Sunday, May 9, 2021

Weekly Roll - Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day

Linky Love

Hundreds of People are Section Hiking the AT of Italy Oh you know how I love stories about long distance hiking. This is interesting

Emily Ford Hiked 1,200 miles in dead of winter - This is about hiking the Ice Age Trail during the winter. 

What Works Depends On What is Obstructing Change - interesting read

Experimental Cooking

Strawberry Rhubarb Cake - this was gobbled up pretty quickly. This is a super moist cake

Friday, May 7, 2021

52 Ancestors - Crime and Punishment

I am linking up with Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.

What do you do when you run across an ancestor has a criminal past?  I am currently researching a ancestor that is a bit closer on my tree. I think sometimes these can be sensitive subjects when talking with other relatives. I have decided to share a different story below.

So I have decided to tell you about my father's 1st cousin 4x removed - Franklin W Thornton. Franklin was a Post Master in Pasadena California who embezzled $760. Apparently he embezzled money to become a photographer. He then fled and was caught in Columbus Ohio. He served his time at San Quentin Prison California State Prison.

Franklin Thornton is the inmate on the far left. He was sentenced to 3 years of hard labor. He was jailed 0n 0ct 1899 and discharged in Feb 1902 according to find a grave. He lived for a few years in Los Angeles as a dry goods watchman and eventually ended up moving to Chicago Ill to live with his single daughter and he continued to work as a watchman.  Franklin died in 1928 in Pasadena California at the age of 72.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Weekly Roll


There is about 5 weeks before my son graduates from High School. Final Countdown seemed like a good theme song. Got to admire their hair in the video.

Why Would You Walk From Washington DC to New York?  Good Read

Podcast Suggestion

Undisclosed - I totally binged the last season(The State vs Jeff Titus). It was So compelling that I discussed it with my husband. The is a series called Killer in Question on ID that one of the episodes covers this case.

Sourdough Update

Still feeding the starter. Tried Vension for Dinner 's Kate's Master Sourdough Recipe. It was delicious. Loaves pictured above not from that recipe.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

State of Autism at Our House 2021

 In honor of Autism Month, I thought I would share the state of Autism at our house. Well I didn't quite make it for the month of April so the first day of  May will have to do. I live with a 22 year old High Functioning Autistic person. 

He works 10 hours a week at a local brewery doing janitorial work. He has a job coach who he really likes and basically just checks in on him a couple times a week. I can't say enough nice things about his coach and where he works. This is a good fit for him. 

He takes 1 class a quarter at the local technical college. He took fall off  from school. Doing all the work online was actually stressing him out along with Covid.  When he did make it back for winter quarter, he did okay- excellent in the grade department. He always does excellent in the grade department. All the school work including the group work was online. It was a big stretch for him.  He has a lot of school related trauma. He hadn't done group work since middle school so we had a lot of chats why it would be different in college.  I really liked this article about transitioning to adulthood and why college might not be a good choice for those on the spectrum and the qualities they need to be able to succeed. Preparing for the transition to adulthood part 1 There is a lot food for thought in there. 

There are still some behavior challenges. He gets easily frustrated especially with video games and online college work. He often misreads social cues and relies on others to clue him in. I spend a lot of time discussing other peoples behavior. It took me a number of years to realize how much anxiety my son has.  His anxiety looks a lot like anger too.  It is nothing like it was years ago. Thank goodness for medication and behavior management. 

He lives at home which is good for him. He pays rent. He purchases all his food. He still can't manage the stove and knives are a bit scary for him. He is however excellent at the air fryer. I prepare his breakfast and dinner. 

He doesn't drive and uses public transport. That is great but the public transport adds about 4 hours to his 2 hour work day. By car, he works about 20 minutes from home. This is a challenge that social service people like to gloss over.  As his Mom, I take him to the bus hub so his commute to and from work is not as bad. Social Services always say, "well he has access to public transportation." That is all well in good if it doesn't eat up your whole day.

One thing I can say about my son in the words of a preschool friend "He is the one with the big heart". I don't know what the future holds exactly for my son.  One of his best qualities is that he persists even when others feel he is not capable. I hope that serves him well. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

52 Ancestors - Brick Wall


I am participating in Amy Johnson's Crow's 52 ancestors. The theme the previous week was brick wall. A brick wall in genealogy is described as not being able to find information on a person.  My wall is more a crumbling one.

Geneva M Wolf also know as Geneva M Groshong , Mabel Genevieve Wolfe, Jeneva M Berg,  Dorothy Mae Geneva McElwane (1903-1993) is my crumbling brick wall. Geneva was a woman with many names. For this story, I am going to call her Geneva. I know so much and so little. 

She was mother to my husband's grandfather, Pappy(using a nickname for privacy purposes), and according to family tales she up and left during the middle of winter in Aiken, Minnesota. Yes, she left during a Minnesota winter.  Geneva left her young son not even a year old by the fire, His father, Carl,  returned to find him cold and the fire long since burnt out. He ran the cold child to his parents house,  a good few miles away. 

As a Mom I have so many questions. Where the conditions so bad this was Geneva's only way out and why did she leave her son? This kind of leaving in the middle of winter I think took some preplanning. Their homestead was far from a town and it was a small place that everyone knows everyone. She would of have needed assistance to leave. Where did she run to? Why didn't Carl go after her?

Pappy would remain at grandparents until his formal schooling years. Geneva was to come into contact with Pappy after WW2  when she sent him a red cross message. They reconnected briefly and he met his half sister LaVera Sandstrom (1924?- ) According to Pappy, LaVera had the most beautiful baby girl. He also believed that LaVera was also married to a GI. Pappy is mentioned in Dorothy Mae Geneva McElwane's obituary along with LaVera. 

I cannot find Geneva in the 1930 or 1940 census. I believe that Geneva met Carl because she replied to an ad for a housekeeper but Carl was also a well known fiddle player that played at all the local dances. Geneva was from Crow Wing, Minnesota. It is possible she met him at a dance. In 1919, Carl had just returned from World War 1. He was a decorated Army military vet. He received the purple heart. His family also said he was a very different person once he came back from the war. Pappy also believe his mom, Geneva, to have a lot of different marriages up to 9 possibly. I can only account for 2 legal marriages- one to Carl in 1919 and one to Henry Tuttle Haight. Geneva married Harry Tuttle Haight in 1925 in Des Moines, IA. I believe Harry Haight was a store clerk at the time. She also appears to be married to Randall Garland McElwane. I am unable to find a marriage record for Randall Garland McElwane and Geneva aka Dorothy. Randall McElwane was a WWII vet. I think they were possibly married in 1944. This is time she appears in city directories in California with that name.

My brick wall specifically is what happened to Geneva after she left Carl especially in the 1921 to 1940 years. I know Geneva was married in 1925 but I believe that was a short marriage. Geneva eventually ended up living in Lost Angeles and Harbor City, California. 

 I also would like to know about her daughter La Vera or Vera. which I can find her in the 1940 census as living with her grandparents Mary and Peter Groshong in St Paul, MN listed as Vera Groshong, Step Grandchild. LaVera is listed as LaVera Sandstrom in the obituary for Dorothy Mae Geneva McElwane. She listed in the 1940 Census as being born about 1924.  I don't know who was LaVera's father was. I have searched the Minnesota Birth Records and cannot find a birth record. It is made challenging by the fact that Geneva often went by different names. I have tried her many aliases without much luck. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Weekly Roll

Sometimes your Mom takes a weird picture of you. Picture was taken at Fort Casey.

 Linky Love

The Search For The Only  Ranger Who Was Lost and Not Found - This is quite the tale. Did he walk away or was he killed? This one sticks with you 

How Rotating Your Plate Can Make Your Food Taste Better  Are you a plate rotator?

I now know what caused my autism - I am hearing a lot about this research study called SPARK

The Secret Mission to Unearth part of a 142 year Study - This is really cool and amazing that this experiment has gone on so long.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Parenting Neuro Diverse Adults

 I want to preface all this including the title which was a struggle. A friend reached out to me a long time ago and we started a discussion about adults that are neuro diverse especially as it relates to being employed and not living with Mom and Dad.  Hey Mom and Dad aren't going to be around forever. These are questions I ask myself  a lot as I have a high functioning autistic adult who lives with me. As you will see below, I clearly don't have the answers myself. These are just a few of things I have discovered in my quest for my son to be more independent of me.

Specifically the population I am talking about are higher functioning autistic adults often with co existing conditions . These adults live on the edge of receiving social services and are often because of their higher functioning in several areas less likely to seek social services or qualify for social services unless in a crisis situation. Generally most of these people can complete the majority of their activities of daily living without assistance (ADL's). It usually the behavior/mental health component that the majority of these people need assistance with.

Parents, partners, and relatives are often unpaid caregivers, crisis counselors, social workers for these neurodiverse people. Because they are adults they can live their life anyway they want including unsafely. However, as a parent to an adult who lives in my house I have rules how you live your life in my house. 

I think this situation where the quote, "Begin with the end mind" is really important. My son is going to have to eventually live without me so lets do everything we can to make that a successful outcome. 

Guardianship/Supported Decision Making/Estate Planning

I am not my son's guardian so that literally means he can make any decision that he wants without my consent. You know what my son isn't good at  - talking on the phone, filling out forms, waiting in line, bureaucracy of any kind, and talking about himself. So we are doing a version of Supported Decision a fancy phrase for he allows me to do these tasks for him BUT only at his direction. We have discussed this and these are things he allows me help him do. I have all the power of attorney's. This has made both of our lives easier. Those things I listed are all things that make his anxiety go over the top.  My son is totally capable of managing his money and he is learning to be a better advocate for himself.  He just doesn't know how to navigate or begin to navigate certain situations.  This is a role I could see my younger son taking over for him or even a supportive partner. 

Supported Decision Making - good place to start at informing families

Supported Decision Making Agreement


Over 2 years ago, I attended all kinds of housing meetings. Affordable housing is a hot button issue where I live. My son would like to live on his own. He currently pays me rent. My husband doesn't believe he could live on his own. I think he could with the right kind of roommate or situation.  

Partners 4 Housing - is a Washington company that offers roommate matching service for disabled people. I have heard the owner speak many times. I think this could be viable option for many. They are now nationwide. It is pricey but worth the cost especially in looking for a long term living situation with a vulnerable population that has limited options.

Community Homes, Inc -Is also a good resource. They have 7 adult homes in the Bothell/Redmond area and frequently offer classes on housing resources

This is probably the most needed and where most of these neurodiverse people are going to need to access social services in some shape or form. Whether it be section 8 housing, housing vouchers etc. It is a system that is very hard to navigate with very limited housing options. The best advice I have received about housing is don't be looking for it in a crisis situation. Housing wait lists are long like years long. 


My son went through the transition program at his local high school. That was the launching pad he needed. I know that not all transition programs are good but ours was exceptional and it was for higher functioning people. He also received services through DVR. Of all the social service agencies, I thought DVR was perhaps the most helpful to him. He received job coaching which included helping find a job. I actually think all high schoolers and recent grads could use some job coaching. The number one thing my son lacked was what they called the soft skills. He could do the work but he lacked the interpersonal skills and the knowledge of where to begin to look for a job. These things can be taught. I think DVR (Department of Vocational Rehab) when it is a funded agency does a good job of connecting and coaching people to get jobs. Goodwill also has some training programs. My son did several of those. It was very helpful. I don't know if they are doing these classes during Covid.

Secondly I want to say that most autistic people are not employed. My son does work but it is not a living wage job in that he only works 10 hours a week. He does work that you typically see disable people do - janitorial. Not to put that type work down at all but that seems to be the only type of work available to disabled people. Despite all the feel good news stories of disabled people working at big tech companies etc that is the exception not the rule. Oh how my son would LOVE to do that kind of work. However, my son does enjoy his work and the place he works is awesome and accommodating. Over and over I have heard that meaningful work is important and I have to say that is true to my son. He wants to go to work and be productive. 

So what do you do in the time of covid and you have a young adult who needs to work. You look for opportunities to volunteer. It is easier for disable people to get a job if they are a known quantity. Having good references is really important and often time volunteering can give you connections. My son did several internships and it was helpful to figure out what he really could do. All of his internships resulted in references. 

Places are still hiring. Perhaps look for jobs that take anyone/ low entry jobs.

example - We live in agriculture area and during the summer kids/adults work at the berry processing plant or in the fields picking berries. They basically hire anyone. 

microbusinesses - This is a new term I have been hearing and I would like to explore this more with my son.

Goodwill/Job Corp/Conservation Corp are options as well. I heard conservation corp is a good place for neurodiverse people. Yes they are operating during Covid.

How Covid has impacted intellectually disadvantaged workers

In Context 

I feel like I need to be completely transparent. My son receives lots of services. He has a job coach for his job. Social Services can be hard to obtain and easily taken away.  Depending on having these long term is foolish in my opinion. In Washington state because of lack of taxable income many supports or waivers through the DDA probably will be going away. The cuts could be so deep that they effect those in group homes. Having some contingency plans is important (Arc of King County - Deep Cuts to Medicaid Long Term Supports) Though I heard they aren't going to be quite as deep as predicted. Lastly, supports (government supports) are not given you need to request them so if you don't know what to request that is a problem. Sometimes my best sources of information has been other parents so it is good to belong to support groups. I also have found the ARC to be a great resource.