Ned Nice and the Laws of Social Relativity


Teghan at Autism Walk

Teghan was unusually social with this guy. She couldn’t get enough of him.


Maybe I am more sensitive than I thought. I pride myself on the fact that I am not one to read too much into what others say and do. I am pretty good at not getting caught up in the idea that everything (or anything at all) is about me, and I am usually quite hard to offend. Because, well, it’s not very often that people mean to offend.

I figure whatever crime someone has committed against me, surely I am doing the same thing to someone else without even realizing it. I doubt anyone is out to get me, or making a point to make me feel excluded in some way- and I certainly am not attempting such a thing on someone else. These are all emotionally healthy assumptions to make about others.

But I also find myself reacting in unexpected ways. I can’t help it. I judge and rank people in my mind. I decide not to give more to someone than what they would return, and I sometimes make the assumption that they would return nothing. I think to myself, “I am never going to be the one who cares more.” I don’t want to chase after someone’s affection or approval. And I don’t want to be the one who can be counted on for these things, either, because that is a responsibility I will fail at.   Continue reading

Will and Ruth (and a few more pictures of Jack)



Back in November, I wrote a post about my husband’s great-grandparents and their son, Jack. Jack was born 100 years before my own daughter, and had some form of developmental disability. He was an example of how a happy, loving family made all the difference for him- even though we often think of those times as being much worse for children who didn’t quite fit in.

I have received a lot of messages about Jack and his family. You can read the original post here.   Continue reading

Good Teacher, Bad Teacher



On the first day of school, as I entered the third grade, the teachers were still on strike. I was too young to understand that even though my teacher was brand new she was my actual teacher. I spent the first two weeks of class panicked that she was only a substitute, and that my real teacher would come back after the strike was over.

I liked this teacher a lot. Her name was Mrs. Kenyon. You know what I remember the most about her? She liked The Beatles. In case you think I am exaggerating about my lifelong obsession, I used to write Beatles lyrics on the back of my spelling tests while I was waiting for the rest of the class to finish. Mrs. Kenyon would grade my test and complete the lyrics before handing it back to me.

That made her pretty awesome.

When I look back at all of my teachers, there are very few standouts. Plenty of them meant well. Most of them were good teachers who cared, they just didn’t have any great impact on me. That’s fine. Maybe they impacted someone else.

A couple of them stood out as being terrible. Some teachers clearly hate their jobs, and even their students. I had a science teacher in the seventh grade who hated me. My older sister had been a bit of a troublemaker for him, and he assumed I would be the same. He never even gave me a chance. Continue reading

Creative Differences

Teghan Piano


My husband and I are creative opposites. We do not share the same abilities. In fact, we are quite terrible at the things the other one is good at. Sometimes this works out well. For example, Dave is very gifted at putting music together. It’s a language that makes sense to him in a way few people really understand, even most musicians. It’s why I fell for him in the first place. And while I may have musical ability, I do not possess the same talent for composition.

He is in his studio recording songs right now- songs without words or vocal lines. He isn’t as good at that part. I find words, melody, and harmony easy. I am a singer…. while Dave somehow manages to sing terribly in perfect pitch (that may even be its own talent).

These differences allow us to be a great pair for songwriting. However, these differences also mean that songwriting has led to our most legendary battles. Nothing (and I mean nothing) has made us angrier with each other than a disagreement over music. There is a reason some of our best work is still lost in studio archives.

Knowing this, I am not sure why I had the brilliant idea of working with him on a comic book. I don’t even like comic books. Something about having to look at pictures and read at the same time annoys me. It gives me motion sickness or something. And, if you recall, I cannot draw- anything. My stick figures are bad. Dave (of course) is a great artist. He has plenty of experience, too. He just can’t write.

Seems like a perfect fit, doesn’t it? I am hopeful, but skeptical. The closest we ever came to breaking up was over time signatures, after all.  Continue reading

Father of the Year

Sick Teghan

If you have been on Facebook lately, you already know how our last few days have been. Teghan has been miserable. Dave has been amazing. And me? I have been in hiding, waiting for the moment I catch the stomach virus that will make me confront my greatest fear in the world- throwing up.

It’s not a joke. It is the one thing I cannot get past in spite of all logic. It is a completely irrational fear that I have always had. I am 36 years old, and I have experienced the act of vomiting only once as an adult. Which, as you can imagine, makes the whole idea freak me out even more.

What this also means is that I am not winning any awards as parent of the year right now. Dave certainly deserves one; but I, on the other hand, have become like a second patient for him. My only solace is that Teghan is really easy to supervise at the moment. She hasn’t left the couch or bed except to use the bathroom, and sometimes not even then. She has been sleeping most hours of the day. The only real work comes when she gets sick- and let’s face it, I was never going to be the one cleaning up those messes (panic attack or not).   Continue reading