Laugh Out Loud

Some of my fondest memories of childhood are the moments where my father laughed out loud at some cartoon I was watching on TV. My father is a somber, quiet man; not humorless, but possessing a wry, subtle sense of humor. The points where something in the cartoon would cause him to burst out laughing were bright points that stood out from the general negativity heaped on the cartoons as being pointless drivel, but they also provided me with these insights into what he found funny.

My boys are currently watching Phineas and Ferb on Disney+ which has provided me with a number of laugh out loud moments. And while I don’t mind the kids watching cartoons and haven’t heaped any negativity on them, I still see this flash of joy in my son’s eyes when he looks up at me.


How I Knew I Was Autistic

Maybe you’re in the stage of not knowing. Maybe you have suspicions about yourself, but fear that you’re exaggerating, making it up, or that everyone feels exactly like you do and just keeps it a secret. That’s why I’m writing this entry–why I’m writing this whole blog, really–and I want you to know that you’re not alone.


About 6:30

You arrived back home late yesterday, about 6:30, pushing through with the force of will to make it to your own driveway, into your own back door. Five days on the road, but it’s enough of a break that it feels like forever. Feels like your own house is a stranger, a cat that wanders around a corner to stare at you with wary, accusing eyes.

The sink is full of dishes, the baskets are full of clothes. New boxes have sprung up next to the old ones, and feels like there’s so much flotsam and jetsam that you have to wade through ankle deep. The mailbox is overflowing, and electronic messages wait for attention. Nothing went anywhere, and the world didn’t stop moving.

You let the kids stay up and play as you rattle about the house, not making eye contact with anything. It feels like you should be doing something, but you know that once you start pulling on any single string, the web of what needs to be done will start closing in around. You finally hustle the kids off to bed. There’s a baffling brief burst of boisterous energy that surprises even them, and then they’re asleep as their heads hit the pillows, finally taking a chance to relax, to breathe.

And then it’s your turn to stumble off, find your warm dark room and drop into the blankets, and that’s the moment, when your head finds its own personal pillow, that’s when the house wraps it’s soft heavy arms around, and becomes once again your home. The cat leaps onto the bed and curls up behind your knees as you lie on your slide, warmth generated where you two touch that is more than the sum of either of you. You’ve been forgiven. Just don’t do it again.

blogs, Writing

Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago

I’m in Chicago to celebrate New Year’s before New Year’s. Every year for nearly 20 years, a group of my college friends have gathered, even as we’ve grown and spread across the country. Most of us started in the Midwest, and Chicago has had the largest center of gravity, pulling many into its orbit.

Chicago terrified me when I was younger. Then, I thought it was my innate naturalism rebelling against the grid of concrete and steel plastered across the land. While that’s nicely romantic, now that I know more about myself, I think it was more the complexity of it. I’ve managed to move to Des Moines, which is one of three metropolitan areas in Iowa that has a higher population than the capacity of Wrigley Field, and I feel comfortable. Des Moines is a lot less complicated than Chicago.

And this year, being on Lexapro, I’m a lot more comfortable with my friends. In past years, I was usually burned out after surviving the holidays with my parents, and spent a lot of these New Year’s celebrations sick in some way. Last year, I got some sort of flu, and missed most of it. The year before I had a stomach flu and didn’t even attend.

This year, the group is smaller. Fewer made the trek this time. Next year will be twenty years, and everyone is planning to attend, but right now it’s only two other families. Five adults and five kids. This year, I’m present and enjoying myself. I think this coming year is going to be a better year, and at least I’ll be better prepared to handle Chicago like complexity in my life.

blogs, Gaming

My Friends Say It’ll Never Last

I’m trying to decide if Destiny is like the ex- that you continually hook up with knowing that it’s a bad idea and it’s not going to last, or if it’s like the ex- that you always wanted to be with and maybe it’ll work this time because you’ve both grown.

Destiny has definitely grown. I finally unlocked the Menagerie last night, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. Like the Black Forge, which is also unlocked, though I guess now I can start grinding out the weapons and armor. If I’m looking for something to do, which I’m not really. I’m still having a blast grinding out daily bounties. And I’m slowly gaining light while doing it.

What’s interesting is that there seems to be ongoing new endgame activities based around the seasons, so that once I do get up near the hard cap, there will still be something to do. I ran into some of the Vex Offensive open world events on the Moon last season, and they were fun, but I haven’t started the Sundial event yet. Like I said, right now I’m perfectly happy grinding out these dailies, and now there’s also the Dawning, so I’m trying to bake and deliver cookies to different characters, which is a fun, if a little strange, activity to be doing.

Autism, blogs, Writing

A Diagnosis

Something that I was a little surprised by when I started looking into getting a diagnosis was the antagonism directed towards the self-diagnosed. In the online communities, I’ve run into several people who haven’t pursued a clinical diagnosis but still call themselves autistic, and then there are diagnosed members of the community who feel that these people are either lying about having autism or pretending to have it. Like most of these things in online forums, there’s no evidence to back up these claims, only the poster’s personal experience, so really they’re stating their belief, not a fact. Still, there’s a lot of resentment towards the idea that someone would pretend to have autism in order to get accommodations, presumably because accommodations have to be fought for, but again, there’s no evidence that the self-diagnosed in the forums have done this. I think there’s also a sense of horror and frustration that someone would want to have this condition.

It’s tricky. In my personal experience, I didn’t declare myself to be autistic until I had a diagnosis. I said I suspected that I was, and part of the reason why I got the diagnosis was to establish whether or not it was true. I don’t know if it’s really possible to truly self-diagnose autism within yourself. I mean, yeah, I could look at a list of symptoms and say I think I experience all of these, but I think that’s something different than sitting down with a trained professional and having them examine you. But apparently it’s hard, or it’s not possible, for some people to go after a diagnosis.

I don’t know. I think I would have a hard time taking the mantle of being autistic without having the diagnosis. I got the diagnosis because I wanted to know. I wanted to be sure, and have another person verify what I was seeing.

But still, when I see someone rant about the self-diagnosed, I can’t help but feel a little bit sympathetic, a little bit like I was once part of that group, even though I didn’t say that I was autistic until I had the diagnosis. I lurked about the forums for a long time before I got the diagnosis.