he cannot communicate well, he could get frustrated at not being able to tell you what is bothering him.


Dr: (looking angry) We will keep an eye on it. We will see him again in 3 months.

Now, DC has been relatively healthy all of his life. Other than the naturopath he saw for a few years due to digestive issues, we really have not had to see a doctor other than for annual physicals or the random run of the mill illness. He had his first seizure when he was 24, so all of this is relatively new to me. He has never been on any long-term medication before. Sure there were antibiotics every once in a while but never anything more than that.

If your child is taking medication for a long term, possibly lifelong issue and you are asked to report changes in behavior or health, wouldn't you do that? Even if the behaviors are not anything you cannot handle; wouldn't you report them so that if somewhere down the road, they should escalate - there is a record of the progression? 

Wouldn't you also report changes because you, as a non-medical professional would not know what changes are important and what changes are not?

Maybe I am stone cold wrong about all of this, as I said - we are new to all of this, but I can't imagine laughing at a parent (who is new to seizures and medication) is not the way to go. 

This blog is used for shorter posts, off topic posts, for longer Facebook statuses and apparently complaints about dentists and doctors :) . Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time