A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Braids

"Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it"
-Hair (the musical)
Twinsies!!
But not for long....

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

All for me!

"Share with me"
-The Used
You know those little pringles cans that the airlines sell you for $25? Well, Little Bird was NOT about to share hers on a recent flight....
video

Seeing Stars

"Headache, u can be such a headache"
-Weezer
My poor husband called me this afternoon to say that he'd started seeing stars and a migraine was coming on. Ugh. That means I won't make it out to my meeting tonight; won't really get to relax tonight because I'll be the only functional adult in the house taking care of little bird, a 25 pound overly-loving kitty, and now a 6'3" invalid. Oh, and did I mention that the air conditioner seems to be broken?? There's laundry to be folded. And the tenant in the condo is leaving so I need to figure out: try to lease it out to one family, or furnish it and offer it to families coming to town for therapies where Little Bird goes? And tomorrow is the big rally in our state's capital to pressure the legislature to offer insurance coverage to families with autism, and I wanna go but there's just no way I can make that happen since tomorrow I've gotta pick her up from school, shove food down her throat, then get to speech and ABA. I might try to get to Friendship Circle in there at some point to give a talk to the teachers bringing their sp needs students in for the morning; and telling them all about how they can get involved in Walk4Friendship. And I need to get these bushes pulled out behind the sun room because the blossoms attract these killer bees (they're really big and scary so I'm assuming they are killers). And....oy, now I'm the one with a headache!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

yuck

"Wait, wait!
Stop the wedding"
-Etta James
The next time you hear some fool talk about denying equal rights FOR ALL, denying gay/lesbian couples the right to marry, protecting the "sanctity of marriage", please show them this picture. This is what they're "protecting"? 
I think I just threw up in a little bit in my mouth

Saturday, April 25, 2009

What color is your grass?

It's so cliche: the grass is always greener; it's all relative; you never know what goes on behind closed doors. 
It was almost 7 years ago that we moved from Los Angeles, CA to West Bloomfield, MI. When we did, my rabbi in LA gave me a list of people to contact. You might be thinking yeah right, like I'm really gonna call the people my rabbi referred me to. But you should know that I have a really cool rabbi. In fact, you can read his book and see just how cool he is. Anyway, I didn't make those calls. But, I did end up connecting with one of the people on the list. I started practicing yoga down the street from my new home and became very impressed with an instructor. One day when signing in to class I saw the instructor's name and a light bulb went off... OMG, his was one of the names on list! Crazy, right?! 
Anyway, so G and I became friendly with this instructor and his wife, also an instructor. They are both beautiful people and a lot of fun, too. It's really easy to look at them and get jealous. They are gorgeous, have amazing bodies, are well-liked, and they're yoga instructors, so you've gotta figure that they're like, totally spiritual and have it all together, right? Well, one day I asked her how long they've been married and she responded with a question: the first time or the second time? A-ha! So, they're NOT perfect! There are some skeletons and everyone's got something!! Of course, they are still married today, still beautiful, have healthy kids, etc. But I learned that you never REALLY know what details lie in someone else's story. 
I've had points in my life where if I wasn't me, I'd be jealous of me. I've lived great parts of my life. I've certainly endured some effed up parts too. Just for today, though, I feel like I can make it. I'm pretty comfortable with my side of the fence. The view from here is pretty green today. Can't tell what I'll feel tomorrow or even in 25 minutes, but for right now, this very moment, I'm okay.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

One of these things is not like the others

"Little Green, she's a non-conformer"
-Joni Mitchell
Here's a picture of a bunch of ladies all wearing hats.
Okay, there's more to this post than that...
You see, one of those ladies is my mom. Go ahead, guess which one. Yep, she's the one wearing bunny ears while the rest of 'em are in hats. If you know me, you know that I don't always blend in with the crowd very well. I suppose you can see where I get it from.
Last summer, I went out with a bunch of my girlfriends here in Michigan and we all took a picture. I guess the apple doesn't fall so far from the tree...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Show us your pearly whites

"You're a big girl now"
-Bob Dylan
Today was Little Bird's first visit to the dentist. Most kids go much earlier than 4, but I've got other stuff going on and it's not been my priority. But, here we are ready for her first check up. I'm prepared for cavities, drilling, even extraction if necessary. This kid loves her apple juice. Or rather, what she thinks is apple juice, it's really one part juice and 25 parts water. She eats GF/CF pancakes with syrup every morning. Plus, she likes sweets which is further proof that she is my baby bird!
My first step was to find a dentist who takes our insurance, then I had to ask if they have experience with special needs. My friend Lisa F recommended Dr. Farooq who met both my musts! Plus, she's a mom of a kid with sp needs, and she gets it. She really gets it.
So, here she is in the chair. They won her over with stickers and a princess (gag) toothbrush to take home. Then came the tooth scraper with which the dentist looked for "bugs", the "tickling" tooth polish, and the dinosaur shaped floss. She was pretty cool until the floss part. That's when she got MAD!!
Surprisingly enough, the dentist made it through the exam with all 10 fingers still intact. She took some x-rays, and as soon as she told Little Bird it was all over, I saw my kiddo run out of the room faster than you can say orthodontia!!
Here she is after the exam showing off her choppers which have NO cavities!!!

Lazy Sunday

"Sunday Sunday Sunday
Yeah, it will be ok
Do nothing today
Give yourself a break
Let your imagination run away"
-Sia
On a Sunday morning in Los Angeles, it doesn't get much better than this...
Followed up with a visit with my baby bro to The Grove, which is still the Farmer's Market to me. Little Bird had WAY too much fun with her Uncle Matt.
Just check out the looks of pure joy...
A great day for a few french fries...
sniffing the flowers...
and dancing in the sunshine...

a little off the top

"Darlin' don't you go and cut your hair"
-Pavement
I'm starting to feel nervous about chopping off Little Bird's gorgeous locks! I'm still gonna do it, but I am definitely feeling a little sad about giving up that beautiful hair. I can just imagine how pleased the mommy of the little girl who'll receive a free wig of Little Bird's hair will be...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Scream for Ice Cream!

"Those days before I met you, girl
were just ice cream falling down on the shoes of my world."
-Wallflowers
It's just too tough to see ALL the people I want to see when I visit Los Angeles. My husband and I both lived there for 25 years and formed amazing friendships- many that have stood the test of time. Those really are the best kinds of friendships: the ones where you could let a month, 6 months, a year or more pass without being in touch and then once you reconnect, you're right back where you left off. The best.
During our first trip home to LA, after moving to Michigan 7 years ago, we came up with a great idea: don't go nuts driving all around the city and valley to see everyone, let them come to US! Since then we began holding an "open house" where they'd all come to see us and eventually Little Bird, and often each other since some of these peeps wouldn't see one another any other time. We usually make it a BBQ, but this year, it was an ice cream party complete with caramel sauce, hot fudge, cookies, nuts, and sprinkles because really, who doesn't like sprinkles?!!
Some of my very favorite people came to visit and I even got the best surprise ever when an old friend showed up without me knowing- one of those friends who I love so much but rarely get to see, whose presence made me a little teary for all the right reasons.
I lived with these amazing souls in San Francisco. Those years together made us the people we are today.
I have some amazing friends. I don't know what I'd do without some of these friends. When you go through a tough time in life, you get the chance to see who will really stick around for you. I have had some friends really really really let me down, but I've also been blessed and pleasantly surprised by others. I am so grateful for each and every one of my friends. I miss my friends in Los Angeles more than anything else. Yes, more than In N Out cheeseburgers with grilled onions, more than tuna from Brent's Deli, and even more than Coffee Bean coffee- that's pretty serious, people.
Jenn and I bonded when we were pregnant at the same time. Look how cute our little ones turned out!
At 1 1/2 my family moved in across the street from Stacie. That means I've known her a long time. She waltzes in and out of my life, but it's always really good to see her.
Josh and I met in the orthodontist's office getting our braces tightened when we were 12 and have never NOT been friends since.
Jason and I met in Junior High, but lost touch over the years. He might be my most favorite part of social networking sites.
Anderson and I bonded while working on a late-night love/sex talk show. Nothing makes us blush anymore.
If I didn't get to see you while I was out there (and even if I did), then please accept my invitation to come out to see me! Summers here are fantastic!!
BeeTeeDub, I'm disappointed I didn't get a pic with Cindy B, Dina, or Jen H. Espesh since they are so special to me!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hey, Jamba Jamba!

"Rolling down the street smoking indo
sipping on gin and JUICE"
-Snoop Dogg
YUM

Friday, April 10, 2009

Like Strangers on a Train

"Don't you get ahead of me
and I won't leave you behind.
By my side. By my side.
Won't you be by my side?"
-Ben Harper
Sometimes having a kid with special needs is really isolating. Some people just don't get it. It's even more isolating when those some people are those whose support you just really really need. I guess that makes things extra super duper tough. So yesterday was one of those days. Little Bird hadn't slept much the night before and was overtired (we both were) and she was acting really symptomatic. I was really struggling. I spent a few moments alone getting teary and thinking 'I wish I could be with another mommy who gets it.' Of course no matter where I am, I am always mid-conversation with Lisa (I even had to increase my text allowances because of our nonstop chats!); but in this moment, I needed to be around another one of "us".
We took Little Bird to a park and I put her headphones on to do some therapeutic listening while pushing her on the swing. Yes, it looks a little different for a kid to be on the swing-set with headphones. But, there were 2 or 3 moms at the park who gave us funny looks. One came close enough to get a good look at Little Bird's Vital Sounds Tune Belt (it's like a fanny pack for her CD player). Of course it made me feel uncomfortable, but the truth is, this is what's best for my kid and that's all that matters.
So there we are when a woman comes over and helps her little girl onto the swing next to Little Bird and she says, "wow, I've never seen anyone else use Vital Sounds. We use those too. My son is Autistic." OMG, right?! So, we spent some time talking about our experiences and the things we've tried: therapies, diet, supplements, etc. She told me she lives in San Diego, so I got to gush about my favorite Developmental Pediatrician in the universe who recently left University of Michigan for Children's Hospital of SD. She invited me to stay with her when I'm ready to go to San Diego to see Dr. Gahagan.
A little later on, a friend of mine and fellow Warrior Mom posted on Facebook that she was having a hard day. Another mom who is on the other side replied with kind, loving, encouraging words. She is one of "us". An instant friend. I can't wait to meet her, commiserate, and gain strength from her hope. There certainly are a lot of us Warrior Mommies out there, fighting hard for our kiddos, advocating on their behalf, and never ever giving up.
As we left the park, my mom turned to me and asked, "what are the odds that we'd meet another mom with a child with Autism?!" I looked at her and I replied, "1 in 150."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

AAAHHHHH.....

"One more cup of coffee for the road.
One more cup of coffee 'fore I go
To the Valley below"
-Bob Dylan
NF Cafe Vanilla with NSA Vanilla 
My kryptonite and the best part of any trip to California. 
Yes, I have the powders delivered to me in Michigan, but it's just not the same as the real thing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hotel California

"Welcome to the Hotel California"
-The Eagles
Ok, so here are a few pics of the amazing place we're staying in the desert. I am so overwhelmed by how stunning this place is. I just had to share some pics....
Here's my girl making herself at home in the great room
Here's the concession stand just outside of the theater. The resort operators were kind enough to personalize the marquee: "Free M&Ms if your name is (Little Bird)". Very cute!
She loves the theater, by the way...
Below are some pool pictures
More fun to look forward to tomorrow...

Monday, April 6, 2009

California Here I Come

"I miss you
I'm coming back home to the West Coast."
-Coconut Records
Yep. Going home to the West Coast for a little trip. Flying into LA, driving to Palm Desert for a few days, then back to LA for a few more. Spending loads of time with family and trying to fit friends in as well. It's so hard to see everyone and I want to. I really do. But, it's just impossible to fit it all in. So, my brilliant move.... Ice Cream Party!! It will be like an open house where people can stop in and spend a little time with us. We've done this a few times before. Usually a BBQ but I think ice cream is a fab idea. Plus, I could use a huge bowl of ice cream. Or two. 
It's really weird... when I'm here in Michigan, I refer to LA as home. But when I'm there, I suddenly feel like that's not home, and I start referring to Michigan as home. I'm certain that means I'm completely screwed up and have issues of never feeling completely secure anywhere or something like that. Going out to LA isn't a vacation for me. I call it a trip. It's still a lot of work. I'm still traveling with a kid with special needs, dealing with jet lag, and sometimes worse. I'm grateful to have parents and in-laws who love to play with my kid and indulge us all with our favorites. My mom doesn't even mind when I shake from overdosing on Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf espressos! I'll get to eat my mom's cooking and enjoy a seder with them, which I haven't done in years!! In LA, I'll try to eat at all my favorite places. However, I can't possibly answer all requests from my midwestern friends to "have a double-double for me", or I'll never fit into my pants on the plane ride home!! 
This is what I'm leaving behind in Michigan. Stay tuned, I'll be posting the whole way...
UPDATE:
My girl eats free fruit in the Northwest/Delta lounge. Things just seem to taste better when they're free.
Here's my very spoiled child being very comfortable and watching Dora. Swiper NO swiping!
Behind my darling husband sits Slash who has aged surprisingly well, next to Tony Goldwyn. When G asked, I had to explain that he was the bad guy in "Ghost". 
After the long plane ride, the time spent getting a rental car, the TRAFFIC out to Palm Desert, we have ARRIVED!! Wait til you see pictures of the "resort" where we're staying. 
Relax, they're coming....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Shedding some light




So, I'm in a long line at Whole Foods, picking up a couple grapefruit (my current obsesh), when a woman two people in front of me gives me a look and goes, "it's so bad!" I figured she was complaining about the check-out girl's speed or someone in front of her writing a check (who writes checks at a grocery store anymore, btw?). She obv noticed that I didn't know what she was referring to and said "that noise- she must have some kind of disorder." Then I heard it. From across a few lanes, I could hear a chirping noise, but I couldn't spot its source. The lady in front of me asked, "Are you two together?" I answered, "no, I have no idea why she just started talking to me." And I didn't. But then, the second lady picked up where the other conversation had left off and said "that girl must have some kind of disability to be making that noise. It's awful. Maybe she is Autistic or something." It was my turn to talk, but I didn't really want to engage, so I just shrugged my shoulders and said "hmmm, maybe." I didn't say that yes, it could be Autism, or any other disorder that causes verbal tics like Tourette Syndrome or Sensory Processing Disorder, or something else. But in the back of my mind I was thinking, it's Autism Awareness month and here's a chance to educate someone. That's when she kinda mumbled "Seems like a lot of kids have Autism these days. I'm glad I don't have that. I've got enough problems..." So, I said "Well yes, 1 in 100 or so kids in the U.S. has Autism." She was impressed and asked me if I study this stuff. I kinda giggled and said "My daughter has an Autism Spectrum Disorder."  And then- no joke- she started crying. CRYING!!!

I think the crying was because she felt bad for saying "Thank G-d I don't have Autism in my life" and then I was like "I do! I do!" She apologized for saying it. I told her it wasn't a big deal. I had felt that way a million times before I knew I had it in my life. Look, I still think it a million times about other things.... having a feeling like that isn't a bad thing; it's really a kind of gratitude. I am so grateful that my kid doesn't have a bunch of other things. My little girl is healthy, happy, so loving and sweet, makes an amazing difference in the lives of others.... I could keep going with things I am grateful for. 

This lady wanted to keep talking to me- and she did!! Another lane opened up and I switched- and she KEPT talking to me!! She even followed me out of the store to keep asking questions about Autism. I answered them to the best of my ability. Then I got in my car, drove home, and took Little Bird to the library. After that, we went to Target where my kid refused to sit in the cart and then ran all around the store, playing with loads of toys, saying hi to random customers, and having fun. Doesn't sound that weird, right? Well, today has been a good day for her- and for me. After all, I helped bring awareness about Autism to a stranger today!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Don't believe the hype!

"You don't know me at all"
-Ben Folds/Regina Spektor
A few days ago I received one of my Daily Kaballah Tune-Ups; this one was about judgement. I'm so freaking zen that I get daily Kaballah emails with little things to think about that day.  Then, I read a great blog that my friend Randy wrote about passing judgement. I guess there's a theme here and I'm gonna jump on the bandwagon. 
I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of judgement; I know how people can think you're something you're not, someone you're not. I know that just because you've lived one way in the past doesn't mean you're living that life today. I know that you may not even be the same person you were then. I am grateful to have been on the receiving end of judgement because its given me the chance to know that you never know what's going on with someone; never know what goes on behind closed doors; never know what someone's experienced in childhood, a year ago, a week ago, this morning. I try to cut people some slack and give the benefit of the doubt. It's hard. It's not natural to me. It's natural for me to judge, assume, and label. It's natural for all of us. My first thought might be to judge, but as long as my second thought and first action is giving people the room to be themselves, and accept them for it, I'll feel a lot better. After all, that's what I want from others... a little slack.
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