may the force be with you

(I got my dad to type this for me)

I am 10 years old and I have autism. Every April is Autism Awareness Month and I think this is really an honour for me. This time of year helps people to remember that there are lots of people around us who have autism. I also have some friends at my school who have autism. I really like that all over the world people are taking part in Light It Up Blue for Autism. Here are some of my favourite pictures I found online:

Please remember everyone with autism and be patient with us. Thank you and goodbye for now…

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Book Store & Library Etiquette

Yes, bookstores and libraries are comfy cozy places to hang out and lounge around and enjoy your leisure time. That does not mean you are at home. You are not in your living room or your bedroom. Thus certain things are not acceptable.

~My biggest peeve is shoes. PLEASE KEEP YOUR SHOES AND SOCKS ON!!!! If your shoes are so uncomfortable that you can’t stand having them on, then perhaps you should invest in different shoes. Nobody wants your nasty sweaty socks or bare feet all over everything. This weekend I was at B&N and one lady had her sock feet up on a coffee table. Another lady had her bare feet up on the upholstered arm-chair, while she was picking the skin from between her toes and flicking the pieces who knows where. I don’t want to sit in a chair that you just finished rubbing your athlete’s foot all over. And don’t put your feet on a table that other people put their food and drinks on. These are the types of things that make me want to be a recluse.

~Cellphone use. Yes, we all have them, for the most part. And, yes, the point of them is so that people can reach us when we are away from home. But that does not mean that you should go to a place where people typically engage in quiet activities, such as reading, studying and browsing books, and spend long intervals of time TALKING ON YOUR PHONE AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS. Especially about highly personal and inapropriate topics or using vulgar language that may be unsuitable for everyone present to hear. You are not in a sound proof booth. We can all hear you. Also if your phone plays music thru its speaker, realize that not everybody shares your taste in music. Dont walk around with your phone clipped to your belt blasting music like its your own private night club.

~Which brings me to regular conversations with who ever it is that you are with. Please use a conversational tone. No need to scream when the person you’re talking to is two feet away. I understand that I am going to hear the conversations of people sitting or standing near me. If they are speaking quietly I can easily tune them out. I respect people’s privacy and will not intentionally eavesdrop on a conversation that I am not a part of. But if your shouting and squealing and making a spectacle of yourself, its hard to ignore.  And again with the language and subject matter.

~I didnt come to catch the live show…if you know what I mean. If you need to get it on that bad, stay home, get a room, go to the drive-in, whatever. I don’t need you dry humping next to me while I’m trying to read.

~Browsing in the same aisle or sitting in the same chair grouping does not make me your friend. If I wanted a companion I would have brought one. If there are two things that don’t mix, it’s talking and reading. If I have an open book in front of my face, I am doing the latter. Also, I tend to be a very solitary person and being approached by strangers generally makes me very uncomfortable. Unlike my boyfriend who feels the need to talk to every person within hearing range of his voice. Which is why I very rarely ever take him to the book store or library with me.

~People need to respect personal space when possible. Obviously in a crowded area we can’t all stay arm’s length away from each other. But that does not mean you need to be hovering over me like a vulture on a dead carcass. If I’m looking at a shelf of books and you want to see something on that shelf, don’t press up against my back, breathing down my neck like a pervert, trying to read over my shoulder. Either wait til I’m done or say “excuse me” and I’ll step aside. This also annoys me in the checkout line when the person behind me is standing so close that I can’t move without bumping into them. It also makes me paranoid that they are trying to steal my PIN number when I’m typing it into the keypad

~Personal hygiene is everybody’s friend. Please shower before going out. You may adore the smell of ass crack and armpits, but most of us do not. There is nothing worse than curling up in a comfortable chair with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate and settling in for a long, satisfying afternoon of reading, then having someone flop down in the chair next to you, with BO so strong it makes you gag. And if that person is also someone who likes to take their shoes off…well lets not even think about that.

~The other patrons are not there to be your babysitters. If you bring children with you it is your responsibility to watch them.You are not allowed to set them loose in the building and completely ignore them while they run, scream, climb, throw things, spill stuff, jump around and harass everybody else while you sit and read or talk on your phone. Also do not allow your children to bring along toys that are excessively noisy. Like remote control cars, toy fire trucks with sirens, drums, horns, whistles, bells or squeakers. If they bring a hand-held video game, give them ear buds or make them keep the volume down.

~If you bring your laptop with you, remember that what comes out of its speakers is not contained to your ears alone. Everyone around you is forced to hear to it as well. So be mindful that listening to you shoot lasers at androids for an hour in whatever ubergeek video game your trying to level up in is probly not gonna be an enjoyable experience for anybody else but you.

~Throw away your trash when you are done. This is more a problem at books stores than libraries because a lot of bookstores tend to have cafes in them these days. If you eat or drink anything, there are barrels provided to throw away your trash. And if you spill a drink or make a lot of crumbs, clean up your mess. Dont leave a filthy area for someone else to use. The cafe people will wipe down the tables and counters in the cafe area, but not the rest of the store. I always find empty coffee cups and crumpled up napkins and sandwich wrappers all over the place, including on the bookshelves. And I don’t like picking my book up off a table and having half the back cover ripped off cuz it glued to some sticky half-congealed splotch of frappucino that I didn’t notice. Libraries don’t have as much of a problem with food trash since there is usually no eating allowed there, but of course you always have those people who ignore the rules and bring in their McDonald’s or Taco Bell, and those are usually people who also don’t clean up after themselves.

So I guess that about covers it. A lot of people will probly think I’m quite unreasonable with my expectations of how people should act. And maybe I am. But I think a lot of people are quite unreasonable in what they expect people to put up with. But of course I know the people who will be the most offended by this list will be the people who are habitually guilty of committing many of these behaviors. Unfortunately with each passing generation our society becomes more ‘me, myself and I” centered, and people just do whatever they please and think they need never consider how their actions effect others.

It's Your World, I'm Just Living In It

Personally, I believe adulthood is overrated. Being respectful of people, doing the right thing, eating healthy, having money, who needs it! However, no matter how I feel about it, it is inevitable.  It’s coming no matter what and all you can do is suck it up and act like an adult.  Unfortunately, at 26 years old, I still don’t think I’ve got it and here’s a few reasons why.

Taxes

Seriously, what is this?

Here’s what I know:

  • You’re supposed to do your taxes every year.
  •  There’s both federal and state.
  • It’s no fun.

Here’s what I don’t know:

  • What the hell I’m doing.
  • What I’m supposed to save. (Receipts I think right? I bought a hot dog at a gas station today and saved the receipt. I’m getting there)
  • When they’re due.
  • Who to give them to. I assume some guy just comes to my house on tax day…

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DENY DESIGNS

Tuesday funny: All The Things You Must Have Said To Your Children, In Poster Form. We ran across these absolutely hilarious masterpieces on DesignTaxi and felt obligated to share such comical pieces.

Iowa-based artist Nathan Ripperger has come up with a series of humorous yet adorable posters expressing the things he has said to his children. At the time, they may have been some serious situations, but looking back now, things that you might have said to your children seem pretty comical now.

If your words are still not going down well with your kids, perhaps these posters would be more effective? Then again, maybe not.

images via

    

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Nerdy After Thirty

No would-be taglines or themes, no attempts to be cute or quirky or deep today.  Just a regular old post.  About a regular old problem.

Willpower.  The lack thereof.

Some people might not believe this about me, but I am, at my core, an immensely undisciplined person.  “Not Sarah!  No way!”   After all, I can be very conscientious.   I can be such a slave to my self-mandated routines and rituals that it’s like I have OCD.  I can be a perfectionist, especially when it comes to details like grammar and punctuation.  And when I’m really concentrating on a project at work, especially if there is a deadline, I can become so absorbed in what I’m doing that I become blind to everything—and everyone—else (sorry, everybody!)  I tend to get downright rude when I’m working.  (I was like that in college too…sorry, former roommates!)  My absorption in…

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Inside Out

The universe inside my head is infinitely larger than the one outside. Sometimes I feel downright overwhelmed by everything going on in there. Being a writer I constantly feel driven to get all these thoughts and ideas out on paper.

This may sound like a groovy way of life. However, I continuously find it frustrating.

I don’t feel like I have the ability to express myself. No matter how much I write and rewrite, my words pale in comparison to the vivid world that I want to share with people. Every sentence I write seems weak and pointless. No matter how many words I know, I never seem to have the vocabulary I need to project my thoughts effectively. I get these ideas, and I get so excited about them that I get restless and have trouble concentrating on anything else, and I get irritable with anyone or anything that distracts me from thinking. But then when I go to write, everything just fizzles out like rain on a fire.

I think the biggest problem is that I don’t think in words, I think in images. I don’t think, “The girl walked down the street.” I see a moving image of a girl walking down a street, as detailed and complete as if I were standing there watching her. I see her face, her hair, her clothes, the street, the houses, the trees, the weeds growing thru the cracks in the sidewalk, I hear her voice and the sound of cars driving by and birds chirping in the trees. My stories don’t form in my head as words. It’s like watching a movie playing in my mind. I just can’t seem to translate the images into words. Do all writers do this? Or is it just me? Or do I just suck that much?

Sometimes I wonder if I should try a more visual medium, like film. But that still requires writing a script, which I know nothing about, and making a film, which I don’t know how to do, or have the means to finance. Or perhaps a graphic novel. I used to draw very well, however I know nothing about creating commercial/graphic arts.

I do know how to write tho. I do. I’ve done it. I’ve written very good stuff. Sometimes I read over what I’ve written and every word seems perfect, every description and piece of dialogue portrays exactly what I want the reader to see and feel. I just feel like those moments are so few and far between. 99% of the time I feel like I’m just banging my head against a brick wall when I sit down to write. When I was younger I would write until I passed out, altho for all the quantity, I dunno if the quality was as good. I think I am a better writer now, even if I can’t write as much.

But sometimes I think I would trade the quality to be able to feel like that again, even for just a few days, to feel that endless, tireless flow of words. I was much less of a perfectionist, the OCD hadn’t taken hold yet. I didn’t agonize over every word. I just wrote, and whatever came out was good enough. I knew I could always go back and edit later. Now it takes me half an hour just to write a status update on Facebook. And, yes, the reason I only post on my blog once a week is because weekends are the only days I have enough time for all the writing and rewriting a do just to create a simple blog post. It’s currently Sunday at 11pm. It took me three hours to write this. I will schedule this to post tomorrow during the day tho, when it will hopefully get more traffic then it will late on a Sunday night.

I spoze some people might read my blog and think, wow, if this is any indication of her writing skill, no wonder she is failing as a writer. But no, what you read here is similar to what you would hear if you were talking to me in person. Altho here I can edit. Unfortunately there is no such ability to filter the things that come out of my mouth sometimes (Saggitarians aren’t exactly known for their tact). My writing is much different. It’s still me, but its different.

“Oh, You Can’t Help That. We’re All Mad Here.”

I love Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It is absolutely my favorite childhood book, and even as an adult I love to read it. I can’t count how many times I’ve read it now.

I read so many good books as a child. Too many to count or even remember. Some I remember the stories but not the titles and have spent hours searching data bases and libraries for them, doing searches based on a character name or even just a genre or topic. And a lot of books are out of print and take a lot of searching to find copies of them for sale even if I do remember the names.

Books have been such an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. My parents always made sure I had books to read, and books were always given to me for birthdays, Christmas or any other occasion that included gifts. I loved my books more than dolls or any other toys that I had. I tried so hard to interest all my children in reading. Out of five, only one, the daughter I just had the baby shower for, truly inherited my love of books and reading. Of the other four, two have a very few select books that they like and will read over and over again, one will only read books because they are assigned for school, and one wont read at all.

I have so many happy memories of a childhood spent reading. Pretty much the only happy memories in a childhood that was primarily lonely and friendless. I looked forward to the hours I could spend away from my real life and the bullies that humiliated me every day. Often I would take my books and hide in my closet in with a flashlight or under my bed so my parents couldn’t find me and bother me, or I would go into the woods behind my house. I also spent many weekends and summer days at the library, my home away from home.

As much as I loved to read as a child, however, I hated reading classes in school. I hated, hated, HATED writing book reports or having to read assigned chapters or a specific number of pages, or even being assigned a book not of my choosing. If anything is designed to make a child hate reading, its book reports. Theres nothing like taking something that is spozed to be enjoyable and making it into a tedious work assignment. Despite having a college level reading ability by the time I left elementary school, I consistently failed reading in school simply because I could not write a good book report, even if it was for a book I liked.

Fortunately, tho, I did read a few  books as school assignments that I really liked. Two that stick out in my memory are Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan in 6th grade and The Secret of the Seven Crows by Wylly Folk St. John in 5th grade. I remember reading Secret of the Seven Crows. The reading teacher would have us taking turns reading out loud from one chapter, then we would discuss it, then we would have to hand our books in at the end of class because she didn’t want us reading ahead. I fell in love with the book from the very first chapter and considering we only had reading once a week there was no way I was going to wait and read one chapter a week. So after school that day I went to the library and borrowed it and read the whole book that night. How any of the other kids managed to read this book in the way the teacher planned, I have no idea. By the time the week passed and it was time for reading class again, most of them had forgotten everything they had read in the previous chapter.

And while we are on the topic of having students reading out loud: Why? That is the worst thing ever. Having to sit there and follow along while some poor kid stutters and stumbles along an endless passage of words in a monotone with no attention paid to punctuation or paragraphs or quotation marks is just painful. Nobody wants to read out loud. Nobody wants to listen to anybody read out loud. Nobody reads well out loud. So, please, Teachers, stop torturing your students with this excercise in frustration and humiliation.

I did have a (very) few teachers that used books for enjoyment rather than just school work. When I was in 2nd grade my teacher would read us poems from Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends in the afternoons if we had a good day. Santa Claus brought me that book for Christmas that year because I loved it so much. I still have it (missing its dust jacket and a little warped from water damage) over thirty years later. My daughter uses it to read poems to her unborn child.

And my 5th grade teacher (not the reading teacher, my regular teacher) who was one of the few teachers I ever really liked. He was a hippy back in the 60s (this was now the early 80s) and every Friday afternoon we would get our carpet squares and sit on the floor by the bookshelves and he would play guitar and sing folk songs or read to us. I wish I could remember the name of the book he read us that year. I can remember the story but not the title. *sigh*

Books were my companions, my best friends and I loved them all. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, The Witches’ Bridge, The Chronicles of Narnia, Pippi Longstocking, Oscar Lobster’s Fair Exchange, Bunnicula, Dorrie the Witch, The Runaway Squash, Gus was a Friendly Ghost, Green Eggs and Ham, and many, many more. And so many books I’ve yet to read.

More than I’ll ever have time for in a single life time.

Time’s Running Out

In the interest of finishing the baby blanket I’m crocheting in time for my daughter’s shower next weekend, I won’t have time to compose a full blog post this weekend. So I will just take the time to say

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DR. SEUSS!!

The beloved children’s author and Springfield, MA native would have been 108 years old on March 2nd. As you can imagine his birthday is a very big deal here in Springfield. If anyone is interested in learing more about Dr. Seuss and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield you can visit http://www.catinthehat.org/

My son in 2008 with Dr. Seuss and The Cat in the Hat on Dr. Seuss' birthday.