My Blog, Sunset on Mattie’s Pond, started as a suggestion from my sister Maxine on September 15, 2009. It began as a place I could vent and talk about all things Autism. Since that day, the blog has expanded to talk about not only Autism, but pretty much anything and everything that falls out of my head, and had logged in 6,030 visitors as of this morning, with 640 of them in the last 3 weeks. I have just finished revitalizing and updating most of the blog just this week, with both behind the scenes updates and its appearance, in general.
If you have not taken a gander at the last site in the last, well, half hour or so, ( I just finished!), Please do so and let me know what you think!
Happy New Year and Thanks for coming along on my Journey!
When we got Mattie a Giant swing set, my rose garden was too close to where he would be running around, so I (GASP) dug them all up, and planted peony there instead. They are soft leaved and only flower in the spring so he would not ruin them if he ran through them.
Last week I sold Mattie’s swing set. It went to a nice family that would enjoy it like Mattie had, and the day after it was gone, I dug up those peony I had come to hate.
You are not going to believe what I found under that huge 6×10 foot peony bed.
No NOT kittens or Yorkie puppies, that would be just too cosmic even for me to handle..
BUT, a climbing red rose had survived. Seven years it had grown there, under all those peony.
I spent all this week digging and coddling that red rose bush, and today I put it back up on a trellis.
Sometimes what you really love is waiting for you, right there in front of you, till you are able to love it again.
Feature image: “Blush” By Karen Gorrell
After a leisurely stroll through the local Crafts Store, to pick up the white glass rocks I need for the clear containers that I will put my Paper White bulbs in, I enter the queue to check out. A HGTV magazine catches my eye, as I hear someone talking…
“Register Five is available, Ma’am.”
“Ma’am, Register Five is available”, says the stout, bespectacled, young woman directly behind the register five sign.
I push my carriage over to the for-mentioned register five, and smile at the woman behind the counter.
“Good evening, Ma’am. Did you find everything you were looking for, Ma’am?”
And then I felt it. You know that feeling you get when you meet a total stranger and you Know right off that you two are not going to get along? THAT feeling.
“Yes, I did. Thank you, Miss.” is my reply.
“That will be twelve forty five, Ma’am”.
Out of my peripheral vision, I see two customers at other registers, swing their heads my way. They can feel it too. They can feel what I felt, just by looking at this woman. That this woman and I, who have never laid eyes on each other before just now, are for some unknown reason, going to be “borderline”. We are going to walk the board between politeness and rudeness. And the two other customers are very happy to have this entertainment.
“Thank you, Miss, I will just slide my card, Miss”, I say, “You know… every time you call me Ma’am, I am going to call you Miss, because you are making me feel old, calling me Ma’am.”
This is met with a fake smile. You know, the kind of smile that starts at your lips and ends there, never reaching your eye’s, where REALLY a natural smile takes place.
“You slid your card too fast, Ma’am”.
“I can see that, Miss, let me try it again”. Now here comes MY fake smile, but I do her one better, by tilting my head to one side.
I push the red “X” on the credit card machine, so I can use my card a credit card and not a debit card, because, you see, I get points every time I use it as a credit card, and with those points I get gift cards to Target. Target, the store all stores should be like. Fast, Friendly, with cool stuff, and clean.
“You cancelled the transaction, Ma’am.” Fake smile, again.
“I wanted to make it a credit transaction and not a debit one. Why are all the machines different? I push the red “X” at Target, to make it a credit transaction.” I look up at her, and I know NOW we will bond, over the silliness of these machines.
“Target probably uses the red “X” for credit as that is their main color, Ma’am”. I guess we are not going to bond, as there she goes with her fake smile, and Ma’am, again.
“I really don’t think that has anything to do with it, Miss, your stores main color is red and you use the green button for the credit”.
“Our store’s main color is not really red, it is just a little red, Target’s color is ALL red. Ma’am”.
“I really don’t think the programmers and the engineers who made these machines cared about what the main colors of the stores were. And what percentage of red does the store color have to be, to make them use the red, Miss? And you know…. it is more beneficial for the store to have the card used as debit and not credit, so, REALLY, they all should use green as debit, and red as credit, as green is more appealing to people than red”. I flash my fake smile and follow it with a head tilt.
“You can sign now, Ma’am”. She slides the slip towards me with very long, green polished nails with diamond sparkles on them. No fake smile, we are beyond even that pretense now.
I sign my sloppy signature on the credit, or is it debit?, machine, and take my slip from her, shoulder my handbag, and pick up my white glass rocks, which she has put in plastic bags where the store’s name is CLEARLY in red.
“Thank you for shopping with us, Ma’am.”
“Thank you, Miss”. On my way out the door, I walk by the other two customers who have dottled about to see how this enchanting encounter would end, and an additional red vested (RED-their store color!) cashier. The petite, cherub faced woman behind what must be register number four, is pressing her lips together, so as if, not to laugh. I give her a sincere smile and a wink. She smiles at me, and winks back.
It would seem that I am not the only one that hears nails scratching on a chalk board, when dealing with Miss Fake Smile-er.
Sadly, I fear the woman behind register number five, has not learned tonight’s lesson, which is no woman living to the North-East of Virginia, wants to be Ma’am-ed to death, especially those who have ever EVEN whispered the word “Menopause”.
Be Afraid, Very Afraid. Because tomorrow, I have more Christmas errands to run, and one of them is taking me to Walmart. I will take pictures of the encounter, because Walmart is always good fodder, for the Woman with a Black Belt in Autism.
The following is a post by a friend in regards to some tasteless jokes/status that have been circulating around Facebook. It is with her permission that I am posting it here. Sandy Moroney
After seeing some rather nasty posts and one-sided articles over the past two weeks about vaccines I am using my wall to rant a bit.
TRUTH – Many vaccinations contain neurotoxins in the form of preservatives and other such chemicals that are KNOWN to be harmful. The vaccination schedule is much more intensive than it used to be thus some infants / toddlers bodies / brains cannot handle it. Our Steve has a neurological condition that made him vulnerable from birth so I have researched this extensively. Many parents are choosing NOT to vaccinate their children. I understand why but I also have had to think about my child’s susceptibility to disease and the welfare of others. Here is what we did as parents: asked our doctor for preservative free vaccines and had the schedule be spread out. Our pediatrician was great about this. For the later vaccines Steve needed, the doctor did blood work to see if he already had immunity for some of the diseases and we vaccinated accordingly. It does not have to be an all or nothing issue. Also before anyone says that I don’t know about children with conditions thought to be caused or exacerbated by vaccinations or other environmental factors, I have worked with children with exceptional needs off and on since I was 19 as a teacher so I have taken the time to honestly look at this subject. For those of you who have not walked in my shoes – clean your own house before you try to clean mine. Sick of the bitching, sniping and whining on this subject – just like politics – go do something about it instead of posting stupid crap and inappropriate jokes about autism and other neurological disorders.
Some things are important, some are not.
What is important, can sometimes depend on one’s perspective. Where you’re coming from, what kind of cards life has dealt you.
One thing that should always be important is respecting others, even when what they believe to be true is different from what you believe in. This should be basic stuff you learned in Kindergarten, though many who claim to be highly educated still have not learned this lesson.
Some times it is not the journey, but the destination that is important, which brings me to the point of the soap box rant de jour.
This past week, a friend on Facebook came across a post that contained a link that supposedly told how the MMR shots caused Autism. When you clicked on the link, there was one sentence on the screen that read, “They F***ing Don’t”. Some how this was supposed to be a joke, and we all were going to have a good laugh. Instead of laughter, my jaw dropped. My brain actually froze for a second, as I could not believe how anyone, ANYONE could think this was remotely funny, or anything but insensitive. It didn’t even matter to me, the how or why of Autism, but the fact that someone made a joke out of something so devastating to families all over the world. What were they going to do for a follow-up, make a joke that started, “Three Women with Breast Cancer go to a bar…”??? I was told the post “evaporated”, but the damage had already been done.
My point is, in this instance, the how or the why of Autism does not matter. What matters is that Autism is not in any shape or form, funny. Yes, laughter is the best medicine, but in this case the punch line was just a punch in the stomach, to those already suffering a devastating medical syndrome, that has no known cure.
You see, there is an unspoken Rule in this Autism Club, and it is no joke. We have each other’s backs. No matter what. And Sometimes it is the only thing we in The Club can count on.
Thank you to Bee Kind, and Barbara Danner Boyd, for the beautiful Photo-art!
Sunset on Mattie’s Pond has just received its 3,600 th visitor! I just wanted to thank My Sister, Maxine McClellan, for kicking my butt and pushing me towards doing this, and to those who always support me, no matter what… The SLS (aka Sandra Leazott Stevens), My Daughters Kath and Tina, My Chicko-s, all My Facebook Friends, and Family, My H, John K. Moroney. And, of course, the Mattizoid.
It’s 9 am, on a bright Spring morning, and I am boppin’ down the aisle of a large local plant nursery. Taylor Dane’s “Tell it to my Heart” is rocking out of the overhead speakers, and I am whistling to the tune, checking out the African violets.
Then I get *THAT* feeling…
THAT feeling that I am being watched.
I glance up. store is pretty empty. Really only a few of us in it. An elderly man about 90+ is directly ahead of me, maybe 6 feet away, looking intently at the spider plants.
Behind me, about 20 feet away, two female employees are chit-chatting. No one else around I can see….
Huh. Shake my head… I am just hyper-sensitive, I guess….
“You have an admirer….” says a deep baritone voice ahead of me.
It is the elderly gent.
I smile coyly at him, “I DO, do I….”
A deep crimson blush overtakes his entire face.
“Oh, ho ho…” he chuckles.
“I was referring to HIM.”, he said with a glance at the space between us, and towards my feet.
I raise my eyebrows and look down…
Sitting directly in front of me, is a large, old, orange cat.
“His name is Butterscotch, and he has been following you since you walked in.”
“What can I Say…” I tell him with a wink, “Older Dudes love me…”
He blushes again, winks at me and strolls down the aisle.
Just another Typical morning in my world….
It is a Club you Never want to be a Member of.
Once *You* (and I mean your child AND Family) are a Member, you are a life member.
The Club Dues are very hard:
You WILL lose friends (they were never true friends)
You will lose LOTS of money (medical evaluations are extremely costly, annual, and most are not covered by insurance)
You will need special and expensive equipment ( adaptive wheel chairs, indoor swings hung from support beams….)
Ordinary babysitters will not do, you will need specially trained staff-usually ASL, CPI and trained in behaviors… this means they are very expensive..
Non-verbal children will need Adaptive Tec equipment to be able to communicate
Then there are: the constant flux of people coming in and out of your home (essentially you will have no privacy), Home trainers, SLP, Evaluate-rs form ARC, DDD, Public School trainers… this list is never-ending…
Stress on you, Stress on child, Stress on everyone.
The Club Benefits:
You will meet and befriend some of the MOST incredible Human beings on the planet… and they will “have your Back”, love you for who you are, and never judge you…
1 in 50 children in school today.
I bet you know Someone in The Club….