I am bursting with pride!  Scout was the runner up in his Geography Bee competition! He lost only by one question to a 5th grader who won it last year.  He’s been attending the ‘practices’ for about a month now, all leading up to the Bee.  (here’s a random question…why are these things called ‘Bees’??!)

The sad fact is I wasn’t even able to attend the championship.  With my new full-time job I just couldn’t get away.  A blessing with Asperger’s, at least in Scout’s case, is that he really wasn’t all that disappointed.  He of course wanted me there but his response when I told him I wasn’t able to be was a sweet, “Oh, that’s okay, Mom.”  This was really all about himself, not pleasing anyone else….which of course is really the ultimate goal.  Luckily tho Coreman was able to attend and he caught every question of Scout’s on video, so I almost felt like I was there!

I was so impressed with my son, watching that whole process.  Not just intellectually, that goes without saying.  The fact that he could just answer most questions without even a second thought is astounding to me. (who knows that the city of Fez is in Morocco??!) Some were oral, some required each student writing down the answer at the same time and then holding them up.  As each question was asked, one by one another student would disappear.  But there was my Scout, hanging in there with one other boy to the championship round.  In that round there were three questions….Scout missed 2, the winner missed one.  And that was that.



I was so excited.  Yesterday Temple Grandin– yes, THE amazing Temple Grandin– lectured at a semi-nearby college for FREE. What?  Who’s Temple Grandin, you say?  Probably anyone who has a child and/or loved one on the spectrum has heard of the amazing autistic woman with the funny name.  For those of you who haven’t, well…it’s hard to explain Temple in one sentence.  Or two.  She is definitely one of my heros, no doubt about it.  When you know how challenging it can be for people on the spectrum just to get through daily life and you see how far she’s come, it’s quite amazing.  In short, professionally Ms. Grandin has changed the way cattle are slaughtered, making it much more humane. She’s also changed the face of autism just by being who she is.  There’s so much more to it and her than that, of course, so you can read all about her here.

Anyway, for the rest of you who DO know and love Temple Grandin, I’m sure you can relate to my excitement. My dear friend Stephanie–who does not have a loved one on the spectrum, just my dear son :-)– wanted to go with me, so we hopped into my car an hour and a half early to get there in plenty of time.  And then we hit traffic.  Bad traffic. What was supposed to take half an hour took an hour and a half.  I fully intended to get there at least an hour ahead. When we finally got there the entire campus parking lot was full.  We circled around and around, feeling very lucky when someone pulled out and we nabbed a space.  When we reached the doorway we realized where our luck came from.  A man there turned us away saying there were over 700 people in there and the capacity was full.

Talk about disappointment.  I felt like a happy helium balloon that someone had just poked a hole in.  If it weren’t for my friend Stephanie who agreed to at least go have a drink with me I probably would have cried. Now that’s turning lemons into lemonade…or at least a lime into a gin and tonic.

Do any of you who deal with the spectrum in some way feel really connected to Temple?  Maybe it’s strange, but I truly do.  I guess many people must, seeing that turnout.  On the long drive back (of course not nearly as long as that point…grrr)  Stephanie pondered aloud, “Do you think all of those people there have a child with some form of autistm?”  Maybe not a child, but obviously effected in some way, more than likely.  All I can say is, wow.  That was a powerful thought.  Even though I know the statistics–they now say one in 110 children are diagnosed, up from 1 in 150 just a couple of years ago–actually seeing and experiencing something tangible is quite another.  It was enough for us chatty-cathys to be quiet for a few moments, taking it all in with the occasional expletive being muttered.

Yes, there were plenty of expletives on my part last night.  I was really hoping to bring you some great tidbits from that lecture, maybe even a photo with my dear hero.  Alas, it was not meant to be.  I WILL catch her at some point, I can promise you!

I’ve always considered myself to be a ‘good girl’. I know, I know…as a self-proclaimed ‘Metal Mommy’ who’s sung in rock and roll bands and lived in Hollywood it seems iffy, but it is true.  I rarely got into trouble as a kid. I was the the child who had to walk my fellow troubled classmate to her mysterious ‘special’ class in grade school, to monitor her and make sure she actually got there. (like what would I have done if she had made a run for it?!)  I was also the kid who had to be partnered with the special needs boy in Home Ec because the teacher knew I’d be nice to him. (believe you me, not an easy thing in Junior High when you are trying to make brownies and the boy has his hands down his pants all the time.  Not surprisingly, nobody wanted to eat ours.)

So the fact that I had lasted 44 years without a speeding ticket I guess isn’t too far off the mark.  Yes, 44 years I managed to sneak by that one, until just a couple of weeks ago.  I got nabbed by a guy literally waiting at the bottom of the hill with his ray gun.  He actually stood right in front of my car and signaled me off to the side. In front of another car to my right, I might add.  I have to admit at first I was a bit confused–yes, I was indeed going over the limit but why he singled me out in the group of all the others right along side me, I don’t know. I was polite, ever the good girl–‘yes sir’, and all that.  But afterward the more I thought about it the more irritated I became.  This good girl doesn’t want a citation on her record.  And after 44 years I would hope the guy could give me a warning.  So I decided to fight the ticket.

Now all of that is a long drawn-out story that I won’t bore you with in this post.  I can’t tell you the outcome because I’m still in the middle of it.  But the point of it being in this blog is the reaction I have been getting from Scout about this incident.  The minute I told him he was very interested in every detail, and to my surprise extremely defiant on my behalf.  He wanted to know exactly what I did, and what I said–and went into how HE would have handled the situation.  All I can say is if it were him that got pulled over I would have been bailing him out of jail.