Anniversaries from the brink of the edge of nowhere


.facebook_1471892102149Oh dear readers, we are racing at light speed toward the one year mark. It sits on me, the weight as vast as the entire universe. I won’t lie, this year has been jam packed with all of the dips and highs of this insane roller coaster ride. It has been nothing that I either expected or wanted to happen this year. Most of the time I have just floated, keeping my head down on the difficult days and breathing, taking one moment by impossible moment. If someone had told me a year ago that this would be my life, I would not have believed it. How do you even predict this? Or cope with it?

This week feels heartbreaking. Full of moments of afraid to breathe because if I start crying now, I will never stop. Will I?  I have many people that tell me that I will. But I am not so sure. So I thought that I would share some of my favourite pictures with you.

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This is him in his Sears uniform. Way back 16 years ago when we first met. This is how I will always remember him. Those startling blue eyes and those boyish good looks. He never really changed. Of course, now I can let the secret out that I dyed his hair for 16 years. Laugh. He wouldn’t let me stop!

He was goofy beyond belief.

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This was the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame trip that I gave him for his 40th birthday. He had a blast. These guitars were all over Cleveland and I think we took pictures of most of them.

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This was after we won our first title of Crab Race champions. 2015.

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He never missed a chance to take pictures of us together. This is our first year together, he was still living in Van Buren and I was spending my time between Muncie and his trailer.

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This was our vacation in Cancun. I wanted to spend all our time on the beach and he actually only got to microplan a couple of days from the whole thing. For those of you who don’t know, he could microplan the fuck out of a vacation. I often came home needing a vacation from our vacation. This one, he only got 2 days. But he was a water baby and he would be lying if he said that he didn’t love the beach time.

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This is the picture we used for the obituary. He is playing my cousin’s 1952 Gibson and he never looked happier or more in awe of anything in his life. He loved playing music and his guitars were his favourite and most prized possessions. I have way too many guitars for a girl that doesn’t play, but he loved them and now so do I. Our lives were full of music. He dragged me to many a festival, concert, bar and outdoor performance. I didn’t like all of them, but I went because I was his built in concert buddy. We had a concert budget and went to anywhere from 50-200 shows a year. We planned vacations around them every now and again. I have gone to some shows this summer. It’s a hell of a lot harder to find someone to go with, but I also go to more things that I like and less things that I don’t, now. LOL.

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This was the last concert that we went to (the last show was the 1964 Beatles tribute). It was the Rolling Stones at Speedway. He was ticking off his bucket list the last ten years and I didn’t even realize it. But here we are at one of those last few shows. This was 10 days before his mom died. About 8 weeks before he did. It seems like now that there isn’t anything music that doesn’t bring him back to me. Because our entire lives were indeed music.

I miss him immensely. Those of you who are FaceBook friends are often entertained by the “Conversations with my husband” series that show his more blonde, silly, and just plain not thinking things out moments.

I will forever curse Timehop and FaceBook for having apps that bring me the joy and the tears of all of these photos that I forgot about or haven’t looked at. I will forever cry when a text message comes up on one of those apps with some inane thing like “what’s for dinner, baby?” or “what do you want to do this weekend?”. Wishing that it was some profound profession of our love. But being with someone for 16 years isn’t about profound professions of love. It’s about profound love that is SO there that you don’t have to say it every day. You just know that it’s there. You trust that it is there and you hold it in your heart above all the other things. Because you know it’s safe and it’s yours.

This year has made me step so far out of my comfort box that I am not even sure where that damn thing is anymore. This year has made me take stock of what is truly important. This year has made me count up all the good things, discard the poison ones, and push other things that are just not worth bothering with away. This is good and bad. Above all, this year has made me appreciate the person that I become with this wonderful guy and I treasure the fact that he weaseled his little blond haired, blue eyed self into my heart. I don’t know how he did it, but he did. I am grateful that he did. Look at the things that I have done in the last 16 years. This barely scratches the surface of all of the amazing trips that we took and all of those things that we experienced because he planned them so amazingly well. It barely touches all of the shows we experienced and the joy those shows brought to either of us. It can never come close to making you experience the love that he so obviously had for me.

I hope that you all enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Here is one last thought. A pendant that a friend made and his ring.

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Closing in on a year and other tales of survival (or who let me adult? WTF?!)


Yesterday was Andrew’s birthday. He would have been 54. I was bombarded all day with memories from various social websites reminding me of this fact and of all the birthdays in years past and how we celebrated. Mostly it was concerts. Because our whole lives were concerts. But mostly I woke up feeling lost because for the first time in 16 years I did not wake up to snuggle his  crazy blonde curls that I affectionately called Rooster head and tell him “You’re 8 years older than me”. July was very special for us. Our first date was July 15th and for years (including that first date) went to Muncie for Shakespeare at Minnetrista and later on BSU’s campus until they did away with it altogether. His birthday came on July 19th and 7 years 7 days and 7 hours later on July 26th came my birthday. It seemed our whole world revolved around 7s. Now I have had to add the anniversary of his mom to July on the 14th. In the past, our little group of 3 couples celebrated four of our six birthdays in this week. Starting with Drew’s birthday and ending with mine. It seems a little weird to start on a different birthday this year.

It also seemed weird to sit quietly at home and go to bed fairly early last night.

We plan to celebrate a little with a lantern release tonight. Just the few of us getting together and remembering a man who made so much impact on all of us and left such a giant gap behind. It’s important to go through these rituals of remembering and feeling all of the feelings that come with it. It makes us…..(swallow) human.

If I had known a year ago that my life was going to be so drastically changed and forever altered, I don’t know if I would have acted/behaved/done anything differently. But I do know that I would have still put my head down and moved forward with everything that is inside of me because I am too stubborn/dumb/pathetic to do anything less than that.

So this year has been filled with all of the firsts. Which suck. Every. One. But still I move forward. This year has also been filled with lots of changes. I changed jobs, hairstyles, focuses, relationships, coworkers and cars. I didn’t get stuck but am often debilitated by the thing that brought all of these changes. I am not happier in these changes, per se, but I am feeling a hell of a lot less stressed about life in general. I have found support in places that I did not know existed. I have learned that we take life way too seriously and that we worry about far too many things that…..Just. Don’t. Matter. And we also let life get on top of us in ways that…..May. Just. Kill. Us.

Think about those things for a moment. Meditate on them. Use them for a mantra. Life is way too short to fuck around with people who make us miserable and far too precious to waste time doing things that don’t make us happy or lead to a way to make us happy.

Afterall, I decided that after 2 years of being stuck in a job that I hated and that had become some sort of demented antagonist in my life, that I was moving on. With or without a replacement job. Luckily a replacement job came along.  I have learned to appreciate little things in life. I consider nothing wasted time anymore. Roger wants to take a car ride?  Let’s go! Chance to take a day off work and take my kid to see our lads <bows head in reverence> Liverpool play on US soil? Fuck yes! Take my friends and kid to concerts? Hell yes! (Side note: you have not lived until you realise that you prolly played WAY too much Violent Femmes while your kid was growing up because you are standing next to him at that concert and you both are screaming the lyrics “why can’t I get just one fuck” at top volume.)

Have a written a word outside of a few blogs since Andrew died? No, I have not. But let me tell you why. I sit in front of the screen writing a blog and I cry my eyes out. I am not ready to write anything else right now. Writing is intensely personal and intensely emotional. I am just not ready to share that much with anyone right now. I haven’t stopped being creative. I have been working on the Autie Zombie Girl shop and things are starting to come together in a way. I have a working website: Weird gifts for Weird people. For now, this is satisfying my creativity. I will go back to writing. But right now, there is so much to do!

I challenged myself this year. It would be very easy for me to go inside, shut the door, lock the latch with that satisfying CLICK and….Never. Come. Out. Again. But because that is the easy answer, I did not do that. Instead I put myself out there. I go to the market every Saturday. Good or bad weather. Good or bad sales. I signed up to do some local shows. That is definitely not in my comfort zone. But without Drew to buffer the world for me, I have had to learn to do it for myself. I do occasionally still hide. I still have Asperger’s for fuck’s sake. But I had to get strong enough to do things on my own. I always have. I have always had this pool of getupandgoness that makes me move forward in a generally lucid manner.

I am now also LITERALLY my husband’s brother’s keeper. Not many of you know that Drew has a brother with an extremely awful mental illness. He is paranoid schizophrenic. When their mom died, Drew and I promised we would look after Mark. When Drew died, I thought that it was my job to fulfill that promise. He was arrested a few months ago in Family Dollar arguing with his voices and destroying merchandise. We got him a placement in first our local mental health agency and then our state mental health hospital. The guardianship hearing was a hoot. Drew’s real father showed up to contest it. He’d succeeded in putting off the hearing for a month. He attempted to make it a three ring circus, but did not succeed. He told the judge that I was crazy and that I was famous on the internet because “her people call her auntie zombie girl”. He also tried to turn being weird into a bad thing. He told the judge that I was proud of being different. So the judge told him that he could see I was different from where he was sitting and he was going to give me guardianship anyways. Bam!

I have been tempted often in the last couple of months to send him a letter and tell him that this is  not how good Christians and Believers behave. That he should be happy that someone has stepped up to take care of Mark. Afterall, he’s just as crazy if not crazier than Mark. He does not see it that way. Thankfully, I have people on my side in that family. Drew’s cousin told the rest of the family that I was obviously the best person for the job. Afterall, his own mother trusted me to take care of him in her absence. I also made sure to dispel the myth that Drew’s mom died atop a giant pile of money that was earmarked for Mark’s care. This is not the case at all. It’s hard to make people who only use money and their own rewards/benefits as a basis for helping others understand that sometimes it’s just the right thing to do.

I continue to clean the house and to put his items away that will eventually go to an auction and be used to pay for his headstone. I continue to find memories of what our life together was and what it meant to him. I believe he was truly happy. Not just with me and our marriage, but with his life. He loved his little part time job and he loved fixing things. He was starting to put together a little network of people that needed things fixed. He enjoyed the freedom of doing what he wanted when he wanted and taking as long as he wanted to so that the job was done right. He was truly in a very good place in life.

So ahead of us are the last few firsts. My first birthday (in 16 years) without him. My first year without him. It’s a struggle that I feel immensely under equipped to take on. But here we are. How would I have done this all without the love and support that I have? I have no idea. Prolly not very well.

I miss his smile. I miss waking up every day and told how pretty I am. I miss his gentle kindness. I miss his confidence. I miss the confidence that he gave me in myself. I miss having a built in concert/movie buddy. I miss everything about him deep into my soul. Life is not as happy without him. Music is not as good without him. My house is so quiet and empty without him. He was my best friend.

The Other Side of the Worst Year EVER….and other tales of survival


I know that I have been terribly negligent of you this year, dear reader. I’m sure that you understand. It hasn’t been an easy year. I wouldn’t even describe this last year as awful, because in reality there have been moments that were much worse than that.  There have been days where I cried with broken-hearted sobs that would rival the depth of the Grand Canyon. My sorrow has been indescribable. I have tried to find the words, but they are lacking.

I am sitting on the eve of the one year anniversary of my beautiful mother-in-law’s death. I don’t know how things would have changed if I had known that moment was only the gateway that would change my life irreparably and forever. On that night when about this time in the evening I sent my husband and my father-in-law to have a lie down because upon my arrival at the in-law’s house, I knew it was the end, I had no crystal ball to tell me that it was only the beginning of the end. Of a lot of things. There was no way to know that on that night, though. Instead I sat gently beside this woman that had given birth to the man I loved with all my heart. I read to her. I read to myself. I whispered with her. I told her it was okay for her to go whenever she felt it was time. I listened as her breathing became shallow and almost non-existent. Many times I held my own breath, waiting to see if she was done. I gave her drops of morphine upon request because there was no other comfort that anyone could offer her. I was sure she’d made whatever amends she felt necessary. I cried for all of the indignities that this wonderful woman had felt that she had put us all through. I didn’t feel that way at all. I felt as if it was the very least I could do for this woman who had given me her eldest son and the chance at a happy life.

In the last year, life has changed so much. I had no way of knowing that this simple natural event would change everyone’s life so fundamentally. None of us did. It seems like an innocent moment. We buried her in a beautiful British ceremony that was exactly what she wanted and what she had planned. So many people came to say goodbye to her. She had touched everyone she ever met with her gentle kindness. Those of us who were lucky enough to be close to her had no idea how truly blessed we were to have her hands on us every day. No one has ever had an unkind word to say about her. This is how one woman made an indelible mark on this sad and sorry world. She truly left it a better place than she found it.

In the last year, little things have popped up in our efforts to put our lives back together. Sometimes it is a photo. Sometimes it is a little thing that was left behind. Untouched in these last 12 months. With my mother-in- law it has been photos and these amazing letters that we keep finding. She wrote these amazing Christmas letters to people over the years. In the words of my father-in-law “Today is the one year anniversary of Caroline Hart Krumel’s passing. In the 54 years that she spent away from England, she must have written hundreds of letters and notes to family and friends. She so enjoyed that. She wrote with a simple, perfect eloquence I admired. There was a quiet optimism you could sense. Her Christmas letter of 2009 was is a wonderful example of her writing. Take a second to read if you will. There was no complaining in her writing. Reading this letter brings Carol back to life, for this day.”

Follows is the letter of that year: “Dear Family and Friends, We wish you peace and prosperity and hope you have had less worries and more happiness this year than you had last year. I feel more like an old person than in previous years. I take naps…in fact I fall asleep everywhere I go. In the car, int the bathtub, you name it. I stare into space more and it takes me until lunch to find my way to work. Roger and I are still making awnings and renting tents (marquees) but right now we wish we were walking on the beaches of North Carolina and Florida. This year of 2009 has been very unusual. Family came to visit. Actually it is the first time in 46 years that family has ever came to visit. My cousin Michael and wife Pauline appeared bearing an artfully restored family heirloom in the form of an antique mirror. Carefully packed in a wooden box and transported from 3,999 miles away…amazing! Roger found a brother he didn’t know existed. Carter McNamara an extraordinary man tall, handsome, and funny and he came to visit with his beautiful wife Teri from Minnesota. This visit was a time of sharing and catching up on the lost years and preparations for a reunion in 2010 of family they have yet to meet in North Dakota. My brother Richard made his way to England to meet his son Alex. A visit that was long overdue, thirty-five years in fact. I have heard that everything went well. For those of you who didn’t hear from me this year, I apologize. I will try and do better next year. No particular tragedies occurred this year, they all occurred the year before. My granddaughters, Cassie and Chelsea are actually making money and supporting themselves much to the delight of their father who thought their university days would never end before he retired. Daughter Judy at age 46 is still looking for a break into the acting world but is undiscovered and disappointed as we speak. When advised by her parents to seek a part in local theatre productions as a beginning, we are told they don’t pay. Meanwhile she is house and pet sitting around the country. My only grandson, Jeremy, who we see very little of when asked why he doesn’t visit, says he has too much homework and could we send him petrol money. A girlfriend, Bree, is prominent in his life. Our house in Warren, Indiana, for sale now for 2 1/2 years finally sold to the neighbors when an aunt and uncle gave them the money. Some things are looking up. Business is down 65% but Roger still goes to work every day. When I arrive at noon, I find him on the phone looking for buyers or on the computer and the work is waiting for me. My son Andrew has been researching his Boller ancestry and finding many skeletons in the closet. As yet, he hasn’t touched on the Harts, Robertsons and Aylings. My son Mark at age 44 has yet to find his way to a job. My daughter-in-law, Katey Jayne has two jobs now. She is persecuted endlessly by her ex-husband who imagines she owes him money. She has spent more time in court this year than church. I am thankful for many things, a warm house, sunny days, shade, great bird watching in the garden and a husband I can laugh with who takes me to all my favourite movies. We hope your lives are as good.”

And that, dear readers, is that beautiful understated eloquence that only the British culture can instill in one. I hope that you enjoyed this. My heart is still broken, but somehow lighter. We are on the edge of the first year. This bizarre and worst year of my life. Those of you who know me, know that is no small feat. I have had a very strange life. Keep posted, dear readers as I work my way through the six weeks. We will see what the end of the time brings.

Tales From the Editing Trenches and other Endeavors


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It’s been awhile since I’ve written, I know dear readers. It’s been a busy summer. I’ll only bore you with a few of the details, I swear. I hope that you walk away with a few of the insights that I did even if you’re bored to tears. I’m laughing to myself right now as I sit in my new auction purchased writer’s chair in my cluttered little office. I laugh because like all things in my life lately, I am examining where to begin. This is not an easy chore.

As some of you know, I started a new job this summer. I have been frightfully busy doing nothing because of impending changes due to the federal sequestration of funding. Then I was frightfully busy waiting to be able to implement the changes which I could not do until the powers that be made a bunch of decisions. In true “powers that be” form it took until the last minute and then they want to start asking why I didn’t make these changes sooner. To which I blow giant raspberries. Typical government crap….hurry up and wait and then change everything to fit today’s needs in yesterday’s timelines. I also am starting to think that this job problem is biting into my social media time….I’m laughing out loud at how acclimated we have all become to the constraints of real life on our virtual lives.

The summer has also been busy with following my heart on many things which is starting to prove to be a very worthwhile endeavor. Even though it is scary and sometimes uncomfortable for this little autistic zombie girl, I am very happy to report that I have just closed my eyes and done lots of deep breathing. Then opened them to the surprise. Wow the surprise is that this method has actually worked!

I’ve also seen lots of movies and in typical summer pursuits at our house gone to lots of concerts! My dislike for old man bands grows while my anticipation for the upcoming Adam Ant show makes me giggle in 80’s girl insanity.

The biggest changes of this summer, outside of the new job issue is my slightly changing view of myself and the world in general around me. Not that the world has suddenly become autistically inclined, but more in the comfortableness of myself and learning to balance all of the new roles within my own little world.

One of the most important changes has been in my own house as I am the main money maker, now. Yes, the Fix-it-guy is still unemployed. I feel his tension in the shift of the money power, and honestly, I really try not to point it out. Occasionally, however, I take just a little delight in poking my finger at it. I actually have a little extra money these days and I treated myself to a brand new netbook. I have waited far too long for Scrivener to pull an iPad app out of thin air. Honestly, Scrivener, you started on Mac, why isn’t this the first thing you worked on? The call of NaNo looms hugely over my head and the pressure to be mobile as the new ML of the Indiana Elsewhere group charges at me with its ugly little stubborn head full force and completely without brakes. I wish technology would keep up with me, honestly. Why is the march of progress so relentlessly slow? It’s like a snail.

Wee Geek continues to struggle with the parameters of his grown up world. This has been the most difficult part of my life lately. I know that he has to struggle and I feel so powerless in pushing him up the hill and over the hump. There was a misguided and misunderstood non-suicide threat which landed him in the nut hut for a couple of days. This did make him understand that he needs to learn how to control his emotions a little more and also to understand that he cannot do this huge job of mopping up the mess his dad made all by himself.  I’m sure that in his dad’s little control freak brain, it made perfect sense to disable rather than to enable this kid. What he really did was create a huge cauldron of crap that is taking a lot of time to unravel. Wee Geek spent so much time stuffing himself down to keep from getting killed in that awful environment that there was little opportunity to actually learn how to cope. Now that his life has settled down and started to find a path, he is unable to control the feelings that are surfacing. The biggest of which is anger at his dad. I feel a great deal of frustration in him sending all of his energy in that direction. That too is a coping mechanism, however, and I have to let him get through it. No matter how inefficient it truly is.

It’s been a struggle for me not to run to bring him home. There is value to all paths we make decisions to follow. Not always wisdom, but value. He refuses to go file for unemployment. He has been warned that I will be somewhat unsympathetic toward money issues if he does not take steps to help himself. We all have to draw lines in the sand. In reality, the Fix-it-guy and I know that the best thing for him would prolly be to come home and let us help him to get on the autism waiver and get involved with Voc Rehab to help him with financial stuff and getting a new job. It would be helpful in getting him back into school, too. He’s very afraid to take that step. It feels like he’s taking a step backward to him. It’s progress in a backdoor way and he is not excited for that in the least.

The biggest event of the summer came in a very strange way, however. And it almost didn’t happen. My publisher Post Mortem Press (go see link here) http://www.postmortem-press.com/ threw a little retreat for its authors. I had planned for Fix-it-guy to come and at the very last minute (and I do mean that in the most literal sense of the word) he decided not to go. So, I drove to Yellow Springs, Ohio all by my lonesome. The motel was fantastic http://www.thespringsmotel.com/ and I recommend it for that truly creepy Bates Motel experience. Not that the motel was bad, it just gave you this very distinct feeling of going back in time. It was your typical one story strip mall kind of motel with gigantic dollops of nostalgia.

It was interesting to meet the other authors and most exciting of all…..extremely motivational! The main activity of the weekend was a little Edited! (rather than Chopped) contest. We had to submit a flash fiction story before we arrived. Don’t worry, I had to look it up, too. I had no idea how to write flash fiction and only barely understood what it actually was. This link helped me to get it: http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/flash.shtml .  So I wrote this strange little story called “Damned If You Do” about a boy zombie killer and his girlfriend. I know, no surprises there. After placing in the top of that round, we were given the lyrics to an old Joy Division song http://www.lyricsfreak.com/j/joy+division/love+will+tear+us+apart_20075884.html “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. Here’s a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHYOXyy1ToI  . Didn’t really miss Joy Division, did you? So I wrote another little story of the same title about a man who kills his wife and they in true Norman Bates style, keeps her as if she was sick. The next prompt was a picture prompt. It was a strange little photo with a young girl holding a baby and a storm brewing in the background. That story was born of a strange experience in a haunted school (that will be later) called “Vortex Baby”. It was about  a child of an incestuous rape being born. The final story was based on the prompt “The Caretaker”. This story was rooted a little in the story that appeared in “Fear of the Abyss” http://www.amazon.com/Fear-Abyss-Post-Mortem-Press/dp/0615732518  and a little on the movie “Daybreakers” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0433362/ which I highly recommend as refreshing look at the vampire mythology.  It was about an alien race who used humans as their Life Force. It smacks greatly of “Solyent Green” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070723/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1  again another movie that comes highly recommended from yours truly. This story was the winner.

I know that the strange string of events that led to this was nothing short of silly, but it worked and as a writer of fiction, who am I to argue with the debate of fiction needing to be more real

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than real life. At any rate, my winnings consisted of a little plastic trophy and a  huge cache of Post Mortem Press books. Winning this really did something to me. It validated that I do indeed know what the hell I am doing. It made me realize that this is what I should be doing with my life. It also solidified the need to get all three of these books out of my computer and into a book.

So, never fear, the zombie novel is finally coming.  I was so inspired and energized by spending the weekend with 20 people that I didn’t even know of outside of Facebook and some not really at all, that I now count them all as wonderful influences on my life as a whole.

So here are some links to authors that you should link to.

Nelson Pyles http://nelsonwpyles.com/ who also runs https://www.facebook.com/TheWickedLibrary

J. David Anderson: https://www.facebook.com/authorjdavidanderson

C. Bryan Brown: https://www.facebook.com/cbryanbrown

Jessica McHugh: https://www.facebook.com/author.JessicaMcHugh

Gary Braunbeck: http://garybraunbeck.com/

Tim Waggoner: http://www.timwaggoner.com/

Lucy Snyder: http://www.sff.net/people/lucy-snyder/

Kenneth Cain: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Your-eyes-My-vision-the-Dark-Fiction-of-Kenneth-W-Cain/177796992258142

Brady Allen: https://www.facebook.com/authorbradyallen

Georgina Morales: http://www.diaryofawriterinprogress.blogspot.com/

I think that hits everyone. If I missed someone feel free to let me know.

What I did learn from this fateful weekend is so awesome that I find it hard to find words to talk about it.

I know, you are dying to know about the Haunted School trip. It was at Poasttown school http://poasttownschool.com/Home_Page.php . There is a place in the heart of the school that they call the Vortex. It’s a kind of place that all the roads in the school merge into. It has a very unique energy. As most of you longer time readers know, I have Asperger’s. This means that my brain is never quiet and I never stop ticking. This is usually fairly easy to control with massive doses of Benydryl. As I walked into the vortex, I was taken completely off my feet. My brain was quiet. My body was quiet. I didn’t feel the need to rock or twitch or move or really anything. I know that most neurotypical people won’t get it. They can actually turn off their brains. My brain does not have that switch. It is constantly moving and driving me into distraction and destruction. The feeling of complete and utter calm was so foreign that I almost didn’t know how to react. At first the quiet scared me. It was immediate. Like a switch being turned off in my brain. It was dark and felt like everyone was sleeping. If it had only been quiet and I had not had the stillness in my body, I prolly would have run like hell. Instead, I just stood and enjoyed the curiosity of it.

At any rate, that was the reason behind the “Vortex Baby” story. It also brings me to a screeching halt here in the Land of the Not Quite Right. I have a roaring allergy headache that refuses to go away and I am seriously going to lay down and try to get rid of the damn thing. I am inspired once more, so hopefully more blogs will be leaking out of my head as I continue on this creative binge.

 

 

 

A Mother’s Humour and Other Ways to Delve Into Madness


It’s literally been a very odd week. It started with Mother’s Day. I, of course, wanted Wee Geek to go and pick up my mom and drive to Muncie and meet us at Outback for lunch. Which after all the court broo-haha on Friday prior to that would have been nice. However, my mom was in one of her moods that are so aspy, and yet, so completely odd to me. She decided that she didn’t want to go. I guess it was fine. Wee Geek told me to let it go and I did. So The Fix it Guy and I spent Mother’s Day eating lunch at Outback and then going to an auction which turned out to be completely great. I picked up a ton of nice vintage jewelry that I’m ever so much in love with.

I don’t pretend to understand why my mom has these moments, but when I look at it, I guess that occasionally, I do as well. So I shouldn’t be too hard on her. After all, we all need time to do our own thing and I would want her to accept that about me.

Another odd thing about Mother’s Day was that a dear friend’s mother died that day. I didn’t know this friend’s mother very well, I’ve only met her a few times, but I’m told that the irony in her dying this particular day is simply delicious. I’m glad that my friend is able to deal with the loss of his only surviving parent with this kind of humour. He, does, in general, try to face most trials in his life in this way and I suppose that this is prolly why we are friends. Because we both approach life’s tragedies and trials as if it is in reality some gargantuan joke that we just don’t know the punch line to. And we laugh anyway. If you can’t beat them, by god, join them.

I’ve been very interested in watching the dynamics of this family as they go through this difficult time, because as always, I am a keen observer of humans in general. (I may have to report back to the Big Giant Head at any moment…see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115082/?ref_=sr_1 if you have no idea what that refers to.) I hope that my friends don’t mind my observations. My friend is trying very hard to be the zen hippy dippy California guy and stay in the middle because his sister is a wreck and his brother is the guy who always orchestrates the duck line and makes sure that it is doing the right thing. So the only thing left for him to be is the guy in the middle who is even.

This process has been difficult to watch because it brings to mind the idea that our parents are getting older and their health is going to decline and they are going to need help. I am very aware that my mom doesn’t have anyone else to rely on that’s close except for me. This is hard and I often wish she would move closer to us so that I don’t have to worry so damn much.

So going through this week, trying to be considerate of my friend’s feelings, I have just been trying to anticipate what he might need and I’ve been trying to make sure that he knows that he has support or someone who accepts him and loves him for who he is. It is hard to know what to do in these situations, but especially hard when you live on the spectrum because you just never are quite sure what the protocol for social behavior is. Grieving times compound this because people do not react in uniform ways to grief. Very distressing for those of us who need some sort of species conformity in order to form rules for ourselves so that we don’t inadvertently perform some ritual that is going to cause Karma to visit us 4 times daily with extra healthy heapings of bad luck.  So, if all of you neurotypical people could just get together and figure out a uniform way to grieve, that would be very helpful, thank you.

I never know what to say. Thankfully, The Fix it Guy knows that you are supposed to say silly things like “I’m sorry for your loss”. I don’t even know how that is remotely comforting. I much prefer, “I am here for you to use however you need to so that you can get through this truly horrific moment in your life”. I would never even have guessed “I’m sorry for your loss” not even with cue cards.

So, I am still teaching blogging at this conference tomorrow and so have to miss the funeral. I always feel as if funerals should really truly be for people who were close to the dead person or family. I’m just sort of a random passerby who happens to know three of her four kids. I will be thinking of my friends tomorrow as they go down this path of their lives. It is with a truly heavy heart that I think of them.

In other news….I think I’ve figured out what the next phase in my life is. So now I have to hurry up and do all of the stuff that I said I would do while I was not working. Craft room will be completely moved this upcoming week as well as one zombie book edited. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos of my craftiness.

The first three doctors

The first three doctors

The Fourth Doctor

The Fourth Doctor

The Fifth Doctor

The Fifth Doctor

 

Inertia…..or not


I am speaking at a writing conference next weekend. On blogging. We’ll see how that goes. I have a lovely little PowerPoint and some lovely examples of great blogs that I love, so we’ll see if it’s a hit or a miss. I like blogging. I just need to do it more often. I have a friend that tries to blog every day. I don’t think I have that much to say. Or maybe I do. I guess I wouldn’t have these mile long verbal vomit postings if I did post more often. I always think that I need to book mark this in my brain to blog about. And then I tease my Facebook friends with “I feel a blog rant coming on”. The rest of the time, I just get involved in my life or my current project or whatever you want to call it.

Wee Geek was caught up in inertia this week. Someone posted a great article on inertia and Asperger’s. Here is the link: http://archive.autistics.org/library/inertia.html. I emailed it to Wee Geek because the last month has been a true test of something in our life. It’s actually been a true test of a lot of things in life. At first, I thought it was just an IRL (in real life for you non internet savvy people in the audience) test. To see if he could handle this grown up situation and fix it. The answer to that, at least initially is no. However, after you lie to your mom about it and then realize that the paperwork is more than you can handle and that it’s the day before your court date and at least 2 of the 3 offices that you need to visit are closed or getting ready to close, you call Mom and come clean and then you work together to fix it.

The background is this. Most of you know (at least the faithful sheep in my flock do) that he got busted for paraphernalia and had his license suspended and then had to work around that for 6 months. At the end of the 6 months, the DMV required a checking account direct pay to reinstate his license. Which we did for him. He doesn’t have a checking account. Which we are going to very quickly remedy in the next few days. Among other things. So in November, I aid this and said “It’s all fixed, now go get your license. There is no problem to just go get a Kentucky license over an Ohio one.” I checked on all this for him because inertia drags him down and he gets frustrated over these little steps. I thought that after all of this, he would go do it and it was already taken care of. Then I get the panicked phone call. “Mom I got pulled over because I don’t have a license and my plates are expired and I don’t have proof of insurance.”

Wow…was I wrong. He forgot. Again, that inertia thing. So in Ohio you renew your plates on your birthdate evidently. In Indiana it’s according to a random previously established month based on the first letter of your last name. Wee Geek moved and did not forward his mail from his old address because he didn’t want his dad tracking him down. He’s managed to cut most of the ties to his life with his dad and he wants to keep it that way. Unfortunately, the DMV in their wisdom, mails your update notice to your last address (that you are supposed to keep updated with them) to give you that visual prompt that it’s time to register your car and update your plates. This is a great service for the DMV to provide. Unbeknownst to them they are superbly accommodating autistic people. So as you can see, the inertia got to him again. I only know a few people who actually put those silly insurance things in their cars. My husband being one of them. I always forget. I should be better about it, but sometimes inertia gets to me, too. The registration card is still sitting on my table from February. He had current insurance, mom is just negligent about sending that paperwork in a timely manner.

So after a couple of weeks, he calls me and tells me it’s all done. I take him at his word. I’m trying to let him be a grown up and get things taken care of without mom being mom. Big mistake apparently. So the day before his court date, he calls to tell me not to yell at him. Now this was a moment of  blinking yellow arrow signs, alarms blaring, red lights whirring…..you know that moment, don’t you? Or do only autistic people get those moments? Maybe it’s just me. I am very good at getting things accomplished when I need to. He knows this. Good for Wee Geek that he picked the mom who is efficient at fixing things. So because he was so upset and couldn’t find his only copy of his social security card. I called the office to find out what other information and type of identification would suffice. I find out that all he has to do is go to the social security office and get a printout that has his name and soc on it. I send him to the office and it’s closed. Yay. Later I find out that all social security offices close at noon on Wednesdays. Hint federal offices put this information on your freaking websites! No where is this written until you go to the office and check the hours on the door. As if this is random. And a surprise for everyone. It’s not. I call the office again and explain to the nice lady what the issue is.

It culminates in me explaining that he has Asperger’s  and Bipolar and this is just a little too overwhelming for him. Thankfully, she has a schizophrenic kid and understood a little bit about inertia. She went over to the DMV lady which is apparently just across the room and talked to her for a short period of forever. When she comes back she tells me that she’s explained that Wee Geek is “special” and that they will extend his court date for us.

A short side note. I don’t like to pull the Asperger’s card. However, there are times when it’s merited. This is one of those times. I’m the mom, I get to make those decisions when you aren’t getting the job done. Wee Geek wasn’t happy, but at that point, I think that he was just grateful for whatever reprieve he could get for his colossal fuck up.

So the next morning he got his printout from the social security office and went to take his test to get his new license. Which I made him send me a picture of. I know, silly, but you lied to me so now I need proof. A new paperwork obstacle reared its ugly head and so the plates took another couple of days. Just getting the registration was a huge feat. Apparently there was some insurance problem and he actually had to get his very own insurance and not continue to be on mine. Which neither of us knew and apparently we forgot to tell the agent that he wasn’t in school. So error and foul on everyone there. I spent half a day on line and deep in research and found him a policy that we thought he could afford. He got that taken care of and two days later, finally finished the process and got everything done. Sigh. Inertia.

I then had to be the mom and talk to him about lying to me. He’s a grown up now and there isn’t any reason to lie to me about anything. We’ve proven time and again that we are going to help him regardless of what happens. I might get upset with him, but I always help him. I might yell, but usually because I am frustrated for him and trying to get things done. I know that only moms will understand being frustrated for your child. It’s very frustrating to see your child struggling over things. I try to let him figure stuff out. He is a grown up. I yelled at him because it’s not necessary to lie to me about not doing something. Just say, “Mom, I can’t do this by myself, I need help.” There isn’t anything wrong with that.

I admire Wee Geek, because he’s trying to do things on his own without asking for help and he truly feels bad when he has to ask us for help, money, or anything. Now, Wee Geek is the kid that we were terrified might be living with us until he was 40. So we are thrilled that he is on his own and trying to the best of his ability to get it all done. We don’t mind helping him because we have always known that he was the one that was going to need the most support and the most help with getting things done as he transitions into this scary land of adult hood. We really are okay with giving him the extra support. Even the Fix It Guy (like the new title for him?) is okay with giving him this extra support. A lot has changed in ten years.

So we are going down to go to court with him so that he knows he is supported and that we are willing to be his parents and do that for him. I think that he might need help in talking to the judge because I know that I always did. The rules of court are so different than the rest of the universe and they completely defy all of the social rules that I have already memorized. I don’t expect him to know any of them. Court feels like some kind of alternate world that has it’s own built in set of rules that have nothing to do with our every day world at all.

In other news, I am still bumbling along trying to figure out what to do next. I guess inertia has caught up to me as well. I am enjoying being crafty and I’ve been working on all sorts of things. Yesterday I made fabric covered storage boxes for use on a book shelf that I bought at an auction last week. Craft storage. I’ve been trying to consolidate two rooms of craft crap into one. This has been a monumental and overwhelming task at some points. I am one of those people that has to have the exact right storage stuff lined up before I can start organizing. The Fix It Guy is extremely accommodating of this even though it’s impacting him working in his own little office. Bless his little mechanical heart. We are more on our way to that road than we have been. I’ll get to it. It’s the project of the next week.

In the meantime of all of this, we took a little trip u to the Poconos which was lovely. I like vacations. Even though right now, it wasn’t any different than our regular life, just in a different place and a hotel room. We made a day trip to Philadelphia and a day trip to New York City. In the aftermath, I am glad because the Fix It Guy is a superb planner and he can just trek us right along. My health definitely impacted this trip, though. I couldn’t just go and go without my arthritis kicking in and it required a cane for most of the trip which in the past has never happened to me in the warmer months. So I am resigning to my health impacting my life in the form of a cane. With the cane, we just have to pick and choose some of our activities better, but I try and not let it make a huge impact. I think this keeps me going. Most of the time. Sometimes I have to give up and say no.

I only had a short list of things that I wanted to do, but these things always get slid off in favor of what The Fix It Guy wants to do because he likes to wear me down into the land of don’t-give-a-fuck and I then don’t care if we do the few things I wanted to do. We did go to the Hard Rock and eat and get my shirt, hurricane glass, and charm. That’s the big thing for me. I like those little souvenir things. Baubles.

The next week, my father in law (the step one not the farmer one) bought a tent in Boston and we went to pick it up. So we made a day trip to Boston. We have decided that all of these cities deserve at least one more trip to explore further. We pack a lot into these little trips, but it’s never enough time. Especially now that I have to slow down a little.

I am still applying for jobs like a mad woman, but as I said, I have been concentrating on doing crafty things. This is the first time in 10 years that I have not had at least 2 jobs and I am enjoying it. I kept saying that if I could get a couple of weeks off, I would get editing done and get these books out the door. Guess what? Inertia happened and I’m doing all these other little things that I don’t usually have time for. So my newest project is to do these really cute Doctor Who dolls. The first two are done and number three is almost finished.

I am really enjoying doing these. I’m thinking that I will doing felty ones and putting them on Etsy. I’ve been working on cross stitch stuff, too.

I’ve been busy as you can see. I have all these creative ideas. Now that the computer is completely updated with Windows 8, new office software, the latest versions of both Scrivener and PCStitch, I am ready to roll on this creative stuff. I have been writing. Don’t worry, it’s just not as much as the creative crafty stuff.

I have made a resolution to get on the writing stuff, though. I need to do that as much as everything else. Don’t worry dear readers.

MWW 12 Reflections: Being a Literary Citizen


I’m still reflecting on things overheard at the Midwest Writer’s Workshop.  Go here to learn more. It’s a wonderful opportunity for writers right here in the heart of midwestern land http://www.midwestwriters.org/ .

I heard a lot about being a literary citizen. I’ve thought about this in depth for this last week. I’ve also thought about the people that I see doing this every day. Big shout out to http://kelseytimmerman.com/ who pulled a gigantic move of conscience and sent back his Eagle Scout badge this week. You can contact him on twitter, or just tune in to see what his thoughts are in general. http://twitter.com/KelseyTimmerman or just find him @Kelsey Timmerman. Think about the stand he is taking and why it is occasionally important to stand up for what you believe in even if it means becoming a pariah in some of your normal social groups. Everyone loves a groupie, but they really aspire to be a star.

It’s not just about being active on all of the social media, which they made a huge deal out of. It’s not just connecting on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. It’s not just about interacting in communities that you think might help you. All of these things are good and even putting links to things like I just did twice already will prolly get you lots more readers, but there’s more to it than that. What is it about? Here is where you thank  your lucky stars that I’m here to think about this stuff for you, so that you don’t have to. Here is where you look at what I did and say to yourself….”Hmmmm….self, maybe I should ponder this for the hundredth of a second that social media will allow me to and see if this makes sense for me to do.”

I talked in great length with one of the social media consultants during the workshop (http://twitter.com/androgynisto) who was absolutely brilliant in stroking my little writer’s ego, but also in suggesting new ways to boost my little writer’s ego for myself.  I’m not negating what my 10-25 regular readers do, I’m just saying that I’d like to boost my subscriptions AND feel as if I am actually doing something for my community that is fulfilling and satisfying. I have also been thinking of being a literary citizen in terms of extending the conversations that I am already having. The ones that hold meaning for me.

I’ve thought about what MY community is. I belong to lots of communities. All of them offer me something different in the fulfilling and satisfying department. My home community, although frustrating and the number one filler of blog content, is genuinely pretty satisfying and fulfilling. 

I belong to a community of writers. Actually a couple of them. This community has given me the courage to put myself out there and actually get published. It also has encouraged me to write. Not just stories, but things about myself, this blog and even a few articles here and there. This community has also given me friends and a time when I desperately needed to have friends so that I could transition from being Wee Geek’s mom to the wonderful autistic zombie girl that you have grown to know and to love.

I belong to the autistic community and this is where I feel the greatest responsibility. I cannot separate myself from the way that my brain works. It colours everything that I do, how I think, how I feel, how I interact with the world. Here is a great article about person first language by Jim Sinclair: http://autismmythbusters.com/general-public/autistic-vs-people-with-autism/jim-sinclair-why-i-dislike-person-first-language/ . I feel a great responsibility toward this community mostly because I am the most in tune and intertwined with this community. It bugs the hell out of me that there are so few role models  for autistic people. Especially ones on the higher end of the spectrum. I also feel that we need to dispell the myths about autism because it is a spectrum and we need to ALL work together to make the world a better place for ALL of us. Not just the lower functioning people. Not just the higher functioning people. ALL of us as an autistic community. (I jump sheepishly down from the soapbox.)

I belong to a community of early education specialists. People who know the value of early intervention in the lives of children and their families. For me this means pinpointing developmental issues and trying to minimise their lasting effects on kids. We all know that the earlier we intervene with kids on the spectrum the higher functioning we can make them. Here is a good article on early intervention impacts (disregard the crap about ABA): http://autism-help.org/intervention-autism-aspergers-introduction.htm . I believe this with all of my heart and soul. This also means working with families to make them understand that this is true and coming to grips with the autism diagnosis NOT being a death sentence. It also means enjoying little kids and sharing with their families why you can enjoy your little kids. Our families are in such crisis sometimes that they have forgotten to truly enjoy this wonderful little person that has been thrust upon them.

When I look at just these few communities that I belong to, I am overwhelmed by the impact that they have on me. These few communities only scratch the surface of the things that I am involved in, but they are all terribly integral to who I am as a person and what my belief system is. These are the communities that I care about contributing to and extended conversations about. In some cases I want to start important conversations in these communities and move on with them. I want to learn from these conversations and broaden my horizons with them.

So when I examine my idea of being a literary citizen. I hope that I’m being faithful to the things that I mean to be faithful to. I hope that I am conveying meaningful ideas that start conversations, add to them and make people want to continue them. I hope that I am doing these things in a thoughtful manner that encourage interactions. I also hope that I am doing these things in a thoughtful way that might make people discontinue interactions. This means that I am hitting home with someone and making them think in a way that is uncomfortable for them. Making them think outside of their boxes.

I encourage people in my communities and in other communities to do this as well. We cannot blindly follow. We must think and intervene. We must be good citizens of all of our communities and promote meaningful and thoughtful change when needed.

Go forth, all of you, and use your evil powers for good.

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