Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Yaysayers Vs Naysayers

Wow, embarking on this publishing lark is certainly an eye-opener.

There are those who want to help; hell, they are helping! Each little bit of advice, support, guidance is so appreciated, be it a link, an experience or just a good on ya Boy 1.

I love that others are honest about the trails and tribulations, the rejection, the struggles, the "WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T DO THIS!" tales. It ALL helps me help him. I never said it was going to be easy, I said this was an experience I wanted him to have. Another learning curve of life.

BUT, you know what?

It does not help when someone goes "Bah, good luck, my friend so and so has been trying to get published for ten years..."

"You are kidding yourself, why are you bothering?"

"What sort of a book could a kid write, I could write better than that!"

Firstly, read it before you make stupid comment, dipshit. And from the things I have read of yours and your lack of a grasp of the English language, ah no, you couldn't!

Secondly, I am bothering because I have taught my children if you want to do something give it your all. If it doesn't succeed, then the success is in the experience.

And thirdly, I do not know your friend or what she has written, I know my son and I believe in what he is trying to do. Oh, and as you are a close friend, don't you think a "Wow, what a great thing to try. Isn't it amazing how far he has come" would be more appropriate? Considering you have known him since birth and you teach kids on the spectrum? Seriously, how miserable a person are you? Really. really sad comment.

I have come to the conclusion it is like dieting. Never mention the word to some people because all they will do is ridicule the idea and belittle your ideas whilst pushing you to have the large slice of chocolate cake.

Okay. Rant over. Feel better now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Night We Met

And no, I am not stealing Nadine's story - but go check it out. Our local publishing house and author claim to fame...

This is the story of how Big Boy and I  well, became Big Boy and I. Thanks Bern - but mine is probably a little long and convoluted to put in a comment.

1993, a fine year for romance... or maybe not. The first quarter of this year I was backpacking around America, Mexico and Canada. The previous year I had completed six months in Europe doing the same. I arrived back in Oz in March, just in time to walk into a local pub to surprise one of my besties for her birthday. Little did I know this date was going to be important for the rest of my life. Not that I met HIM that night, but it will become clear later.

March was also the month I attended the first of two weddings. Coming down from the high of nearly a year overseas I did what any self-respecting party person would do when trying to settle back in to reality, I picked up the best man. Not that he was the best man, he was more of a young, fit and hot you'll do for now cause I'm bored sort of man. Did I mention young? I was 29, he was 22.

I was living back in my country home town, intent on spending time with family. He was a part time distraction to keep the insanity away. After the bright lights of many fine cities and intense experiences, returning to my childhood haven was a little like watching flies stuck on drying paint. A zzz-zz every now and then and not much in between.

Roll around June, and the next wedding. This one was in Newcastle, a couple of hours drive away. The bride had already drilled me on the "hot" best man, and being the ornery beast I am, I had told her in no uncertain terms: "Not interested!"
"Madmother, you are nearly 30, don't you think it is time to give up the toy boys and meet a nice guy and settle down?"
"Ah no, I am quite happy with my not-nice hot guys and not settling anything, but thank you for thinking of me."

I was still happily bumping uglies with aforementioned toy boy and was seriously NOT INTERESTED (you can see where this is heading, right?).

Off I toddle to the Novocastrian Nuptuals, staying with a friend who lived in the area (no, not THAT sort of friend. A happily married mate and his wife and sister).

The wedding was fun BUT the wine was terrible! Remember, I am a broke newly returned backpacker without a brass razoo to buy drinks, especially ones priced by this large flash hotel. So I go the "other" option at the bar. Sweet Sherry.

You can imagine how messy that became rather quickly.

The BOY had been introduced to me at the church.  It was rather flattering the way his eyes had lit upon meeting me, but there was no way I was having a bar of it. And, I must admit, I had my eye on the MC. Every time the poor devil tried to talk to me at the reception I walked away, quickly.

But the Sherry intervened. As did the newly ex-wife of the MC who was also at the wedding!

By the time the bride announced an auction for the two groomsman I was feeling little pain. And barely noticed when I bid $2 (I was broke, remember? And the first bid was 50 cents so I was being generous) and she called an instant stop to the bidding and announced me the winner.

It was nearing the end of the ceremonies, and my two slaves, plus the MC and the ex all decided to party on at a nearby nightclub. Or two.

From that point Big Boy bought all my drinks, thus switching to my drink of choice; Southern Comfort. The MC and his ex got into a heated discussion at the bar.

Somehow BB and myself ended up pashing on the dance floor. I was feeling no pain. And he was hot. Even if he was a set up.

He walked me back to my car, which I was in no state to drive - and had no intention of driving - for more pashing. Car pashing.

I think he got my number pretty quick when I desperately needed to pee and walked up to the bushes on the side of the road, and squatted in the gutter - on one of the main streets of Newcastle. Hey - it was in the bushes and I was desperate!

We drove - or rather he drove back to the townhouse he was staying at with 4 other guys. I crashed on the lounge for a couple of hours (way too drunk for any hanky panky) and then snuck out before dawn.

Without leaving my number.

Yes, there is more to this story, but it can wait for another time. After all, 18 years, a wedding ring and two kids later we are still together.

Oh, and that date of my besties birthday? Well, guess who else was born on that date?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Beautiful Words of Wisdom from a Deepak Boy.

Driving down the mountain to pick up Boy's best mate C for a few days, I asked my oldest what he would say about Asperger Syndrome if he was trying to explain it to a room full of people. Now, you need to remember he is only 13 and still finding his path on this journey. But I was curious, after reading another blog and discussion on the topic, as to exactly what he would say.

Boy 1 today - Copyright Madmother
"It is embracing your own kind of normal" he begins, "Whilst there are things it makes me struggle with, it also gives me a different outlook on the world and uniqueness creates greatness." At this point I am struggling not to tear up.
I ask him what would he do to explain it to people who don't know anything about Asperger Syndrome, to pretend he is a motivational speaker (which he dreams of), in a big hall with lots of people who have no idea about ASD.

He is quiet for a little. I ask him if it is too hard... "No, just unexpected and I need to think about my answer."

He is silent for a moment longer.

"Asperger Syndrome means you are different, not bad or good, it just means you are different. You stand out from the rest. You should enjoy it because it means you are a unique individual. It also means those hyper-senses can be used to your advantage.
Keep an open mind and you may learn new things. I would tell them about the things I found hard when I was younger, like noises and changes, and writing. I would also explain that these things are less hard now I am older. They also need to think how they are different and how it would make them feel if people teased them or tried to make them feel bad. Maybe if they talked to or asked us kids on the spectrum they would find out we like the same things and can be friends. Everybody needs friends. I am really lucky with my friends.

Do you think that would be good Mum?"

Yes, my son I think that would be very good. If only we could teach everyone to embrace the unique, wouldn't the world be a wonderful place? I adore my own little Deepak, he makes this world a positive place.

On this same note, a friend on Facebook just this minute sent me this link, ties in nicely methinks (though about ADD, it also resonates for ASD).


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Parenthood Review - Maybe I should do this weekly?

Hello again. It is time for me to once again address this week's episode of the Ron Howard acclaimed series: Parenthood. Well, the bit in it that addresses Asperger Syndrome and its accompanying issues any way.

Yes, again. Stop rolling your eyes, I am entitled to my opinion thank you.

Credit: NBC
Last night's episode here in Australia contained an epic emotional meltdown in the emergency department of a hospital. To summarise briefly, Max (the child with AS) and all of his extended family (parents, sibling, grandparnets, aunts, uncles, cousins and various partners along for the ride) were assembled waiting for news of his cousin, Amber, who had been in a serious car accident and was undergoing surgery.

Withing three minutes of the beginning of this episode Max and Adam have a confrontation as Max appears to show absolutely no empathy for any needs other than his own.
"I wanna eat"
"Right, let's see what they have here."
"No Dad, you said that we could go to get pancakes
"and now I've been here for an hour and a half
" and I wanna go."
"look at this, this looks good,"
"No I don't want a danish
"Max, take it easy. This is one of those times where we have to be patient, okay. We're here for Amber and Drew..."
"No. You said that Amber was not going to die..."

You can see where this is going, right? It escalates into Max shouting, "I'm hungry! No Dad, I don't care about Amber right now. I'm hungry and I wanna eat now!"

Of course his Grandfather then yells at him, which takes it even higher... Max tells him to shut up, lashes out at his mother physically... and so on and so on.

Of course we all compare this child to our own, especially those diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.

But, everyone needs to keep in mind IT IS A SPECTRUM! I watched this episode and listened to Adam talking to his son about empathy, what it is, how to act, and I can tell you I am with Tony Attwood on this one...

At a conference I attended many moons back, Attwood stated: "It is a misconception that these children do not feel empathy. They feel empathy, but have difficulty expressing it.

We have an emergency hospital room story of our own. My mother. Another fracture in her spine. Along with bleeding from her bladder. A large hospital in the capital city of our state. We arrived at 6pm, and were still waiting for her to be admitted at 10pm. My oldest was around the age Max portrays, maybe a little older. I asked Big Boy to take them home, and I'd book in somewhere for the night. It was an hour's drive to return to our mountain.

Both my children refused, point blank. Both stated unequivocally that they were staying to make sure their Nanna was looked after and settled and then we would all go home together.

BOTH. You could not have picked the child on the spectrum that night. Amidst, noise and chaos, blood and screaming, flickering fluro lights and stressed families they were calm, determined, supportive. Of me, of my mother, of each other.

And so that scene and THAT meltdown was one I found totally foreign. And yet I know others related, and I know it is yet again a case of informing, educating and for the drama, worst case scenario.
Boy 1 & 2 May 2011: Credit Madmother
So what did I get out of the show last night? Gratitude. Thank you God for giving me this amazing child, for both my incredible sons. Thank you for his heart, and strength and compassion and EMPATHY. And thank you for this incredible journey and experience. It sure as shit ain't boring!

Done for this week, and as it was the season finale who knows when the next will be.

Oh, and that night at the hospital? We arrived back to our beds at 2.30am.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Remember - InkPaperPen Write on Wednesday.

Write On Wednesdays

The Write On Wednesdays Rules: First of all, I am not a big fan of rules. Feel free to get creative with the writing exercises - there is no right or wrong. But please do try to visit the other members of Write On Wednesdays. You can grab the button for Write On Wednesdays if you fancy doing so.

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 3 - I remember: Write "I remember" a the top of your page. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Use "I remember" as your prompt and write down the first words that come into your head for 5 minutes. Stop when the buzzer rings! Do this exercise over and over if you wish. I will try to do it every morning this week. I'll let you know how I go...I am hoping that the thought of having to tell you all about my progress will be the motivation I need to keep at it!

I remember. I remember stopping, breathing, letting life fly past without me. I remember shutting the doors, turning on the answering machine, running the bath, lighting the candles, pouring the wine, then pouring myself neck deep into bubbles.

I remember closing the blinds, locking the doors, lighting the gas heater, curling up with a book. I remember indulgence of the self. I remember when it was all about me. I remember freedom of choice: The chardonnay or the sav blanc?

I remember time. Without constant deadlines other than those left behind at work. I remember a different life, a life of before. I remember me.

And then I remember you and I would not change a moment of the now.

I remember her laughter, her smile, her touch. I remember the dappled sunshine flickering through the hisbiscus leaves. I remember the flashes of flowering red amongst the green and the soft kisses of the summer breeze. I remember the roughness of the dry sand on my skin and the softness of her touch. I remember the joy of endless, timeless playing. I remember her long tannned legs draping over the side of the sandpit. I remember the slkiness of her white dress, and the shaking of her chest as we laughed. I remember the patience with which she stayed and played and concentrated on her child. Me. I remember love.
I remember my mother.

ETA: Please critique all you can. I know my writing at times does not flow, is choppy, and my grammer can leave a lot to desire. I want, no YEARN to learn and cannot unless you pull it apart and share your own knowledge/opinion.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Oh, Get Over It!

Hello Madmother,

At this time we are not accepting submissions. I admire your son (and you)

for taking on this project. It is commendable to say the least. I wish you

all the best!

You  guessed it, our first rejection letter. Or e-mail in this case. Well, not really a rejection as such as we merely asked this American publisher if they were open for submissions, but still.

I have realised I am really running blind in trying to assist my son. Thirteen years old, writing a children's book for kids on the spectrum. He wants to help others, and is frustrated at the lack of positive books for the younger age group. He wants others to see the strengths in having Asperger Syndrome, like he does. He feels, whilst it is so very hard during the early years, that to believe in the light at the end of the tunnel, and to work with the good not just the difficult, makes it so much better in the long run. I guess he has only his own feelings of self-worth, confidence and happiness in who he is, AS included, to judge by. And he wants others to see this is not a disability, it is a matter of differing abilities. He wants to help. It is his dream to mentor and advocate for these kids coming along the same path a few years behind him.

But what we are looking for now I guess, is a mentor within the industry.

For questions such as:
*How many pages are neccessary in an illustrated book? We are around the 22-24 mark, but don't want to lose the whole concept by padding it out.
*Who owns the rights - is it jointly between illustrationist and writer, though the concept, character and even the description of the drawings are the writers?
*What contracts are necessary between all parties?
*I know a lot of publishers prefer to pick the illustrationist, but if we go with the one we know personally (who herself has never had a publishing deal) are we losing the battle before we even enter the war?

Boy 1 thinks she is perfect for several reasons. Firstly, because she has submitted a preliminary sketch of the main character which he really liked (bar a few changes), secondly she is very, very talented, thirdly (and I think this plays a big part for him) it is giving her an opportunity to take that leap into publishing and he believes in her talent (have I mentioned I call him Deepak? My own little guru of positiveness), fourthly, and this one is so Aspie, she lives in our community and he won't have to travel for meetings. Yes, I am chuckling at that one.

I am now trying to wade my way through The Style Manual and The Design Manual, two tombs which are supposedly the Bibles of publishing. But I am finding there is not a lot on this type of children's book.

So, if any of you know of anyone willing to give us 30 minutes, maybe even less, to point us in the right direction... Well, you'd have the gratitude of A Madmother and her oldest son, and whilst mine is not worth much, his ranks pretty high in the karma stakes!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Weekend Rewind

Nearly every week I join in a blog hop known as weekend rewind. It is held over at a little shack known as the Pink Fibro. But I must admit I am a bit slack, merely linking up an old blog post and not posting about the linky!

I'm also having a little trouble remembering which ones I have already linked, lol. So I'm posting today to not only promote the Weekend Rewind Blog Hop, but also to give myself a reference point for past posts linked... So here goes. This week the theme is quite simple: link one of your favourite past posts.
This is it:
I can look back now and truly appreciate how fragile he was back then, and how heat-forged strong he is now. I am sure there are frailties waiting to show, that we will dip down into darkness, but right here, right now he is dragonfly bright. And looking back makes us grateful for where we are now.

And more for me than anyone else, the past linked posts have been:
Rest & Relaxation: Julie & Julia & Me
October Link: Blogging the Memories
September Link: The Black Panther
July Link: Yee-haw Grandma
June Link: Toot Toot

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dialogue Detective: Exercise 2 Write On Wednesdays

Write On Wednesdays

"Yeah, mate I need a sheet of melamine, what dimensions you keep?"
"Hang on, hey Pete, did you want those extra sheets you ordered? The boss put 'em aside out the back?"
"Keep 'em for me for now, if I don't use them for this one, I'll need 'em for the next!"
"No probs. Sorry mate, what was it you're after?"
"I need melamine, a sheet of blah, blah, blah..." (At this point I turn away from our builder to listen in to another more intriguing conversation happening to my left).
"I am after one of those heated toilet seats. The cold weather is making my toilet unusable."
"Ah, maam, I'm afraid I don't know what you mean."
"The heated seats, I saw them on that show. You know, the one on the ABC?"
"I'm sorry. A toilet seat?"
"Yes, a heated one. Surely as the local hardware you must carry them."
"Um, I'll just go ask the boss. Maybe we could order one in..."
"But I need it now. The seat is too cold for me to sit on."
"Sorry, we don't have them in stock, and I haven't really heard of them before."
"Don't bother. No wonder everybody goes down to Bunnings young man, if this is the type of service you offer! How do you expect to sell these things if you don't stock them!"

At this point my builder comes up with the needed sheet and we head off. Not before much eye rolling and smothered giggles by the boys behind the counter at the old lady stomping off (and she may have been little and frail, but boy did she stomp).

Gotta love the local Mitre 10 on a Thursday morning!

Memories Of A Lost Friend.

I am meant to be doing my exercise for inkpaperpen's Write on Wednesdays, but as the house is silent for once I have no hope of being a dialogue detective at this moment. Instead, the doors of my mind have opened into a room of faded memories and I am writing of the night my last such a writing exercise took place. Of someone who has a place in my heart permanently reserved; one day we will meet again.

A Winter's Night

It is the image of him I am left with. The two sandy blond heads together, leaning forward, engrossed in the game on the phone. It is the image I wish I had thought to photograph, though I know by that point he abhorred having any images taken. It is the last night I saw Simon.

It is cold on the mountain, it is always so very cold in mid-winter. The fires burn on day and night, heating frozen rooms, warming the homes of all who reside in this rainforest paradise. Our mouths propel jet bursts of steam as we stomp up steep external stairs to the house of friends, which hovers on the edge of the hilltop drop. Tonight it will be a gourmet indulgence, rich, white sauce drenched crab lasagna with lots of tasty sides and extras, tonight it will be a meal fit for a king, for our king has returned at long last.

My children whine, hating leaving the cosy comfort of our residence. The oldest dreads social interaction with this bunch of boisterous boys, his brother included, and the one tomboy girl attending. For him, at age 9, this type of gathering is a living hell. As it is for one other, the one for whom this feast is in honour.

Laughter, hugs and garbled greetings meet us at the door. But eyes are drawn to the taut figure sitting in the large recliner. The chair swamps him, and if I hadn't had the chance to see him briefly on his journey home from hospital, I doubt I could have hidden my anguish. So frail, so thin, so tired. So sick of it all, and sick of being sick. He is 39, but looks decades older.

We sit, eat, talk.  The noise level ramps up and conversation and games become rambunctuous. Five children laugh, giggle, joke. One child covers his ears and cowers from the noise. The man has returned to the large leather recliner, sitting quietly drinking it all in. He sees the boy, my oldest. From across the room he senses the distress wafting off the child in waves, smiles. Pulls from the pocket of his now too large jacket a shiny new gadget - his phone. Waggles it, smiles, and beckons. The others come too, jumping in, wanting to grab, investigate, intervene. Simon shushes and sends away, it is not a toy, he tells them.

The boy walks quietly over and gazes into Simon's eyes. They smile, understanding the importance of such technology, each relishing the abilities of this one little cold metallic item. The boy does not see the illness, he does not see the frailty, the shadows of pain. When he looks at the man he sees only a kindred spirit, another technological addict. And someone who understands. He moves to the chair, slides in beside Simon, shuffles his bottom to make room. Unselfconsciously he leans into the thin body, snuggles deep. They bow over the phone, engrossed, absorbed, happy.

Simon glances up, catches my eye, smiles, joy emanating unsuppressed. For right at this minute, this child has made him feel whole, just for a while. The two tousled heads lower again over the phone. The boy moves closer, looks up into Simon's eyes and beams. Simon beams right back.

It is the image I remember him by. My son, my different, quirky outsider completely content and calm, nestled as close as one human can be to another. The man, feeling special, wanted, strong. I just wish I had taken that photo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Look Out Angelina Jolie - NOT!

Today I am performing my pustulated Angelina impersonation.

Not this:

But this:

Yep, you guessed it. The dreaded Herpes Simplex I virus. Cold sores. Two of the mothers. I have a big one on the left side of my upper lip, and the monster to end all cold sores in the middle of my lower lip. The bottom one has also led to the gland under my chin becoming like a rock hard infected pea. Last time this happened I ended up on some pretty heavy duty antibiotics to clear up the secondary infection.

These things not only hurt like hell (Big Boy had had to forcefully pursuade me not to get a razor blade and lop off the affected parts), they make you look like shit too. Small children run screaming, family members wince and cringe when you approach, even dogs bark at you like you are some srt of vile monstrousity.

I know I have been running like a madwoman, sadly, that is life at the moment, but I suspect the party weekend we just had may have topped it all off and my immune system, led by a very distressed liver has gone: "ENOUGH!"

But did it really have to go to these extremes?

Not happy Jan.

And yes, I feel like crap, just in case you were wondering...

#cough*cough# %hack*hack%

Monday, June 13, 2011

Write On Wednesdays Stirs Up Memories

Write On Wednesdays

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 2 - *Detective Dialogue: For this exercise you need to be a little bit sneaky. And brave. You need to be around at least 2 other people (or a small child who will happily chat to himself and/or imaginary friends). Write down a conversation/ dialogue exchange as you hear it. Feel free to write down things that accompany the dialogue (E.G. gestures, interruptions, accents) but don't worry about this too much. It is more important to capture the way words are used in natural speech. Try not to let anyone know what you are doing. It might alter the natural flow of their words (it could also be a tad embarrassing for you!). If you can get out to a park, cafe or shop like Naughty Mumma, then this is a wonderful chance to get some new writing ideas and get some practise in dialogue writing. If you can't get out (and I know this is a reality for some of us) you can copy down the dialogue between your partner and your child. Or the conversation between two of your children or even one side of your partner's phone conversation. If you are really stuck, turn on the TV and copy down the dialogue between a couple of TV characters.

This is our task, and no, this is not my entry. I completed the same exercise nearly four years back, when attending my creative writing course. Like any good student, I decided to trawl back and read my piece. I had forgotten the pain of the week of this task.
You may not realise I have another blog (several in fact, but I am only referring to one of them). It is my writing blog, where all my bits and pieces over the years have been added.
And so I decided to add my dialogue piece from those years ago there.
Go have a read if you wish. I have been adding more and more of my writing there.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Another Piece of The End.

 I am sitting staring at the Google search box. The curser is flashing angrily, annoyed at my ineptitude.  Just do it, just do it... it seems to signal impatiently. I am frozen.

It will be another brick in the wall of goodbye. It will be another sign of the end. It is another finality. I am sitting about to google local stonemasons for my mother's grave. My mother's bed in death. My mother's monument.

I have to think of wording, but how do I put in to a few short words the woman who helped me live? The woman who helped me breath?  The woman who was my mother, my best friend, my teacher, my inspiration. My Wise Woman.

It is another goodbye, another confirmation that this is not a bad dream, she is truly gone.

I can never forget the cries of my second son as he came into the hospital to farewell the woman who had been there for him his whole life, "Why? why is she dying? What is killing her? Nanna can't die, Nanna ALWAYS bounces back."

I know son, I know. I cannot accept she is not coming back either, for whilst you had her for your eleven short years, I had her for nearly forty seven of mine.

Once more, the screen has blurred. And because you never believed in tissues, my mother, I now have retrieved one of your soft, delicate hankies. It smells of you. And my tears flow harder.

Goodbye is just too hard.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Post About Poop.

Our lives revolve around poop at the moment. I guess my life has always revolved around poop.

My childhood was spent listening to my father, the aptly named Grumblebum, complain about his bowel habits. Every day he would dose himself up on salts (for those of you who don't know, salts are this old-fashioned remedy for chronic constipation. Downside - you poo like wee and as it runs out it scours you) and then we would get the running commentary of, "Well, I only managed a little bit. Something is wrong, I just know it."  ALL DAY. Until the next morning and the next dose of salts.

My Grandmother, Yee-Haw Grandma, was fond of conning us kids with the old Laxettes. You know, looks like chocolate, tastes like shit. Still around today, apparently. Wonder if they managed to fix the off-putting so not chocolate no matter what it looks like flavour? Certainly not going to test it myself! Luckily, I never suffered the fall out of the Granny sabotage. Wise Woman put a very quick halt to any attempts after my sister, the Flame-Haired Hellion, suffered the embarrassment of pooing her pants in kindergarten thanks to the yucky chocolate being slipped to her.

Wise Woman herself was even guilty of some poo pushing punishments. I was so young and cannot remember clearly if it was for being naughty or for being packed to the personal perimeter with poo, but the good old paraffin oil was Wise Woman's weapon of choice. {{UGH}}

Sadly, she suffered the indignity of an unresponsive bowel as she grew older. In her last years she had to resort to laxatives herslef, in the form of Movicol, due to the shrinking of her body squashing that poor bowel down until it was quite unable to perform its function.

I was always a strange pooper myself. Twice a week was not unusual, though with irritable bowel thrown in I would have a very painful but effective clean out every few weeks if stressed, or I ate the wrong food and triggered it.

So, when Boy 2 became ill recently, the first thing asked was "When did you last poo?" I don't have babies any longer. My children are eleven and thirteen, so having your mother enquire about your bowel habits is kinda embarrassing and yucky. Even worse when you have to confess, "Over a week ago..."

You can well imagine my reaction to that. He has always been like me, once maybe twice a week. I never really worried as it was the same as my childhood bowel habits, without the IBD. Boy 1 is every-night-same-time boy, just like his dad, Big Boy. So I figured, "well one had to be like me..."

But OVER A WEEK! Can you imagine the backlog in that small body? Let's just say my response was enough to scare the shit outa him. He now poops every second day. Gradually the dried faeces are being pushed out, though we do have a bottle of Parachoc on hand if the GP thinks it is necessary.

As for me. Well, in my old age my bowel motions have finally decided to become normal. Once a day girl, yep, that's me. Probably so I can read in peace for a few moments. What? Too much information? Surely not.

Oh, and Grumblebum and his salts? He developed treatable bowel cancer in his seventies. Took great pleasure in telling everyone he always knew there was something seriously wrong. We didn't have the heart to point out his specialist thought the years of poor diet and bowel abuse probably contributed a fair bit to the cancer developing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Streets Lined With Blue

Yesterday was the funeral of Damian Leeding. I do not think there would be a soul in Australia who does not know of this fallen hero. Policeman, father, husband, son, sibling, friend. Damo, as he was affectionately known.
Yesterday my route home from work was that of the final road Damo was to travel. Yesterday my route home was just as that procession began. Yesterday I drove 100 metres ahead of a cavalcade of honour.

Yesterday I watched in awe as thousands lined the streets to honour a hero of our hearts. I cried a little too as I drove by the police cars, the people, the mothers, fathers, strangers, children, elderly. All lining the paths to say one final farewell to Damo.

Yesterday, I sat with friends and talked about this outpouring of grief and support for one slain man. They asked "Why? Why him and not the endless others who have fallen before?"

I answered, "I do not know. Maybe the people are sick of the violence, the endless escalating danger. Maybe it was the people who cared about Damian, who brought him vividly to life with their words. Maybe it was that he was young, a father, a good guy. I just don't know."

Yesterday the Coast of Gold turned dark, and it's shimmery tawdriness was draped in a solemn blue. Yesterday a city cried and mourned the loss of one lone man. A hero.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Write on Wednesday - Me! Yes, Me!

I sit in my mother's house. It is no longer her home as she died last October. Her home now resides in my heart. I am in my rock chick persona/regalia. Tights, or leggings as you young 'uns call them, with flowers and sequins on the left thigh, black flowing long top with a sequinned skull on front. Chunky jewels, hair up in front. Silver heart earrings which match my chunky silver heart choker. Rock Chick. Old rock chique. Oh, and black ankle boots - I live in boots. Mutton dressed as lamb, some may say. Me all over, others would comment.

The house no longer smells of Mum. I am almost tempted to spray some eau de cologne just to recall her odour, but that wouldn't work as she stopped using it after my childhood was finished. It is a little musty, but not too bad. My desk is in the room of my mother's last bed. She changed bedrooms a couple of years ago when illness and frailty and the threat of death forced her from her comfy, large Queen bed in the front room into a whizz-bang, bells and whistles hospital bed in the second, smaller bedroom. My desk now sits beside this bed, her last place of sleep and rest. My work place.

It is quiet here, it is night. The little dog next door lets off a half-hearted yap, feeling obliged but unable to summon any real energy. I like it here when the village stills. I feel her near. The window is covered with the lace curtains I chose for her, the floor with the carpet we both liked. I built this house for her, when age and failing health forced her to leave her home of fifty two years. But I built this house to echo the home of her love, of family. I built it to be HOME. And home it was for six wonderful years. Six too short years.

This was meant to be about me, but somehow it is also about her. For without her, there is no me, and at times I feel the me left is nothing but a shadow without her. My Mum. Wise Woman, matriach, nurturer, lender of strength.

I am stopping now for the tears have dissolved the screen. I miss her. Some days unbearably so.

Write On Wednesdays

When Nice People Attack

Everybody has a breaking point. Everybody can be pushed to their limit. Some people seem to be able to ignore and refuse to engage with the nastiness for a very long time. They are genuinely NICE people. They pity others who feel the need to manipulate, threaten or resort to lies to get to the top of the heap.

BUT when you push them too far, even they snap. Especially if children are involved. I don't know about you, but my lioness side rears loudly when my kids are affected!  And when it is the popular and well-liked people who start to acknowledge the toxic nature of one person, others sit up and take notice far more!
Yes, the soap opera dramas continue, more so for other friends than for me (she really has broadened her target area nowadays), and words are being tossed around like psychopath, which I thought a little extreme until I read this:
 A psychopath will use people for excitement, entertainment, to build their self-esteem and they invariably value people in terms of their material value (e.g. money, property, comfort, etc..). They can involve and get other people into trouble quickly and they seem to have no regret for their actions. But there are warning signs. The following warning signs are based on my experience but primarily research conducted by Robert Hare, Ph.D - the leading expert on the Psychopathic Personality:
Characteristics of a Psychopath:
*superficial charm
*self-centered & self-important
*need for stimulation & prone to boredom
*deceptive behavior & lying
*conning & manipulative
*little remorse or guilt
*shallow emotional response
*callous with a lack of empathy
*living off others or predatory attitude
*poor self-control
*lack of realistic long term goals
*impulsive lifestyle
*irresponsible behavior
*blaming others for their actions
*short term relationships/friendships

A psychopath is usually a subtle manipulator. They do this by playing to the emotions of others. They typically have high verbal intelligence, but they lack what is commonly referred to as "emotional intelligence". There is always a shallow quality to the emotional aspect of their stories. In particular they have difficulty describing how they felt, why they felt that way, or how others may feel and why. In many cases you almost have to explain it to them. Close friends and parents will often end up explaining to the psychopath how they feel and how others feel who have been hurt by him or her. They can do this over and over with no significant change in the person's choices and behavior. They don't understand or appreciate the impact that their behavior has on others. They do appreciate what it means when they are caught breaking rules or the law even though they seem to end up in trouble again. They desperately avoid incarceration and loss of freedom but continue to act as if they can get away with breaking the rules. They don't learn from these consequences. They seem to react with feelings and regret when they are caught. But their regret is not so much for other people as it is for the consequences that their behavior has had on them, their freedom, their resources and their so called "friends." They can be very sad for their self. A psychopath is always in it for their self even when it seems like they are caring for and helping others. The definition of their "friends" are people who support the psychopath and protect them from the consequence of their own antisocial behavior. Shallow friendships, low emotional intelligence, using people, antisocial attitudes and failure to learn from the repeated consequences of their choices and actions help identify the psychopath.
~Michael Grayson Conner, Psy.D
Licensed Psychologist
Clinical, Medical & Family Psychology

Dear Lord. They could be right. This one has now reached avalanche proportion with her behaviour and attempted retribution. It is quite scary to watch her try and manipulate her way out of the chaos she has instigated with a "It's not me, it's them, all of them!"

No remorse. Never her, always others. And the circle of those bad people victimising her grows and grows and grows. Must be hard to be the most loathed person in a small community, I know I felt a little like that when all her actions and toxicity were aimed directly at me. When her lies tried to taint my actions with the poison of her own behaviour. Luckily I had good friends to get me through, whilst her circle is shrinking and shrinking. I watched her the other day, when we were both at a school function. Few approached her, many outright ignored her, others talked of her and her childish high school antics (even some who surprised me with comments as I thought they were unaware of the drama). I would pity her if she only would realise what she has done. Hell, I do pity her to be honest. It must be really tragic to be so unhappy, sad to be so ill and unable to seek help because you do not and will not acknowledge your problems... And to be so very alone.

Won't somebody think of the children?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Yours, Mine or Open Slather?

Two Blogs I follow have had their identity, well, cloned I guess... Not purposely or maliciously, but still.

I have been under the Madmother name for over a decade of online personaing, and must admit get peeved when I see another using it. But I have never had to face a real blog dilemma regarding it, hell, who'd wanna imitate me?

But two of my faves, Alex at Whoa-Mumma, and Megan at Writing Out Loud, both have doppelgangers and I must admit it gets up my nose so how must they feel about it? I mean, there is so much talk at the moment about building your identity and branding, what about when you do all that only to find a conflict? Seriously, I would be pissed if it were me.

What about you - any doubles out there lurking waiting to usurp your life?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

There Are Angels Among Us....

Sent to us for a short time, but their impact will be felt forever more.

I have learnt from them. They have taught me it is possible to love and cherish and admire and grieve for someone you have never met in real life.

I have followed their and their families' stories. I have laughed, cried alongside them with many others and felt so incredibly useless and frustrated by the events that shaped their lives.

I mourn for them as I would anyone I care so much for.

And yet we have never spoken.

RIP Bryce Henry, you amazing, brave, wonderful boy.

And Toukie - you are and always will be embedded in my heart.

Life is not always fair, and the truly special suffer too much and are taken far too soon sometimes. But know these two angels have affected thousands of people, and changed so many lives.

Never take for granted what you have.

Never forget to be grateful for it all.

Weekend Grateful: No Time To Blog.

Bit scary, and lucky I noticed, for the typo in my title said "No time to BOG"... Whoops! That could have been a whole different post, and *TMI* really, with the fast pace of life, quite apt.

My blogging has dropped off. Probably somewhat influenced by the Blogger issues, but these are not totally responsible. Nope, this thing called FUN is at fault.

Ah, it is hard to be the mountain socialite!

Great week - very grateful for this lack of time!

My gorgeous friend Lisa - great night last night!

Sharon and me - Melbourne trip.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Blatant Promotion of Fundraiser!

Don't you just hate it when bloggers do this? Blatantly promote something of interest/benefit to them and theirs?

Well, tough. Cause I am doing it anyway and it is for a good cause. You know how my last couple of posts have been from ASD world, where mothers wear self-centred t-shirts, and others claim to push the boundaries of what is acceptable in the special needs world? No? Go back and read it then. Well, anyway, I have a compatriot, a cyber friend from this world. A congenial companion on the rollercoaster ride of autism. A soul mate of sorts, who thinks outside the square and pushes those boundaries way out.

She is a bad mamma jamma, advocating, educating and doing far more good in the world than a Madmother ever could.

Well Kirsten, my friend, is running in the City 2 Surf on August 14th. She is running for her daughter, my son, and the many who are nameless in the ASD world. She is running to help give these kids a future. She is running for the ones who need that extra help to reach their full potential, the ones who find it harder in this fast world, the ones who struggle if they don't have people to aid them in their journey.

She is running for this child...

And this one...

And so many others. So please, go to her page here and pledge or donate. As little or as much as you can. Because intervention can mean the difference between joy and pain. And every child deserves joy in their lives.