The Following: The Poet’s Fire (S1E3) Preview

2 02 2013

TheFollowingCastAt the end of episode 2, we see the first part of episode 3, where “Rick” (Michael Drayer) sets fire to a certain individual on the street. It is not random. The victim was chosen for a particular reason. The team tries to uncover what this cult is about, what the underlying message is from the cult leader. Jordy is awake and the team tries to uncover more clues from him as to where Joey, the missing boy, is located. I lost count at the number of victims in this episode and without spoiling, let’s say that no one in this show is safe, except perhaps Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy because without them there would be no show.

Meanwhile at the house with Emma, Paul and Jacob, tension mounts. That, too, takes an unexpected twist.

Any woman who ever thought of going out with a strange man should watch this episode as it will instantly cure you from ever entertaining that thought in the future.

As shows go, usually season 1 is all about developing characters, getting to know storylines, hits and misses in plots. Not with this show. Every time I think something is going to happen, I’m completely surprised. Then, when I think, “Okay, this is where they pull the bait and switch” I am completely thrown off again. There is no pre-guessing outcomes.

The ending is completely evil, perverted and twisted that it is terrifying to witness.

Tune in to “The Poet’s Fire” episode of THE FOLLOWING airing Monday, Feb. 4 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

My thanks to FOX Broadcasting and the FOX VIP program for allowing me the privilege of previewing this episode.





The Following “Chapter Two” (S1E2)

24 01 2013

This preview of the second episode DOES contain information from the pilot episode. If you did not see the pilot episode and don’t want to know anything about it, please come visit another time.

TheFollowingCast“Chapter Two”–Appropriately titled as it is the second chapter in the psycho sequel for Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), charismatic serial killer turned cult leader and the second episode of this wonderful new series on FOX. During last episode, we learned that Joe has amassed “friends” while using internet access in prison to carry on for him. At the end of the previous episode we learned that “Denise” (aka Emma; Valorie Curry) took Joey (Kyle Catlett), the son of Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea) and Joe Carroll, from his home and met up with the two guys who had been posing as Sarah’s gay neighbors, known now as Jacob (Nico Tortorella) and Paul (Adan Canto). She tells Joey, “We’re on an adventure.” At the end of our story in the pilot, Jordy (Steve Monroe), who we discover practice on animals, walks into a sorority house at the end. We know that he is about to attempt to move up to humans. And Joe Carroll tells Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), after his re-capture, that he knows Ryan slept with his wife . Joe intends to write a sequel to his first story. Joe was scheduled to be put to death in 3 weeks; obviously with Joey missing that will be postponed.

Some people expressed sadness on Twitter that they did not see Agent Mason (Jeananne Goossen) slated for any further episodes. That is explained at some point during “Chapter Two.

This episode is mainly devoted to moving the story forward while being in the present and cutting back to the past for back story in the expertly way they did in the pilot episode. We find out more about Emma, Jacob and Paul. We meet a new character, Debra Parker (Annie Parisse), who is a cult expert, but shhhh…. they are trying not to call his followers a cult quite yet until they discover more evidence, which they do, that squarely puts Joe Carroll as a Jesus Christ equivalent. (JC? Get it). This treasure trove of discovered information makes you want to hit “pause” on the DVR to take it all in and to look for clues for future episodes. Back story is also filled in on Joe Carroll, Claire Matthews, and Ryan Hardy. Jordy fits prominently into this episode as well. A new follower, or acolyte, is discovered, but his true face is still unknown to us.

If a serial killer ever wants to set you up with a date of someone he knows, the correct response is “no.” And I think the creepiest line of “Chapter Two” is when Joe tells Ryan, “Jordy was a mere puppy.” If you saw the pilot, you will understand the reference.

Once again I was on the edge of my seat. Many times I said, “Wow, I was NOT expecting that.” There were times I screamed. “Chapter Two” did not lose any of the things people loved about the pilot episode.

If you missed the pilot, FOX is planning an Encore performed of “The Following” on Friday, January 25, at 9:00 Eastern/8:00 central. “Chapter Two” episode of THE FOLLOWING airs Monday, Jan. 28 (9:00 Eastern/8:00 Central) on FOX. Joe Carroll wants to be friends. Do you want to be his?

My thanks again to the FOX VIP program and Fox Broadcasting for the preview of this wonderful episode.





Celebrity Corner: Comicpalooza Houston 2012

27 05 2012

By Hilda Clark Bowen

Compicpalooza2012

Expecting 15,000 people this weekend, Comicpalooza’s mission “is to provide the best and biggest annual multi-format pop culture convention in the southwest region of the United States, serving not only the fans of comics, science fiction, fantasy, video and table top gaming, anime, music and film, but also as a trade show and showcase for the studios, publishers, and manufacturers in those industries.” Now in its fourth year, it is still showing some growing pains. People were complaining about the length of the line just to buy tickets to get in. Some were complaining of the disorganization of lines for people with prepaid tickets versus those waiting to get in versus those with VIP passes. While some truth may be in those statements, coming this far in 4 short years is phenomenal. The community needs to continue to support this group by attending and by providing them with some constructive feedback.

Last year I found out quite unexpectedly that Houston had its own convention. Here I was spending money to go out of town when I could support a wonderful event in my own backyard. On my Twitter feed, some in the Houston, Texas area did not know it was going on this weekend. It’s not too late. There is one more day. Let’s spread the word for next year. Memorial Day weekend seems to be the date, much like Dragon*Con is over the Labor Day weekend.

This was my second convention. Last year I attended Women of Sci-Fi in Plano, Texas. When I saw how empty the convention center was (because I lucked out and got in the right line at the right time), I immediately went to work on my new collection of pictures. I got the most important things done first. I wanted to tell the people who affected my life in some way over the years how much I appreciated them. Why the urgency? I did this because my 16-year-old son, Patrick, who is severely affected with autism and other disabilities, was having an enormous amount of difficulty lately. Being nonverbal, he is really unable to share with us what is wrong–like if he has a headache, stomachache, etc. The last 3 days have been rough. His communication comes out in the form of behavior and not the good kind. I was unsure if our respite care worker was going to be calling for us to come home, or worse yet, that he had a seizure, which might also account for his behavior of late.

And you wonder how a cute kid like that can go from Gizmo to Stripe in a matter of 30 minutes? The pretty lady on the left was his teacher this past year (she actually stayed an extra year to work with him–isn’t that sweet?)

First stop was to Christopher Judge. Stargate has had a profound impact on my life. I was a bitter Farscape fan, pissed off that the SciFi Channel (now Syfy) cancelled Farscape to take Stargate from Showtime. Thinking that my boycotting the channel would make any difference whatsoever, my narcissism prevented me from discovering a terrific show for years. Yes, years. When my 500+ satellite channel offering one evening revealed NOTHING ELSE to be on, I started turning it to this show for “background noise” while I was working. I don’t remember which story it was, but I remember one show caught my attention, and slowly melted the bitterness in my heart. I caught up on all the episodes pretty quickly.  On March 25, 2009, I joined Twitter because Stargate Universe was in production and Joe Mallozzi said on his blog that David Blue was there. I wanted to be able to hear all the details about the new show, so I joined. The rest is history. I have made more than 165 Stargate-fan connections, have met some of these people, and some of them have become a tremendous support system for my personal life.

Christopher Judge

Turning the corner, Rachel Luttrell from Stargate Atlantis was not there yet, but Richard Hatch was. I became a fan of his at the tender age of 7 or 8. We were living in Hillside, New Jersey at the time and my sisters and I would come home from elementary school for lunch (you know, back in the OLD days). “All My Children” happened to be on. There were no DVRs let alone VCRs so if you weren’t live-viewing, you missed it. My sisters needed to use my body as an antenna to get better reception because the rabbit ears with the rotary dial weren’t working all too well. They were cruel to me like that. Yes, I cried when they said Philip Brent died in Vietnam, making the war as real as it possibly could to a child that age.  I grieved with Tara Martin grieving for Philip.  Flash forward to 1979 when the original Battlestar Galactica became one of the most ambitious shows of that time with these amazing visual effects that rivaled Star Wars (Episode IV). I had split crushes on both Apollo and Starbuck, Apollo the hero figure, Starbuck the beginning of my attraction to bad boys. My foster father would often threaten me that I would not be allowed to watch it unless I did XYZ. That’s behavior modification at its finest–immediate compliance. However, he thought that was quite funny, so the list of XYZ things I had to accomplish in order to watch the show bordered on the absurd. The editor in me noticed that Comicpalooza misspelled “Galactica” as “Galatica” on his sign and he made me laugh as he tried to climb the chair to fix the mistake. No one was more thrilled when he signed on to the reimagined Battlestar Galactica as Tom Zarek, a character with so many dimensions. It was thrilling to see the evolution of his career from Philip Brent to Tom Zarek.

Hilda Bowen (a.k.a. PBMom) and Richard Hatch

Another iconic figure for me has been Claudia Christian, whose portrayal of Commander Susan Ivanova on Babylon 5 secured a place in annals of role models for women in science fiction. My sister turned me onto the show. Seasons 2-4 were my favorites. I sobbed during the Shiva scene; I felt my heart break when Marcus died (Oops! Spoiler alert.)  Chills went up my spine when she said, “Who am I? I am Susan Ivanova, Commander. Daughter of Andre and Sophie Ivanova. I am the right hand of vengeance and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart! I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you will ever see. God sent me.” I thought of this dialogue every time I battled the school district to get my son the services he needed. As we chatted, I learned new things about her, totally oblivious to the line that was forming behind me. She has a CD out “Once Upon A Time” which I bought. Her new book, Babylon Confidential is expected out November 6, 2012, a biography of her life which I am eager to read. Click on that link to preorder your copy now. There are free excerpts available and more will be emailed to you per the instructions on that page. I find it ironic that she discovered “The Sinclair Method” that helped her overcome her addictions (and maybe I’m watching Touch on Fox a bit too much looking for connections).

ClaudiaChristian

Claudia Christian of Babylon 5 with her new book coming out November 6, 2012 called “Babylon Confidential.” About a journey in her own life. Links are in the body of the report.

I backtracked to Rachel Luttrell who was looking lovely and was pregnant (which I did not even notice until the panel later in the day). Here was yet another woman who was able to be a powerful female lead without becoming too Ripley-like. We talked about her trip to Berlin and discussed why she is not on Twitter more!  Ivon Bartok’s Captain Starship was discussed.  It was such a pleasure to meet her, and obvious what I said above about Stargate applies to her as well and all the connections I have made. Conscious of the line forming behind me, I took her picture and then left.

Rachell Lutrell

Another picture of Rachel in the Raw

Last stop was to Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn who are here to promote The Victim, a new psychological thriller coming this fall. Read more about it at the link and follow their links on Twitter.  

Finally we were off to meet my Twitter friend @etee and his family.  We are known to each other from having pithy Tweet-Ups about American Idol and other shows.  He is as funny face-to-face as he is on Twitter.  Although social media is the norm these days, face-to-face interaction is still required to make those connections complete.  His face will remain mysterious since he did not one taken of him (at least he thinks there wasn’t).  Snicker, snicker.  I would not do that to him.  I always get permission.  He will be blogging for Tubular TV soon.

Throughout the day, people passed by that had some wonderful outfits. Here are some of my favorites:

The best way to look “In cognito” would be to look like Johnny Deep in a costume. Maybe Johnny does that all the time. He is a dead ringer for him. Dead Ringer? Will that be the name of the Pirates 5 movie? Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Ringer.  I call Trademark.

Only in a Fringe Alt Star Wars universe where the world has gone mad and Elmo giggled too much.

The first panel was Babylon 5 with Claudia Christian and Julie Caitlin Brown (Na’Toth). Without any introductions from Comicpalooza staff, they jumped into things. When they discovered that the audience would have difficulty asking questions, Claudia handed her microphone over to the volunteer for people to come up and ask. (Note to Comicpalooza: Have microphone stands with a microphone in the middle of the row for people coming up to ask questions next year). Their panel was supremely entertaining. Having only been to two conventions in my lifetime, I had not heard the story of the psychofan who actually shot Claudia during one convention (and she didn’t press charges!). I have their panel on video and will put it up on YouTube soon, as soon as I chop it down into smaller segments. Caitlin Brown shared how she got the role of Na’Toth.

Claudia Christian and Julie Caitlin Brown of Babylon 5

My husband and I decided to head over to Hilton Americas to have lunch at The Cafe. At mid-meal we looked up and Claudia and Caitlin were coming to eat. I waved as they passed our table. After hearing that story, I was thinking in the back of my head–okay, not stalking–we were here first. We finished our meal and departed, stopping at the bathrooms on the way. I guess when I came out of the bathroom Claudia had already come in, but I was outside the men’s room waiting for Jeff. When she came out, still having the stalker story fresh in my head, and made sure to comment that husbands complain about their wives that take so long in the bathroom. The story about the psychofan was terrifying. I admire her bravery because if I had been in her shoes, I likely would never attend a convention again. People do not understand the concept of boundaries.

We saw some more great outfits. I took more pictures, but I think my camera had a malfunction.

Lizzie and Jennifer

James and Magi

Maicie Rawlings. Love her hair color, costume, ink and smile.

The Stargate panel with Rachel Luttrell and Christopher Judge was at 3 p.m. but a line had already formed long before to get in. While sitting in the 2nd row, I noticed a young lady with a uniform on in the front row and asked her if that was an authentic Stargate uniform. Nope. It was the real deal. Her name was Nathalie (last name withheld for her safety) and she was recently commissioned into the Air Force. I hope she felt like a rock star at that moment because I was deeply humbled by her. With Memorial Day weekend upon us, and although I know it is a day we are supposed to remember the service men and women who died to protect us and serve us, I think we should never forget those who are putting themselves in harm’s way now and in the future. The awe I felt and the gratitude–I don’t even remember the fumbling babble that came out of my mouth. I wanted to put my arms around her and give her a hug (because I’m a hugger), but I did not want to freak her out. Claudia’s psychofan story reminded me of boundaries. God Bless You, Nathalie (if you are reading this).

The real deal. Newly commissioned Air Force. Thank you Nathalie for serving. I will keep you in my heart and prayers, always.

The line had become long for questions. There is a great love for Stargate here in Houston.

Once again there was an issue with the microphone in the audience. This time the staff came up with a third microphone and people were able to line up to ask questions. My question was, “I’m a regular on Joe Mallozzi’s blog, and he talks a LOT about all of you. This is your chance. Do you have any secrets you want to out about HIM?” And boy did they let off some steam (just joking). If you follow his blog, and you should, then everything they said about him you already know. Rachel treated us to some of talented vocals.

Lighting here not good; Chris & Rachel’s panel

It was ice cream time. While standing in line, a man and his son walked up behind us and while it seemed 99% apparent to me that his son had autism, I mouthed the words to him so as not to embarrass his son if that were not the case. We started talking about autism and Patrick and our experience and his family’s experience. An hour flew by quickly. As if he left, I told him that some things in life were not coincidence and I think we were meant to meet. I gave him my email address and I hope I’ll hear from him. I really need to stop watching Touch on Fox (doubtful).

It was about 5:15 and time for us to head home after a long day. Comicpalooza is still here tomorrow, Sunday, May 27 including Lasertag with the stars for charity and sword training with Nick Gillard of Star Wars (extra fee).

Thanks for doing all this, Comicpalooza.  See you next year.  Written transcripts will be posted soon as well partial video of the panels.  I thank you for stopping by and enjoying the details.  Before next year, I WILL have size 6 or 6-1/2 combat boots to wear with my Stargate Universe uniform.

Cover Art of program: 

The back cover of the program book.

The creative page of the program booklet. I was impressed with this.





Immortality and Legacy

14 01 2012

Immortality on this earth would be something I would gladly choose if I could stay the way I looked at 25 years old forever with the wisdom of who I am now. It would be sad to see family and loved ones die, but despite my incredibly dysfunctional first half of my life, it’s been a blast. There was so much more I want to do. So many careers that take many years to learn. So many arts to master. So many places to visit. So many people to meet.

Me around age 27

Hilda at age 25

Knowing this was unrealistic in at least my lifetime, I had the next best plan. I was on my way in my youth to becoming the first Air Force woman combat fighter jet pilot, who was also a medical doctor, who then applied to the space program and became the first woman astronaut who flew the Mars mission or lived on the moon base. Then I would work in third-world countries where I would spend the rest of my years eradicating the diseases of the world, of body, mind and spirit, where in my spare time I would learn about people’s religions and cultures as I moved from village to village all over the world. I had no desire to get married. The children of the world I would informally adopt. I had a strategic plan to achieve all that. I wanted to find a way to eliminate poverty, to free the world of prejudice and hate. I wanted to be a blazing comet that set the world on fire, a world that would remember me for leaving it a better place before I departed. But as a teenager with a strict plan, you don’t plan on curveballs.

Hilda at age 25

In 2011, I had an unusual number of friends pass away. In October, after one of them passed away, I became more acutely aware of the need to be more proactive in some of my friendships I had neglected. Although we were in contact by email, phone and Facebook, my friend, Diane, had become unable to drive. Since 2009, I have wanted to drive over to Channelview to meet her for lunch, but my health was not good and I found myself too busy fighting with school districts to take what seemed like a very long drive (I thought it was closer to Beaumont for some reason) to see her. I knew the holidays were coming. I barely had time to schedule a kidney biopsy in the month of December before the year ran out. I promised her that after the holiday madness was over, we would pull out the calendar and figure out which weekend she was on call and which weekend I was on call and get make a date for the one of the other two weekends (we both worked for the same company, her since 1993, but I had known her since at least 1989 or 1990).

She celebrated her birthday on Thursday, January 5. Although I knew that she loved Hoops & Yo-yo from Hallmark, I wanted to surprise her with something else and got her a Darth Vader card. Then it occurred to me that I did not know if she had even WATCHED the Star Wars movies. Having confirmed she saw the first one that was all she needed to know to understand the card. Thursday night I became unwell. Saturday an email awaited me. I was in bed until Monday afternoon. At 3:20 p.m., I scanned through my emails upon which time I saw the email that let me know my friend, Diane had died on Saturday.

Diane was a star in the sky. She lived in this area all of her life. She had a huge family. She was many things to many people–mentor, educator, teacher, sister, daughter, aunt, great aunt, and friend. She talked about her nieces and nephews and then great nieces and nephews with such love and pride. There were so many of them, it was so hard to keep them straight. I knew Diane before I got married to my husband. She was there when I got married, when I got pregnant and miscarried, when I got pregnant and had Patrick, when Patrick was diagnosed with autism, my journey with that. She was my ear, a person I vented to, my cheerleader, Patrick’s cheerleader. Once she got on Facebook, I talked to her more than my own sisters. In the past 2 years with Patrick at his new private school and the huge progress he was making, she “liked” every comment, and on some left “woo-hoo’s” and some beautiful notes that would make my heart either swell with pride or my eyes swell with tears of joy.

Brandy & Diane

She had a fierce sense of humor. As diabetes kept claiming more parts of her slowly, there came a point where a toe had to be amputated. She made jokes about it. She said, “Asked the podiatrist to trim my toenails but also asked him if he’d give me a discount since I now have only 9 toes. Actually he didn’t charge me anything as I’m still considered seeing him for surgical followup. Anyway, thanks for thinking of me and for the beautiful plant and for just being you.”

She knew, too, that my birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day. However, on February 17th, 2010 I received a birthday card (I think it was an e-card). I emailed her at 1:12 p.m. and said, “Thanks for the birthday card. The words I need to remember because in 20 minutes I’ll be at Patrick’s school. Just one teeny, tiny thing. It’s not until March 17. St. Patrick’s Day. But I will take it as a divine-inspired intervention that I need to be polite to these people today, don’t necessarily have to cave-in, but they aren’t to blame for the director being a bully. They are going to unfortunately be her victim as well if no one can get control of his individual. Think good thoughts. My stomach is in knots. I feel like I want to puke. I imagine I’ll be shaking uncontrollably by the time I come home.” At 1:34 p.m., an email arrived that said, “After I sent it, I realized it wasn’t St. Patrick’s Day yet! Maybe I just needed to tell you I was thinking of you?? Love, Diane.” We had many letters of correspondence like this.

For 45 minutes on Wednesday, people got up and shared perhaps 1 story they had about Diane. Or just stories in general. I didn’t realize we were going to do this so I was ill-prepared. For most people, they had people laughing. After 4 days of rain and flooding, Wednesday was 70 degrees and beautiful; the next day would usher in below freezing temperatures. If you were going to have to say goodbye to a treasured loved one, Wednesday was the best day to do it.

Diane’s niece Brandy did not recognize me until I said Patrick on Diane’s Facebook page, and then knew immediately who I was. Of course! That is why I am PBMom. I’m Patrick Bowen’s mom. (People always think it is Peanut Butter Mom).  But we immediately recognized each other when I entered the funeral home.

The entire drive home, I thought about my own inevitable death, what people might take the time to actually come to a service, what would be said about me. After Jeff returned home, I sobbed in his arms, saying that I felt like I had failed in this life because I did not become what I had set out to be. Some things I let go of by choice; some things because there was no choice.

A fan rendering of a concert performance.

He did not understand what I was saying. He said he spent his whole life caring too much about what other people thought of him that he could care less what people thought of him when he died. And I sat there not understanding how you could NOT care. Isn’t that what our purpose here is? Aren’t we supposed to make the world better while we are here (and I’m not talking about political differences, but the benefit of humanity in the interest of humanity, like elimination of hunger, poverty, homelessness, illness, etc., not the ideologies of how to achieve that)? Aren’t we supposed to want to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Louis Pasteur or Marie Curie? With our blood line ending with Patrick, and unless autism is cured, he is unlikely to become a father since he is unable to take care of himself, we have no one to remember the stories of us to pass down to future generations so we have to find other ways.

Hamman Hall, Rice University, 1986-1987? during my "steroid" days that gave me Cushing's disease.

I know what Patrick’s purpose in this life is. He has changed the hearts of so many. He has inspired at least 2 young people to want to be teachers. He was the reason why I started the first special needs ministry ever in The Woodlands in 1998-2005 at St. Anthony of Padua and because of that ministry and the people who came forward to help, so many people who needed help were helped. I often felt like I was being Patrick’s conduit but also a conduit of hooking up those people who needed help with those people who could help.

The next day, Brandy posted on my Facebook page that she was going through Diane’s things and found a picture of Patrick and a picture of Jeff and me. I misread the note thinking it was a picture of all three of us in the same picture, something that rarely occurs. She responded: “It was a picture of your son when he was younger. It looked like he was playing in the yard and then there was a separate picture of you and your husband that she had beside the picture of Patrick. I knew immediately who it was but, to make sure I flipped it over because she always wrote who was in the picture on the back and the age of the kids or the year that it was taken. She had it in her family album. It was in amongst pictures of her great nieces and nephews. 🙂 “I honestly felt Patrick had been invited to Jesus’ table for dinner because I knew how she felt about her nieces and nephews. I responded: “I knew Patrick was special to her, but I never knew that. And knowing the immense love and pride she had for all of you, that she loved him so much to place him among you all. Wow. I miss her SO much. Thank you for telling me that. My love and thoughts are with you all today. It must be so difficult going through her things.”

And I burst into tears.

Is being Patrick’s conduit, being known as PBMom, such a bad thing? No, it’s not. But I would rather be the one who figures out the puzzle that is autism and/or cures it so not one more family has to go through this. Or perhaps stumbles upon the fountain of youth where I can become immortal and go back and do all the things I originally planned on doing.

Patrick-- The PB in the PBMom

What do you hope people will say about you when you pass beyond your earthly bonds?





Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all!

25 12 2011
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To all my friends from this blog, Twitter, Facebook, or my travels along this road of life, I treasure you all. I’m sorry if I wind up not being able to acknowledge each and every one of you on a one-to-one level (although God knows I’m trying before Christmas turns into a pumpkin). Thank you for all the support you’ve shown me and my family over the past year. Thank you for laughing at my odd sense of humor and accepting all the craziness that is wrapped up in me. Thank you for those moments where I needed uplifting because I was so exhausted. Thank you for supporting me through my chronic health issues this year. Thank you for the radical honesty for the times when I’ve needed that. Thank you for encouraging me when I had self-doubt. I am blessed by your friendship more than you will ever know. Next to my family, you are the greatest gifts in my life and I will be remembering you on this day.

I intend to kick 2012’s ass. Perhaps it will kick mine. But it will be interesting whatever happens. It is comforting knowing that you will all be a part of that.





Acts of Kindness Part 2

24 11 2011

Back in 1998, when we were struggling to get Patrick to an autism program in Massachusetts that we hoped to be his best chances at recovery, kindness came from everywhere: Family, friends, strangers donated, held fundraisers, etc. to help us earn the money we needed (starting in July). On December 31, 1998, the day we left, we raised the final number we needed: $15,000. It was difficult for me to accept kindness like this, but I had to swallow my pride to first ask for the help, but learned to accept it with humbleness and gratitude. For many years, I had a web site on AOL (remember AOL Hometown?) where any one of the donors could go to keep up with their investment. After all, it was not only an act of love but an investment in the life of another.

PBFundraiser

My friend Jennifer's church allowed us to sell bear ornaments as a fundraiser.

During the course of having Patrick, my boss has done a tremendous number of things that I cannot name for reasons of confidentiality. Even though I don’t seem to be able to produce full-time work anymore, she allows me to stay hoping that one day I can get past my medical issues and produce at full-time or even part-time levels again. I do know that without the things she has done, our lives would be very different today.

Last year, I got another WOW moment to add to my top 10 kindnesses of all-time. I put out to the universe on Facebook that we had planned to go to the Adam Lambert concert but because every penny now was invested in that fabulous private school Patrick was going to, the results of which they had seen unfold right on Facebook, that if they heard of any contests to win tickets to please let me know. Instead, my friend Melissa went out and bought us not 3 tickets, but 4. She told us we had to take Patrick and gave us an extra seat to buffer ourselves from other people if necessary and a place to put his stuff. In the tickets, she also gave us spending money (for parking, presents, etc.) Melissa will tell you to this day she had never done anything like that and several times stopped and thought she was crazy for doing it. This kindness had “kindness” percussions. Going to the Adam concert led to know a certain person who would go on and help my son’s school during a fundraiser called Rock Autism, Joey Guerra, music critic for the Houston Chronicle.

Patrick's favorite: The laser lights.

The next big kindness came from an actor named JC Williams (@JustChillin21) who has been on many shows, but I came to know him because he was on Stargate Universe, a show I blogged about on Fox 26 Houston and a volunteer science-fiction-fan-run website. When the show was cancelled, there was a big sale of prop items in Vancouver, British Columbia. There are so many Stargate fans, many of whom tried to find people attending the sale so that these people could get them something. I thoroughly understand that level of passion, but I never wanted to place an undue burden on anyone living in Vancouver so that I could benefit from such a request. I feel that such a request would put in doubt the true nature of our relationships in some cases.

I don’t remember which Saturday it was, but I am hardly ever in my office and I am hardly ever on Twitter on the weekend. But this short time span I was. JC sent me a tweet asking if he could pick me up something and was asking our sizes. We communicated back and forth for a little while and in the end I told him I’d just be happy with a sticker or something; I’m not greedy. After the sale, he would tease me about sending me off a “box” of stuff. A box???? From personal experience, even mailing a small box from Canada to the United States is expensive. I felt excited yet unworthy once again. I am glad that it took several weeks to get here so I could shed the “unworthy” label and just be excited. It arrived on a Monday, July 11, 2011. My husband wanted to be there when I opened it, and I needed him to record the event. Since JC could not be here in person to see my reaction, capturing it on camcorder and putting in on YouTube seemed like a good idea. Meanwhile the day before I was bit by a spider and my arm started swelling and about the time I opened this, I was running a fever, but with the surge of adrenaline in my system, you can hardly tell I was even sick. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so my videos will say more:

I first open the box here (I’ve lost a lot of weight since then):   Click here for the video

I missed sharing about some items in the box:   Click here for the video

I tried on one of the gifts here:  Click here for the video

Also among the box, not put on video (because at that time of the video I wasn’t sure if he wanted to remain anonymous or not), were these pictures (don’t faint friends):

JCWilliams

J.C. Williams, actor, dreammaker

JC put a lot of thought and love into this box he was sending. He went out of his way to meet up with one other Stargate Universe actor, Herb Sommerfeld (picture below). He also tried to get one other’s picture and autograph for me, but was never able to catch up with that particular actor.

HerbSommerfeld

Herb Sommerfeld, actor, teacher

You can see JC’s great work on a recent episode of Sanctuary, “Resistance.” Click here.

Finally we close out this year with the overwhelming support I’m receiving for Patrick’s fundraiser for his autism school’s end-of-the-year annual campaign. Even though we are in a tough economy, people have been giving amounts from $5 on up. We met our first-placed $1000 goal. When we reached that, I upped the goal to $1100 and we’ve reached that. Now the goal stands at $1200. The fundraiser goes through Christmas Day. If you would like to see your money make a huge difference, knowing all the money stays at the school, most of it directly for the support of the kids there or creating programs so more kids on the waiting list can get help quicker, then this is a good place to give. Thank you to all those who were able to give, and thanks to those, too, who found themselves unable to give, but forwarded the message to others. Your acts of kindness astound me.  If you would like to help us raise money for this wonderful school for autism, please click here.

 

Patrick

My life teacher and inspiration, Patrick






Acts of Kindness Part 1

23 11 2011

“You can have it, if you’d like it,” the old woman said to the young girl, sensing the fear and nerves of the child, who had never lived anywhere else in her 5 short years of life.  There was something special about this antiquated stuffed turtle that was over 50 years old. Perhaps, it was a physical item of transference, a thing she could hold onto in the upcoming uncertainty of her life. Looking at her parents for approval to accept the offer, the 6-year-old lavished thanks on the two older women, and held on to that turtle for a very long time.

The House of Turtle

The house where I found "Turtle"

We are all the recipients of acts of kindness each day. Some acts of kindness are remembered more than others because of emotions attached to them, or you were having a bad day in your life, or perhaps you felt you just didn’t deserve it. Most kindnesses eventually fade away in the stream of consciousness as it is impossible to remember all of them all (unless you’ve written them down). The big ones you never forget. Like my turtle.

The next big kindness I remember was being asked to go on a family trip with my friends Kelly and Kitchel. They were close in age and I would wind up doing things with one for awhile and then the other. Their family became a refuge from my dysfunctional, abusive home and I loved spending time there. I learned about refried beans and real butter. Their mother, a nurse, used IV needles and ice cubes to pierce my ears. When I was asked to go on their family trip to Kansas, I was ecstatic. But the kindnesses did not cease coming from them.

Hilda in Kansas

Me on the Kansas trip

My mother’s sister and her husband took me in when my mother kicked me out age the age of 13. However, I was there for only 2 weeks. My mother wished for me to return home. My aunt and uncle sat me down and said, “If you want to stay, we will fight for you to stay, but if you return home, you won’t be able to come back.” I made a bad choice and left.

After I was told to leave my home again 6 months later, with whatever I possessed from things that were gifts or things I had bought myself, my sister, on a break from college, was staying with her college friend and her family in the Bronx for the summer. They also provided me shelter until my sister could work things out about where I would go. Their apartment was not big; they were not rich, but their hearts were. Somewhere in there (I forget the timing of all this), my sister brought me upstate New York to my father’s brother’s house. My two of four cousins still remained at home. They welcomed me into their home. For me it was only temporary because the place where my heart felt like home was with Kelly and Kitchel’s family who had moved from Nebraska to Missouri. They were having family meetings to discuss the impact on having me there. But in the meantime, my aunt, uncle and cousins were glad to have me.

The decision was a positive one for me with my friends’ family and I soon moved to Missouri. It lasted from September until December. Plans were being made by my sister once again to file child abandonment charges against my mother to get me into a foster home in New York (close to her where she was going to school). Things didn’t work out with my friends as we had hoped for a variety of reasons—them lacking any legal authority as “parents”, the financial help my father promised, the arguments I was getting into with one of the two girls. I had to leave. When my mother discovered I was there, my departure protected them from being charged with harboring a runaway (I did not runaway, but my mother was upset that she was told off about her less-than-wonderful parenting ability). When I boarded the plane to New York to my sister, the police showed up at my friends’ home. Fortunately, I was not there. I always look back on this has a huge kindness. They could have easily said no given the headache involved with it, but they did not.

The next kindness rates into a category all of its own and will be continued tomorrow in part 2.