Friday, 29 February 2008

Can you tell the difference

Do you remember I did a post on unusual houses around the world?
Can you tell from these photos which are genuine houses and which have been digitally manipulated?
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Bright ideas!

Some of humankind’s most creative brains have kept themselves busy creating answers for needs that didn’t exist and solutions that are more cumbersome than the problems they promised to tackle. Here are a few of the inventions that didnt make it.

1. Device for waking persons from sleep Patent no 256265, issued 1882
Sometimes, an alarm clock just isn’t quite enough for rousing heavy sleepers to face the day. So why not hang an array of weights on a frame above the snoozer’s head and, with the help of clockwork machinery, drop them upon their head until they wake? “When they fall it will strike a light blow, sufficient to awaken the sleeper, but not heavy enough to cause pain,” assures the

2. Cat duster

3. Water-filled brassiere Patent no US4734078, issued 1988
Wonder bra meets Waterworld. The American Inventor, James Moreau, explains it best (if it can be explained): “A brassiere which surrounds the breasts with water, so that a buoyant force provides improved and independent support for each breast. A transparent version is suggested for those who wish to make a fashion statement.”

4. Sleeve nose wiper 5. Sound-muffler for covering the mouthPatent no 4834212, issued 1989
It’s the invention that really makes you want to scream – but no one will hear you. Moira and Frank Figone a couple from Belmont, California, created this face-tube device to enable purchasers to “Yell or scream without disturbing others, allowing them to vent built-up anger and frustration.” In this fiendishly basic design, the interior of the flat-bottomed muffler tube is coated with sound-absorbing foam. But here’s the clever bit: a microphone can be included to pick up a some sound and activate a light display or meter, “giving the user immediate visual feedback as to the intensity of sound produced

6. Speaks for its self.

7. Alarm-equipped forkUS patent 5,421,089, issued 1995
Are you a manic masticator or a super fast food shoveller? The cutlery creators Nicole Dubus and Springfield Susan have come up with the just answer for you: a fork with a built in timer and alarm. The timer’s circuitry is connected to the handle of the fork and buzzes or lights up after a preset time, ensuring that eaters leave sufficient space between forkfuls for chewing 32 healthy times before swallowing. A must for business lunches and candlelit dinners.

8. Finger tooth brush 9. The trouser-cushionUK patent application No GB2267208, 1993
British inventor Michael Bayley decided to put an end to standing nightmares by creating portable seat that you wear on a waist-belt. OK, it’s a somewhat convoluted version of having a cushion with a loop that goes through your belt. “The seat cushion is pivotable between a stowed position and a seating position in which it hangs down so that you can sit on it,” says the patent application.

10. Butter stick 11. Over the years there have also been many inventions of the cause of autism, old and new.

If you liked these you can see the winners of Britain’s Landfill Prize for the most pointless, over complicated and wasteful consumer objects from the past 12 months.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Afrika! Afrika!

Thank you everyone for your help full suggestions yesterday. Will let you know how it all goes.

I try and make a point of taking C to see a show every time he is home. I have to choose carefully. Yesterdays choice went down really well!

We went to see Afrika! Afrika! at the O2 Arena.

I am not a circus fan, but this show blew my mind! It was adrenalin-pumping! The music was wonderful, and vibrated through the seats, the whole show was very visual which C watched out of the corner of his eye (peripheral vision) he even took his fingers out of his ears! The show kept Cs interest the whole way through which is a first!
This lady on the left made a few people feel sick and they had to run out! You had to see it to believe it!

It was too dark to take any photos in the arena, so i took one of C on the way home - escalator watching.

With all this over stimulation C used to find it too much and would of had a melt down by now. But these days he has found ways to calm himself, when we got home he sat on the loo in the dark for an hour and a half. (I have learnt not to take him to a loo at a show!)

Today I take C back to school, stopping off at the hospital on the way for a 3rd and hopefully final helmet fitting. Unfortunately he hasn't found a way of coping with things like this yet.

Monday, 25 February 2008


C and I have some enormous changes happening this year, and the thought of these changes have been worrying me and getting me down.

At the age of 14 in this country we start talking about transition plans for when your child leaves school. C leaves school some time this year, and there are no transition plans in place.

Over a year ago I found somewhere for C, I didn’t want him vegetating in an out of date day centre or segregated through independent living, these seem to be the 2 main choices. So it took me a couple of years to find somewhere that i felt C would be happy in and continue to grow.

Because they haven’t dotted the I’s and crossed the T's (re the funding) time is slipping by. C finds change incredibly difficult, (When he moved up from Junior to senior school, it took over a year of the most horrendous head banging, till he settled, he is now 2 foot taller and much stronger) and a change this big for him scares me, especially when we could have been using this time to prepare him.
If i am honest I am afraid, I fear for C's safety, of the unknown, the change, etc and it has been doing my head in, not to put it too bluntly!!

C is ready to leave school, he is ready to leave the class room behind and stop being taught how to count to one, he is ready to experience a more adult environment. And I'm sure he will flourish when he has become used to it. It’s the getting used to it bit that I worry for him.

And then I read this, which when I thought about it made some sense to me. So I wanted to share these thoughts with you, and try and reinforce them for myself. Its about fear being an illusion. False Expectations Appearing Real - its all in our imaginations. Which of course it is, as it hasnt happened yet.

As we become more absorbed in fear we strengthen the existence of the very thing that we fear.

So I am trying to think positive!
It may all go smoothly! Sorry - it will all go smoothly.

Would love to hear what you do to distract yourself from worrying about things.

On a completely different note, I was cheered up no end this morning when I opened an email and was met with these words ‘We spotted this cow and thought of you’! Love it! Thank you Elissa!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Obsolete skills

I found a list of obsolete skills - some brought back memories!

Adjusting Rabbit Ears On Top Of ATV
Adjusting A Televisions Horizontal And Vertical Holds
Calling A Phone Sex Line (was this a skill?)
Changing The Ball Or Ribbon On Your Electric Typewriter
Darning A Sock
Dialling A Rotary Phone
Getting Off The Couch To Change Channels On Your TV Set
Knowing What Part Of Town Someone Lives In By Their Phone Exchange
Licking Stamps Or Envelopes
Making A Nail Art Picture
Remembering Telephone Numbers
Replacing Shoe Sole And Heels
Sending A Telegram
Taking The Tape Out Of An Answering Machine
Winding A Watch Or Clock

For the complete list have a look here.

Can you think of any more?

Friday, 22 February 2008

Our children teach us

Raising a child is undoubtedly the most important thing you will do with your life.
Children: have the ability to turn our lives upside down, to disrupt our plans and our sleep, to try our patience, and to elicit our most ferocious love. But children also have the power to teach us the greatest lessons we'll ever learn....

Some of the things i have learnt;
You have eyes in the back of your head.
You have radar ears
To take nothing for granted.
To trust my instincts.
Unconditional love.
Sense of humour is essential for survival.
Accepting of my own frailties and failings.
All the words to Thomas the tank engine.

I found this over at Jim's DEEP Thoughts, these are things i have also learnt as a parent.

Most of society sees people with disabilities as persons who are flawed, pitiful and without dignity. But we see ourselves as a vital and proud community, with values of our own that enhance our quality of life, values that could enhance life for all:
Tolerance for others' differences (racial, intellectual, financial/class)
Matter-of-fact orientation toward helping; acceptance of human interdependence over rugged individualism.
High tolerance for lack of resolution, living with unknowns or less-than-ideal outcomes.
Characteristic dark humour, laughing at the oppressor, finding humour in almost any aspect of life
Highly developed skills at managing multiple problems, systems, and helpers.
Creativity, lack of rigidity, ability to use traditional elements in new ways to solve problems
Sophisticated future orientation; planning around anticipated obstacles.
Ability to read others' attitudes; skill at filling in the gaps and sorting out contradictory messages.

Convinced that through their honest hearts and open minds children can help us to reconnect with our own innocence... cultivate patience and gratitude... live more spontaneously... rediscover the pleasures of play... be profoundly present in our relationships... and, ultimately, become better parents and happier people.

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”

What have you learnt?

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Clear Blue Water Update

Karen Montague-Reyes who writes the Clear Blue Water comic strip has written a comment on the post i did which i think you will be interested to read.

I am the creator of the comic strip Clear Blue Water. I was referred here by someone, and I'm glad I was. What an interesting discussion. This is the first discussion I've come across about this that has stayed civilized and that's both remarkable and refreshing.

Perhaps I wasn't clear in my response, but we do love and accept our son without question just the way he is. We appreciate his quirks, and find joy in his enthusiasm. If I could go back and choose to either have him or not, I'd choose to have him. But I would do things differently. I wouldn't vaccinate him. I would fight for early intervention therapies that I just didn't know about when he was small (we weren't on the internet, and no doctors mentioned them to us.) I would do these things so that he might be higher functioning. I would do these things to give him a better quality of life.

Perhaps I misspoke when I said he wasn't fine and had no quality of life. He is happy. He is loved. I don't want to get into specifics about my son's behavior, and without doing that it's very hard to explain what I mean. Let's just say that he will never experience living on his own. He will never have a job or have friends. He will never fall in love and get married. He will never have children. He will never understand where we went when my husband and I finally die. He will never know or care that he can't do any of those things, but I want them for him. I want them enough for both of us.

One thing this discussion has brought home to me is that I have a huge repsonsability with my comic strip. These recent strips were written over the Christmas holidays. My son had an extremely horrible Christmas break, and so did the rest of the family. I wrote these out of sadness and desperation. No they weren't supposed to be funny, I just wanted to show other families that they are not alone with their destructive, often difficult children. However, I have realized that the point I want to get across in my strip is one more of hope, than desperation, so I have pulled a strip from running and I am going to spend this week writing more positive strips about autism and about parenting Seth. They will not run until April, but I wanted to let you know that what you have written has resonated with me.

I have emailed Karen to thank her for taking on board all of your comments.

Respect to Karen for listening to us and changing her approach to her comic strip.

And thank you all for giving Karen some food for thought.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

The morning after...

Its been a tiring weekend at the House of Shrek. Saturday I held an awards party and yesterday we all an interesting discussion. I think its great that everyone is able to have a say and we can listen and learn from others points of view. We will have to do that again sometime!!

So this morning I am handing out these stickers to put on your eye lids so you can have a sleep at work and hopefully no one will notice.

But keep one eye open in case someone switches cups on you!

Or why not treat yourself and have your nails done?
(As you know i like to try and find you things that are different.)

If you dont fancy that, dare i ask.....would you have your pussy painted?

My cat is keeping out of the way!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Clear Blue Water

Karen Montague-Reyes writes a comic strip Clear Blue Water about family life with Seth a young autistic boy who headbangs. Ive been following it for a few weeks now (ive had a few reservations but as i know its only a comic Ive let them go). But yesterday I was saddened to read the above strip so i wrote to Karen.

Dear Karen
I have a 19 year old non verbal autistic son who head bangs, so I was delighted when I was told of your comic strip as I thought what a great way to raise the profile of autism.
So I was very sad to read in today’s strip that in a perfect world Seth would be fine.
Autism is fine! My son is fine, I love every autistic inch of him. And im sure autistic people themselves who read this would be very upset.
Its the unaccepting world that isn’t fine.
I and many other parents work very hard to try and raise awareness in a positive way. Couldn’t you use your gift as a comic strip writer to help people to see that the many autistic kids and adults are wonderful and loved for who they are?
Thank you

And this was Karen's prompt reply;

You make a good point. I certainly didn't mean to make anyone with autism feel badly about themselves. I have a 12 year old severely autistic son, and I have a different perspective than yours. I love him with all my heart, but if I could take his autism away tomorrow I would do it. My son is not fine the way he is. His quality of life is very low, so in my perfect world, my son would be healed of autism. I realize this is never going to happen, and we love and accept him as he is right now, but this doesn't change my feelings.

There is a split in the autism community about this, as you must know. Some folks agree more with you, and some more with me. However, I can only write my comic strip from my own point of view, which is, of course, what I did here.

I am not saying all autism spectrum disorders are bad. I have a few family members with Aspergers and they are not disabled, in fact they seem to have many wonderful gifts. I also know a few high functioning autistic people and I feel about them the same way. It's not a bad way to be, it's just a different way to be. Perfectly fine. But low-functioning autism is terrible, not to put too fine of a point on it.

I'm all for raising awareness in a positive way though, and I can certainly get behind that. In fact, that is my entire point for putting autism in my strip in the first place. I think we'll have to agree to disagree about this issue. Your son sounds very lucky to have such a loving mother.
Take care.

Whilst surfing for Karen’s email I also came across this discussion about the strip.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Bent over backwards....

First a big thank you to everyone who has bestowed me with an award. I thought it about time I dusted them off and passed them around! So between Thomas the tank engine DVDs I have bent over backwards….......drum roll please! Make your selves comfortable, theres room for all! Lets party.......

This first one i present to;

You make my day goes to;
titration for her posters.

Wonderful women, goes to;

E for Excellent goes to

A big Mwah for

This 'I see the beauty within' is a new award I recieved from
I would like to pass it on to

Blog friends forever goes to

Oh and i have also invited Will Smith to this party as he did such a great impression of Mother of Shrek in his latest film 'I am Legend'

And so noone goes away empty handed will you please all take one of these!

Thank you all so much for coming!