The List – One More Thing to Check Off

It’s been a long time since my last post. Life happens and I have somewhat come to accept this although I do miss blogging terribly and have hopes of someday once again making it part of my life.

Blogging was a huge benefit to me for several years while in between hobbies/interests and when Hubby was still more of an anomaly at home rather than a staple. Looking back it is funny to see how I filled the gap of him being gone so much. There were odd jobs, volunteer opportunities, activities and clubs with the kids, crafts, and most recently my blog, gardening, cooking, and canning. Although I still cook and can and still have a garden (although for some reason it doesn’t seem all that important anymore), the blogging just as all the other “fillers” that either faded into nonexistence or were put on the back burner until I can get back to them, ceased.

Honestly I can’t say I don’t have time to blog, because although Hubby is home pretty much 24/7, he does his own thing a good portion of that time. My time management priorities, however, have not yet recovered from the transition of him being so present in my every day life. That plus having moved on to other goals on my “list”…you know the one, the list that everyone has, either written or mentally filed deep in our brains, of those things we want to experience or try. Some might call it a bucket list, but for me it’s not so dramatic. My list is just a compilation of things I’d like to learn or do at some point during this life, and if not during this one, perhaps in the next. Blogging was on that list, and although that is something that could (should?) be on going, having moved on to new challenges keeps the hours in my day pretty full. So until congress finally passes the bill changing the hours in a day from 24 to say 36 or more, I think I’m doomed to just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.

So you’re probably wondering why I’m even making a post. Well, the one thing I truly miss about blogging, that I have yet to find any sort of comparable replacement, is the support I received from other bloggers and readers. I didn’t “live” for likes or comments, but when I did get them, they sure helped to justify what I was doing or sharing. Yet, even when a post would go by without a single comment or like, just having it out there and knowing others might be reading it, gave me a sense of completion. Does that sound sad? Throwing something out there on the world wide web to help cement my own purpose? I hope not. I don’t consider myself necessarily a needy person, constantly in need of affirmation for every little thing I do. I am human though and even though Hubby and the kids are extremely supportive and encouraging, sometimes I need to go beyond the security of my home and risk putting it all on the line for the world to see – on the internet.

What I wanted to share today were some photos of one of the things I’ve been working on for about 6 months now that had been on my “list” for many years – decorated sugar cookies. Nothing truly spectacular or life-changing, but something that I wanted to learn how to do and do to the best of my ability. What a ride this has been. I am having so much fun baking and decorating cookies and candies and now might even delve into the world of fondant covered cakes. There were so many techniques and tricks I had no idea were out there, and I can’t wait to try them all. My biggest problem now is finding a home for everything I make. Hubby is completely supportive of me sitting at the table working for hours on cookies, making them beautiful, but always asks “so who are those for?” Who indeed? The family can only eat so many sugar cookies before they get tired of them and I only have so many people to give them to. Yet, I keep going.

Valentine’s Day was a perfect opportunity to make cookies and surprisingly I did manage to give them all away without a single complaint from any recipients. Christmas too was no problem, as was Halloween. So what’s next? The one aspect of sugar cookies that does make sharing them with the same people over and over again possible is being able to make variations on flavors. Halloween and Christmas last year I was still just getting used to the basics, but with Valentine’s Day I moved on to a chocolate sugar cookie with strawberry flavored royal icing as well as dabbling in fondant. With the variations available in flavorings, I might just be able to pull off giving cookies away to my family and neighbors for at least a few more months. After that maybe I’ll move on to cakes.

So here are some pictures of the Halloween, Fall, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day cookies I’ve made so far. They took a long time to make, but I think the time was worth it. Perhaps I’ll get a chance to make some posts with recipes, etc. on Simple Grateful Cooking someday.

Thanks for stopping by ~ A Simply Grateful Tilly.

Halloween Cookies:

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Fall Cookies:

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Christmas Cookies:

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Valentine’s Cookies:

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Blogging Secretary Update

It has been one week since I started using the voice recognition software on my computer to make blog posts and it’s been an interesting week. I’ve learned a lot about using the software, the glitches involved, and even more about myself.

First I’ve learned I can really talk a lot about nothing! The first time I turned on the voice recognition software and started dictating a blog post, within 30 minutes I had four type-written pages of dictation. This transformed into the beginnings of four separate blog posts and I wasn’t even close to being done. I continued to talk as I made dinner and by the time dinner was served, I had the makings for nearly six more blog posts. So far this first round of dictation has resulted in three posts directly from the dictation and three additional posts dictated based on the posts I had done. And I still have dictation to review and edit. Yet, based on what I actually dictated, there should have been enough to fill 20 blog posts. Instead there was a ton of garbage. Boy I have a lot of hot air in me!

Next I’d have to say that dictating is hard. It’s not like you’re addressing an individual or anything like that. You’re basically talking to yourself. Because of that, there seems to be a lot of times when what I’m saying is choppy and not very clear. This can be resolved in the editing process but so often while I’m dictating it’s difficult to know what to say out loud. It’s amazing how much easier it is to think what I want to say than to actually say it out loud.

Further, I’ve learned that talking into the computer is one thing, but making what you have said readable is something totally different. When I put blog posts together in my mind everything seems so cut and dry and perfect. When I started dictating it felt like I had to force the words out and a lot of times I just stammered or stuttered. Even though I thought I had everything clear in my head as to what I wanted to say, I just couldn’t spit it out in a way that was pretty. Plus I’ve noticed I use a lot of words when I’m talking that I would never use when I’m writing. So talking and writing are very different animals.

I’ve also learned that when I do finally get the juices flowing and get on a dictation roll, I need to be sure to stay focused on the subject I want to dictate about. A lot of times I find I go off on a tangent and all of that just ends up getting deleted in the long run. Plus, occasionally the voice recognition software shuts off for no apparent reason. And this must be one of those “Murphy’s Laws,” but it only seems to shut off when I finally get back to talking about what I should be talking about not all the jibber-jabber that ends up deleted. There are definitely glitches to be worked out but it is still a workable endeavor.

Finally, I’ve learned that dictating a recipe isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I thought I could just list off the ingredients and then dictate the step by step, but the dictation software that I’m using doesn’t put in bullets or number formatting. Knowing this just means I read the list of ingredients needed in paragraph form and then copy and paste it into my recipe template. Still, in a perfect world the software would be able to do this. I know that there are softwares out that have this option, but they cost money. The one I’m using is free, so I really have no right to complain.

Overall I’d have to say this has been a very good experience and it is something I plan to continue to do. I have decided however I do not like doing it when Hubby is around. He can be rather infuriating with his interruptions and making fun of me talking to myself, but I know it’s just because he’s trying to get a little attention. Actually this is probably a good sign. It proves he’s not sick of me yet. Spending 24/7 together for the past year has been wonderful, although challenging at times. The fact that when I finally take a few minutes to do something solely for “me” and he feels a bit insecure and displays this through his actions, well, I think I can cut him a little slack.

So if you’d like to check out my posts that I made last week and today, head on over to Simply Grateful Cooking and check out my recent posts or simply click on the links that I provided below.

As much as I like the speech recognition software, I do have to say I really wish they would come out with something for “thought recognition.” Because although I use the voice recognition while I’m cooking which was one of the times I found myself thinking about making blog posts but was too busy to do them, I can’t use this during the only other spare time I have – while showering in the morning. I don’t think they have a headset and computer that’s waterproof, so for now it’s going to have to be while I’m cooking or if I can find a spare moment when hubby has left the house.

At any rate it’s just another challenge and hopefully this new trick of the trade will enable me to get back to blogging more and for this I am – Simply Grateful.

A Secretary for Blogging

One of the reasons that my blogging has been so sporadic and pretty much non-existent for at least the past six months is that I can’t find the time to sit down and type them up. I’ve taken pictures of tons of things that I’ve wanted to do blog post on, I’ve kept lists of what I wanted to do blog post on, and I have all of the recipes organized for blog posts that I want to do, still there have been so few blog posts that I dare say I can’t even call myself a blogger any longer.

At today’s date, I have more than 300 new recipes that I have pictures of and have tested that I want to do blog posts on that I have yet to do any work on other than organizing it. It is frustrating that I want to do all of these things and yet each week I continue to work on new recipes thus digging myself further and further into a hole. For months now I have complained, “I need a secretary!”

Well I don’t really think the “secretary” thing is going to happen, being a stay-at-home mom/wife and all. It’s hard to believe I’d ever be able to afford such a luxury. However, the thought prevails.

A few nights ago, as I sat stewing because I wasn’t blogging as I sat exhausted on the couch after another day in the homemaking trenches, I began to wonder where in my busy day could I possibly fit blogging. The only time I could come up with was while I’m in the kitchen cooking. Honestly, that’s when I’m thinking about doing blog posts anyhow. That’s when I write out blog posts in my head. So what if there were some way I could actually put my thoughts down somehow while I was cooking. If I could do this, then maybe I could actually get some blog posts done.

These thoughts brought to mind a software I used to use for journaling. Hubby bought me a software called Dragon. It was a voice recognition software. I used it for years and I enjoyed the freedom it gave me, but when my computer crashed and because I had not printed off my journaling or backed up my computer, and therefore lost months worth of journaling, I was completely devastated and stop journaling on the computer and using my Dragon.

That was several years and several computers ago. When I pulled out my Dragon software to see if I could install it on my new computers, I found my current operating systems didn’t work with it and to buy it again would cost around $75. Now that’s not a huge sum, but at the same time I can’t really justify buying voice recognition software just so I can blog. Hubby would definitely support it, but I would feel guilty.

Looking for another option I went online, did some research, and found a few options for free voice recognition software. One was already installed on my computer from Windows. I tried the program, but it was awful. It didn’t recognize the majority of what I said and it didn’t follow commands. It was very basic and not worth the effort.

The second option was through Google Chrome. Since I use Chrome on my computer all I had to do was open a Google Doc, hit the mic button and start talking. It worked far better than the Windows voice recognition software. As I explored Google Docs, I found there were add-ons that could be used to improve various aspects of the Google program. There I found another speech recognition program to add on to the Google Docs that was free. I installed it ,opened it up, and started talking.

Viola! It was like night and day. Everything I said, it typed. There was no punctuation, but for now I’m not concerned. I figure once I get everything down on paper all I have to do is go back and put in punctuation, paragraphs where I want them, and I’m done. I really hope this works. Although it’s only been one day since I began using Google Docs and the Google speech recognition, already I have four blog posts ready for editing. Even this little blurb was dictated into my headset and it took about 30 minutes to edit.

I’m not really sure how this is going to turn out but the more I use the software, the easier it should get. If this does turn out the way I’m really hoping it does, and I’m really really really hoping it does, this could mean I come back to blogging and it could mean getting back to journaling. It’s amazing how having Hubby home 24/7 takes up so much of my time. It seems like half of the day is spent just with him and I don’t even know what we’re doing but it takes time. I’m not complaining though. I have missed him for far too long, so I’m not going to look this gift horse in the mouth. But if I can utilize the time spent just standing around, cooking by myself and simply just talk my posts into the computer, this could be the beginning of something great.

The wonder of technology! I’ve often thought technology is a scourge on society, at least in some circumstances; now I’m not so sure, at least not in this particular instance, and for this I am – Simply Grateful.


6-Month Hiatus

It’s been a long while! Six months and a day since my last post here at Simply Grateful Housewife and even now writing is not going to again be part of my normal routine.

So much has happened in the past 6 months, but not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about blogging. I have piles of recipes and post ideas ready for the writing, but time just escapes me. When Hubby retired ten months ago I never dreamed that so many things that filled my days would suddenly become things of the past. It’s not that I don’t want to do them anymore, but for the moment I don’t NEED them as I used to.

Blogging used to be more of an escape for me. It filled in the long hours I spent alone — or at least without the company of my Hubby. Seeing him 16 hours a week for nearly two years and not much more than that for the twenty or so years prior to that, I was always looking for things to fill my time. Crafting, scrapbooking, writing, journaling, cooking, canning, blogging, and then gardening were just a few of the things I took up. Through the years I got burned out doing several of them, but the last batch of time-fillers I had chosen are still high on my list of things I want to do, it’s just that now isn’t their time.

Now my days are spent enjoying the company of a husband that I never truly got to know. It’s amazing how I could have been married to this person for 24 years  and am just now beginning to really know him.  Spending 24/7 with him for ten months is bound to give you a bit more insight into a person.

For better or worse! Hubby has brought this up many times and always concludes it with, “We’ve did the worse part for the past 23 years, so how about trying for the better part now!” Sounds like a plan.

We’ve taken day trips, seen parts of Michigan that we’ve never seen, done things we’ve never done, and spent days just sitting together doing absolutely nothing and yet we’re not bored. At first I thought I’d want to do all the things I thought I was missing out on. Now I’m just happy to spend a quiet morning with him sitting in front of the computer drinking coffee and me putzing around the house. Just having him home is enough to fulfill me.

This too shall pass!


I’m not going to expect this honeymoon phase to last forever and I can’t say honestly that there haven’t been days when he’s gotten on my nerves and I have to run up to the store to escape, but when I think back about all the time we lost and will never get back, I think I’ll take being with him rather than without him.

I’m always surprised to see how many visitors I receive each day on my blog and want to thank all of you for stopping by. I know as Hubby and I get more used to being together I’ll be able to return to blogging and do look forward to it. I miss the blogging but at the same time I don’t want to take time to do something so completely selfish — not now. Eventually the day will come when I’ll be able to split my time between “making up for lost time with Hubby” and doing the things that I enjoy doing by myself, but for now the only thing I want to fill my time is Hubby. That being said, who’s to say that day won’t come next week or even tomorrow?

At the moment Hubby is sitting in the office, in front of the computer, drinking coffee. I’m sitting on the couch, with Bell between my legs sleeping, and blogging. Not a bad way to spend the evening, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.


It’s Not Too Hot To Cook

I cannot believe the weather we are having. It has been so hot and dry this spring/summer that even the lowest parts of our property are cracking from lack of moisture. This has never happened before, not in the 23 years we have lived here.

My mornings and/or evenings are spent watering the gardens so they don’t shrivel up and die, and my afternoons are spent hiding out in the house out of the heat and humidity. My rain barrels have been empty for over a month, which goes to show how dry it’s been. I think we’ve had one day rain when I didn’t have to actually water. Otherwise there’s been a shower or two, but beyond that — nothing!

The only good thing about being in the house is that I have been spending lots of time in the kitchen working on new recipes, organizing recipes I’ve photographed for blog posts, and trying very hard to actually sit down and write a blog post. Where does the time go? I’ve given up trying to answer that.

Anyway, I finally figured out that since January I have photographed more than 70 new recipes I’ve worked on and HAVE NOT done blog posts on them! Playing catch-up is so out of the question that I don’t know what I’m going to do. Still, I refuse to admit defeat, so today I posted on Simply Grateful Cooking yet another new recipe I made, Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls With Daly Sauce. Of course it was on a recipe I made today, but it also included a sauce that I’ve wanted to share since August of last year. A little old with the new, progress at any rate.

Strawberry season opened up a few weeks ago and I did get out and pick about 20 pounds, so hopefully recipes will soon follow.


For now, I’m waiting for the sun to go down enough for me to brave the heat and check on the gardens, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Catching Up Is Officially Out Of The Question

I want a secretary!


I am either the most incapable blogger out there or maybe I’m inept at everything I do and blogging is finally bringing to light the fact that I really don’t have any potential for success at anything.

Why is it I have more blog posts on my “Blogs To Do List” than I’ve got posted on my blog since I began nearly two years ago? There really doesn’t seem to be an end in sight here. No sooner do I finish a post, than there are at least two more I want to post from what I’ve done or what happened that day.

I literally have a file box filled with 3 x 5 index cards, each with an idea, recipe, or happening for a post. At the same time I started blogging, I started this box. I thought I would keep ideas in this box on the slim chance I ran out of current ideas to write about. Well, it turns out that I haven’t run out of things to write about. The only thing I’ve run out of is time to write my posts.

If I were to write one post every day I might catch up by say 2018, late November or early December, but then we’re going on the assumption here that nothing else happens or no new recipes are explored between now and then. Plus, I’d have to commit to write a post each and every day, come hell or high water. The chances of this happening…well, I’d put it right up there with the chances of me EVER catching up on my blog posts.

What’s worse is that many of the notes I’ve made, recipes I’ve tried, posts I decided just had to be done, are history. Yep, history. I can’t remember the gory details of what I was doing at that particular time. My scribbles might be illegible, my notes cryptic, or my recollection gone. I swear I’ve read a few of the note cards and if I didn’t recognize my handwriting, I’d swear someone just threw it in there to confuse me — like I need any help there.

This could be frustrating, if it wasn’t so scary. I mean, where in the world did all these ideas come from anyway. Some cards have just a word on them, while others have both the front and back completely filled with teeny, tiny writing, and still, I haven’t a clue as to what I was thinking. I suppose I must have jotted down a word in a rush, assuming it would spark a memory that at the moment seemed clever or useful, but a year or more later it’s just a word without any meaning attached to it.

Of course there are a lot of note cards that have great meaning, wonderful meaning, meaning that if I had the time — or that darn secretary — could become a great post. But here I am wallowing in self-pity over not having the time or at the moment inclination to play catch-up.

I’m not a complete loser though. I did make a post this evening on Simply Grateful Canning for Canning Fresh Enchilada Sauce that I put on my to do list back in August 2015. It is definitely a “catch-up” post, but also timely because it relates to the post I made yesterday for on Simply Grateful Cooking. Perhaps that’s how this is going to have to go. When I have a current post related somehow to a post on my “to do list,” I can pull out my note card and finally do it. Otherwise, I fear I’ll be throwing out all these cards because sooner or later I’m going to forget what each and every one of them is about. Of course I’m working on the assumption here that I can actually remember that I have a post on my “to do list” that somehow relates to a current event. Yeah, like that’s going to happen on a regular basis.

Oh, and by the way, the file box I have for my note cards is only wide enough to hold about 300 cards, but I have a stack at least 300 cards thick sitting on top of it as well. Granted, some of the ideas take up more than one card, but honestly! Do I really have that many interesting recipes, stories, or epiphanies to share? I guess I must have thought so at the time, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have wasted the note cards on them. Looking at them now however I can’t imagine anyone being that full of useful information.

For now I’m going to take the file box and stack of file cards on top of it and stick them in a drawer. Having them sitting on the table staring at me, mocking me, reminding me of what now seems like an impossible task, is not doing anything for my mood. It has however inspired me to dream about putting an ad on Craig’s List for a secretary. Really now, how nice would that be?

Dreams are what keep us going and dreaming of my very own secretary that I could dictate my blog posts to as I meander through my day — wouldn’t that be wonderful, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Where Does The Time Go?

I cannot believe it has been more than a month since my last post. It has been so very busy this past month and blogging is not the only aspect of my life that has been neglected.


Between the garden, canning, remodeling Zeb’s room, cleaning out the clutter in the basement, and getting the kids back into some sort of routine with the onset of school again, it has been a challenge just to get dinner on the table and laundry on the line.

I have a journal with lists of posts for each of my blogs that need to be done and I can’t even look at it. It is far too overwhelming how many posts I am behind on. Simply Grateful Canning alone has at least 30 posts that I am behind on, not to mention all the gardening updates for Simply Grateful Gardener that I never got to and the new recipes (albeit few) that have piled up and are waiting to be shared on Simply Grateful Cooking.

At this point, trying to play catch-up seems pointless because my posts won’t be timely. Still, I did finally go take a look at how many hits I got while not posting, and the traffic was actually fairly consistent. People find my posts by Googling subjects that I write about click on the links. I guess how timely I am won’t really matter in the long run if it’s there when someone is looking for it at another time. Dealing with the no-blogging guilt however is another matter.

This morning I did finally make a post on Simply Grateful Gardener updating my pepper progress — Summer In The Pepper Mines. It gives a little insight as to what my time has been consumed with this past month and what continues to plague me.


For now, I am going to try to get back into this by setting aside at least an hour a day to make a post of some sort and get back into the groove. I have missed this and have missed reading blogs as well.

My first post in more than month — for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Moving Onward and Upward

Nearly a year and a half ago I decided to finally take that leap and join the blogging community. It was a scary venture for me, but one that has been very rewarding and exciting.

When I was deciding which blog hosting site to begin my blog with there were many features that drew me to WordPress. Most sites had free versions for blogging, but with WordPress I was drawn to the fact that I could purchase upgrades ala’cart. Not being financially willing or able to invest a lot of money into this hobby, being able to purchase only those features that I could afford and that I needed made for the perfect fit.

That was then.

Recently I realized that I was getting very close to my limit on uploads for media content. I remembered when I signed up with WordPress that purchasing additional space for media was one of their features. So, a few weeks ago I went into WordPresses store to purchase this upgrade.

When I got into the store, the only options that were listed were for $99 per year and $299 per year depending on the features I wanted. This is not a viable option for me. I contacted WordPress and asked them about the ala’cart features and was told that they no longer offer these to everyone — only to those that have been with them for a long time.

This was a bit of a slap in the face. How long is long? Still, you can’t fight City Hall so for the past two weeks I have been sulking and trying to come up with some way to justify $99 per year. Yet, my question then is what if I stop paying?  Do they delete the additional pictures, delete my posts, delete my entire blog? It was just too depressing to think about.

Finally this morning I decided to do something to somewhat get around not being able to add more media to my current blog — I decided to start another one. Well, not just one, but several. I decided to break my blog down into various categories based on my most popular topics. Then, all of the blogs would be indexed in one main blog called Simply Grateful Way Of Life which is currently under construction.

At this point it seems viable, although somewhat confusing, but until I build up a following for any of my other blogs, I intend to reblog the posts from my other blogs here. Talk about muddying the waters!

Anyway, I hope that some of you will check out my other blogs and posts if you get a chance. I plan on listing the other posts on my sidebar for easy access, but for now will also be making posts to reblog any new posts on the other sites.

If anyone has a better idea or more viable option feel free to enlighten me. For now I’m pretty excited about my first new post on Simply Grateful Gardener, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

The Silence Spoke Volumes

Author’s Note:  I must have read, reread, edited, and re-edited this post a hundred times, worrying whether or not I would offend my “readers,” was being overly sensitive, or blackballing myself from any past, present, or future followers, comments, or likes. In the end I decided to post this because I write to share my world. Whether or not others like that world, want to follow it, or have anything to say about it should not influence me. One of the first rules in writing is to write what you know. I know what it is like to raise a child with a handicap and know he is more like everyone else, than he is different. This is our world, something I know though experience. It may or may not be the same for anyone else, but regardless, it is true for us. ~ Tilly

When I started this blog I did not start it so I could educate the world, voice my opinion, or stir up controversy to initiate change. I believe those things should be saved for those who care about what other people think. I care only when it affects me or my beliefs. Whatever you want to believe is fine, just don’t infringe on me, tax me, or force your view on me believing that I have to go along, follow the herd, or pay under threat of time behind bars. I did, however, for some unknown reason have hope that a blog would be different from the real world, be more open, more compassionate, or at least more supportive. The anonymity of writing online gave me false hope that society might not be as closed-minded as I have found the real world to be.

The first couple of days of writing online was exciting. I wrote, with no preconceptions of anyone actually reading my blog. Then it happened. Someone actually liked one of my posts. Then another, and then I got a follower. Granted, those first few followers were salespeople, but the rush was incredible. Checking my stats, waiting for my email to update with another like, became almost an obsession. When someone actually made a comment, well you would have thought it was Christmas morning. It was so intoxicating that I wanted to post more than once a day, but controlled myself. I wasn’t doing this for popularity, I was doing it to share my world and experiences with others while practicing the craft of writing. Not an easy focus to maintain with the euphoria of “likes,” “comments,” and “followers” clouding the view. Yet, without feedback, how would I know that what I had to say meant anything, was any good, or had any worth beyond the realm of my own home — I did want affirmation and was enjoying it.

With not even 40 posts under my belt, I learned that if I made a post with pictures, the views and likes went up considerably. Everybody loves a pretty picture. So I started planning my posts around pictures. If I didn’t have pretty pictures to draw people in, I was sure no one would read my posts. Also, I read suggestions that adding quotes to a post would draw people in. Being an avid quote collector, I became diligent in using these as well. Further, I learned that slipping in a recipe or two brought all the recipe hounds and cooks out of the wood works and those posts were quite popular. So through my recipe box I searched, pulling out fun and exciting recipes to share.

My posts began receiving more likes and more people began to follow me. Not an onslaught, but more none the less. Whether they were real or blog salespeople trying to get me to check out their blog and possibly buy what they’re selling I’m not sure, but they were “likes” and “follows” just the same.

Today however there will be no pretty pictures, no profound quote, and no heirloom recipe to try out in your kitchen. Today I am going to share a little perspective about society, the Internet, and a world that hopefully most of you will never have to experience.

About a week ago I decided to share something very personal and perhaps risky with the blog world — my son’s disability. I knew this was a risk, but there are aspects of my life that I want to write about and hoped that even if people couldn’t relate, they might find it interesting. Without going into great detail I recounted our experience at the Special Olympics trying to keep it as innocuous as possible. I have nearly 21 years of experience in dealing with how “normal” society reacts to “handicapped” people, and for the most part it has been less than stellar. I thought perhaps some of the people following me or checking out my blog, would find it heartwarming or maybe just nice. I wanted to share something unique in my life. Why? I’m not really sure, because the results were so typical, I felt like I was in the real world all over again.

The silence was deafening —

My blog went from at least a few new visitors every day to absolutely nothing. There was not a single view. Not a single “like” was posted. I have very few comments on any of my posts and knew that this was a touchy subject so did not expect any comments, and I was not disappointed. Now I realize that the anonymity of the Internet is taken for granted, even forgotten, but even if seeing or hearing about retarded people participating in their “Special” Olympics makes people uncomfortable, what is the problem with showing a little support through a “like?”

I’m sure there are some people out there gasping at my “harsh” description of these people, including my son, as “retarded.” Well, let me tell you, I use that term because it is a medical term that was given to people with the IQ range where my son lives. Giving it a prettier term does not change who he is or what I think of him. A pretty word does not make it go away, get better, or somehow make our world any less difficult to live in. And it sure as hell doesn’t change how society treats him, reacts to him, or stop them from avoiding making eye contact or social contact with him. I have written volumes on how forcing politically correct jargon on people only reinforces the differences. It is what it is, so get over it.

The trouble is, society cannot get over it. No matter how many times the words are changed, no matter how hard the people try to accept, no matter how informed, educated, and tolerant the masses become, the stigma of ignoring, looking the other way, putting out of your mind the existence of these people remains. Semantics is one more failed attempt to make those not comfortable with disabilities feel better, to open the minds and hearts of everyone who has been blessed with a life that does not involve a “special” child. And when anyone tries to “share” their unique happy moments, it only manages to make people uncomfortable, bury their heads in the sand, and thank God that they do not have to deal with these things.

Truth be known, I too am uncomfortable at times. But this was the hand given us and we did not throw that hand in or chose to draw a different card. We made the conscious decision to bring our son home and give him every possible chance we could to make his life as fulfilling as it possibly could be. I say conscious decision because when he was born the doctors, nurses, and even other parents of Down Syndrome children told us we would not be doing him any favors if we took him home and were not prepared to deal with what lay ahead of us. I didn’t understand at the time what that meant, but after years of watching families fall apart, parent’s divorce, and children being ostracized by their own siblings, I clearly understand now. And Down Syndrome is one of the “lucky” syndromes, if any syndrome can be considered lucky.

I might sound angry, but I am not. I was angry when my son was born and the pediatrician at the hospital gave me a book that said my son would be dead by the age of 13 (just love those out-of-date handouts). I was angry when doctors dropped us and insurance companies refused to insure us. I was angry when nearly every friend I had suddenly became too busy to return my calls or get together. I was angry when a friend that agreed to babysit for me when I went back to work part-time told me she could not watch my son because the other baby’s parent’s that she watched did not want their child around my son. I was angry when strangers stopped us in the mall as we pushed our son in his stroller asking to see “the pretty baby,” and would recoil when they looked at him and tell us how “sorry” they were and walk away — what they hell were they sorry for? Did they give him that extra chromosome?

I was angry when the early intervention teachers that he saw from 3 months to 3 years told me I was unrealistic in believing they should be working on numbers and letters rather than just playing with him. I was angry when one of my good friends told me, “Nothing like that would ever happen in my family.” I was angry when the special ed teacher in the classroom he was supposed to go to when he turned 4 sent us a letter telling us she felt he would do better in someone else’s class, because I thought an Individual Evaluation Plan meant his plan should not look like everyone else’s.

I was angry when my brother and sister-in-law cut ties with us because we chose to home school our son. I was angry when we lost every friend we’d managed to make after my son’s birth because we decided to home school. I was angry when the Down Syndrome group we belonged to continually preached that we had to be an “advocate” for our child, we had to “educate” people about Down Syndrome, and we had to “fight” for what was rightly ours in the schools, with insurance companies, from the government, and from society. I was angry when the kids on our street refused to play with my son because he was different. I was angry when wherever we went in public, people would stop, stare, possibly even point, or give me a knowing pitiful nod — like they knew what the hell we were going through.

Then I stopped. I stopped caring what other people thought. I started enjoying my son, giving him everything he needed to become the best possible little boy he could be. I treated him like every child should be treated and gave him all the love that he could possibly stand and then loved him some more. I realized he was just a little boy, not a little boy with Downs. I worked hard at sheltering him from the cold, uncaring world that we live in, finding some absolutely wonderful people in the process that were not afraid or made uncomfortable by him. I have never forced my son on anyone or put others in a position where they might find themselves “stuck” with him. He made friends, “normal” friends, and has enjoyed a good life. For the past 20 years he has gone about his life the best way he knows how, ignoring the looks from people we pass on the street.

Still, there are those times, when I digress and for some reason find it necessary to expose myself and my son to the cold injustices of the world. I forget that in the real world, the world that pretends to have compassion for “those special babies,” “those slow children,” and “those developmentally delayed young adults” there is no understanding. Shattering the security that most people enjoy of “not having to deal with something like that in their family” only alienates us further. Children are forced to become “tolerant” in school and adults are intrigued by the promises that they are doing good if they donate their time or money to “helping those less fortunate than themselves.” What a shame the world is such an hypocritical lie.

I know that not everyone finds the handicapped or disabled “taboo,” as there are those people we encounter who genuinely embrace my son and reaffirm my belief in the world. I am, however, disappointed. I thought with the Internet and the onslaught of social media there would somehow be freedom to share my families differences and not necessarily find others to relate but perhaps find people who might nod and think to themselves, “What a nice story to share; I think I’ll let Tilly know and “like” her post.” The silence I got spoke volumes. My hope is that in the future, should I choose to share any trials or tribulations or just funny, heartwarming stories about my son, people can look beyond the disability and relate to him as a human being — because we all have that in common.

Thankfully this is my blog, my outlet to the world, and I can post on here what I want. I did not start this blog to be popular, although the lure of “likes” and “followers” did cloud my judgment temporarily. The anonymity that the Internet offers allows me to voice my opinion and not have to apologize for it, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

© Matilda Frueh and Simply Grateful Housewife, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matilda Frueh and Simply Grateful Housewife with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.