Sunday, August 30, 2009

When I met Jason...

Cullen Carter said he wanted to know more about when Jason and I met...

It was at the tender age of thirteen. My very good friend Suzy had this crazy wild look in her eyes one day at Damrow's Restaurant as she told the table jammed with teenagers (who were only buying coffee--IF that...) how the drummer for Lugnut had SMILED at her during some show. For several days we listened to this and then inevitably the two were spotted together.

Jason says he met me walking down Union St. with Suzy, and how she'd introduced me as one of her best friends, that I was wearing an army jacket and oh so grunge. Unfortunately, I don't remember! I remember her introducing him to all the kids at Damrow's. Then, soon enough, we were going to Jason's house and jumping on the giant trampoline, listening to him rant about this, that and the other thing, playing with the microphone in the basement. I remember that he didn't ever sleep and he was always excited about something. One day I listened to him go on for an hour about speed reading.

I never went to a Lugnut show except for one year I saw them play at Battle of the Bands. I just wasn't into shows, unlike most of my friends.

Later, when I was going out with a guy named Ian, the four of us would go out for coffee and suffer through listening to Ian and Jason talk about computers. Suzy and I would roll our eyes and try to change the subject...

Eventually Suzy and Jason went their separate ways, and years later, I RE-met Jason.

And yes, I did get Suzy's blessing to date Jason, because I love that girl.
:)

Good News!

I didn't have to get up with sick kids last night, after all! This morning everyone is in good shape.

...

I want to be clear about something. The existing programs that help those with autism are good and useful. I'm just trying to find where my idea fits into the picture.

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I really like Costa Rican beans.

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That is all. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Problems with current programs

Right now I'm just doing a lot of research to find what's out there (Autism & Art in my community and elsewhere). That's all I set out to do. It didn't take long before I started getting a bad taste in my mouth about it all. What was it?

Something about having to google and find these ugly sites that list other ugly, non user-friendly sites that you have to sift through and then sign up, fill out applications, call for information, pay fees... Well, it all reads like something that was not designed for the actual people who would be using these programs. Not anyone who is looking for something on his/her own, not even most overwhelmed parents who are already dealing with multiple therapies, IEPs, meetings with family support and dealings with medicaid to whom it just seems like MORE stuff to complicate life.

Then when you GET anywhere, what do you have?

Classes.

What's wrong with classes? There are oodles of art classes. Paint with seashells. Fun with pipecleaners. You know what I'm talking about. You have a teacher on one side. You have students on the other side. And folks, my six year old could school all of you in her sleep when it comes to arts and crafts.

The classes, and the programs, and the sites... They're all about "US" helping "THEM". That's what rubs me the wrong way. I'm NOT about that. I don't want the studio to be about that. I want the studio to give people freedom to create and possibly teach others. I want people to bounce ideas off of eachother, not get taught by some neuro-typical how to tear paper.

I'm talking about a self-directed program. I don't mean that I want you to just come and be brilliant and I'll promote you and help you clean up your mess. But maybe I do. Maybe. Maybe that's what's missing. You share the ideas. You tell me what you need. We help eachother. We invite the community in.

Hmm. Hmmmm. Lots to think about. And it's midnight, and I have dishes to do, and I might have to wake up in the middle of the night to take care of sick kids, so I have to force myself to stop thinking about this. I know this sounds rough around the edges and even kind of hostile... I'm just brainstorming publically so bear with me!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Name That Project!

I've been doing a lot of thinking. Something I thought about a long time ago and has always sort of been in the back of my mind has come up in a big, screaming kind of way.

I want to put together an art studio for children and adults on the autism spectrum. I've been scouring the internet for evidence of other studios like this out there. So far I have found a couple of them for adults. I've contacted them to see if I could ask a few questions. I got a response from one, so now I have to think of some good questions (how did you get started kind of stuff)... I think given that people are moving here from all over when they find out their kids are autistic due to the services available in WI and particularly in Dane Co, and for other more obvious reasons, I'd love to include children in this.

It's a huge project. Most of the time when I have a big idea, the more I think about it, the more I think of why I don't want to do it. So far with this, just the opposite is happening. I think, oh my god, this is what I HAVE to do.

I've dedicated a lovely new pink Moleskine to this project and have been very busy gathering info and brainstorming. I even have friends and family helping me come up with a name. Everyone loves naming things! You can help, too! I'm particularly interested in the input of others on the spectrum.

Mina thinks Space Mission Computer is a good name but I'm not so sure everyone will get it. Comment just to throw some words around and keep ideas flowing. Anyone who wants to help with this in any way should contact me at hilarysamsa@gmail.com. I think everyone has at least one skill that will help this project, whether it's spreading the word, making connections, helping with some of the writing, helping me to organize my to-do list, web stuff, and just sharing any ideas whatsoever... I'm all ears!

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Now that I've spent some time tonight on "important/not urgent" stuff, it's time to enjoy some "not important/not urgent" Six Feet Under with my darling husband who brought me a lovely pair of Smartwool socks tonight. Yay Jason!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Funniest Woman Alive

I will be so sad when my kids stop thinking this of me.

Leta: While I'm waiting for mom to feed us I'm going to pretend to make a big, huge pizza. (Starts playing with pillow)
Here is some pizza, do you want some?
Mina: Sure!
Me: Sure!
Mina: This is just a pretend pizza, right--you know that, right?
Me: It IS? I didn't know that! I was just thinking, 'Hm, why is this pizza green?'
Mina: (Laughing) no way...
Me: 'Hm, why is this pizza so THICK and FLUFFY?'
Mina: (Hysterical laughing)
Me: 'Hm, why does this pizza look EXACTLY LIKE A PILLOW?!'

Mina was laughing so hard she couldn't breathe. I love making them laugh this hard. It's so easy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Good Year Blimp Sighting - Madison, WI

Is this lucky or something? It is, right? REALLY lucky, right?


I wrote happy birthday on some cookies with peanut butter frosting for Lowen's birthday. I love peanut butter frosting. I also love cookies. I may have eaten half of them before the day was done. Ooops!



Thursday, August 13, 2009

Can I help you?

How do you feel about what you're doing with your life? If you are living your dream and happy with your path, when did you realize that's what you wanted? Was it a difficult decision? Did it just happen? Was it something that was hard to stick to? Did you have help? Did you make sacrifices? How many times did you change your mind?

I'm having a bit of an existential crisis. This happens fairly often but each time it's more intense. Something inside of me needs to be expressed.

I know what I do within my own family to help, and am secure in that department. I realize that this is number one for me, and that doing a good job here is meaningful on a much grander scale, but I want to branch out. All of my writing and painting and childrearing just feels kind of small. I'm reaching out within my own little bubble and everything comes directly back to me. Does that make sense?

What should I do?

Let's look at the facts.

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Let's look at the facts later, because right now my purpose in life is taking the children to the movies! Tra la la!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Hugging my laptop

Aside from getting a great haircut, I've been hovering over my refresh button anticipating any shred of news about the progression of Laura's labor.

I love childbirth! It's so exciting. I need to know everything. I love this age of blogging and facebook and twitter, where we can all be in a thousand places at once. I know it isn't for everyone, but I think it's pretty great that I can have my morning coffee with all of you, sharing your experiences.

I know it isn't for everyone, especially those of you with a concept of privacy... I don't really get that, as Jason can attest. There's just something about putting thoughts into words and trying to make others understand them... And wanting people to see the real me, sharing hardships so that others who might be going through something similar will know they aren't alone. I've always enjoyed everything more if it's shared with another. Maybe there's something wrong with that. Maybe not. I don't really care. I like it.

What is my point...

My point is...

It's...

Well...

I enjoy you, internet. Mmmmm-wah!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Diiiiirty confession

Yesterday the kids did a photo shoot for Umi Shoes. They basically just put on fancy boots and played on the playground at Wingra School while they were photographed. It was pretty painless. And now we get to pick out new shoes for everyone!

Today I had an appointment with Dr. Dude. We talked about Dr. Sketchy's, the job situation, marriage, the kids, depression and... Smoking. I've got a dirty secret and it's that I've been having an occasional cigarette all summer, and I need to come clean, and stop this nonsense. So, there you have it. I am sorry for it, and I am done now. He said he wasn't going to lecture me and I put my head in my hands and said, "DO IT. Lecture me. Tell me how bad it is to smoke the occasional cigarette." He told me that my risk of stroke was still just as much as well as my risk for pneumonia and stuff like that if I got sick. He told me that his mom had a stroke recently and she was an occasional smoker. Who knows if this is true, but man, it didn't make me feel good!

Anyway... I just thought I should come clean to the whole world about that. I don't want to be the mom who smokes, and strokes scare me a lot, and I don't want to kill myself, and I don't want to feel like a sneaky dirty hypocrite anymore.

I love my family and I love myself and I want to be nice to my body, not treat it like garbage.

I am grateful for the life that I have and I don't want to trash that either.

Now please give me a hug!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

LOOK at that face.


I can actually see some of me in his face here. Maybe it's the expression. I don't think the members of my family resemble eachother all that strongly but somehow we make the same faces. I'm thinking of a picture of my brother and me as teenagers, sitting together at a wedding, making the same hilarious, sarcastic smile. I wish I had that picture right now...

My husband took this picture on the way to the farmer's market today. The girls love the farmer's market because of the smoothies. It also means fresh cheese curds and fresh gluten-free pasta. Fresh pasta is just... so amazing. It makes me never want to eat the dried stuff again. Oh, and vegetables. We got some of those too. Jason bought some scary chocolate milk that was ummm... heterogeneous. I hear it's delicious but there are just some things I like to be super processed. I know, I'm not very cool.

While Mina and I were picking out a cute bookmark from a stand down at the end, Jason and Leta were off getting FLOWERS for me. Hooray Jason! I love them! Keep them coming! I will look at them and feel loved when you are at work tomorrow. :D