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.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat

Well, it's Halloween again. I bought way too much candy and tried, really tried, to buy the stuff that I don't like because I'll make myself sick eating too much of it. But, I quickly realized that there's not much candy that I don't like. I've already polished off about 4 pounds of candy corn. It wasn't until the 3rd pound that I realized that I'm basically eating waxy sugar and corn syrup. Yum. Obv I kept going.
Greg loves halloween. He's into the decorating and spooky music and costumes. We've had some fun with it over the years:
We hosted a party last night for some friends and got the house all decked out. I described it to one friend as Autumn having thrown up on my house. Pumpkins, bales of hay, corn stalks everywhere. Fun to look at. Not so fun to clean up.
I dressed as a sailor. He dressed as a flasher. This was the most appropriate picture I could post here.
I carved a pumpkin by myself because Little Bird wanted nothing to do with it. She's been very hot and cold lately. Operating on high levels and then dropping down really low. I hate Autism. Hate hate hate it. We are planning to take her trick or treating in a bit, but it's totally for us: she could care less. She's running around the house shouting "happy halloween! trick or treat!" but it's totally a script. I have a bad attitude because I'm super bummed about losing Shugie. It's exacerbating an already tough time. I'm just tired. Exhausted. Gonna pass out candy and then pass out.
My peace sign pumpkin
We took Little Bird trick-or-treating and started out strong...
We made it to one house (thank gd our friends/neighbors also have a kid with ASD, so they get it).
We were done after that one house
Back home for dinner and a GF/CF cupcake.
If we come out of this ASD struggle alive and sane, then my little bird will have really lived up to her costume....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dear Universe

"I wish I felt nothing
Then it might be easy for me
Like it is for you"
-Wallflowers
Dear Universe,
You fucking suck balls.
Seriously, dude. Balls.
Cheers,
Dani G

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sugar Magnolia 2001-2009

"I have to face the truth that no one will ever look at me like you do
Like I'm something worth holding on to"
-DCFC
October 28. It was the best day. It was the worst day. On 10/28/01 Greg came home and told me he'd just been to a shelter and he'd found the perfect cat for us. He'd been begging me to get a cat for a long time. I tried to appease him by just going to look. He was right. He'd found Cassidy. We agreed that she just had to come home with us. We put her back in the cage while we talked to the shelter people. As soon as the cage door closed, the other cat in there with her immediately went over to her in the sweetest, most protective manner. I turned to Greg and said we can't possibly split these two up. "We'll take two." Best decision I've EVER made. I will be forever grateful to Greg for convincing me to get cats. I'd just turned 24, been married for 2 weeks and I was a selfish, silly little girl. Those cats changed me and made me the person I am today, which, as you know, is pretty freaking awesome.
I was not the kind of girl who always wanted to grow up and get married, have babies, etc. I didn't think I had it in me. These cats taught me to be a mother. They showed me how to love unconditionally and, more importantly, allow someone else to love ME unconditionally. Cassidy was a little sassy and could give a bit of an attitude, but my Shugie was my boy no matter what. No one has ever loved me like he loved me.
This is how he took care of me when I was sick last week
10/28/09 We'd known his kidneys were failing. We knew his heart was failing. But there was still a lot of hope and the possibility that he could survive for a few more years. In my head I said "one more organ and I'm done." I'm not willing to allow him to live a life that he doesn't deserve just because I can't let go. I was told he would need a feeding tube to survive. One look at Shugie and you know the boy likes to eat. I got the call in the afternoon: the liver is now involved. You know that feeling where your blood pressure rises and your arms get all tingly and you're positive you're about to throw up? Well, I had it. Right around 13 mile and Orchard Lake. I knew. I called Andrea who has been an amazing friend to me for the past 7 years. She's my vet and like a sister to me. She agreed, made arrangements and cried with me.
I put the word out that I needed help with Little Bird while I go and say goodbye. The one person who insisted I drop my kid off and worry about nothing is my friend with the most on her plate- just a tiny measure of the amazing person and friend Lori is. I will forever be grateful to her.
I sat on a couch and Shugie was placed in my arms. His 22 pounds felt so good in my lap and immediately warmed me up. He purrrrrred right away. He had the best purr. I'm so glad that while messing around with my iPhone a few weeks ago, I recorded his purrrrrr. He was so weak, and obviously working hard to breathe. Greg and I hugged him, kissed him, thanked him. Told him to go take care of Cassidy in kitty heaven. We said the Shema and told him it was ok to go. Andrea said that it usually takes about 4 minutes for them to pass after administering the drugs. It took 30 seconds. Thank Gd because it shows that he really was that sick, really was that ready and I'll never wonder if I did the wrong thing. It was the right thing and I am glad I was of sound mind enough to put aside my own selfish stuff and take care of what he needed. That's what he taught me: how to be a real, kind, patient, unconditionally loving mommy. When they took his body from my lap, I suddenly got cold again.
I will probably never go another day without thinking of him. I'll hear his meow or think I see him out the corner of my eye for a long time. That will probably fade with time, but I'll never forget the gifts he gave me. And I'll never be the same.
Yes, I got him from a shelter and I saved him. But, really, he saved me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Updated! Sugar Magnolia

"Sugar Magnolia, ringing that bluebell, caught up in sunlight
Come on out singing, I'll walk you in the sunshine.
Come on, honey, come along with me"
-Grateful Dead
My kitty Sugar Magnolia (Shugie) is sick. So sick. Kidney failure. Possible bladder stones. He'll be in the hospital for a few days, will need some surgery, and a long recovery. He is BY FAR one of the very best parts of my life. For the record, if he doesn't make it, I won't either.
I love to see my loves in love
Think good thoughts, ok?
UPDATE:
I visited my baby boy in the hospital last night. He was so drugged (thank gd he's not in pain) and it was so hard to see him that way. His kidneys were clearing up and making good progress. I was ok while I was there, but once I started walking out the door - without him - I lost it.
Got the call about an hour after I got home. Shugie went into congestive heart failure. His heart can't quite work hard enough to do what his body needs. He is now on oxygen and diuretics to push the fluid out of his lungs. I'm desperate to have him survive this and come home to me, but I know that I'm not willing to allow him to suffer. So if he does, I'll say goodbye and miss him forfuckingever.
"He's got everything delightful, he's got everything I need...."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

don't wanna grow up

"And she won't feel better alone"
-Pete Yorn
I took a shower today just so that I could cry without anyone bothering me. For the first time in a LONG time, I wasn't crying about Autism. It's just hard to be an adult sometimes. I really want a mommy like me. I think I really miss my own. Being a grown up fucking sucks.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

PostSecret

"Everything's changing so how am I to know
How I'm going to hold on to you
When I'm spinning out of control?"
-Ryan Adams
Well, I did it. I sent in a secret.
There it is. On the other side of this postcard
There it goes....
Oh, and the lyrics? They just happened to be what my iPod picked as I let go of the postcard and it slid down into the mailbox.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Analysis can lead to paralysis

"Killing in a classroom on a campus on the coast after hours of analysis
I loved you first, yeah, I loved you most
Now it feels like paralysis
And I've got no idea where we're going with this"
-Rhett Miller
Last night I heard someone say something like "paralysis by analysis". I think from now on I'm going to say I've been in "analysis" since I was nine, rather than "therapy." Sounds cooler and maybe more sophisticated. Speaking of which, I saw a picture of my parents today and it made me miss them. Six months is a long time to not see your mommy and daddy. Looking forward to my mom's visit in a few weeks. Two months until we're all together again at that fancy, fancy resort.
I think I'm feeling homesick, but I'm not really sure what I'm homesick for. I think I'm feeling sick and tired of taking care of myself and others and I just want to be very, very small and taken care of. Actually, I just finished a book where the kids were raised in a way too big house with way too much and maybe that made me feel homesick. Hey, look at me revealing a secret or two....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Going hand in hand

"So put your little hand in mine
There ain't no hill or mountain we can't climb"
-Sonny and Cher
A couple weeks ago, I got to school to pick up Little Bird just in time to see something amazing...
something big is happening Actually, the teacher told me that the kids fight over who gets to hold hands with my girl, sit next to her, dance with her in music class, etc.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where ARE the wild things, anyway?

"Don't blame it on me
Blame it on my wild heart"
-Stevie Nicks

Am I, like, super un-hip? Why am I not nearly as excited as most hipsters are about the movie Where The Wild Things Are? My brother (who is prob the coolest person I know- don't tell him that) says it's a combination of the director (Spike Jonze- big fan), music (Karen O- big fan), and screenplay (Dave Eggers- I liked Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), all mixed together with childhood nostalgia. That's where I'm lost. I honestly don't remember ever being into those books. Is that weird? Am I the right age? I mean, people are going apeshit for this movie and this story. Look at these people who have Where the wild things are tattoos!!!
Anyway, I can't figure out if I just missed out on this phenomenon or if I've blocked it out like so many other weird parts of my childhood. Speaking of which, my brother and I had a great laugh about our very unique childhood this afternoon. There were some really crazy aspects to our life which were so normal to us then, but are so completely crazy to think about now. Once in a while my childhood and my past life acts as fodder for a good laugh!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

eskimo kisses

"I'm all dressed up
to be who you want
me to be"
-Veruca Salt
I've been working on condensing photo albums, so I'm going through a lot of photos. A couple days ago Little Bird grabbed this old photo (I'm talking 10+ years old).
We two Jews thought it would be fun to take a picture with Santa. So, the bird grabs the pic and says "this is mommy. this is daddy." I asked "and who's this?" pointing to the (probably deadbeat alcoholic perv) guy in the middle. Without missing a beat she shouted "eskimo!"

Friday, October 9, 2009

Got a secret?

"I hope that you can keep it
My dirty little secret"
-All American Rejects
I can't stop. I'm completely hooked on these PostSecret books. They are amazing. But I have to stop because there's this little lump in my throat that's starting to hurt. Seriously, it's kind emotional reading some of this stuff. My heart aches for these people (me, who always swears I hate everyone). I can't believe what some of these people carry around with them:
-he thinks we're trying (picture of birth control pills)
-I wrote this hoping you would see this and know its me. It's me.
-I just want to go to sleep and wake up the person I used to be
-I wonder if my dad ever thinks "i'm home" when he comes to pick me up at what is now my mom's house
Just a few as I flip through this book: A Lifetime of Secrets.
I came across one secret this afternoon and smiled.
I didn't write it, but I could have. I think of Gene Brody every day and I still can't bring myself to erase his numbers from my cell phone. But that's not really a secret, is it?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Falling Into Fall

"Can you remember me?
I'm the one who picked the apple tree"
-Wolfmother
Obviously there are loads of differences I've had to adjust to upon moving my life from the big, fast, crazy LA to the slower paced life in the Midwest. One huge difference: Seasons! After living out here for 7 years now, I totally appreciate every ritual that corresponds to the seasons. In the winter, we sled down the driveway and get cozy by the fires with hot chocolate (marshmallows included). Spring brings new life and flowers; our neighbors come out of hibernation and we are all happy to see the sun, wearing tshirts and tanks in 50 degree weather. Summers are all about life on the lakes and barbecues (here they call it "cooking out"- I know, totally weird) and s'mores at night. Fall is all about apples. We visit the mills to drink the cider and eat donuts. It seems like everyone goes to an orchard at least once each fall to pick apples off the trees. Today was our day...
All in all, I'm glad we went. You should know, however, that much the field trip went a little something like this......

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Shhhh!

"Listen.... Do you want to know a secret?"
-The Bealtes
I've recently become intrigued with this project called PostSecret. The concept is simple. Write your secret on a postcard. 3 rules: it must be legible, true, and something you've never told anyone. Stick a stamp on it and send it in. There have been gallery shows, blogs, and books showing off the secrets of others'. These secrets are powerful. I'm realizing that so many people have so many of the same feelings. They really are amazing thoughts. I really think you should go visit the PostSecret site.... after you finish reading this post.
This afternoon I indulged in my curiosity and picked up one of the books. I think it looks great on my coffee table, right on top of another favorite: Annie Leibovitz's American Music.
Speaking of indulgence.... I am deserving, so I also picked up another item that intrigued me. My new kicks!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

1 in 91

"What's Going On?"
-Marvin Gaye
In 2007 the world was "shocked" to hear that the prevalence of Autism had increased to 1 in 150 kids. Late last night the results of a new study were released. Many of us in the ASD (autism spectrum disorder) world knew they'd find another increase and we assumed it would be 1 in 100. I think everyone was floored to read this:
That is a startling number. That is more than 1 %. It's scary. I'm scared. I'm scared for me and I'm scared for you, too.
These kids are going to grow up and need CARE. They need better access to services, better treatments, more acceptance from society and better options for living. We parents of kids with ASD won't be around forever and ALL we can think about it is "what's going to happen to my kid when I'm gone?" It's going to be up to our society to provide loving and acceptable living standards for our kids. The status quo is NOT gonna do it.
Did you know:
Incidence vs. Private Funding:
Leukemia = 1 in 25,000 / funding: $310 million
Muscular Dystrophy = 1 in 20,000 / funding: $175 million
Pediatric AIDS = 1 in 8,000 / funding: $394 million
Juvenile Diabetes = 1 in 500 / funding: $130 million
Autism = 1 in 91 / funding: $15 million
Pathetic.
It's going to be up to ALL of us to make the world work for these kids as they get older. So, what are YOU gonna do about it?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

To get to the other side

"I woke up this morning
A rainbow filled the sky"
-G. Love
I don't think it matters how long this L.A. girl lives in the Midwest, I'll never get used to stopping in the middle of the road so that geese can cross!
A lot of things happened today.
I hope this is what I remember most...

Friday, October 2, 2009

perspective

Perspective. It's all about perspective. I'm so attached to what I perceive. Measuring my insides to someone else's outsides. Grass is always greener and all that. I'm very codependent when it comes to Little Bird. If she's having a good day, I'm having a good day. But that's not even true. It's actually that if I perceive her to be doing well, then I am doing well. My fear is strong, powerful. It must get that from me. While having a rough day with my girl, we head to Target (happiest place on earth). As we're filling up the cart with shit we don't need, I find myself in the same aisle with a mom and her young adult son. He has a trach collar and an obvious developmental disability. He walks over to us and Little Bird cowers, so I help her "hey, do you want to say hi?" The mom reaches out for him and looks at me like "I'm so sorry if he bothered you, but...." And I just thought, I get it. I've given that look before. I've had all those same feelings of discomfort, fear of judgement, etc when we're in new places or with new people, strangers, and sometimes even friends. I get it, lady. To her, we looked totally typical. She had no idea. Still, I entered that aisle with one perspective and left with another.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chef Dani G

"There'll be no more dinner bells"
-Wolf Parade
Ring ring. ring ring.
me: hello?
him: hey
me: hey
him: did you make dinner?
me: of course
him: what is it?
me: it shouldn't matter. I cooked dinner for our family
him: what if I don't want it
me: are you fucking kidding me right now?
and thus begins operation "I'm only cooking dinner for Little Bird and myself and he can figure his own shit out for a while".

kicks!

"Hey, I put my new shoes on and suddenly everything's right"
-Paolo Nutini
I don't often write about fashion or other things I'm interested in, but I'm currently OBSESSED with this line of shoes: Creative Recreation.
Obviously, I can't wear a lot of this stuff, but it's fun to look.
*UPDATE I just bought a pair!!
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See, it's not just my mom! (since Jan 1, 2010)