Friday, November 30, 2012

Do as I say, not as I do (duh!)

The road was icy as hell on our lovely 9 degree commute to school this morning and when I heard the ambulance siren I pulled over like you're supposed to.  Thank god Sean had the studded snow tires put on yesterday because cars were spinning out on that road like it was a frickin' Disney teacup ride.

Anyway after the ambulance passed, I started to pull back out onto the road when a dickwad in a truck almost barrelled into my side and scared the crap out of me.


Pete: (from the back seat) "Man, that was scary!  I almost flipped him the bird!"

Me:  (after a stunned silence) "Pete, you would have gotten into serious trouble if you had."

Pete:  "Well you said some bad stuff too...."

Me:  "When you're a grown up you can make your own decisions when you're the driver.  And I could have said a lot worse."

Pete:  "That's true."

I hid my smile the rest of the way to school.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm still celebrating my birthday

Holy crap Thanksgiving is exhausting.  Wonderful but exhausting.  It was also my birthday.  I got a tape dispenser in the shape of a stiletto - love - and a ceramic chalice that says "it's good to be queen" - love - and a sweater - love - and a yummy robe - love.  The robe makes me look like I'm wrapped in cotton candy but who's going to see it besides Sean and the kids?  No one.  So cotton candy it is.

My Aunt and I were talking on Thanksgiving about my working - or not working - and she said "I think your job is to stay home and do what you're doing.  That's what you're meant to do." 


This whole time I've been wondering what I'm supposed to do with my life, it never occurred to me that maybe I'm doing it.  The day to day of running things around here.  Maintaining the house.  Caring for these boys.  Even writing this blog.  Maybe it's all just the way it should be.

And maybe it's not one thing that is permanent - maybe it's a fluid thing that changes constantly.  Right now, this is what I'm doing.  Who's to say what's going to happen down the road?

Something to think about.  I hope that there is something down the road that I'm a good fit for, because otherwise all that boarding school and college money was a waste.  Sorry Mom and Dad.

When I got home some of my girlfriends had planned a dinner to celebrate my birthday.  I'm telling you, if you have your birthday on Thanksgiving, it gets extended.  I've had like 4 birthday outings and lots of cake.  Not much better than that.

Also, Dreamboat Sean said that since I didn't get to pick my birthday dinner I get a do-over dinner night.  Who would pick turkey for their birthday dinner, anyway?  Those of you who answered "me", no offense, it's just not my #1 pick.  I have to think about what is - this takes thought and planning.  It also kinda extends the birthday thing a little longer.  That's certainly not a bad thing.

Come to think of it, I haven't worn my tiara yet either!  I'll have to do that on the birthday-dinner-do-over night.  Maybe I'll take a picture.

Monday, November 19, 2012


This morning TJ slept in. Late. At 10:30 I decided to wake him up.

Me: "TJ it's time to get up sweetie."
TJ: "Huh...grumph..." and rolls back over.
Me: "TJ where is your iPod?"
TJ: "" as he points next to him.
Me: "Did you watch something in the middle of the night?"
TJ: "Yes, at 2."
Me: "What did you watch?"
TJ: "The Simpsons Movie."
Me: "The whole movie?!"
TJ: "Yeah. And my eyes kept closing like (show me droopy eyes) so it was hard to stay awake."
Me: "You know you're not supposed to do that, right?"
TJ: "I know."
Me: "You're supposed to sleep at night time."
TJ: "Well I went to sleep at like 4."

Typical 12, right?

Autism looks different every day.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Raise your hand if you saw Amadeus and know who Salieri is.

If your hand is down, click this link:

Basically, Salieri was a very talented musician who had the unfortunate circumstance of existing in the same circle as Mozart.  No one stood a chance against Mozart.  So it sucked to be Salieri.

In the film Amadeus, Salieri, because he was comparing himself to Mozart, said he was the king of mediocrity.  "I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint."

Dude - YOU TAUGHT BEETHOVEN!  A deaf musician!!!  Have some self respect!!!

In my opinion, Salieri totally gave up.  He made the choice to compare himself to someone no one can compare to.  Who HASN'T felt like the king or queen of mediocrity?  Seriously, at one time or another, haven't we all felt talentless, without direction, and without purpose?

The trick is to not let it own you.  Don't compare yourself to anyone!!!  When you have a kid with autism this is almost an easier lesson to learn, as I know there is no one like my boy, so I teach him to compare himself ONLY to himself.  But look what happens to you when you make a different choice!  Nothing good.  You end up feeling responsible for Mozart's death locked up in a hospital, absolving all the other sick people of their mediocrity.

So many times I have felt like Salieri!  Except that I have not been exceptionally talented in one area like him - my talents are many and just happen to not be concentrated.  I have faced my share of life challenges and choose to find a way to smile.  Yes, sometimes things suck, but what good will it do to dwell on it?  I choose to focus on the good.

Like my gorgeous and fabulous friends!  I have an amazing network of wonderful people all over the country!  Who is luckier than me?

And my shoes - well, those things of fabulositude speak for themselves.
And my family!  I have amazing people that I am so lucky to share this label with.  There is something so wonderful about the bond you have with people who have known you your entire life...and the fact that they are exceptional people doesn't hurt either.  And the family that has been added along the way have been beautiful gifts.  Our family keeps growing, I'm thrilled to say, and I am so fortunate to have these fabulous people in my life.

And my chosen family!  I have some friends who are like family to me, and these bonds are strong.  Like crazy steel strong.  Some are local, some are far away...and it doesn't matter where they are because they are always in my heart.

And my sister!  She was my first best friend, and I'm happy to say, still my best friend.  Whenever we get together there is a certain peace that I feel.  And a certain hysteria.  No one makes me laugh like her, hence our nickname from my cousin of "the laughing cousins".  Our history has forever bonded us, good and bad.  She is like my arm.  I don't know how to function without knowing she is in my corner.  She is my Susu.

And my kids!  They are sunshine even when they're not.  Seriously - those are two amazing people I have the good fortune of raising.  They teach me something every day and just looking at them fills me with such unimaginable joy and pride that I can't believe they are mine.

And my husband!  He is and always has been my dreamboat.  And my best friend.  We still laugh together after almost 20 years of being together.  He is the treasure I always hoped for and I'm not letting go.  He is my backbone.  He keeps me honest.  He lifts me up to be the best person I can be, and catches me when I fall.  And I fall a lot!  Sometimes it's hard to believe that (1) someone as wonderful as he is actually exists and (2) he kinda likes me too.  That alone makes me the most fortunate person alive.

So what have we learned?

Don't compare yourself to anyone - ever.  We all have our Mozarts.  Don't try to be something you are not.  Be your own benchmark.

If you DO choose to spend your life comparing yourself to someone, don't be surprised if you land in a psych ward absolving the other mediocrites.  Is that a word?

Focus on the good.  Laugh.  Honor what you are lucky to have.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  Class dismissed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Crap crap crap

So since my last post, the one about the Tag Lines, a few of my friends have asked me to write tag lines for them.  Theirs turned out better than mine.  I think mine will be a work in progress.

What is normal language for an 11 year old?  For example, and this is totally hypothetical, is it OK for them to walk around the house saying "Crap crap crap"?  Just for example.  How about a 12 year old?  Who is sprouting the teeny wee tiny beginnings of dark mustache hairs?  Who has, oh I don't know, let's say autism?  Is it normal for him to turn any word or name into "penis" and then laugh hysterically?

The reason I ask is because these things may or may not have started to happen in public.  OK, it's me, we are talking about me and my kids.  And they have started to happen in public.  I swear these boys used to have greater decorum, and I really don't use bad language in front of them.  Clearly I say "crap" but c'mon, a girl's gotta have a bad word every now and then.  And it could be worse.

So what are other kids this age saying?  I know my boys aren't swearing in school, thank god, or if they are it's not around the teachers.  That's normal, right?  I remember saying worse when I was their age, and I was in an all girl's Quaker school.  So all in all, we are doing OK, right?  Plus, and I hate to admit this, but it's kinda funny when it happens.  And embarrassing, in the case of TJ's trying every way he can to say "penis" in public.  But that's neither here nor there.

As for the mustache hairs on TJ, they are ever so faint, but enough that he's talking about growing a beard too.  I want him to grow chops.  That would look awesome.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In search of a tag line

At the beginning of each Real Housewives show on Bravo TV, the ladies say a tag line about their lives.  Here are some examples:

“People call me a gold digger, but they just want what I have.” 

"I'm here for a good time, not for a long time."

"I'm living the American dream, one mistake at a time."

"I don't make money, I spend money."

“I may be married to a plastic surgeon, but I’m 98 percent real.” 


Is that really the best they could come up with?!  Those are lousy tag lines.  Especially the American dream one - what the hell is that?  She sounds like an idiot.  Don't you think that if you're going to be on national television that you would put your best foot forward?  I'm curious about what input the Bravo TV folks have on the ladies who say these lines.  Are they cracking up every time they hear them?  I would be.  I AM, as an observer. 

Then I start wondering what my tag line would be if I was on one of these shows.  Here are some ideas:

"Some days I just don't shower."

Hmmm...that's not really putting my best foot forward.  Next.

"I am who I am.  If you don't like it, you can suck it."

I like the idea behind this one, but it's a wee bit aggressive, don't you think?  I can do better.  How about this?

"D is for Diverticulitis, AND Diva!"

I just cracked myself up with that one!  We may be on to something. 

"I can change my mood as fast as I can change my shoes."

This is true, but makes me sound a little schizophrenic.  

"Vermont can be cold, but it's fine if you're a Hot Mama like me."

DING DING DING!!!  We have a winner!!!

I think a tag line should be changeable every day.  There is no way one line can consistently represent me and my life.  So now that I've tried to come up with my own tag line I have a greater sympathy for the ladies who do have to pick one to stick with for a TV show.

Except for those ladies who said the lines at the beginning of this post - really, there is no excuse for the stupidity of those.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I just glimpsed at a report about an interview that Andy Cohen (from Bravo TV) did with Rihanna for Facebook live.  She was asked where she wanted to be in 30 years.  She basically said when she is 54 she wants to be skinny, fierce, and hopes her t!ts are still where they are now.


Is that all?  Seriously?  What about "happy"?  There was no mention of happy.  Or healthy.  I'm shocked.

I'm also terrified for our future.  Is this the main concern for all 20 somethings these days?  I knew there was too much focus on the exterior in this age group but had no idea it was this extreme.  I think it's important to look good, but MAN!

Granted she was drunk.  I hope her answer would be different if she wasn't.  That's a pretty sad state of affairs too, being drunk for an interview, IMHO.  But that's a different blog post.

And by the way, what's with this one piece of my hair? It gets all Shirley Temple on me after a Zumba class. I have straight hair, people, this is a bizarre phenomenon. Whassup???

Friday, November 9, 2012

Help!!! I don't have a job title!!!

I was a child of the 70s.  As a child of the 70s I spent a lot of time listening to the record "Free To Be...You And Me."  Anyone else?  I mean I listened to this A LOT.  I loved the stories, I loved the music....I loved all of it.  To this day any time I hear Marlo Thomas or Alan Alda, I am instantly transported to my childhood.  Love love love.

I remember listening to this record and thinking that I could be anything.  I wanted to be on Broadway.  Or the movies.  Or on TV.  I knew I was destined for greatness.

Turns out, I was destined for the EJ.  I love the EJ, I do, but I never thought I'd be a housewife in Vermont.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but really folks, I don't even have a job!  Talk about ending up differently than you thought you would!

This is interesting especially now, when I just had my college reunion and my high school reunion is just around the corner.  Everyone asks:  "What are you doing now?"  My answer is "I married a dreamboat, have 2 amazing kids, one has autism, we have a dog, and I hate laundry.  But I hate cleaning bathrooms more."  Is that a good answer?  It's an honest answer.

What's a better answer?  I need some help here.  Domestic Goddess?  That's way too "Roseanne" for me.  I do have my Hot Mama O Rama business cards, that's always a safe bet, but it still requires some explanation.  How about "Shoe Diva of fabulositude"?  Too pompous?  I don't want to come across as self centered.  But let's face it, shoes are my thing.  How about "Undiscovered Stylist"?  That's a good one too - I'm always silently styling everyone.

I thought of all this today because as I was doing laundry, after asking the boys to put their dishes in the dishwasher, Carol Channing's voice ran through my head:

"Little boys, little girls, when you're big husbands and wives,
If you want all the days of your lives
To seem sunny as summer weather,
Make sure, when there's housework to do,
That you do it together!"

I think I need to play this for my boys.  Carol Channing really does explain it perfectly, don't you think?  Also the whole "Parents are People" part too - that's good stuff.

Maybe instead of explaining anything to anyone, I should just put my blog web address on my Hot Mama O Rama business card.  But if anyone has any really good ideas of an official job title, let me know. 

PS - I STILL think I'm destined for greatness.....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Risk is good

When I was 14 I went to the Exploration Summer Program at Wellesley College. I went when I was 13 too, one of the very first Intermediate program attendees, thankyouverymuch. But the summer I was 14, I took a course called Risk. It was focused on, well, taking risks. Up until this time in my life I was not a big risk taker at all - I was much more comfortable playing it safe. But it was in this summer program, and more specifically in this class, where I realized how valuable it is to take risks in life.

The risks in the class were not huge ones - we were blindfolded and led around campus.  We heard water near us.  Our instructor, Stuie, said if we trusted him, take a big step forward.  Some stepped.  Some didn't.  I stepped.  And I didn't fall into the water.  That's the kind of stuff we did.  We pushed ourselves, then asked ourselves why we made the decisions we made.  It was really wonderful.  The home I came from had its' share of anxiety within its' walls, so a class like this that challenged me, and made me uncomfortable, and scared me, and rewarded me, and was just what I needed.

I find that in my adulthood, the risks I take are bigger.  I invest myself more into them.  Usually they are worthwhile.  Every now and then, I fall on my face.  Or sometimes, not often, I'm tripped up by someone or something else, and fall on my face.  It's during these times that it is most important for me to get back up.  That's hard.  When I'm hurt, I hurt a lot.  I put myself all out there, and when it goes bad it shakes me to my core.  It is also during these times, just like during my Risk class, that it's most important to figure out what I get out of it, and what it has taught me.

So I'm standing up tall, happy with who I am, and proud of what I stand for.  In many ways I am much stronger, and in every way I go forward with more wisdom.  I'm sure I'll fall down again, but it's worth the risk.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Grease is the word

Sometimes the truth is gross.

Remember a long time ago when I was struggling to find the best combo of cute and practical when it came to how I wore my hair to Zumba?  Or Bazoom as I like to call it?  Well folks, I think I've found the answer.

Day old hair.

Yes, that's right.  If I don't wash my hair for a day, the grease holds it nicely in place.  I haven't washed my hair since last night...look:

May I just take a second to pat myself on the back and say what guts it takes to discuss your greasy hair for all the world to see?  You're welcome world.

Anyway, this is what I tried Monday night for Bazoom class.  Tory my faboo instructor was afraid I would grease up the floor as I danced and she would wipe out.  But guess what?  The hair did not move.  I jumped, bounced, twisted, got even stronger with the sweat.  I hate to say it but I think I looked much cuter than when I wear the ever-sensible pony tail.  

So there you go - Bazoom hair problem solved.

Now if I could only unify the American people, I would be the best EVAH.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Don't Wanna!

My beautiful boys are my world. I adore them. They are my everything.

They also drive me crazy.

The attitudes of teen boys are emerging - like swamp creatures from the murky waters in a horror movie. We have had many discussions lately about house rules, and thoughtfulness, and respect, and how we are the parents and they are the kids and sometimes they just have to do what we say. Discussion over. They hate that.

Can't say I blame them.

Take this sobriety thing for example. It sucks. I hate it. It's been really difficult lately and I'm wondering why I have to be so good when I see so many others who don't have to. I never broke any laws, I never drove, I never hurt anyone...why do I have to be the good one? Seriously. I don't want to do this anymore - at all.

Then I think of why I am public about it and why all my friends know what I am doing - accountability. Really, if I was clever, I would have stopped drinking silently so if I wanted to start again I could have done that silently too. That would have been much, much easier. But instead of going home and sneaking some sips, I sit and write this. I'm kind of trapping myself so I can't self-sabotage. This is the grown-up Lauren, laying the groundwork for my own success. The selfish kid Lauren is pissed. She wants to stomp her feet and yell "I DON'T WANNA!!!" And do what she wants. She feels a little stronger than the grown-up Lauren right now. But just like I can't give in to my boys for their own good, I can't give in to the "I don't wanna" Lauren. Even though I really, really want to.

Man, doesn't it suck being a grown up sometimes?

No worries though - it's here in black and white, like a contract. Grown-up Lauren wins.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Toot toot!!!

Skinny jeans really can work for anyone, if you only buy the correct size.  I'm just sayin'.

So I'm back from San Francisco and what an AMAZING trip my sister and I had!  Of course, I did fall off a chair in the lobby of the hotel where Susan's conference was in front of about a thousand psychiatrists, but other than that it was really wonderful.  There were no arms on the chair.  It's complex, really, and not the point of this post at all.

One of the best things about going away is coming home.  I was so happy to make it home safely, after changing my flight to go through Cleveland instead of Newark (hello Cleveland!!!).  My poor sister had to spend 2 days in Chicago (granted she was with one of her favorite people besides myself so it could have been worse, but she missed her kids) and just made it home in time for Halloween.  So glad she's home safe.  Anyway, my boys met me at the airport and we all were thisclose to tears hugging at the gate exit.  Seriously.  It was one of those moments.

Today is a gray rainy chilly day, so we went to the ECHO Lake Aquarium Center in Burlington.  Google it.  It's got exhibits that change twice a year, and the one that just opened is about Race.  Sean and I told the boys that the exhibit is looking at how people are all different.  We went in and on the wall are pictures of many different people, of many different ages, who wrote little blurbs about their heritage.  Below this on a table were blank cards, pencils, and a binder where you could write your own blurb.  TJ grabbed a card and a pencil and wrote this:

Then he put it into the clear plastic sleeve in the binder.  Satisfied with his completed task, he went on to the "Exploring the Lake" section of the museum.

This made me smile, and sad, and thoughtful, and proud all at once.  It seems like something has he has confirmed his understanding of what he's got and knows that it's just a part of him.  Almost like he's proud of his differences.  I don't know.  But something about it made me feel content.  Like we are really are doing a good job with him.  Which I almost don't want to say out loud, as I never have, and don't want to toot my own horn, but TOOT TOOT!!!

As long as he is OK, I'm OK.  And I think he is OK.  Today anyway.  And that's good enough for me.