My totally unasked for, unpaid for, review of the new show “Speechless”

30 Sep

Have you heard about the new show “Speechless“? It’s about a family. A comedy about a family. A comedy about a mom, dad, and three siblings. The “twist” is that the oldest sibling has cerebral palsy.

I love this show already. I had to give it a chance because it was a a show about someone with a disability that wasn’t autism…ooo…different! And it was a bit relatable from the get go as Maura doesn’t always speak, or speak clearly, or even speak at times. I was kind of unintelligible as a child myself with my own speech disorder, so yeah, you mention the word “speech” and my ears perk up.

So why do I love this show?

Let me count the ways.

  1. It’s just funny. Hilariously funny.
  2. Minnie Driver. We <heart> her.
  3. The family interaction. They act like a family.
  4. The sibling interaction. The siblings act like siblings, not two able-bodied siblings doting and coddling the “poor” disabled sibling.
  5. The character of J.J. is written as if, oh, I don’t know…like he’s a teenager.
  6. A new hand gesture.
  7. The fact that as I was making my husband watch it (and as we both cracked up), two of my teens wandered out, and then they were all “OMG what IS this show?” and laughing at it.
  8. The actor playing J.J., Micah Fowler, is actually disabled. What a novel concept Hollywood!
  9. The parents are equally smart and witty and attractive (as opposed to the smart woman married to Neanderthal Dad or flighty mom who can’t keep up with smart kids.)
  10. It’s not tragic.

Seriously, we’re giving it thumbs up here. At the end of the show, Miriam turned and said “Can we write for this show???”

FYI – I’m totally up for that ABC if you need some help.


30 Sep

I sprained muscles in my back. It’s part of living the dream here. Maura’s now bigger than me, and I have a wonky back, so if she tackles me wrong, that’s it, I’m done for.

Reality? I need to get into shape.

Reality? I need to heal these injuries before I can start working out again.

Reality? I’m kinda lazy and like to eat.

Reality? I need to stop farting around and get into shape. After I heal. Thank goodness I was matched with the perfect massage therapist at my chiropractor’s office – she also does sports therapy and so is helping me with these injuries.


Yesterday, Maura buckled herself into the car all by herself. She was a little “help” and I was all “You can do it” and she got it, and I was all “OH YEAH! THAT’S HOW YOU DO IT!” and we high fived.

Reality? My daughter can finally buckle herself.

Reality? She’s 13.

Reality? This can be a reminder that wow, she is so far behind.

Reality? I actually look at it as “SEE! Never ever give up!” because if she puts her mind to it, she’ll figure it out, even if it takes years of practice.


After Maura buckled herself up yesterday, we went to the “mall” and stopped at Old Navy. She picked out a cute dress, a button down shirt, and a pink wool coat. We went through the whole “Make sure you find the right size.” song and dance. Then we came across a pink wool coat.

This is the coat from Old Navy. This is not Maura in the photo.

She wanted it. I wanted her to try it on. She did NOT want to try it on.

Reality? I caved finally to avoid a meltdown because she’d been so good about sizes on everything else.

Reality? I chose the wrong size.

Reality? I had to hide the coat from her so she wouldn’t wear it while eating food, or take it to school this morning.

Reality? I will be returning to the store to exchange sizes.

Reality? This is a normal thing in our life. Sometimes it’s tiring, but then I remember the time when she didn’t understand sizes at all. We’ll get there with trying on things eventually.

Reality? It’s the right coat for her b/c it’s just one button and the button is big and she can button her own coat herself thankyouverymuch!


This is how we roll, minute to minute, day by day. There are compromises and cave ins and celebrations. There isn’t always rhyme or reason to our ways. Our reality is that life is constantly throwing stuff at us, and while I’ve never been sporty, I am scrappy! Life isn’t easy for us…but then again, life isn’t easy. Period. Anyone who says anything different is trying to sell you something.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go exchange a jacket before someone gets home from school.


Four words to my 17 yr old self

27 Sep

“Keep being different.”

That was my response to this particular Facebook mindlessness. (BTW, I love FB Mindlessness, it’s a nice break from having to read yet another political ugliness thread.)

I wasn’t just being a smart-ass…which, sure, I was. But I thought about it for a moment, thought about that 17 yr old girl that I was, and what all she’d been through. How she always stood out, if by being the shortest, or having a speech problem, having weird skin, having odd clothes, having a name even the teachers didn’t pronounce correctly.

Nope – there was no way young Phoebe was ever going to be a conformist, nor was she ever going to blend. Not with that name. Not with that speech problem. Not with that hair that refused to accept perms in the 1980’s. Not when her friends were listening to Poison and NKOTB and she was all “OMG, have you heard of this group called 10,000 Maniacs?”

At 17, I was a high school senior, coming into my own a bit. Life wasn’t easy, but I had dreams and plans and a total lack of giving into peer pressure. I look at my 17 year old self and see someone who’s about to take on the world, start a new season in life, start a bigger journey that would lead her to where I now sit today. I see a girl willing to take a chance to leave everything behind and start anew, in a place where no one knew of her past, of her now-corrected speech issues, of the rejections she dealt with in the middle school years.

I still remember my 17 year old self starting to be a bit bold. I remember it clearly. It was the day of high school graduation rehearsal and this boy I’d known since first grade, this boy who’d I considered my friend until the Great Social Outcasting of Seventh Grade. Since 7th grade, he’d ignored me, or pretended I didn’t exist. And I saw him, as I walked with my friend out of graduation rehearsal. I saw him ignore me yet again. And I heard myself say loudly to my friend “You know, I’ve known him since first grade. Do you think he’s said “hi” to me even once in high school? Nope. It’s like I’m invisible or something. Isn’t that weird?” *not exact phrasing because even my memory isn’t that good

My friend gaped at me as she tried not to laugh. The boy turned red, because he heard me…because I meant to be heard. And I had this out of body experience of “Wow, I can’t believe I just did that” along with “Dang, that felt good to get that out.”

The adult I am now does admit that doing that was probably a bit rude.

But I was seventeen.

Maybe the advice I should have given my 17 yr old self was “Don’t be too rude.”


Instead, I’ll keep to the original answer of “keep being different.”

Trust me, my 17 yr old self, someday, a guy WILL appreciate that about you.

(Me, at 18...close enough though, right?)

(Me, at 18…close enough though, right?)

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