Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars 2011

I attended the Oscars for the second time! I have to be honest; going the second time wasn't nearly as much fun as going the first time! Last year, the Red Carpet wasn't nearly as great as the cocktail party. So, this year, my husband and I rushed through the Red Carpet. We arrived at the Oscars later than we had intended, and I was pretty cold standing outside in my gown. So, I suggested to my husband that we just proceed to the cocktail party! While we were on the Red Carpet, we did get some glimpses of Eli Wallach, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, Aaron Sorkin, Marisa Tomei, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, and Jacki Weaver. Oh, I know a lot of people were clamoring to see me on the Red Carpet. Here are a couple of pictures from our local television station's Red Carpet Coverage:



I was the person wearing the raspberry-colored gown past Andrew Garfield's head. No, not the person in red right next to him, the person further back. See the cleavage? Yup, that's me! Enjoy!

At last year's cocktail party, we were able to go to the orchestra-level party and mingle with the celebs. It's was so awesome! This year, they had VERY tight security that didn't let us go down to that level. We went up to our level so I could grab some champagne and some appetizers. We were pretty much the only people on that level. That sucked! So, we meandered down as low as we could go. Some bigwigs did come in through that way! We got to talk with Tom Hooper (Director of The King's Speech). We also had a chance to speak with Geoffry Rush (that was my personal highlight of the evening). My husband also talked to (and got ignored by) Harvey Weinstein. He's legendary out here in L.A.

Our seats were in the highest balcony level. We had decent seats there though--third row, center. It was actually a pretty fun place to watch the show. The crowd was lively up there! Many of the spouses to people nominated in the lowlier categories (best short action film, for example) were relegated to this level. We did spot Cheryl Hines up at this level. Which is ironic, since we spotted her sitting on the same level as us last year (lower balcony level).

As I was twittering during the commercial breaks, I noticed a lot of people didn't seem to enjoy watching the show. I saw many people complaining about how boring the show was. It's funny, because in person, it really was a lot of fun!

I think we're done with going to the Oscars at least for the next year or so. While it's a lot of fun to go to, it's a lot of money. The novelty of it is gone for now!

Here's to next year watching it from home in my sweats!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blog Gems--Happy Times

Jen over at The King and Eye hosts a blog hop every fortnight (yes, Jen is British). She likes to give us an opportunity to reair our old blog posts that we like. This fortnight's topic is to repost a happy time.

I'm reposting about going to the Oscars last year! I'm going again today, which will be a hoot!

Here is last years adventure:

What a Show!
I had my grown-up night last night at the Oscars! It was great! I got to dress up, walk down the red carpet, drink champagne, and mingle with some famous and not so famous people! Then I got to watch the Oscars! Alas, no after-parties for us. When the show was over, we got back into our car and returned back to the real world. We did stop at Dupar's for late-night grilled cheese sandwiches. If you don't live in L.A., let me just say that Dupar's is a bit of an L.A. institution. It's a divey, coffee-shop. We looked ridiculous walking in there wearing a tux and gown. Until about 10 minutes later when two other women walked in wearing formal gowns as well! They too were having a late-night snack there after attending the Oscars. Only in L.A.!

Now on to the highlights:

Most Surreal Moment:

Driving to the valet parking. Because of security, you have to drive through this weird slalom course of concrete barricades. At each barricade were police carrying what looked like uzi rifles. There was a ton of artillery and even the LAPD bomb squad van! All there to keep us safe! I felt like I was in the movie The Hurt Locker instead of attending the Oscars! While we were stopped and our car was being checked for bombs, people who were lined up on sidewalks trying to see celebs were taking pictures of us while we were inside our car. I rolled down my window at one point and yelled, "We're nobodies--don't waste your film!"

The Red Carpet:

Walking down the red carpet wasn't as glamorous as I thought it was going to be! Celebrities walked down an aisle so the media could easily interview them. We common folk walked down another aisle. The only officials talking to us were the security who kept prodding us along. We were interested in seeing the celebrities, so our line wasn't moving as fast as they'd like! Ironically, all we could pretty much see was the back of the gowns the actresses wore! Luckily, I was able to view the dresses on the CNN website after I got home!

Cocktail Party:

Before the show, the Academy hosted a cocktail party. It was really nice! While none of the Best Actor or Actress nominees were there (I'm guessing they had a VIP room), there was still a lot of celebrity sighting, and I got to see some of the beautiful gowns there! This was certainly the highlight of the evening for me--especially when Queen Latifah complimented me on my gown. Of course, I complimented hers first! She looked stunning.

The Awards Show:

I've heard that the awards are much better to watch on TV than in person. That is probably true. However, the excitement that is in the room is really amazing. Also, I can't imagine that the dance number during the musical score category played nearly as well on TV as it did in person! They were the most amazing dancers! My friends and family wanted detail notes on what happened during the commercial breaks. First off, at home there always seems to be too many, and they are too long. When you're at the Oscars, there are too few breaks, and they are too short! It's really hard to fit in a bathroom run without missing a good chunk of the show. If you're not back before the end of commercials, you have to view the show by the bar area on a little TV with the sound turned down low. After two glasses of champagne, you do have to fit that time in. Also, it was really hard to fit in Facebook updates during these commercial breaks. Trust me, I wasn't the only person in the theater trying to do this! The funniest thing that happened during the commercial break was that about 20 men wearing tuxedos would run onto the stage with brooms to sweep--really fast!

After the Show:

We didn't do much after the show--see above. The only highlight for me was that George Clooney almost stepped on my foot as we were all leaving the show. That would have been the best pain I would have ever experienced.

Now, back to the real world!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Oscar Weekend and a Chance of Snow?

Work has been keeping me busy, so I haven't had a chance to craft out a good, meaningful blog post for Friday. So, you're stuck with this superficial post instead! Sorry!

I just had to take a moment to say that I'm excited about going to the Oscars! Last year was my first time going (click here if you want the skinny). Now I feel like an old veteran!

So, while you are watching the Red Carpet arrivals from the comfort of your home, I'm going to be freezing my patootie off! Yes, we're in for a very unusual cold spell this weekend in Los Angeles! I'm sure I'm not going to get any sympathy from you on either the "cold" or freezing on the Red Carpet.

I think it would be hilarious to walk down the Red Carpet wearing the ugliest Nanook of the North parka. I'm almost tempted!

Anyway, as chilly as it's going to be on Oscar Sunday, the really cold weather is going to be the day before the Oscars! Seriously, we have a shot at getting snow where I live. I think the last time it snowed at my house was in 1988! Thank goodness the gross weather is on Saturday and not Sunday. Then I really would be going in a huge parka!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Think Fit, not Thin!

At my daughter's Daisy Girl Scout meeting today, I was talking with some of the girls in the troop. They were talking about how some people bought Girl Scout cookies, but won't eat them because they're dieting. They then talked about how their moms were dieting to lose weight. They were actually talking about how little food their moms ate. One girl said that her mom skips breakfast and lunch and only eats dinner. Another talked about how her mom only eats salads. They then started bragging about how they eat salad every day for lunch in the school cafeteria. These girls are first graders!

It really hit me how our attitudes about food are passed on to our daughters. It scares me, quite frankly. It's definitely a warning call to me about comments I make out loud to myself that my daughter might her, like, "Ugh, I feel so fat!"

I immediately told the girls that while eating healthy is definitely important, it's also good not to be too skinny. It's just not healthy! I really want to try and impart a healthy self-image!

My daughter knows that it's important to eat healthy, but she seems pretty oblivious right now to weight issues and the pressures to be thin. I'm hoping this will always be the case, but I imagine that she will start paying attention to it soon since her peers already seem to be talking about it a lot.

In the meantime, I'm going to have to watch what I say. I really don't like the message the media sends out that girls have to be ultra-skinny.

Think fit, not thin!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tiger Mom Manual

It's the time of the week to link to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. Each week we write on a topic based on a featured letter. This week's letter is the letter "T." My husband has been nagging me to read Time Magazine's article on Amy Chau who initially wrote on the Tiger Mom approach. So, this was the perfect opportunity to read the article and make my T topic be on Tiger Moms.

I'm sure you have heard about Tiger Moms, but in case you've been locked in your basement during the last month, let me explain what a Tiger Mom is. Amy Chau wrote her book on parenting the Chinese way, which is quite different from the American way. Ms. Chau discusses how she makes her kids work hours on end on their academic work and on practicing their musical instruments. Her kids spend hours each day on these activities. They do not watch television, play video games, or spend time on the computer doing recreational pursuits. They do not have playdates or sleepovers with their friends.

In addition, Ms. Chau does not believe in building up self-esteem by offering praise. She expects her children to work hard, and if she feels they did not give something their absolute full effort, she will berate them and their work. She feels the world is a tough place, and it's her job to prepare them for it, not to make them feel good.

The Time article discussed how well China is doing economically compared to the United States. Experts interviewed for the article stated that there are some merits to Ms. Chau's approach. Kids do need to learn discipline in order to succeed in the world of tomorrow.

My husband has fully embraced this Tiger Mom approach. He has set up schedules where our 7-year old daughter stays up until midnight every night, studying reading, math, rocket science, among many other topics. She then has to practice the piano. If she plays everything correctly, she can go to bed after only an hour of practicing. If she doesn't, well, it can get a bit ugly.

We do allow her to have social interactions with her friends. She's allowed to say, "Hi!" to them, but only before or after school. Any other time chatting would mean less time studying quantum physics.

Yes, you are picking up on a note of sarcasm. I really do not buy the whole our-economy-is-falling-apart-because-we-are-too-soft-on-our-kids theory. However, I do understand the concern that we may be fluffing up our kids when they don't deserve it. I think it's crazy when any kid who participates in a sports league gets a trophy regardless of how the the team did. Even my daughter, who used to love getting her trophies has asked why they just hand them out to everyone. "Shouldn't just the team that plays the best get them?" I was amazed when she asked me this--and proud! It really takes away how cool it is to actually earn something!

One other item the article discussed that I do agree with is to compliment the process. For example, if my daughter did a good job on her homework, instead of saying, "Wow! You're so smart! say, "Wow, you worked really hard on your homework! That's great1" The article stated that in a study, the kids who were told they were smart didn't try an extra problem because they didn't want to get it wrong and ruin the impression that they were smart. The kids who were complimented for working hard, however, were more likely to try the extra problem. I thought this was interesting and something I probably could work on a little harder.

I do think we actually are working our kids a little too hard. I think the amount of homework my daughter brings home is taking time from other worthwhile pursuits such as building up creativity with free play. The Time article even mentioned that China is working on ways to develop creativity. The amount of homework also hinders time she needs to have playdates to bolster her social skills. Unlike the Tiger Mom's family, my daughter really needs time to play with her school friends to help her master social skills. As a child on the autism spectrum, she really needs to learn how to interact socially be successful in her life.

While I think the Tiger Mom model is not a great one to emulate, I would like to see us bolster self-esteem in a healthy, balanced way where a child feels they really do earn the congratulations they receive. I am afraid we're raising a nation of people who feel they're entitled to receive anything they want without having to work for it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sickie in the House. Again!

As I indicated in yesterday's post, my daughter got sick. Again! She was just sick with strep throat 3 weeks ago. This time, however, she just didn't seem that sick. Her fever, when she was running it, was relatively low. She seemed pretty perky and in good spirits. I had to keep reminding her to take it easy because she's sick. She'd always answer, "I keep forgetting!" So, I thought whatever she had this time wasn't too bad. I made a doctor's appointment for her, but got close to canceling it because I didn't know what the doctor could do to treat her. She seemed to have a virus.

Nevertheless, I took her in to be seen, just in case. Good call, because she had strep throat again! Agh! The doctor gave her a stronger antibiotic that will hopefully get rid of it for a long time!

I hate to say this, but my daughter is so wonderful when she's sick. She's as sweet as can be and her behavior is absolutely perfect. My husband pointed out that she seems to act more typical. Her eye contact is better and she's more "on." He thinks that being sick focuses her mind better so she's not as distracted as she can be on a healthy day.

He might have something there! I've been having a blast with her the last couple of days. I'm glad she's going to feel better soon, but I will miss her sweetness, compliance, and flexibility that she's had over the last two days! It's hard to believe that even though she's been sick, she hasn't been whiny or cried once over the last couple of days! Awesome! Weird, but awesome.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Girl Scout Cookies and Playdates!

Like a lot of weekends, we didn't have much planned for this weekend. My daughter is usually so busy during the week, I like to have a little down time. The one thing I had to do was pick up our Daisy Troop's Girl Scout cookie order. Our council has the doling out of the troops' orders down to an art form. It was really impressive! You had an allotted time that you had to go to get your cookies. You could be early, but you couldn't be late. They wanted to be done by noon, so they didn't want any slowpokes slowing down their system.

I somehow managed to be late! Luckily, my co-leader was there in time, said she was me and filled her Suburban with our 39 cases of cookies, which is close to 500 boxes of cookies1 It's a good thing she came to my rescue because not only was she on time, but she was able to get everything in her huge Suburban. There is no way half of that order would fit in my sedan. No way!

After she followed me back to my house, and we unloaded all the cookies, I couldn't wait for the moms in my troop to come by and get their cookies so I could get my family room back. The first mom who came brought her daughter, who's a good friend of my daughter. The two girls started playing, and I chit-chatted with the mom. A couple of hours later, some other moms came to get their cookies. Before long, the house was full of moms and kids playing! Okay, only one additional friend stayed behind to play with my daughter and the other girl, but it seemed like there were 20 girls running all around the house.

My daughter did great socializing and had a blast playing with her friends. My husband was getting a little ticked off because the girls were making a HUGE mess, including playing in my husband and my bedroom and bathroom. I didn't realize this because I was busy doing my hosting duties. Okay, I was BSing with the other moms! The playdate finally ended close to 5 hours after the first girl arrived! It was craziness, but a lot of fun for my daughter--and for me too! My husband, on the other hand, wished the playdate ended a couple of hours earlier with a lot less mess, particularly in our bedroom!

Sunday was back to the usual quietness! Unfortunately, our daughter became sick in the late afternoon. It looks like we'll be spending today shut in the house trying to keep her entertained. At least she had a great time playing on Saturday!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Calling Blossom on the Carpet Again

About a month ago, I wrote about how Mayim Bialik took issue with people's assertion (like mine) that The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon was an undiagnosed Aspie. To refresh your memory, Mayim Bialik has a Phd in Neuroscience and has studied autism pretty extensively.

Apparently, Mayim is a blogger herself and blogs for the Today show. It must be nice being on television shows and getting a PHd so that you can blog for a high-profile site instead of working away at a piddly Blogger site that the same 20 people visit! Sorry, I went off my topic a little there. Please ignore the blogger jealously.

Anyway, Mayim Bialik blogged about her parenting techniques. You can check out her article here. The article is actually quite interesting. She takes the opposite approach of a Tiger Mom. She feels that it's not a good idea to force academics (such as learning colors, shapes, and letters) while a child is too young. She feels that it's counterproductive to nag a child to say please and thank you or to share. She also feels that kids develop at their own pace. Both of her children were behind many developmental milestones. They started talking and walking late, for example. She felt that worrying that they weren't meeting arbitrary milestones was a waste of time.

I found this article to be a pretty interesting approach to parenting. I want to stress that while Blossom doesn't want to nag her children to say please and thank you, she's not ignoring the importance of these niceties, but she is going about teaching them in a different way, such as modeling the behavior.

However, as a mother to a child on the spectrum, I found her lack of worrying about developmental delays to be scary. I don't think the milestones are that arbitrary. Typically-developing kids seem to follow them pretty regularly. If a child is getting very behind, such as not turning over until they're a year old (as was the case of Mayim's youngest) that is usually an indication that help is needed. Early intervention really provides the best chance at correcting certain problematic behavior.

In her article, Mayim stated that, "Although the “delays” my sons displayed can be markers for autism, autism-spectrum disorders or developmental delays, I trust my intuition and I trust our pediatrician." She later says, "My kids are fine. You may not think so, but you get to raise your kids and I get to raise mine."

While I respect her decision to be the anti-Tiger Mom, I am concerned about the message she's sending. While her children really might be totally fine--she has studied autism issues while getting her PHd and might really know what issues to look for--her relaxed stance could influence other mothers to not seek an early diagnosis for their children. I've met moms who have told me that their children with now high-functioning autism were not always that high-functioning. I've heard many a story of kids who were totally non-verbal who moved up to the highest reaches of the autism spectrum solely due to early intervention! It can make a huge difference!

My opinion is a wait and see attitude can waste precious time with helping your child out. I felt I waited too long to seek a diagnosis for my daughter. I'd hate to see other parents do too because of what Blossom blogged about.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Know City Budgets Are Tight, But this Is Ridiculous!

Parking is very limited at my new job. The few spots that are open in the lot are usually saved for visiting clients and other important people. I'm not an important person, so oftentimes, I have to park on the street. The parking is metered, but you can park for up to 10 hours! It costs a dollar an hour to park at the meters, but my work place pays for the parking.

Last week, as I was feeding coins into the meter, I realized the meter must have had a jam because the coins weren't registering on the meter. I'd feed a coin in it, and it would not show any time. Like an idiot, I put another coin in, and again, it didn't register anything. So, being the brilliant person that I am, I tried a third coin, but it STILL didn't show any time. At this point I gave up. I wrote a note stating that the meter was broken and stuck it under my windshield wiper. Then I went into work. When I left work four hours later, I found a $55 parking citation left under my windshield wiper, right next to the note I had left! Gee, thanks!

I was lucky enough to be able to work from home and didn't have to go back into the office until this past Tuesday, almost an entire week later. There was a car parked in the spot I was in the last time, so I park in the spot right behind that one. I started to feed the meter and realized the "FAILED" showed up on it! Wow, this meter was out of order too! I then noticed that the meter at the spot I parked in last week was now registering as "Failed" also. I figured that was good since parking enforcement could now clearly see the meter was broken. As I started walking to the office, I notice that the car parked in front of me also had a handicapped tag hanging from the rear view mirror. It also had a parking citation left under its windshield wiper!

WTF? Really? The parking police could see the meter had "Failed" on it AND the car had handicapped tags, but cited the person anyway? I quickly realized that I would get another parking ticket if I stayed parked in my spot, so I had to move my car.

I'm very angry that the city of Culver City thinks this is a good way to supplement its budget. I'm contesting my ticket, but still!

What ticks you off?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sleep Issues

I'm linking this post to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday, where we base our blog post on a letter of the alphabet. This week's letter is the letter "S." Since I've been so sleep-deprived lately, I'm going to write about sleep issues.

My daughter always had a hard time with sleep. I remember how she used to fight sleep as the tiniest infant. She was always would rather take everything in than put her head down and close her eyes. She went from 3 naps a day to 2 at a really young age. She then made the shift to one nap a day long before she was supposed to. Then, at the tender young age of 2, she pretty much gave up her naps all together. She oftentimes wouldn't fall asleep until 4 or 5 in the afternoon. This would mean that she would be up for hours past her bedtime. An hour-long nap at 4 meant that she would be up an extra 2-3 hours before she'd fall asleep. It wasn't long before she'd start waking up at night and be up for hours again. This just drove me nuts! It seemed the older she was, the worse her sleep issues became.

When my daughter received her autism diagnoses at 4.5 years old, we found out that these sleep issues weren't uncommon for kids on the spectrum. Apparently, kids on the spectrum can have a hard time turning their brains off at night. When my daughter is up for hours, she is quite content. She talks away, sings songs, and pretty much just plays. It used to keep me up all night also, so we recently stopped using her bedroom monitor so that we can sleep.

One thing we tried that gave us great success in the beginning was melatonin. Initially, this allowed our daughter to fall asleep within minutes of closing her eyes to sleep. It seem to be the thing her body needed to sleep like anyone else. Unfortunately, over time, it's lost its effectiveness. We've been trying to skip using it once or twice a week to get it working more consistently again.

I don't seem to have the sleep problem. I can turn my brain off anytime, no problem! Being lower on the IQ apectrum (and other spectrums) does have its advantages!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Valentine's Day Poem

Here is a very special poem for Valentine's Day:

I'm going to say something very true

You love me and I love you!

I give you lots of these (hugs and kisses)

Not like a mouse who eats all your cheese!

Isn't it beautiful? My daughter wrote it today while she was at school.

Maybe I'm biased, but I think that's pretty damn good for a child who just turned 7. I think she has some of her daddy's song-writing talent!

We had a nice, but quiet Valentine's Day! I hope you had a fabulous one!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Check Out My New Look!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Last December, I won the SITS Girls' 12 Day Of Christmas blog design giveaway. Mariah from Julah Studio was kind enough to give my blog its spiffy new look!

It's not totally complete yet, though! I still have some tweaking to do until it's the way I like it. Considering that I logged in 38.5 hours last week in my "part-time" job, it may take me awhile to get the blog up to where I'd like it!

Nevertheless, it's a start!

Oh, and be sure to grab my blog button! I can't believe I finally have one! I'm so 2008! One of these days I'll figure out this blog design business! Maybe!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Just a Head's Up!

I have a deadline looming with my part-time job, so I won't be posting as much this coming week!

I'll try and post when I can!

Don't miss me too much. Really, get away from that unfollow button!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Think I'm Losing It!

So, yesterday, I blogged about how busy and crazy my life has been lately since I've started doing a little part-time work.

Today, I decided to make the most of my commute time and take the scenic way to work. Usually, I take the freeways which are jammed packed and just awful! The scenic way is probably a little bit longer, but it doesn't have the traffic so it can take less time! It involves going through a canyon which has all sorts of quirky things to see in addition to being beautiful! Then I take Pacific Coast Highway and enjoy the ocean view!

While enjoying this beautiful drive, I cranked up the music, opened up my sunroof, and sang away, feeling really great about life.

That is, until I realized what I was singing to. Instead of my usual radio station, I accidentally turned on my daughter's cd. I was rocking out to The Chipmunks Squeakquel soundtrack. I must have had it on for about 15 minutes before I even noticed!

Maybe I am working a little too hard!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Running on Empty

I'm linking this post up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday, where we write about a different letter of the alphabet each week. This week's letter is the letter "R." R is for Running on Empty.

After being a stay-at-home mom for 7 years, I landed a part-time consulting gig through a friend. The company she works for is an internet company that is doing quite well, even during the recession. It's a cool place to work and extremely different than the government job I came from. For example, I can go to work in jeans! It's been a lot of fun, and I've been enjoying the experience a lot.

The company is located quite far from my house, however. Los Angeles traffic can be really awful. On some days, my commute can take well over 2 hours, round-trip. Luckily, I can work from home some of the time, which helps! I was quite surprised by the amount of work I have, so I've been trying to do what I can in the evenings and on the weekends too. I'm also still trying to stay on top of my blogging--both writing my posts and reading my bloggy-friends' posts.

There was one other responsibility taking up my time. What was it? Oh yes! I'm still a mother to a beautiful girl who happens to have Asperger's. After school, I have to take her to her activities, her social skill class, and meet with a behavioral therapy supervisor who is trying to teach me techniques in parenting a child on the spectrum.

With all the demands on my schedule, I'm finding that even running to Trader Joe's or even Target can be challenging! Something's gotta give!

But I don't want to give anything up just yet. I love working! I love blogging! And I can't quit being a mother, although I have handed my resignation to my daughter on occasion. She refuses to accept it, however! She always points out that motherhood is a job I can't quit.

So, I'm running on empty. And loving it!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is it Hot in Here, or Is it Just Me?

I'm feeling hot! So hot! So very hot. To roughly quote the movie Wild at Heart, "Darlin' you got me feelin' hotter than Georgia asphalt in July!" No, I'm not out on the prowl. The sad truth is that I'm beginning to face The Change. I'm old, and my body is letting me know I'm old.

Around my birthday this past July, I started experiencing some symptoms of menopause. I had horrible migraines and a couple of hot flashes. Then it stopped entirely. My body went back to its usual cycle (I know, TMI), and all symptoms completely vanished. Until this weekend, that is. The hot flashes have been unrelenting. I've been having many each day. And when I'm not sweating like a 300 pound man in Florida (yes, I'm thinking of you, Big Daddy), I'm friggin' freezing!

I've read on the internet that these symptoms can last from six months to 15 years! Fifteen years? Nooooooo!

I really don't want to take hormones if I can help it. Does anyone have any great suggestions for dealing with the hot flashes? I looked at one website that had some really helpful (not) suggestions. These included making sure to arrive early to meetings and appointments. I have no idea how that helps with the hot flashes unless it's to give the person you're meeting with more time to sweat on them. Another helpful suggestion mentioned was to make sure you run the air conditioning. Gee, thanks! I never would have come up with that on my own!

Oh, another symptom of menopause is cranky behavior. That might explain the tone of some of my posts! If you don't like my tone, you can just unfollow me. No one said you had to read any of my diatribes! Oh dear, sweat is dripping on my keyboard. I hope that doesn't wreck it.

One more horrible thought occurred to me: it's only February! What in the hell am I going to do in the summer when it can be 110 degrees where I live?

I'm going to cry in my cup of Geritol. Excuse me please!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Happy Blogiversary to Mei

Yesterday marked my one year anniversary as a blogger! I remember when I began blogging that I wasn't sure I'd stick with it or even enjoy it. A year later, I can't believe it's a year later! The time has gone by so fast! And what a year it's been! I've been featured on the SITS site and The Theta Mom site. I was named by Scholastic's Parent and Child Magazine the top special needs blogger! It's been quite a year!

But the biggest thing I've gained this year was meeting many other amazing bloggers--many who also parent children on the autism spectrum. It's been wonderful learning about their trials and triumphs. It's also been great sharing laughs about something that often times is not very funny!

I feel I've grown enormously this past year as both a blogger and a mother. I hope the next year will prove to be as exciting and fun!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Bloggy Award

Jill from Yeah. Good Times has awarded me A Bloggy Award. If you haven't checked out her site, it's a must-read. Especially if you LOVE the f-word! You'll get a lot of it there. I especially recommend you check out her post today. It's not something she has written, but it's a great post that she wanted to share.

I love this award. I think it's really cool-looking. I was very excited when Jill awarded me with this, but then I forgot about it. Sorry, Jill! I remembered it now!

The Bloggy Award apparently is awarded to bloggers who are exceptional at blogging. At least, that's my take on it! Jill didn't share what the rules are for accepting the award, so there are no stinking rules anymore! The people I bestow it to just have to thank me, give it to 3 other people, and move on! How easy is that?

Before I move on to the three bloggers I'm awarding it to, I want to say something about these silly awards. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I generally don't get that enthusiastic anymore about receiving them, but I get mad when people pass them around and don't choose me. It's kinda like walking past a construction site and getting irritated when the guys hoot and holler at you. But then getting mad when you walk by and they DON'T hoot and holler at you! I'm pretty much at the stage when they don't pay any attention to me, so I should just appreciate the damn blogging awards I get, right?

I do like this one a lot because I haven't seen it much and it's so pretty, unlike the last one I received (I have Jill to thank for that one also, even if she didn't award me with it).

Anyway, here are the 3 fabulous bloggers I want to bestow the award upon:

Lynn at My Life as an Ungraceful, Unhinged, and Unwilling Draftee into the Autism Army

Amanda at Life Is a Spectrum

Jenn at Anybody Want a Peanut?

If you haven't read their blogs yet, you really need to! They're fabulous bloggers!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Top 10 Tips for Attending the Oscars

Last year, my husband gained entry into The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his work as a movie music editor. We were so excited! To celebrate, he put us into the lottery to attend the Oscars. We won entry and attended the Oscars! This year, we were going to sit out the Oscars. Ticket prices doubled, and it just seemed too much to do two years in a row. What I didn't know was that my husband put in for tickets anyway, and we won the lottery again! I found out I was going to the Oscars by him posting the announcement on my Facebook wall. I think my closest 250 friends knew I was going before I did!

Now that I'm a veteran of going to the Oscars, I thought I'd share my top ten tips. They are in no particular order.

1. Don't Bother Trying to Lose those Ten Extra Pounds

Sure, you want to look great for the event, but why starve yourself? Nobody is going to be looking at you. Everybody is going to be too busy staring at Natalie Portman and wondering just how far along she is with her pregnancy.

2. The Red Carpet Is Worse than High School

There are two lines on the Red Carpet: the line for nominees and presenters (the cool kids), and the line of people nobody ever heard of. Guess which line I'll be in? Security at the Oscars consists of them trying to move the nobody line as quickly as possible down the Red Carpet. When we tried to congratulate someone we knew on the celebrity line, security told us to stop mingling and move along. So all the media and fans with cameras taking pictures? They're not there for you! Move along!

3. Don't bother Bringing a Camera

Cameras are strictly forbidden. Last year, cell phones were allowed, so we tried to sneak pictures of each other on the Red Carpet. We each got one shot of each other before security threatened to take our phones away. Once inside the Kodak Theater, they're REALLY serious about the no picture policy. I can totally understand the not taking pictures inside the Kodak Theater, but it seems weird not to be allowed to on the Red Carpet. On the one side of us is media with tons of cameras. On the other side of us are folks in the bleacher seats who are allowed to take as many pictures they want. I found it confusing that strangers could take pictures of my husband and me, but we can't take them of each other!

4. I'm not Investing in a New Gown

When my sister heard that I was going again this year, the first thing she asked was when I was going dress shopping. The truth is, it took me forever to find a gown last year that I liked. I'm not investing the time and money to get a new dress. I will invest the money to get this dress hemmed, however. I got really tired of people stepping on the bottom of it during the cocktail party! So, George Clooney will just have to put up with seeing me in the same dress!

5. Contrary to What You Think, Eat a Lot Earlier in the Day!

Oh sure, you want to look as thin as possible for the big event. However, as I mentioned above, unless you're a big celebrity, nobody cares about how you look! The ceremony can run long and food is somewhat limited. Since I'm not going to the Governors' Ball afterward, we won't be eating until pretty late at night. So I'm having a big brunch earlier in the day.

6. Do Eat Up at the Cocktail Party

After entering the Kodak Theater, before the awards' show starts, you get to attend a wonderful cocktail party. The champagne is flowing and you might be lucky to score some of Wolfgang Puck's hor dourves. Last year, I tried to act cool by not pigging out on the food, although I did partake in a few glasses of champagne. Not this year! Because it'll be about 4 to 5 hours before I'll be eating again, I'm hunting down the hor dourves, even if it means elbowing past some celebs. They don't need to eat anyway, because people really are scoping them out!

7. Don't Indulge in Too Much Champagne

While it's tempting to drink a lot, it's really not a good idea to drink too much champagne at the cocktail party. For one thing, you don't want to undignified at this event. For another, bathroom breaks during the Oscar ceremony can be quite difficult to do. If you run to the bathroom during a commercial break, they will not let you back into your seat until the next commercial break if you're not back in time. This isn't a huge deal--you just watch the ceremony from the bar with the other folks who couldn't make it back in time.

8. The Commercial Break Time Is Not as Long During the Ceremony as it Is at Home

You're probably thinking that if you can run to the bathroom during the commercial break at home and still make it back in time, then surely I could do it at the Oscars. Well, the commercial break at the ceremony is much shorter than the commercial break at home! Okay, it really isn't, but it does seem shorter! When I watch the Oscars at home, I always feel that it's nonstop commercials that last forever. But during the ceremony, it feels like the breaks aren't as often and are much shorter.

9. Everyone at the Oscars Is Dressed in Formal Wear

Even the men who sweep the stage during each commercial break are decked out in tuxedos. It's hilarious and one thing I'd really love to videotape if I could.

10. Prepare to Have the Best Celebrity Encounters in the Bathrooms

Well, I actually didn't have any celebrity encounters in the bathroom, but my husband sure did. I did have one really cool conversation with a famous actress while we were both waiting for our husbands during their bathroom run!

I think the whole Oscar experience will be very different this year. I'll actually know what's cool and what's a bit overblown. I won't have all the excitement that I had last year, but I'm sure I'll have an even bigger blast because of it!

Don't bother trying to see me on the Red Carpet. I won't even show up in the background! But I will be having a great time!

Nice Going, Webkinz!

My daughter was sick with her first case of strep throat. She became sick on Sunday and went to the doctor on Monday. He prescribed antibiotics, and by Monday night she was already feeling better! She was able to return to school on Wednesday. Because she was stuck in the house, I let her have additional screen time on Tuesday. She spent her time playing with Webkinz. She had just received a new Webkinz doggie that she wanted to play with online.

After she was done with her session, she told me about something awful that happened while she played. She said she took her doggie on a tropical island trip. They were exploring a boat when a ghost appeared! Her doggie's happiness points went from 100 to zero because the poor dog was so scared. My daughter said that she had to get another trip for the dog to get her happiness back up. She booked a spa trip for her. This made me wonder when my daughter was going to book a spa trip for me!

That night, my daughter woke me up at 1:30 am. She had woken up and couldn't go back to sleep because she was scared. When I asked her what she was scared of, she said that the Webkinz ghost didn't just scare her doggie. It also scared her! This was the third night in a row that she woke me up. The first night, it was because she was running a high fever and was in pain. The second night she was feeling better, but needed more water. The third night it was because some friggin' ghost on Webkinz scare the life out of her dog and her. Nice going, Webkinz!

I did a Google search on this stupid ghost business, and it turns out that Webkinz loves to use ghosts. Around Halloween, they had ghosts trolling the different rooms leaving "candy" to kids who clicked on them. But year-round they do have this pirate ghost on a ship at the tropical island my daughter "visited."

Webkinz can pay for my daughter's future therapy bills and for my sleep meds!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Q Is for What Else...Quirky!

It's that time of the week again--time for Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. The letter of the alphabet we're writing about this week is the letter "Q." Considering that the name of this blog is Little Bit Quirky, I have to talk about quirky as my "Q" word.

When I named my blog, I definitely had my daughter in mind. She is certainly not your ordinary kid! I wanted to mostly blog about her uniqueness--to celebrate her uniqueness. I love her quirkiness.

Tonight, as she was getting ready for her bath, she told me about all her invisible friends she talks to. I didn't know she had any, so I asked her how many invisible friends she had. She said she has too many to count. I asked her how she gets them. She said that she gets them from videos or books. I guess the characters she used to pretend to be, she now pretends are her friends. Even though she has a large number of these friends, she only hangs with a few at any given time.

At first I thought this was a little strange, but then I remembered having some invisible friends of my own when I was her age. I used to set up a board game and pretend I had three other friends playing with me. Oddly enough, I always won the game (they never minded that I "borrowed" Monopoly money from the bank). Before you feel sorry for me, I had many friends as a child and was pretty busy playing with them. But during some of the times when I was stuck at home, I found this to be an enjoyable way to pass the time.

I guess my blog name describes me a bit too!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Little House in the Violent Big Woods

For my daughter's birthday last week, my sister gave her the Little House book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was so excited by this gift! I have fond memories of reading the books when I was in elementary school. I started the series not long before it became a television series. I remember how the books talked about a rustic, simpler existence then the way we live today.

We started reading "Little House in the Big Woods" tonight to my daughter. The story began a little differently than I remember. It very graphically described how the father and uncle slaughtered a pig for the family to eat. It went into excruciating details of what they did with the different parts of the pig. There was even a picture of the girls playing with what appeared to be a balloon. After reading the text, however, you learn that their dad blew up the pig's bladder and tied it up like a balloon for the girls to play with. We stopped reading before we could find out how the girls played with the pig's tail.

I remember as a child finding this all so fascinating! Now, I find it to be really disgusting. I won't be surprised if my daughter announces she's a vegetarian tomorrow!

I hear all my vegetarian readers grumbling, "Where do you think the meat you eat comes from?" My answer is from the market, and I really don't want to know anything more.

Ignorance is bliss!