I’m Not Like Them But I Can Pretend

Boy we’ve been busy since my last post. Zack has received supports from Michigan so now I am actively looking for workers. Not so easy on a budget of $10 an hour!

In the meantime, we have been working hard to get his painted furniture business online. Here is one of his recent creations;

For this treatment he used a paint pen and stencils over a chalk paint table he had finished previously. He put three coats of polycrylic on the top to keep it from chipping. (This is a kitchen table and will get a lot of wear and tear.)

I would say the biggest high of his summer has been biking the Golden Gate Bridge (see pic). The flight was 4 hours and I swear he is the best traveler of the three of us. That is just too late my for me to sit!

Nice picture, right?

A few more pics from our trip. San Francisco should be on your bucket list.

He also loves  being politically active so he has volunteered for a local candidate, David Benac, whose platform includes Medicare for all. I know a lot of people don’t support this but my husband works for himself and we just found out our premiums will be increasing by 32%. We cannot afford this so we’re not sure what we are going to do.

Now I have big favor to ask. We need input on what to name his Etsy shop that he’s setting up for his painted furniture. Suggestions? 




How to Build Resilience in Midlife

This is a timely article and a be probably every parent of a person who has autism can benefit from.  From the New York Times. 

Have a great Saturday. 



Biking The Musketawa Trail

Picture a beautiful summer day. High 70’s, not a cloud in the sky, birds singing and a gentle breeze. Perfect day for a bike ride, right? Wrong!

We drove to the Musketawa Trail which is near Grand Rapids. We’ve got everything unloaded when I realize I don’t have the battery for my bike. 

Zack loves to bike and bikes a lot faster than I do. So I bought myself an electric bike so he and I could enjoy biking when his Dad is not around. Unfortunately, I forgot the battery for the bike. It is a heavy bike and is very hard to pedal without the battery so we switched bikes.

I realized my error the minute he took off and left me in the dust. I kept screaming for him to stop but he just kept going. I called 911 and they found him about 6 miles down the bike path. He looked like he really enjoyed sitting  in the back of the squad car!

It’s so demoralizing sometimes. We bike about 4 times a week and he hasn’t done something like this in years. He has worked so hard and made so much progress that when something like this happens it really gets me down. We’ve both worked so hard to help him live his best life yet still we have some very bad days. 

The blessing and n all of this is that he’s safe and sound. I’ll shed a few more tears, re-group and try again tomorrow.

Never give up!

Have a wonderful weekend . 



Zack Cooks: Blueberry Lemon Loaf

Boy did we have a productive day today. First a 12 mile bike ride then blueberry picking. 

When I was a kid I lived in the UP. We picked everything. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and thimbleberries in the wild. And I do mean wild. Our wild blueberry plants were low to the ground – maybe 8 inches high, small plants about 8 inches across and situated in full sun. If you bent over to pick them your back hurt. If you sat on the ground you had to constantly keep scooting while battling horseflies and other assorted bugs in the blazing sun. It was not fun and it was hard work.

Now with berry farms it’s so much easier. The bushes are easy to pick from and yiu get more in less time. 

Zack looks forward to blueberry picking every summer. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it’s going to be 85 with a humidity to match. Today did not disappoint. He enjoys it so much I can’t say no. 

I remember when he was just three years old, standing on a kitchen chair, cooking our way through the cookbook “Pretend Soup”. Now our recipes are a bit more advanced but we enjoy it just as much. 

Today we took our berry stash and made blueberry lemon loaves. We hope you enjoy them. 

1 and 1/2 cups of Splenda sugar blend

4 and 1/2 cups of flour 

1 and 1/2 cups of unsweetened applesauce

2 cups blueberries 

2 cans of lemon San Pellegrino 

3 TBSP chia seeds

2 TBSP baking powder

Mix in a large bowl and bake for 30 minutes. (Makes 3 tea loaves) 

Once cooled, ice with 2 cups of powdered sugar mixed with 3 TBSP of lemon juice. 

Check out more of our treats on Instagram @carbisntafourletterword

Until we eat again. 

C.A. And Zack


Baby It’s Hot Outside

“How are you doing Zack?”

“Sweaty”.  😊

(No I am not torturing him. This is a special bike shirt that is breathable an UV protected. We love them.)

Because we have moved we had to transfer our guardianship to a new state. It appears the standard in our new state is much higher than the old one. We have to have an evaluation done by a licensed psychologist and a speech and language exam. Heavy sigh. (I just could not find an emoji that expressed how I felt.)

So today we decided to forget all about responsibility and bike our brains out on the Saugany Lake Trail. It’s not particularly scenic but there’s very little traffic and it’s close to home. 

Zack didn’t learn to ride his bike until he was 10. Once he got going he never stopped.  Now he pedals do fast I had to get an electric bike to keep up with him! Naturally we didn’t start our ride until 2:30. It’s about 88 and really humid.  By the end of the ride he was spent but once Zack gets on his bike he is determined to finish. 

Today we had a nice post ride pasta of fettuccine with avocado, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. Check out more of our pics on Instagram @carbisntafourletterword. 

It’s gonna be another scorcher tomorrow and we gave full day planned. Stay tuned. 

C.A., Zack and Izze


The Journey Continues

It has been so long since I have posted here.  I’ll try and catch you up all in one post! 

We have officially moved to Michigan. We have a cute little cottage in a lakeside town that we just love. The beach and water is so rejuvenating for the soul. It has given me a sesame or serenity and renewed energy that I haven’t had in quite some time. 

Part of the reason I feel a renewed sense of optimism that I had previously lost is that Zack loves it ! We have been diligently and methodically rehabbing our cottage. He has grown so much with his skills and determination that he now can paint an entire room himself. He tapes, paints and cleans up independently. Wow. How good that feels and it makes him so happy. 

We’re also worked no on adopting a healthier lifestyle. While he loves to bike he is so much faster than I am that it became really hard for me to keep up. So my husband bought me a townie go. It’s an electric bike they can go up to 20 miles so we are getting exercise on the daily. 

The eating, however, has been really challenging. We are trying to do a WFPB way of life. Just yesterday he tried to convince me that McDonalds fruit punch was healthy because it had fruit in it 😊.  As a friend of mine always says, “There are no problems, only challenges and opportunities “.  I try to live with that mantra but sometimes it’s hard. If anyone has any suggestions on how to transition to healthier eating with a reluctant family, I would love to hear it. 

As with every good story, it should end on a high note. So here is your moment of cuteness to give you one smile today. 

It’s a beautiful 80 degree day.  Time to hit the beach. 

Until we chat again.

C.A., Zack and Izze 

Medical Treatment

Why Is It Harder Than It Needs To Be?

We plan on retiring in Michigan and I am beginning to transition Zack to his new doctors, dentists, and in the future, recreational activities. So today he had a check up at the University of Michigan Dental Clinic. Zack has always been a good patient. He has never had a cavity.

So he’s in the chair and the clinic manager pulls me aside and says “you’re guardianship papers are no good.” What? I brought with me exactly what we are given in Illinois. Then she says, “How did you get in here?”. I replied , “I made an appointment.” She proceeds to tell me that this clinic is not meant for people like him. It’s not fair to him or to the students who do the work. (Please bear in mind that she has never met my son and he is quietly waiting in the examination chair.)

I seriously thought they were going to kick us out. I felt like crying but I’ve been through enough public embarrassment to not do that. The supervising dentist came over and said he was doing a great job and next time we would go to the regular adult clinic.

I guess I though that since we were going to a big liberal teaching hospital that maybe we would be welcome. Sigh.

Well, I needed to get that off my chest and steel myself for the next battle.

Thought I’d share this article about being an adult with autism.

C.A., Zack and Izze

Autism · Uncategorized

Way To Go Mom!

Our state, draconian that it is, amazingly has a law that protects people by allowing them to use either restroom with their caregiver. Apparently, Michigan has a ways to go on this one.

This kid is one lucky boy.

Autism · Uncategorized

Social Security Benefits For Caregivers

A proposal to give caregivers SS credits even when they are on leave to care for a disabled relative. About time!

Autism · Uncategorized


Interesting article outlining why Robert De Niro decided to cancel the viewing of the movie “Vaxxed” at the Tribeca Film Festival. I did not know that he has a son with autism.