How An Air Force Tradition Turned Into A Fun Crafty Art Project…


It’s tradition in the Air Force to donate something to the squadron, usually a piece of artwork.  A friend of mine (actually my neighbor) is an incredibly talented artist and she does these amazing glass work using recycled glass.  I wanted to commission her to make something for our squadron, but unfortunately she was too busy with other commissions, and she was outside of our meager price range.  I attempted to contact other artists in the region, but no one was willing to do what I was looking for.  So I took to the internet, and ordered the supplies I needed to build a mosaic of my husband’s squadron patch.  Due to me not quite knowing the readership of this blog, I won’t be posting the finished product yet.

Anyway, I needed so many tiles, that I ended up with a severe surplus of tiles, and grout.  So I made another project for my son’s school.  They just were donated land at the local college, and just did a ground breaking last month.  I made a puzzle piece mosaic.  I needed to buy even MORE tile to complete that project.  At the end of it, I had over 7 containers of glass mosaic tiles, glue, and grout.  I found wooden canvases at Michael’s.  So I started making more mosaics.  It’s fun, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it’s something I probably will end up selling on Etsy, for those people who don’t have the time, or energy to do cool decor in their own home.  Anyway, if you want to try making a mosaic wall hanging (or any other type of mosaic, here’s how you do it):

What you will need:

Tiles  ($14.99)


Grout and Mosaic Glue ($7.99 for the grout, glue is $14.99– not pictured):


Grout Snippers ($9.99):


Wood Canvas ($13.99)


To make:

  1. Draw a simple design…  For the V, I also bought 12X12 letter stencils.  For the starfish, I took a starfish and traced it twice on the wood.
  2. Select, and arrange the color tiles you want.  The more circular the design the more you will have to snip the tiles with the snippers
  3. Glue the tiles down, and let it dry 2-3 hours.  This part of the project is the longest.  Make sure you have strong hands, because the glue is thick.  Also wear gloves, because it hurts when you peel the old glue off…

    IMG_0192 IMG_0191
    The Starfish and “V” initial before grouting

  4. Mix grout and spread it on the design.  This is also relatively time consuming part of the project.  Make sure all the visible wood has plenty of grout.  I put it on really, really thick, and spread it with a plastic putty knife.  Let dry for 30 minutes
  5. Sponge off with a damp (not soaking wet, but not dry) soft sponge, and old towel…

    Finished products:

    IMG_0194 IMG_0202
    The “V” one is with black grout, the starfish is white grout…

Going Negative..

I know that the purpose of my blog is to spread positive vibes and feelings, and not dwell on the negative, but I wanted to address something that bugs me.  My biggest pet peeve ever.  It is the argument used by many people when talking about immunizations.  I don’t know how many times I have seen it, but one of the primary arguments used against parents, who are opposed to vaccinations is “Autism is not caused by vaccines, fear of autism is bad, and autism is not bad,” or “I would rather have an autistic child, than a child with measles…”

I see red when I read these statements.  I have autism, I agree that it’s not 100% bad, autism is part of who I am, but that doesn’t mean I like it.  This is what autism does for me– it makes me question my intelligence, it makes me feel stupid, it makes me feel inadequate, and it undermines me when I attempt to make friends.  It hinders my ability to concentrate, and often I find that people, who know about the fact I have autism use it to undermine me.  So while, yes, life is in general good, and I love living.  I don’t like living with autism.

It’s even more heartbreaking when I look at my son.  I love him, please don’t question that.  I don’t love autism.  I hate it passionately.  There is NOTHING good about his autism.  It has robbed him of his potential.  It often made him inaccessible.  It has made it hard for others to relate to our family.  It may not be always death sentence, but it is a life sentence.  Though I love him, my son will be someone’s burden for the rest of his life.  When I die, I will hand the burden to someone else– like his sister (how fair is that?).  He will probably grow up to be a man-child.  He won’t go to college.  He won’t get married.  He won’t have children.  He is not Max from Parenthood.  If I elect to do so, he will probably live in a group home with other men and women with limited mental capacity and hold menial jobs the rest of his life.  I don’t see how that is good or bad, compared to a disease that lasts 14 days with a 97% survival rate.

If it were between him having autism, and him having measles.  I would take the measles every day, and twice on Sunday.  Measles, though deadly in the past, is hardly deadly anymore.  Less than 3% of people who contract measles presently die.  Whereas, the death rate from autism and co-morbid conditions– 60%.  Yep that’s right– 60%.  That doesn’t even account for 75% of children with autism will be abused in some way, and 45% of those 75% will sexually abused.  Autism is a lifelong condition.  The 97% who survive measles have it for 14 days. If I went to Vegas, I would bet on Measles.

I realize that autism probably isn’t caused by vaccines.  I get that.  I’m not an idiot.  But pro-vaccine camp, please don’t belittle the everyday struggle that parents face with children on the spectrum.  While autism is not all bad, it’s not great, and it is a path that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  Every child with autism is different, just like typically developing children.  Some children are violent, some are pacifists.  Some children are highly intelligent, some children have low-IQs.  And yes, goods often outweigh the bad things, but when a parent, who has never walked the path, states that autism can’t be that bad as to avoid vaccinations. Autism is scary, autism is expensive, and autism is life altering.  If there were definitive proof (and my son didn’t react negatively to shots), that vaccines caused autism, you bet your ass I would not give immunizations to my children.

Further, as a mom of a child on the spectrum, I ask both sides one favor.  Don’t use my son’s condition as an argument for, or against vaccines.  It’s just that simple.  Pro-vaxers, it is not as simple as vaccines cause autism.  Most parents are not that stupid as to follow Jenny McCarthy down that rabbit hole.  There are MANY factors that go into making that kind of decision, and faced with ridicule, a constant barrage of negative shit, and even being told that I abused my son, it took TWO adverse reactions before I decided NOT to vaccinate him further.  As for my daughter, she was vaccinated on a delayed schedule, and only receives the bare minimum.  Watching one child in the hospital was enough to make me question the safety of vaccines.  Just about every person I know who is opposed to vaccines has had similar reactions.  Unfortunately, most doctors do not acknowledge those reactions.  They do not properly document the reactions.  It is damn near impossible, even with a medically documented case (I have TWO separate ER reports stating vaccine reaction) to get a medical exemption.  What no one tells you when you get one either, is that it also expires, and there is no guarantee if you have to switch doctors that the other doctor will follow it.  It just causes more animosity among parents. That said, I do believe that children with autism have the propensity to have vaccine reactions, but for the anti-vax camp, don’t use fear of a condition motivate your decision.  There are plenty of reasons to look at vaccinations with scrutiny.  Autism should not be the reason you avoid vaccinations.  It is hard to be strong when there is so much opposition, and so many people who treat doctors as gods.  Though the connection between autism and vaccines is unproven, there still needs to be more research as to why children with autism tend to have higher instances of reaction.

In A New York State of Mind…


One year ago today I was one month away from a marathon that I will never, ever (did I mention ever) forget.  I don’t think words can really express what it was like running that marathon.  It was an emotional experience.  If you are a football fan, and watch the Superbowl, I now understand what football players feel like when they enter the stadium.  The ironic thing is that even now I still get chills when I think about that marathon.  I still remember the emotions leading up to, the emotions I had the day of the race, the dramatic feeling when I was injured, and the fear that this would be my last race ever.  But it isn’t my last race ever.

My only wish is that I could have run it this year instead of last year. I am nearly 15 pounds lighter, I am running much stronger, and my finish time would have been awesome, but that said it was the race to end all races. I have yet to find anything comparable.  Disney is NOT comparable.  Yes running through the castle is really neat, especially given that I grew up going to Disney, and it holds a really special place in my heart, but it is not New York.  Here are the memories I have:

I remember waiting forever for the race to start.  Sitting next to an absolute stranger and talking excitedly about how wonderful this day was going to be…


I remember running across the first bridge.  It was 40 degree with 45 mile per hour winds.  It was so windy that peoples’ discarded clothing was flying through the air.


I remember hearing the people once I got into the Bronx and Little Havana.  That was the one thing that blew me away.  First three miles on the bridge, and then you could hear it a little bit at first, but once you hit the first borough, it was a dull roar of people.  There were people 5 deep.  I remember high fiving little kids, and having them say, “Gracias Mamacita,” only for them to spring a few blocks down the street to get high fived again.  I remember the fire department in Brooklyn, with the fireman holding his infant son with his arm stuck out for a high five.  I remember NYPD smiling, and laughing and cheering.  It was cold, but everyone WANTED to be there.

I remember crossing the Queensboro bridge at mile 16, and again hearing the dull roar about .5 miles out of people.  Then seeing people 16-20 thick waiting on the other side of the bridge for us.  The cheering was so loud it was like you were entering a stadium.  I remember running through Queens and hearing the Queens Baptist church singing hymns.  It was one of the only marathons I didn’t listen to music, because it the city was so alive and vibrant.  You didn’t need music to get through it, and if you had head phones on, you were going to miss it.


I remember hitting mile 20, and thinking that I would never be able to finish.  My hip hurt so badly, and it was so uncomfortable.  I was cold.  My husband gave me a sweatshirt he had brought with.  I hung my head in shame that I was not going to get my goal. But somehow at mile 23, I had enough in me to go for just three more miles.  That’s what I kept telling myself, it’s 3 more miles.


I hobbled through the park, and got to the finish line.  I remember hearing someone just screaming so loudly he was hoarse.  The voice was somewhat familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it until Marathon Monday, when I discovered it was Hugh Jackman, one of my favorite actors.  He had sat out in the bleachers and cheered just about every runner in.  It was so touching.  Not just having him out there and cheering, but every last New Yorker and visitor who came on that cold, windy day to cheer.  I don’t know if they realize how much they change me as a runner, or how deeply they affected me.  That blustery November Day was the 3rd best day of my life– the first was getting married, followed closely by giving birth to two wonderful children (though some days the ranking is different), but that day was up there.  That one day, I was a New Yorker, and a marathoner.  If I don’t qualify for Boston, I want to go back to New York.  I ❤ New York.

Wow, It’s Been A Month!


My dog is ready to run again, and I’m ready to write again.

I haven’t been writing much, I haven’t been doing much.  It’s been a rough summer, a rough fall, and now we are approaching a rough winter.  To recap, in June my father passed away.  Following his death, my son’s beloved teacher was murdered.  The killers are still at large.  I came down with bronchitis and ended up bed ridden for a week. Then a few weeks later, a police officer was gunned down, and the suspect was also killed.  Our city was on lock down for a few days.

I took some much needed personal time to get things in my personal life figured out.  It is hard to write, be positive, and even think when there is so much negative going on.  I did nothing to do with writing (except submitting the minimal number of articles for Many Kind Regards), instead I spent my days and nights playing Fantasy Football, running, and spending time with my kids.  You don’t realize how children are affected by tragedy and loss, until they are. I needed this time to think, to re-evaluate, and to figure things out.

I still don’t have everything figured out, but we are doing better.  I restarted writing the second novel.  I have yet to post another day in my writing challenge– just not ready for that yet.  And now I’m re-attacking the blog.  I have also lost 15 pounds (I have 10 more pounds to lose in preparation for my kind of, sort of, but not really last marathon).  I started a training plan in preparation for the kind of, sort of, but not really last marathon.  Last night I signed up for the kind of, sort of, but not really last marathon.  I find out next month if we are leaving our beloved home for five years for a new base, and since the leaves are falling, it’s time to turn a new leaf.

Expect to hear more from me shortly…