Everything is Related – It’s a Celebration

 

As you may or may not know, over and above his regular day job/program, DC also volunteers at a local theater. He has been there for four and a half years now. His best friend, BB just recently started volunteering there as well. 

If DC could choose his dream job, it would be one (or all) of three things; Working in a Bookstore, Working at Disney (or anything having to do with Disney), Working at a Theater (plays and musicals) – 4 Years ago today, DC and his Job Coach headed off to his first day of volunteer work at the theater. My Broadway Baby got his wish…. ~ From “His Dream Job” March 2017

 As one might guess, DC is more interested in working the Broadway Productions, but the volunteers are required to mix it up and work a few of each type of production held there. 

Some of these are difficult (or boring) for DC so I always try to come up with something to relate whatever show he is working to something he enjoys – which is usually something that begins with Disney, but not always.

A while back he was scheduled to work “The Phantom of the Opera”. Now don’t get me wrong, DC is the ultimate fan of musicals, but this is more opera than musical. To try to pump up the enthusiasm and interest, I told him that I saw the Phantom of the Opera many years ago in New York City (his favorite place) on Broadway (his second favorite place) when it first opened. 

Me: Do you know who played the Phantom when I saw it? It was the same person who played Cornelius in a movie that you really love.

DC: Walter Matthau (not pronounced quite that way but I knew who he meant)

Me: No, Michael Crawford. He played Cornelius and Walter Matthau was his boss in the store (Hello Dolly).

(Seriously, you have to give DC props for knowing Walter Matthau and knowing which musical just from the name Cornelius)

That was the best I could come up with…

When all of the attendees are seated and the show gets going (pending a 10-minute hold on the door, of course) the volunteers are allowed to go in and watch a good portion of the show. For this particular show, DC and Mrs. H stayed out in the lobby due to the production’s use of strobe lights.

There are screens in the lobby though. Mrs. H reported that as soon as the operatic singing began, DC in his not so “indoor voice” announced – This is ‘ted-a-bull’!

I suppose it was a very good thing that they were not inside the theater at the time.

Moving on to the “celebration”…..

Many years ago, when I got married, I gave the DJ a list of three songs that he was not allowed to play, even if a guest requested them. They were banned – BANNED!

The first was Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration”.

There was not any sort of affair that one could attend without ”Celebration” being the first song that was played, as if it was an original idea and no one had ever thought of it before. 

“A Party? A Celebration? Oh, we should play Kool and the Gang! We are so clever!”

Nothing against Kool and the Gang, I do like many of their other songs, but I am not a fan of this particular song.

Then, like clockwork, the very next musical offering 99.99% of the time would be, Sister Sledge, “We are family”.

No, no no no, just no.

The third was the chicken dance, because…….

Chicken Dance.

(Little did I know that one of DC’s early intervention teachers, Mrs. T (you know who you are) would teach him the chicken dance and he’d be doing it ever since)

Flash Forward to 2012 when DC’s Winter Guard Team chose – you guessed it – “Celebration” as their performance song for that season.

I mentioned my banned wedding song list to TonyaSalli’s mother one night at Winter Guard practice after listening to Celebration in parts and in its entirety all practice long. She laughed so loudly that it got the attention of the director who also had a good chuckle over the torture I was experiencing. 🙂

DC loves Winter Guard but he never really gets attached to any of the songs they have used over the years. If they used something like “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Seventy-Six Trombones”, or “The Trolley Song” – that would be a different story. Being a Disney/Broadway/Musical type of a guy, he is not always interested in the popular/top 40 music they use. He does like the songs and knows them when he hears them later, but that’s about it. I thought this would work in my favor with “Celebration”, but noooooooo….

He will randomly search for it on you-tube and listen to it over and over, still. to. this. day which I begrudgingly admit might actually come in handy as the next show that DC is scheduled to work at the theater is none other than – Kool and the Gang…

No prep necessary. I simply reminded him of his beloved “Celebration” and he is ready and seems to be looking forward to this show.

So, I guess you can say that Kool and the Gang came through for me in the end because, Everything is Related.

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Everything is related …. Camp “Special Days”

special-days

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Day Music (or Blog Titles – Part Two)

all day

Yesterday a friend of mine pointed out that I haven’t had a very easy “run of things” over the past month or so. This is true. Most of it has not been anything really major (aside from DC’s seizure, of course), but everything all at once on top of each other has really thrown the proverbial wrench in the works around here.  I don’t normally like to publish back-to-back “fluff” pieces or back-to-back reruns, but right now “that’s all ‘she’ wrote”. So please bear with me through one more “fluff” piece, read some of the old posts with “musical titles” listed below and remember that I really did give you prior warning about the “Blog Title Series” 🙂

This is one of those posts that I put together and save to post later when we are away or when I am really busy and really don’t have the time to write. Like the “Blog Title Series” (Series? Yes, there’s more), they are very often off topic or “fluff”. I like fluff, sometimes fluff is fun.

From an earlier post and what I suppose would be called the first installment:

I always have music in my head – always. And also much like DC, I can pull out an obscure or very old song or just a line from a song and actually think people will recognize it.

You may (or may not) have noticed that I use quite a few song titles, lyrics or variations thereof as blog titles. I do this because music is always the first thing that pops into my head when giving a title to a blog. Once it is in my head, it’s there and even if the actual song has nothing to do with the post itself, I have to use it

We sure do have some stories, don’t we?

(The original title was “We may be crawling in the dark, but we sure do have some stories”I thought is made the post sound too serious. I decided to include it anyway because……it’s my post and I just happen to like this song – no other reason)

we are all crawling in the dark at times – we certainly were back then and really still are to some extent – but there is always humor to be found

*******

Don’t ya know that I love my music

*******

If you knew…. Peggy Sue..

*******

Knock Three Times

*******

Because, Because, Because, Because….BEEEE CAUSE  

*******

Hello Dolly!

*******

“Please allow me to introduce…..”

*******

Knock, Knock, Knock on Wood

*******

Pants on Fire

*******

“We Go Together……..

*******

Again, as DC would say “We hope you enjoyed the Music in Mom’s Head”

Blog Titles…. Don’t ya know that I love my music?

Music

This is just going to be one of those posts that is fun for me and really not “autism-related”, except to say that much like DC, I always have music in my head – always. And also much like DC, I can pull out an obscure or very old song or just a line from a song and actually think people will recognize it.

You may (or may not) have noticed that I use quite a few song titles, lyrics or variations thereof as blog titles. I do this because music is always the first thing that pops into my head when giving a title to a blog. Once it is in my head, it’s there and even if the actual song has nothing to do with the post itself, I have to use it and I have to type it the way I am hearing it in my head – e.g.  All the……small things.

Yes, I do understand that most or maybe all of you are not reading it the way I am hearing it, or you might just be to young to even recognize some of the song titles or lines. So now, as DC would say ” Sit back, relax and enjoy the music in Mom’s head”:

(The linked text above the videos are links to the actual blog posts)

“Ooh you’re a holiday… every day …such a holiday” – Happy Mother’s Day

Bicycle races are coming your way…. (How the times have changed)

All the…. small things

Gimme head with hair

Take the long way home……. #1000speak

You wear it well….

I can see clearly now….

“And those whose names were never called when choosing sides for basketball” #1000speak

I got the music in me….

The ice, the grass and other things…..

(The Rain, the Park and Other Things)

So there you have it…

I’ll save the rest for another time…

(This post and one or two others were pre-written and pre-scheduled before we left on our vacation – I am not sure at the time I am writing what kind, if any internet access I will have once there or just how costly it will be to use. So have a wonderful week to 10 days and we will “see” you when we get back)

I got the music in me….

(Not “proper” grammar, I know. Talk to Kiki Dee)

DC is the ultimate music lover. I love this about him because I too have always been a music lover! Our tastes differ greatly. If one were to look at my music file they might just think it was a file belonging to 4 different people. I love everything from The Osmond Brothers “Down by the Lazy River” (my Happy song) and the Spinners “It’s a Shame” (my other Happy song – I dare you not to dance!) to Alice in Chains and Shinedown. Of course, being the geek that I am, I also have to have the Firefly, Dr.Who and Angel TV themes readily available.

DC leans more towards Musicals, Disney and some top 40. The battles in the car over the radio are actually the reverse of most parent and child “radio battles”.

We do, have some music in common though. When DC was a baby, he was not your average lullaby baby. It took a lot of trial and error to find songs that he enjoyed before bedtime. – This was, of course back when he wanted to hear me sing. Now all I hear is “Mom, please stop singing!” (unfortunately, he doesn’t always get his wish)

I just happened to hear both of the songs below on the same day, last week. Because I rarely hear either one of them on the radio, never mind both – it sort of inspired this post.

His favorites were:

James Taylor – Sweet Baby James (I happen to be a big James fan so this was fine with me)

and

Loggins and Messina – House at Pooh Corner (another “win” for me)

I am surprised that he still remembers them, to this day.

During our recent vacation the subject of DC’s first flight came up in conversation twice, first when we were having dinner with his Dad and again while having lunch with “Pinky” and her family.

DC was almost 2 years old. We were flying down to Savannah, GA. and DC was not having any of this! It was unbearable for us and I’m sure, much worse for the other passengers. This was also back in the days when you were required to hold your children in your lap. This actually worked in my favor because I could sing into his ear with out traumatizing the rest of the passengers with my voice.

“Do your ears hang low?” and only “Do your ears hang low?” was acceptable to DC on this flight. Over and over again. I could not switch to another song.

There was also the time we were driving home from a weekend in Maine – he was probably a year and a half old. This ride should have been our first indication of how the flight would go months later.  I was required to sing “Who are the people in your neighborhood” for hours. I could not deviate from that song. I sang it so many times that I made up an extra verse on the spot. I wish I could remember it as I have to say I remember it being pretty darn good – if I do say so myself.

Music has always been a source of calm for him. It still is. It is also a source of joy. If he is not reading a book (or “playing computer” on the weekends) he is singing and dancing all over the house. Oftentimes he is reading or watching while singing and dancing.

I am so glad that he shares my love of music but more importantly that it is something that can calm him down and soothe him when he really needs it.

– Okay, admit it, you danced to the Spinners………….. I know you did. 

Full Versions (because who wouldn’t want to look at James or Kenny again)

House at Pooh Corner

Sweet Baby James

and the others:

Who are the people in your neighborhood

Do your ears hang low?