Woman: I am very shallow and empty, and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say. Man: And I’m exactly the same way.

I told Mario that when he grows up, I would prefer that he give his kids traditional names. He said I can play rock paper scissors with his wife to decide who gets to name them.

A haiku about Frank from Blue Velvet: Hit the fucking road/I’ll fuck anything that moves/Ben’s so fucking suave

Road House haiku: Wade Garrett’s the best/It’s my way or the highway/Who’ll save ‘em from you?

Overheard at the Waffle House: “I don’t like white ladies. My daddy didn’t like white ladies. My brother likes white ladies. He even married one. She is Oriental.”

Last night Mario tried to tell me a bedtime story tonight called “Kelly Cooper and the Bad Hair Day” that he apparently made up. I had to leave the room because he wouldn’t stop talking, but I actually would have liked to hear the story. It’s one in a series which also includes “Kelly Cooper Goes to the Ball.”

It is amusing to me that while every child believes himself to be a tactical genius when it comes to the Battle Against Bedtime, they all use the same plan: asking for a glass of water.

How come you never see a Buddhist murderer on the news claiming Buddha wanted the victim dead?

Whenever we go to Joseph’s Restaurant in downtown Jacksonville we see a bar called Doozer’s Pub. I always want to run in and sing “Drink your cares away” *clap clap* “working’s for another daaay” and run back out. But I am afraid. I think the Gorgs drink there.

I just saw a commercial that said I could avoid disappointment and future regret if I call now. Should I call?

The best part about doing aerobics at home to an exercise tape is that when the instructor says, “How’s everybody feeling?!?” I don’t have to say “Woo hoo!” and pretend to be happy that I’m working out.

They need to start a clothing drive for ladies who don’t realize they’ve gone up a jeans size after having children. It will be called Britches For Bitches.

Rejected giallo title: Your Vice is a Locked Bathroom… And I Really Have to Pee!

Does anyone else smell bacon?

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That’s what I’m talking about.

I was reading a thread about annoying food fads on a favorite forum. Someone mentioned bacon, and it actually started an argument. I agreed with the person who was annoyed by bacon, and I think I know why she was annoyed, but when I finished crafting my oh so helpful explanatory post, I decided it would be better off here on my personal blog in order to avoid the TL;DR eyerolls, seeing as how they were already having an argument!

Ahem. I love bacon. Bacon is not annoying. It’s not annoying that people like bacon. It is annoying that bacon, like cupcakes, has become one of those things that people think they are special for liking, and they are bonding with other people over their love of bacon to the point that people are buying merchandise that says “Bacon!” on it. Everyone likes bacon; you are not cool for liking it. There is no need to put it on a tee-shirt, or to congratulate each other when you find out that the person you just met also likes bacon. Be into bacon, fine, me too, but do you have to be into being into bacon? If you saw the episode of Sarah Silverman’s show where the two guys started liking Tab, that’s how I feel about the love of bacon. It’s not a case of “stop liking what I like,” it’s a case of “shut up.” Oh, and the discussion around the “bacon is going to become scarce” hoax? Remember that? Fuck me gently with a chainsaw.

The obsession with bacon, er, obsession is weird, and the only way I can rationalize it is that it’s possibly an alarming symptom of people’s misguided and desperate need to connect with other humans. Have any lasting friendships really been formed over the mutual enjoyment of fried strips of a pig’s tummy?

See also: zombies, pirates, ninjas, Nutella, Arrested Development, Doctor Who, “randomness” (whatever the hell that means), and chocolate. I know that only two of those things are foods, but all of them provoke the same reaction in people.

What food fads, or fad fads, are you annoyed by?

Is this your homework, Larry?

ImageI have no doubt that homework time is the source of a lot of friction between parents and children everywhere. With Mario there are extra challenges. Even in school, where he tends to behave better than he does at home, he would rather sit and stare into space than do his work. This is puzzling to both the special ed department at school and to me. I don’t even know if the refusal to do work is an autism thing, or laziness, or arrogance, or some issue that is yet to be diagnosed.

There’s another problem here too: because he is in gifted, he has the big ego that many nerds tend to develop. So when he is told to do the type of homework the school gives little kids, like copying spelling words over and over in a triangle, or writing sentences, he doesn’t see why he should have to do it. I on the other hand am of the opinion that a lot of people have to do a lot of things in life that they think are stupid, and if you refuse to ever do any of them, you might find yourself unemployable. It’s never too soon to start with the threat of fear.

There have been conflicting opinions around the ranch (my parents live next door but on the same property, so we call it the ranch, although there are no cows) as to how we should handle homework. My mother taught school for 30 years, and even though I’m sure exactly none of those years were spent holding a child’s hand with a pencil in it and forcing his hand to write sentences, that is what she will do with Mario if I let her. And he doesn’t mind.

But I do. Unfortunately, even though she has been kicked out of homework time recently, a mandate which does not stop her from appearing at the front door every 20 minutes or so to see if Mario is ready to go to her house to play with my dad, my own homework enforcement methods are also lacking, and consist of bribery, pleading, and, this past Monday, actual yelling.

I’m not proud of having lost my temper. But it’s hard to keep up the saccharine Mommy voice with a child who not only expects homework to be a team effort, he also keeps telling you that you’re doing it wrong. Mustache Pete took over that particular assignment after I locked myself in my bedroom to pout, and the next assignment was completed with a small amount of bribery on my part. I apologized to Mario after I yelled, and again at bedtime, and was met with a typical, “And you should feel bad because Pete could get me to do my work and you couldn’t.” Yes, the Aspergian child is the soul of tact.

The next day I was dreading homework time. I knew there was going to be a science test coming up, and that we also had to study spelling words, and I knew the science study session on soil was going to be more painful. So I told him to first sit down with the science book and read aloud the two pages that were assigned. What he did next was such a simple solution to the homework problem I couldn’t believe I have been so stupid. Instead of reading the book and then enduring my attempts to make him memorize the facts about soil, he started quizzing me about soil! He taught me the science lesson, which made it fun for him, and in doing so accidentally studied for the test. He even got to do his favorite thing: telling me I was wrong, because the only one of the three layers of soil I remembered was topsoil. Hey, third grade earth science was a long time ago!

How could I have overlooked the fact that what this child likes to do more than almost anything is to pretend to be a game show host? He absolutely loves to stand in the middle of the room and make up questions and challenges for the adults, but I never thought to apply it to homework because I was so frustrated that he didn’t develop my personal style of just doing the fucking homework so it would be done.

Studying for the spelling test went so much easier. We just let Mario be the host of the spelling bee, and Pete and I spelled plenty of words wrong so Mario could correct us.

Note: I resist any attempt my brain makes to turn this homework thing into some kind of twee metaphor about learning life lessons from my kid.

That’s the beauty of music. They can’t get that from you…

I remember buying compilation CDs and tapes in the 90s just to get one or two certain songs on each one, and wishing you could buy just one song. Now I imagine most people buy one song at a time. Has it eliminated the album? I am not up enough on new music to know if many artists still put out collections of new recordings that are meant to be played all the way through in a certain order. But I suspect that by the time Mario is buying music on his own, the album will be an almost outdated concept. I have to remember to play some for him, because he definitely is into music a la carte only so far. Lists are fun, so here are a few albums I like to listen to all the way through, and they are always over too soon. I’ll post about favorite live albums in another post.

 

 
Willie Nelson: The Sound in your Mind – I think this is the first album I ever remember hearing, on vinyl, as the good Lord intended it to be heard.

Simon and Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water – But it could have been this album. This one was my mom’s favorite, the Willie Nelson was dad’s.

Cake: Prolonging the Magic – My brother made me a cassette of this when it came out and said “you have to hear this.” That’s because I didn’t have a CD player in my truck. In 1998. I have always been a dork who is slow to acquire the latest things.

Grateful Dead: American Beauty – I discovered this one when I first went off to college.

Jane’s Addiction: Nothing’s Shocking – Someone gave me this for my 18th birthday, thinking I would like it. One of the best surprise gifts of music ever.

Morphine: Cure For Pain – These guys put on some of the best live shows I’ve ever seen, and frontman Mark Sandman seemed like he enjoyed performing just about better than anything. I’ve never heard one person ask if they could play just one more song that many times.

Van Morrison: Moondance – I don’t remember how I came across this one for the first time, but it involved a road trip out west.

Robbie Robertson: Contact From The Underworld of Redboy – I’m sure I bought this when it came out because, hey I really liked The Band’s The Last Waltz and that Carny movie Robertson was in with Gary Busey and Jodie Foster. And it turned out to be good, although I don’t usually like electronic music. Also, I hate how young people keep making up new musical genres, because I’m sure this album isn’t even “electronic” but “deep banana peel quad middle fi.” They have lots of genres that all sound like fucking techno to me. But hell, I like this noisy album.

Prince: Purple Rain – I got this album for Christmas in 1985, yep, a couple of years after it came out, and I had to listen to it with the huge headphones on because it had bad words. I was ten and there was Darlin Nikki in my ear and I was like lolwut. That was when Teddy Ruxpin commercials were on during every commercial break in a kids’ show, and I always wished I had one that I could play stuff like the Purple Rain album on. But I was too old. I should’ve just asked for one anyway, because I still think it would have been rad to have Teddy Ruxpin singing Prince and the Beatles, to name two artists I liked at 10. I can’t remember any others. But they should have been sung by a creepy bear, whatever they were.

Modest Mouse: The Moon and Antarctica – One year I had this nutty (but hot) boyfriend who, among other fibs, claimed he was a founding member of this band, but just walked off and let them have the songs he wrote, which included “Bankrupt on Selling” from a couple of albums before this one.

Rolling Stones: Flowers – I don’t usually go for the early 60s British stuff, because I imagine everyone standing on those weird TV studio sets where people were all up on different platforms playing and the whole thing is orange with swirls in the background, only how the hell would you know because it’s not in color. And someone has a velvet jacket on and lace cuffs sticking out of the sleeves, and someone is pretending to play a keyboard. But Flowers was in the family record collection when I was a kid, so I have to admit that this one is good. I could name several different Rolling Stones albums I can listen to in their entirety, and I’m not even that big of a Stones fan; they’re just that good. Or old.

I could wrap you in some foam, or something billowy?

cemeteryangelrose

I took Mario out to take a bunch of pictures in the historic district. The weather has been in the 60s and 70s all week. It just makes you want to go outside and walk around and breathe and grin your ass off at how pretty the sky is! I was delighted to see him run around and take about one hundred pictures, most of them being small details on things, like just the benches on a huge gazebo instead of the whole gazebo, or just plain small things, like clover. He kept saying “I see something!” every time he decided on a shot. He has the same way of seeing that I do. Run around and take as many pictures as you can. Mario took the pictures at the top and bottom of this post, and all the pictures on our new Instagram, starting here and ending here, except the ones I marked with my name.

If you like to take pictures, but aren’t real serious about it, what do you like to photograph?

gazebobenches

I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubblegum.

hatersHow many times have you read a parenting blog post that goes a little something like this: “I would be stressed, but being a mom is just so magical. I think my friends are jealous of me, though, and I don’t know why. It’s not like I’m Superwoman, I’m just a rockstar! It’s really not that hard, especially because my wonderful hubby is just so supportive. This morning after I got all seven of my school age kids off to school, organic lunches packed into cloth bags (I got up and picked the cotton, which I grow in my backyard, spun it, and wove the cloth on my loom, then sewed the bags this morning before the kids got up, no biggie) in hand, I wrote all one hundred pages of the new PTA bylaws (got to put my spin on it, now that I’m PTA president) in both MLA style and Chicago style with footnotes and a bibliography. Then I ran twenty miles while nursing my two and four year old littles who were strapped to me in their slings AND I got the Instagramming of all my downtown window shopping photographed, edited, and uploaded from my iPhone while I ran. After lunch (half a cup of vegan cottage cheese, which I molded into the shape of the Eiffel tower)…”

Bitch, sit down!

Into the garbage chute, flyboy!

frustrationFor about the last three days I have heard parents everywhere I go saying, “I can’t wait until Christmas break is over!” I want to smack each and every one of these people in the face with a large, smelly fish. Mario dreads going back to school, and I dread sending him. I’m sure one big reason these kids are driving their folks nuts is that they are bored without their school friends. Mario has no friends.

The other kids don’t know what to make of him, with his stimming, his emotional immaturity, his exuberance that just isn’t cool for a big grown ass third grader, the way he clings to me or my mom when we visit the school, the fact that he has to be walked to class. They don’t know about his twisted and goofy sense of humor, or how much he loves to cook, the way he puts Legos together in a way the makers of the playsets didn’t know was possible, his budding filmmaking hobby, his ability to drive our golf cart better than his sixteen year old cousin, and the way he can hold a conversation with a grownup like a perfect little cocktail party gentleman, when he wants to. All they see is a guy who isn’t good at sports, who freaks out if their lunches get anywhere near him, who might dissolve into a puddle of tears on the gym floor if the music during an assembly is too loud.

Some of the teachers at school understand Mario’s issues and look out for him, but it’s at their discretion, because the school doesn’t recognize his diagnosis. School guidance counselors know more than psychiatrists! </sarcasm> Also, the principal refuses to listen to my complaints about bullying, because “they have a zero tolerance policy for bullying.” Yep, the fact that they have a zero tolerance policy means it’s not going on. More than one official has said that to me. Public school is not the place for my little man.

Unfortunately, home schooling is too risky, because it might give his father an opportunity to sue me for custody, since, as my attorney says, “judges don’t like homeschooling.” That is, the judges here in this rural county which is a hemorrhoid on the butthole of the Bible belt. If things don’t get better socially by middle school I’m homeschooling anyway, because by then Mario can talk to the judge himself. And we all know that middle school is where kids are at their most understanding of others’ quirks! So for now, my option is: the only private school in town, a dominionist school where they teach the type of science classes whose textbooks say things like, “We don’t know exactly how electricity works, just that it comes from God.” That tells you all you need to know about the town where we live, and why private school is right out too.

Oh, and we can’t move to a real city with more resources for autistic kids, because my ex’s lawyer is in the good ol’ boy network, and scored him Wednesday afternoon visitation right after school, even though I have primary custody. Sometimes it feels like Mario and I are trapped in the trash compactor in Star Wars, with the walls closing in, cold water rising, and something slithering around our legs.

So if you’re loudly bitching about how you can’t wait to send your kids back to school after the break, just consider how lucky and blessed you are that you feel that good about sending them back. And also, I invite you to pick an acre of my ass to kiss.