Am i white with black stripes, or am i black with white stripes?

First, i apologize for not being  as diligent in writing for my blog of late.  To be honest i think there are times when i just do it for the comments, or some form of acknowledgement of what i do, when the truth is... i don't really reach all that many people.  That's OK.  I just need to learn to get back to writing for why i got in to blogging in the first place, and that was to write for myself, to work out various thoughts, etc.

I really like my Tilley hat, an LTM6 Airflo.  I love hats in general, and i have lost count as to how many hats i have at home.  I try not to buy them (them and bags, like backpacks, etc.), but... my beloved once told me that i didn't need any hats, but i HAD to have one... i just wanted one she liked.  I searched, and searched but i could not find one she wouldn't make some sort of comment on.  Then i saw a Tlley on someone's head while at Hershey Park and i knew that would be my last "had to have" hat.   I hate to say this... but i didn't buy it until my beloved went into the hospital for her gallbladder that i called Tilley's up and ordered my hat.  It's been over two years now... and she still makes the occasional comment, but i tell her, "oh, that hat plays".  In the end, she knows that it is not going to go away, and i have not bought a new hat since.  Tilley has an excellent customer satisfaction policy, and they make a quality product.  I recently thought i lost my hat, and i searched for it for a few weeks.  Finally i call Tilley's back up and it was within the 2 year 'lost warranty'.  I was able to replace my hat for 50% off the listed price.  Then i found my hat... so i sold it to a friend for the price i bought it for.  However, if there are ever any manufacturer defects - EVER - they replace it for free.  This hat is light, keeps the sun out of my eyes, keeps the rain off of my glasses, it is water resistant, it breaths to help me keep the head cool in summer and just enough in to keep it warm in winter.  I wear this hat practically everywhere, i REALLY like this hat.

I finally made the "pilgrimage" to the lair of the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.  A friend of the wife of an old Army buddy lives in Charlotte and are PSL owners with season tickets.  The game was on Christmas Eve, and they were going out of town to spend time with family during the holidays.  Having never seen a live game there, i jumped at the chance.  Originally it was just going to be me and a friend but he wisely decided not to go when his wife said, "your choice" hahaha.  In the end i took my whole family on a mini-vacation.  It was over a 7 hour trip each way.  We drove down on Thursday night (arriving at 0300... ouch), and i then went to the stadium to take an all too brief tour.  That afternoon we relaxed at the pool and then went to a dinner featured in Guy Fieri's show, 'Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives".  The food was pretty good, but the desserts were fantastic!  Saturday DS1 and i went to the game.  Now, let me say, i prefer to watch the game on TV.  I like the commentary, i enjoy the replays and i really enjoy being able to see the plays "closer up", but there is something to be said for going to the occasional game to be seen live.  The crowd, the food (even though a second mortgage is often needed just for lunch), the sites and sounds.  I won't use the word magical, but it is a little special.  The game was very enjoyable, especially for a Panthers fan - they won 48-16, i was able to see Cam Newton break Payton Manning's Rookie season passing record (on a 7 yard out to Brandon LaFell), the franchise record for a passing TD from scrimmage (91 yards, also to LaFell), and a 49 yard run for a TD where Cam Newton pulled a defender the last 8 yards.  It was a good day all around.  After we then made the trek home on Christmas Day.  I had a great time. 

I read a really good article in the NY Times online recently.  I originally read it via The Autism Society of America on Facebook.  It was titled Navigating Love and Autism (1).  I have been married for over 19 years now, to an incredible woman.  Like any marriage she drives me nuts at times, but i also know that i have no clue as to what i would do if she was not in my life on a daily basis.  It was not until DS2 was diagnosed with Asperger's, and all that my beloved did to better his life and learn about what would be best for him, that she got a better glimpse into her husband.  It took me a little longer.  This article was good for me, to see - at least a little bit - what she goes through when she interacts with me.  I try and change.  I try and do things the "normal" way... and yet it is a constant struggle. I have to consciously think about offering someone a drink when then come to my home, to look people in the eye when talking to them, to not interrupt someone to make a correction or to change the subject off of something i don't find interesting - or to even just "make conversation", to ask questions in a conversation and many, many more things.  It was a good article because it challenged me to look outside of myself. Something my beloved helps me with every day.  But i was also discouraged by it.  I just don't "get" so many things.  Despite my best efforts i get flabbergasted at being asked a question.  She will often ask me, "what do you mean"?  Despite my best efforts... i cannot fathom what i meant beyond what i actually said.  I fail her in so many ways... i fail to show her comfort, to consider her feelings (or the feelings of others), and so many other ways... it actually bothers me.  For thirty plus years i was the normal one... everyone else was wrong.  Then... i learned... i was the "odd" one.  I was the one that the Sesame Street Characters sung about way back when.

There are still times when i feel like, "why don't 'you' people get it!?!  It is so obvious!"  In any event... i encourage those who want some insight into the Autistic world, this is a very good article. 

(1) By AMY HARMON, Published: December 26, 2011