Thursday, October 27, 2016

Throwback Thursday - 1 in 100 - Autism Votes

I originally posted this on November 8, 2011, which was election day. I ask myself:  has anything changed for the better now that more of the wave of babies born with autism enter adulthood?

My brother in law, who is in his 50's, and has autism, will vote this November.  He also voted in the New York presidential primary in April.  He made his mind up from watching the TV news shows he watched.

It may be easier for people with developmental disabilities to vote.  At a recent review at a program where my brother in law attends, they asked if he was registered to vote, and he even volunteered who he was going to vote for.

It's amazing that he never voted until 2004.

I repeat this post in honor of my brother in law.  And please, if you are in the United States, vote on November 8.  I'll blog about this more later this week.

1 in 100 - Autism Votes

A Facebook post by a Facebook friend of mine, a woman who has an adult son with autism, inspired this post.

The day I first posted this was election day in the United States, where I live.

Her son is voting for the first time today.  Although she is his legal guardian, her son retains his right to vote.  She told her Facebook friends that her son has looked forward to exercising his vote for years.  This is a big day for him.

It's also a big day for our country for another reason.

Her son is on the leading edge of a wave of soon to be adults with autism.  Some say 1 in 100 live births in this country result in an individual with autism.  Not too long ago it was 1 in 166. Then it was 1 in 150.  Let's assume for the sake of argument that the 1 in 100 figure is accurate.  Let's step back a moment and see what that means.

Those babies are going to grow up.  In fact, the "leading edge" of the autism epidemic I just mentioned are now legal adults in many states, including New York (age of 18).  Just wait until all those adults with autism, who have been given the tools and supports to vote, start to exercise that right. 

And,  it is never too late.

My brother in law, who has autism, is in his 50's. He voted for the first time in the 2004 Presidential election.  Growing up, he was never encouraged to vote nor were people like him ever expected to vote.  This just didn't happen.  They weren't "normal".  So their voices, and opinions, were unheard.

In 2004, a person who worked with him in a support role decided that my brother in law should exercise his right to vote.  He watches a news station that carries a lot of political discussions and has formed very definite political opinions.  Why shouldn't he vote?  She worked with him, he did vote, and he was very proud of voting for the presidential candidate of his choice.

For the first time, his voice was heard.

It is not easy for a person with autism to vote, as described here, but it can be done with proper education and proper support.  This issue isn't restricted to the United States, either.

It's a new day, and soon, the politicians will feel the power of that new voting block.  It will be interesting to hear what these new adults with autism have to say in the voting booth.

Day 27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fantastic Fall - The Five Letter Word

Why would grown people, normally sane, run around gathering hanging baskets and plants, taking cuttings of plants, and cutting flowers for one last bouquet?

Because of the looming F word.  It has five letters.
From earlier this fall - we didn't get this one.

This is the word that strikes terror into the heart of many gardeners.  It's the end of the growing season (except for some hardy crop exceptions).  It's the end of cut flowers.  It's the end of mild weather, although our mild weather ended several days ago, alas.

There wasn't a frost advisory last night.  Most people around here have gotten their first frost, even their first freeze, by now.  I am positive that, yesterday morning, sleet was mixed in with rain where I work in Binghamton, New York.  And, tonight, we are predicted to get the other word.

The S word.


I hate that word.

Why does nature have to wreck a perfectly good fall?

Please tell me that these innocent flowers (not mine, but still) died last night.

Please tell me these leaves won't fall in a few days.

Please don't tell me it will snow tonight.  Or tomorrow. 

Goodbye, fall.

Day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mourning A Building

A little more than five years after the flood that ruined it, the building that was once the largest wood framed structure in the United States has met its fate.  This structure, near to where I live in upstate New York, was once known as Air Force Plant 59.

Since the flood, the building has fascinated me.  It was a fixture in my life for nearly 30 years.  A landmark.  I passed it every day.  I called it the "BAE building", after its last tenant before the flood (BAE Industries).

It's been a building for all seasons since it was built as a military production plant in 1942.  Winter...
May 5, 2014

August 9, 2013

October 18, 2013
And fall.

The Air Force still owns the property.  But not the building.
October 23, 2016

It is rubble.   It took nearly seven months to demolish.
Angle similar to the "fall" picture.
And now, the burning bushes that once were part of its landscaping turn red one more time, behind a fence.  They, too, await their fate.

The final fate of the property still awaits announcement.  But, my neighborhood just won't be the same without BAE.

Rest in peace, Air Force Plant 59.

Day 25 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Music Monday - No One Likes to Be Ignored

If it wasn't a Monday, I'd probably be enjoying writing a blog post about fall where I live in upstate New York. I'd be sharing fall photos with you.
Downtown Binghamon, New York, earlier this month

The yellow.

The red and the orange.

Or the blazing red.

But this is Music Monday and you are expecting a music post.

Last week, I blogged about master singer/songwriter Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.  One of my commenters mentioned that Dylan had not yet acknowledged he won the award, and that the good folks who award the Nobel Prizes had been unable to locate him.  They didn't even know if he would show up for the award ceremony.

Now, that silence has become big news, especially after his website briefly mentioned it, but then the reference was taken down.  No mention of it now.

Dylan is being called "arrogant", "rude", and more.

This is far from the first time Bob Dylan has decided not to talk.  He gives interviews on his own schedule.  This isn't the first time he's ignored an award.

So, the question becomes: arrogance, or nobility?

I suspect Bob Dylan does not care.  It's his life, his award to accept, embrace, or ignore.  It may not be important to his world view - or, knowing the history of the man the awards are named after, he may have decided, deliberately, to ignore it.

On the other hand - if you invited people to a party, wouldn't you want to know who was intending to show up? Or to acknowledge they received your invitation?

What do I think? I think artists have an obligation to the world - the world that has bought their records, listened to their songs, and put money in their bank accounts.  Go back to the official website of the artist.  The home page is announcing new albums and new tours.  All of these cost money, and Bob Dylan wouldn't be advertising these if he didn't want to make money.  So, he is making money off the public. (I know - shock. Surprise).

If I was in his shoes, even if I did not want the award, I would still acknowledge it, and thank those who had voted in praise of my works for thinking of me.  If you are taking money for something you make, or create, I think you owe those same members of public at least this much.

What do you think?

Day 24 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

National Mother in Law Day

We can thank the good people of the state of Texas, where I lived for almost a year in the mid 1970's, for Mother In Law day.  It is observed on the fourth Sunday in October, and is modeled after Mother's Day - except the day is to honor the mother of your spouse.

My spouse never knew my mother, who passed away some five years before we met.  But my mother in law has been in my life for some 46 years.

A relationship with your mother in law can be quite complex, depending on the culture you live in.  I majored in cultural anthropology back in my college days, and learned about societies where a man had to avoid contact with his mother in law at all costs.

In our society, some relationships are close, and some are not.  One newspaper even published some quotes to provide your mother in law with, if you chose to.

In other cultures, like ours, the daughter in laws and mother in laws have varying relationships.  I've seen some of the various flavors (as I am old enough for my friends and I to have grown children) - some good, some not so good.  I am not the parent of a married child, so only time will tell how I take my position in any such future relationship.
Japanese anemones - their foliage is turning color

For my mother in law, who I will not be seeing today, here are a couple of virtual flowers for you.

My mother in law is a three time cancer survivor, has raised and cared for a son who is developmentally disabled, and has shown strength in a lot of situations.  One thing she can not say is that her life has not been boring.  And now, she is still starring in still another role- how to age with grace.

Happy mother in law's day to all the women who are in the role of mother in law.

Day 23 of the #Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Local Saturday - Apple Fail (and a Recipe)

I live in an apple growing area of upstate New York, but this year has not been the kindest to the growers.

A late freeze after a mild winter.  A drought.

We went up to Ithaca, New York last weekend to buy some of the heirloom apples we love so much for heirloom apple crisp (yes, please try my recipe).
This is what we found.  Just a few bins with small apples.
I didn't think there was anything wrong with them.  I look forward to the annual buying of these most tasty of apples, and was grateful there was a crop at all.

Yes, the apples in the bottom bin are brown.  The brown varieties (russet) are some of my favorites.

Americans tend to be very picky about the looks of their produce.  Things get discarded if they don't look "perfect".  Americans do not want blemishes, small items, or other defects in their fruit.  So much fruit and other produce goes to waste - it's a disgrace.

I'm grateful for the apples we were able to buy from these growers.   And when I make the apple crisp, I'll let you know.

Here's the recipe I used a couple of years ago:  this will something nice to make on a cold, blustery day like today.  But I have a pear in the house, and may use it instead of the blueberries.

Fruit Crisp (9 inch square pan, serves 9)

2 pounds baking apples (I used 20 Ounce)

4 tbsp brown sugar (you can also use 1 tbsp sucralose as an alternative)

2 tsp lemon juice

1 cup frozen blueberries (I didn't thaw them)

Peel and slice cored apples. Mix all ingredients together.  Place in a 9 inch square baking dish that has been oiled or buttered.
Top with topping.  Keep in mind this is an adaptation of a low-cal topping.  It may not suit you.


1 cup quick oats
4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp light butter
1/2 tsp freshly ground allspice (since I, amazingly, didn't have cinnamon on hand)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix topping together and top.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until the apple slices are the consistency you want.  Let cool, unless you can't wait to eat it.

Day 22 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Skywatch Friday - A Lake Sunset

Here is a picture taken of Canandaigua Lake, in upstate New York (one of the Finger Lakes), on October 15, just after sunset.
Some pictures take themselves.  This is one of them. 

Visit the Skywatch Friday website and check out sky pictures from all over the world.

Day 21 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.