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The 3 Amigos vs. Shash – The Pop Culture Throwdown

If you read my blog frequently, you know that I have been watching The World Series of Pop Culture on VH-1. You may also know that I took the online test to become a contestant on the show. I didn’t get picked, which one could argue that I know so much that they felt I had an unfair advantage; or so many people applied, I got swept under the rug. Either way, I’m not on it, and I should be.

The point that I could have been a threat was brought into even sharper focus these past few weeks, as we have played along with the show, pausing right after the question is read so we can answer it or think about it for a few minutes like they get to. We even call time if the person answering takes too long so the other team can steal if they know the answer.

It started out as a friendly game. The Hubby against Me. He got whipped, so he decided to call for backup. My brother Arns was called in and it was the two of them against me. Still, smoking occurred. To their credit, there were a few categories I did struggle with, and some categories ended in a tie, but inevitably it was I who emerged triumphant overall, and I would try really hard not to rub it in their faces; but it was difficult. A few questions they said my other brother would have known; and they needed HIM on their team for further assistance. I felt that they all should know better than to try to best me; so I agreed that they could go 3 against me.

Now, the game ain’t so friendly. There’s trash talking. There’s high-fives when a question is stolen (me high fiving my kids, since it’s only me on my team), the guys screaming like a girl when I guess an answer that they think I have no chance in hell of getting (Harry and the Hendersons…right, guys?); and back slaps when the sports questions come on, because those are my weak spots. (I, unlike The Hubby, do not watch ESPN all day. Sorry. I just can’t do it) It’s ugly, but loads of fun.

We laugh, we cheer, we forget the Depeche Mode album name that has the song “Personal Jesus” on it (Violator). We remember some obscure movies. We bond.

But I still kick their butts every week. Just like a good little sister and wife should.

Also, I just wanted to say that I’m feeling better today. The ring is off being fixed, my face isn’t as swollen, I ordered a new shirt from JCrew, and I’m going to lunch next week with La. I’m just sad that I’m not at BlogHer, but I plan on being there next year!

Have a great weekend!

Posted by Shash @ 5:58 am | 2 Comments   | July 29, 2006

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I Probably Should Just Go To Bed, It’s Been THAT Kind of Day

Things that happened to me today to make this day aim high on the crappy list:

  • My wedding band (gold band with diamond baguettes) is cracked straight through. I don’t know how long it has been this way, and I can’t recall a time today when I could have done that, seeing as the engagement ring is intact. I’m still in shock that the diamond stayed in the setting where the crack is; not to mention I STILL can’t figure out how I did this.

  • I poured bleach in to the garbage disposal to freshen it up, and later discovered that I now have a Espresso tank top that I love with bleach marks on the front. I cried.
  • My son cold-cocked me in the jaw trying to comfort me.
  • My lunch plans for tomorrow are cancelled, rescheduled for another day. I completely understand, it’s for a very good reason, but I was SO LOOKING FORWARD to that lunch tomorrow.
  • My husband found out I am TiVoing The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. He’ll hold this over me for weeks.

On that note, I’m off to bed. ‘Night!

Posted by Shash @ 2:01 am | 5 Comments   | July 27, 2006

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A (Stylish?) Tadpole in a Shark Pool

Yesterday evening, we took Spiff to the Outlet stores here in Orlando to go shoes and clothes shopping for Middle School.

(We also took Scamp, who likes to put on “shows” using the clothing racks as his curtains. We provided entertainment for everyone, right down to the annoyed salesgirl who had to pick up several shirts that fell to the floor during one of his shows. We make friends everywhere we go)

As an aside; if you live here in the south, and you still have a Winn-Dixie open near you, go buy $25 worth of groceries (may I suggest the deal they have on Pop Tarts to help fill up your cart? It sure filled up mine!) you get a coupon on your register receipt that gives you $20 off your $60 purchase at a Reebok, Rockport or Greg Norman Outlet Store. We got 3 pairs of Reebok sneakers and 12 pairs of socks for $64! Also, if you read this and live in Florida…it’s Tax Free Week so shop for deals and steals!

Anyway, back to Spiff…

I could tell he was overwhelmed. It didn’t take long. Spiff has fine motor skill deficits, so lace up shoes present a problem for him. While he can tie his shoes, he gets so frustrated with the process of tying them that he’ll walk for miles without tying them if he can get away with it. He currently has a pair of sneakers that tie, but I have set them up in a way that he can just slip them on and the knot is tucked inside the shoe itself, kind of like the skaters wear their shoes, just laces crossing and no bow. It’s all about trying not to draw attention to his weaknesses.

As soon as he was faced with row upon row of nothing but shoes with only laces; his eyes glazed over. So much so that when asking him to try on a pair we thought he’d like he tried to put the wrong foot into the shoe, and then argued with us when we tried to quietly tell him he was using the wrong foot. This happened several more times during our trip; as if he was just trying to process the fact that he was going to have to tie his shoes in school just stopped all processing thoughts in his brain.

It makes me nervous and wonder how his first day of school is going to be. This will be the first time since he started school that he will be arriving at school on his first day without me (the County ponied up for bus service to our out-of-zone school! Can you believe it?) driving him; and it’ll be his first time at a school where I am not within easy reach if an emergency or a meltdown happens. He’s got a lot of responsibility on his little shoulders, and I’m hoping with all I’ve got that he will traverse the minefields and come out the other side intact.

Our elementary schools use a School Uniform Policy, and now that he is in Middle School, his new uniform is whatever is in style at the moment. His father and I discussed last night that we never played this game very well in our youth; he in Sears Toughskins and me in what my mother could afford or that her JCPenney card would allow. I saved babysitting money for a pair of designer jeans, only to have them cut off me in a freak roller-skating accident that to this day makes me tear up at the memory. But I digress…

I hope we got the requisite stylish clothing so that the kids won’t pick on him. He’s not into his appearance yet, he’ll still walk out the door with uncombed hair and strange color coordination choices if you let him. I hope that with a little help from a friend of his, and what we picked out today, his appearance will be one less thing for the kids to pick on him about.

I’m sure they’ll find other things, though. In fact, I’m certain of it.

And that sucks.

Posted by Shash @ 4:08 am | 4 Comments   | July 26, 2006

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How to Annoy Spiff in the Car

Step #1: Burn a copy of the Soundtrack from High School Musical that your 6 year old neighbor let you borrow…

Step #2: Put it in the CD player in your van, and don’t tell him…

Step #3: Listen without incident until Song #2 starts playing…

Step #4: Wait for the explosion. Yep.

(Right now, it’s his least favorite film on the planet. He HATES it.)

Step #5: Cackle like the witch that you are (or that I am).

… Then get paid back by the Shorts Gods at Gap when you go to try and find some more shorts and learn that Gap has cut their sizes so a 6 is now really a 4.

Or something like that.

Posted by Shash @ 3:49 am | Comments   |

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When Did CVS Decide to Stop Selling Mountain Dew Code Red?

…and why didn’t I get the memo?

They had me at hello; or 4 12-packs for $10, according to my Sunday circular.

I was all ready to go clean them out. I was even braving the rain that pretty much hindered any delusions of grandeur I had about getting my errands done today.

Crappy Florida Summertime Weather = 1
Shash Gets Her Errands Done Before the Apocalypse = 0

After spending 10 minutes scouring the store for any sign of the Code Red (hey, did you know they also don’t carry Olay Touch of Sun either? I’m only here to help, people) I finally ask a manager where for art thou it might be.

He must have noticed the desperation, or even a slight twitch in my eyes, for he took 4 steps back and said, with a fear in his voice only reserved for my husband when he forgets to change out the finished toilet roll and I find out about it, “I don’t think we carry that anymore. It wasn’t a big seller.”

I answer: “You’re kidding, right? I’m being Punk’d right now, aren’t I?”

He didn’t answer, but he did leave a smoke trail as he got the heck away from me.

I guess it is too much to ask to have all of the Pepsi brands for sale when you put a bargain out there for the world to purchase. Sheesh!

In other news, I haven’t killed the kids yet. They’re trying to do each other in without any assistance from me.

Details are sketchy, but it may include a pool, an inflated alligator, and only one can possess said alligator, so one has to push the other off. Never mind that there’s a wall there, and that concrete is what made it; He’ll bounce!

…Right, Mom??

Posted by Shash @ 5:27 am | 2 Comments   | July 25, 2006

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On Mercury, Autism, and My Perspective

Please note: The original title for this post was going to be “Isn’t Mercury a Planet in Space?” but I didn’t think it would capture the point that I want to make that what I say here is my perspective on this issue.

A family member not too long ago sent me an email directing me to a website that had an article about mercury in vaccinations and the correlation to autism. Generally, I appreciate receiving emails like this; for it reminds me that the people I love are thinking about me, and concerned about my family’s well being. I get this topic brought up to me a lot in casual conversation by friends and strangers; and this subject kinda gets my panties in a bunch. And I don’t know about you, but I hate it when the panties get bunched. It hurts. A lot.

(I know, you’re wondering; panties? and autism? is there a correlation? Um…sit tight, and all will be revealed…)

Some published reports state that there is (or has to be) a correlation between the rising cases of autism and the fact that for a period of time large amounts of mercury, known as thimerosal, were used in childhood vaccines as a preservative for a longer shelf-life of these vaccines; thereby keeping the costs down. Because of this, and because high doses of mercury can cause all sorts of problems (hence the reason you are not supposed to eat raw fish during a pregnancy), this seems to be the best way to explain why, all of a sudden, we are seeing a spike in autism cases worldwide. Now, here’s where I get all controversial on you in this here blog;

I don’t agree.

Commence throwing tomatoes at your leisure.

I have to go against the grain on this. I’m sorry in advance if that offends; but I did say earlier that this is my opinion based on my experience. Hope that helps keep things in perspective.

Spiff, from the get-go, even before we had him vaccinated, had issues. We had breast feeding issues, swaddling issues (he had to be wrapped tighter than a Taco Bell burrito, and slept in his car seat because it provided him with the tightest feeling of swaddling we could find), then later came the reflux issues, the best formula to feed him without him projectile vomiting issues, and last but by no means least, the colic issues. To be honest, that really wasn’t the last issue; but for this post it’s all I’m going into at this time. I won’t even get into the parents lack of sleep issues, the parents needing a break issues, and the “why is your child not talking at all; he should be by now” issues. I’ll save those for later.

Many parents I have talked to have also experienced these or similar issues. In many cases of autism, a child starts out hitting many of the developmental milestones that they are supposed to; but at some point, they start to slide backwards, stopping at a point and just not moving forward again; or with intensive therapy moving forward; but at a much slower pace than their peers.

Spiff never slid backwards, never regressed. Ever. He’s just always moved forward slower than his peers in some areas; and in others he is much farther ahead than most of his peers. The areas that give him problems are social and emotional, and common sense strategies. He’s male, and honestly, those issues have stumped many a male, so sometimes it’s hard to determine where the child ends and Asperger’s begins. For Spiff, in some cases, it can be really noticeable; and in others, not so much.

But back to the mercury and vaccinations thing…

In my opinion, Spiff had this wired from the get-go. If mercury does have anything to do with it, the die was cast long before the first vaccination ever entered my son. All it would have done was exacerbate what was already there. But then, according to the research, since this stuff was used as far back as the late 1950′s, many of us Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers would have issues like these; so the occurrence of autistic cases should have spiked decades earlier. Right?

As I watch him grow up to be a handsome, wickedly intelligent young man, I see so many things that remind me of behaviors in my youth and my idiosyncrasies as well as my husband’s. Things that would fall under the Asperger’s spectrum. One could argue that this is what happens when two relatively smart people (read: uber geeks) get married and have children. Scamp doesn’t have the same issues as Spiff, but he is exhibiting behaviors that are alike to his older brother. Not surprisingly, this is normal in families where one child has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder; a sibling can also have similar issues. This is seen more in boys than in girls, but those statistics are changing. Since we didn’t have the same issues with Scamp at the same times that we did with Spiff, we can’t tell if he’s just mimicking his older brother of if there are issues with him we need to take a closer look at. Time will tell, but in the meantime we’re not resting on our laurels either.

I just don’t want people to think that Thimerosal levels in vaccines is the definitive answer; because I don’t believe it is. I’ve read and heard of parents who have reported to have found success with chelation, mercury flushing, gluten/casein free diets, and other kinds of alternative treatments that are geared to rid the body and brain of the chemistry that is affecting the autistic brain. I’m happy for them, and if that works for them, so be it. I’m grateful that these parents are finding ways they believe are helping their children, I just don’t think that’s a curative road I want to head down. I don’t think you can cure autism like you can a cold; it’s too hard wired. And that’s okay; and my point is that it should be just that: okay.

In fact, I really don’t care how it got there, I don’t want to spend my time “getting rid” of it; I just want to maximize his strengths and play down and protect him from his weaknesses so he can become whatever he wants to be. Oh, and I want the public to become more knowledgeable and understanding of this issue; if only for the fact that while I don’t agree with the mercury thing; the cases of autistic spectrum children are increasing each year, so it’s not going away. These children will grow into adults faster than we can provide services for them; and at this rate we have very few, if any, services available to help for the long haul. That is crucial to their success in life.

I am not quite sure what happened to cause Spiff to have autism. However, I’m quite certain that mercury isn’t the true culprit. And frankly, it’s wasted time and effort trying to convince me. It really almost spreads false hope, which is very dangerous. For all the efforts spent discussing mercury and it’s role on in placing people within the autistic spectrum, I think equal time should be given to helping those ON the spectrum live a better life.

No matter what the cause, they’re here, and they are wonderful. Can’t we love them and help the way they are?

Posted by Shash @ 6:20 am | 7 Comments   | July 24, 2006

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Operator, Can You Help Me Make This Call?

Tonight marked a milestone for Spiff, a rather large one.

Tonight was the night that Spiff asked to call someone, and then did it himself. Also, when that person wasn’t home, asked how to reach him, and took his own initiative to write down the number and then dial it.

Then he had a phone conversation, without any prompts, and did it beautifully. He then ended the call, and properly hung up the phone.

He did this all by himself. This, from a child that will sit right next to a ringing phone and be completely oblivious to it, much less answer it.

I can’t begin to tell you how amazed I am and proud this makes me feel. This is huge.

For Spiff, and children like him, these simple for others Lifeskills are difficult to grasp. Phones make no sense to some people with Asperger’s Syndrome, in the regard that the mechanics of having a conversation face-to-face can be confusing, add-in a machine that you can’t even see who you are speaking with and it makes one not want to ever pick up the phone! Spiff was in that category, and I was afraid he’d never want to expand his horizons.

So tonight, while he is on cloud nine because he did something awesome in a video game he owns and wanted to share it with his cousin, I’m on Cloud Nine because he did.

This gives me hope for the future.

This makes me happy.

Posted by Shash @ 1:30 am | 5 Comments   | July 22, 2006

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Better than the TV Show, and WAY Cooler!

I don’t know about you, but the first time I heard about a movie called Monster House, I thought they were trying to bring that show from Discovery Channel to the big screen. This, of course, was before I saw the movie trailer; at which point I fell deep in love and counted down the days until it premiered in theatres.

In case you were wondering, that day is today.

Go see it, I implore you. Even the 4 year old sat through it, and I was a bit worried about how he’d react. He did great.

Definitely worth the $60 bucks I dropped today in tickets, food and drink. There were 5 of us.

Now I’m off to convince the kids that, in fact, oatmeal can be delicious for dinner. For many days, in fact.

(I’m kidding.)

Posted by Shash @ 9:39 pm | 1 Comment   | July 21, 2006

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Little Ears Hear Big Words

So SoccerDude, Scamp, and I are in the van traveling to my allergist and playing their video game systems, and apparently Scamp is having a rough time of it because out of the blue I hear this come from the back seat:

ARRRGH!!! Dammit!

SoccerDude and I immediately bust out laughing, and I tell Scamp that his mouth is too small to say such big words and that he should not say that again.

He doesn’t, until he’s in the office with my hubby and again with the rough patch and the game system he says:

Dammit!

But more softly.

Hubby couldn’t help himself. He died laughing and smiled, knowing that it was he who bestowed this lesson upon our son…

..and it was I that taught him to say it softly.

That is Tag-Team Parenting at its best.

Posted by Shash @ 9:42 pm | 1 Comment   | July 20, 2006

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One of Life’s Greatest Mysteries?

Can someone please answer this for me?

Why is it that my son will fight and kick and scream to take a bath or shower (Scamp), even if I bribe him with toys and my big smaller-size-swimming pool tub, complete with bubbles; but instead will gladly, willingly and repeatedly swim in the family swimming pool, and make a big deal about putting his head underwater, flipping his head (and hair he doesn’t have for the maneuver) back as he surfaces in what can only be called a “Fabio Moment”?

Is it the soap? Is it the fact he can’t jump in to my bathtub like he can the pool?

Or is it the fact that he must be allergic to being clean?

I’m baffled.

He’s turning into Pig Pen with a Linus thrown in for good measure.

HELP!!!

Posted by Shash @ 11:14 pm | 4 Comments   | July 19, 2006

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