Wrapped in a really nice package with a pretty bow, because sometimes I can be a little bit aggressive, and diary of a mom says it more gently:

There’s something that tends to happen an awful lot in advocacy circles (and everywhere, really, but it’s most obvious there) and I was hoping we could talk about it. It tends to go som…

Source: the courage to listen  | a diary of a mom


Today is Primary day in Connecticut. I’m leaving for work early so that I can vote. In Connecticut, we don’t Caucus, we have Primaries and that means we have to vote on candidates within our own registered party. That’s fine with me, because I have my mind made up.

In Connecticut, we’re also voting on House of Representatives and Senators [Edit: in my town/district it turns out we’re only voting on Presidential candidates]. Unfortunately, we don’t get to vote out our governor. We have the governor who’s been voted as the worst governor in all of America. He’s corrupt and I have no clue how he ever made it into office higher than mayor.

Ahem, redirect. Today is Connecticut’s day, and this part of the anxiety will be over shortly.  It’s worth it.

If you’re an American citizen, and you’re 18 years old or older, please register to vote. It’s your Constitutional right. I don’t care what part you register with, I don’t even really care who you vote for as long as you exercise your rights. Maybe you can’t vote today if you’re not registered yet, but you can vote in November. Please. Your vote counts more than it ever has before, especially in local elections.

Please vote. Please register to vote. It’s the most American thing you can ever do. It’s the most patriotic thing you can ever do. ::salutes::


I’m feeling overwhelmed, and there are a few things causing the anxiety. I’m edging in on depression, and I know it because I can feel that white tiger, so I know that I need to make a decision soon. The problem is that I know what I want and need to do; it’s the timing of the execution that’s the Big Deal right now. The timing will affect other people as much as the decision itself. I’m quickly reaching a point where I feel that I have no choice but to execute the decision. My hand is being forced. And yet, this is agonizing. Agony is the problem one way and the other.

I’m sorry to be vague. It’ll be clear soon, I promise. Since this entry is public, I need to keep it vague for now. Although some of you may already have guessed, it’s not really something that I’ve discussed publicly yet. I’ve offered information on the subject to others, and I may have blogged about it a year ago, but the decision has come ’round again for several reasons.

Oops, I’m going to be late for work. Tah, Loves.


I’m a non-autistic mom who is blessed to parent an autistic daughter along with her two sisters. She’s an amazing, incredible young lady who is one of the three brightest lights in my life. This Sweet Girl finds being autistic to be a wonderful thing, something that she needs, something she doesn’t ever want anyone to take away from her. She says it makes things hard for her but she still needs it or she wouldn’t be who she is. She finds it shocking and appalling, and it hurts her deeply that even if Autism can make life difficult enough to cause some disabilities, that anyone would think up the idea, let alone that it’s a good idea, to cure anyone of Autism. She finds the notion of vaccines causing or having a correlation to Autism as ridiculous and silly. She can’t find words to explain how odd it is that she should have to defend her existence, or that anyone would insist on separating her from one of the very things that makes her the Sweet Girl that she is.

“Without Autism, I would not exist.” ~Sweet Girl

And so, with that reminder, I’ll just add my caveat now, before April: we shall NOT light up anything blue. We do NOT support puzzle piece comparisons. There are autistic self-advocates and bloggers who explain why far, far better than I can because it’s not my life on the line… it’s theirs. I value their opinions highly, especially those women who I’m so grateful to have found to show me what my daughter’s adult voice might appear like. Through their suggestions and sharing of experiences, it’s helping to make our journey through her childhood and my parenting go more smoothly. I enjoy the insights as much as I appreciate them.

Women like Amy Sequenza are your child. So I’m going to share two of her blog entries.

Why Autism Speaks Hurts Us – Amy Sequenza

Is Autism Speaks a Hate Group? – Amy Sequenza

Plus a bonus one from a different blog.

This is the last time I’m going to say this – The Autistic Beekeeper

And I’d like to suggest looking up #BoycottAutismSpeaks. You won’t regret it. Oh yes, and this handy dandy info-graphic. Share it. Download it. Memorize it. If you’re a parent to an autistic individual, pay special attention to the organizations that help autistic people. Include the Autism Women’s Network in there too. They’re pretty fabulous.

 

You may say, “But my child is autistic and we went to Autism Speaks, and they were really good!” or “But I know someone who speaks very highly of them because of their experience!” My response to that is, “Great. Good for you, I’m truly happy for you.” The issue I have is that any money you donated went towards research to remove the uniqueness from your child that makes him or her who she is. And if nothing else, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. I mean, last year even Autism Speaks came out and said, “Hey y’all, get your kids their measles vaccines.”

And on the Today Show yesterday, their founder, the father of an autistic son, floundered over how amazing his organization is for parents. Parents, not the autistic individuals. The support is there for parents who are stuck in the loop of believing Autism is a tragedy that happened to them through their child, or that God is punishing them. Parents who believe their child is damaged, sick, and imperfect. Not whole. Hiding behind the Autism. The Autism took them away. Broke them. And you know what? Matt Lauer sucked it all up with a dewy eyed spoon. He may have been a little drunk.

Parents… I remember that initial shock and the feeling of wondering what to do next. I remember wondering what *I* was going to do. It took me too long of wondering “why me and my child, why my family” before I was hit with the bitch stick. It’s really not about me, it’s about this spirited young lady I’m privileged to parent. The only “me” part about this was what was I going to do for my child and how to teach her to self-advocate. How would I teach her to become an adult that could navigate an amazing world.

Your child needs you. Show your child how amazing the world is and you’d better remember that the world is still amazing. The world is only as small as you allow it to be. The world is only as tragic as you allow Autism Speaks to let you think it is.

Stop the silencing of Autism Speaks and listen to the autistic self-advocates.

#AutismSpeaksSilencesAutisticVoices


Good morning, Loves! I know it’s belated, but I hope that you had a wonderful Easter weekend. I hope that you have an equally wonderful Easter week.

It was wonderful seeing most of our immediate family. We missed a couple of my husband’s sisters, since they took their families to Florida, but we’ll see them this coming weekend for my eldest girl’s Confirmation.

It’s been hard for me to get to Church lately due to the pain, but it doesn’t reduce my spirituality or love for Jesus at all. It doesn’t reduce how amazing Easter is for me. It’s my favorite holiday, actually. It’s my favorite not just because it’s in the Spring and usually there isn’t a hint of snow (every now and then, there’s snow on Easter in Connecticut).

It’s my favorite holiday because of all of the typical reasons we usually give, the reasons that sound trite and cliche. This year we have two babies that are a year old running around, and baby that’s a month old. We have a four year old giving my three girls a run for their money. We have teen and tween nieces for my girls to get in trouble with. We have each other.

More than all of those things,  Easter lets us know that there’s… what’s the word… potential? promise? We have potential and promise to make the difference in our lives that we want to make. We can make changes that we need to make. We have get to be the ones to make the decisions if we choose to make them. We have the potential to affect change in others’ lives if we change our behavior and attitudes. Just as Jesus died and came back, every Spring we have the chance to remember what he did for us and grab onto his promise and take advantage of it. We can look at life with a more positive view if we choose, and slow our lives down even for just a few days.

We can reassess our schedules, routines, budgets, friendships, entanglements, careers, diets, etc. We can simplify our lives. We can choose what makes us happy, but is also considerate of and is a positive change for those we live with and have very close relationships with. We can choose which relationships need more attention, and which are toxic and need to be released without anxiety.

Easter is a release in so many ways, as well as a chance to focus, eh? It’s a reminder for us to take care of ourselves, our families, and friends. It’s a reminder to tend our relationship with God. God is in every positive change we make. He’s in every bit of potential, and every single promise. He’s in every lift of attitude and release in simplification. He’s the strength in the chain that holds our relationships to family and friends together.

Take good care of yourselves and Happy Easter. If you don’t celebrate Easter,have a beautiful day and take care.


Did you know that people choose their candidates in very similar ways? We do. We all think that we have a system, the best system, and we’re so eager to share it so that others can try out our system and we just KNOW that if they use our system they’ll vote the way we vote. They’ll choose Our Gal/Guy.

It turns out that My Way is a very typical way to choose a candidate:

I think it’s important to learn about the candidates platforms and policies; think about the individual’s histories and how they treat their friends, spouses, and coworkers; consider how they treat individuals they dislike and are in competition with; look at their experience and voting history; examine employment/employer history in tandem with leadership skills; examine their skills in how they choose their advisers and their decision making process; weigh personal character; fact check them with reputable, unbiased sources, whose job is not entertainment but to inform with truth in order to educate.

We need to do all of this with ALL of the candidates, with the knowledge that with candidates we may have disliked or even “hated” in the past may actually be candidates that line up more closely with what we believe in. I also believe we may need to go into this with the humility that previous dislike and hatred of an individual candidate could have been misplaced due to deceit copiously placed in news media by opposition over the years.

These are the things that I believe opinions should be formed from.

Even before all of that, I think we need to commit to something more important. We first ought to commit to learning about ourselves and what matters to us BEFORE we actually choose a candidate for office. How can we know who should stand for us if we don’t know what we stand for?What issues are important to you? How strongly do you feel about them? What do you think about issues that other people find extremely important? There are dozens of topics we think about and research for ourselves and in our candidates. For instance, what do you think about:

  • Medicaid
  • Income Tax Revision
  • Cost, Availability and Quality of Clean Water
  • Minimum Wage Laws, and increase in mimimum wage
  • Prescription Drugs and Specialty Drugs
  • Aging and elder issues
  • Pensions
  • Higher Education
  • Employee Compensation
  • Moving American Jobs Overseas
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Freedom of Speech on Government Land
  • Transportation Funding
  • Disability issues & Disability rights and Human Rights
  • Hospital funding and staffing
  • Fracking
  • GMO’s
  • Funding CHIP
  • School Testing
  • Common Core (yes, these are two different things; one is tests, one is teaching methods)
  • NASA
  • Stem Cell Research
  • Scientific Discoveries
  • Gun Control
  • Overcrowding in Prisons
  • Scientific research funding for curing diseases, disorders
  • Mental Health, Emotional Health, Physical Health Issues
  • Medical Insurance and what you would like ideally for yourself
  • Funding Social Service agencies that would save the state agencies millions of “your tax dollars”
  • Social Security
  • Privacy Laws
  • Immigration Law & Immigration History
  • Social Inclusion Laws
  • Emergency Disaster Preparedness (did you know there’s actually a Zombie Apocolypse Plan?)
  • Funding our state and national infrastructure (Highways, byways, streets, railways, bus-lines, etc) for repair work and new systems
  • Carbon Emissions
  • Cleaner and Less Expensive Energy Sources for Cars; more efficient and cleaner cars
  • Cleaner and Less Expensive Energy Sources for Home Heating and Cooling
  • Green Living Initiatives and Legislature; Not just “climate change” but the stuff that directly affects you every day such as the quality of the air you breath and the water you drink
  • Regulated food industry promoting healthy eating and living
  • Funding education, both primary and secondary
  • Relations with other countries
  • United Nations
  • Political Parties working across the aisle
  • Gender Equality
  • Marriage Equality
  • Human Rights, Equal Rights, Civil Rights
  • Section 8 Housing
  • Public Housing
  • Unemployment Benefits
  • SNAP Benefits
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • The right for anyone to eat, drink, and have a roof over their heads
  • What constitutes war crimes
  • The Draft
  • GI Bill
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Terrorism
  • Profiling
  • Torture
  • Homeland Security
  • Racial Politics
  • Free Trade
  • Homeschooling
  • Military and Defense
  • Abstinence Only Education
  • Women’s Health Protection
  • Maintaining the Freedom of Choice Acts (FOCA) (only 7 states have codified a woman’s right to choose, making the protections of Roe v. Wade part of state law: CA, CT, HI, ME, MD, NV, WA)
  • Freedom of Religion, to practice as you choose in the religion you choose
  • Freedom from Religion, to be able to choose to refrain from practicing any religion at all
  • Freedom to choose your own healthcare, doctors, hospital, clinic, services without interference
  • Freedom to parent your children regardless of disability whether physical or mental health
  • Defunding of social services and human services that would help disabled, women and children, elderly, and veterans
  • Police Brutality
  • Mandatory Minimum Sentences
  • Corporal Punishment and the Death Penalty
  • School Prayer
  • Separation of Church and State
  • Intelligent Design
  • Pardons in the Court System
  • Judge Appointments

Honestly, right now my head is swimming, yet I know there are dozens upon dozens more topics and subtopics to consider.

Things that we don’t really consciously consider when choosing a candidate can be unorthodox, for lack of a better word, and aren’t helpful at all. In fact, people end up voting against their own best interests if they use the below “methods” to vote with. They do it because they’re not really voting issues, platforms, policy, or even history.

  • The pleasantness of a candidate’s face
  • The pleasantness and pitch of a candidate’s voice
  • The taller candidate tends to win
  • Personal charisma
  • A nice smile
  • The appearance of being kind
  • The appearance of caring about doing their job well
  • The appearance of caring about their constituents in general as well as the people who are immediately in front of them
  • The appearance being a peace-keeping, even tempered individual
  • The appearance of being competent, educated, qualified, and capable
  • Individuals who behave and appear Presidential
  • The appearance of truthfulness and trustworthiness
  • A calm and even temperament

There are worse methods than this, I suppose. I’ve actually heard people explain that they use these methods in choosing candidates:

  • Mix it up a bit locally. We may not know who the candidates are, or exactly what their platforms are, but we vote a mix of Republican and Democrat to shake it up and we can try to make sure to “keep them in check” and keep things even
  • We play Eenie-Meenie-Mynie-Moe and we catch that mousie by the toe
  • We close our eyes while in the polling booth and click like mad at the little levers and then just yank that huge one or, if you’re back in the stone age like some towns, you close your eyes while filling in dots on what looks like a multiple choice test sheet
  • We pray right up until it’s time to choose and listen for God to whisper in our ear
  • Our minds are already made up, it’s easy peasy, because it’s made for us: we vote party line
  • The Candidate who “wins” the debate based on how many insults they can hurl
  • The Candidate who seems strongest based on their willingness to sling mud

Those particular methods don’t work, and to be honest they’re insulting.

And yes, to get a bit personal:

Can I help it if it matters to me when a candidate tries to impress people with his business savvy and know-how and insists he’ll get the nation out of debt in no time at all when in fact he’s declared bankruptcy four times and every single venture he’s ever attempted has failed? Every. Single. One.

It matters to me when he is not only proud to be a bigot and racist, but he plans to legislate bigotry and racism.

It matters to me when he has absolutely no education of value at all (since the education he does have hasn’t worked for him), doesn’t have a mind to hire advisers to help educate him as he believes he’s his own best adviser, and doesn’t know the first thing about U.S. or domestic history.

It matters when he doesn’t care about education of others, or about science, or the state of the world or its ecology.

It matters when the most benign emotions he elicits from his supporters is apathy, but the most frequent and dangerous emotion is rage and as it happens, rage is the emotion that he uses the most in order to attempt to gain supporters by twisting them up with fear of Other.

It matters to me when he is anti-disability, anti-women, anti-non-rich-non-white, anti-government and anti-American in every single word and action, anti-education, anti-generosity, anti-kindness, anti-human rights, and has a very tenuous relationship with the truth including his own documented history.

It matters to me that he’s anti-vaccination and believes Autism is a disease that is caused by vaccines; and that Autism needs to be eradicated.

It matters to me when he beat his ex-wife and then intimidates her to drop the charge and lie to the press; calls women disgusting names; bullies reporters for asking typical questions thinking they’re “too tough for any reasonable candidate;” says he’s going to prosecute every single person who says anything negative about him at all during the campaign once the campaign is over, even if he’s President; is anti-American military especially those who are disabled and/or are MIA or captured; makes fun of disabled people; lies about his personal connections to the KKK.

This is a man that has widened the fracture in America, and other countries in the world as as terrified as the majority of Actual Republicans (conservative or middle of the road or liberal-ish) and All Democrats (liberal or conservative). In fact they’re even more terrified because they see him with a clearer lens than we do. It turns out that the horror we’re feeling isn’t quite turned up  high enough.

This matters. People can claim that President Obama is responsible for the current fracture, and that may be partially so except for the fact that it’s because he hasn’t allowed himself or the Democratic Party to be bullied as much as the Republican Party has tried to bully over the past eight years. And I’m thinking that in the state the Republican Party is in right now, they’re wishing they had their own Barack Obama right now.


I need to start prioritizing better and keep my coffee pot in my bedroom so that I can have a mug ready at  5:dark o’kiss my ass. Because with my bedroom TV that I can’t rewind, there was already another Most Ridiculous News Story Diverting Attention From Important Headlines Today that I couldn’t confirm until I got downstairs to hear about it on the TV that tells me the truth.

This is almost politics only in the sense that it involves the two Republican front-runners, but it’s … well … I don’t really know what it is. Except that Donald Trump is making fun of Senator Cruz’s wife Heidi on Twitter, and has created a full on Twitter war (again) with Senator Cruz. The triggering event makes me roll my eyes so far into the back of my head it’s triggering a migraine.

Some group that I have no interest in researching put out an ad that showed Donald Trump’s wife, former model Melania Trump, lounging nude with a caption saying,

“Meet Melania Trump. Your next first lady. Or, you could support Ted Cruz on Tuesday.”

Not for nothing, but I can see why Trump wants to defend his wife’s honor, but dude… she was a model. She modeled nude. It happened. It wasn’t a secret. It’s not like it’s even on the same wavelength of denial or level of seriousness as having ties (I love that euphemism) to the Ku Klux Klan. And not for nothing else, but resorting to putting their wives side by side in an effort to embarrass Mrs. Cruz to show,  you know, how hot his wife is using a professionally done photo of his former-model wife and an admittedly unfortunate candid shot of Senator Cruz’s wife was beyond the pale.

I would say it was below the belt except that Heidi Cruz is an accomplished, apparently charming, intelligent, caring, loyal woman. Donald must have really scoured the internet for an unflattering photo of her. There really shouldn’t be any surprise at all that Donald would resort to school yard bully tactics and insulting a woman’s appearance in order to also insult her husband, his competitor.

Senator Cruz did offer an amazing loving-husband response on CNN the next day a.k.a. yesterday a.k.a. Wednesday:

 

“Heidi, my wife, she’s the daughter of missionaries in Africa, she’s my best friend in the world, and if Donald wants to get in a character fight, he’s better off sticking with me, ’cause Heidi is way out of his league,” Cruz said during an interview on CNN’s “New Day” with Chris Cuomo.

“It reveals a lot about character,” Cruz continued of Trump’s tweet Tuesday night that the Texas senator better “be careful” or “I will spill the beans on your wife!”

“It reveals a lot about class, that Donald’s instinct is to try to attack my wife and sully her,” Cruz continued. “That should be beneath Donald.”

Cruz speculated that Trump was taking a personal tact because “he had a very bad night last night” in Utah, where Cruz took around 70 percent of the vote, allowing him to claim all of the state’s 40 delegates. Trump, on the other hand, won Arizona, a winner-take-all state worth 58 delegates.

Trump fired off his tweet citing an ad from a super-PAC that showed an image of his own wife, Melania, posing nude during a magazine photoshoot. Cruz emphasized he has “nothing to do with” the outside group.”

 

What I’d like to know, Mr. Drumpf, is if this is really the most important thing that you need to worry about? A Senator who returns your school yard bullying with some sanctimonious fife about how righteous and pure his wife is?

And yes, Senator, you’re the stellar husband defending your wife’s honor and you’ve now earned the best sex of your life for the rest of your life, and maybe a man cave of your very own, but come on. This would be ridiculous on any given slow news day. Not that I wanted to even address this, but taking a nude photo or dozen, especially as a professional model, doesn’t attest to ones character. The French President Nikolas Sarkozy is married to a former model, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, who had a nude photo taken of her in 1993 that, in 2008, sold for U.S.$91,000. They met in November 2007 shortly after he divorced and they married only two months later. She’s not a French citizen, but Italian. So scandalous. And apparently, prior to her marriage, there were rumors to her dating Trump. I would be most concerned about her decision making skills as they relate to dating Trump, but in the end she did marry President Sarkozy.

What makes it exceptionally ridiculous and hard to stomach on top of all of the other disgusting things about this entire campaigns is that the day this *nontroversy erupted was the same day as the Belgium Terror Attacks. So honest to God, shame on you both. Shame on the news for giving you both air time.

While hearing about the attacks in Belgium and reading about the attack in Turkey does bring on emotional fatigue and anxiety, it’s still important to know what’s going on and how our current politicians and world leaders are handling things. It’s important to know how our candidates plan to handle things. We need to know how this will affect our lives presently and in the future. We need to know how to discuss these things with our children, especially when our daughters come crying because their Muslim friends tell them how fearful they and their families are for their lives due to how the Republican candidates and top politicians are responding. When our daughters are afraid that people in the streets will murder their friends, it’s a problem that we need to figure out and I don’t need all of this frivolous crap clogging up my TV or newsfeeds.

It’s now Thursday and in some strange alternate reality, this ridiculousness about whose wife is more attractive and whose wife has more character because whose wife took nude photos and whose didn’t is still a big enough deal to derail the Republican political …. chiznit. It’s still in the news. It’s still being called a story. No…. no. A “top story.”

It’s not even amusing. It’s not light-hearted in an effort to get us to smile in the midst of tragedy and chaos.

It’s ridiculousness and distraction, and it’s treating the voters with the presumption that they’re not smarter than a fifth grader.

If the Republican Party, with the help of the media that supports them, feels they need to lead undecided Republican voters, Trump Supporters, and others who are considering Trump over Cruz or “I’ll vote Trump if Hillary gets the nod over Bernie” by the nose to vote for Senator Cruz and make The Right Choice in the voting booth… then the situation is really more serious and sad than I thought. What happened to reason and common sense? Logic? Or, you know, at least insulting each other’s policies and platforms rather than each others wives and their wives appearances.

I’m really relieved that when my state votes in the primaries, it will be a closed primary and I get to vote Democrat.

*Nontroversy: An event or situation that is essentially when someone has made a mountain out of a molehill; the difference is when it’s been picked up by national and sometimes international media up to and including television news and it’s referred to as a “controversy” where people are experiencing contrived “outrage” and are now “speaking out” about said “controversy”

 

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