Monday, February 28, 2005

As anyone with half an eye could tell, the tendrils of my mind have been searching out all the different branches of thought and perspectives on autism. I joined first Aspergia and then, tried in vain to jumpstart the local autism support group (mostly because I wnated to meet more of my own kind), tried-even more vainly- to be an advocate for the other autistics at S.L. Start, devoured books (some of which I threw across the room because they'd been written by an ignorant normal with no idea what he was speaking of), signed up for a research study on how autistics think, searched for and read blogs and websites by other aspies and people on the spectrum....the only thing that's been holding me back is that I don't have enough time to pursue it as much as I'd like. More than anything, I've introspected: focused on replaying my childhood in my mind's eye, watching myself, how I felt, what I did, the reasoning, when it was so much more pure and unsullied by the tyranny of the normal world.

Went back and read my old report cards annd school records: "We are working on getting her to speak up so others can hear"...."is well liked but often plays alone on the playground and in the room."....."seems to need a lot of teacher approval and encouragement"..."needs to keep her desk neater". What amazes me are the things that they did NOT write...but I suppose I don't have the time to get into that. All the signs were there.....for those with eyes to see them.

Anyway, I'm getting diverted. If there is one recurring idea that enrages me, it is that autistic people are, by definition, fucked up and need to be fixed, cured, and improved. The notion that any hope for our success in the world is entirely dependent upon our becomign just as nearly 'normal' and 'well adjusted' as we can be. Early diagnosis is pushed emphatically. QUICK!!! Save 'em while you still can! While there's still hope!!! Get therapy!!! I don't know if my son is aspie or not, but I do know this: no therapy. No "fixing". No "cures".

Why can't they see it another way: that an aspie has the potential for genius, more than your average Dick or Jane. That our talents and interests should be observed and encouraged, that these are our gifts and strengths. That our way of thought is valuable, unique, and should be given opportunity to develop. I'm not saying that autistic children should be coddled or babied- quite the reverse! We should be aware of the challenges facing them, but encourage independence as much as possible- REAL independence skills. Education: Waldorf schools, home school or perhaps schools for gifted children. Nearly every aspie I've met yet, online or not, has had huge challenges in school that shut them down or stressed them severely (and I could rant about stupid teachers for a long time, but instead, I have to go to my daughter's school now to deliver something to her).

Friday, February 25, 2005

Ick. I just ate a strawberry (storebought) and it was good until I detected something akin to bleach on it. It was the same with the food I ate this morning, which was boiled in water (city water). The chlorine flavor was positively nauseating. When I bite into pork, I taste/remember the smell of pigpens. I can smell cigarettes long after they've gone up in smoke...not only that they're a cigarette, but to some degree, the quality or type. I work in a deli. I can smell that the bathroom, which is upstairs from us, in a large grocery store, has been fouled. The scent of the new oil, after cleaning the fryer, drives me nuts. I won't even delve into the agony of customers walking by doused with perfume or scent, or worse, a coworker (worse because then I have to smell it all day long).
Okay, so it has reddeming points. I can get almost high off the pleasure of smelling or tasting something I LIKE, such as fruit, flowers, and so on. And I can smell flowers which other people claim are devoid of scent (impending rant....plant breeders are neglecting the scent in favor of flashier gaudier blooms).

Due to three or more coworkers getting sick, I had to work 7 days in a row at the store. The effect was that I had a meltdown the day before yesterday, was a bundle of nerves yesterday, and today I'm beginning to feel more....controlled. Maybe. All five children are here today, and my 4th just stood next to me and asked "May I have some milk?" three or four times, with the cup stuck in my line of vision, before I was able to comprehend what he was saying. He has a habit of saying the same thing, over and over and over, with the same inflection each time.....eventually it gets through.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Geckos: We now have three leopard geckos, given to us by a guy Tim met at the laundromat. I am still getting used to them. There is something about that that is too strongly reminiscent of serpents for me to pick one up yet....but I sit by the tank and watch them undulate around the ample landscape. We planted a large bon-sai type tree in there, and they climb it or lay underneath it.

Goats: I let Reflex, the senior buck, into the main herd and penned up all the doelings who are too young or small to be bred. There is going to be some inbreeding and quite a bit of linebreeding going on....but in all honesty, the other buck, while he's of decent quality, just isn't what Reflex is. Reflex is strongly, heavily linebred on Sodium Oaks Sasin. See his pedigree and inbreeding data here. That pedigree contains Sodium Oaks or Shahena'ko (which is strongly based on Sodium Oaks) almost exclusively if you track it back far enough. He is 20.34% inbred, with 7% of that being Sasin, and next two top contributors are Sasin's sire and dam.

:gasp:!! Inbreeding!!!! Egads!!

Not at all. Careful, judicious inbreeding or linebreeding in animals can procure some of the best animals there are. It gives consistency. The caveats: you MUST cull aniamls that are substandard and you must be careful about mating two animals which exhibit the same negative traits (although this applies also with outcrossing).

What is interesting and makes Reflex so special: many Sasin daughters or progeny highly inbred on him are very hocky, as Sasin himself was. The daughters also tend to have overly large teats (a hazard to the doe- they're likelier to get caught on soemthing and torn or injured). But Reflex just happens to have a very wide, open rear leg set, and so do his daughters, and only one of them so far has had huge teats. Most of all, he's a very consistent buck- his daughters usally come out like peas in a pod. Did I mention that he's always had a very calm, gentle, non-aggressive disposition, and his daughters tend to as well?

I love that buck. I can't wait to have another crop of his daughters hit the ground.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A stinging thought occurs to me, unbidden: if he, who smiled at me, who talked for long hours into the night with me, who stood up for me, who helped me when I was too proud to ask, who I could go to with problems to be solved, who worked with me, played with me, who informed me when I was out of line and unreasonable, out of at least ten people to attempt the task, he was the only one who could teach me to drive....He says that he is not, was not, my friend. That we're only aquaintances. My mind still ponders and puzzles over this, agonizes over it, unwilling to digest it whole....but let's not get stuck on that. Here is what niggles at me now:

If I wasn't his friend, after all that, then what about all these other people who don't know me half as well (if that)??? My head swims with grief for a moment.... It seems to me, logically spekaing, that none of them can be friends. They are all aquaintances.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I am depressed. Working at the job I am doing is very hard. The multi-taskign is driving me crazy. Even worse are the coworkers, who insist on insulting me by saying that I am "normal". Shut up!!!! I'm NOT normal. I've never been normal. Tellign me that I am does NOTHING for me, other than to deprive me of any valid reason for being the way I am. When you believe I am normal, you are telling me that I can change the way I am, that I have been this way by choice my entire life....and that's a fucking lie. I can't change that I cringe at sounds and textures and the sudden appearance of people when I haven't been expecting them. That "teamwork" is nearly impossible for me, that what it means to me is to find some task that needs to be done and that I can do all by myself while they all do something else. Etc etc etc...

I don't understand why my diagnosis should be threatening to them. Why are THEY so invested in my being normal? I'm happy the way I am. Well, about as happy as I can be after being warped and castigated by the normal world for not fitting into their narrow little mindset. After everything the "normal" world has done to me, do I want to be one of them? I think NOT...

See, I think that there is a need for us and a place for us in the world. The problem is that they don't recognize that unless and until we do something impressive, and most of us get so battered down that we never even come close to realizing a frgament of our potential.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Regarding Mortality

From the July 2003 issue of Discover magazine:
  • From birth- 44 years, accidents are the leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Included under the definition of accident:unintentional injuries, motor vehicle accidents, and medical errors.
  • More people die due to medical errors than from breast cancer, car wrecks, or AIDS.
  • Pretty scary thought, eh? We have pink ribbons and mammogram advisories, AIDS education, benefits, research, and so on, and mothers against drunk driving, but no (well, none to my knowledge) organized attempt by the [public at large to curb goof-ups on the part of our doctors.
  • In fact, I think it's safe to say that most of us trust our doctors implicitly. If we DO dare to question our doctor's judgement, we can expect to be shot down with a cold stare or an arrogant answer.
  • Yet, from reading non-fictional accounts written by interns, residents, and medical doctors, it's quite clear that they're all too aware of their own shortcomings. Therefore, it strikes me as a bit odd that some/many of them will hardly let you get a word in edgewise, even if it's information that they might need to take into consideration in order to make an educated decision.

Moving Along Here.....
  • Congenital defects strike us down in a noticeable way until we hit, say 24 and older. Perhaps it actually makes a good bit of sense to marry late, thereby ensuring longevity for your offspring.
  • The real MONSTER is heart disease, the leading cause of death of all Americans, 29.6% of us. One in four...almost one in three.
  • In women aged 25 or older, heart disease kills more of us than breast cancer or stroke combined.
  • Even in your youth, ages 15-24 (both genders) it's still the fifth leading cause of death.
  • After 75, it's #1.
  • Cancer's another ugly one, just second to heart disease at 23% of all deaths.
More on this later.......

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Spring is coming. I feel it in the pores of my skin, I smell it, so faintly, in the air. I sense it strongly. Most of my goats aren't bred.... Time to plant... I have to find a place....and yet, I don't want to hurry that TOO much; after all, this is a place where I'll be for at least a good chunk of our life... At any rate, I hate contacting people...realtors, landowners, etc. I think the only time where I actively contacted total strangers and was happy about it was when I was calling everyone I could think of, or who was referred to me, about the Sodium Oaks herd (dairy goats). I can't believe that didn't bother me: "Hello, you don't know me, but I heard that you knew something about Sodium Oaks!"

This is one area of aspiness that has always handicapped me: my aversion to making phone calls could almost have been classified as phobic at times. I also actively avoid all sorts of paperwork: bills, even when I have plenty of money, paying rent, all sorts of trivial but important things that involve interacting with a person. I'll avoid them, and then it winds up hurting me.

Case in point: hospital bill- the hospital has called for me twice. I owe them. I can't pay it. I'm scared. What I should do is to call them back, tell them I can't afford it, and set up a payment plan. That is why they called. If I don't do th is, they're going send that bill to a collection agency. I've been telling myself this for the past week or so. I still haven't worked up the nerve to call them. I'm in absolute dread of it. There are a number of other similar medical bills like that.

Again: Paying rent- it's due today. I don't have the money. If I call the landlord, he won't charge me a late fee if I pay it on the 4th, when I get paid. IF my check covers it. I'm afraid to call him. I don't want to, I keep avoiding it.

What I need is to hire someone to handle all this stuff for me, all the bills, and the business phone calls, and....maybe other stuff too. This stuff stresses me so much that it's unreal...