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Friday, December 2, 2016

Wild horses couldn't drag me away.....

I have a new pet peeve.  It seems to be cropping up everywhere and drives me crazy.

Drug is a noun - that is, it is a person, place or thing.  In this case, a thing.  A drug is a medicinal concoction, a thing that is taken or administered.  Whendrugged generally has a negative connotation.  "She was drugged so he could take advantage of her."  Or, "He drove the car into the ditch because he was drugged." 
someone is "drugged" they have had a medicinal intervention of some sort.  To be

To drag is an entirely different word and concept.  Ok, so, when one takes something and pulls it around forcefully or with difficulty, one is dragging something.  To drag something is a verb, an action word.  When you drag something and you are done dragging it, the thing has been dragged.  It is not "drug" because a drug is a thing and to take many drugs leads to being drugged.  It is completely different than being dragged.  NOT the same thing. 

That's all - other than the fact the people on television who are paid professionals making large salaries for speaking on television should know better.  SOMEONE should know better and correct them. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

As tears go by....

Sad Song

Why do I feel the sadness of the world?
It hurts so much, like love gone wrong.
Why does my heart hear the world’s sad song?

The tears want to come but I fight them back
Trying to be brave and strong.
Why do I hear the world’s sad song?

Others are smiling, laughing…nary a care
While my days with wreaths of grief are hung.
Why do I feel the world’s sad song?

I yearn for the safety I used to know
Although well aware it was a lie all along…
I feel powerless to stop the world’s sad song.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Been high in the rockies, under the evergreens....

I do believe I just finished what I am calling my last children's book.  I have more adult fare to get to work on.

Tomorrow I will call the gal I hope will be the illustrator.  Fingers crossed.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Try to remember...

Dear Peter,

I never thanked you.

I wanted you to know that I remember.  I remember slow dancing in the bowling alley.  I remember having lunch in the college cafeteria.  In retrospect, I realize that perhaps you were encouraging me to be a better person, to fulfill my potential.  But, at that point, I was so very young and afraid. 

I also remember seeing “Funny Girl” with you and having dinner in a local restaurant.  I remember that you brought me a bouquet of flowers (my first!) when I had my wisdom teeth extracted.

And, of course, I remember your other gift.  My birthday gift.  The one you sent by mail.  Because, by that time, I was being courted by another young man.  And I fell for him.  He didn’t encourage me to go back to college.  He had a house and a sports car.  I was only seventeen…..and I wanted so desperately to get out of my mother’s house. He offered me the quick and easy solution.

But you were correct.  It was a huge mistake, the first of many that I would continue to make for years to come.  I wonder what I would have done if you had tried harder?

I remember the brown paper package.  Opening it to find a square box wrapped in pink and red rose printed wrapping paper.  Very pretty.  Rose is the flower of June.  How a propos.  I remember opening it and finding the stuffed toy animal – the donkey.  The jackass, to be more precise.  I was horrified.  You were such a nice, sweet young man.  How could you do such a thing?  I could feel my face burning.  

You can see that you left a lasting impression.  I never forgot it or you.  As I said before, I wonder if you might have swayed me if you had persisted just a bit more?  But it was so long ago……
I do thank you.  I knew, from your “comment,” that I was heading toward disaster, and yet I continued forging ahead.  Thank you for telling me what you really thought, albeit symbolically.  I wish some more people had said, one way or another, “June, you’re being an ass.”  No one did.

Somehow, eventually, I managed to land on my feet.
So, thank you, Peter.  I hope all worked out well for you. 

With (mostly) fond memories,

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

You and me against the world.....

Sometimes it seems like you and me against the world
And when others turn their backs and walk away
You can count on me to stay..... 

("You and Me Against the World" Ascher,K, Williams, P. 1974)

I chronicle the beginning of this journey in my memoire, "Astoria Story."  By the age of two, it was clear there was "something about" my child.  Those were the words of her pediatrician.  No one could put a finger on it.  We had her hearing checked. Twice. We went to far too many psychologists.  One neurologist told me she "just wanted attention."  ??????  She was and still is my only child.  Good one, Doc.  Not funny.

I was "too lenient."  I was "too strict."  Maybe it was the Coca-cola.  No, there was no soda in the house.

There were inexplicable tantrums of gigantic proportions.  I often had to leave a shopping cart half full of groceries in the store and give up and just take her home.  I could not find a babysitter willing to care for her.  I often wondered when the Social Services would show up at the door, for all the screaming and wailing that was heard emanating from our apartment.  I paraded her outside in her little bathing suits to show the world she had no bruises.

Finally, with school looming on the  horizon, I got smart and demanded to see a child psychiatrist.  No more psychologists with their bullshit ideas and useless advice.  After intensive 2 day testing and a 3 hour observation....and waiting and waiting for the results, I got the phone call.  "My conclusion is that she has autism."  My brain went into overdrive and denial.  I was advised to get books, lots and lots of books.

Autism used to be blamed on the uncaring, distant mother.  It was thought to be an emotional reaction.  More recent literature revealed it to be a neurological disorder.  It had/has a physical manifestation.  Still, the cause for its existence and the increasing incidence are still up for grabs.  Vaccines have been scientifically ruled out, though some still insist they are a cause.  Lack of proper diagnosis. Toxins in the environment.  Genetic factors.  Maybe all of the above.

Over the years we experienced terrible teachers and wonderful ones.  We had horrible neighbors and horrible children who were cruel and unforgiving.  We had run ins with the law.  Hospitalizations.  Mandatory school for children with "behavior problems."  It did not help that my child's father joined in the abuse.  We divorced.  I moved us back to my home, New York.

It was a difficult time and looking back, I wonder how I managed such a gargantuan feat.  Two dogs, 4 cats and a fish, plus a disabled child.  You do what you have to do.

There were more hospitalizations.  There were more terrible teachers and worse schools.  There was betrayal by the entire educational system.  There were lawyers.  And, there were times when I feared for her future and wondered if she would even have one.  There was the night she damned near died.

Eventually, I met a man to whom I was attracted and to whom I could talk.  In time, we were a couple.  He was willing, for me, to take on a teenager with autism.  He provided stability, a home, a safe haven.  Still, problems persisted. In the throes of hormonal changes, a system with no justice or caring, medications she did not need, there were outbursts, screaming matches, tears and yet more law enforcement and more hospitalizations.

Somehow, with the help of the New Jersey Board of Education and the fine staff at Hackensack High School, we were able to help her finish high school with an accredited diploma.  We found a college that was nearby, had a good reputation and accepted her with her art portfolio.  To everyone's surprise, within the first year of college, she dropped art and fell in love with science.  I will make a long story short here.

My strong and beautiful daughter is a scientist.  She is getting her PhD in neuroscience.  She lives on her own and has a cute studio apartment.  She has many friends.  She just spent a week visiting us and then we drove her back and spent a couple of days with her.  It was the best time ever.  When I think of that dark time when I wondered if she might have to be institutionalized, or that night she barely survived, it is nothing short of a miracle.  But, it is her strength and innate intelligence that made it possible.  When she finally found something she loved and when she finally accepted her disability and addressed it, that was when she blossomed.

Best of all, she and I have collaborated on 3 children's books - she was the illustrator.  So, she is still an artist, as well as a scientist.  Of all outcomes of what might have been, this is surely the best and beyond my wildest dreams.

So, I say to those parents of children with autism spectrum disorders, persevere.  Fight for them.  Fight for yourselves.  Don't give up and don't give in.  You must be their advocate until they can be their own. It may feel like the world is against you.  Have courage.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Keep on truckin'

The next project has begun.  Unless I get some fabulous new idea, this will be the last of the books aimed at children.  But I was able to smoothly flow through 7 pages worth the other day - a very productive day.

I'm hoping to employ the talents of another artist I met by happenstance.  I think her style would be just perfect for this.  I love my daughter and her artwork - but this piece has a different feel and I know what I want it to look like.  I hope the young lady is willing to work with me. 

The other imperative on the agenda is to have a video made.  I must push myself to get up early one day and head to the computer club.  There must be someone there willing to make a little money to do a one to two minute clip for me.  I hope.

We are also actively seeking new venues - I've started seeing the same people at the state park we frequent.  I have to get busy calling local town halls and business associations - not my favorite passtime, but, that is the way it is.

Nose to the grindstone........

Friday, April 1, 2016

Oh, hey, just look at me, wow!

I proofed.  I proofed again.  I tweaked.  I proofed.  I reformatted (note to self:  FORMAT FIRST!) and added page numbers.  I had a headache. Proofed again.  Voila!  It's done.

"The Amazing Canine Adventures of Harry Spotter" now has volume two, "The Everyday Adventures of Harry Spotter." 

Each sale helps to support Almost Home Dog Rescue of New Jersey.  If I am contacted directly, I can offer discount pricing, free shipping, a bookmark and a magnet!  ( I can offer both books together for $18.

While aimed primarily at kids aged 8 and up, I have been told that adults enjoy it, too.