A Few Changes

Like I tell The Boy, change isn’t necessarily bad, but it is inevitable.

I’ve done lots of thinking over the past couple of weeks about this blog – you may have noticed my “radio-silence”. SimpleIJustDo has provided me a great place to share and vent, a small community of support, and lots of self-reflection. As The Boy gets older, I am starting to feel like he is becoming the steward of his own story, and although this has always been a place for me to write about me and my experience being a mom to him (and never meant to replace his own story), I feel like I need to take a step back.

Let me be clear: This blog isn’t going anywhere. I will continue blogging.

But, I’m going to concentrate on quality over quantity. I need to balance my need to share and vent, and The Boy’s right to privacy and self-advocacy. I may post less and try to interact more via social media (if you aren’t following on Facebook or twitter, now might be a good time to look me up).

This will also allow me a little bit more time to focus on my long-term writing goals, too, which involves novel-writing aspirations (wish me luck!).

I hope you’ll hang on and bear with me through this adjustment period. We still have lots to share. But we may do it in a little bit different forum or format. As always, thank you for showing interest in our story. I’m still amazed at how far across the globe my voice can go!

Much Love,

~Annie

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Not goodbye. We’ll see you soon!

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Who’s Afraid of the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

Recently, I have written a few posts venting about my job. I decided to take that risk because I felt it was important to write about what happens when a person like me who cares for a person like The Boy has a work-life balance that is out of wack.  It is extremely overwhelming, and when work intrudes on home life, it can be incredibly defeating.  You need the job to care for your loved ones, but the job is actually preventing you from giving your best to your loved ones.

Today, my boss revealed to me that someone in our office made him aware of this little blog, and he has read some of it.

Luckily for me, I think it gave him some perspective he didn’t have before in regards to my need for more balance, and it was the jumping off point for a refreshing conversation between the two of us.

But now I’m left to wonder… Who wanted to get at me so bad that they would report what I say here to my employer?

This happened to a close friend of mine who had a crazy person create a big crapstorm about her handling of the finances of a nonprofit, contacting the state level people of the nonprofit (who assured her that the finances were just fine), and then even going so far as to contact my friend’s employer, anonymously of course, to insinuate that they had better check out my friend because she was mishandling money.

When you start messing with people’s livelihoods, you have a problem.

And so now, I am wondering about this little blog of mine.  I’m wondering if I still even feel comfortable enough to write here.  I’m not going to get stuck in the cycle of asking myself whether I should have or shouldn’t have posted.  This blog has never been just for you, or just for me.  It has been for all of us. But now that I know someone is reading who felt like it was necessary to take that step, use what’s written here for their own personal gain (whatever that was), and quite possibly in the end, could have hurt me and my family…

I don’t feel “safe” here right now.  And I have to think about that.

Let me know what you think.

EC Planner: editorial calendar

Recently I sat down to figure out how I could back in the swing of things here at Simple. I Just Do.  I re-read some resources I had, and began planning (my favorite thing!), and realized I needed a space for an editorial calendar.  Then I realized I already had the perfect space, and it was under-utilized – the month-at-a-glance portion of my EC planner!

I had seen posts of others using the daily portion, but it didn’t really work for me.  So I sat down, did some brainstorming, analyzed some analytics, and came up with a whole slew of post topics, and even made up a little code for types of post.  I broke out the post-it notes (my second favorite thing!) and began “scheduling” these posts, making sure to plan a variety of types of posts, as well as topics.  Whatever posts that were not scheduled were put off to the side for revision and use in the future.  And if I get an idea for a post, now I just jot it on one of these small post-its, stick it in there, and it’ll be ready for next month’s planning session.  They are also really easy to move around – I had a different post planned for today, but it wasn’t ready, so I moved this one up a few weeks.  Easy peasy.

I’m also able to schedule my social media posts and interaction, linky parties, etc.

It may not be the most beautiful or elegant thing ever, but for me, the most important thing is it WORKS!  And I can make it beautiful later, when I get some time (yeah, right).  This is not an earth-shattering idea, but it’s always good to take a moment to reflect on what has worked in the past, think about what resources you have, and try to marry the two.  No sense in re-creating the wheel when you don’t have to. In fact that’s something good to do in just about every area of your life.  Sounds like a topic for another blog post… now where are my post-its?

Posting Embarrassing Stuff About Our Kids on the Spectrum

So many times I see something on Facebook or twitter, and without me realizing it, it starts me thinking. Thinking leads to writing, and then when I want to refer back to what triggered the thinking, I have no idea where it is, was, or will be.  I apologize for that because I feel I should link back to the source, and if I find it, I will. Sometimes I wonder if its better not to include it, because I don’t want to criticize anyone in particular, just highlight my take on it…

The other day, someone posted on Facebook about how we autism bloggers have a responsibility to our kiddos not to post embarrassing stuff about them on our blogs.  Things their friends may read, things no one would really want posted on the world-wide inter webs for everyone to see.  This is what started me thinking.

This person pointed out the distinction that some blogs take great pains to mask the identity of their kiddo, as I feel I do.  No clear pictures of faces, no names, no locations.  There are people who know The Boy directly who read this blog, but they are all adults who care about him as a person, and would never think differently about him no matter what I posted.

I did a mental review of the types of things I post and could only come up with a handful that might be considered embarrassing for The Boy. And I started to feel a little guilty despite the fact that none of his friends would be able to know this blog was about him.

As long as his identity is a secret, he can do anything!

But I thought some more.  Mostly about why I started this blog in the first place.  It really is astounding when you hear people’s stories about getting “The Diagnosis” – in every single one I have ever read or heard, they felt like they were handed the information and ushered to the door with a “Have a nice day!” and a door slammed in their face.  This is apparently still a problem.  People are given this life-altering information and no help.  I started this blog to share my experiences, so that we could navigate this thing called autism together, so that there would be somewhere someone could go to find out more than what’s in the pamphlet you’re handed as the psychologist turns to the next patient to diagnose.

And some of that stuff is embarrassing.  Our kiddos have deficits in areas neuro-typical kids don’t have to worry about – potty training until 5, or 7, or 12, not knowing bathroom etiquette, puberty… Yes, it’s not stuff a typical kid would like plastered all of the web.  But you have to balance that with the community’s need for strategies, their need to share, their need to brainstorm.

I hope I can walk that tightrope of sharing without invading my son’s privacy.  After all, I am his mom, and capable of making lots of decisions about his life.  As he grows older, I do need to get out of the way and let him advocate for himself and have some independence, but in this case, I think he would be all for helping someone else like him who was struggling, as long as I continue to maintain his anonymity.

This is a grey area for sure. And I may not be right, but it’s the best decision I can make with the information and values I have at my disposal.  Thoughts?

Happy Anniversary!

It’s been a year since my first blog post (hey, do me a favor and don’t read it, okay? It’s kind of embarrassing…) and I can’t believe it!  It’s kind of fun to go back and reflect (which I’ll probably do a bit this week).  And I’m kind of in the mood to give something away, soooo….

Leave a comment below and let me know the title of your favorite post, and you’ll be entered into a random drawing for one of my favorite books of all time, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.  If you aren’t familiar with his work, he is a bestselling humorist author, and one of the only authors on the planet who has the ability to make me laugh out loud while reading.  I recently discovered (while moving) that I have two copies of this awesome book, and I’d like to share it with one lucky reader in celebration of my blogiversary!

Make sure to comment below and check back to see if you win (or subscribe to my facebook page over there on the right, because I’ll announce the winner there, too)!  Contest will close at midnight EST on Wednesday, July 17.

MTPOD

Ready for More Liebster Answers?

Awhile back, I was nominated for the Liebster Award again, this time by Meredith at Looking Up With Down Syndrome.  Here are a few more answers to her 11 Questions:

7.  What is your favorite place and why?

I think this changes for everyone as they go through life, so currently, my favorite place is my new home.  I watched this house be transformed from a not-quite-livable shell into a really nicely appointed home.  I take special pride in it because The Man did all the work himself, and it’s my new favorite place because it’s already a lovely representation of us, all together now.

Gabriel García Márquez, De biografie

Gabriel García Márquez, De biografie (Photo credit: woordenaar (reading))

8.  What is your favorite book?

This question is like “Which is your favorite child?”  I cannot pick just one.  However, I will read anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Isabel Allende, and most Scandinavian crime fiction.  I love mysteries, as well as multi-generational family sagas like Greenlanders and Roots.  If a writer has a knack for writing good characters, I’ll be reading them for sure.

9.  You know that song that get’s stuck in your head even though you hate it – which song is that? Is it stuck in your head now? Hee hee hee.

I am very susceptible to earworms, and The Man teases me by singing the theme song to “Flipper” whenever he wants to annoy me…  Grrr….

Hope you are enjoying your last week of June.  I am enjoying my last week as a single lady! 😀

More Liebster Answers…

Awhile ago, I was nominated for the Liebster Award and decided to take my time answering the 11 questions, because you’ve all heard plenty about me, and I didn’t want to be all in-your-face, yet again…  So here is another gripping installment of Liebster Answers…

tombstone4.  What would you like written on your tombstone?

When I graduated high school, our principal, who was a rather small, forgettable man in most ways said something that I have never forgotten: “Live your life so that no one has to lie at your funeral”.  I have always remembered this and tried to live up to it.  Along those same lines, I would be proud of a tombstone that quoted my grandma (in a way): “She did her best, and that’s all she could do”.

5.  If someone is reading your blog for the first time… which post do you want to make sure they read?

It really depends on their perspective – are they a single mom, a special needs parent?  Both?  Just looking for crafty ideas?  What I usually do is read the latest post.  If I like the style, I read back a few, and then really dig into the archives.  Some of my personal favorites are this one, this one, and this one.

6. “Hypothetically speaking, If my kids have allergies but they are not really affecting them right now, is it still okay to give them Benedryl so I can take a nap?”

Ummm.  I’m not a doctor, but in your situation, I would make absolutely sure their allergies were not affecting them…

Hope you are all well, and looking forward to summer!

 

Your Most Pressing Liebster Questions, Answered!

Question Mark Graffiti by Bilal KamoonWell, Meredith from Looking Up With Down Syndrome nominated me for the Liebster Award, and I’m going to attempt to answer a few of her questions today.

1.  Why do you blog?

I have always loved to write.  If I hadn’t taught music, I would have taught Language Arts, because words are my thing.  I get that from my mom.  I also blog because I’m not too far from the bewilderment of getting a diagnosis of autism for my son, and also the crazy, life-altering process that is divorce.  Neither experience was fun, and it was difficult to find resources at first.  It still can be, even in this day and age.  Writing this blog helps me to help others, all the while processing my own learning curve with autism, with parenting solo, with blending a family — all of it!  In my book, it’s a win-win-win!

2.  What are you passionate about?

There are so many people on this planet who have less than I do, whether it’s food, money, resources, opportunities…  I know in my heart of hearts that I was put on this planet to help people, and that’s what I get passionate about.  Over the past several years, I’ve come to believe that while government programs are definitely needed and have their place, nonprofits are going to have to be a part of the solution to the world’s most dire problems, because governments are fickle and changing (and usually broke).  It’s going to all come down to each one of us, helping our neighbors, friends, and fellow humans.

3.  Who do you admire?

I admire everyday people who stand up for others.  I admire the strength of regular people who have so much to deal with on a daily basis.  I admire people who think before speaking, and people who always strive to do their best.  I admire people who keep their word, and people who are compassionate.  I admire people who are non-judgmental, and people who are not too proud.

How about you, dear readers?  How would you answer these questions?

Liebster Award – Thank You!

Thank you SO much to learningneverstops over at Understanding and Embracing Diversity for the Liebster Award Nomination!  I am new to his blog, but it has lots of good stuff, so please go check out his site!

liebster-award

By now, you probably know that awards come with rules, so that we can spread the love.  Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:

1.Thank the Liebster-winning Blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.  Thanks again! (see above)

2. Post 11 facts about yourself, answer the 11 questions you were asked, and create 11 questions for your nominees. (see below)

3.  Nominate 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen. (see further below)

4.  Display the Liebster Award logo. (see above – isn’t it cute?)

11 Facts about myself (tired of hearing about me, yet?)

1.  I am a Libra, and I really don’t think that means anything, but I do seem to have an overdeveloped sense of justice…

2.  I loved being an only child, and I love having an only child.

3.  I love Swamp People.  I have a wee crush on Troy. ❤

4.  I believe that peanut butter, linens and towels are three things on which you should never skimp.

5.  My favorite type of wine is a nice German Reisling.

6.  If I had it to do over again, I would have played French Horn instead of the flute.

7.  I loathe peep-toe shoes.  I mean, they look nice on other people, but not on me, so they need to go away now.

8.  I have lived in the same state for 33 years.

9.  I have never broken a bone (great, now I just jinxed myself).

10.  One of my favorite authors is Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

11.  One of my favorite all-time movies is Amelie.

Questions from learningneverstops:

1.  How would you define yourself?  That’s a toughie.  I play many roles, but hopefully I am defined by my actions, which are usually kind, fair, efficient, motivated, loving, capable, determined, clever, and somewhat humorous.

2.  Who is the most important person in your life?  Not a toughie.  My son.  The Man is a very, very close second, though.

3.  What made you happy today?  Watching my son as he was able to give up some of his toys.

4.  What goes through your head when you wake up in the morning?  My list of things to do for the day.

5.  Are we lucky to be living in this time?  How so?  I think so.  It is so easy to be educated, and so easy to spread awareness.  The means are there, we just have to be able to inspire the motivation to do something about it.

6.  If asked to give three wishes (one for yourself; one for your family; one for the world), what would yours be?  Wish for myself: to find meaningful work when this career is at its end. Wish for my family: to adjust to change as easily as possible. Wish for the world: for the people of this world to realize their potential for good and act upon it.

7.  Why do you blog?  I blog because I have stories to share, and I know that other people’s stories have helped me in rough times.

8.  Is 2013 shaping up to be what you’ve expected?  Yes, I think so.  At least so far!  Still anticipating so much!

9.  What would you like to know about Autism?  How to make more connections for understanding between NTs (like me), and auties (like my son).

10.  How can people’s awareness of Autism be increased?  One person at a time, building relationships with those in the autism community.

11.  What is the best article you have read on my blog? I like your pieces on Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory because it is one of The Man’s favorite shows, and as he has grown to know and understand The Boy, even he has pointed these out to me.  It is a great platform for building understanding with the NT world!

My 11 Questions for you:

1.  If you could go back in time to witness an event, what would it be?

2.  What is one thing you have always wanted to learn (or learn how to do)?

3.  If you visit any place in the world for the day, where would you go?

4.  Guilty pleasure food?

5.  Favorite season and why?

6.  Cherished accomplishment from childhood?

7.  Favorite type of reading material?

8.  Have you ever done something anonymously?  What was it, and why?

9.  What was a favorite vacation you have taken?

10.  Name a word you hate the sound of.

11.  Do you collect anything?

My 11 Nominees are:

1.  Postcards from the edge of the Spectrum

2.  Little Bird’s Dad

3.  A Quiet Week in the House

4.  Tickled Red

5.  Autismum

6.  Gingerheaddad

7.  Loving Martians

8.  Coffee With A Side Of Autism

9.  Huggable Baker

10.  one in four thousand

11.  Cracks in the Armour

Sunday Shout-Out: Love That Max

Ellen Seidman’s blog, Love That Max combines wonderful stories about life with her son, Max, who has cerebral palsy, and large doses of advocacy.  She tells stories that special needs moms can relate to, not being able to have a normal out-to-dinner experience, rejoicing when Max has an opportunity to work at a car wash, and she writes about the r-word.  She has become such a cogent voice for us on that issue that she has been interviewed by major news outlets about it, and she never fails to articulate our feelings clearly.  She’s one of my heroes on that score alone.

Right now on her blog, and on twitter she’s telling the world about groups that are helping families with special needs children in the wake of Sandy, and how we can help.

If you haven’t already, go read Love That Max (and follow her on twitter @LoveThatMax).  You’ll see how amazing Ellen and Max both are.