Monday, 16 January 2017

A Little Self Love

That title sounds absolutely horrific. Sorry. But yes, right now I am about a little self love. For what seems like a year (actually probably really over a year), I feel like I have been running on a combination of caffeine and endorphins and sheer vengeance (I'm not a saint. I have a lot of people to prove wrong.) trying to get things done. On Wednesday is the big fundraiser and while I am incredibly excited, I am also incredibly nervous. People who really know me well, know that I am actually a bit of an introvert. I am comfortable in crowds but not comfortable in front of crowds. I am loud, I am out going, but I get twitchy when I have to be the center of attention. Now... I love attention, but not a lot of attention. But definitely some. I am a difficult person, this I know.

I wrote about this a long long time ago but I will rehash it here. I only want to get attention for something I feel like I have earned. This is why I stay up until 2 a.m. making marzipan covered cakes with intricate flowers and when someone says "My God! That's gorgeous!" I tend to go a deep red (under layers of foundation) and stutter "This? No, it was nothing. Really." Compliments are hard for me. When the Husband and I had our renewal of vows 8 years ago, I loved the planning, I loved my dress, but when it was time for me to walk down the aisle and stand in front of all the guests, I wanted to die. And I ended up staring down at the ground throughout the ceremony.

It was a quiet weekend and the Kid was fantastic. I think he was mostly bored over the Christmas holidays and now that he is back at Kindergarten, he is a lot happier. He has an audience. He gets to shine. I completed a few necklaces and bracelets and wrestled with some self tanner. Saturday evening did not turn out the way I expected but in the end, I learned a lesson and that is always important. Unfortunately that lesson ended up leading to more beer. I let myself get too excited about things, open myself too much when I shouldn't. I need to guard myself better and that is sad but at this point in my life, I cannot keep allowing myself to be let down. It isn't anybody's fault but my own because I think that a lot of people misread me and think I want more, when really, I am just looking to laugh and talk. And I am just so grateful for the incredible people in my life who put up with me. Just the other day I was having a conversation with a friend and we were discussing happy and optimistic people and she said: "Gah! They are so annoying!" and I responded with "But I am optimistic and happy!" and she said "But you aren't that annoying." and I said "Thank you. That is one of the nicest things you have ever said to me." and she responded with "I mean, you are batshit crazy, but you aren't annoying." Bless. Second nicest thing she has ever said to me. Long story short, a lesson was learned, I cried a little, and now I am moving on.

So speaking of self love, now I have a day off tomorrow and I could cry from excitement! Tonight a friend is coming by to help do some crafty things. I am making pasta for dinner because day 21 veganism. AMAZING! Tomorrow morning I will drop the Kid off at kindergarten and then I will watch Murder She Wrote and read celebrity gossip. In the afternoon I will be picking up another raffle prize and then will meet a friend for a drink and then head to the Gasometer for the film premiere of Hidden Figures. The Science Ball is hosting this event and I cannot wait! Speaking of the Science Ball, get your tickets while you can. I cannot wait! Like last year, a girlfriend and I will be getting our hair and make up done at my place and then we will head to the ball. Did I mention that I CANNOT WAIT? Too much caffeine... I am feel like a wind up doll. Anyway, I better run. I hope that you all have a fantastic day and stay tuned for more stories! Toodles!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Midweek Malaise

Well hello there Wednesday! It is the evening, the Kid is in bed. I made dinner, did some Yoga and soon I will do some jewelry making because ZOMG only a week to go until the Beacon Beach House fundraiser. I have a lot to do still and for the past 2 days I have been working on something at work that makes my head spin but by tomorrow afternoon it should be off my desk and then I can breathe again.. for ten minutes until I tackle a bazillion other things. Tomorrow evening I am picking up another raffle prize and then meeting some friends at the Hard Rock Cafe for drinks. I am looking forward to an evening out amongst the living after a few quiet nights in.

Last night the Husband was out and after the Kid was in bed, I put on a DVD of Burn Notice and made some more jewelry for the fundraiser. I have mentioned it before but I do absolutely adore Burn Notice: it's not bloody or gory or sad and it is like a James Bond film without the revolving door of women. Fiona is one of the best female characters: literally stalks her ex-boyfriend and demands him to love her. I respect that. After a couple of episodes, I passed out around 10:30 and tossed and turned most of the night. Yes, I am feeling stressed but hopefully by this time next week, the fundraiser will have been a huge success and I can sit back and have a beer and take a deep breath for about another 10 minutes.

On Saturday I have to go and pick up a couple more raffle prizes and then stop by the Beaver Brewing Company to figure out a couple things... and by that, I pretty much mean that I will have a drink or two... On Monday night a friend is coming by to help make a couple of signs and then Wednesday is the BIG SHOW! I even bought a new (cheap) summer dress for the event and since I will be coming straight from work, I will have to change quickly in the cubicle bathroom at work like the disco queen that I am. I am still in the process of setting up the bank account and that is of course delaying the set up of GoFundMe. I originally wasn't going to go that route but at this point, I think it is my only option. Apparently rich philanthropists don't read this blog and say "You know, this extra million dollars just needs a good home." Oh the injustice of it all. Heh.

Today I was tagged in a private Facebook group because a mother was having an issue with her child. I won't go into details but I was asked for advice. This is where I can't offer help since I am not a therapist or an expert on schools. But I was able to share a couple of upcoming events in February: therapy networking evening and a parents' night. I am also arranging a seminar with a guy who is more than knowledgeable about the school system here when it comes to children with autism. I am very excited about this event! School is tough and school is tougher on kids with special needs. I was bullied terribly in middle school. One time a group of girls paid the most popular guy in school to ask me out on a date as a joke. I will never forget when he approached me and said "Hey, you want to go out for dinner on the weekend?" For about 30 seconds I truly believed that this was really true.. that finally someone noticed me and my heart soared. And then reality set in and I breezily said "We'll see." And then I saw a group of girls laughing their heads off and it became clear that I was being set up. Funnily enough, I don't have trust issues. Some people are assholes but I like to believe that the majority of people are good. Now, I was devastated, (and continued to be bullied for the rest of the year) but luckily I have always been an optimist and have the tools to let things go. But children without that capacity: heart wrenching. This is why the schools here must become better equipped for children with autism and that is just another thing to add to my list. And maybe look up that popular guy and see what he is up to nowadays and maybe send one of my heavily photoshopped pictures of myself where I look thin. Maybe...

Cough. Anyway, it's time to sit down and get some more bracelets made and to of course work on my speech for next week. I am terrible at speeches so there will be a lot of "HELLO VIENNA! HOW ARE YOU ALL DOING?!?!" or "ThankyoueverybodyforcomingmynameisTova.." and then pass out. Good times. I hope you all have a great Wednesday night! Toodles!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The Fundraiser and Day 12

As I posted yesterday, the Kid was no bueno in the morning. I had hoped that would be it for the day but after a fabulous dinner experience (he sat again at the dining room table with us for more than 10 minutes and actually ate a ton of rice with a spoon) he had another meltdown. But, to be honest, this meltdown actually made me a little happy. Now hear me out before you ask me out for drinks and hug me, thinking I have gone off the deep end (by the way, you can always ask me out for drinks and hug me). Usually the Kid enjoys going to bed. I think he likes the warmth of his blankets, the darkness and the quiet. But last night he was having When we told him it was time for bed, he completely freaked out and refused to go to bed. There was screaming and yelling and hitting us but as soon as we sat down on the sofa with him, he calmed down. Now this is where I realized something very key: he was not having a meltdown but having a temper tantrum. There was actually cause and effect happening here... and that gives me some hope that he actually can be bratty sometimes. This was not an unprovoked fit. I sat on the sofa with him and every couple of minutes I would say calmly "Let's go to bed." and he would whine but finally around the 10th time I said it, he got up and we walked to his bedroom. It was a total win last night because, like I said earlier, it was cause and effect and that is much much easier to work with... well, easy might not be the word I should use. But still, it felt like a bit of a break through but of course, fingers crossed this is not a new phase of hating bedtime because I will lose my shit and become Miss Hannigan.

Anyway, he fell asleep within a couple of minutes and ended up sleeping the whole night until he crawled into our bed at 7 a.m. Thank you Jeebus! I am pumped that it is Saturday but I have a lot of things to do today: make a bazillion necklaces (I am adding shells because gnarly), buy packs of raffle tickets, and of course go for a run and do some yoga. Speaking of smug exercise doing (new term), I am officially on day 12 of my 30 day yoga and vegan challenge. Incroyable! I cannot believe I have not faceplanted into a bowl of grated cheddar. I even went to a pizzeria on Monday and had pasta. CRAY CRAY! How do I feel? Pretty good actually. Will I always be a vegan? No. But I like the challenge of trying new recipes and it definitely makes it harder to snack and mindless eat. Usually (always) I do a challenge to lose weight but I truly wanted to try and see if veganism would help my stomach issues and well, it kind of is helping. And I haven't entered a food coma yet so there is so much winning. Yoga has also been great. I used to think Yoga was not a workout. I was wrong... so very wrong. I realized a couple of years ago that Yoga kicks my ass... in a peaceful and loving way. Every day I have been doing a 35 minute Vinyasa course I found on YouTube. It's fantastic and already I fall less on my face than I did before.

I started the challenge before the new year because I didn't want to throw myself off a bridge on January 1st. While I think New Year's resolutions are a great way to figure out what you want to change in your life, I usually do my cheesy Oprah-like vision journal instead where I write down things I want for the upcoming year and/or goals. One of them is about drinking. I love my good old friend alcohol and last year I definitely cut down. I rarely drink at home (the Husband pretty much gave up drinking last year. The smug is strong in that one) and yet, when I would go out, it was a bit like Rumspringa! Whooo! SPRING BREAK! So my newest goal is the 3 drink limit. Now I sound like a strip club policy. Pretty much the new rule is that I will not have more than 3 small drinks on a night out (balls, galas, raging parties are exempt). I have been out a couple of times since I implemented this no-fun archaic rule and I have been successful. While I don't often get too carried away, I do hate feeling exhausted the next day. So the three drink rule when going out is a great compromise and my liver thanks me.

The fundraiser for the Beacon Beach House is just about 10 days away. Am I noivous? Yes. I am already pre-stage hyperventilating which means that I will most likely be a wreck when we get closer to the date. I am hoping for an amazing turnout: the prizes for the raffle are incredible! Here is a list so far of what can be won. I will be adding a few more once I get confirmation but already, this is an insane list of things! Check it out!

The House of Canada Canadian Adventure Package
Company logo and business card or Facebook
Kuspa Designs necklace, earrings and bracelet
Leedina Portraits photography session
A ticket to the 3rd Annual Sophort Safari
A tote of Viden hair products
Family video session by Christine Benally Peranteau Photography
A session of career coaching
Portrait session by Ida E. Volta Photography
Books by Brandstätter Verlag
A 25 euro gift certificate from Craftwines
Products from Source Naturale
Two tickets for a shopping tour with Shopping with Lucie!
16 different gift bags of high quality t-shirts/tanks and totes
Two tickets to the Science Ball Wiener Ball der Wissenschaften - Vienna SciBall

You all are the best. Now all you others, buy tickets, pleeeaaase! I also plan to continue to support these awesome companies/people and I hope you all do too! Regarding the actual event, I am even considering self tanner so that I will be a nice festive orange for the event. Good times.

(6 hour break)

I wrote most of the above before I headed out earlier into the cold to buy raffle tickets. My word is it like Canada out there.. and I think I lost a toe. I grew up in cold countries and spent my last two years of high school in Moscow... granted Princess Tova had a driver... and yet I have lost the ability to handle the cold. And yes Mom, I wore a hat... and gloves and an unattractive yet warm coat. I usually fight tooth and nail to keep wearing my faux fur vest but when the temperature dips to minus 8, fashion goes out the window. I did wear lipstick though. Besides my time spent in the Arctic earlier today, the rest of the day has been spent inside and hoping the Kid's digestion improves. We had a mini-freak out earlier in the day but it wasn't too bad. We also were able to take down the Christmas decorations and now the living room looks so empty and soulless. I am sure an expensive vintage dining room table could change that but I am a stupid budget. Grrr. Anyway, all I can hope for is a chill evening with jewelry making, yoga and maybe some Ladies of London. I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday evening. May it be warm and cozy and full of cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. Tell me all about your cheese when you get a chance. Or send me a picture. Whatever. Happy Saturday!

Friday, 6 January 2017

The Good and the Bad

Hola! I am officially back to work! Today is an Austrian holiday but not at work so walking to the Ubahn station on a cold and windy winter morning is very very crappy. Generally I would be in a better mood (I have a great winter hat) but the Kid had an unprovoked freak out at 4:30 a.m. The good news is that it only lasted a minute, the bad news is that this is the second one this week. On Monday he had a terrible one that lasted over 45 minutes and ended with both of us in tears. It is always difficult to figure out what provokes them but most of the time it is due to him being in some sort of pain. We have introduced probiotics recently and after spending a couple of hours on the Interwebs this morning, I feel like we can try something in addition to changing his diet. When he has a freak out, he attacks us and it is difficult: physically and emotionally. I have talked about them before because I think it is very very important for me to be very transparent about my life regarding autism. Autism does not define my son, but it affects our family. I would never want my son to change because I love who he is and since he is autistic, I have to embrace that as well. I have a bizarre crush on Eric Roberts and my friends still support me. They judge me... but they support me.

I have chosen to be open about our struggles because if I only talked about the good, it would be incredibly disingenuous (hard word to spell). Parents of children with autism as well as people with autism need to not feel so alone. Many adults with autism feel that they have been a burden to their parents which is incredibly heartbreaking to hear. You are not a burden because you have autism! In fact, all kids are burdens (half joking here). Just ask my mother about the time I gave away expensive luggage at summer camp, or when I broke an antique crystal jug to make ice tea, or that time I thought I was Japanese. Autism has changed my world and, I am being completely honest here, for the better. Yes, there are struggles and the hardest part is the "melt down/fit/freak out". It is soul destroying and makes me feel helpless, and that is the one time that I ever consider that something needs to change in my son. That is all. Therapy is not about changing or even "curing" my son... it is like teaching a child how to read. It gives him the tools that he will need in his later life. His stims, his personality and his quirks are fine... his fits are not. I recently received a scathing message from someone I do not know saying that I shouldn't use the hashtag #autism when posting a picture of my son on Instagram because that is labeling him. I didn't respond to the message but I will here. I rarely use the hashtag #autism when posting pictures of my son unless I feel it is relevant to autism awareness. A huge milestone or event is important to us and to others and ergo, out comes the hashtag. Hashtags are search functions in Instagram and not just for fun.. but boy can they be fun! #amirite When talking about labeling, this is what I say to that: autism is not a definition of my son, but it is a part of who he is. By labeling him, I am ensuring he gets the proper support. If somebody is diabetic, we ensure proper diet and/or access to insulin. But we don't go around saying Diabetic Bob and the same applies to my son. Yes, he has autism, no he is not defined solely by it. And I guess the best way to respond to the message I received is "....". Meaning, no response. Or...

I jest. Kind of. Every parent has a different approach to autism and that is their choice. I cannot stress this enough when talking about various therapies and approaches: you do you. There is a lot of in fighting in the world of autism and it really drives me batty. We are all on the same team... just one person is a fan of pepperoni pizza and the other of cheese pizza. Yes, pizza is key to the secret of life. I didn't want this to turn into a ranty post but I feel that sometimes it is important to clarify some things. Someone is always going to think you are wrong and that is ok. I have grown a lot in the past few years (horizontally, too) and have realized that what is best for the Kid is what is best for us. No apologies. So if my hashtags rub you the wrong way, just wait until I finally get on Snapchat! We will see what the next few months bring and whether or not the addition of something new (dietary, stay tuned) will help stop or rather lessen the fits. It's been the hardest couple of years of my life but also the most rewarding. All that is missing is a smaller waistline and an invite to the Opernball (Yes, still on my bucket list. Yes, I am shallow. No, I am not ashamed.) Again, this post was supposed to be about my Yoga and vegan challenge (I am basic, I know) and my New Year Bucket List (so basic) and the fact that I just bought myself the most Boho of watches on Amazon for 14 euros (kill yourself now, basic Tova)...cough.. but the 4:30 a.m. wake up call changed that. So in a day or two there will be another post, hopefully filled with less seriousness because seriousness is not really my style and this is why I never became a lawyer or a trophy wife... both would have required a lot of concentration. I wish you all a fantabulous Friday! Enjoy the holiday! Enjoy taking down your Christmas decorations! Remember to replace your tooth brush every 3 months! Happy Friday!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

A Great Mini Reunion and Happy New Year

Well! Happy New Year to you all! I hope that you are not feeling delicate this morning. And if so, I hope that you have easy access to greasy food. For the first time in a long time, I did not over imbibe on New Year's Eve. In fact, I actually just consumed half a glass of champagne. Yes, I know, what is happening?!?

But truth be told, I had had a late night out the night before so that may or may not have been why I did not knock back the champagne like a yacht girl. On Friday night, a couple of friends came over for a quick drink. I knew one of them from school but had been friends with his younger brother. He wrote me the other week and asked if I wanted to meet up and I said "Yes! And do you want to meet the Kid? Have you had your shots?" He replied yes to both questions and just shortly after six on Friday night, two lovely gentlemen came by. Unfortunately the Kid was in meltdown mode. His stomach had been bothering him in the afternoon and by 6, thar she blows. The two guys were fantastic about the whole situation and ignored the screams from the other room as the Husband alligator wrestled him trying to get him to sit on the toilet. Fun times. By 7 the Kid was calmer and then it was time for us to head out to dinner, leaving the exhausted Kid and Husband behind. Good mother and wife I am.

I suggested we try out Mama Liu and Sons and forgetting that it was a Friday night, we quickly realized that no tables were to be had. We shrugged and left and were just about to head to Naschmarkt when we walked by a Chinese restaurant. I think we all had the same thought as we looked through the windows. Yes! Authentic Chinese restaurant! It wasn't fancy, but these two guys live in New York, and I love me some real Chinese food so we were sold. And yes, there was like only one other white person in the restaurant so we knew we were going to have an awesome meal. I call that intuition. We waited about 5 minutes until the lovely waitress could get us a table in the packed place and soon we were ordering. And you know what? The food was out OF THIS WORLD! I feel like we magically stumbled across this place. It was fate. AMAZING! We ate and we talked and it was absolutely lovely and then at one point we started talking about the new "cash register" system that the Austrian government has implemented in restaurants and I said something like "It's really cracking down on money-laundering." and I swear to God at that moment, the restaurant went silent. Record scratch, mid-movement stops and all that jazz. It was hilarious. And perhaps a little terrifying. I am so going back! Now if only I could remember the name of the place.

After dinner we headed over to Top Kino to meet some other friends from school and after many beers and many hilarious conversations, it was time for me to call it a night. I crawled into bed and dreamed about being chased by some underworld goons because apparently my dream life is a Dick Tracey comic. In the morning I got up, put on a face mask and vowed to drink less for the rest of the year. Yes I know it was December 31st. Always make attainable goals.The day was spent eating, attempting yoga and by the way, I am now on day 6 of my 30 day vegan challenge. I miss you, cheese. Call me.

Around 6 we ordered Chinese food (What?! I have a problem) and the Kid completely blew us away by coming up and eating my fried noodles. What the what?! This was huge and it more than made up for the rough evening we had had the night before. Oh Kid, you know how to keep us keen. The Kid passed out just before 9 and the Husband and I each took a sofa and covered ourselves in blankets and enjoyed the war zone outside of our windows. The park was hopping! The fireworks were popping. Suck it, Dr. Seuss.We channel flipped and watched a documentary about some British Earl being killed by his high class escort wife in Cannes (this needs to be made into a made for TV movie) and then just after 11 we watched Dinner for One which is epic. Around 11:30 we melted lead and narrowly avoided 3rd degree burns and then at midnight listened to the Blue Danube Waltz. It was a completely chill and relaxed New Year's Eve and it was exactly what I needed after such a crazy year. I feel asleep just after 1 and of course the Kid woke up at 5:45 and jumped into our bed for his traditional kick to my kidneys. Bless him. I have a lot to still do today: e-mails, jewelry making and yoga. I was temporarily distracted by a nap and of course by the famous New Year's Concert. The conductor was Gustavo Dudamel and he was absolutely fantastic and charismatic so of course I had to Google stalk him. And of course he is like only 2 weeks older than I am and what have I done with my life. I wrote about it on Facebook and I know that somehow I will end up meeting him and will tell him about what I wrote on Facebook and he will laugh nervously and I will cringe and then I will ask him for a selfie and then I will write about it in my blog because those are the rules of my life. I cannot believe he is only 35 and conducting one of the best orchestras in the world. I always admire people who can do something I can't even attempt... like... not getting lost, making stir fry or not burning oneself with a curling iron. Mad props, Gustavo. Mad props.

Speaking of life and what I have done with it... I made a cheesy vision board journal this morning. I do this every year and it is a lot of fun. I take a little notebook, cut out pictures from magazines and pretty much write out my dreams and goals for the year. A lot of times these actually happen and I find it is great to be able to see that 7 years ago I wanted a pony and a Chanel purse. Boy, my priorities have changed. Actually, I still really want a Chanel purse. I also add a gratitude section to the journal because I believe that gratitude is paramount to living well. I am always grateful for everything that I have. There are hard days but I know it could be worse. I mean, I have an incredible shoe collection and live in a kick ass apartment. And even though we have our struggles with our son, I wouldn't trade him for a Chanel purse. I have grown as a person. I definitely have some major goals to accomplish this year. I am excited and definitely petrified. My goals of course range from MAJOR LIFE CHANGE to fit into jean shorts by the summer. Both terrifying and difficult, by the way. But that is what is so great about a new year. It feels like a blank slate and that almost anything is possible. Maybe I too will one day conduct the Vienna Philharmonic. I am truly gifted at the triangle. It could happen. Anyway, I better go pay some attention to the Kid. I hope you all have a wonderful first day of 2017 and one of my resolutions is to make sure I am writing blog posts at least 3-4 times a week. I have been a little lax the past month and it makes me feel discombobulated (yes! I totally wrote that out without looking it up first. I win at life!) when I can't copy and paste gifs and be constantly self deprecating. Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Christmas is Over, New Year Ahead

A million apologies for taking so long to update this blog. I've been fermenting. The 3 days leading up to Christmas were madness: shopping, drinking too much, eating too much and a sick kid. I also found a new career prospect: rent me out for your small office parties. I will make sure to ask your boss inappropriate questions and act like I am the opening act of a large-scale concert. Oh the shame. And I will never talk about that again. Moving on. The Kid stayed home on Friday. He had a bit of an upset stomach and he also seemed to have finally figured out that Mommy really really needed a morning at home alone. He's smart... devious... but smart. On Saturday morning, I woke up with a blasted cold. We went to the In laws for Christmas Eve and had some fantastic Syrian food and then I skyped with my family back in Ottawa at night. On Sunday we had German Oven Pancakes for breakfast and cheese fondue for dinner and there were presents and I got some great stuff! The Kid of course went crazy over his new much bigger than expected tent. I had planned to bring it to his room after it was set up but I don't see that happening any time soon.

Yesterday I made some Dim Sum (steamed some frozen Dim Sum because I am oh so tired) and a friend came over for brunch. We had some wine and exchanged gifts and she made an incredibly generous contribution to the Beacon Beach House. We had Mozart Torte and we lay down on the sofas and chatted. After she left, the heart palpitations started and I had to lie down again. So that brings us to today. Although I am still a little stuffed up, I feel a lot better! I almost wrote butter which would be true as well... Which is good because I need to get a lot of things done these next few days. While I have been making jewelry and giving myself carpal tunnel syndrome, I need to up my production stat. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I will also be selling homemade jewelry to raise funds for the center at the fundraiser and if you want to see the pieces, check out my Instagram. Once I have my website and the Verein account set up, I will be able to sell them online which is exciting! And terrifying! And of course, one bullet point on my to-do list today is "Set up bank account". Since this is Austria, it of course is a little more complicated. I have to send multiple scans of multiple things to a special Verein bank department where they will then look over my multiple scans of multiple things and then let me know when I can come and sign the papers. This is one aspect of the Verein I dislike immensely and this is where an intern would be fantastic. For that, and to pour me wine and put a straw in the glass because carpal tunnel...

Also on the schedule today is for me to post a couple more prizes for the fundraiser. I have been spacing out the prize posts and in a couple of weeks, I will post the whole list. There are over 30 prizes to be won and I cannot believe how generous people have been. It is absolutely mind blowing. Now I just need people to show up on January 18th at the Beaver Brewing Company. Otherwise, this will be the saddest fundraiser ever.

Today also marks the start of a 30 day vegan challenge I am putting myself on. Yes, yes, roll your eyes, but right now I think I am comprised of about 5 per cent water and 95 per cent gruyere. I am done. Donezo. I need to clean out my system a little and in the past, when I have focused on plant-based meals, I am a lot less mean... and bloated. Also, I am going to do a little session of at-home yoga today. Sure, I could say it is for the meditative benefits but really, I got a new yoga mat for Christmas and it matches my nail polish. Namaste. I still have over a week of holiday left and I plan to use it wisely: run a little, yoga a little, cook a little, make jewelry a lotta, and of course, try to watch Point Break and Tequila Sunrise and Ladies of London. Quality viewing, my friends. The Kid is currently back in his tent and since it is a blustery (90 km/h winds, how is that even possible?!?) day, we will be staying in so that means I have to entertain him as much as possible... I love our TV. I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas/Hanukkah! I can honestly say that this was the most chill Christmas I have had in years... to be fair, last year I booked a last minute ticket to New York on Christmas Day after watching Home Alone 2 because I was ticked off. But I am happy to say that there will be no jetsetting this holiday season. I'll save that for my birthday or Easter! Have a fantabulous day and I promise to blog more frequently.. and of course, stay tuned for my New Year's Recap and Resolutions! Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Christmas and Hanukkah and Non-denominational Miracles

Hello everybody! So sorry for not posting for a few days. It has been absolutely wild and the great news is that I have 2 more days of work and then I have 2 full weeks off. I cannot wait! December is always madness; buying presents, giving myself heart palpitations from too much butter, searching for a clean pair of stretchy pants. But this December has been even more crazy! There was the Christmas party at the ambassador's, the sensory friendly movie afternoon at the beginning of December, birthday parties and punsch parties and dinners out, an editorial meeting and so much more. And of course yesterday was the big Santa meet and greet at the Hard Rock Cafe which I will get to in a minute. I'm going to need a lot of downtime this staycation and I look forward to it. Kind of.

So let's get started with last Thursday...We very much love the Kid's kindergarten. We can see it from our kitchen and every morning for the past 2 plus years, the Kid has been ecstatic to attend. They have done a lot with him and we are going to be devastated when he leaves next year. Last year we attended their Christmas party and the Kid was awesome and well behaved. He sat on one of the provider's laps and observed. Well, this year the Kid was given a starring role! He got to light the advent candles and as much as I would like to be a Jewish nervous mommy and frown upon a 5 year old using a lighter, I could not be prouder. He was a STAR! He also walked in a circle and danced along doing his white man at a wedding dance. We stayed for about 45 minutes and I cried with joy. It was a thing to behold, it was... I'm talking about his dancing of course.

I was so incredibly proud of him and it was clear to see how far he has come this past year. It is always hard for us to notice a difference in his development because we see him every day, but I know that the aide that is working at home with him in tandem with our psychologist is doing so much with him and for that, I am so incredibly grateful. After the successful Christmas party, the Kid and I took a long walk around the neighbourhood because I wanted him to pass out at bedtime. I decided that I would watch Scrooged once the Kid was in bed. The Husband had a company Christmas party and I was ready for some jewelry making and Bill Murray. They pair beautifully, apropos. I think I know each line by heart and the scene with the little boy who finally speaks at the end sucker punches me every time. It especially hits close to home since the Kid is non-verbal. Every year, since he lost his words, I ask Santa to give him back his voice. It may never happen but I will never give up the hope that a miracle could occur. So maybe 2017 will be the year that the Kid will speak again. And then we will celebrate more than we already do!

Friday was a crazy crazy day at work. Every year it is the same but for some reason I forget about it. Repressed memory, I assume. A friend wrote me during the day and asked if I had time to come by after work because she had some books from the company she works for to donate. I love her company: Brandstätter Verlag. They make the most incredible and beautiful books and every time I have dropped by, I get passed a glass of bubbly. See?!?! Best.publisher.ever. Brandstätter Verlag has donated incredible books for the fundraiser and I am so so so grateful! They are wrapped beautifully and I want to keep them but I can't... Dammit. My friend and I caught up as she wrapped (I drank and told her stories. I'm a giver.) and then I headed home for dinner and to chill with the Kid and tried not to hyperventilate about the next day: Santa meet up for special needs kids.

As I wrote last week, I am in contact with a lovely woman from Hard Rock Cafe. I ended up asking if her company would be interested in hosting a Santa Claus session for children with special needs; because as my mother always says... it never hurts to ask. Without a pause, she responded with "Yes!" and I could not believe it. Santa was available, I sent some tips to the Hard Rock Cafe for dealing with children with autism and tried to advertise the event as much as possible. I was a nervous wreck. It was a ginormous deal for a company like Hard Rock Cafe to offer this event and I wanted them to have a good turn out. For a huge corporation to offer their time and location for children with special needs is amazing and is a testament to their company culture. Of course, I also had to wear an elf costume because I must have been an asshole in my past life. Saturday morning we woke up early and got the Kid ready. We took the tram to Schwedenplatz (without his stroller because he is amazing!) and I walked into Hard Rock Cafe while the Husband took the Kid for a couple of walks around the block as I got ready. Santa showed up, I put on my ghastly costume (I wasn't alone, there was another elf and he was just an absolutely lovely person), and we headed downstairs to the party area. Hard Rock Cafe had put out coffee, tea, non-alcoholic punsch, juice, cookies and bowls of candy. We also had the whole ground floor to ourselves! Just after 9:30, families started to show up. The Kid was one of the first kids in the restaurant and we had no idea how he would react. I had estimated he would last about 10 minutes in the restaurant, actively ignoring Santa. Well, I have never been more happy to have been wrong. The Kid spied Santa from across the restaurant and after grabbing a cookie (his mother's son), he strolled right up to Santa and crawled into his lap. And this is when I absolutely lost it and took pictures like a stage mom possessed.

You see, this is what these events are all about. It's a chance for us parents to feel like we have some normalcy in our lives. That we don't have to miss out on every single thing because we know our kids won't be able to handle it. This event was incredible, it truly was. All of the children were calm and relaxed. All of the children eventually went up to Santa. All of the children could just be children and you could just see the happiness in the parents' faces. Kids pick up on acceptance. Kids with special needs are no exception to this. I always say that the Kid loves Italians because they don't bat an eye when he runs around. And you could see yesterday that the kids felt like they belonged and that is how they should feel My heart, it swells. Santa was also fantastic. He sat on his chair and waved and talked quietly which was so key for the event. One little girl didn't want to approach Santa at first but with an elf by her side (green felt is not flattering, by the way), she did it. Another young man went up to Santa 3 times to tell him about his problems at school and I teared up. This is what it is all about: give these kids magic... let them be kids. Ugh. I am crying again because I am just so damn happy. The Kid ended up staying for over an hour (amazing) and I talked to some parents. A few people thought I was a full time Hard Rock Cafe elf and I think they were a little surprised when I introduced myself. The one thing I kept hearing during the event was "There's never been anything like this in Vienna. This is fantastic!" and that, my friends, is exactly what this is all about and what the Beacon Beach House is going to be about. Again, all the feels.

At 11 it was time to take off my elf suit and to head home. I decided to pick up some Hard Rock Cafe merchandise because I wanted a momento of the event. One boy who had been at the event saw me and said "Hey! You're the elf!" and I laughed and told him I was taking a little break. And then I headed home. I can't say thank you enough to Hard Rock Cafe Vienna for hosting this event. You guys are amazing and your staff were so kind and incredible and I should learn some new adjectives. I will be visiting Hard Rock Cafe a lot in the future and I hope some of you do too. Companies should always be recognized for charitable work and what they did yesterday goes above and beyond. Man, I am still beaming. Once I got home, I snuggled with the Kid and then headed to a friend's place for some punsch and cookies. It was a lovely couple of hours with some lovely ladies but I soon could feel myself fade and I had to go back home. I made dinner, put on my pyjamas and kept telling the Kid how proud I was of him. What a perfect day! And now I must end this long and epic blog post. There is a lot to still write about but I will save it for another post. I hope you all have a spectacular weekend! Toodles!