Quarantine Diaries – Part 11: Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Last week I saw a post about a Sabrina The Teenage Witch Virtual cast reunion. I went back and forth with myself for a day or two between –

  1. Will DC sit through a panel? Historically with the exception of the recent Star Trek Cruise panels, (which I am beginning to second guess myself about – I’m thinking that he just he may have fallen asleep during one) he falls asleep. It doesn’t matter who it is or what the panel is about.   AND…
  2. How could I pass this up? He LOVES Sabrina!

I finally decided to go for it. What was the worst that could happen? He could fall asleep and I would just watch it by myself.

After I bought the tickets, I noticed that he could also have a one-on-one conversation with one of the cast members, so I went back and bought the upgraded ticket for the one on one. Due to my impressive capacity to over-think all things, what I actually did was purchase tickets for the panel and then tickets for the panel again with the one-on-one, but that was fine – it was for a good cause.

For the one on one we chose Alimi Ballard.

Now, I have been a fan of his since Dark Angel and NUMB3RS with NUMB3RS being one of my favorite go-to, re-watch series, but it was only a short while ago that I discovered that he was also a regular on Sabrina.

How did I discover that, you ask? Well DC told me of course. He saw him on the screen one day in NUMB3RS.  As you know, DC knows everyone who has ever played a Disney role or has had a part in any of his favorite TV shows or non-Disney movies.

DC was excited.

It could go three ways when DC gets excited about something, especially when the event is days, weeks or months away (this was probably a week from the time I bought the tickets)

  1. He can get himself so excited for so long that at the time of the event, he just shuts down.
  2. He can get himself so excited that he screeches and laughs loudly during the whole thing and misses what is going on. OR…
  3. He is just the right amount of excited that he enjoys the event fully.

Seeing that we would be first in line for the one on one on the app, I decided to tweet Mr. Ballard to give him a heads up about DC’s reaction (or worse case, non-reaction). He follows me on twitter and to this day, I have no idea why (not that I am complaining, mind you) so I knew he was very responsive to tweets. I would not have even bothered if we were further down in line, but since we were first, I thought there was a possibility that he would remember the tweet at the time of the call.

I understand that your one on one volume is probably pretty high, but because the loop app says we are first in line, I wanted to give you a head’s up. My son is 29 and autistic. He is excited about talking to the “Quizmaster” but you will probably have to do most of the talking and the answers you get back might be a lot of “GREAT” – just go with it. I wouldn’t bother to tweet this to you if we were farther down in line, but since it says we are first, I am hoping that you will remember when the time comes. Thank you!

So you all know that now DC was even more excited to have been called a “Prince”.

Once again, I have to remind you that I write in terms of his autism, so there are no complaints here at all; he came away from this event a very happy guy, but there were some issues (not the fault of the company putting on the event or any of the participants. They were all extremely helpful. I want to make that perfectly clear).

When we signed into the app, we could see the count down; 5 minutes until the event, 4 minutes and so on.

When it came time for the event to begin, there was just a black screen that read “The event hasn’t started yet”.

After 20 minutes, I saw that I was going to lose DC. Once lost, I’d never get him back. DC has really made great strides at waiting in lines over the years, but not waiting while staring at a screen. Once I saw that look in his eyes (and yes, I can see it and know where it’s going), I started making jokes to pull him back.

“Oh No! They are Late! Late, Late, Late!”

He started to laugh (Phew!)

Then he made a joke that I was pretty impressed with:

“Oh no! They are going to be late for the Smashing Pumpkins Concert!”

He laughed hysterically for a good long time. (for an explanation – please read from our “Everything is Related” series – Camp Special Days which includes Sabrina and the Smashing Pumpkins Concert). Phew! Again!

When the event finally started at 2:30 (apparently Vimeo crashed world-wide and was the cause of the delay), I still had him with me. Phew! A third time!

DC watched the entire event and loved it. No, he did not even doze off for a few minutes.

Once again I am going to say as I have in most of my “Quarantine Diaries” – He has shown so much growth throughout this “sickness”, as DC calls it. Two months ago, he would never had made it to the panel after having to wait (even with the jokes).

When the event was over, DC being DC announced “Mom, I would like to go to the restroom”.

Knowing our call was coming up…..

“Noooooooo! You will miss your call and they are not able to call back.”

So he waited (if you know DC, you know that waiting IS a big deal!) – Growth! I’m telling you! Growth!

His call came.

They had a nice talk.

DC was in category #3… Just excited enough to enjoy the call.

The call cut out before we had a chance to take the selfie (the camera icon disappeared) and DC was a “little bit” disappointed about that BUT Mr. Ballard DM’d me a photo just for DC and the Looped people were very responsive and said they would try to get a screen shot of his footage.

(Photo’s have been edited as not to reveal DC’s real name)

 

Unlike his mother who can’t take a compliment at all, DC will always agree with every compliment that comes his way.

During their phone conversation, Mr. Ballard told him that he thought he was awesome. DC agreed (because he always does and in mu opinion, he is). Mr, Ballard got a kick out of that. So when he got his message after the conversation, I had to reiterate that, yes he still agrees.


 

 

Originally we were supposed to receive a recording of the conversation within two weeks of the event, but we received ours the very next day! I was able to grab a screen shot which looked exactly as the selfie would have.

DC was excited to have the selfie and to listen/watch the recording again.

As much as I would LOVE to post the recording here, I can’t because his real name was used. I didn’t want to have Mr. Ballard call him DC instead of his real name just for the purposes of posting it here. I wanted the call and the recording to be for him and about him.

I did post it on my personal Facebook page and I believe that Mr. Ballard has garnered a whole new crop of fans.

Thank you for putting on this event. It has been one of the brightest spots for DC throughout this quarantine.

We would definitely do it again!

*******

In other news: I am now the proud owner of FOUR (yes I said FOUR) cans of (fake) Lysol!

It was a great day all around!

Quarantine Diaries – Part 9: Story-time With DC

In an effort of trying to keep this guy busy, we have been recording stories (and some songs) to post on our Facebook Page (Take Another Step). DC is having fun with it.

If you follow our Facebook page, you may have seen some of these before, but maybe not all.

I was looking around for a short book for DC because I thought it would be fun to have him read a story for the Take Another Step page. Instead I found this book that I wrote as a joke for Christmas 2008. The original intent was for me to write this story and DC to draw the pictures, but that proved to be too much for him (he did draw some, though). It IS A TRUE family story about an event in the mid-seventies when I was a kid and we had a squirrel trapped in our basement for about a week. We did call it the killer squirrel at the time and all the events written about in the book actually did take place. All of the names mentioned in the book are some sort of variation of the actual person’s name so they we all able to recognize themselves in the story (even if they were too young at the time to remember it)

DC had a hard time with some of the words so he opted for me to read and he, the page turner.
This was an impromptu story-reading, so please excuse the camera work and me stumbling over the pages I could not see from over DC’s shoulder.
THE TALE OF THE SQUIRREL

 

 

Our Next Story, DC was able to read himself. We only practiced once before recording. I may have posted this one in another Quarantine Diaries post, but in an effort to keep them all in one place, here it is again.

So first…there are supposed to be subtitles. I spent a long time putting them in, but I don’t think that it worked. I can see them but others reported that they could not. If you opt to turn on closed closed captioning, I cannot be held responsible for the way YouTube interprets his words!

Anyway, DC wanted to read one of his new (believe it or not) favorite stories… Chicken Little
We had fun making this. (Yes, I am aware the he keeps touching his face. He washes his hands before and after every activity he does because I can’t make him stop) 

 

 

Doug is a “Job Coach” at a SPED Transition program. Due to all of the schools closing, he was placed in charge and created a virtual music program. One of the things he does twice a week is make up songs for his students. Most are about the virus, how to help at home, etc.

(I did find a subtitle program, but it takes a very long time and as you will see; I am not very good at it yet. One of these days I will go back to add proper subtitles to Chicken Little)

DC helped Doug out by singing a Doug “original” (part of it anyway) for Doug’s students – some of the words were difficult, so he only sang two verses – you will have to sing on your own for the Disinfectant and Covid-19 verses  and then make up your own verse using Vitamin C – we have supplied the words and music!

 

 

This last video has not been posted anywhere yet. We will post it to our page on Monday. You are seeing it first right here.

The Tale of the Lion and the Mouse.

 

He is looking forward to telling some more stories and singing more songs for Doug’s students. We are hoping to get DC’s best friend, BB to help him sing a song, tell a story or both – so stay tuned!

****

Click for More Quarantine Diaries

#TravelingWithDC – Star Trek Cruise

Mint in Box

Taking a break from the virus, lock-down, Quarantine Diaries and everything involving it to write about our last vacation.

At this point, our trip seems as if  it happened centuries ago, but it has really only been a couple of months. Please forgive any typos, run-on sentences or just utter incoherence as I seem to have lost all ability to concentrate on any one thing for any length of time during this quarantine.

Those of you that have been here a while, already know that this post is partially a ploy to make you look at my vacation photos. 😉

For those of you new here; this is partially a ploy to have you look at our vacation photos but also it is written with a dash of autism and DC’s perspective (or my perspective of DC’s perspective) of the trip. Do not panic, it looks like a very long post, due to all of the photos – it really is not that long at all.

 

Onward…..

DC was very excited all month to be going on the Star Trek cruise, but in true DC fashion he was already starting to get anxious about when we were coming home before we had even left home.
He remembered the schedule I put on his phone during one trip a few years ago (which helped during that trip but not so much during the next) and asked for a “phone list”-
So that is what I did on he way to the airport.

DC’s Phone List

This time, the list worked perfectly. I did not have to repeat the schedule over and over again (we did have to listen to him recite it to us a few times). He took it out and read it whenever he felt the need to.  What a difference this list made!

In the airport.
DC (yells): I’m getting very nervous about this plane!
This plane does not look very safe to me!
(Line from: Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves)

Because he randomly blurts out movie lines, I always have ask him (when it could be a problematic line for the circumstances) – rather loudly so everyone in earshot can hear…..

“What movie is that from?”, so he can answer just as loudly, “Honey We Shrunk Ourselves” (or whatever movie the line happens to come from).

Bag Tag

 

 

 

We arrived in Miami the day before the cruise. We always try to arrive a day early, just in case. I remember a cruise about 15 years ago that was leaving from San Juan . We arrived a day early because I love Puerto Rico and we wanted to spend some time there. There just happened to be a storm after we left home all up and down the east coast (it was January). Flights were delayed and many passengers did not make the boat. Many had to fly into some of the ports where were were scheduled to stop to get on the ship – missing days of their cruise. Since then, we always arrive a day early, no matter what.

Boarding was quick and easy.

We looked around the ship a bit waiting for the drill and the opening ceremonies.

We were able to get into our room beforehand and DC set up “His Spot”. The spot where we had to climb over him all week, but he did not care.

 

After the safety drill we went to the pool for the opening ceremonies. DC was pretty excited. I don’t know if it was because everyone else was excited or because he spotted Nana Visitor and Brent Spiner, but he was cheering right along with everyone else.

 

 

I had just read the headline that morning in the airport about Kenneth Mitchell’s ALS diagnosis. I did not have the chance to read the article because we were boarding the plane. I assumed he was newly diagnosed. I was shocked and saddened to see that he was already in a wheel chair.  I have been a fan of his since Jericho and was happy to see him cast in Discovery in the first season and as I predicted in our Discovery podcast, there was no way they would hire Kenneth Mitchell for one season and just a few episodes. I was correct and they had him back playing a different character in season two.

As I said, DC was really looking forward to seeing Nana Visitor again. You might remember his reaction to her from Star Trek Missions NY (and a Little Bit of Reading Rainbow), but our first photo op was Jeffrey Combs (a favorite of mine). We happened to be in that area of the ship at our scheduled time, so we were there early enough so the line was not bad at all.

We had not gotten our bags yet, so DC was still sporting his “Eureka” shirt (shameless plug: Yeah, That Can’t Be Good: A Eureka Rewatch Podcast)

DC and Jeffrey Combs

 

Nana Visitor was the first of the many long lines he had to wait in that week. He got used to the waiting eventually, but because it was the first line, by the time he made it to her, he was over it and not his excitable self. He was excited, but not AS excited as he would have been. He would get a second chance when it was autograph time later in the week.

 

DC and Nana Visitor

My surprises of the week were how much DC enjoyed meeting Ethan Peck and Wilson Cruz. He started his week excited about Nana Visitor and Brent Spiner but ended it by adding two new favorites to his “list”.

There were signs all around the ship, especially in the photo/autograph lines that read – “No handshaking, Vulcan Salutes and elbow bumps only” – DC took that to mean, at the beginning anyway that he needed to do a salute for each photo. That came in handy when Ethan Peck noticed him trying to do one and asked the photographer to take a second picture.

DC and Ethan Peck (Photo edited to disguise DC’s name)

DC was able to talk with him a few more times during the week; once outside of one of the shows (I let him say hello. I did not want him to bother people when they were out and about, or eating, but I did let him say hello.) He did not seem to mind and did try to get some conversation out of DC, even though it was apparent that DC has a difficult time with conversation (he is on my nice guy list now as well). The next – at his autograph table, where he again went out of his way and took the time to try to get some conversation out of DC.

DC and Wilson Cruz

Wilson Cruz was very personable and high energy, which DC loved both times he met him (once for the photo and again for his autograph). DC was wearing a multi-colored, very bright, paint-splash kind of shirt for the autograph session. Mr. Cruz told him how much he liked his shirt and if you know how much DC loves compliments about his clothing, then you know that “The Doctor” now has a fan for life.

DC and Anson Mount

He wore his Captain’s shirt for his photo with Captain Pike (Anson Mount) and I actually got to attend, on my own (which never happens), a recording of Anson Mount’s podcast, The Well. I have been listening since the beginning and it was nice to be able to watch it live. I missed the first scheduled date due to DC’s photo op schedule so I do not know who the guest was, but I was able to make this one with his guest Kenneth Mitchell.

Anson Mount – The Well

 

The Well with Kenneth Mitchell

The Well with Kenneth Mitchell

 

DC announced to all in the elevator “I cut my toenails all by myself!”
Failing to acknowledge the torture that his cheering section had to endure while he was doing this earlier in the room.

 

There were plenty of other things to do besides standing in line for photos or autographs.

There was music and dancing. We all know how much DC loves to dance!

 

Panels:

Voyager Panel – DC was pretty good at sitting though the panels. Historically he falls asleep on my arm but he stayed awake for all of the panels we attended.

Voyager Panel

 

Discovery Panel

Discovery Panel

A pajama party with Chase Masterson.

As you might imagine, going out in one’s pajamas confused DC a bit but I was really surprised at how quickly he adapted..

He got a kick out of the “Rat Pack” show.


He did some swimming: DC has not been swimming since he had his first seizure back in 2015. Me, being me and a stickler for “the rules”, after his second seizure, when he had to be put on medication, was told by the ER doctor that I should not let him swim or even take a bath. I kind of “get” this. He is a big guy (he was much heavier/bigger then) and if he were to go under, we not only had to worry about the seizure going on at the moment but “dry drowning” later. DC who always loved swimming seemed to be moving away from it and refusing to go in the water at camp or anywhere else over the previous couple of years anyway, did not seem to mind this at all…

he did not mid at all until he knew we were going on a cruise, that is. He wanted to go swimming. I sucked it up and made Doug promise that he would go into the water with him and stay with him (I haven’t owned a bathing suit since 2005, so I was OUT for the pool). He did and DC was thrilled to go swimming just about every day. I was worried about how I was going to handle camp this year with his renewed love of swimming but as it stands with the virus, there will probably not be camp this year, so I am safe for now.

If you happened to be passing by the
Windjammer buffet at lunch-time yesterday, I was the one screaming “no, no, no!” as DC jumped up out of his seat to take off his shirt and switch it right there when he realized his shirt was inside out.

We watched Star Trek Squares:

I know that DC doesn’t get all of the jokes (and at times that was a good thing) but he seemed to enjoy watching all of these shows and games.

Max Tonight:

Watching the Make-Up artists (they were pretty impressive!)

Oz, Star Trek Style: You all know how DC feels about the Wizard of OZ!

Garrett Wang Stand Up Show.

I think DC’s favorite show of the entire trip was the script reading of “The Devil in the Dark”. He laughed and laughed. Ethan Philips played the “rock monster” and DC got such a kick out of some of the sounds he was making. Of course the cast included his beloved Nana and his new favorite, Ethan Peck so we really couldn’t go wrong, there.

 

 

Me: DC, what was your favorite part of the show?

DC: The Fart! hahahahahahaha

(The noises The Rock Monster made)

We made a nightly visit to Qapla”where DC had his fill of Shirley Temples (they gave him extra cherries there) and I could have a Kahless’s Martini. We went there after the show and DC saw Nana Visitor come in and sit down at a table. No, he wasn’t allowed to bother her and I didn’t want him to yell across the place, but he was happy just to see her there (I mention this for a reason).

 

The following day was his scheduled autograph session with her. He was more excited than the day of the photo op because he was now used to waiting in these lines. Doug prompted him to tell her that he liked her in the show the night before. She thanked him and told him that she had seen him (I imagine in Qapla”) right after the show. He was a thrilled about that.

Brent Spiner:

Unlike some of the others who were too busy to even say hello (we’ll get to that later), I was impressed with Brent Spiner.

First, some backstory from the “Everything is Related Series”Everything is Related: Star Trek and Geppetto – October 2019

Last night we happened to be watching an episode of TNG.

The beginning credits were running. I was not really paying attention when DC said:

“Brent Spiner. Not Stromboli in “The Wonderful World of Disney’s Geppetto” (we must always recite the entire title of any movie, book or television series)

When DC tells me that someone is NOT a character, what he is actually telling me is that the actor IS the character; in this case “Stromboli” in the movie he just mentioned but he is not playing that character in this movie or television series we are watching at the time.

DC has been watching his Geppetto DVD … um, excuse me: “The Wonderful World of Disney’s Geppetto” for many years. I had never seen it, but I looked it up and he was correct!

Apparently, DC had not ever recognized him as Data, but he did recognize his name in the credits, because he does know the name of every person who has ever played or lent their voice to any Disney character.

Of course I was going to get a ticket for a photo op and autograph for Brent Spiner! How could I not?

As you might imagine, Brent Spiner had one of the longer lines of the cruise. But still, he took the time to talk to DC a bit during the photo op and when DC called him Stromboli, he looked confused for a moment and then broke out into a Stromboli song! I have no idea if it was an actual song from the movie or if he made it up right there, but needless to say, DC was thrilled!

A few days later we when we went for his scheduled autograph session with Mr. Spiner, the line was just as long as it was for the photo op, so I did not expect much.

But once again, I was impressed.

We had an old Disney promo photo/description for – say it with me – “The Wonderful World of Disney’s Geppetto” for him to sign. He read it, we talked about it, he wondered why Disney Plus does not carry these older musicals, he showed it to Gates McFadden who was at the table with him and pointed out (something that I hadn’t noticed before because now that DC watches his DVD’s on his laptop, I no longer have to watch these things over and over and over again), that Rene Auberjonois was also a cast member.

(Photo edited to disguise DC’s real name)

The cruise was fun and I really had no complaints about the way it was run. There were a few issues, though.

The way that the tickets were sold really needs to be modified for the next time around.

We purchased our photo-op and autograph tickets months before the cruise date. We bought our tickets for specific people.

When we received our tickets on board, they were not for specific people, but for specific “levels”.

We bought a ticket for a photo-op with Kate Mulgrew only because it was a Voyager anniversary cruse, so how could I not?

Kate Mulgrew was a “Gold Level Ticket”.

If memory serves, the celebrities who fell under the Gold level were:

  1. Kate Mulgrew
  2.  Jeri Ryan
  3.  Rom and Leeta in full costume.
  4.  The Captain who shall not be named***

I ran though the crowd to get this pic!

 

The problem with this Gold, Silver and Bronze system is that the tickets are interchangeable. I fully understand the intent; there is a lot going on and one may find themselves with a conflict of some sort at the time of your scheduled op.  BUT… it also creates a false expectation of the line size for the organizers.

This is in no way a complaint about the length of the line, it is a complaint about how the celebrity was treated by the venue and the interchangeable tickets and in turn the way DC was treated by the celebrity.

While we were in line but still out in the lobby I heard a group of disabled individuals complaining to their support person/group leader about their experience with Kate Mulgrew (I am a people watcher so I pay attention to everything especially if I think there is a problem that will effect DC). I could not hear their complaints but I did hear the group leader talking to one of the event organizer crew.  The event organizer apologized for whatever happened  and went on to explain that “Ms. Mulgrew is a very smart and savvy woman who knows exactly what her contract states and exactly the hours she is required to take photos and sign autographs”. I don’t know what she did. Maybe she left and took a break, maybe she was not very pleasant. I don’t know, but I knew there was a problem.

That made me nervous. I started having anxiety that we would be standing in this line forever only to have her leave. That would not have gone over well with DC. We hadn’t had all that many melt-downs during the trip and the ones we had were minor, I did not want him to be disappointed or have a meltdown if something like that happened.

Most of the photo-ops were scheduled around dinner hours meaning that the people with the later dinner time could go to the 6:30 op and those with early dinner times could attend the 8:30. I believe there probably should have been a break for the celebrity in-between ops, but there were so many people in line that I am sure that one op lead right into the other. There were so many people in line, that I am sure her photo op went far beyond the time allotted as well. I understand. That is a long time to expect someone to sit there and take photo after photo.

We have been to many events like this in the past and we know that a photo-op was not the place for conversation and as I said earlier, I was impressed at the number of celebs that did take a little bit of time to converse.

When it was DC’s turn for a photo, she did not even look at him. DC, being DC knows he should be polite and say hello. He tried and tried, but she would not even look at him. He tapped her on the shoulder, just to say hello and still she would not even look at him.

Yes, he smiled for the photo, because any time there is a camera in sight, he will stop whatever he is doing and smile (which is why I cannot ever get a candid shot of him)

He tried to say good bye after the photo but she still would not even turn her head. After we left,  DC would not stop insisting that he had to go back and ‘a-polo-gize’ to her because he was convinced that he had done something wrong. It took us a while to make him understand that he had not. DC is not always one to notice when someone is ignoring him (usually because I try to cover it up for him), but he noticed and it made him feel bad.

I never ask for or expect special treatment for him due to his autism, but I do expect him to be treated with common courtesy and he was not.

The next “issue” had nothing to do with the interchangeable tickets, it was just rudeness.

We were in “line” for Jeffrey Combs (there were two people in front of us and NO ONE behind us). We watched him sign and converse with both people in front of us. When DC got to the table and he started signing his photo, his assistant/wife or whoever she was, come up to the table and said “Excuse me one moment”. He turned around and they had a conversation as he pushed the signed photo towards us with out ever turning around again.

Again, THERE WAS NO ONE BEHIND US! This could have waited. Understanding that we were being dismissed and he was not going to turn around again even to say good-bye or thank you, I, rather loudly said good-bye, in a not so friendly fashion. He turned around quickly and said “Oh! Goodbye”.

Casey Biggs, who was at the table with him, noticed this and was nice enough to jump in to thank us for him (even though we were not at his station).

When we left the table – There was still NO ONE behind us.

Doug, who never notices anything (he will tell you that himself), asked me if Jeffrey Combs has been added to my “turn your head and spit” list.

The jury is still out on that one.

Moving On:

I was kicking myself for not bringing DC’s “Lizard Spock” costume with us, when we saw “Gorn’s Galactic Gala”. Me, thinking myself very clever found a Lizard costume years back and because DC absolutely knows Mr. Spock AND loves the Big Bang Theory; especially Rock, Paper Scissors, Lizard, Spock, I thought it would be hilarious for him to dress as “Lizard Spock” for Halloween. Unfortunately, I only succeeded in cracking myself up because no one got it. People who knew Star Trek thought he was Gorn and everyone else just didn’t know at all. DC and I knew, so that was all that mattered.

 

 

He would have fit right in…..

 

 

 

 

As you would find on every cruise – there was the standard towel animal on the bed every day when we came back to the room. DC cannot leave these alone. He just can’t stand that the towels are not in the right place and has to take it apart THE MOMENT he walks into the room.

It was entertaining to see how long it would take for him to notice it and take it apart. It was usually immediate.

More Dancing:

I believe this was the last night on the ship. I don’t recall the name or the theme.

 

 

 

DC wanted to see Brent Spiner again, so we went to his show… Inside the Actor’s Studio. We did not know who the guest would be and unfortunately as it turned out, it was The Captain who shall not be named***. Brent Spiner talked for a good long while before announcing who his guest would be and before bringing him out, so DC got his last “Spiner Fix” and we left when the guest came out.

We had a really nice time and I would LOVE to do this again! I don’t know if I will ever be able to talk Doug into it again – he’s not a Star Trek fan, although he did have a good time too. Don’t let the face fool you.

 

Oh! We did stop in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. John too!

It seems so long ago now. Two weeks after we returned home the whole country shut down. It gives me pause to look at these photos and the crowds.

Do you find yourself having anxiety when watching characters on television shows opening mail, willy nilly (where did THAT word come from?) hugging or shaking hands or is it just me?

I fear nothing will ever be he same again. I hope I am wrong.

****

*** The Captain who shall not be named

I did not write this but I have shared it many times over the last few years as the best explanation I can find…

How William Shatner Betrayed Autistic People’s Trust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Santa, Don’t Pass By The Older “Kids”

Thanksgiving weekend is usually DC’s big step into the Christmas Season.

We normally go away for Thanksgiving and the weekend after. Once Thanksgiving Day is officially over, Friday and Saturday are usually all about Christmas.

There are a few standard stops that we make each year, one being the Santa Express or the North Pole express.

We like to arrive at least an hour before our appointed departure time so that DC has enough time to spend in the train station.

He writes and mails his letter to Santa at the special post office.

There is always a Princess or two walking about . This year he met Princess Poinsettia. If you ask DC about her he will tell you that she is the princess of the Christmas Flowers.

She came by and spoke with him more than once. They had a good long conversation about his upcoming train ride. She told him all about the Elf training and made sure he knew to ask for a report card when he got on the train (which we did).

She spent a lot of time with him and he was in his glory.

He enjoyed meeting the many characters that were wandering about.

He particularly loves listening to the singers singing Christmas carols.

He was excited to see that the singers were the same singers as last year. They were fabulous with him last year and even asked to have their picture taken with him (and we all know how much DC LOVES to have his picture taken)

Last year, 2018

 

He found them first in the Gingerbread House room and he followed them around, so much that I felt like a stalker. He followed them out to the main room where he requested “Deck the Halls” and sang along to Deck the Halls and every other song that they sang. They were almost apologetic when they had to take a break and put the regular piped in Christmas music back on.

When they came back to play some more, he was right there. They told him that they remembered him from last year (of course they didn’t but he was happy to believe that they did). DC actually asked, on his own (he usually has me do it) for a picture with them. He absolutely loves listening to them and I must say, they both have the perfect personalities to be doing just what they are doing.  He just adores them.

 

It was finally time to board the train. We found our seats. He met some elves. They gave him his elf hat and his elf-in-training report card, just as he and Princess Poinsettia discussed earlier. And we were off.

There was singing, dancing and joke telling along the way and DC passed every Elf Academy test.

It wasn’t long before we spotted Mrs. Claus. Now, DC is a big fan of Mrs. Claus. Sometimes I think he’d rather see her if given the choice between the two.

As Mrs. Claus made her way through the car, stopping at every single seat (as you would and as she always does), Doug moved to an empty seat so as not to block access to DC and so there was space for me to get a photo.

A couple of years ago I was convinced that Mrs. Claus was out to get me because everywhere we went and everywhere DC met her, she gave him a bell. Mrs. Claus did not do that on this day (Thank you, Mrs. Claus), she stopped and chatted with DC and we took a picture. She continued on her way stopping at every seat including the one where Doug was sitting by himself and said hello.

Did I mention that he loves Mrs. Claus? Did I?

He saw that Santa was heading his way and he was getting more excited by the second. He could hardly contain himself when Santa was at the seat right across from us because he knew he would be next.

Santa finished up with the kids in that seat, turned around, looked at DC and walked right past to the seat behind us.

If you could have seen the look on DC’s face…. He was crushed.

As you can imagine, I was not having any of it and YELLED “Excuse Me” to which Santa turned around and looked at me, still oblivious to the fact that DC may have wanted to talk to him so I gave him one of my well cultivated death stares and motioned toward DC.

He said “Certainly” as if he was doing me a favor and took a photo with DC. There was no conversation; he just posed for the picture with DC and went on his way.

If I had not been able to get his attention before he finished the last two seats behind us, he would have been off in another car and DC would not have seen him at all.

DC was happy to get a picture with him at least.

Now listen, I understand that DC is a “bit” older than your average passenger but seriously, we are on THE SANTA TRAIN.

He was sitting there wearing an elf hat and holding his elf-in-training report card.

It is not up to you, Santa to decide who might be too old to want to talk to Santa. Not up to you at all.

You stop at every single seat regardless.

I have to imagine that this was one of Santa’s fill-in helpers and not the real Santa because the real Santa would have known better than to skip over any one.

I think Santa may need to call all of his helpers back to the North Pole for a little Awareness training.

I’m sure DC, since passing his elf training would be happy to help.

But seriously, the rest of the day was fantastic and I can not say enough about all of the other people working both in the station and on the train.  They went over and above any expectations we might have had.

Unfortunately, with Santa being the “main event”, the slight was that much more disappointing. How long does it take to stop and say hello? I was not expecting any special treatment nor do I ever ask for special treatment. I do expect that he be treated in the same manner as every other passenger on the train.

That is not a lot to ask.

As I said earlier, Mrs. Claus was good to me and did not give DC a bell….

The Elves…..

They gave him a bell…

It is a full week later and he is right at this moment ringing it behind my head.

The Elves; they were also very nice to him so I can forgive the whole bell thing 🙂

 

 

The Blue Bulb

A year later … it is still there, again for no other reason except that it is still working and it is difficult to change. Left over from years ago when I was ignorant enough to support “The Organization That Will Not Be Named” (AS). In my and other’s of the same era’s defense – we had nothing else. We were at the mercy of teachers, doctors and professionals who were supposed to know better. We had to learn and change on our own…

I have a blue light

I have a blue light. It is one of those energy saving bulbs that lasts what seems like forever. It has been in my outside porch light for a good 4 (maybe more) years now (and yes, I did notice that there are plenty of dead bugs at the bottom in this photo – that’s life.)

One Halloween about 4 years ago (maybe 5) it was my turn to host the annual Halloween/Trick or Treat party for DC and his friends. We would still be giving out candy so I wanted to find a bulb that would not interfere with the lights and decorations I had put up, as the regular porch light bulb would.

I rummaged around and came across an old bulb from back in the day when I used to Light- it-Up Blue.  The porch light is not easy to change and if the bulb works, I am not changing it. There it sits – four (or maybe 5) years later. Obviously, I do not turn my porch light on all that often for it to last that long.

We did not have Autism Awareness when DC was young. We did not have World Autism Day, so when Autism Awareness started to become a thing, I was all for it. I naively believed that the awareness would encompass all of the spectrum.  If your child happens to fall somewhere on the spectrum other than where the characters that we see on TV fall, you are not allowed to speak about it. Don’t get me wrong – awareness and acceptance is a necessity but some of us need more.

As I get older and DC gets older, I worry more and more about his future and his safety (don’t worry, I am not going to rehash all of my fears for the hundredth time). Awareness is/was necessary though. It brought us more programs into school systems and more understanding and hopefully, acceptance of the students. Awareness has done next to nothing for some of our children as they become adults.

With funding for the disabled being one of the first things to be cut in every budget, even some of those school programs are going away now. I have already said that DC, after all of the people I have put in place as guardians after I am gone are gone, will have to live in a group home. What if there is no funding for that sort of thing when I am gone? What if everything I have put in place falls apart due to these cuts or due to one little miss-step? What would have happened if our whole Social Security debacle happened after I was gone? (A debacle that turned out to be Social Security’s  fault, but they were perfectly willing to take his benefits away, knowing full well that it was their fault – this is a 3 part-er so if you are interested, start here). Who will be there to fix it all for him? Will he be out on the streets or institutionalized? He would not survive. He is in a staffed day/work program right now. He loves it. What happens when their funding gets cut (as it does every year)?

April is a very depressing month for me now-a-days. It really is. Please do not tell me that I am undervaluing my son’s life by saying that. I am not in any way.

He is happy.

You should be so happy.

I love our life.

He loves his life.

I would not change a thing about him, except for his future.

I worry for his future and it is not for you or anyone to judge a parent, any parent who is just worried for their child’s future. His future is not your future, it is not your child’s future, you cannot compare.

I do not disparage those that are celebrating. I do not disparage the associations/charities they choose to support or not support. I do not disparage Autism Awareness at all. I am glad there is push for awareness and acceptance, but it needs to encompass everyone and we need more – much more. 

So I will just continue on my way, writing stories – some with humor and some not, some about progress made and some not. But through-out those stories, it should be apparent to you just how much I love this “boy” and how proud I am of him every day. If it is not in your face apparent in one or two; all I can say is that everybody has a bad day once in a while. I will continue to write about DC and our life  just to raise awareness to another side of the spectrum. I will continue to call and email my representatives whenever the threat of more cuts are in the air. I will continue to plan and research other methods of making sure he is safe and taken care of.

So yes, I have a blue light. It is left over from Halloween, 4 years ago (maybe 5). It may be turned on if someone is stopping by  after dark, but it means nothing other than the fact that I am just too lazy to switch out a perfectly good, working light bulb.

I am glad there is an awareness day and an awareness month. I am glad it has also become an acceptance day and acceptance month.

We need more.

 

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day and Tradition

First, let me say that we are not Irish. I might have a tiny bit of Irish on my father’s side but really not enough to claim.

Last Year: Facebook Status – March 17, 2018

All I have heard about since before last weekend was 1. DC’s birthday (next week), 2. Lunch with his Aunt and Grandparents (yesterday) and 3. St. Patrick’s Day (never mind that my birthday was Tuesday). I have heard quite a lot about St. Patrick’s Day – He has plans: Bookstore and “Out to eat”. I do not know why he is all about St. Patrick’s Day this year or why he thinks we are going to the bookstore. I know #ItsWhatsNext in DC’s calendar driven world, but it has never been a big deal to him before. I will have to figure out if, by coincidence we actually went to the bookstore last year and/or “out to eat” because if you do it once – it means it will forever be tradition.. whether you know it or not.


******

After a little bit of thought, I realized that we have had a few Winter Guard shows over the years that were scheduled on or right around St. Patrick’s’ Day.

Winter Guard Show = “Out to eat” afterwards in DC-land, so there’s that. Book Store? That must have happened once.


Later – March 17, 2018


I talked him down to just going out for a “treat”. He chose the red velvet cupcake (no green involved). While there I noticed that he was doing everything in slow motion (not just slowly, but really in slow motion); lifting his juice, putting it back down, picking up the cupcake, putting it back down – I thought that there was something wrong.

(Forgetting that on the way there, I had asked him to take his time eating and go slowly so I could at least finish my coffee before he was “done” and it was time to leave.)

When I asked what was wrong, he very slowly lifted his juice and said

“Going  S-LLL-OOOO-LLL-YYY” – 


Silly me.


I definitely did not want to take him to the book store the week before his birthday because I’m sure he will get a few of his beloved Barnes and Noble gift cards and seriously I am just flat out of room for books….



Last year I asked that you remind me of all of this when DC started asking to go out for a “Treat” on St. Patrick’s Day (because he starts the reminding relatively early) this year so I am not wondering why he is so adamant about going out for a treat on St. Patrick’s Day. My memory is just that bad…..

Or…could it be that he comes up with so many “traditions” for so many holidays that I just can’t keep them straight any more?  

Well, just forget about all of that because this year we do happen to have a Winter Guard Show right on St. Patrick’s Day, so I am sure that the “Out To Eat” tradition will be reinstated, overriding the newer “Treat” tradition. 

Hopefully next year, when DC starts talking about “Pencil – Very – a” (Pennsylvania = DC-Speak) and “Out to Eat”, I’ll remember where THAT idea came from.

Edited to add: And now that he realized that “Pencil-Very-A” is very a long drive, almost like a “looking around trip” ; he has just – right this minute, added a bookstore in “Pencil-Very-A” to his “Out to Eat” tradition.

So that’s how it all happens….

No stuffing please

 

DC has been counting the days waiting for Thanksgiving to arrive and just know that he would never imagine keeping me out of the loop on this…… daily/hourly/every few minutes.

I do have to say that his ‘Thanksgiving’ pronunciation has improved over the past year but “firsday’ is still ‘firsday’

I am not really sure why he looks forward to this holiday so much. He will eat turkey (preferably with bones) but other than that, there is really nothing else “Thanksgivingy” that he will eat.

Turkey and bread. That is about the extent of it and honestly if there are no bones (legs or wings) to be had, the bread is really the main event. He will eat the turkey but he is not very excited about it.

Last year, he skipped the turkey entirely and went with prime rib – a big switch for him!

Stuffing? No! No way!

Funny thing about stuffing, though…. he will not touch it! Every year I tell him that stuffing is made from bread (as the song below tells us). Every year I tell him that when he was little, he would not eat chicken or turkey, but he loved stuffing.

I tell him that he loved stuffing so much that I had to buy stuffing on a regular basis and hide chicken in it to get him to eat chicken or turkey. He loved stuffing and hated chicken.

Now-a-days as we all know, he eats chicken almost every day

or “Chicken with bones and sprinkles”

-although I’m sure the wings will do in a pinch.

It’s all about the bones.

“Sprinkles” being Mrs. Dash Seasoning.

But he will not touch the stuffing.

He does look forward to seeing his aunt and uncle. He enjoys staying in a hotel.

And there’s dessert. We can’t forget the dessert.

Or the bread..

But NO stuffing…

Happy a Happy Holiday!

*****

Reposted with a few additions from Thanksgiving 2017 

 

Party Choices; The choice is not always clear.

This is more about DC’s ability (or inability)  to choose between two or more options than it is about Halloween but Halloween is a factor in this particular story.

DC takes Halloween and the costumes he chooses, pretty seriously. It seems as though we used to have more parties to attend and more costumes to put together than we do now, but this year we knew there would be the basics, Best Buddies, Camp and Halloween night. The camp party was scheduled for Saturday at noon and Best Buddies for Sunday at noon.

Perfect! Right?

No…

A couple of weeks ago it was announced that the Best Buddies party was being rescheduled from Sunday to Saturday at noon; the same day and time as his camp party. I knew this was going to be a battle. Not only would he have to pass on one party and give up on one costume, but he would have to UNDERSTAND that he could not do both.

First of all – it was on the calendar and when something is on the calendar, it is engraved in stone.

Second of all – This was not something getting cancelled, which is usually cause for some trauma, but he gets over it. This is not “Mom” making a mistake on a date, where there is no choice involved – which is not fun either but he gets over it…… eventually.

This is him knowing about and planning on attending both, and now having to make a choice between them.

DC cannot always grasp this concept. He does not always understand, as many times and ways I have tried to explain, that if he chooses one that means he can’t go to or have the other.

It is not that he expects to “have it all’, it is more like he thinks of choices as being what he chooses will now come first and the thing he did not choose will still come later, just not at the originally expected time.

The many years of explanations and the times when he had to make a choice and did not get to do or have whatever he did not choose, does not seem to stick or help him understand any better the next time.

I knew for a fact that DC was not going to be the only one who might have a difficult time understanding that going to one party means not going to the other.

Originally, when I first explained the change and conflict to him – the chose the Best Buddies party, but when it was explained that he would not be able to go to the camp party, he changed his vote and went with camp.

After a week of him yelling at me at random intervals that he wanted to go to the camp party, I stopped explaining that it meant he could not go to Best Buddies. There is always a point where the explanation causes more anxiety than the choosing.

Even though I never want to see that heartbroken look on his face after I was sure he understood the choice only to discover later that he really did not, I stopped mentioning the Best Buddies party.

He continued to randomly yell about wanting to go to the camp party for the next week as well. I continued to tell him that he was going; no worries. There was no more mention of the Best Buddies Party on my part or his.

I still waited a little while before telling his Buddy that he would not be attending just to be sure he did not change his mind.

On Friday morning (the day before), he brought up the Best Buddies party out of the blue but I told him that he chose camp and I already told his buddy that he would not be there.

No reaction….. Phew!

On Saturday morning he mentioned a few friends that would be at the Best Buddies party, not at camp. I again explained that he chose the camp party. He was getting his costume on at the time which distracted him so I did not get a reaction about his party choice.

He went to camp and had a great time. There was no mention of Best Buddies.

He even found a “Captain Hook” to go along with his Peter Pan costume. (bonus theme and he loves babies!)

 

I was sure he would start on the Best Buddies party as soon as the camp party was over, but he mentioned nothing about it when I picked him up.

I haven’t heard anything since.

If he does not mention it by the time Halloween night rolls around, I am home free and I will know that he “got it” – but as long as there is time in his mind for another party before Halloween night, I cannot be sure.

I am thinking positively (with fingers crossed) because it really seems like he understood….

Finally!

Maybe?

We will see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supernatural – I wish I was able to hear that Conversation #SPNNJ

 

This week the Finish The Sentence Friday prompt is a Listicle – “Share 10 photos from your phone”. There could not have been more perfect timing.

As you may or may not remember, I lost all of the photos that were stored on my computer a few weeks ago. The computer went to the “computer guy” just before we went away for the weekend. It took much longer to get it back (with some of the photos recovered) than I expected, so all of my photos from that weekend are still on my phone waiting for a computer to download them on to, so I could write about the weekend as I do with every Convention, ComicCon or the like that we attend. They were already cropped and cartoonized (not a word, I know) and ready to go.

So here goes.

As you also may or may not know; DC loves New York City. He also loves Kim Rhodes. He met her last year at the some convention in NJ that we would be attending this weekend and I believe it was the highlight of his year (Let’s Talk About Kim Rhodes #SPNNJ)

As we did last year, we decided to take the weekend to go to New York City on Friday to do “DC-Stuff”, as he puts it, go to the convention on Saturday and back to New York for more “DC-Stuff” on Sunday.

Photo #1 (since this IS Supposed to be a “list)

“DC-stuff” means Times Square, The Disney Store, The M&M or Hershey Store (he chose Hershey this time), The Book Store and Lunch at Hard Rock. We accomplished that on Friday.

The hotel where we were staying was in NJ, within walking distance of the convention center.

Photo # 2

 

He started getting a little bit anxious at the hotel. He was done “of” walking (DC-Speak) but also excited about the next day. But this is normal for him. He “Flapped Furiously” for a while and got it out of his system.

Photo #3

Because I have learned much over the years, we had to go over the rules. Briana Buckmaster has beautiful long flowing blonde hair so he had to promise not to touch it (he would be reminded again the next day, but it never hurts to begin the reminding early) and of course, he is not allowed to “pick up the people” (a lesson I learned the hard way)

Saturday came and DC did a <insert sarcasm font> “little bit” of stimming outside the hotel (I’m sure it is on you-tube somewhere) and once he got himself together we walked over to the convention center.

He had his picture taken with Ruth Connell who had her hair up, luckily – but before he got anywhere near her, he was made to listen to the rules again – just to be on the safe side.

Photo #4

We sat in on the panel with all of the women characters where he got his first glimpse of Kim Rhodes. I had purchased autograph tickets for Kim Rhodes and I thought Briana Buckmaster because DC really wanted to say or hear her say “Okey Dokey” or in DC-speak “Ok-kiddy-Do-key” but #MomFail, I did not buy both. I don’t know what I was thinking. But he got to see Kim Rhodes, so he was sort-of okay with my error.

In line, waiting for the autographs, DC was, for some reason rehearsing “This is my mother, Vickie *LastName”, but when we reached the table and Kim asked him who I was he just said “Vickie” – not his mother – just Vickie.

Onward to the photo ops.

Photo #5

First ….. Kim Rhodes. The ‘Boy” is very happy, in case that isn’t 100% obvious.

Photo #6

Even though I failed with the autograph tickets, I did get a photo-op ticket for Kim and Briana Buckmaster together. Briana had her hair up too, so she was safe from DC the Hairdresser. He was thrilled, as you can see. I did not hear if he was able to give her an “Ok-kiddy-Do-key” and if she would even understand what he was saying if he did, but he was one happy guy. He wore his “Jody (Kim Rhodes) and Donna (Briana Buckmaster) shirt very proudly that day.

Once photos are taken, it is a good amount of time before they are printed and put out on a table in the vendor room. We only had one more photo-op to go before we were going to leave, have dinner and go back to the room for a break before we came back for the concert at 930. I try not to schedule anything after 3 or 4 so we have that time to take a break before the concert. It’s a long day for DC. Doug checked the photo table while we were in line for Misha Collins.

The last photo-op of the day and I have to say, my favorite photo of all time.

Photo-ops move quickly and there is not really any time at all to say more than “hello”. I was standing off to the side and saw that Misha Collins was taking to DC and DC was answering. I do not know if he was getting actual answers to the questions he was asking but I could see that DC seemed to be responding to whatever he was saying. It was more than a quick “Hello, what is you name”.

Whatever they were talking about; the conversation led to this photo.

Photo #7

Absolutely the

Best . Photo . Ever.

Let me also point out that DC TOOK HIS GLASSES OFF for the photo! That does not happen.

I did not see the photo until after we left and had dinner. We were able to get the first two photos before we left he convention center. We stopped at Outback on the way back to the hotel. After dinner Doug volunteered to go back to the convention center to check for the photo while DC and I went back to the hotel.

DC and I were sitting at a table outside the hotel when I saw Doug coming down the road with the photo, laughing. I don’t know if he laughed all the way from the convention center (I would have) but he was sure laughing on the way to the table.

Best picture ever.

It makes me really want to know what they were talking about before it was taken.

After our break, we went back for the Saturday Night Special (the concert) where DC got to hear them all sing.

Photo #8

Photo #9

Photo #10

Photo #11 (Bonus)

The concert ended with Justin Guarini. I am not sure why he was there, but……. cool. It was also a bonus for Doug because if you know Doug at all, you know that he has no idea who anyone on TV or in the movies is, but he did know who Justin Guarini was, not from American Idol but from American Idiot – one of the few Broadway shows that I dragged him to that he actually enjoyed.

A few things I noticed, though. We’ve been to a few conventions over the years and this one is one of the most organized conventions around, without a doubt.

DC had a few minor meltdowns while we were there. No one stared, no one made an issue about it. One lady was concerned and asked me if he was all right. I started to explain that he has autism and he gets a little bit anxious and before I got that all out of my mouth, she said “Oh, I know. Does he need anything?”

During another outburst, the woman behind us in line did not even flinch and offered us some granola bars in case he was hungry.

I guess I am not used to people knowing and understanding without me having to explain. It was nice. Maybe the whole “awareness thing” is doing some good in some places. It certainly was not the case when he was stimming outside the hotel that morning.

Sunday consisted of sleeping late; as late as DC would allow and back to the City for the rest of the “DC-stuff” on his list.

Central Park

and the Eloise Store at the Plaza

 

****

This has been a Finish The Sentence Friday Post. This week is a Listicle and the prompt; Share 10 photos from your phone.
Finish The Sentence Friday is hosted by: Kristi at Finding Ninee and  Kenya at Sporadically Yours

 

 

 

 

Summer Reruns: Shore Leave

Four years ago this weekend, we made the ‘Trek’ to Baltimore to attend Shore Leave…… yes, everyone puts up with me and my Star Trek obsession.

The previous October, we made it to New York Comic-Con. I was nervous – it was so crowded, but the hope of meeting Felicia Day, kept DC pretty much on track. He also got to meet William Shatner and the Real Mike Tee Vee. All were very nice to him and he was very, very happy.

A few years back a friend of mine told me about “Shore Leave“,an event held in Baltimore every August. It is smaller than ComicCon and the original plan was to try this first, see how DC managed it and then move on to the bigger ‘Con’ in NY at a later date. Somehow we ended up doing it in reverse. But, since DC did so well at Comic-Con we decided  Shore Leave would be a breeze.

To Boldy Go....

The first “sign” that DC learned when he was very young (for those of you that may not know, DC was non-verbal until he was 7 years old) was the “Live Long and Prosper” sign. If and when he saw a picture of Mr. Spock or heard him mentioned, he used that sign.

Today, he is verbal but will still, at times use his signs in conjunction with his speech – that “Mr. Spock” sign has come to represent Star Trek in general for him and he still uses it.

We left on Thursday afternoon as soon as DC came home from his work program. It took a full 8 hours to get there (traffic). It was late but at least we would be there to spend some time in Baltimore on Friday before Shore Leave opened on Friday night.

Reading the Shore Leave schedule, I noticed that there was a “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock” tournament at 6pm. DC loves the Big Bang Theory and thinks “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock” is the most hysterical thing he’s ever heard. He does not really know what it means, the words are  just so funny to him. I thought if we attended the tournament, he would see exactly what it is…. a game.  I didn’t think he would actually understand the game, but at the very least he might understand what they are talking about in the show.

When we first walked in, the moderator was explaining the rules, reading from a very confusing T-shirt, complete with diagrams and pictures of the signs. One of the participants piped up “That boy (DC) has the directions right on his shirt” – I don’t think the moderator appreciated this, he looked up, sighed and went right back to explaining with HIS T-shirt. DC got a kick out of the tournament and asked me more than once “to play“. I knew he really didn’t understand it and thought about asking the moderator if someone could play a quick game with him when they were finished, but during the practice rounds I did with him, I could see he really didn’t get it. He just threw whatever I threw. I told him he could play against me. We played at the table while the tournament was in progress. This seemed to make him happy enough.

After the tournament we were walking down one of the hallways and I noticed the TARDIS in the corner and pointed it out to DC. He recognized it immediately yelling,  “Dr Who” We went to check it out. It was a photo booth. I don’t know what sort of directions the man gave DC when he was in the booth, but I could see from the computer screen outside that every time “Look at the Camera” came up on the screen, DC did something with his hands and his face, when the prompt was not there he sat looking at the screen normally. I’m sure he was following his understanding of the directions the man gave him.

He also happened to find a pair of TARDIS slippers. There were only two pair on the table, but thankfully one pair was his size. He was pretty darn happy to get them. He has a “thing” about slippers lately, I don’t know why. He has a few pair of slippers at home but never wanted to wear them, all of a sudden he loves slippers and wears them all of the time. The Tardis slippers were a nice find for him.

Pictures taken, slippers purchased, now DC was beginning to get antsy. He had enough for one night and as you may or may not know, DC’s favorite thing when on vacation – besides bookstores and restaurants, that is – is the hotel room. He really just LOVES hotel rooms, so he was anxious to get back to “his” desk and all of his “stuff”.

On Saturday morning, we decided to take in the “Fairy Tale Panel” back at Shore Leave. DC must have been much more exhausted from Friday than I realized as he fell asleep and slept (in the front row, mind you) throughout the entire hour. 200lbs of dead weight hanging on me the entire time – just what you want when you are running a panel, someone fast asleep in the front row!  He did also sleep through the Once Upon a Time panel at ComicCon, but at least it was a dark room and we were nowhere close to the front. I suppose it could have been worse, he could have been snoring.
Saturday was much more crowded than Friday night had been. We tried to stay away from the most crowded areas, but refreshed from his “nap”, DC made a bee-line to the Buffy doll that I knew he wanted but refused to buy the day before – I think he was just too overwhelmed on Friday night to know what he wanted until he found the Tardis slippers, that is..
We had purchased tickets for 3 photo ops the night before, but we still had a little time to kill, so we went to the autograph tables, which surprisingly, were not very crowded.

Our first stop was Robert Picardo. I explained to DC that he was once on a Star Trek (Voyager). His sign read “I’m the Doctor”. This confused DC, he knew it wasn’t David Tennant, the only Dr. he is aware of, but the sign did say “I am the Dr.” so he called him Dr. Who.

– just following directions, Doc…….

We moved on to Michael Welch. He was exceptionally nice to DC – really, they all were.

We then headed to THE most confusing Photo Op line ever. We had tickets for 3 Photo Ops which meant we had to get in line 3 times. The lines did move quickly, but it was all very confusing trying to figure out where we were supposed to be.

The woman at the entrance to the photo room just Ooo’d and Ahh’d over DC every time we arrived for a photo. “Oh! Look at him, he is so excited!” – he was, plus there is no one that loves to have their picture taken more than DC does.

His first photo was with Robert Picardo, “Dr. Who” from a half hour earlier. He didn’t call him Dr. Who this time even though he was wearing a Dr. Who shirt (he didn’t have his “I’m the Doctor” sign with him and it wasn’t David Tennant on his shirt).

Next up was Eve Myles. She was a few minutes late getting to the photo room and when I saw her coming down the hallway, I got a little bit anxious. Her hair was much longer than it is on TV and in photos. DC LOVES long hair, LOVES it! Before we were faced with another  ‘Snow White Incident’ I launched into “the rules”.
“DC, you can not touch her hair”
“Okay Mom”
“DC what is the rule? – Tell me”
“Don’t touch your hair” (the usual pronoun confusion,but I knew he understood)
and then….. just for good measure…
“DC, what is the other rule?”
“Don’t pick up the people”
and he didn’t……….

Next and thankfully, last as DC was tired of getting in and out of lines…. Silas Weir Mitchell. I love Grimm. DC has seen it a few times, but I don’t think he really knew who he was. It didn’t faze him because, someone was taking HIS picture and isn’t that really all that matters?

At this point, DC was starting to get edgy. Our last stop was the Eve Myles autograph table. We had a good 1/2 hour wait until she was finished with the Q&A she was leading. We slipped inside to listen and more importantly to move DC out of the hallway.

He didn’t want to sit down.

He didn’t want to stand where we were standing.

He didn’t want to stand in the next place we moved to.

We moved close to the door and he seemed okay with that.

But then a staff person came over and told us we couldn’t stand there so we moved back to the hallway.

We decided to just wait at the table.

There was a wonderful lady sitting at the table who just happened to be a Special Ed teacher (we seem to run into Special Ed teachers everywhere we go, she was the second on this trip), she let DC pick out the photo he wanted autographed early. He picked a photo of Ms. Myles from a Merlin episode. We chatted a bit, she chatted with DC a bit as well. She told him he was doing a good job waiting – he loves compliments….. who doesn’t.

The Dalek from the Tardis photo booth was now roaming the hallway “EXTERMINATE!”,  so that helped to keep him occupied until Ms. Myles was finished with her Q&A. When she arrived at the table, the woman whispered something to her and then introduced her to DC. She told her that he was waiting a long time for her. He was first in line for her autograph, she was lovely to him. He was thrilled…..

but he was also “done”.

I didn’t try to push him to do any more. We arrived that morning at 9 and it was now after 3. That was a long stretch for him, even with the nap. He had a few sketchy moments throughout the day, but I really I think, overall he did a fantastic job!

In the words of DC, “We all had a wonderful time”

except for this guy…………..

this guy....

this guy….

 

*****

(This post was originally posted as “To Boldly Go” in August 2014)