Thursday, January 31, 2013

Finances, Needs Vs Wants

So, if you read my last post, I said  "see next post". LOL!

We don't buy a lot of wants around here. Not really.
I'll give you an example; I haven't replaced my bras in 4 years. One reason is that I cannot buy them in any store, I have to order them, but the other reason is that we just never have the money left for those kinds of "frivolous" things.

Many of you women reading this might think that bras are a "basic human right" for a woman, but honestly, you have too much freaking underwear. If you have more than one per day for a week, you have too many (in my opinion). The most bras I have ever had at one time is 3 everyday and 3 sports bras, and two of the latter have been recently thrown away for their deteriorating condition (which should technically be followed by the other 4 of them to be honest...).

I believe in buying something that is worth buying. The bras I bought 4 years ago were TOTALLY worth it. They fit GREAT - a first in my life. I can't ever remember in my entire life ever wearing a bra that actually touched in the middle the way that they all say that they should. Or one that fit right in general! Bravissimo is a GREAT company, even helping me FROM ACROSS AN OCEAN to get the right size. They were more helpful than any store I have ever walked into and been physically measured in. No measuring with Bravissimo, its all on how it actually fits, and how bras are actually sized. Not all D cups are created equal, for example. If you look, the bigger around the band, the bigger the cup size. if you have to go up a cup size, go down a band size.

Anyway, I'm frustrated after trying to shop for a bra. How did I ever manage to find a bra I liked before Bravissimo? And now they've ruined me, I can't go back LOL. However, its a lot of an investment. AAANNNDDD my hubby didn't get his business loan. So we aren't sure where that dream is going to happen, if its going to happen, or how. He's going to try something else. That was supposed to help us. That was supposed to get us into better shape. So we'll see I guess.....

Going To Town

I just got home from town. I am exhausted.

I didn't used to know why going to town and shopping made me so frustrated. I just assumed that it was the fact that I had so much to do, so much was needed, too little money, and its hard to shop with a kid. We used to go shopping for our "date" when we were dating and first married, and we would go late at night. So there wasn't many people, but it was late, so we would get tired. But it made for a nice date.

Now, I know for sure I have Aspergers, and things are different! Really different. Don't get me wrong, I still get COMPLETELY overwhelmed. I still get COMPLETELY stressed out. But at least now I have some idea why. The lights, the sounds, the noises, the rude people, other drivers, weather related hazards, and still too much to buy/needed, and not enough money. The whole situation is overwhelming and no matter how hard I try to keep it together, its hard to budget this stuff. Prices where I live can vary so much that even if I budgeted, I could be off by a lot of $. That's frustrating, because its not like we go shopping for a lot of wants or something. (See next post for example...)

I can at least get in the car between places and tell myself that this is ok, feeling like this is normal for me, and I can just refocus and tell myself what else I have to do before being done for the day. The drive home is always a decompression. Today was rather frustrating, and its probably due to being pregnant. And, I dared to try on bras at the store today (again, see next post). So, after such a stressful day I listened to classical music all the way home. Bonus: it was B's favorite going to sleep soundtrack, so he was quiet and went to sleep on the way home, giving me extra silence time!

Now, don't get me started on the fact that we can't get out of the pickup without opening the windows, and now you can't get in the drivers door either, along with the fact that the care needs new tires, the furnace is acting up, the stovetop is not working properly, and the refrigerator water dispenser leaks..... All at once. RIGHT?! That's always the way it is.

BUT, I scored some AWESOME little girl clothes today for my sister (and hopefully for us as hand me downs!) and even some maternity pants, and my friend from up here brought over her 2 boxes of maternity clothes. :) Yay!



Somehow this feels like a major accomplishment. I just found that I can look at my list of followers and see their short bios or whatnot. That was cool! There are people I don't know following me, in fact, there are more followers that I'm not sure who they are or don't know them than there are people I actually know! I don't know what that says about my facebook friends (probably the only group of people I've shared the blog with), but I'm glad to have some followers no matter if I know them or not! :)


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Being Pregnant, With Symptoms

My first pregnancy looked like it walked out of a book. I never had any Braxton Hicks, I never had acne, I wasn't sick, all I ended up with were stretch marks and a huge amount of exhaustion. I slept quite a lot, and was so tired. Otherwise, it was a pregnancy out of a dream, ending with a 7 1/2 hour labor that I consider to be an excellent experience, completely the opposite of the horror stories everyone likes to scare new moms with. I'm the kind of person pregnant moms should talk to because I had a positive experience!

This pregnancy is different. This pregnancy is annoying. I'm starting to think that if I had felt this way with my first pregnancy, I probably wouldn't have hesitated to never get pregnant again. The beginning was unbearable sickness all day long. I felt sick all the time. All I could eat was bland food, bread, cereal, cheese tortillas, that kind of thing. I wished I could puke because it might have actually made me feel better!

I am much more annoyed this time around too, though that might have to do with the fact that I have a 6 year old and two indoor cats, which I didn't have the first time around. I usually love my cats, and I have a favorite one, but even she is driving me up the wall. I'd like to just smack her. She's taken up yowling at night/early in the morning and its just annoying! She's so loud, and I wake up at the first little sound! It's like she's trying to get me to practice being woken up or something! It's ok cat, I've practiced before! For now, let me sleep!

I'm really intolerant of specific people when I'm pregnant. This is something I remember from the first time around too. It's just that every single thing they say drives me up the wall. So, back to avoiding certain people again. :P

I have my good old "numb" spot again. It's right at the ribcage above my stomach, kinda where your body bends there. It just feels as if that little section has fallen asleep or something. That can be rather annoying and uncomfortable. I guess I had forgotten about that from the first time around.

I have had ligament pain! Oh the ligament pain! When I move, when I sneeze, when I cough, when I turn, it can happen anytime, anywhere. I feel as if this means that I'm going to be having B-H this time around.

I have a few other unmentionable issues that I have never dealt with in my whole life. Hopefully they don't get worse than they are, because so far, its manageable, but weird.

I can smell more than I could before. I'm saying that because if I don't wash the sheets AND blankets on our bed once a week, all I can smell is BO. It's not even that its BAD, or anything, but its strong enough to annoy me and not let me relax. I can take about one night of it and the next day they are in the wash. Totally annoying.

The first pregnancy, I could not stand the smell of meat at all. This time, I would almost say I crave a good burger, but I'm not gorging on them or anything. Sure, the one time I could justify having a burger and I still don't really have a craving!

I've been eating a lot of veggie sandwiches and salads. MMMM. However, like most everything else, the prices on things like lettuce drives me nuts! Up, down, up, down, all over the place. It can easily triple in a week. Makes it hard to budget food. :P

I know I should be doing some kind of physical activity, but I just cant bring myself to actually do it. So far all the pregnancy workout videos I've gotten from netflix have just drove me nuts with how corny they are. Lame and corny. 

So anyway, that's my short list. I could go on, but I'm getting hungry and restless. This pregnancy sure is different, and I've really got my heart set on a girl this time around. Here's hoping!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hearing and Mornings

I have noticed lately that I have a huge issue with mornings. Do not talk to me in the morning before I have taken a shower or eaten.

Anything spoken to me before then, especially from my son, comes through as a foreign language.

B came into bed with me this morning and I had just been dozing because the cat had just woke me up with her meowing. (At least she wanted until 7 am or something...)

He crawled under the covers and said a full sentence. (He isn't quiet)
I said "Was any of that English?" He said "wha wha wha wha wah".

Charlie Brown's mom? Teacher? Any adult on peanuts?

Don't talk to me before breakfast. My hearing doesn't turn on without food.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Strawberry Dress

I am a purger. If I have no use for something, or if I haven't used it over a certain period of time, it goes. I do not normally have or make emotional connections to objects like knick knacks and those kinds of things. I do not desire my house to be akin to a storage unit. I like to have space, open space, and clean space. It is quite often that I clean like a pregnant woman, clearing out entire closets, vacuuming them out, and getting rid of those "back in the far corner" type objects. 

There are few things in my life that I keep around for "no reason". One is my doll from when I was a child. It used to have a cord that you pulled and it would say "mommy" or something like that. I remember clearly the day I was supposed to be napping and the string broke, no more "mommy". I know where it is right this minute and could get my hands on it within 5 if I wanted to.

The other is a box of papers and memory book type things that mom always collected for us. Right now, it drives me absolutely nuts that I can't remember or find it. With that box has to be my baby blanket. That blanket and me go way back, probably a gift when I was born. It had some holes in it that apparently were from it being set on the heater or something ? Someone tried to patch them but the material didnt hold up so there were always just holes. That blanket, I'm sure, was still around when I was in college, but I lost track of it around the time I got married. I am on a mission that this spring as soon as it warms up I am going to go over to my parents, 6 months pregnant, and look for that stuff because it HAS to be SOMEWHERE.

Sadly, there is one other item that I remember and loved, and to this day I have no idea where it went or what happened to it. I think my mother had something to do with it and I have a vague feeling it has something to do with the post office building in Gheen. We had a garage sale there once. Either way, this item was a strawberry dress.

This wasn't an ordinary strawberry dress. This was a beautiful, flowy, silky strawberry dress. There was nothing about it that I recall being uncomfortable. When I outgrew it, I used it on one of my baby dolls. But what happened to it after that I just don't know. I hadn't thought about it in a long time, until yesterday, I was looking through a children's clothes page and ran across a 12 month little girl's strawberry dress. Though it did not resemble my strawberry dress in any way except the strawberries, I instantly was brought back in time to my strawberry dress, and when it warms up and this lady goes looking for it, I hope she finds it because I am TOTALLY buying it! (I hope this baby is a girl!)

As I said, I'm a purger, and I really honestly do not keep a lot of things. Even with my son, many of the things that I kept, I sorted through several times over the years and got rid of more of them so it was a more "sensible, manageable" amount.

But it drives me crazy when the FEW items that I DO love and cherish go missing. There are SO FEW THINGS that matter that much to me. And to have 3 of the 4 things I can think of off the top of my head be missing drives me absolutely nuts. And worse, knowing they are in someone else's stash of 25-plus years of stuff stored up is worse because not only do I have to look for my stuff, but I have to look thru the other stuff too.. It is going to be quite a project. I should get paid. :P

It got me to thinking too, about why that strawberry dress was my favorite. What about it was so special? I don't remember who gave it to me or where it came from. So that can't be it. It wasn't something I wore for any special occassions that I can remember. But I do remember that it was the best dress for comfort. It was so comfortable. Long before there were kids with sensory issues, I knew what felt good on me. I knew that there was something particularly special about that dress. And I knew that I wanted all my clothes to feel like that. Though I don't remember connecting clothing to discomfort, or having fits over certain clothing, I knew that the strawberry dress was probably the most comfortable thing I ever owned, and I wanted one in every size I would ever need to wear. 

I'm not alone in this. My Aspie Wife just wrote about this recently about his family too, in My Touchy Feely Aspie Family. A great post! There is something about Asperger's/Autism and our sense of touch. Some people crave being touched by others, some people can't stand it, some people cannot stand the touch of certain materials/things on their bodies, some people have to only have certain materials. This isn't just a sensory issue, but it can be a personal issue too because in friendships there's hugging and other physical contact, and in adult relationships there's more of that, and in marriages there's the need for physical affection, at least in a NT person. Sometimes it can really affect a marriage if one person can't stand physical touch. Luckily, I enjoy that connection and touch, so I'm ok, but others "put themselves through the motions" to please their spouse, but it does affect their relationship. 

That strawberry dress will probably be something I think about when I'm 90. I wish I had even a picture of me in it, but so far I have never run across one. As much as I had to have worn that dress, you would think there would easily be a photo, but I have never seen one. (Maybe mom can help me out here?) There was something special about that dress, and seeing another dress with strawberries on it got me thinking about it again. I want one in my size again!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Referred Post: Music

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Am Sheldon Cooper

Big Bang Theory just won People's Choice Award for favorite network comedy the other night.

I have seen several episodes of this show and it is rather funny. The basic story is a group of 4 total scientist geeks (thats an affectionate term) live across the hall from a really pretty blond waitress who wants to be an actress. That's really really basic.

One of the characters is especially odd. Sheldon Cooper. He has his own way of social interaction, that is for sure. I find that I can relate to him with a lot of things. He is very particular about his social interactions. He is always concerned with facts over feelings. There is a lot of talk out there that he resembles a person who has Aspergers, though the show has not (and it seems WILL not) identify him as such.

Honestly, though I am in full support of people knowing and learning about Aspergers, I do not think that it is necessary for Sheldon to be labeled as such. Go with me here for a moment.

People are watching this show. It is rather a popular show. Most people are finding Sheldon to be funny and interesting, not annoying and bothersome. 

Not labeling him gives us all one benefit: there are people like this. There are many people my age and older who are not and will not be diagnosed for various reasons. Some don't know anything about Aspergers and don't care. Some don't realize they might qualify. Some don't have the ability or resources to find out and get diagnosed. Some are too old to care. :P

Sheldon could be a part of normalizing people like us. People might be able to say "hey, that person reminds me of Sheldon..." and maybe they won't think that they are completely strange. Maybe Sheldon is opening doors for normalcy in Autistic behaviors. 

Basically, I am Sheldon Cooper. I do have a mental list of friendship "requirements" that I might actually write into a "contract", if I didn't have the impression that it isn't socially acceptable to do that.
But the next time you think of something strange I am doing, think of Sheldon Cooper. Remember, he's just a dude. He's cool. He's an icon. But he's also a me.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Read the above.

Then realize that I have those same feelings, although I do not remember ever wanting to bang my head, I have other tics that I do instead.

Meltdowns and feelings deserve respect and space, not advice and pats on the back. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

NBC's Parenthood Jan 8 2012

I love Parenthood on NBC. It is one of the few shows that is one these days (especially in that time slot) that does not deal with demons, criminals, promiscuous sex with everyone on the show, and murder. There is suspense, but it is more of an emotional "been there in my life" type suspense, not a "oh no is that person going to hook up/kill someone/die/solve the crime"? It is a more real show than most on television as well. It is one of two shows that I watch (the other being The Biggest Loser). I could care less about most everything else on tv.

Anyway, one of the main storylines in Parenthood is one they started on episode one: one child's life with Aspergers, and with that all the crazy stuff. It is almost educational. I'm loving it. Max (the character's name) shared so many characteristics with myself that it was one of the things that pushed me in the last couple years to stand up and get myself tested and diagnosed!

The episode that was on yesterday was pretty interesting. The actor (and therefore the character as well) is about the age for puberty. I found yesterday's storyline about this change funny! Mom walks in the room to a terrible odor! Thinking that it was his pet, she asked if he cleaned it, and he said he cleans the cage on Sundays. Realizing the smell was coming from her son, she asks him to go take a shower, to which he response "I only take showers on Saturdays and Tuesdays. It's Monday, so I'm not showering."
She calls in dad, they mention some brief words about changes, like growing body hair, and as he said he already had hair in certain places and proceeds to just about show them she uses the Skittles trick and he showers.

So then dad has to have a bit of a talk. Max, being the Aspie that he is, obviously has googled information in the meantime and is not at all embarrassed about any of it, but stops his dad when he tries to talk about sexual feelings toward girls, which Max thinks is rediculous and doesn't think will happen to him. Obviously, we all know he will, but the point is he knew he had a limit and didn't want to talk about it, and that was kinda cool. 

So I got to thinking about me at that age.
First of all, I was aware that a period would happen eventually, I'm sure my mom mentioned it, but I kinda blew it off until it happened. I honestly could not have cared less. I'm that girl that goes crazy because the doctors would ask me when my first period was, thinking that every woman must remember that HUGE event in their life. I haven't the foggiest idea. It was somewhere between 12 and 14, and I'm completely assuming on that. I NEVER knew if I had a "regular" cycle, I have no idea how many days apart they were, how long they lasted, I don't remember a thing. Even now, I couldn't tell you how long my last period was, when it started, or any other information about it (except now with Fertilitycare we chart, so I would have that information these days..).

I tend to think, then, that people with Aspergers are not only not embarrassed about this kind of stuff, but we honestly don't really pay it any attention at all. We just deal with what we have to deal with and when it's over, there is no relevant, important information that we need to retain, so it just goes out with the forgotten thoughts.
 However, I have a sneaking suspicion that some people are the complete opposite; where it terrifies them so badly that they shut down until its over. I'm not talking about those people who have huge health issues like migraines during their period, I'm talking your standard period being something that they cannot tolerate and throws them so badly off their ability to function that it comes between them and jobs, relationships and other parts of their life, because Aspergers can be like that. 

Either way, for me, I think I was more like Max. I could care less, I took care of business after just gaining what information I thought I needed on the topic (I doubt I googled anything back then!), and moved on with my life. Pretty standard stuff, and pretty much the way I viewed pregnancy, labor and delivery as well. I gained as much information as I could about it, made a plan in my head, dealt with what I had to deal with, and moved on with my life. No sense in being afraid of the process or the pain, just part of the deal and it was over in a heartbeat (practically). 

I think my desire to collect information about things that happen in my life is a tool that keeps me from losing it completely. Aspies don't like change, I don't like change. But change that I understand, know some facts on, that I can study and research, that is something I can deal with. Information is my cure to a lot of stressors in other people's life. Sharing information is my way of saying "Here, you can be as sure as I am about this, just look at this information here, and here, and here....". If you check my facebook feed, most of what I post is sharing links or stuff like that. 

And in true Aspie fashion, I could care less most of the time about the feelings others might have about it, facts are facts. You cant argue with facts (at least not with me). I don't care how you feel about something, if the facts show something, then that's the facts. 

Anyway, I hope Parenthood gets a renewal for another season. I love watching the Max storyline. It is something that is giving us a voice. It is one show that's out there showing us that kids like us don't go off shooting people. It's one thing out there showing people what this life is like, what our brains are like, how we are different. That is good for everyone. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

We ALL Need Support And Understanding

Great Link: Lost In Public School

Read above link.

I, too, was lost in the public school system. As much as I excelled in elementary and most of high school, I never was once challenged. There were no AP classes. There were no individualized learning plans. Turns out I was about 10 years too early for those things in my school. So, I had to suffer because my school and district couldn't find ways to adjust and individualize my education? I was bored, and I was already asking for more work most of elementary. 

I spent hours doing multiplication tables, working up to trying to beat the time that the 6th grade math teacher could do them. 100 multiplication problems from 0-12 in under 2 minutes and 16 seconds if I remember right. In the 9th grade, I did it, by 2 full seconds, winning myself a restaurant meal for me and a friend, paid for by said teacher. I honestly think he thought no one would ever do it. But I did. 

I always asked for the workbook at the end of the year and took it home and finished it. That's right, we never finished an entire workbook or finished reading an entire textbook in any grade in the entire 12 years. Turns out it wasn't even possible to teach all the material to the middle level when you have to put in required projects and testing that sometimes had nothing to do with the classes in which we did them. I never learned about Ronald Reagan, we never made it that far. History was always distant subjects for the most part. And I would have read them if I had been able to take the textbooks home all summer. 

Public school systems are not made for special students. No matter how many special education teachers they are required to supply, those don't help kids who are advanced, or who need more challenge. Individualized learning plans might be on the right track, but I have of course never experienced them, so I wouldn't be able to say they help. You can't offer AP classes to one student, can you? Most schools won't do it because they have to have a certain number in order to run the class. Then you spend hours sitting in the seats. Hours that are spent waiting for everyone else to work could have been spent in an AP class lesson or something. I usually retreated to the band room, as a band geek I could listen to my own music, play with a music program, goof off on the piano, organize the music teacher's office (he's a true artist, people), read, or whatever. Peace and quiet. 

I am a bit disenchanted by my experience. I don't know if I could ever be convinced that public school would do the best for my children. Homeschooling will work because I can teach them based on their individuality, what they are interested in, what their level is, what their strengths are, work on their weaknesses specifically, going faster or slower based on their motivation or skills. With public school, its all middle. You can't move too fast to keep up with advanced kids because that leaves behind the strugglers, and you can't move so slowly that the strugglers can keep up because then you aren't even covering what's required. It is all middle, even if its individualized somehow. 

Anyway, I like that homeschooling brought the perfect solution for the problems in the article. I like that instead of being overwhelmed daily, the kid is now able to do his work and be social in set times and amounts that are comfortable for him. Not only that, but in groups that are closely guided and structured by adults who have a common goal. As much as people say that smaller sizes are better, somehow a size of 2 in a family home isn't good? Even in the "small class sizes" of 20-30, as hard as the best teacher will try, they won't ever be able to know, understand and be individualizing to every student they have. Not to mention that some teachers and kids just do not get along, which no matter what means that it's going to be hard to teach to them at all, forget trying to personalize it.

Anyway, that's my blab of the day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Story Of My Life....

Living Rural, Having Talent, Zero Opportunity

I was a band geek in school. Ever since 4th grade when they loaned us instruments that we were supposed to learn over the summer, I have always been a music geek. In my school, that meant being pretty much alone. Although for several years there were a few others that were there for the band, most everyone was there for the easy A. I was determined, practiced a lot (even when I didn't need to - there wasn't that much challenging material), and I loved flute! I played a flute that was in an ugly green case for many years before my mom found a beautiful open hole flute and it was a great deal! I still have that flute today and I whip it out now and then.

In school, there is always opportunity to play. We had every day band. Concerts. The competitions. Extra stuff like graduation or senior tea. Stuff here and there. Fun stuff! And as a music geek, I had the opportunity to play several instruments. Seventh grade, our one year music teacher caused a stir; she was young, pretty, and knew what she was talking about. Tuning? What is tuning? We found out in a hurry! She threw me on oboe, and I'm telling you if I love anything more than flute it was oboe! That instrument is a completely different breed, and I'd give almost anything to get my hands on one (except about 3,000$ which is apparently what they cost to get a "real" one!).
I played saxophone for some jazz band type stuff. I played the french horn a couple times. I played a bit of trumpet! I even played bari sax! I would have played clarinet, but to avoid family squabbles, I avoided playing things my sister was already playing (but that didn't stop me from fiddling with it when she wasn't around!)
I was THE band geek. I was the only senior in band my senior year, but even if I hadn't been, I was the award winning total band geek package.

In college it was even better because instead of me and a bunch of kids in it for the goof off class and easy A, every single person who was in the band groups I was in was there because they CHOSE to be there. They were PAYING to be there. And every person there loved it. My first year was such a shock because I went to a music school. I quickly realized my inadequacy in comparison (back to the never challenging enough material), but it didn't take me but a short time to "catch up" and be just as good (I thought) as anyone else there. Well, I guess that's not entirely true; you don't get to be first chair in a college band without being above and beyond, but I was as good as the other average kids there.

And it was a BLAST! When the entire room full of students want to be there, there is just a different level of feeling and spirit in the room. Pieces come together much quicker, which means you can work on tougher material. I talked to the jazz prof about being in jazz band, and he made the quick decision to throw me on bari sax in Jazz 2. I had played bari for about 3 months. Jazz 2 was the 2nd out of 4 "levels" of jazz band that they had. I played 2nd bari next to a guy who was a "super senior".
I won't tell you that I didn't feel the pressure. That was an enormous amount of pressure. I actually had to practice more than I thought I would have. I was playing with kids who had been there a few years, who were TOP musicians, some of which went on 2nd semester to be in Jazz 1. As soloists. Improvisers. Knew their scales so well they could play anything without a single note. I hadn't even heard of such a thing before.  When we played anything in high school, we had notes. I can HEAR what I should be playing, but that doesn't mean my fingers cooperate. I don't think I was ever the one to sit around playing scales repeatedly (though in hindsight, I wish I had!). My great grandfather had the ability to hear a song once, and sit down and play it. I wonder, had I had a piano and the opportnity, if I would have had the same luck? I can definitely play things after hearing them ... though I don't know how to play piano, so it's hard to say. Even so, my fingers are often going as if there's some inner tune playing.

It always drove me crazy when other people played as if they couldn't hear it. Can't you hear it? I was always so frustrated. Can't you hear you are playing a note wrong? I mean, ok, once, but every time? And that rhythm, don't you know it is totally off?

Anyway, the last year of college I went to a community college while planning our wedding. That was an extreme disappointment. There were no performances, therefore no incentive to play. It was this purposeless thing. You weren't learning anything, you weren't doing anything, you weren't heading for anything. Show up, play a piece, play another piece, end. It wasn't hard then to choose to stay at the part time child care job, rather than leave that, drive across town, go to band for an hour, drive across town and finish the job. I ended the semester with an incomplete, "supposing" that if I ever went back I was to "finish" the credit. Tell me, what motivation do I have to go back to a band with no purpose? Especially after years and years of purpose to my playing, purpose to the ensemble, and talent? This was like going back to high school, minus Christmas concert, Spring concert, pep fest, etc. 

Now I live in rural noplace. I think at some point, and probably still, there is a community band that plays in a town about 50 miles away. Obviously, I don't make that drive. No one around here plays "real" band music, the only musicians around here are "rock bands" or "country bands" or "cover bands". Local resorts have bands come play quite often, and there is quite a handful of them to choose from. Some are good, some aren't. I don't go see bands because I'm not into the bar scene, so I can't be a judge of it, but I know there are some people out there doing the gig, but not really being a musician. Luckily for them, people in this area aren't music geeks (or autistic), so they don't care, and when you're drunk a bunch of singing frogs would sound good, so it matters little I guess.

But its disappointing. My one passion has been and probably always will be music. Playing music. Could I have been in an orchestra and playing "the big time" like the Minnesota Orchestra or something? I am pretty confident I could have, eventually. However, I would have to live in Minneapolis, and I'm certain I am not willing to do that. The town 50 miles away isn't bad. I'm not wanting to live IN town. I just want to live close enough to a band to be a part of it. Close enough to a community that cares and values real music. I have no outlet for this, no real motivation to do anything where I'm at. And I can feel how much of a part of my life is missing, empty. Watching my brother in his band and choir the past few years has been almost like living it. How much I desire that. I want that. I want college forever just to have a band to play in, a choir to sing in. I need this. This is what's missing.

My son is 6 and a good age to start playing something. He is interested in piano and violin, two perfectly wonderful instruments. Again, 50 miles is not a distance that we can choose to drive often enough to manage lessons, not to mention the cost of the lessons in the first place. I could get him a violin and probably teach him myself, or even use the internet. Still, getting ahold of that violin isn't as attainable as I would like. One thing I know, I don't want my son growing up without a musical outlet. This kid sits in his room playing cars and legos, singing at the top of his lungs all these tunes he's made up (sometimes mixed with something he's heard). He never hits a wrong note. He loves music. This morning he said that listening to the radio (classical minnesota public radio) is nice (he listens every single night all night long to sleep), but he prefers The Four Seasons. HAHAH! He conducts, he knows every note, he is already a music geek.

And unlike me, I want to give him the opportunities I didn't have. I want him to be able to learn piano. You can do so much with piano that you just can't do with a flute. I want him to learn violin, so he can play The Four Seasons. I want him to have the opportunity to have so much more than I had, musically, and I don't want him to have to dumb down to a music program that is not at his level. That wasn't fair for me, and it's not fair for him either.

So, I'm hoping for someday soon to be able to have more for him. Give him what I didn't get. That, I guess, is my focus. However, if we get the opportunity to move to a place where he can have that, maybe I can have it too.