So Much Red Tape…So Little Time

When you or a loved one has a disability, it shouldn’t take a pint of blood and several jumps through rings of fire to get the help needed to make things better.

I have a sister 13 years my junior who is autistic.  I’ve lived the ins and outs of caring for someone with autism, dealing with all the social agencies, schools, day hab programs, group homes, medical issues, etc.  When our mother passed away, I took on a new role of legal guardian for my sister.  I never thought I’d be facing it all over again with my own child, but I am.  At least it’s on a much smaller scale than what I’ve experienced with my sister.  But it’s also so much more challenging.

Imagine you have cancer and it is recommended you have chemo to treat it.  Makes sense, right?  Have chemo treatment, possibly get better.  Now imagine that you need chemo but can’t find a place where you can get it.  There are waiting lists upon waiting lists.  Then there are the facilities that don’t take your insurance, even Mass Health.  That is what I’ve been experiencing in trying to obtain Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) treatment for my daughter, who has recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

The good news is that last year former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill which would require MA Health to cover ABA treatment.  Up until that bill came into play, MA Health didn’t do shit regarding ABA.  The bad news is that, considering the bill was signed almost exactly a year ago (August 5, 2014), this supposedly isn’t going to go into effect until October.  What I’ve been told by MA Health is that any ABA provider who wants to jump on the MA Health bandwagon has to call MA Health and tell them so.  I guess the paperwork can take anywhere from 30-45 days to be processed.  I understand that many ABA agencies have already gone through the paperwork.  However, when I call these places, they have no idea what to tell me, other than this is going into effect in October.  Some have told me that there is a waiting list a mile long.  A couple have asked me to send them my daughter’s proof of diagnosis, which I have.  I had one place really get my hopes up.  They accept MA Health.  I filled out all the paper work and then they told me that they don’t have any therapists in my area.  And many of these places do take my private insurance.  But there’s one problem:  they don’t take my KIND of private insurance because my employer decided to take the cheap route and selected the “self-insured” plan for their employees.

So I continue to make phone calls and send emails.  We continue to be put on waiting lists.  We continue to wait…and wait.  Meanwhile, my daughter still isn’t getting the help she needs.  Thank God she doesn’t need chemo…


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Karma Is A Bitch

This whole “Ashley Madison” thing leaves me to wonder:  Are there really that many people out there unhappy in their current relationships?  Thirty-seven million people? I wonder how many of these people are in “open” relationships.  I wonder why they would want to be in an “open” relationship.

If you feel you must cheat on your significant other, why bother having a significant other?

Score:  Cheaters and Ashley – 0

Therapists of all kinds – 1

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“Love Letters To A Rock Star”

Just posted the first excerpt from my latest…

The book is based on actual love letters written to a musician by a fan, as well as the replies the fan received back.

More to come in the next few weeks…

For the Single Ladies

It’s been a long time since I’ve been a single lady.  I guess that’s why I roll my eyes when the single women I know who start ranting and raving about their lives and relationships.

Hey, I give you single gals credit.  It takes a lot to handle things on your own.  The relationships you have sometimes end in tears and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  The guy was a jerk.  He cheated on you.  He was a user.  Whatever.  And I’m sure you were perfect, right?

Ladies, get a grip.  Did you ever stop and think that maybe, just maybe, some of the problems in your relationships are partly your fault?  Why would you keep dating the same kind of loser over and over again?  Is your self-esteem that low?  If you keep having relationships that end the same way all the time, you need to evaluate yourself.

It’s difficult for women in successful relationships to sympathize with women in poor relationships because we get sick of hearing the complaining.  With the women I know I feel like throwing up my hands and saying, “get a fucking cat”.


Go Set A Watch, Man. You Need To Know The Time

I’m gonna pass on running out to Barnes & Noble today to pick up Harper Lee’s latest “Go Set A Watchman”.  I’m still trying to figure out what the big deal is with “To Kill A Mockingbird”.  I wasn’t really impressed with the story.  I think the controversy was a bigger deal than the book itself.

But July 28 can’t get here soon enough.  That’s when I’ll be first in line to pick up Dr. Seuss’ latest “What Pet Should I Get?”.  Now that is bound to become a classic!


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It Was Our “Woodstock”

July 13, 1985.  Thirty years and many musical memories ago.  I’m so glad I was alive to be a part of that event.

No, I wasn’t there in Philly.  Nor in England.  I didn’t get to ride the Concorde with Phil Collins.  But I had dragged my 14-year-old ass out of bed at 5:30 a.m. on a summer weekend so I could tune into the concert of the decade.

It started around noon UK time, which put us at 6-ish.  They were broadcasting the entire thing on the radio so I had my cassettes and tape recorder ready to go.

Then there was JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.  To be there must’ve been something else.  I longed to see Powerstation and Madonna.  Waiting to see Duran Duran perform was like torture.  I remember getting to see the last few hours of the show broadcast on TV.  Another thing to thank Dick Clark for.

Thirty years later I still have some of the cassettes that I recorded.  I have the “Live Aid” book.  I’ll have to scan through that later and continue with my walk down memory lane.

Such nostalgia for such an innocent time in my life…


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Movie Review: Minion Me


Any movie-goer familiar with “Despicable Me” and “Despicable Me 2″ will be familiar with the odd-yet-adorable little yellow guys who do all of Gru’s dirty work.  Otherwise known as his “Minions”.  In “Minions” we learn the history of these creatures and how they came to live with Gru.

From the depths of the ocean to the Ice Age, these little guys spend their days searching for the perfect villain to serve.  Unfortunately, usually through their own fault, something happens to their new boss and the Minions move on to their next victim.

Frustrated with what they’ve become (or haven’t become) and the fact that they can’t seem to keep a leader around, Kevin, one of the more elongated Minions, steps forward and offers to go out into the world to find the perfect boss.  Cute little Bob volunteers to join him, much to Kevin’s reluctance.  The guitar-strumming Stewart gets thrown in, not seeming to understand what he’s just gotten himself into.

It’s the late 60’s and Kevin, Bob and Stewart find themselves in New York City.  While there they see an advertisement on TV for Villain-Con in Orlando.  That’s when they first set eyes on the beautiful but powerful Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock).  The three buddies hitch a ride with a family of bank robbers heading to the same fan fest in Florida.  Once there they win over Scarlet and are given the opportunity to work for her.  Excited, Kevin, Bob and Stewart are flown to England and on the way they notify the other Minions of their success in finally finding a leader.

Scarlet’s plan to have the three yellow munchkins steal the royal crown backfires when Bob inadvertently pulls the sword from the stone and becomes King.  So much for Scarlet getting the crown.

The three Minions are thrown into the dungeon; they manage to escape.  Meanwhile, the Minions they left behind back in the Ice Age have just fled from a polar bear they had sought refuge with.  Of course, this is only after they accidentally kill him.

Much to England’s joy, Kevin, Bob and Stewart successfully overtake Scarlet, winning back the crown for the Queen.  By now the other Minions have met up with them and are there to witness Kevin being knighted, Stewart being presented with and destroying an electric guitar and Bob being given a crown for his teddy bear.  Yet the Minions are still without a boss.

In a final conflict they are faced with the ever powerful Scarlet, who has managed to once again swipe the Queen’s crown. That’s when we are introduced to a young Gru, who comes along and freezes Scarlet.  In the process he helps himself to the crown and promptly leaves the scene, with all the Minions following.

This is a great film for families with school-age children to see (I’d say ages 7 and up).  The kids may not get the music (tunes from all the 60’s greats can be heard:  The Doors, The Who, The Stones, The Monkees and of course The Beatles) but the parents will love it, as well as seeing the Jimi Hendrix autographed guitar and the comical Abbey Road scene.

And don’t be surprised if you suddenly crave bananas….


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The Doughnut Diva

Oh, Ariana, what are we going to do with you, you little red-headed twit?

You go into a doughnut shop the other day, lick a displayed doughnut, kiss your back up dancer/boyfriend and announce that you hate America.  Wow.  You have come so far since “Victorious” and “Sam and Cat”.  I’m (not) impressed.

Then you make matters worse and even more bizarre when you release this statement:

“I am EXTREMELY proud to be an American and I’ve always made it clear that I love my county. What I said in a private moment with my friend, who was buying the donuts, was taken out of context and I am sorry for not using more discretion with my choice of words. As an advocate for healthy eating, food is very important to me and I sometimes get upset by how freely we as Americans eat and consume things without giving any thought to the consequences that it has on our health and society as a whole. The fact that the United States has the highest child obesity rate in the world frustrates me. We need to do more to educate ourselves and our children about the dangers of overeating and the poison that we put into our bodies. We need to demand more from our food industry. However I should of known better in how I expressed myself; and with my new responsibility to others as a public figure I will strive to be better. As for why I cannot be at the MLB show, I have had emergency oral surgery and due to recovery I cannot attend the show. I hope to make it up to all those fans soon. That being said let me once again apologize if I have offended anyone with my poor choice of words.”

Uh, a few things, my dear twit.  First of all, please get an education, okay?  Let’s go over the grammar in your statement, shall we?

 “…I love my county”.  Ooops.  I’m sure you do, twit-face, but it wasn’t your COUNTY that you dissed; it was your COUNTRY.  You can’t even apologize correctly!

Next:  “… I should of known better in how I expressed myself”.  Yes, and you should HAVE re-read and edited your statement before you issued it.

Those boo-boos aside, you also mark yourself as a hypocrite for shaming your COUNTRY’S obesity issues while you were in the process of stuffing some sugary sweets into your own pie-hole.  You twit.

For someone who allegedly had “emergency oral surgery” you seemed fine enough to be licking doughnuts, sticking it to your guy friend and mouthing off at America.

The “MLB show”?  You mean the baseball All-Star GAME?

Do your COUNTRY a favor, Ariana.  Buy a dozen doughnuts, sit down with your boyfriend, a dictionary and grammar book and thank your lucky twenty-something twitty diva stars that you live in America.  We may be full of fatties but at least we won’t kill you for licking our doughnuts!

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Why Is It Not Enough?

I was recently reminded of a “memo” I read years ago regarding how some people–more like “fans”–feel they have a sense of “entitlement” when it comes to celebrities they admire.  These people feel that celebrities have an “obligation” to them.  The only “obligation” any well-known figure should feel they have is presenting themselves well in what they do and providing the entertainment the fans have paid for.

Sometimes as fans we are lucky to have the celebrity be gracious enough to grant us their time and offer a picture and autograph.  That’s always nice and why should we ask for more?  Some people find it necessary to hound celebrities on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites.  Some people get ecstatic, especially the younger set, when so-and-so celebrity actually takes the plunge and follows them or retweets something they wrote.  It’s not like they are the only person this celebrity is following or retweeting.  Yes, it may be exciting but it’s not all it’s cut out to be.  Get over it because sometimes it gets old pretty quickly.  And sometimes that fine line between celebrity and fan is crossed and things get, well, kinda messy.

I have had the opportunity to hold court with a few famous personalities.  In looking back at those moments, I kind of wish they had never happened.  People think it would be so cool to have drinks with so-and-so celebrity.  As cool as it may seem, it is also very uncomfortable and awkward.  Try carrying on an intelligent conversation about politics with said celebrity and being interrupted every five minutes by everyone from their manager to autograph-seekers and photo hounds.  The real fortunate ones are those who make it into the hotel rooms.  At least nobody is going to bother them behind closed doors.  They can talk (and do whatever else they want) until the cows come home.  Or until some brash fan(s) start pounding on the door or slip a note under the door…

So take my advice:  the next time you have the chance to meet a celebrity, just be grateful to meet them, maybe get a picture, maybe an autograph and cherish those memories.  Don’t ask for or expect more.  It’s not owed to you.


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Thanks For The Sunny Memories

After 44 years Sonia Manzano, who played the character Maria on PBS’ “Sesame Street”, is bidding the show good-bye.

Considering she has been a part of the show for as long as I’ve been alive, I spent a large part of my childhood watching Maria living and working among the rest of the “street” gang.  She was the one who always seemed to be there for Big Bird whenever he needed help or a shoulder to cry on.  Oscar’s nickname for her was “Skinny”.  She was one of television’s first Latina actresses.  On “Sesame Street” as Maria she not only befriended many muppets, but also many other human residents of the “Street”.  In the very early days she appeared to be hooked up with the character David.  When Sonia became pregnant in real life they worked in a relationship and marriage to Luis, a character who worked in the fix-it shop.  The two developed their relationship over the care of a kitten and after they were married, they went camping during their honeymoon.

Not only did Sonia act on “Sesame Street”, she also did writing for the show, winning 15 Emmy awards in the process.  Through her talents she taught countless children everything from letters and numbers to Spanish.  With her leaving it is almost like losing a piece of my childhood.

Although it has been many years since I’ve actually watched the show, the memories of “Sesame Street” and of Sonia Manzano’s character Maria, will always remain.

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