Saturday, December 22, 2012

Been snowed in for several days. Shoveled my way out....van was out of gas! Such is life. :-) In the time I've been snowed in, have finished up all sorts of fiber arts projects, including a second silk/wool scarf just like the first one, started on a present for my daughter (almost done) and spun and then plied two bobbins of yarn, both laceweight. One is merino wool, cranberry/magenta colored + white suri alpaca. The suri looks like lustrous silk noil against the matte wool...or possibly angora rabbit, nice. The other bobbin was a commercial merino/silk blend, 80% merino to 20% bombyx silk. I'd like to get away from using commercial roving and wasn't very happy to be paying for such a low percentage of silk, but the roving is well made and looks like it has more silk than it does.

Anyway, because of the way the weather's messed up the schedule, it's looking like I'll be seeing my kids the week after Xmas. This is OK; it's just another day to me. Also, I'll have a little more time to make/get presents for them.

And...I was receive an email that one of our Friends has passed away. :-( She is (still trying to wrap my head around the reality of her being gone) older, but still very vibrant, lively, full of love and warmth...a wonderful person. I didn't go to see her at the hospital....mostly because life has been so hectic whenever I manage to get into town. I didn't know her as well as I'd have liked to, but still. :-( Cherish and hold the people you love. Let them know what they mean to you and love them as if it's your last day...because life is unpredictable that way. Sigh. :-( I'm no good at this sort of thing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Violence and mental illness: the facts, folks.

Here is a well documented source.

As opposed to the mainstream media.....

The truth is that people with developmental disabilities are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.

Yes, it is a tragedy. It's awful. I haven't looked at any media footage regarding it at all, because it will haunt me for a very long time. I am not in any way downplaying what happened; it's clear that there are simply no words for the horror. But that horror and future events like it are not going to be alleviated by painting an entire segment of society with a broad brush in a color they/we don't deserve. We don't lack empathy and feeling. We do often have a hard time expressing our feelings with our face and body language.

I don't know what was wrong with this guy, but if I had to guess, my guesses would include:

  • An undiagnosed personality disorder or other co-morbid disorder. Co-mormids are very common with autism spectrum disorders. And if, for example, that disorder was anti-social personality disorder, well, that would certainly explain a lot.
  • Medication side effects. I don't think the negative effects of certain meds have received enough attention. Big Pharma will probably see to it that this continues to be the case. Meds can be life-saving, but they need to be monitored and they need to be the right meds for the person and the problem.
  • Misdiagnosis. There's more to being aspie than being a highly intelligent social outcast. He may, for example, have been schizoid. Believe it or not, there are people who are really smart and really fucked up who don't have Asperger's.
  • Other contributing factors. So, let's say he was an aspie, not on any meds at all even though it sounds like he should have been, without anything else wrong with him (highly unlikely). When a dog snaps and starts biting and ravaging everything in sight, people start squealing, "blame the owner, not the breed!". I don't necessarily agree with this, because disposition is in fact hereditary to some extent, as most livestock breeders will tell you. However.....are we seriously giving dogs more credit than people here?? Some dogs and some people can tolerate being abused and mistreated without getting mean. Most will, in fact, even at their own expense, rather than going nuts. Sometimes though, they don't. That doesn't justify it in any way, shape or form, but this should not be discounted as a possibility.
  • The guns. I think it was wildly irresponsible for mom to allow this kid to have access to firearms. It doesn't sound as though he had good coping skills. Guns are a tool and they should be used only as a tool by people who are in a position to use tools responsibly.

Anyway. Not really in a frame of mind to wrap this up concisely. Horrible. :-(

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A brief sensory snapshot of an aspie day....

(Yesterday) Have to go to the doctor's office to reschedule my daughter's appt. My path of travel involves a yield sign even though I can only turn right; it isn't actually an intersection: confusing. Whatever. I pause and check for opposing traffic anyway. The first parking spot I see is on the end. This is great! I won't be hemmed in on both sides by other vehicles, will be able to get out of the parking lot with minimal trouble and vehicular claustrophobia. Oh, and I've been singing rather loudly the entire time (Brandi Carlile). It is annoying to turn the car off before the song's done, but I do it anyway and squelch the impulse to continue singing the song as I exit the car.

The plants that flank the entry to the building are in a state of hibernation, so I don't stop to pet or observe them (lavender is among them) but go right through the three doors. I then find myself in front of the receptionist's window, staring at a clipboard with blacked out names and signatures, remind myself that I don't need to write anything on the clipboard this time.... The receptionist looks expectantly at me with a sort of half smile as I attempt to put into words the two reasons I'm there. It looks like she's making fun of me in her head but I can't tell for certain. The taste of coffee is still lingering around in my mouth and I check to see if maybe some of it is on my face and she's smirking at that, but my outer mouth area is dry, so no. She's still smirking. Why? What? I try to convince myself that she's not smirking at me, and look instead at the carpet beyond her while she's going to check on one of the questions I had. The carpet looks like water with tropical fish swimming through seaweed. It's nice. A nurse's feet and legs move into view, standing on the water. Hmmm. A bit disconcerting. Who decided that standing on water with fish in it would be a good idea for carpet? I don't dislike it, but still, a bit odd. I play with the carpet/water visually for a few seconds. She should sink into it! No wait, it's carpet! OK Jen, you're being weird, stop. An appointment card for my daughter is given to me and the receptionist has to go ask someone something if I'll wait. I realize that I shouldn't continue standing in front of the window, and go sit down, card in hand.

The magazines are horrifically boring. Women's stuff: make the most of your shape! And so on, so I sit down. Absent-mindedly, flick the end of the card against the fingernails of the opposing hand. Down, back. Fffllllllt! Flltttttt. Fffllllllt! Flltttttt. Different sounds for each direction. Varying the speed makes a different sound, as does altering the angle of my fingertips. Oh, that's very nice, very soothing. The room more or less fades away and there's just the wonderful sound of this card. Nice...nice... Jen, you're stimming. I don't care. What if the sound bothers them? It's so nice, how could it? Maybe they like it. Probably they don't hear the change in pitch at all. This is wonderful. Why have I not tried this before in this office? Maybe I didn't have a card. Glance at window: nope, no cards on display. The only way to get one is to have an appointment scheduled before you sit down to wait, that's why. The sound and sensation of the card is so incredibly pleasing that it's a bit of a let down when I'm summoned back to the window to be handed a piece of paper and it's then time to go. She's still smirking. Huh...time to go be responsible and carry out remaining errands....

Friday, December 14, 2012

Feeling better. Sold the scarf...the lady who bought it was so happy! :-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

So...maybe I didn't mention that I've somehow managed to end up running the local chess club. I haven't had any regular chess competition since the chess club at college, so am woefully, embarrassingly out of practice. The only opening I remember without having to look it up is the Guico Piano. A seven year old beat me. That's sad. However, I'm having a lot of fun just having fun playing chess instead of being so invested in winning. This isn't to say that no energy's being invested in regaining some proficiency....

And-->I've found an income source involving handwork. I don't like the finished product- would never have one in my house, in fact, but income is income and this time I don't have to look for buyers, just crank the damned things out whether they're aesthetically pleasing or not.

The crochet spiderlace scarf I've been making out of the pink-brown wool silk blend that I'd talked about spinning some time ago is almost done and the color isn't to my liking at all. Considered dying it to a more reddish brown, which would get rid of all that pink! But then a lady asked to see what I was working on and when I mentioned considering selling it because I just don't like the colors, she said it's beautiful and she'll buy it as soon as I'm done! This is a relief. It will sell for more than the wool/silk roving cost and there will be enough yarn left to make another one as well. Is $45 profit on this a good return? Hmm. I'd like to try another wool/silk blend, the one I should have gotten...blues and purples in BFL wool and Tussah silk. It wasn't as lustrous, but then again, the caterpillars for Tussah silk don't get boiled alive, either. Who cares? I do...moths are really sexy, beautiful, gentle creatures, especially the big, velvety ones...

I had to move the alpacas to a better shelter today. Brought halters, ropes, etc, dressed for a wrestling match in slush...and was dreading the trauma and hassle of catching each one of them and haltering them...alpacas really hate to be touched! They were eying me with suspicion, distrust and fear. So I thought, why not give them a chance to do it another way? I picked up the pan of grain, opened the gate, and the lead 'paca munched on the grain as I moved slowly to the barn and new area, with the other three tagging along behind him! They went right in to the new area, I shut the gate behind them, rewarded them all with a little more grain, and that was that! People have told me that alpacas are stupid and cannot be worked with like goats, that they won't follow me like goats would a person with a can of grain. Alpacas don't mob me for the grain and are more cautious, but I really think people aren't giving them enough credit. If they don't like to be touched, why impose it on them unnecessarily?

Monday, December 10, 2012

The van is doing better without snow tires than I thought it would.

For the rest of know, I am not even sure where to start. :-/

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Reading: Aspergirls by Rudy Simone. This is a fantastic book. I wish that my family and the people I've loved had read it. There are so many "experts" on autism, but the reality is that Asperger's/autism is not something which can be truly understood from the outside looking in. We can be observed like lab rats, our behavior and quirks can be cataloged and analyzed and measured, but the inner process, the way it feels, the way we think, the paths our trains of thought take, the pain, the struggles, the heady pleasure of simple things that others don't appreciate or even notice.....only another spectrumite can really know, describe and understand it. Or to put it another way, so called experts who are not on the spectrum are Emperors wearing their new clothes. Luckily for them, neurotypicals can't see their nakedness and for the most part, the opinion of people on the spectrum seems irrelevant.

Getting back to the topic at hand, this is an informative, problem solving (as opposed to problem labeling and problem pathologizing) book by a woman on the spectrum.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Last night I got stuck in what has become a nearly impassable driveway thanks to someone else driving over it repeatedly until it all turned into soft, slimy mud (the rain didn't help, either...but at least it wasn't snow). Surprisingly, my son and I managed to get it out. Unsurprisingly, I discovered half a mile after leaving the driveway that the muffler had been ripped off in the process of getting stuck/unstuck. By this time, my son was no longer with me and I struggled for some time to tie it back up...unsuccessfully since I couldn't feel anything to tie it to. Besides, it was disconnected on both ends. I was nearly in tears when my friend showed up and helped me with it. Today my son informed me that a tree about a foot in diameter has fallen across the driveway. :-/ Ugh, ugh, ugh....and it isn't snowing yet.....

ETA: Forgot the part about falling waist deep into an abruptly discovered sinkhole of cold water at the edge of the driveway whilst trying to get the vehicle unstuck....

Feeling fairly stimmy today, and actually, for the past couple days. I think the primary difference is that today it's more of the anxious/stressed stimming as opposed to happy/energetic stimming.

Times passes
like wind through the trees
but the substance, the essence, like those trees
That shape, that angle of still bright in my mind
such a sharp, cold and beautiful blue...
like the sky is today.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Books about modern Quakers, Friends who are not necessarily Christians, now appear to be gone from the library. I should have checked them out while they were here. Shrug. It is disheartening, but the Friend's meeting house has a well stocked library on the subject. Meanwhile, the general public will have no books which will inform them that Quakers are nothing like the Amish, nor are we extinct like the Shakers or a brand of Christianity. Probably the person who weeded the books was unaware of these things himself....(griping and grumbling).....
Feeling burned out already. Ugh! I was happy and full of all kinds of creative ideas and I just want to go find some quiet place to be alone and the creative stuff sounds like work. :-(

Saturday, December 01, 2012

These people have Icelandic Leadersheep as well and Leicester Longwools...another breed I had seriously considered. I am still ambivalent about the practice of tail docking; Scandinavian short-tailed breeds don't need to be docked, so this is a non-issue with them. Icelandics are one of the short tailed breeds whereas the Leicesters have to be docked or you have to deal somehow with the dilemma of a long tail and the additional problems caused by that. Also, I love that Icelandics are bred for intelligence, have a fleece that's great for felting as well as many other applications, are hardy, parasite resistant, and can be milked with some success. As well, the lambs have a very mild flavored meat and can be grown out of pasture alone. That's the kind of animal I want. :-)

At any rate, pretty sure I'll be buying from that herd if when I get sheep. They're clearly dedicated to the quality of their lines, use A.I. and have brought imported blood from Iceland. Wait.....I didn't do my scrapie/OPP research....but assuming that panned out well, yeah, that's who I'd like to buy from!