Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Age of Enlightenment-or not!!

At what age do children start beginning to see through the veneer on life? Stop believing in magic, Father Christmas and fairies?

Far too early today. So many of the twins' friends already see through society's and their parents' efforts to keep the magic alive, and not even the full force of Disney with (arguably their best ever ) new Winter's tale "Frozen" can maintain the illusion.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Blogging Goodbye to 2013 in Rhyme!

This is my entry for the linky "Blogging Goodbye to 2013"

'Twas the night before Christmas, and thinking aloud
I considered my year, of what I was proud
What I had published, what went in the bin,
Certainly plenty had failed to go in.

Twelve months of sharing, caring and fun
Stress and frustration and being a Mum
Tentative steps towards something for me
The children are growing and some time is free...

Well that was the theory, it rarely works out
But I write on regardless, raising my Klout 
Hoping one day to do more than my Blog
To keep myself busy- avoid getting that dog.

So in time-old tradition I'm writing a rhyme
Something I now do at each Christmastime.
Sharing my highs and my lows from the year
And sending to all of you good Christmas cheer!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Blog Award Nomination!

Vote for Musings of a 20th Century Stay at Home Mum in the UK Blog Awards I've entered the #UKBA Blog 2014 Awards. So I'm trying to get the hang of this self promotion lark and failing miserably!! I'm really in it for the writing - but anything which enables me to gain new platforms for writing has to be worth a go so if you enjoy reading my Blog, this is a shameless "VOTE ME!" post!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

"Hiding" the Presents

I was rather intrigued by the Blogging Challenge which appeared in today's Twitter Feed.
"Where do you hide your Christmas Presents?" 
Indeed. But what if the key word in that sentence were "Hide" rather than "Where" ? I could answer the "Where" part pretty succinctly. In the loft, now that I have one! I wrote recently about the ridiculous level of excitement I felt at FINALLY having some storage space, and now there is a "place for everything and everything in its place" so to speak, there is ample hiding room.

But what if the hiding was the main issue? 

I have a son with Autism who feels pretty out of control at Christmas. Christmas presents huge challenges for anyone with an Autistic Spectrum Condition. That horrible, churned up, out-of-control feeling is usually pretty common around this time of year - and I'm not talking about the stressed parents trying to juggle family, extended family, work and Christmas!

For someone who dislikes excitement, change and overwhelming complexity, the unpredictable lurching from day to day in the run up to Christmas can be just too much to cope with.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Isolation - it's becoming the norm and we are facilitating it.

Following on from a discussion with parents of children suffering the same condition my children have on how isolating it can be, I was reminded of my past work on Social History and the sad trend for social isolation as communities break down. There are many reasons for this - increased geographical and economic mobility being the most obvious. Our lives are also so frantically busy that we constantly try to juggle everything and have precious little time to support any notion of "community". Families live miles - often hundreds of miles apart and grandparents frequently continue to work full time as their lives continue to be hectic and demanding.

This "have it all society" is destroying communities, the backbone of society and ultimately our collective emotional wellbeing. Human Beings need roots, need to be part of a bigger whole and most importantly, they need to belong. Denying this whilst fostering a virtual social reality is unsustainable and leading to emotional unhappiness and the breakdown of Society.

Broken Google Blog Search Widget

Lots of people are discovering that the Google Blog Search Widget has broken and Google have no urgent intentions of fixing it. There is a Google thread about it which I posted some code my husband wrote as a workaround. It's not perfect, and it doesn't bring up a neat little list of post results so if you are searching for something with a number of results it's going to be a long list of full results.... but it's the best out there at the moment.

On this Blog you will see I have located it on the right hand bar, under the Google Search widget, so try it out and see.

If you wish to add it to your own blog you will need to do the following:-

Friday, 6 December 2013

It's the little things....

I met a lovely man at the hospital today - I helped him use the cash machine and buy his lunch in the WHSmith store there. He was 90, his wife of 87 had had a bad stroke 9 weeks ago and was finally coming home today. He was so thrilled bless him, and delighted to have someone with a spare five minutes to hear how excited he was. They met in Berlin after the War, both demobbed and nothing to do, no money and nowhere to go. A story which almost couldn't happen today with the daily commitments and restrictions of modern life. His wife opened her eyes last week after two months asleep, his face after nearly 70 years together was lit up with love, so grateful for the extra time with her.

I bought them a big box of chocolates to share and keep thinking of how happy he will be this evening with her finally home, I cannot tell you how happy his story made me feel. With an ageing population it's so easy to see the elderly as a burden, a responsibility which gives nothing back but nothing could be further from the truth. The older generation have so much to give, but the time and patience it takes to receive is all too limited in our high speed society.

This week, take time to listen to someone elderly who has something to say. Learn something from someone's past. I did, and I have, and the gift that man gave me is far greater than any box of chocolates......

All the Small Things - MummyNeverSleeps

Nelson Mandela

Interesting one today - this is known as "winging it". I am going to attempt to write about a topic I know very little about, because for me it raises some hugely important questions which I think we should be actively discussing in society today. So bear with my lack of knowledge, I will attempt to learn as I go!

With the death of Nelson Mandela I find myself remembering that quote from Machiavelli which was frequently mentioned during my A level History course.
"The end justifies the means."
Nelson Mandela was a terrorist and freedom fighter, who whether he got blood on his own hands certainly shared responsibility for the violence in South Africa under Apartheid in the 1980s. And yet we mourn his death and celebrate his life as a hero, the saviour of a nation and ambassador for peace. This is a HUGE contradiction if you look at his life as a whole, and yet a perfectly valid response if you focus on the progress in South Africa he is largely responsible for and the unique way he united a divided country to bring it into the twenty first century as one nation.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Simple Things - Autism Spectrum Conditions and Christmas

In so many ways we overcomplicate life. Classifying, compartmentalising and upgrading. Especially upgrading and constantly "improving". It's just so easy to get caught up in the hype - especially at Christmas. But the big irony is that we actually over complicate the very things we seek to simplify and in the process build a fragile system which can all to easily malfunction. This is particularly true for those on the Autism Spectrum.

We constantly kid ourselves that greater choice brings greater satisfaction and streamlined simplicity. Or that complex but "efficient" solutions which are anything but robust are "progress". But it's largely an illusion, and precipitates huge amounts of stress for many of us on so many levels - particularly at Christmas.

Christmas is a hugely stressful time for anyone living with Autism. Someone who dislikes excitement, change and overwhelming complexity. Cannot cope with increased stimulation, expectation or change. Sometimes it is SO important to go "back to basics" at this time of year, with a few additional simple additions to veer the focus off the "Big Day".

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