Tag Archives: humour

Twitter Tuesday: #WorstHolidayStory

13 Dec

Today is Twitter Tuesday. This means I look for an interesting hashtag on Twitter and find some interesting tweets to go with that hashtag.

For the Twitter virgins out there, “hashtag” is really a fancy word for “conversation”. If you’re tweeting about, say, green bug-eyed monsters, you would include this in your tweet: #greenbugeyedmonsters.

Today, I came across a hashtag that is appropriate for this time of year. If you have anything to add to the list, leave me a comment!

#WorstHolidayStory:

#worstholidaystory the fact we now get in trouble for saying Merry CHRISTMAS well you know what? CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS! (@gnomedruid)

Getting a planner for the year 1998 in 2007, and a “L” charm when your name begins with “A” #worstholidaystory (@alliegoedecke)

#worstholidaystory on Xmas stuck in the middle of nowhere in a broken car, in the freezing cold,no signal, parents roaring at each other (@MissDianaSongsz)

Me “I flew in this wedding ring from Paris! Merry Xmas!” Her “I’m sleeping w/your Dad. And I’m pregnant. Happy New Year!” #worstholidaystory (@ryanpaulgibson)

went to Swiss Chalet for Christmas Eve dinner. By the time they served us, it was Christmas #WorstHolidayStory #SaddestDinner (@paddyjane)

Some weird green creature waltzed into my house and took all my presents #WorstHolidayStory (@justinkase3)

1 yr got busy wrapping presents, forgot to put names on them, then couldn’t remember who they were for #WorstholidayStory (@cindylee137)

The Monopoly incident of 1989. Left a family shattered. The mear mention of the game still sends shivers down the spine. #worstholidaystory (@suckitstupid)

the year my mother-in-law broke her hip we spent Xmas day in the emergency room #WorstHolidayStory (@avalen1)

Santa isn’t real?!? :’o #worstholidaystory (@datkidbrandon)

#worstholidaystory frosty the puddle: the effects of global warming. (@afilardz)

worst thing,I got turkey all stuffed and put it in oven only to realize 3hrs later I forgot to turn oven ON #WorstHolidayStory (@cindylee137)

#worstholidaystory I accidentally got drunk before attending evening service at church! THE SHAME! (@naphtalionline)

Go to see parents up north and come to find out they came south at the same time, so we missed each other. #worstholidaystory (@thomasflorida)

Running over wrapped presents as they fell out of the back of the vehicle on Christmas Eve. #worstholidaystory (#superheroalo)

And finally, a poignant tweet that reminds us to be safe as we celebrate whatever holiday we are celebrating.

I lost my sister to a drunk driver 2 Christmas’s ago on Christmas Day, She would have been 23 this year! #worstholidaystory (@amymariesantee)

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The Beauty Of Autism

31 May

"Peep And The Big Wide World" by George

It was a beautiful moment. One of those moments that autism parents celebrate, that parents of neurotypical children completely fail to notice.

I got home after a long, hard day at work, feeling tired and cranky. As I trudged my way up the driveway, all I wanted to do was grab a glass of wine, collapse into a chair, and never get up again. I didn’t just feel lethargy. At that moment, I was lethargy.

I opened the front door and stepped into the house. Moments later, I heard a pair of feet thundering up the stairs from the basement, and a seven-year-old whirlwind launched itself at me, almost knocking me to my feet. After giving me a ferocious hug, George said, in his sweet sing-song voice, “Hi, Mommy!”

Without me saying hi to him first.

Without me or anyone else prompting him.

This was a social exchange that was initiated completely, 100%, by my child with autism – my child who has, as one of his biggest challenges, social communication difficulties.

Instantly, my energy was back and I was ready to laugh and play with my family, with this amazing child who always seems to give me surprises of wonder.

As a special needs mom, I find that my life is punctuated with moments like this. I remember firsts that I probably wouldn’t even notice if I didn’t have a child with autism.

Like the first time he pointed. What a joyous occasion that was, coming as it did after almost a full year of me teaching him how to point. I blubbed my eyes out that night, all over the Bob the Builder book that had been the vehicle for this accomplishment.

Then there was the first time he made a request using a full sentence. It didn’t matter to me that the sentence was only three words long. This child who said, “I want juice” was streets ahead of the child who, just a few months before, had indicated his need by grabbing my hand and thrusting it in the general direction of the juice boxes.

And what about the first time he pretend-played? It was a simple game that consisted of George crouching down on the ground, and crawling around with his back arched skyward while repeatedly saying, “Turtle.” So what if it was unsophisticated play that included only himself? He was pretending – something he had never done before.

More recently, we celebrated him drawing his first picture. He’d made lots of scribbly-type drawings in the past, of course (and I have kept every single one of them), but this was his first picture depicting an actual scene. That it was an instantly recognizable scene from his favourite kids’ show, Peep And The Big Wide World, makes it even more special.

We have seen the advent of humour, and this is all kinds of significant. Humour is a complicated intellectual process, and George gets it. And let me tell you, he is funny.

All of these moments, when strung together, tell a story of a very special little boy who is making a journey through life that is somewhat different to the way other kids do it. But the point is that he is making the journey and having all kinds of adventures. He may be taking the scenic route, but ultimately, he does pass through the same places that other kids do. He achieves many of the same things, but it takes a little longer and is accomplished in unconventional ways.

I believe that having a child with autism makes me a better parent than I would be otherwise.

It has given me the ability to spot a single flower in a sea of long grass, and more importantly, the power to stop and smell every single flower that I pass on this journey through my kids’ childhoods.

For Some People It’s Not So Funny

24 May

It’s almost too easy to make fun of Harold Camping. For the second time the world has, with absolutely no fanfare whatsoever, failed to come to an end despite his predictions. He was so sure of it this time. He said that “there is no possibility that it will not happen.”

Now, I am one of the most Biblically illiterate people around. I know some basics, of course, having been educated in a girls-only Catholic school that’s short on life training and high on guilt training. The Bible story that I know best is the one where Jesus turns water into wine, but I have a vested interest in that one.

As vague about the Bible that I am, even I know that there’s some passage in there somewhere that says the Rapture will pretty much sneak up on us without warning, and that even Jesus doesn’t know when it will happen.

Why Harold Camping thinks he knows something that Jesus doesn’t is beyond me. But anyway.

Now he is saying that his date was off by five months, and that the Rapture will actually happen on October 21st, the date that was originally supposed to be the earth-turning-into-great-ball-of-fire date.

What’s he going to say come October 22nd? That he had the year wrong?

I confess that in the last week or so, I have made much mockery of all of this. On Saturday I posted a Facebook status update suggesting that everyone fail to answer their phones after 6:00 p.m., just to mess with their friends. I posted links to post-Rapture animal rescue services, and I shared Rapture-related jokes. I tweeted about what I planned to wear to the Rapture, and pondered the question of whether I would still be able to go on Facebook when it was all over.

Not that I expected to go anywhere. With all of my skepticism and mockery, if the Rapture ever does happen, the most I’ll see of God is his middle finger.

As easy as it is to poke fun, though, there is a serious side to all of this.

There are people who really and truly believed Harold Camping’s prophecy. Some of them based their entire belief systems on the idea that they would be taken to Heaven on Saturday. Some non-believers might be tempted to dismiss these people as stupid, but that’s hardly fair. I would venture to say that many of them were vulnerable, and got caught up at a time in their life when they really needed something to believe in.

Can you imagine their disappointment when nothing happened? It must have been crushing for a number of Camping’s followers. They are now in a position where they are having to re-evaluate everything they believed in, and in some cases, cope with the onset of depression and anxiety. I think it would be a fair bet to say that there will be a sharp rise in mental illness among Camping’s followers, and that is so, so sad.

What about the people who spent their life savings in the belief that they would need the money after May 21st? Some of them are retired, and they no longer have the nest eggs that they had spent years working hard to put together for their old age.

What about the pregnant lady who gave up medical school, and who now faces life as a new Mom with her chosen career thrown away?

Harold Camping and his prophecy have cost many people a lot – both financially and spiritually.

What of Harold Camping himself? Is he an arrogant opportunist who knowingly deceived his followers, or did he truly believe what he was preaching? Is he deserving of sympathy or criticism?

(Photo credit: Kelly Beall)

Top Ten Questions I Have About Tomorrow’s Rapture

20 May

10. Will it look like something out of a Dean Koontz novel?

9. How do you decide what to wear to a Rapture?

8. Will it be aired live on CNN?

7.  As people are ascending, will they be able to post Facebook statuses and Tweets about what it’s like?

6. Is there free wireless Internet in Heaven, for people to Facebook those left behind that they’ve arrived safely?

5.  What if it’s raining? Will there be a rain day or will the Rapture go ahead no matter what the weather is like?

4.  Will all the “good” people ascend at once? Or will people with children in strollers be allowed to go first, like when they board airplanes?

3. Will it happen all at once across the globe, or will it be phased in across time zones, like ringing in the New Year?

2. When it’s all over and done with, will the earthly telephone and Internet connections remain intact, so those of us left behind can figure out who else didn’t make the cut to get into Heaven?

1. When the world wakes up completely unchanged on May 22nd, what reason will the Rapturites give for the fact that the promised event failed to materialize?

A Friend Who Saved The Day (And My Sanity)

12 May

I met my friend Fran about fifteen years ago. We met more or less by default: my boyfriend and her boyfriend were old high school buddies. We always got along well enough, but we didn’t really become firm friends until just over two years ago, when Fran emailed me to tell me she was moving to Canada. By then both of us had long split from the boyfriends who had been responsible for us meeting in the first place.

Despite living on the other side of the country, since Fran came to Canada she has visited me in Toronto several times. During her first visit we ran a race together. I did the 10km race and Fran – running in her first race ever – did the 5km. During that same visit, she assembled an outdoor grill that I had been given and that had me stumped. This is why you have friends who can put helicopters together. Seriously. That is what Fran does for a living.

During Fran’s visits, we always seem to go through an inordinate amount of wine. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Most recently, Fran came to my wedding. I can safely say that if she hadn’t been there, I would have been lost. She arrived three days before the wedding, when I was roughly halfway through a week-long nervous breakdown. By this point, she had already helped immensely, having offered to play flute music at the wedding ceremony (Fran can fix helicopters and play the flute like an angel).

On the day she arrived, Fran and I went driving all over the place, picking up the guest favours, sorting out a camera for the as-yet unconfirmed photographer, buying crafty stuff to make the guest favours look pretty.

The following day, while I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off and doing frantic last-minute shopping, Fran calmly took charge of the guest favours. She spent the day wrapping them, putting ribbon around them and even adding a bit of hand-written calligraphy to finish them off. They looked gorgeous.

I have to pause at this point to give credit to my Mom. She helped with the guest favours too. Enormously. For a day and a half the two of them – Fran and my Mom – were at it, working hard to make everything look perfect. If it hadn’t been for them, I honestly don’t know what I would have done.

Fran also helped keep me from unraveling completely at the seams. During the day, she was offering practical help with all kinds of things. During the evenings, she kept me supplied with wine, good humour and great conversation.

On the day, she drove back and forth to the reception hall with her friend Corrigan, dropping off things that needed to be dropped off and helping keep everything in line.

And of course, there was the music at the ceremony. It was beautiful, it was personal, it made the ceremony complete in a way that some random organist could never have managed. The musical interlude continued at the reception, where Fran and Gerard’s cousin Liam played a wonderful set of Celtic music. They played together effortlessly, despite having met and practised together for the first time the previous day.

Then there was the photography. We had a number of people present with cameras, many of whom are very capable photographers, and Fran was one of them. She took hundreds – literally hundreds – of fantastic pictures that are a wonderful record of a perfect day.

Fran, if you’re reading this, thank you does not begin to be enough. You came through for me in so many ways at a time when I really needed it.

Next time you’re coming to town, let me know and I’ll stock up on wine.

A Final Goodbye

9 May

One of the guests at our wedding gets a special mention today: our wonderful friend Ken, who was there with his equally wonderful wife, Jo-Anne.

I’m not sure exactly how Ken and Gerard met, but it was over thirty years ago. In years gone by, Gerard spent many Christmases with Ken and his family, and for the last several years, I myself have been on the receiving end of Ken and Jo-Anne’s kindness and hospitality. They have been great friends to us. We have shared meals and laughs with them.

Many, many laughs. I have always referred to Ken as the only guy in the world who is as weird as Gerard.

Ken and Jo-Anne’s presence at our wedding was truly a blessing. The day just wouldn’t have felt right without them. When I said goodbye to Ken that night, I had no idea that it would be for the last time.

Six days after the wedding, Ken died suddenly at his home, taken by an aneurysm.

The news has been a tremendous shock to both Gerard and myself. But among the shock is pure gratitude that Ken was there to share an amazing and special day with us. Our final memories of Ken are fine ones indeed.

May Ken rest in peace. May his wife Jo-Anne and his son Will find themselves surrounded by strength and love.

If there is such a place as heaven, it has become a very, very funny place.

Goodbye for now, Ken. Your friendship and laughter will be sorely missed.

My Name Is…

4 Apr

Yesterday, while I was tackling my mountain of laundry that never seems to get any smaller no matter how many loads go into the washer, George came up to me and said, “My name is Albert.”

My mind did quite a double-take, let me tell ya! I mean, he’s never even uttered the sentence, “My name is George” and here he is, announcing that his name is Albert.

My first thought was, of course, Who the hell is Albert? I don’t know anyone named Albert, and as far as I know, George doesn’t either.

George giggled, I giggled, the moment passed and he ran off and left me to the mercy of my laundry.

This evening the Albert theme was revived when Gerard gave George a hug and said, “Who does Daddy love?”

George got a twinkle in his eye and yelled out, “ALBERT!” at the top of his lungs, and then collapsed in a heap of helpless giggles.

That George made up this little joke of his own volition is hugely significant. It is not the first time we have seen him display his funny, quirky sense of humour – but this is a new theme. It shows imagination and creativity, and the best part of it is this:

It shows an awareness of the concept of “funny” and an intention to make us laugh.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love this kid…?