Wednesday, December 30, 2009


So, there is concern that Hispanic school children aren't being diagnosed enough with autism. Here's the article.

"For every 10 percent increase in Hispanic schoolchildren in a given district, the researchers found, the prevalence of autism decreased by 11 percent, while the prevalence of kids with intellectual disabilities or learning disabilities increased by 8 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

The reverse was seen as the percentage of non-Hispanic white children in a district increased, with the prevalence of autism rising by 9 percent and the prevalence of intellectual and learning disabilities falling by 11 percent and 2 percent."

So... basically the concern is the kids are just being diagnosed with learning disabilities... Isn't perhaps the over diagnosis of autism a bit more of a concern? Since autism is a pretty big stigma?

Notice how the number of kids with learning disabilities is the same... it's whether they call it autism or dyslexia that determines whether or not there is an "epidemic" in the area?

This is why I am getting so annoyed at the epidemic and crisis b.s.

It's simply a changing of diagnosis and how many of those kids have any real brain damage causing the learning disorders? And if that many kids do have developmental delay, is it really such a crisis? Obviously the number of kids with learning disabilities isn't changing. Which learning disability they call it is changing. So a certain percentage of the population is a bit slower. This has always been true. Why is it a big deal?

The spectrum is a very wide category, as it's currently defined. I'm pretty sure we could squeeze a good ten percent of the population in if we tried.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

basic overview

by popular demand.... a simplistic and quick overview of autism (according to the abifae)...

this is all based on living with me, an autistic, talking to other autistics, and reading dozens of books, hundreds of articles on everything related to autism: childhood development, amygdala research, social development, mirror neurons, play, speech, endocrinology, synesthesia, ecology, psychology, sociology, diet and nutrition....

most important: each autistic child is as different as each non autistic child. this is a very basic concept of autism and particularly higher functioning autistics. people like labels. a label makes you belong. being different makes you special. and thinking someone else is different makes you superior. don't mistake my sweeping statements as "all autistics". i'm just too lazy to write "some" or "many" before every sentence.

what is autism? autism is a lack of ability to intuitively grasp the social world. when you take all the signs and symptoms and why is autism bad and how does it effect our lives... that's all it comes down to.

the more important question is: what causes a person to lack such a vital, basic intuitiveness?

the cause is up for debate. whether the mother didn't get enough vitamin d while pregnant so the brain never developed, or whether it is almost entirely genetic, whether it's diet and vitamin absorption or anything else... the RESULTS are the same. my guess is all the reasons have a grain of truth and it is a cumulative cause. genetics set the stage and environment knocks over the dominos.

the results are that the amygdala doesn't process right, the brain doesn't set up it's architecture correctly, and the brain never learns to see itself as separate from others. autism is a developmental disorder. everything is just set up a bit wrong and development therefore delays.

the amygdala controls arousal, autonomic reactions to fear, emotional responses, and hormonal secretions. all, coincidentally, things autistics have extreme under or overreactions to. why do autistics do it wrong? studies show that autistics have larger, more active, or smaller than normal amygdalas. is there confusion on the scientists' part? it doesn't appear so: studies say that smaller amygdalas lead to less eye contact and studies say that the abnormally large growth causes autistic symptoms. once again, maybe they are both right. if the amygdala is undersized, you are lacking in reactions. if it is too large, you get overwhelmed by your reactions and close yourself off. both will result in a lack of contact with the outside world.

if you watch this video, at 19:26, VS Ramachandran discusses synesthesia. autistics very much show signs of not having very strong architecture. we confuse and combine senses. and if we are lacking in filters for our senses, why might this not be because we're lacking filters between parts of the brain?

this lack of filter is vital in understanding autistics and over stimulation. let's say you are in a quiet room. you hear the air move through vents in the walls, you hear the foundation settle, you hear people walking or talking outside. murmurs and whispers all around you. the world is never quiet. it is susurrations and sighs, murmurs and mutters, whispy sounds and sharp sounds. add to this actual noise and the mind cannot hold it all. but we can't block any of it so we get anxious and "over stimulated". so we flap and pace and mutter and tap walls and pull tighter into ourselves for safety. we do this with ALL of our senses. and yet, sometimes, we can narrow down to one sense entirely and focus to the point of blocking out the rest of the world. without natural filters we find artificial ones and that is what "stimming" is all about.

theory of mind is getting a lot of attention in the autistic world. theory of mind is the ability to "attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own". i personally believe that autistics never develop a strong sense of object permanence, so they are a couple steps behind theory of mind. we attribute mental states, eventually, to ourselves, and then assume those states onto everything around us. like a small child who buys someone else what they want for a present and assumes the gift will be well received. we never quite grow past that. i'm a rather grown child and the best i do is to know by rote that others are not like me. this is a surprise every time a new situation comes up (read below about categorization) and i have to learn that new situation by rote, as well.

this is why we put things down and if someone moves it, we don't know it still exists. we panic. "where is it? could it be elsewhere" is not a concept we naturally have. so we obsessively put things either in the same place all the time, or out in the open so we can see it all. if someone leaves, they drop from our conscious, they return strangers to us. in a world that changes so drastically and nothing is real or permanent, we therefore cling to the things that we can to force stability into our worlds. if you think about it, a great deal of autistic obsessive behaviors come down to this lack. so do the emotional distances and the need for constant attention to focus. we are like babies in many ways. mentally, we just are not going to understand that things have their own permanence. we create permanence for the sake of our sanities through strict routine. this book is not permanent. i put permanence on the book by almost watching it. this parent is not permanent. i put permanence on this parent by my actions.

One article states: You know you're in a dream world when the physical laws of the universe appear to have changed. When gravity has been turned off at the socket, objects seem to have no inertia and vanish when they are out of view. Dreams can be surprising and unsettling precisely because we're so used to how the waking world works.

but what if you don't have a separate waking world? what if things are just kinda always unsettling because things never stay put? what if you are permanently clumsy because you can't figure out the basic way things are? or you can never quite relax because things sometimes stop existing? what if things are so unstable that you never learn to not hallucinate? you never learn to focus in on what is "real". you never learn that there is an inside world and an outside world.

without understanding that things come and go you also can't understand what things are you and what things are separate. you need a sense of separateness to understand another person and therefore to get by socially. "walk in their shoes" doesn't make sense to someone who isn't sure where this other person really exists. if i am me, then you are me, then my shoes are your shoes, and i'm already in them. we aren't too good with idioms anyway.

so, basically, we now have a child without the development to comprehend others. we have a child who either does not have enough stimulation through the amygdala to interact, or has so much stimulation that interaction is literally painful. we have a child who gets their senses confused and at the same time cannot filter the incoming information enough to narrow down the input into anything really comprehensible. this child is, obviously, going to be difficult to control and will likely be frightened often. it is very easy to picture the child more like a wild animal than a human.

the amygdala that doesn't function for us controls emotions. we tend to overreact. something kinda scary is terrifying. something funny has us running around in glee, laughing. something sad has us hysterical in tears. we don't learn how to react by watching the adults around us. we just get tossed around by everything flying through us. and all of this pumps more and more adrenaline and endorphins and cortisol into the system (causing or at least worsening all of those odd ailments we tend towards).

hand in hand with our lack of mental filters, we are lacking in physical ones. remember the amygdala regulates hormones? without good regulators, our bodies throw out too much of whatever chemicals they aim for. we don't create just a bit of insulin, we flood insulin. we don't get scared and make a bit of adrenaline, we flood the system. when we eat preservatives, we don't inflame a touch and flush it out, we flood the entire body with inflammatories and don't digest anything. or we go the other direction and don't bother making any of a chemical. then, too, we are so sensitive in our internal reactions that the chemicals around us effect us more severely, leading more quickly to the ailments that non autistic humans require years of accumulation to achieve. autistics tend towards early arthritis, blood sugar issues, thyroid issues, and digestive issues.

autistics don't do middle ground.

just in general. the world is black and white. we are opinionated, stubborn, and habit-bound. anything else leads to chaos because we have nothing to naturally ground us except for our rituals.

we don't create mirror neurons correctly (also due to amygdala issues) and so don't have the monkey see monkey do mentality of a healthy child and so we don't even realize we should mimic those around us. so we have no natural drive to try and learn the culture we are in. we can't watch children and understand how to interact with them. we will try to draw them, instead, into our world, which they cannot understand.

in our effort to create a structure that stays put and make sense of the topsy turvy world we find ourselves in, we lock ourselves in a separate world. we reach out to people and they don't know how to reach back. they don't always even realize we have reached out. an autistic child's life is full of rejections because of this. and they don't catch on to others' reaching out to them. so we are labeled unemotional, or unreachable.

we certainly connect emotionally. we just don't express it in ways others understand and/or are comfortable with. we don't get socially trained easily so we are more feral than our civilized counterparts. we connect to people and feel affection. it's just kind of bewildering since people don't respond right and they go away so much. we express emotions all the time but we're told they're all meltdowns or acting out or acting up. we don't know to lie and so we are mean or rude or harsh. we don't know to read social cues so we are shy or awkward or socially inept. however, we do tend to read the "lower levels" of body language civilized humans miss out on because we know we are animals.

other fun facts about autistics: we don't tend to label and box things by category. rather each things has attributes. this makes communication that much more difficult but it makes us much more precise thinkers. this is the same trait that has us memorize every breed of dog with fascination, or train schedules, or study every facet of autism.

we connect more easily to the simpler (ie non socialized) animals and are great with cats and dogs and most species that aren't humans. non human animals give us an outlet for our compassion and affection without fear of rejection.

we are exceedingly literal. i know i show examples constantly but i shall rely on people who know me to point them out with much giggling at some point. in any case, idioms and slang are difficult to easily understand and we take things at face value.

we create concrete metaphors. while we are very literal, we do make comparisons and they are often accurate and beautiful and poetic. many people say that autistics do not use metaphors because it is a creativity we are not capable of. this isn't true. normal metaphors just aren't logically sound.

so what things help autistics?

forced changes: if you let us settle into a routine, we will. and we'll never learn to cope with change. coping mechanisms only develop if you have to cope. mix it up. so what if there's a meltdown. that's just how we express ourselves. (i do realize if you are a full time caretaker of an autistic you are going to get burned out on the damned constant meltdowns) take the opportunity to slowly hammer into our heads that change isn't going to kill us (because that really IS the fear). pick and choose your times so that you have the time to help us through the inevitable meltdown, but don't be scared of it for the meltdown's sake. there is nothing wrong with panic. there is only something wrong with never learning your emotions and reactions so that you can take control of yourself. it will take us forfreakingever. we're developmentally delayed. delay is a huge frustrating infuriating aggrivating part of what we are. which leads to...

understand that the development is delayed. we aren't stuck or stopped. we are just really really slow. how "functional" an autistic is is much more a reflection of the rate of growth than anything else. i am 32 and mentally i'm about ten. i happen to have the education and life experience for my three decades but emotionally i'm still a child. the way i see things is very much through a child's eyes. i'm high functioning. if at 32 i'd only made it to four or five, i'd be low functioning. with enough time, all autistics will "outgrow" the worse of the "symptoms". some of us just have to live to be 300.

let us express our way. this counts for friends of adults as much as with children. yes, i'm sure it's lovely to teach your child to not throw a fit in the grocery store. i don't wanna hear some kid throwing a fit in public either. but if the behavior won't get you all arrested, let the kid emote however he really needs to. it's not like you have a neurologically healthy child and are just not disciplining him. let him find his own ways to self-calm or self-stimulate, let him learn how to get things out and therefore how to identify feelings. let him do weird stupid shit even though you can't see the point of it. the more we know about what all these crazy feeling things are, the less they will rock our worlds. autistics are quite capable of achieving a very zen like approach to their emotions and to life. i know change will happen. when it happens and i panic i simultaneously can laugh at myself and my reaction and therefore get past it. someday i might not even panic.

treat our bodies like endangered ecosystems. all bodies are ecosystems. we are a collection of flora and fauna living in symbiosis to keep our little universe well. some bodies are robust and can weather some pretty good storms and they'll get by. autistics are more fragile. our ecosystems are too out of whack to take the casual approach. we need organics (more likely to not introduce things like growth hormones to confuse our hormones, or pesticides to interfere with our chemicals). we need low carbohydrates (to keep our insulin levels low and therefore our cortisol, serotonin, and adrenaline more in line). we need no processed foods, no dyes, no artificial preservatives (i do great with salt and vinegar). we need a lack of medication (healthy bodies don't get a yeast infection on a single round of antibiotics; nor do they lose liver function on a week of tylenol). we need a minimum of chemicals (vinegar also cleans just about everything!). we need to keep our flora and fauna healthy (eating fermented foods and not antibacterial cleaning things). with our ecosystems stable, we are more stable. seriously: fewer meltdowns.

work with our logic. people want to train autistics to think like humans. it's a very cute idea that we can learn to work with your utter lack of logic. seriously, just work with us. we are concrete, serious, intense, logical creatures. if you pay attention, we can introduce you to a world of wonder where everything is awe inspiring and things fit together until everything is Right. i have been told the seriousness and intensity of an autistic is rather infant like. perhaps this is true, i haven't been around many babies. but we are definitely lacking a sense of "play". we can be light hearted and enjoy ourselves. we can create games. but there is definitely something not there that i see in others when they are "relaxing".

let us be us. most of us function enough to go out sector and act like productive humans. we don't understand it or enjoy it but neither do any of you. however, our concrete crazy brains are pretty spiffy. since love is simply affection and acceptance, autistics tend to be very good at a rather pure and simple love of everything around them. we can do the feral unconditional love very easily if people would quit interfering with it: friendship is easy on some levels for us and very difficult on the social levels. we can learn all the basics we need to get by at least as well as civilized humans. most of our "suffering" is because civilized humans are scared of us, not because there is anything wrong with us.

love us. we're a neurodiverse species. deal with it. it's you who are putting the labels and concepts of incapability on us. before you were calling us autistic, we were the crazy relatives in attics, the quiet neighbors with oddball collections, the obnoxious IT techs, the shy kids at school, the artists and musicians and poets and child prodigies. we all got by except those very few who you labeled as incureable and tucked into institutions. the same percentage of kids are still that disabled, but most of us are just folk. now you have spread that label in an effort to "help" those shy kids and now we are all told we are incapable and unacceptable. but we understand that the help was not to teach those shy kids to accept themselves and use their talents, but to help those shy kids make you more comfortable. we used to have a chance to really make it in the world. now we are crippled by your kindness until we learn to take drugs to fix our quirks and hate what we are because we are different and not what you really wanted. the label of autism has become a demeaning term, used as a blanket term for all those children who are anything "too". too hyper, too focused, too slow, too fast, too introverted, too quirky. you use the term to push us aside, instead of using it to draw us in. we call ourselves aliens because you alienate us.

those amazing people who are able to simply accept another as people don't have as many difficulties with autistics. we need not be handled with kid-gloves. enjoy the diversity.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Inverted Conclusions

I read an unfortunate article in science daily. You can read it here.

They note that autistics think about others and themselves with the part of the brain active when thinking about oneself. This makes sense. Autistics only think about themselves. We don't really have filters so we filter through ourselves. How is this like me. How does it relate. It is all about me because I am the only constant in my world.

However, they somehow screwed it up and decided: This is strong evidence that in the autistic brain, processing information about the self is atypical.

Wait. What? Everything processed through the area that thinks about the self and this proves that autistics don't think about the self?

Doesn't "strong evidence that in the autistic brain, all information is processed as about the self" make more sense? As a friend pointed out: "Everything is through the filter of you, and no one else truly exists. Object permanance can't happen unless you can think of the object not in relation to yourself."

Lombardo added: "Navigating social interactions with others requires keeping track of the relationship between oneself and others. In some social situations it is important to notice that 'I am similar to you', while in other situations it might be important to notice that 'I am different to you'. The atypical way the autistic brain treats self-relevant information as equivalent to information about others could derail a child's social development, particularly in understanding how they relate to the social world around them."

I think the scientists are missing the entire point here. " other situations it might be important to notice that 'I am different to you'." Yes, that is the issue. We don't know the difference between ourselves and you outsiders. This, however, is not because we don't have a sense of ourselves. It is because we do not have a sense of yourselves. It is very hard to understand that you feel differently than I do. I can easily see that you would feel the way I do. I am very good at thinking about myself.

My friend has a low functioning autie son. He thinks about himself just fine. That hurt me. That bothered me. This effects me. If it doesn't effect HIM it doesn't count. We are small children, unable to see beyond our personal little worlds because we haven't developed enough to have a sense of object permanence or empathy. When he speaks quietly, he is unable to realize that Mom didn't hear, because he did hear himself. Saying "I didn't hear you" makes no sense to him. Yes you did hear me, I heard me. There is no difference. She has had to learn to say "I wasn't able to make words out of what I heard" and he can say "I do that often. Mom didn't understand me" and repeat himself.

We don't naturally filter. We don't naturally generalize. Therefore, we are not easily capable of grasping social situations or being trained emotionally. A cause and effect is a cause and effect of that particular thing. It is not now a general rule for all similar situations. So how can we generalize enough to see people as their own selves, not only separate from us but as individual to their own little world as we are to our own!

Honestly, I don't think most humans have really developed well enough to see beyond their own little worlds. They all huddle in the boxes, with blinders on, terrified of the great big world. We huddle in terror, too. The only difference seems to be that we can't filter it out. We don't have blinders, so we rock and hum and try to force the world away by sheer force of will.

And then they say we don't have a sense of ourselves. Maybe it scares them to know we have no sense of you and this suits us fine. It is supposed to make one feel guilty to realize one thinks only of oneself. It doesn't bother autistics as much. We don't have that social training. I learned to accept that everyone is living in their own isolated world so that I can say "well this is true for me but not for you." I don't have any better understanding of your world, but I am now capable of differentiating. It is still totally egocentric and all about me, but it's a starting point.

In any case, this blog started with a point: That study was totally inverted in its conclusions! We have very strong senses of self. Egocentric as hell! We are just lacking a sense of anyone else. Stoopid scientists.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Randomly, I got into a discussion about morals. Right, I was convincing people I'm not evil because I am amoral not immoral. So I tried to think of morals I have and realized I had an ill definition.

So what the hell are morals? Go wiki!

In its first, descriptive usage, morality means a code of conduct or a set of beliefs distinguishing between right and wrong behaviors. In its descriptive use, morals are arbitrarily and subjectively created by society, philosophy, religion, and/or individual conscience."

Arbitrary! That's a good way to make rules for people. We all know autistics, especially, are going to follow rules for the rules sake because that is what good people do. /end sarcasm. Okay. Seriously? Who follows rules without enough logic behind them to make sense?

"The subjectiveness of morality is shown by the observation that actions or beliefs which by themselves do not seem to cause overt harm may be considered immoral, e.g. marrying someone of the same or opposite gender, being an atheist or a theist, etc. Descriptive morality does not explain why any behavior should be considered right or wrong, only that it may be classified so. For the most part right and wrong acts are classified as such because they cause benefit or harm, respectively. However, this is not by any means an all encompassing criterion; it's possible that many moral beliefs are due to prejudice, ignorance or even hatred."

Back to right and wrong concepts. Good and evil. Concepts invented to scare people into bowing to whatever power decides to be bowed to. None of which I believe in. I believe in balance. Well, you can read my little list of things I believe in. Back to morals!

"In its second, normative and universal sense, morality refers to an ideal code of belief and conduct which would be preferred by the sane "moral" person, under specified conditions. In this "definitive" sense, claims are made such as "Killing is immoral." While descriptive morality would not necessarily disagree that killing is immoral, it would prefer to say, "Many believe that killing is immoral." A refined adherence to this latter position is known as moral skepticism, in which the unchanging existence of a rigid, universal, objective moral "truth" is rejected.[1]"

This means morality is more or less a guess of what might or might not be okay to do. That's MY morality! I apparently am a moral skeptic!

"In its third usage, morality is synonymous with ethics. Ethics is the systematic philosophical study of the moral domain.[2] Ethics seeks to address questions such as how a moral outcome can be achieved in a specific situation (applied ethics), how moral values should be determined (normative ethics), what morals people actually abide by (descriptive ethics), what the fundamental nature of ethics or morality is, including whether it has any objective justification (meta-ethics), and how moral capacity or moral agency develops and what its nature is (moral psychology).[3]"

If I can quit laughing enough to type, I will comment on ethics. *hours pass* Seriously... Just reading the definition should convince ANYONE that it isn't real and that morals can only be a personal choice and even then they are only that. A choice.

My favorite thing about ethics is hearing people use the term as though it is a tangible thing. "but that's unethical!" bwahahahaha.

"In applied ethics, for example, the prohibition against taking human life is controversial with respect to capital punishment, euthanasia, abortionand wars of invasion.

In normative ethics, a typical question might be whether a lie told for the sake of protecting someone from harm is justified.

In meta-ethics, a key issue is the meaning of the terms "moral" or "immoral". Moral realism would hold that there are true moral statements which report objective moral facts, whereas moral anti-realism would hold that morality is derived from any one of the norms prevalent in society (cultural relativism); the edicts of a god (divine command theory); is merely an expression of the speakers' sentiments (emotivism); an implied imperative (universal prescriptivism); falsely presupposes that there are objective moral facts (error theory). Some thinkers hold that there is no correct definition of right behavior, that morality can only be judged with respect to particular situations, within the standards of particular belief systems and socio-historical contexts. This position, known as moral relativism, often cites empirical evidence from anthropology as evidence to support its claims.[4] The opposite view, that there are universal, eternal moral truths are known as moral absolutism. Moral absolutists might concede that forces of social conformity significantly shape moral decisions, but deny that cultural norms and customs define morally right behavior."

I am still confused about morals, but that is mostly because people seem to enjoy foisting their morals upon others (even to the point of breaking their morals in their zeal to prove that their morals are the ones meant to be followed. Anyone else wanna bomb an abortion clinic?) and drop their morals as soon as any challenges arise.

Gosh! Being honest is hard! But my morals say lying is bad. Oh! I have a solution. This isn't a real lie. It is a social lie. A white lie. A lie to protect someone's feelings. It's an ethical lie!

So let's see if I have this correct... Morals are codes for conduct. Most people base theirs on religion because people don't naturally have morals. To make society function we force morals upon one another and hope this makes up for the utter lack of personal responsibility that most folk have. Or don't have?

In any case... I thought it through and realized I certainly do have a code of conduct. And after letting my auntie Zilla and another friend read them realized it's a rather sociopathic list. Mostly because it is logic based. No emotions or social bull involved. And that seems to be the definition of sociopath, connotatively. Those who base things on logic rather than let emotions screw them over.

  • don't do anything that gets abi locked up (this is my only social one... avoid arrest. I think jail would be awful boring and then it would be even HARDER to get a job).
  • be kindly towards those people who don't suck (ie those I claim as MINE)
  • accept the consequences of your actions (and conversely if you want a specific consequence do what is necessary to get there)
  • be aware of the damage you do so that you are consciously choosing to harm
  • do everything to the best of your abilities. If it isn't worth doing well, don't do it.
  • enjoy everything to the fullest, wallow in every emotion and then let it pass so you can get to the next one, be open to the awe and wonder of everything that exists... be a child.
  • be mindful. Is mindfulness a code of conduct? It must be. Actively choose everything that you do. Be aware of yourself.
Those are my rules. They apply entirely to me. While I think many people would be as joyous as I tend to be if they followed these rules, I see no reason for anyone else to bother. Most people don't WANT to be joyous! Oh. And it might not work for them, but pshaw on that concept. Anything that is good for me MUST be good for everyone else. This isn't just an autistic concept (although we do rather enjoy going overboard on it) because if it were... no one would foist their ideas on one another.

Perhaps morals are just a matter of trust. We have, as a species, all proven ourselves to be untrustworthy, lacking in personal responsibility, and lacking the ability to think. Based on that, it does make sense someone would try to force those things on us from the outside. Kind of like laws. They are only there because we are not generally responsible enough on our own to not just go around killing one another. So they make it illegal and immoral. Maybe if we are scared enough we will avoid such behavior!

Really? Do you really resist killing me only because you are afraid of hell or jail time? Do you walk down the street thinking "I'd steal that and that and that and that... but oh NOES.. hell and jailtime!" so you resist?

I freely admit there are many people I see each day that I resist physically harming because I don't want to go to jail. Honestly, if we were all allowed to smack them, their behavior would surely improve! So aren't morals harming us as a society, more than helping? Not spanking kids is creating a generation of selfish idiots who can barely read, because telling them they are failing and are stupid and lazy is "mean" and we can't do that!

The truth has become morally wrong. Or, perhaps it always has been. Truth has been anti-social, at the very least, since the first girl asked the first boy if her animal furs made her ass look big. My most anti-social behavior is telling the truth. I am told it makes people uncomfortable, scared, attacked, and many other things. By social mores, I'm a complete asshole. Why? Because I tell the truth. It's horrible of me. But my morals demand it. In fact, isn't it the ninth commandment? Thou shall not bear false witness. Of course, who knows what it originally said. Maybe God was only meaning in the legal sense, at court. He couldn't have meant something silly like never lie.

I think the original most likely said: Thou shalt not lie unless it would hurt someone's feelings, put you in an uncomfortable position, risk your mental and/or emotional and/or physical well being, or in any other way compromise your comforts. They really messed it up in the translation.

In any case, the more that I read about morals, the more I realize it is the biggest farce. It's right up there with religion and democracy. Almost everyone has a moral that says do not lie. And almost as many people take great care to lie often and then invent new morals to excuse this. And these people not only say that morals are important and innate and everyone should follow them, but immediately admit that there are moral dilemmas, times that morals should be ignored, and that morals are very difficult to maintain.

Does that not sound like the biggest pile of crap ever?

Oddly, I find my code of conduct very simple to follow. I suppose this is because the main theme is think things through and do whatever you want. Just be honest to yourself about your reasons. Does this mean I do not have morals, or that I have better morals than most people?

Is moral more connotative or concrete? I think it must be connotative; therefore, I have no morals. I am amoral and that suits me. I do have a rather strict Code of Conduct however, and that suits me, as well.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Trade School!

In attempting to get out of my happy autistic all change is bad rut, I'm going to move to a bigger city and go to trade school (for costuming) and maybe one day have an apartment of my own.

I'll have to share an apartment with some stranger. That part is rather daunting. Of course, so is figuring out school. Costuming isn't going to get me any nice job or anything like that. It's just something I desperately want to learn. And the school is in the middle of several ballroom dance studios and twice as many gyms.

This will get me off my lazy ass and back to working out ten hours a week and working on dance on a regular basis! Since dance is my only real way to emote, this is probably a VERY good thing. It is my favorite form of communication.

So come spring, I'll be figuring out how to move south, find a roommate, and get set up for school. I'm hoping for a grant to cover all of school. We'll see. I'm female and over thirty and that's gotta count for something! Plus I'm Bug Fucking Nuts. That is the official diagnosis in the DMV-whatever. Maybe that'll score me money?

It's very exciting. When the world finishes collapsing, knowing how to draft patterns should come in awful handy. And in the meanwhile I can likely get a couple commissions a year to make costumes for various venues. Belly dance, cosplay... Who knows.

My job might even have an opening that gives me steadier hours and higher pay. It would mean giving up working from home in pajamas and going to an office every day. I am hoping I can cope with this should a job open.

I have four to six months to make sure I have enough saved for this. It will be good. My brain is all growed up and practically ten years old, so I'm sure I'm fully capable of acting like a growed up and doing real person things like renting an apartment and going to trade school. /end sarcasm.

I really do think I can. When one teeters on the edge of a cliff, the best thing to do is shove and see if they sprout wings. So wish me luck on flying. Free fall sucks.

Friday, October 30, 2009

1 in 93?

Let's pretend that you have a childhood disorder that gets a lot of media attention and a lot of funding. You also have a caring and conscientious pediatrician who understands that his patients need more help than funding will allow. So he labels them with this new politically fueled diagnosis to be sure they get the help they need.

This, in turn, inflates the number of children diagnosed and encourages the concept of an "epidemic".

In reality, it is just the result of politics and medicine and people doing their best to get remedial help paid for so that children stand a chance of getting ahead in life.

But, you know, epidemic is fun to say. And it causes panic. And this increases funding. So let's just increase the parameters of the disorder and start diagnosing everyone with it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

my not crazy list

So that I am not crazy, I have devised a list to sort out what is real and what is not. Since I was asked to post it, I have and I'll even explain things!

things that always seem real:

Shadow World
My People
Deep/Intense Emotions
the Dark

*Shadow World and the fae world are the worlds I always see superimposed on this one. Sometimes fae world does not seem real. Shadow world ALWAYS does. Shadow world is, perhaps, another universe that overlays this one. It is sorta like this one, only muggier and more big trees and the people aren't living in cities. It's tribal still. Lots of wars. They pass stuff on through stories and dance and believe in little gods and um. It's just a good place. Sometimes things interact and usually we pass one another like shadows. But they watch me. Sometimes I think I was born there and accidentally traded places with someone here. But I'm not sure. It feels like home.

*My people are any people I can see and connect with enough that I know they are there. Or people I feel close to so while I assume I've invented them, I'm most pleased with the invention and keep them around.

*Pain and deep emotions seem obvious to me, at least... But shallow up high emotions don't usually seem real. They are just quick reactions. So they don't make the real list.

*the Dark is my term for the deepest part of my soul where I drop through all the layers of me until I find my center and my calm.

and in the Dark, things that seem true:

Being an Atom/No Importance

*Um. Not sure what needs explained. Solitude is where we all are, but we can feel affection and get some relief from it. And being an atom is just that. We are a tiny part of all that is and so we don't really matter in the grand scheme which is a HUGE relief to me.

things that never seem real or true, or are only distorted reflections thereof:
the body
stories (memories, books, movies, talking)
passage of time

*distorted reflections of true things... those would be words, interactions, social structure, stories, time, needs, rewards and punishments... I'm sure they are based on reality in some fashion but it comes out all distorted and messed up.

*the one everyone blinks in confusion at is "cement". Yes, cement! It surrounds you and cuts you off and you cannot feel the world and you are trapped and it sucks the life out of everything.

Randomly, and for the record, I find communication a reflection of reality but certain communications feel more real to me. For example, I find that emotions are all best expressed physically. If I am happy I squee and spin and twirl and run and bounce. If I am angry I snarl and stomp and huff and throw things. If I miss you I'm likely to gnaw on you or bite you gently. If I don't want to talk I cover your mouth and turn away. No ambiguity. The confusion is only when words get involved.

So, now I am not crazy cuz I have a list of what's real and I'll carry it with me and when people say "you are crazy", I can pull out my list and say "no I'm not, see??"


Oh! I found out today that "wrong" has LAYERS to most people. Levels. Differences. For me it is really simple. Things are true, reflections of truth, or they're untrue. Things go with the flow of nature and help the universe click together, or they are wrong. I don't understand this "more wrong than something" concept.

It's with or against the natural flow. What else is there to know?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I've meditated since I was a child. Really, flapping and pacing and overstimming is meditation for all autistics. We just happen to meditate kinetically. Still my prefered method, through yoga and dance. I don't often sit still to meditate or say pretty words or any of those fancy things. I just do it. More natural to me than breathing. When I meditate, I don't get my breathe/swallow sequence confused and choke on my own spit.

At some point in high school, I finally read about meditation. It talked about clearing thoughts and finding your center. Since this time, I assumed that when you meditate and clear thoughts that the thoughts should stay clear for days. You bring the clarity back with you. So I figured I sucked at meditation.

Apparently, it is only clear while you concentrate so you feel relaxed and refreshed after, like a nice nap ought to do. Only better because you don't dream.

Why, one might wonder, did I think the clarity should be brought back and last forever? Because that is how I meditate. I drop down to the depths of myself, wrap myself in the dark and comfort there like a warm blanket, and bring the blanket up with me so I can stay wrapped in that comfort all day while I work and do all my stuff. Part of me is always in the meditative state, renewing the blanket, while the rest of me does daily living stuff. When I actually concentrate on it, I find clarity in the dark fire of my soul that I can't find anywhere else, and I feel loved and whole and well.

I got very curious about how other people meditate. I thought I meditated like everyone did. It never occurred to me that there was any other way to meditate. Until I read about it and thought I was doing it all wrong. I tried the "clearing the thoughts" method a bit but gave up on it as something I'd never succeed at and went back to my warm blanket.

I wonder if my method might be closer to the way a buddhist monk would do it. I also wonder if I'd get more answers to my questions if I went to live in a buddhist monastary. I don't find many people who have any clue what I am ever talking about, let alone able to delve even deeper into my questions.

Mostly I wonder why I only feel whole and loved when I'm sinking so deep into myself I can forget the outside world, and I walk in the other worlds I see and feel. (When I say forget, I do mean forget!) What is it about interacting in this world that is so caustic and scratches with sharp angry bristles until you burn and bleed?And it isn't the entire world. I'm fine away from cement and from humans. I'm fine out in nature. I'm fine among my people. It's just surrounded by the human artifacts and human people that I drown in the echoes from their thoughts that are so disjointed against their words that are again so disjointed around their actions.

So I'll just wrap in my warm blanket and keep trying. I'm sure there is some little trick to coping with the outside world if I can just find it.

Hoorah for autism. Let's get rid of filters and just let the world bombard us from every angle! And then try to hold down a job and be a functioning member of society so that we have any hope of survival! WHEEE!

*sinks into the dark*

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Health Care

So my friend posted this to me. I guess it's going around Facebook (that sounds like a flue or something that encourages hand washing). So and so "believes no one should have to chose between food and health care, and no one should have to worry about insurability because of a doctor's diagnosis"


One can always tell something fishy is going on when they see "should". It usually points to unthinking repetition of catch phrases. Just add first person perspective. No thinking needed.

Apparently the health care issue is the big "thing" right now. I don't see why. There's a very simple cure: everyone can just cancel their insurance. Destroy the part causing the biggest issues. Once again, we have created a problem and refuse to do anything to correct it. We're just going to tack things on around it to hide the problem. Bandaids for cancer, anyone?

We vote with our pocket books and no one seems to remember this fact. If you are upset that people put poisonous chemicals in your food via white sugar and processing, don't buy it. If you don't like what insurance has done to health care, don't buy it.

Or, wacky thought, choose good food over health care and quit buying poison that causes most of the ailments that cause you to need a doctor!

I haven't had insurance in a very long time and haven't suffered in any way from this. I put my money into a healthy life style, full of unprocessed, as organic as possible foods.

Of course, I'm a radical. I have no debt. I have no car. I have no desire to drive. I'm working on moving to an area of Colorado where I won't need to borrow rides from friends as often. Silly to not own a car just to bum rides. I'm even fixed, so I can't contribute to the population crisis.

National health care that still involves insurance is going to just be more of the same. Only worse, because they'll take away our right to not be insured. If they're going to force me to put money into a system I want no part of, that's crap.

Although I have long since come to realize that we don't even have rights over our own bodies. It was quite a fight to get fixed. Luckily, my uterus was bad so it was medically allowed. The tried to convince me it was fine, and then when they had no choice but to admit it was broken, they tried to convince me to try hormone therapy. For the few years I had insurance, I used the system to make sure I wouldn't further NEED the system. Truth is, if I haven't the right to end my own life, I know that my body belongs to the state. They are the ones regulating what I can do to it. And if I don't even own my body, what do I own? What is the point in all the "freedoms" we think we have?

Americans are terrified to own themselves and so we give ourselves away like terrified whores, hoping Big Brother will solve all our problems and we won't even have to think. Just tell me what to do, and I'll obey.

This from a country that started out with the revolutionary idea of laissez-faire and as little government as possible. It's sad.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


One reason I don't blog often is because I don't often feel lucid. It's rather difficult to focus down enough to write about autism and studies and things I am studying. I understand it, in my head, but being coherent when trying to explain what I know is a very different story.

I firmly believe that autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder are closely related. Possibly the same disorder that just presents in different ways, depending on the fetus development. They have so many overlaying features, hallucinations and delusions being part of it.

Many autistics I know will tell me they don't have hallucinations, they just have hyperactive senses that display things long after they are no longer seen. So you see things that are not there? No, I see things that used to be there, because my senses don't let go. I fail to distinguish. Ditto for sounds and smells and other sensory input. Autistics are not allowed to have hallucinations. That is for crazy people like schizophrenics. So we will label hallucinations something else, to keep us from being crazy.

I am most certainly autistic and I freely admit, I hallucinate.

Sure, there are all my curiousities about reality. Perhaps I am seeing into another world and it overlays this one and so it isn't a lack of sanity but a surplus of senses. Maybe so. Maybe that conviction is a delusion. In any case, when the other worlds overlay this one so strongly that I have to work hard to keep this world solid enough to function in, I lose a lot of lucidity.

Being rather feral, I am tossed about by the seasons and the moon. My senses register a wider range than NTs and I spend a lot of time being paranoid and wanting to run.

And then I ignore my blog until I am lucid enough to right. Or until I've run off enough extra energy to focus a bit. I walked about four miles under the full moon and can almost think in a straight line. Exercise always helps me focus.

In any case, poor neglected blog. Had to write something. My writing of late is fragmented, not remembering how to use all the words. Verbs and nouns are all speech needs. Feral speak, I consider it. So here are some words.

Perhaps I'll write more about the worlds in my head at some point.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cat Cloak

I asked my niece what I could make for her because her sister requested a Gir hoodie (I need pics of that!). She asked for a medieval cloak that looked like a cat.

So being the indulgent auntie, off I went to find fabric. I got the cloak to her, very oddly, in time for her birthday. I'm more the random gift giver. Prezzies on days don't tend to happen.

In any case, here it is!!

The full view of the cloak. It even has a tail :D

Close up of the hood!

It's so spiffy! Now I want one. ^_^

And it's lined so it will be super warm in the winter. And machine washable. Hoorah!!

And it's genuine cat fur. At least, my cat slept on it every day the fabric was in the house. So there is real cat fur in there. Close enough, neh?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Childlike Joy

I was reading in my yoga journal today about squealing with joy more often, taking a child's delight in the world.

That is certainly one place that autism rocks. We tend to be more childlike with all that developmental delay we've got going. I'm pretty sure that I tend to be about eight years old on the emotional and moral scales. I certainly delight in little things that most adults have become immune to.

Rest assured, the joy is contagious! When I worked at a hospital and ran to watch the sun rise most mornings. My patients got into the act and my co-workers as well. They'd mostly forgotten how pretty and magical sunrise was. How so, when it rises every day? I saw it as a daily reminder of the beauty and magic of life and they got used to it. Well, without filters, I can't get used to it. ^.^

Score one for autism!

I still dance in the rain, squee at shiny objects, collect bird feathers and, in general, make an absolute goober out of myself at everything that catches my interest. Granted that many NTs do as well, it seems to be something easier for autistics because we don't outgrow much.

The downside? Well, I still throw temper tantrums like an eight year old although I've had to learn to suppress most of the screaming and lighting of fires. Sometimes I remember that life isn't fair and have to throw a bit of a fit over it, even though my 32 years of experience already understands this cognitively. It is very odd, sometimes, to have such dissonance between emotional and cognitive understandings! Or, as I usually shout at people who try to explain things to me, "Well I know it in my head, just not my heart!"

Overall, though, it's more than worth it. I wouldn't want to be able to get used to pretty sunsets and lose my fascination with foggy mornings.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Evening Shifts

I am now on an evening shift. 3-10. I love the hours. I can sleep in til a decent hour and still fit in my yoga and dance practice with my friend.

The only negative is figuring out dinner. If dinner is around 7... that means all my weekday meals end up having to be crock pot or precooked. This isn't the end of the world, but I'm still getting my schedule matching to do this.

I am growing, which means hormones, which means my autistic little brain is in short circuit mode. Which means that it is being absurdly difficult for me to wrap my brain around the new shift. It really isn't difficult to cook for but I'm just having issues with it. Hopefully I'll get myself sorted out soon. I have these lovely menus and I have the same days off still. So I ought to be able to do the menu on Thursday, like I have been all year - no change! - and make this work.

I don't know what my issue is with it. Silly brain. Must beat it now.

I managed to have one of my weird seizure episodes without any jaundice!! This is rare indeed and shows that the diet is effective. This is a huge bonus in my life. The entire point of my exceedingly strict, low carb diet is to take the stress off of my liver the rest of the month so that these episodes don't shut it down. Jaundice gets old, fast.

Ooh! I nearly forgot, my low carb ice cream was fairly successful! I made custard (eggs, cream, stevia) and put it in the ice cream maker. Added some chopped bittersweet chocolate towards the end... Needs a little bit of work but I was satisfied. More imporantly, I am confident that a carb-free or very low carb ice cream is possible and quite simple. Hoorah!

It is, of course, as is the rest of my diet, far more expensive than doing it the usual way, but health and good food are worth the extra expense, yes? I figure it is still cheaper than health insurance and medication. I'm getting more stable through good diet and it isn't going to destroy my organs. In fact, it seems to be improving my liver and kidneys. Let's hear it for paying attention to the body!

I'm slowly adding more recipes to my recipezaar site. A cookbook cannot be far behind! So long as by "far behind" you mean "sometimes in the next ten years". If that's the case, I'll be right on time! My Auntie Zilla needs to get me more test recipes! I'll blame her for my lack of cookbook. Ha. It's good to have someone friendly to blame :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

wow! a post!

I haven't written in quite a while because everything keeps changing, and I've been busy trying to deal with it. All change is bad, even when it's good.

I have moved, had a schedule change after several weeks of too few hours, and dealt with friends moving away. Most of the changes have been good, but it's still a strain. I'm still adjusting to my new shift at work, but I love the new shift. It is later in the day so that I have more time for dance and yoga, which means I am better focused all together. I am still trying to get the timing right on cooking so that we all have dinner, but I work 3-10 now so it'll be another week, probably, before I really get into the swing of things. I foresee much crock pot and pre-cooking and freezing.

Speaking of my favorite hobby, I want to learn to make exquisite bento boxes! I'd been doing bento for my roommate for work, but I want to make “kawaii” bento, the cutesy version. Since I can't eat rice, I'll have time to collect supplies while I collect people to cook for. My hours are picking up again so it shouldn't be too hard to afford a few rice moulds and punches for seaweed for decoration. I'll start posting pics here as I make them.

I'd love to be able to send my nieces off to school with proper obnoxiously cute bento, but I live a few hours away. So I'll have to figure something out. Luckily, I have friends in town to experiment on. Bwahahaha. And maybe on weekends when we visit, I can leave a few bentos with my nieces. Since I am planning on more frequent visits, hopefully they'll get lots of bento treats.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Yikes! New Computer!!

I have been needing a new computer for my job since I started my job. They upgraded almost immediately after I started, thus making my system obsolete. I've been saving up to get this since I got my first paycheck. I finally was able to get my new system. 3.01 GHz and 4 GB of RAM. 500 GB memory. So this is fantastic.

Nonetheless, when I got it set up for work I panicked. When they removed my VPN from my laptop I panicked more. And I was nearly in tears getting ready to use my new computer.

Why? Because All Change Is Bad, even when it is good, and when one is expecting it.

Luckily, I found this very amusing. If you can't laugh at yourself, you'll never get the joke! And autistics are funny as hell. Flap flap. New computer! Oh noes!

Despite the fear and panic and flapping, today went very well with the new system. It was wonderful to have less lag and fewer other issues. Life is happier! Which I knew beforehand or I wouldn't have gotten the new system. Which makes the panic that much more amusing.

So now we can all have a good laugh and watch Abi panic at the upcoming changes in her world!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Cleaning!

I actually wax enthusiastic on Spring Cleaning.

I love going through everything and getting rid of stuff I don't need, giving the house a good deep cleaning (I do Autumn Cleaning too), and letting the musty smells of winter escape out open windows with the brisk March winds!!

There is something very satisfying about clean. Most chores aren't necessarily *fun*, but they are definitely worthwhile when I see the results.

Oddly, I actually enjoy dishes (I do them all by hand) and laundry (hanging them out on the line, folding them, making them fit into drawers in happy tetris like efficiency). The other chores I'm certainly willing to do, but it isn't with as much joy.

In "The Miracle of Mindfulness" there is a time when a man is told, "There are two ways to do dishes. You can do dishes to get clean dishes, or you can do dishes to do the dishes."

I definitely do dishes to do the dishes. And laundry to do the laundry. I try to live the philosophy in all the other chores, but some are more difficult than others. Today I did clean out the refrigerator to clean out the refrigerator. It was very relaxing.

In a perfect world, I'd be able to drop work this week and spend it all cleaning and have the entire house spotless. However, I have work. And I have roommates who don't really want me running rampant over their areas of the house. So I have to be content with cleaning my kitchen, the living room, and my bedroom. It is good.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Experimental Food

Happy St Paddy's Day! In celebration of beef sales, I corned my own beef. I cut the sugar and salt in the recipe and added Irish tea. The brine tastes pretty good. Let's hope the results are good too!

For dessert, I started with this recipe, and removed all the sugar. My body's reaction to sugar grows more severe all the time and I cannot even handle agave nectar. I use stevia or nothing. So here is how I did it:

I baked it at 350 for half an hour. Half the batter was cupcake, the other half small bread loaves.

They poofed tremendously! Far more than they had when I'd put agave in. They are also drier, which I was fully expecting. Obviously, further experiment needs done.

I am frosting them with a very simple cream cheese frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 t stevia
  • 1/2 T vanilla
  • 4 oz chopped mint leaves
  • 1/2 bar of 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate (3 oz?) - melted
I frosted the lopsided cupcakes and put a mint leaf on them. They aren't bad. I can eat them. I hope everyone else can. They are very very UNsweet hehehe. The mint is really nice too. But there is only so sweet stevia can get anything. And if I want any, that's the only option. If my body accepts more sugar at some point, I think it would be really good with berries in the frosting to sweeten it!

Luckily, everyone I cook for approves of experimentation so that I can end up with more foods I'm allowed to eat. Having a strict diet is a pain in the ass if you can't cook.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Goodbye Old Friend

My best friend passed away Tuesday. She is one of the most amazing people I've ever known and I will always miss her. To know Darya was to love Darya. I don't know of anyone who felt anything negative toward her. She was just such an open, loving, caring person that everyone felt drawn to her. Even her nurses are going to her memorial.

She was diagnosed with cancer in August of '08 and I've spent every weekend I could since making sure I told her everything that I knew I'd want her to know (I called weekly and anyone who knows my phone aversion may now be shocked). Mostly how much I loved her, but also all the little things. About me and all the things I was hoping for and thinking about. About death and her joys and fears. About her family and how they would cope. We joked about her being so wonderful the gods wanted her back (I told her she wouldn't have gotten cancer if she'd been more of an asshole so the gods would have ignored her). We discussed the things she would learn if there is something after this life, and my envy of that. I'm not sure there was a topic we didn't cover in the last six months. Not that I've ever been shy about telling her anything and everything.

Apparently, I was the only person who was just talking to her like a friend. Most people, it seems, were scared of her dying. Not of her being ill, but of death itself. Death has never bothered me. She was unafraid of death. It's the most natural thing in the world. We're all going to die. I could die walking out my door tomorrow and being hit by a car. The only difference was that she had a more or less time frame for her demise. I think they were mad at her for leaving them, too. As though she chose cancer.

I feel lucky that I knew I had only so much time with her so that I had a chance to tell her how I felt about her and how much I'd miss her. I know I'll cherish all the time we did have together and I can't imagine that I will ever stop missing her. She's one of three people who know me and understand me and love me, that I never feel alien or awkward around, and who I feel real around.

Mourning is all about selfishness. I'll be alone now. I won't have Dar to talk to. I won't be able to do things with her... me me me. But that's not a bad thing. Mourning is important. You have to adjust to someone not being there anymore and learning that you can be okay without them. However, I don't cope well with people getting weepy about her death who never knew her. I think it's weird and invasive. They can't miss her, they didn't know her. I've been told that it reminds people that they will die, and their loved ones will die, and this makes them sad; some people over-empathize, and others just need the drama. If I squint just right, I can make sense out of the empathy.

I am pretty angry about the situation. Not at Darya. At her "friends". It seems to me that most of them expected her to take care of them forever. She was that sort of person; the one that people turn to for comfort and for help. But when it came down to it, those people didn't turn around and give back. I doubt she ever regretted giving, but I know for a fact she felt bad that people didn't give to her.

One of the things we talked about was that no one was willing to pitch in and help her when they thought she was just tired. Once she had Cancer, well that was something real. And scary. So they backed quietly away. I don't understand that at all. I think love means something very different to me than it does to most people. For everyone who said they loved her and cared about her, very few people came through for her when she needed them. Her family was there, despite their fears and grief.

Realizing now that the last year she was probably getting sicker and sicker, it is easy to understand why she was needing more and more help around the house and had so little energy. I tried to get to her house at least a couple times a month to help her catch up laundry and do little chores, cook her dinner... Just be with her and help her out. I didn't know she was sick, but it never matters to me. My people are my people and I will do anything I can to make their lives easier. I thought she was just worn out from raising two kids and having her husband on the road trying to keep food on the table. That seemed like plenty enough reason to me to help her out. Knowing what I do now, I am even more glad I took the time I did to help where I could. It never seemed like much - work took so much energy - but I know it made her happy.

But it is why I won't go to her memorial. I seriously doubt my ability to be polite to her "friends" who are so sad she is gone and wish they'd had more time with her. Where the hell were they the last six months, then? Where were they the six months before when she was getting sick? As far as I can see, they wanted her when they needed something but when she needed them, they had better things to do. But the death is too new for me to make a scene and make it harder on her family (who *were* there for her, so they deserve better).

So here is my memorial to Dar: You are the mother goddess incarnate. You are love and growth and understanding. You are springtime and early summer. You were my balance. You will be missed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New TShirt

I've always wanted to get this shirt, but I hadn't been able to afford it. However, TShirt Hell is going out of business, so I had to grab it before it was gone!

So now I can wear my new shirt with pride, knowing that I rock! And sometimes I flap and bang my head into things! But that doesn't scan as well.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Toxic Diets

There is more talk every day about diet. What is healthful to the body? What foods are toxic? What is the ideal diet?

While I personally think that a lower carb (150-200 grams a day of carbohydrates in any form) is healthful for anyone, I do best on a very low carb diet (45-65 grams a day). I, and many others, have found benefits ranging from weight stabilization to mood stabilization by cutting down carbohydrates. The more I read, though, the more I think that the biggest benefit to low carb is that it naturally cuts down your processed foods.

Most recently is news that high fructose corn syrup is full of mercury (Auntie Zilla's post about it). But that is only the most recent release in a long series of realizations that we are killing our food, and therefore ourselves, with chemicals. All the preservatives and over processing, the cheaper, quicker methods... All they have done is make us sicker for cheaper. This doesn't seem to be a good trade to me.

As more and more people choose organic diets, or at least cut a lot of the processed and refined foods from their diets, the more readily available the healthier choices will be. At the moment, my diet is very expensive. It is all fresh vegetables and (as often as we can afford it) free range organic meats. Usually I settle on cheaper meat because, well, I can afford it! I don't buy much at all in the way of packaged foods. I still buy a few canned goods (organic) and frozen veggies are my friend (too expensive to get organic, unfortunately).

Most people I know eat organic as often as possible and many have allergies to the preservatives and cannot handle refined foods. I am not alone in this by any stretch of the imagination! I know many people with depression and other chemical imbalances who have been greatly helped by a diet rich in fresh foods and lower in carbohydrates - especially white flour and sugar. I know I sure as hell have been. I could not handle my job if I wasn't on such a strict diet.

So why does anyone choose a toxic diet? It isn't easy for any American to be unaware of the dangers in a highly processed pre-packaged diet. I know quite a few people who will say they realize how unhealthy it is and keep eating it! The main reason: healthier diets require knowing how to cook. Plain and simple: if you aren't buying packaged food you are preparing your own food. This is more time consuming and requires more energy.

In order to prepare food, you have to either know recipes or find recipes, prep the food, cook the food... You have more dishes to wash... People aren't taught to really cook anymore. We are taught that we don't have the time and that it is old fashioned. But I think we are going to see more of a return to "old fashioned" in any case.

Because of the financial situation, more people are semi home steading - buying chickens to lay eggs, having small herb and vegetable gardens, cooking from scratch and avoiding fast food... And cooking.

I might be idealistic and silly to think so, but I believe we are going to move away from toxic diets and back to fresh local foods. I see the beginnings of the movement already.

A few healthful links:

Mother Earth News
Elana's Pantry
My recipezaar site (lots of good chefs here, and check out the Once a Month Cooking!)
Dr. Mike's blog
The Heart Scan Blog

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Work is tough!

Now, don't get me wrong... I don't think work is especially enjoyable for anyone. My job is from home. I remote in to do customer service. So I am several steps happier from those working in a call center!

I also read the IMs from everyone I work with (we basically have an IRC server for work - we can ask questions and get help); I know that they are all stressed and bogged down, too.

Yet I still get the vague impression that I struggle a bit more with the "holding it together and not having a meltdown" aspect of our job. I do much better than my coworkers, however, in other areas. The system upgrades that are causing lags don't really phase me. I don't consider a customer is grumpy or excessively angry just because they are panicked or frustrated at their lack of service... So I have fewer upset customers than most people.

So there are pluses and minuses to my way of viewing the world.

I was really worried that I'd struggle a lot more than I have. Working from home is helping immensely, and so is the structure I receive from my best friend. Every day I cook dinner, which is my favorite hobby, so that helps me calm down. I also get a coffee (fresh ground and brewed in my handy espresso maker with real cream) during the last half of my day.

I haven't been blogging the last few weeks because work had me so bogged down and stressed I was afraid I'd whine terribly. The last thing I want my blog to be is a "why it is so so sad to have autism, we poor poor misunderstood creatures". So I had to wait until I'd found my equilibrium again. As my father says, buoyancy is the key to survival.

I keep jigsaw puzzles going at all times. I can put in a few pieces on breaks and lunch and work on them before and after work to help me focus away from my job. It works wonders!

Really, it's the cooking that keeps me going. Good food, lovely smells from the kitchen all day, a wonderful and nutritious dinner (and lunch next day)... Life is good!

All of my energy outside of work is going towards more cooking. I've been renting DVDs from the library about cooking. I've been checking out new cookbooks. I've been studying online. I'm planning a trip to Denver to pick up herbs and spices!

It's all about perspective. If this job allows me more money to cook better food, it has a major positive!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Auties aren't affectionate??

I keep reading and hearing about the surprise felt about someone autistic being affectionate as a child.

Autism is a neurological disorder that affects the way one processes information. Because one is greatly lacking in filters between parts of the brain and from their senses, things are so overwhelming they often pull back into their own world to protect themselves.

In what way does this mean a child would not be affectionate?

My mother, when I told her I was HFA, looked confused and said "but you were so affectionate as a child"... as though that solved that. My father, on the other hand, said "that explains it. All you kids were different, but you were more different than your sibling". *laughs*

As an adult, I am better capable of dealing with things and have learned to articulate. Now only people who spend substantial amounts of time with me, or know autistics, realize that I am. Funny that everyone who has lived with, worked with, or seriously studied autism can pick me out in a matter of minutes though!

And I am, without any doubt, affectionate. If I like someone, I pet them, snuggle into them, stand very close to them, sit practically in (or actually in) their lap... I find it very difficult to be near anyone I like without touching them.

My faerie godson, Max, is a low functioning autistic (or PDDNOS) and he is quite affectionate. Most of my friends who are autistic are affectionate...

I think this stems from when "autism" only meant the extremely low functioning cases where the nerves are so sensitive the child couldn't be touched. But they still snuggled into things of their choosing and banged into walls to get touch. So even then, it was more a lack of insight than a lack of affection.

However, if you assume a child can't be affectionate, are you going to be as likely to give affection? Or to recognize their attempts at affection? I worry that this concpt keeps autistics from learning about affection or getting their needs met.

The broadening of the autistic spectrum has had interesting ramifications for everyone involved. I would not have counted as autistic when I was going to school. Possibly not even a decade ago. However, my brain certainly works in the same filter-free fashion, so it's good that they are learning more.

I have high hopes that "affectionate" won't be considered anti-autistic for much longer. It's a misconception that can be a self fulfilling prophecy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Recipe of the Week

On the suggestion of a friend, I am going to post a recipe each week that is, for me, very autie-friendly. Low carb, preferably organic and unrefined...

This week's recipe is hot and sour soup.

This is a very quick and easy recipe.

You need 2 cups of chicken broth (I use either Better Than Bouillon or Free Range Broth)
1 T minced ginger (fresh, or use 2 t powdered)
1 T minced garlic (or 1 t powdered)
1/4 cup shoyu
2 T rice wine vinegar (start with half the amount and add vinegar to taste)
1 T chili-garlic sauce

Mix all the ingredients and heat to a simmer. Beat an egg in a bowl and add it to the simmering soup. Let it cook for a minute or two. Serve.

You can add scallions or peas or mushrooms or any other veggies you enjoy.

You can buy shoyu (a rich soy sauce), rice wine vinegar, and the chili garlic sauce at most grocery stores. However, you can use any soy sauce and white vinegar if you need.

This usually takes about five minutes to make. You can make it heartier by adding cooked chicken, veggies, or extra egg.