After years of asking, he changes his mind….

So….. it is almost October and October means Halloween, If you have not been here long, you may not understand just how much Halloween means to us here in the Taking it a Step at a Time house. Never fear…..you will soon learn.

DC has chosen his costumes (yes, plural – he has one for every party because, just one would be very boring) and I have to say that I was a little disappointed by his choices this season – but…… this is not about me. It is, but we will pretend that it is not….

October is also the time for Halloween reruns from the previous year, so to kick the month off, here is the first Halloween themed post from last year….

“Jim Dear?” – Not this year….

 

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So Halloween is upon us.  It is already September and we are a little bit behind schedule this year. We usually have our costumes chosen and purchased in August. We did pick out our “official” Halloween night costumes way back in April or May so we are not 100% behind, but we are still behind. There are plenty of parties to attend for which DC must have different costumes (gotta love this boy!).

Okay maybe we like Halloween just a little teeny tiny bit -but we’re not obsessed or anything….

Last week we discussed what party costumes he wanted to wear this ‘Holiday’ season. This is always a little bit of a challenge.  At times the costumes that DC requests are just people that he likes who happen to be wearing regular everyday clothing, or it is an obscure character that nobody knows but him (he might get that from me).  Most of the time there is no such costume available so my mission is to come up with something or make up something that at least in his mind, makes the point.

The one costume that continues to make the list from the time DC was very young is “Jim Dear” from Lady and the Tramp.

(sigh….)  A man in a suit…..

Not my idea of a Halloween costume, but – this is not about me….

……not ALL about be, anyway.

 But, this year I was prepared.

Last October we attended a fundraiser/gala with Tony Orlando. The gala had a 1940’s theme. It was not a costume party, it was a theme, but in keeping with DC’s love of costumes, I bought him a 40’s style hat to wear with his suit. There was also the added incentive to get him excited about going to the event of calling the hat and suit a costume.  While I was shopping for said hat, I came across a derby style hat that closely resembles the hat that “Jim Dear” wears. I purchased that to save for this year.

While looking for items to make a “Timekeeper – Spy Kids – All The Time in the World” (yes, we must use the proper and entire title) costume last year I came across a tremendous amount of steampunk costumes.  I discovered them too late for last years’ costumes (they had already been chosen and we can’t mess around with the costume line-up)  but I knew that they would be a great option for this year.

2015 would finally be the year of “Jim Dear”.

I had everything ready when we sat down to choose his costumes. I had a choice of two suits up on the screen, I had a few options for “Lady” stuffed animals for him to carry. I even found a “Tramp”…. and I had the hat.  I was excited because I knew that he would be so excited when he saw that one of his costumes would be “Jim Dear”. I saved the surprise costume for last.

He chose a Disney Character – surprise! He also chose a character from a television show – whoo hoo! – a current television show – bigger whoo hoo! When we had only one more to pick, I started to wonder why he hadn’t yet brought up “Jim Dear”. I thought he may have been so overwhelmed by looking at all of the other costumes that it had just slipped his mind, so I opened up the windows that I had saved, expecting him to be over the moon….

He said “No! No, Jim Dear!”

What ?!?  

“No, Jim Dear!”

I asked him again just to be sure he was not confused, I showed him the hat that I already bought. I showed him the photos of the suits and stuffed animals – “NO! Jim Dear!”

sigh…….

Anyone in need of a black derby hat complete with decorative feather?

– in great condition – never been worn….

 

 

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Everything is related …. Camp “Special Days”

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DC’s summer camp sports a calendar chock full of “special days” or themed days. Every single day is some sort of theme, if not a theme then a cookout or a group day (meaning each group gets a special day during the camping season). Every day on the calendar is filled with something.

DC, being DC loves themes and loves nothing more than wearing a costume. Not all days require a costume, but he loves going to camp wearing something specifically for that day.

Most of the Special Days are easy for him to get excited about and relating things, places and activities to his beloved Disney (and other) movies and characters makes it fun for him.

– Everything being related, many times, is the ability to relate one movie or actor to another. This has helped him to be more open to watching something that may not be Disney-based. This was not always the case, but now he can go and enjoy a movie with his friends or at an ARC activity without issue……..

Everything being related, oftentimes just explains his love for a particular city, game, song or some of the many other things that he does or says.

Some of the Special Days at Camp are:

  • Pirate Day, which of course he relates to Captain Hook, Captain Jack Sparrow and even the Dread Pirate Roberts.
  • Luau Day – Lilo and Stitch – what else?
  • luau glassesluau day
  • Western Day relates to Toy Story
  • Chief Day complete with a visit from Chief Gotchbagollie, the elusive Chief that lives in the “forest” behind the camp who ventures out of said forest only once a year –  for him relates directly to Tiger Lily in Peter Pan.Chief
  • Super Hero Day – DC has little interest in Super Heroes but he does love his patriotic songs so Captain America always   works in a pinch (but only after he out-grew his Captain Hammer shirt)
  • And of course, the beloved Hat Day which needs no relating. He just loves wearing silly hats.

 

A few years ago the directors felt the need to change things up a bit and added 80’s day and 90’s day (these days have since been combined into one day called “The Battle of the Decades”). Now, I can dress DC up in anything and he would go with it, but I really like him to understand and know what he’s wearing, so these additional days took some thought. He has more fun and gets into it more when he can relate the theme to something else and I wanted to be sure he could.

After giving it some thought, I realized that 80’s day would be relatively easy and better still, easy for DC to relate.

There are only a handful of songs that DC knows and likes from nowhere else but the radio. Almost everything else he likes musically has a connection to Disney, a movie or one of his TV shows. It always surprises me when he tells me to stop changing radio channels so that he can hear a particular song. Even then, most of the time the song is from a movie. The few that I have not been able to determine the DC connection are:

Fly Away – Lenny Kravitz (I’m going to guess that he likes it because, in his mind it’s about flying)

‘Don’t worry ’bout’ (DC-speak) otherwise known as December – Collective Soul

Light Shine Down – also from Collective Soul

‘Don’t you cry no more’ (DC-speak) otherwise known as Carry On Wayward Son – Kansas

‘Roses on a grave’ (DC-speak) otherwise known as Kissed by a Rose – Seal. I do know this song was in a Batman movie, but he has no interest in Batman and has never seen the movie.

We’re not gonna take it – Twisted Sister

Sister Christian – Night Ranger (I’ll admit that this one is only because I am obnoxious when it comes on the radio and I make him sing it with me).

The reason I am telling you all of this is because DC is definitely my “Broadway Baby” and he has seen quite a few Broadway shows. 99% of the shows we see are DC-related. On Mother’s Day 2012 it was Mom’s choice for a change and I wanted to see Rock of Ages. Doug and I weren’t sure that DC would be able to sit through it. I went on-line to find the song list and was happy to discover that “We’re not gonna take it” and “Sister Christian” were on the list. Also on the list were “We Built This City”, which he loves from “*The Muppets” – Any Way You Want It; **Glee and of course “Don’t Stop Believing” also from Glee but more importantly from Adam Sandler’s “Bed Time Stories”.

All relatable enough for him that he did sit through it and he loved it. He loved it so much that he saw it again for a second time locally with his friend BB and he owns the ***movie version.

I also have to mention that DC wants nothing more than to have long hair. Unfortunately his hair grows out instead of down so being able to wear his Rock of Ages shirt AND a wig to camp……. priceless.

Rock of Ages

80's Day

 

80’s day was a hit that year and the following year. Even though it was 80+ degrees both years, he insisted upon wearing the wig all day long.

Although the concept of ‘decades’ is not something DC understands, he knew he what he was wearing. He did not understand that the wig and the music and oh, I completely forgot – the tattoo arm sleeves were about the 80’s, he just knew that all of was related to a show and songs that he liked.

90’s Day was proving to be more difficult. I could not come up with anything, so I resorted to thinking about the songs he liked. While I was thinking about that and out of the clear blue sky I remembered the day not that long before this when he came running downstairs and through the living room yelling “I’m going to be late for the Smashing Pumpkins concert!”

What?!?!?!?!?!?!

“I am late for the Smashing Pumpkins concert!”

When he comes out with something random and odd like that I always have to ask what movie or show it is from, because it always is from a movie or a show.

“Sabrina”

Okay, I got it. Sabrina the Teenage Witch. (He has the entire series; he loves witches because they relate to Halloween and if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that in this house we LOVE Halloween). There is an episode entirely devoted to Sabrina trying to go to a Smashing Pumpkins concert. Does he understand who or what Smashing Pumpkins are? I do not think so. I am sure he is imagining people actually smashing pumpkins. I did try to explain that they are a band and that Sabrina wanted to go to see this band play in concert. Did/Does he “get” that? I am not sure. To this day any time any Smashing Pumpkins song comes on the radio, I say “DC, it’s Smashing Pumpkins singing” to which he always replies “Smashing Pumpkins Concert” because that is the way it must always be said.

For 90’s day… it was something – if only relatable to Sabrina, it was something. Thanks to Amazon, I was able to find a Smashing Pumpkins shirt and that was good enough for him.

Smashing Pumpkins Concert

 

“Look DC, I got you a Smashing Pumpkins shirt for 90’s Day at camp”

DC: “Smashing Pumpkins Concert”

“All-righty then…”

New Camp Special Days? We got this….

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More “relatables”:

“*The Muppets” – With the exception of Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, the Muppet version of the Frog Prince and the song “Sir Robin the Brave”, DC was never a fan of Sesame Street or the Muppets in general. The one and only reason he is now the Muppets biggest fan is Amy Adams. Amy Adams was in Enchanted (and any princess is related to Disney) and he will now watch anything and everything she is in, including non-Muppet or non-Princess movies like “Leap Year” and “Trouble with the Curve”.

**Glee – Music and dancing always being a plus, he then realized that Mr. Schuester was Sir Harry in “Once Upon a Mattress” – one of his favorites. In addition, Kristin Chenoweth from more of his favorites, “The Music Man” and “Wicked” made quite a few guest appearances. Then of course there was Neil Patrick Harris in a guest spot that tied it all up for him. Neil Patrick Harris being “Dr. Horrible” and Barney from “How I Met Your Mother”.

I was thrilled when he started asking to watch “How I Met Your Mother” because almost all of the television series he does like to watch, like Full House, Sabrina and The Brady Bunch have been off the air for many years. It is nice when he discovers something contemporary that his friends might also be watching. How I Met Your Mother was a windfall of relatables for him. He got there originally because Lilly was Willow on Buffy, but then he discovered Marshall was Garry in The Muppets and of course Barney who we have already covered.

Speaking of Dr. Horrible: Dr. Horrible and Neil Patrick Harris not only brought him to HIMYM but it also brought him to The Big Bang Theory by way of the character “Moist” aka Howard on Big Bang. Next he noticed Penny, who was in his favorite Easter Movie, “Hop” and holding tight to that witch theme; Billie on “Charmed”. The few appearances by Wil Wheaton did not hurt at all. Wil along with Felicia Day (running neck and neck with Amy Adams as the love of his life) appeared in ‘Erica’ (DC-Speak – “Eureka”) and of course played Penny in “Dr. Horrible”.

Eureka: It is just a great show. He loves it. I love it more. For DC, there was Felicia and Wil and they had him interested enough to start watching episodes from the seasons before they appeared. He still watches the animated Christmas Special year-round, with the voice of the sheriff’s car being none other than Sheldon from Big Bang.

One big giant circle of relatability for DC and in all honesty, this is the way he comes to many things in his life, not just TV shows or Special Days at Camp. Relating things for him has helped him adjust and made him more open to a variety of new things.

*****

***movie version – Anyone that knows me well, knows very well that I would never spend money on anything that Tom Cruise is in. I knew he wanted the Rock of Ages movie and I also knew that I would not be buying it for him. He got it only because I added it to his “What does DC want for Christmas” list and one of my friends bought it for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star Trek Missions NY (and a little bit Reading Rainbow)

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In honor of Star Trek (The Original Series) 50th anniversary I present Our Trip to Star Trek Missions New York….

I just happened to actually read my email one day in mid-August and I saw the announcement for Star Trek Mission NY on Labor Day weekend. I bought the tickets almost immediately. I have been a fan of Star Trek from the time the very first episode aired back in 1966 – <sarcasm font> I was just an infant, not even born, yet really <end sarcasm font>, so needless to say, I was excited.

The first obstacle for DC would be going to New York City (his favorite place) without visiting “DC’s New York City”; meaning the big Barnes and Noble, the Disney Store, the Eloise Store in the Plaza, Hershey Store, Hard Rock Café and ‘Citral’ Park (Central Park). I began explaining this to him weeks beforehand. We also promised him that we would go back another day very soon to spend the day doing his favorite things. As much as he seems to understand when I am prepping him for something, I never really know if he does until I get his reaction when it happens. I have to say that I did expect some kind of reaction to not going out into the city when we arrived, but the promise of going back another day seemed to be good enough. – Progress!

DC knows Star Trek TOS because he has me for a mother, of course. One of his first “signs” before he could speak was the “Live Long and Prosper” sign. Of course he did not know it meant LLAP, it was just his sign for Star Trek in general.

I have seen all of the incarnations of Star Trek over the years with the exception of Enterprise so I knew most of the guests that would be in attendance. DC? Not so much. We have been watching the original series on Netflix in the mornings before work  and about a month ago we began alternating between that and Deep Space 9, so I was hopeful he would recognize a few others.

img_6449We got there not very long after the doors opened and I was amazed that it was not very crowded at all. I don’t know if it was because it was the very first one, the holiday weekend or if this was just the crowd they were expecting; in any case it worked out perfectly for us.

The first thing DC came upon was a Tribble and he had to have it. When he found that it made “Tribble” noises, he had to have it even more.

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He got it……..

His normal “Arrival Anxiety” did not rear it’s head as it usually does when we first arrive anywhere. I was a bit surprised but relieved. We walked the show floor and came upon an Enterprise set where one could sit in the Captain’s chair. It was a long line, but he was all for it.

There was also a man off to the side of the set who looked so much like “Scotty” that I had to do a double take. It unnerved me for a second.

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(While in line we were told that there is a replica of the Enterprise in Ticonderoga, NY so hmmmm…. I smell a road trip in the near future.)

By the time we finished taking photos of “Captain DC”,  the autograph sessions were starting. DC recognizes Robert

Picardo from the Baltimore Con a few years ago so we headed there first.

For some reason, this is where his anxiety set in. The line was short, very short and as I said the hall was not crowded at all but this was where it hit. He started flapping angrily and making a horrendous noise. He used to make a clucking noise but it has evolved into something unrecognizable lately. In-between the flapping and the extremely loud noises he would stop only to say he was sorry and then start again. I could see that the woman in front of us getting a little bit nervous, but I just kept telling him to do what he had to do to calm down and as long as there was no one around for him to hit with his flapping arms, it was okay. She seemed to relax, I suppose because she saw I wasn’t treating it as a big deal. He did finally relax too. To keep him relaxed, I joked that he should not do that when he got to the table because he would scare Robert Picardo. He laughed. Still trying to keep his mind off of his anxiety, I asked him who we were going to look for next.

“Reading Rainbow. I have to find him. I will find him somewhere.”

The anticipation of meeting “Reading Rainbow Man”  (DC-speak) took his mind off of whatever was making him anxious and he was back to his perfectly happy self when he got to the front of the line. He got Robert Picardo’s autograph and we set out on our hunt for Reading Rainbow Man.

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We found “Reading Rainbow Man” (LeVar Burton to the rest of you) rather quickly. In true DC – delayed reaction and pronoun reversing fashion, the very first thing he said to him was “You scared me!”. LeVar, not knowing what was going on said “How did I scare you?”

“Noises”

I then had to explain that in the previous line I told him if he made that much noise he would scare people.  LeVar understood and told him that no, DC had not frightened him. He asked “How are you?”

DC: “Twenty-Five”

Me: He asked how are you, not how old are you.

DC: “Great!”

The conversation continued pretty much like that, with me jumping in to translate when necessary.

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DC had been looking so forward to meeting him and was so very excited when he did that I was kicking myself for not thinking about  saving this meeting until later. I was worried that after meeting LeVar he would not be interested in staying any longer, but he surprised me once again and wanted to move on to the next meeting.

We got to see and meet quite a few people…….

img_6459The only Original Series cast member there that day was Walter Koenig. William Shatner was scheduled to appear on Sunday. DC met him at NY Comic-Con a few years earlier so we weren’t disappointed that we would be missing him this time. Of course, if he happened to have been there we surely would have been in his line too.

There were a good number of TNG cast there as well. We did not get to see all of them, but we saw Levar and Gates McFadden.

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I asked him who he wanted to see next. He looked around toward the Deep Space 9 section and answered “Jake”. I was a little bit impressed with that since he has only been watching for a few weeks and I was not sure how much he was actually paying attention. Of course by the time we got to the front he did not ‘renember’ his name but that was all just a matter of him not understanding the question or that the question was not asked in a way he understood. He will typically give a lot of random answers until he is asked properly – unfortunately one never knows what “properly asking” might be on any given day. There are times when he can answer a question correctly the very first time the question is asked and other days, the question has to be asked in many different ways.

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He saw Quark over in the next line. Quark, not in costume is only the principal from Buffy to DC. His line was a little bit longer than the others so we skipped over to Nana Visitor. DC was his charming self but when she told him her name he really got excited. He was clutching his chest and squealing with the biggest smile on his face.

I don’t know about any of you, but most of the time when I take DC to a play, event or something of the sort, I spend more time watching him get excited than I do watching the play or show or whatever is going on. Then I get teary-eyed. That is just what happened here. He just was so thrilled to be talking to her and she was just so cheerful and upbeat with him that I not only got teary-eyed, but I thought I was going to burst out into an all out ugly face cry right there. It was tough trying to keep my composure. When we finished and headed back over to where Doug was holding up the pole he thought something had happened as it was pretty apparent that I was trying to contain myself. When I tried to explain it to him I got all choked up again. Sometimes I just fall apart when I see him so happy – I know, I know, get a grip, woman….

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We walked around a little bit more waiting for the rest of our photo-ops when we came upon an attendee all dressed up in a long flowing gown. DC could hardly control himself. She was talking to people and not paying attention while DC was yelling “Excuse me! Excuse me!”. I had to keep telling him not to touch her dress but he wanted her attention so he tapped her on the shoulder before I could stop him. When she turned around the first thing he said was “Sorry to touch”. She smiled and told him it was all right and he said “Dress Beautiful” (and another squeal). That was all he needed to do; get her attention to tell her that her dress was beautiful. She thanked him and we were off to look at everything else there was to see.

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It is a given that he will always find somewhere to buy a book………

 

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He got to see his beloved Nana again at his DS9 cast photo-op (and Buffy’s ‘teacher’ who we never made it back to in the autograph lines) and of co. I think she may just have earned herself a place on DC’s favorite women list alongside of Felicia Day and Amy Adams.

What a perfect day! Everything went exactly as planned. The whole event was very well organized and of course it helped that it was not very crowded.

We all had a great time!

Well……

Except for this guy….

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Except for this guy Grease photo

Except for this guy Shore Leave Photo

In case anyone might be wondering; the Reading Rainbow theme remains trapped in my head, still.

And, Oh – there were M&M’s

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aaaaaaannnnnnnnd

levar

On Your Marks, Get Set and Take a Bow

5k Labor Day

DC has participated in a variety of Special Olympics programs over the years, but never did I ever imagine he would like running. Yes, I was shocked too. We just gave it a try one year because he was tired of golf (10 years) and volleyball (4 years) because he, not really understanding the games, never advanced past the “skills” levels and that just gets boring. He swam for a good 10 years as well, but the program died off and went away. Skiing, you ask? One year and a half until I thought I’d have a heart attack and pulled him out.

“Done of Skiing” – DC-speak

Running was just something we were going to try. Because DC would rather stay home than do just about anything I always make him at least finish the season just to be sure he really doesn’t like something as opposed to him just not wanting to go out. With a few exceptions, most of the time he ends up enjoying what ever activity I have made him stick out to the end. But running? I never thought it would last. I was so wrong – he’s been running for a good six (or more) years now.

The Labor Day 5K is an event he does every year with the exception of 2015 when his seizures were brand new and me, being me was still too panicked to let him run a race. This 5k is not a Special Olympics event, it is a regular 5K attended by thousands of people as are most of the races his team participates in. The individual team members can pick and choose which races they would like to participate in. This is the race DC almost always runs.

DC is not the fastest runner but certainly far from the slowest. When he puts his mind to it he can run pretty fast, but he doesn’t really understand the competition of it all and really, that is fine with me. As at most races, there are tables set up along the route where people pass the runners water. The runners drink the water while running, but not DC. He stops and leisurely drinks his cup of water and then walks around looking for a garbage can. There are hundreds of cups on the ground because that is what you do when running a race, it is expected. Not DC! He knows that we do not throw garbage on the ground and being that there are no gray areas in DC’s mind, he is just not going to do that. Well, this year he did stop and take his time but he did throw his cup on the ground the first time Doug told him to. There was a gray area and he got past it – Progress.

There are plenty of spectators along the route cheering the runners on. DC upon hearing applause from a large group of spectators and DC being DC, stopped running, took a bow, waved and yelled “Thank-you everyone!” then continued on to the finish line…

Unified 5k

Having to get up at 5:30 am on a holiday, I went on a hunt for coffee as soon as the race started because….coffee. I stood in the Dunkin Donuts line for quite some time. I did not realize how long until I got a text from Doug right when I finally made it to the counter telling me that they were in the home stretch. I got my coffee and headed to the finish line, but I was too late to see him come in.

He did announce “I did it!” when he saw me and also informed me that he won. I wonder if anyone told the race officials because they have him at 2426th out of 2658 runners? We’ll have to see about that.