Monday, July 19, 2010

Back To Reality - Anniversary, The Day After

Greetings, Aspierations Friends!

If you followed my blog at all in the past week, you couldn't help but be bombarded with advertising for Karen & John's 18th Wedding Anniversary.  Everywhere you looked, it was there.  Mini-date here, mini-date there, romance, love, blah blah blah!!  I guess I was trying to create a little mini-fantasy life if just for a couple hours, if only for a couple days. Sigh...  :-)

My ring has 14 mini diamonds, one for each month we were engaged and one larger diamond representing the big day. John's ring has 4 mini diamonds with interwoven chain links indicating that our marriage is connected throughout all four seasons.

(Man, I look young!)

Here is 18 years later!

Bet you thought I'd say, "Man, I look old!"  (Well, I thought it!)

Instead I'll say that purple spells passion and redheads have more fun!  :-)


GROUCHY TANGENT -- Blogger keeps realigning my photos so they're on the left instead of centered.  Then it keeps adding random line breaks so that there is all this white space. I keep logging back in to delete and change the html but nothing works!  Everytime I edit it gets worse so this is my last edit for now. If anyone knows how to fix this, please, please, let me know!  Thanks!


Well, anniversary time for 2010 is over now and I will soon be getting back to my normally scheduled programming of various blogs related to life being a Mom on the autism spectrum parenting two sons diagnosed with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.  I'll admit, it was fun taking a little break to share with you a few of my thoughts on romance. The light stuff adds levity and as you get to know me better through my writing, you'll find that I talk about a lot of heavy, deep and emotional stuff but I also try to balance it out with humor, hope and inspiration.

For those wondering how our anniversary went, I would say that overall the day went well because I was after all, with my husband and that is what it's about, right?  The day became more of a family day than an "us" day.  To be truthful, John and I were both feeling a bit bummed last night because we had to cancel our date reservation at "The Melting Pot" in Portland.  We had hoped to go out for dinner and perhaps dancing to celebrate 18 years on the 18th but had absolutely no luck in finding respite care or a babysitter.  I tried to keep a smile on my face, positive attitude and open arms all day but I felt I let John down.

Part of my struggle as an Aspie woman is making good social connections.  We moved to Washington from California a little over three years ago and live in a neighborhood filled with families and couples whose kids have grown. I feel really bad that in three years of living here, I have not forged strong enough connections with anyone to be able to ask someone to help us out.  I always try to be friendly and engaging but even at age 42, I am still "the puzzle piece that doesn't fit" with the ladies of the 'hood.  

For any care over a few hours we would need an adult but for 2 - 3 hours, we have a list of up to five possible teenage babysitters whose parents live in the neighborhood that we can try.  No luck! I guess Sunday, July 18th was a popular evening!

I called my parents to thank them for their nice anniversary card and they said that when we're in California visiting for my Dad's 80th birthday next month, they would be willing to watch the kids a few hours while we have a raincheck anniversary date.  Although we know the kids are both a little overwhelming for them at times, it was an incredibly sweet offer and should the cards deal a winning hand, we'll make a new mini-date in California.  I'm sure we will need it by then!

In the meantime, I'm not going to mope because we did do something fun with family and it was also something intrinsically rewarding as well.  I am on a ton of Autism / Aspergers advocacy and support email lists and the Autism Society of Southwest Washington Clark and Skamania Counties just happened to be holding a picnic in Vancouver on July 18th from noon to three p.m.  Since we had missed out on the national convention and since we knew the day was going to end up being with family, I thought it might be fun to take the boys out to Lake Vancouver and see if we might meet some people and maybe make some connections.  We had never formally met anyone from the ASW before and I figured, if I was going to connect with anyone, it would be other spectrumites.  (I was also holding out just a teensy bit of hope that there might be someone there with a last minute respite care reference but that definitely wasn't the main objective.)

As it turns out, everyone in our family had a really nice time.  Not all of us wanted to initially go, not all of us wanted to eat there, not all of us wanted to be hanging out with strangers but when all was said and done, the family meltdown count was only at 17 (was hoping for 18 on the 18 but it just wasn't meant to be) and I was able to get some great photos with the boys that I will cherish for a lifetime.  I love my family!

Wanna see the photos?  You're already here and you've read this far.  Might as well take a look!  This may just be the best part of the blog anyway.  (Hmm....not sure if that comes across as arrogant, silly or self-deprecating but we'll leave it for you to figure out!)


Here is John and Karen's 18th Anniversary day in pictures.  

But first, a tangent break sponsored by Hair Club for Women!

I had no idea whether to wear my hair up or down for John so as you'll see, I did both.  Usually I wear my hair up in a ponytail.  After seeing these photos, I will be getting a haircut soon.  Long, medium or short, I never know about this stuff!  I had the same hairstylist for about 15 years who I really liked and then when we moved to Washington, I was freaked out about trying to find a new one.  As such, I have had maybe 3 haircuts in 3 years. Pretty lame, I know!  If there is anyone out there that has any style tips, just let me know!  Hair today, gone tomorrow!  

So as I said, here are our photos from the day.  I like to take photos because it seems like we have a lot of visual thinking going on in our family.  Plus, it's a great way to show family members who are long distance what we're up to.  (Even my Dad is on Facebook!)

Ready for a grrrreat day, no matter what comes my way!

Ready for the remake of Hawaii Five-O!

Ryan asked, "Mommy are you 18?"  He got a big kiss and hug!

I was trying to make an infinity sign.  Instead it looks like... well, never mind!

I see a cake, a feather boa, Las Vegas.... and helium balloons that don't hold their helium overnight!

Time to go to the picnic and meet some girls!

I hope there are going to be video games there!

I like the puzzle piece coming out of the apple!

Picnic fare:  Ryan's hamburger was very plain.  It didn't even have the meat! Bun only. Justin's hamburger was invisible.  Mom's hamburger turned out to be a gluten free hot dog. John, well... he eats anything!

Kids: Smiling (check!)  Husband: Wanting me to hurry up with the "photo shoot" (My Czech!)

Amazing 18th Anniversary Gift #1 -- This photo with me and Justin both genuinely happy!

Amazing Anniversary Gift # 2 - This photo with me and Ryan, both genuinely happy!

Amazing Anniversary Gift # 3:  John and Justin bonding.

Amazing Anniversary Gift # 4:  John and Ryan going to bond

** On a side note, John and I didn't have any pictures of ourselves together on our Anniversary but ironically we all have photos alone or with each other.  Oh well, let me find one from our wedding day for you! **

There, that's better!

Today's girlfriend! She likes the game "Let's Chase the Ryan" too!

Fun by Lake Vancouver (which happens to be 18 miles away from our home and still in the same city!)
Okay, John corrected me and said it was the Columbia River.  I knew that... really!  Sigh...

I thought I was getting something personalized (ergo, the box).  Instead, it's another Criminal Minds DVD set. My look shows this, "What kind of guy gives Serial Killer TV shows for someone's anniversary???"

Seriously?  This is a bit overkill, don't you think?  What happened to the flowers and jewelry? (Kidding!)

Wonder if John noticed he got 18 gifts?  (Nope, he didn't...)

John liked this photo so I included it.  Notice hair back up?  

Ryan crawled into my lap so we could do the number 54, his favorite! (18 x 3 = 54!)

Dad, did you use Scope first?  I saw you eating stinky garlic bread!

Insert caption here! Tiger Karen channeling her inner goofball?

Why yes, this IS the Animal House!

So, after the picnic which I will probably write in more depth about at a later time, we got home, the boys got their video game and computer fix, we ordered the boys' favorite meal and played some Wii Carnival Games Miniature Golf.  (Everyone always can agree on Old Spaghetti Factory.  We should have stock in the restaurant.  The phone girl knows John's voice and order by heart.)  We then talked to my parents on the phone, lounged on the sofa and watched a little TV.

Admittedly, we also snuck in a few emails and a bit of work because the kids sure weren't going to bed..

I contemplated turning the clocks ahead and telling the kids it was time for snoozing but unfortunately, I knew that wouldn't work.  Neither son particularly understood the concept that Mom and Dad wanted some "us" time but Justin did say one sweet thing after dinner.  He looked at me, and said, "Mom, I'm sorry that you and Dad didn't get to have your special date."

Empathy is a difficult thing for our boys and so his words really touched me.  Between that, the great hugs I got from Justin and Ryan at the picnic and just spending time with John and my family, it was a very memorable day.

Right now I need to go be Mom and mediator.  ARRRGH! (House mediator should be my middle name.)  I guess the fantasy is now over as it was a challenging Monday and a mixed night...  Difficult times but it will get better!  Be right back!

I'm back...  but rather than take away from the positive attitude I wanted to convey in this post and the happy memories that I have of most of the photos above, I will go ahead and end things here!  But first I will look at the pictures above of me and Justin and me and Ryan hugging!  There, that's the smile I needed!  Peace!  :-)

Talk with you soon, Aspierations friends!

Come As You Are, Let Your Light Shine!
Today is the first day of the rest of your life!  Make it count!

Your friendly Aspierations blogger,


  1. Sorry about all the weirdly aligned photos! Blogger vs. Karen is turning into a Blogger blowout. Now if it were Frogger vs. Karen, I'd have a better chance!

    I will not go down without a fight and hope to figure out what I'm doing wrong soon. In the meantime, just consider my quirky photo alignment to align with quirky me! :-)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thank for sharing your day. The pictures are just beautiful! You both were and are a beautiful couple!

  3. Hi June!
    Thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comment! You are always such a sweetheart and always welcome here! :-)

  4. Dearest Karen, Your probably still upset about what that troll said the other day. I see you erased it. Not good to encourage dastardly fiends.

    I think you are a more fine lady now. Like an aged bottle of wine you do not depreciate but appreciate in time. Are you appraised by your spouse accordingly? Do not settle for back rack. Be the rare red. Be the Screaming Eagle.


  5. Thank you, Connoisseur for your kind words and colorful analogy. I'll admit I wasn't sure what being the Screaming Eagle was so had to google it. It sounds like very expensive wine so I will take that as a compliment, thanks! :-)