2.27.2004

The Day We've Been Fearing Has Arrived

Two fearsome days, actually. Both about Iz.

One: I dropped off her Kindergarten reg. forms this A.M. If there's to be any up/down shuffling, we can address it later. For the six to eight weeks until we hear whether or not she got into Esperanza (the Spanish immersion public school), my job is done.

Two: Iz asked Seymour why we always stop what we're doing with her to go pay attention to Leelo. That cracking sound you hear is my husband's heart breaking.

Off to Fricking Phoenix for my brother's girlfriend's baby shower. No, I haven't bought a gift or packed yet. Back Monday.

2.26.2004

Rrrraspberries!

(If there exists a more vile cinematic vision than Carol Channing in Thoroughly Modern Millie, I don't want to know about it.)

There is a reason we store Leelo's carefully rationed dried raspberries on top of the refrigerator. I left them on the counter for a few minutes yesterday, looked the other way, and Wham! He had the entire bag on the floor, somehow undid the wire twisty-tie (uh, doesn't he have fine-motor issues?) and was gorging on raspberries like Augustus Gloop slurping chocolate from the River Wonka. Dammit.

We're trying to keep his raspberry intake down because they seem to be a nuttiness trigger. Wow, maybe we can try the Feingold Diet next! Except it would be a major problem as our boy has for some reason started rejecting all foods except rice bread toast with almond or cashew butter, Whole Foods veggie chips, rice milk withOUT supplements, and raspberries. He's not pleased about his limited diet, either, and sometimes starts sobbing when he sees us eating something we're obviously enjoying. We are going to renew efforts to broaden his diet after we return from our weekend trip to Phoenix.

He has been having more of this heart-wrenching sobbing lately. I am done with wondering which supplement or diet change is causing what, but do need to note that he's not had K/Mag Aspartate for two weeks (ran out, only available through Dr. P and that's a fricking haul) nor DGST-P for one (also ran out, also solely supplied by Dr. P). The hopeful part of me thinks that it's indicative of a more developed emotional sense: he does it when he's denied, and he does it when Iz gets upset. A friend with an autistic nephew suggested that it might be delayed terrible twos, as his denial sadness is often accompanied by a big wailing "Nooooooooo!"

Nevertheless, our boy had lots of great language this past weekend. Really great. He's been greeting everyone by name, mostly without prompts, even those he sees only once or twice a month. He recognized the Dr. Seuss logo on his new Green Eggs and Ham book, in that when I asked him if he wanted to read GE & H, he said "Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs & Ham." I didn't tell him that. He's been asking for lots of things with big long sentences, such as "I want Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper!" Therapist T, who started yesterday, was impressed by his use of complete phrases. His crazies have been minimal, though he was a bit remote today. Yesterday when Iz came home, he gave her five minutes of attack hugs. He also attacked poor Scabby the Cat, pulling her off our ottoman because he wanted to be there. It's all interaction, right?

But there is still lots of suckiness. His chattering and singing is ongoing. It is loopy and town-idiot-like. Not mellow, and not the kind of behavior that will allow him to "pass" in public. All this language that we crow about is stilted and formal. You can ask him "Do you want to read The Ear Book?" and he will say yes, but if you hold up two books and ask him which one he wants to read, he will stare at you blankly. Bed time is back to sucking, big time. No matter how tired he is, one of us must man his bedroom door for at least an hour each night (it's not so bad as it's adjacent to this terminal, but still) as he becomes Crazy Room Trashing Boy the moment after you turn off the lights and tell him good night.

I worry that he's developing as many autistic symptoms as he's overcoming. Worry worry worry.

Some related good news on that front is that the Stanfford PDD/Autism Clinic called yesterday to say that they had a cancellation for next week, and did we want the appointment? Hell yes! It is a long evaluation--several hours over two days--and will at least quantify our worries into convenient categories. I hope and pray that Leelo will be having a reasonably good day--he was sick and completely non-compliant during his exit interview with the Regional Center in November.

Additional good news on the ABA program front. Supervisors M and Andil went to the local ABA conference last weekend. One of the presentations they attended was led by local autism biggywig Brina Seagull, who described an idealized integrated ABA therapy program incorporating approaches beyond pure discrete trials. Our two supervisors sat in the audience with deservedly smug grins, because Ms. Seagull was describing our Leelo's very program.

Which had a big change this week. Therapist F is already in Australia, and, as noted, Therapist T started yesterday. She is awesome. Therapist L is even more awesome in training her. These people are so amazing; it takes my last ounce of effort not to shower them with gold or adorn them with scented jewels after every session. Please stay, please keep making my boy better, and don't ever leave!

A Thought or Two

If someone says your use of your own damn mug for to-go coffee is a real "Earth First" approach, and you joke about having given up tree spiking now that you've got kids, perhaps it would have been better to ascertain first that the said someone didn't come from a displaced Oregon logging family.

If a friend commends the politeness of your children, and you joke that "Yes, the beatings are finally working," perhaps it would have been better to ascertain first whether or not your friend had an abusive childhood.

Just a couple of thoughts.

(On review, a couple of really wordy thoughts. Elmore Leonard, I apologize.)

2.25.2004

"I'm Sure Gays Are Nice People, But..."

I think a lot of people support Bushwad's proposed constitutional amendment in theory, largely because they have never known any families parented by same-sex couples and therefore think they're all freaks.

If you know some of these otherwise well-meaning dilweeds, have them read the letter below. It was passed on by the mom of one of Iz's Sunday School friends. It might as well have been written by that mom.

An Open Letter To The President From UU Rev. Meg Riley

February 24, 2004

Dear Mr. President,

This morning you felt compelled to introduce an amendment to the Constitution of the United States defining marriage as existing only between one man and one woman.

You say that this will create "clarity." I would like you to share this clarity with my first grade daughter on her school playground, when the children, imitating their role models as they always do, will take up the issue. Because I dread those conversations with every fiber of my being.

Challenged by another child, my daughter will declare forthrightly that of course her two moms are married. After all, we have wedding photos in our home, as any couple does. They show her two moms, fifteen years ago, in front of our Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Smiling, with many of our friends and family members around us...


Read More>>

2.24.2004

Anemic Humor

***boys, leave the room now***

I was supposed to go in for an ultrasound tomorrow, to figure out why my monthly express has switched tracks and become the crazy train. So of course, whoo whoo! Guess who came into the station a full five days early? Grrrrr.

I am definitely ready to find out what the fark is going on with my body. Seymour is probably readier than I to find out if there's a way to deactivate my unpredictable insta-psycho-bitch button.

Because I am a hypochondriac worrywort, I think it's ovarian cancer, PCOS, or yet another undiagnosed and statistically almost impossible tubal pregnancy. It will probably end up being the same quotidian, painful, draining thing that plagued my mom and her mom too. I will not follow their path, though--they put up with it for years and were chronically anemic and ended up having their wombs torn from their bodies (albeit surgically).

Two weeks and we'll see. I have definitely been reading too many Thomas stories.

My Genes Have Been Spliced

But I don't think I'm going to take over the world today. Foiled yet again, this time by a stupid fucking broken labelmaker ribbon cassette. How could such a inoffensive, non-critical item derail my march toward global hegemony? Well, here's the thing. If I can't label my files legibly, then they'll be unusable. I will not be able to organize the five-year backlog of critical documents hiding in various piles throughout the office. Said office will remain a morass. I will remain depressed, demoralized, disorganized, and dis-, uh, useful. My plans will remain sketchy and unfocused, and Bushwad will remain on the throne. All because of a broken ribbon.

Anyhow, here's what's been going on lately.

First of all, thanks to Wampum for the daily critical reminders. The last two oh yeah, duh! zingers are 1) Thimerasol's continuing inclusion in Rhogam (I'm Rh negative), and 2) that there's never been any Thimerasol in the MMR vaccine since it contains live bugs. I can't always keep the details sorted, and am very grateful to those who can.

Last week's therapist hiring process was a cuthroat circus. We lost two candidates to other families before we'd even finished our week of interviews. One of them cancelled right before the interview, via email--rude! We were upstairs wondering why she was late. But we got a lot of intriguing information from her very kind and chatty reference so her candidacy was not a total wash.

This woman, Betty, has her five-year-old autistic son following Dr. Michael Goldberg's NIDS protocol. Dr. Goldberg believes that the autism epidemic is largely caused by virally-induced autoimmune disorders. From what I gathered, he has a three-pronged attack of anti-fungals, anti-virals, and low-dose anti-depressants. He is DAN- and chelation-skeptical. It merits further research. I'd heard little about it before.

Of course, Betty's son has been on a strict ABA program since just before he turned three.

Betty said they had tried the DAN route and weren't convinced, plus their DAN doctor was a disorganized fuckwad who charged several hundred dollars per hour for consultations. Betty remains uneasy about the anti-depressants, but her son's brain scan revealed multiple areas with no blood flow, and Dr. Goldberg told her the anti-depressants would help, so they put the boy on them. She said subsequent scans showed the areas disappearing due to increased blood flow. She also reports that previous to anti-depressants, her boy had no sense of self-preservation (typical autism trait) and now has a very strong one. I don't think this can be entirely explained by ABA.

She recommended the book Children With Starving Brains (which we have, in our stack of to-read materials), as Dr. Goldberg is cited in there. Rah, more reading!

Speaking of which, I got a double-kick out of a "reading party" that Iz and I had during Leelo's occupational therapy session this afternoon. Iz read Little Red Riding Hood out loud, at a volume that was not disturbing but which certainly caught the ear of an also-waiting proven snob mom with a same-aged non-reading child. (Take that and shove it up the asses of the parents at your sooo-wonderful school, bitch!) I was slyly reading some really excellent fantasy smut--made even more titillating given the shiny happy dancing bunnies and ducks gaping at me from all four walls.

My folks were kind enough to sit on the kids while Seymour and I stole out to a late movie Saturday night. The only thing not totally offensive was Cold Mountain, which was loooooong but okay. I liked the idea of a stupid useless decorative chick becoming a wily useful skilled woman, but two things made my teeth grind all night: 1) Horrific mass and individual battle scenes coupled with the complete devaluation of humanity (I cherish and am grateful for my suburban bubble and never pretend I'm not), and 2) for fuck's sake, it IS possible to tell a tale about a long harrowing journey without bellowing out references to the Odyssey. Jeez. People, make up your own damn stories!

This is getting long and rambly. I'll start a new entry.

Le Urp?

Twelve years ago, Seymour and I did the broken-down-goat-bus tour of Mali's Dogon region. We became friends with our guide, Tombou, despite the twin barriers of my low-rent pidgin French and his sketchy tourist-gleaned English. Ever since, Tombou and I have corresponded in French as best we can, more frequently now that he has email. Usually I have a vague idea of what he's saying, e.g., "I hope you are well and can you send me some size 40 Teva sandals," but today's is a stumper. I can't tell if he's saying that friendship is more important than money, or that he's mad at me and wants money now, dammit (which would be odd). Anyone have a clue?

hi squid je te fait ce message pour te dire jesuis
fache avec toi parceque je ne pas tourve mon carte de
bonne annee parce que je demende beucoup d'argent avec
vous pour nous l'argent ce pas inportant mais
l'amitiesmerci je salutles enfants es ton marie Seymour
Tombou

2.22.2004

Not Big on the Blog

Hey Folks, not much in a blogging mood today, so I'll leave you with today's biggest fucking found laugh ever. Possibly not work safe, if your workplace really sucks. Thanks, Eros Blog!

2.21.2004

Ha ha hahahahaha...

You might need to be a Salon member to laugh as hard as I did.

Iz Returns Today!

My parents are driving our girl back to us from San Diego as I type. They'll be here in two hours.

I do miss her, but Seymour and I have had a really fabulous, quiet, mellow week with the boy. It would have been more pleasant without therapist interviews all night every night, but hey.

We will now resume living at top volume.

2.20.2004

Rah! Rah! Rah!

Rah for us! The therapist candidate who works for the Stanfford PDD/Autism clinic is going to be our substitute therapist!

Rah for Leelo! He had some amazing language amidst the crazies today. When Seymour got home from work, the boy couldn't stop exclaming "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" and then said "I want Daddy" and demanded to be picked up and hugged, then demanded "kiss." Woo! Also later he worked really hard at some descriptive language:

"I want water"
Squid: "Leelo, you have water"
"I want BLUE water"
Squid: urp? "You have water."
"I want...rice milk!" (Rice Dream comes in a blue box.) Go Leelo!

Rah for Seymour! I have had two sidecars and a Bailey's latte. Someone's getting lucky tonight.

Flying The Yellow Flag

Leelo got invited to a playgroup today, held by some of the typical kids from his former preschool.

There's no fucking way I was going to let him go.

Cowardice? Sure. Leelo would have had a great time. He is in a manic phase, and so would have spent his time happily yelling, running, and knocking things over. He would have been oblivious to the widening developmental gap between himself and the other children. He may have engaged and responded to the other parents a bit, but certainly not enough to ward off their palpable waves of pity and discomfort. Fuck that shit. Maybe I'll see them in two years. Sorry, Leelo.

Since I am so grumpy, I'm going to have to ask the rest of you to please think happy, implanting, nurturing thoughts for one of my favorite bloggers, getupgrrrl. In today's episode, she got put on absolute bedrest. I would surrogate for her (or, indeed, for any of my friends) in a second, but after Leelo I'm certain that no one would want to risk using me as an incubator.

2.19.2004

Good Enough

Office is clean enough that I can now get work done, but pictures wouldn't do it justice. Suffice it to say that you can see the top of the desk, the bed, and the floor, and open the door completely. I found and renewed the driver's license. Sadly, the unearthed checks add up to only 10% of what was expected.

2.18.2004

Last Resort

I can't find a fricking thing in our office/guest room (where I am stuck downstairs for several hours each day). It is slovenly enough to depress me at a core level, which makes me incapable of doing much other than piling crap on top of existing crap. I can't summon up the energy to clean it by any regular means, so I am going to resort to humiliating myself via the pictures below.

When I am done cleaning it, I will be allowed to resume using the computer, and will post pictures proving I have achieved my goal. I am also hoping to find things such as the drivers license renewal that was due in, oh, October, and perhaps Badger's check for ONE MILLION DOLLARS.









Response

I solicited a response to the letter in the entry Let's Get That Blogging Love... from a friend of my mother's. She is an amazing woman, a model for all us lefties--on fire and working for real change since before I was born. I didn't tell her that the original email was passed on by my mom. BTW, there are a lot of additional good responses (including this one) in the comments section of the original post.

Dear Squid:

It has always amazed me how much some people hate the Clintons. I didn't like Reagan's policies very much and most Democrats didn't but I don't remember such venom. I don't feel qualified to respond to every point but these are a few of my comments.

1) Unfortunately, many presidents had mistresses and extra-marital affairs, going way back but they were not discussed and many of our recent presidents were protected by the media. I'm thinking of Roosevelt and Eisenhower, for example. (Probably Nixon, Carter, Ford, and Truman did not.) I would not defend their actions, nor say it is right to do so; I would say look at the whole picture and their contributions versus their weaknesses when determining their place in history. Clinton did many good things: appointed more women and minorities to government positions, expanded health care, issued more environmental protections, expanded national parks, moved to alleviate poverty, balanced the budget, reduced the deficit, expanded employment. I would say that reducing the military is a good thing. It frees more money for health and human services and forces us to rely upon diplomacy rather than military might.

3) not OK.

4) The impeachment was overkill and hypocritical. The chair of the House Judiciary committee (Hyde) which investigated Clinton and several of its members were themselves having extra-marital affairs. It was merely an attempt to get rid of Clinton and I don't believe it was an impeachable offense. We would have impeached Washington and Jefferson and many others if held to the same standard.
Wag the Dog efforts were also not limited to Clinton. Many people believe that George W. Bush invaded Iraq to divert attention from domestic economic failures.

6) Again, the Democrats have no monopoly on campaign fund-raising irregularities, which does not make it right. We have so far been unsuccessful in passing really good campaign finance legislation because all congress people benefit from the situation as-is. They always seem to find loopholes. I give credit to Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold for their attempts to make politicians honest.

8) I believe in military reduction. We are the largest producers and sellers of military weapons in the world, producing more than the next 10 producing countries combined. In addition we should stop selling to all these third world countries. All of us should be spending more on health care, education, housing, etc. Costa Rica, which disbanded its military, is a great example for the world.

Vacations, what about Cheney's duck hunting expeditions? Should the taxpayers be paying for these as well?

9) Again, the Clintons have no monopoly on globe-trotting. History will record whether it was beneficial or not. Clinton did have some success in mediating the conflict in northern Ireland altho' he was unsuccessful in Israel/Palestine. Nixon's trip to China was certainly a good thing. What about Reagan's trip to Japan where he was paid megabucks and traveled courtesy of the US taxpayer?

10) Yes, probably too many pardons too quickly without thorough investigations.

13) They wouldn't receive those advances if people didn't want to read their books. A good many presidents have written books and have been paid well.

Double dipping pensions are wrong and should be corrected. Politicians should feel guilty for accepting the kind of health care the rest of the country yearns for.

This deserves a more thorough response but this is what I have time for today and what I believe. Do you want me to research any of these more thoroughly? How are you and your family? We had a good time with your parents and brothers Saturday night.

Love, S

Yummy!

Who says you can't eat well without gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, legumes, corn, chocolate, meat, and citrus? Not my family. I just sent this recipe to Rachel, and since I am the laziest typist in the world I'm just going to post it here too. Now Ep can make Groundnut Stew whenever she wants to!

GROUNDNUT STEW
One of my favorite recipes is from Sundays at Moosewood, and is their recipe for West African Groundnut Stew. I have made it for my daughter's preschool several times, and most kids just love it. It's one of the recipes I lob at people who are skeptical about vegan diets (not that I'm on one, but to claim that you can't eat well within vegan guidelines is just silly).

Here it is from memory, which is close but not exact (I can't go upstairs when my son is in therapy sessions, that's where the cookbook is, and if I don't respond to you now I never will). It looks complicated, but once you've made it and have the routine down it's quite easy.

2 tbsp cooking oil of choice
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
1 sweet potato (yams are okay too) peeled and cubed into 1/2-3/4" cubes
1/4 of a cabbage, chopped
3 cups tomato juice
1 cup apple or apricot juice
5 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened unsalted smooth peanut or almond butter

-Cook onions in oil over med-hi heat until translucent (about 10 minutes). (this is when I chop cabbage/sweet potatoes)
-Add garlic and cayenne, sautee another minute
-Add cabbage and sweet potato, stir to mix/coat, put lid on, turn heat to medium, and let steam for ~15 minutes, stirring occasionally (this is when I get the next five ingredients ready)
-Add juices, salt, ginger, and cilantro. Put lid back on, turn heat to med-hi, and let cook for ~10 minutes.
-Stir in peanut butter until mostly incorporated. Turn heat to lowest setting and let cook for ~30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes and cabbage are tender.

You can serve it with rice, or (more authentically and more fun for kids) with pounded rice balls.

RICE BALLS
-Add 1.5 times the recommended amount of water to your rice and cook it until the water's gone (or, until the rice cooker bell rings).
-Take the lid off, so the rice can cool down to a touchable temperature (mix it a few times to help)
-Pound it with a potato masher until it's formable (it does not have to be remotely smooth)
-OIL YOUR HANDS WELL
-Shape the rice into little balls, whatever size you like

Yum!

2.17.2004

Leelo Language

Our boy has figured out that he can ask for things not in his view. All this language is unprecedented stuff for our boy, though it might be dull reading:

Leelo on learning that we were picking up Ep but not Clyde:
"I want to play with Clyde!"

Leelo on remembering that he has a pair of favorite books that he hasn't thought about for weeks:
"I want book!"
Squid: "Which book?"
"I want All About Baby!" (Mommy dutifully goes and retrieves it from shelf)
Leelo: "I want Good Morning Baby!" (the companion to AAB)
Squid (to self) "Holy shit." (retrieves second book from shelf)

"Take off diaper," "climb ladder," answering "I don't know" to questions...I have to record it so I don't forget or take it for granted. Each new phrase is hard-earned, hard-won, and cherished.

Tonight's Therapist candidate was ideal: She is an experienced ABA therapist, is getting her doctorate and so has a relatively flexible schedule, works at the Stanfford Autism/PDD clinic helping conduct diagnoses, and is a tall, gorgeous redhead like Therapist F (Seymour afterwards: "Is there some sort of babe requirement to be an ABA therapist?"). Plus she's happy with the rate we offered. But we have four more interviews. Maybe the next one will be Catherine Maurice!

Aww, Shit

Total Cholesterol: 234
HDL: 49
LDL: 165

Well now. The total cholesterol is borderline, and the HDL levels are actually very good. But the LDL levels are very, very, very bad. As in:

"Low density lipoproteins, also known as LDLs, are considered to be the "bad cholesterol". This type of lipoprotein circulates from the liver to other organs and tissues in the body, carrying cholesterol where it is needed. This type of cholesterol tends to linger and has been connected with various types of heart disease, including atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, and coronary heart disease.

The American College of Cardiology recommends that LDL levels should not exceed more than 100 mg/dL. Levels between 130 mg/dL and 159 mg/dL are considered to be borderline for high cholesterol, and levels above 159 mg/dL are considered high. Ignoring these high levels could place you at a high risk for heart disease
."


(Info above extracted from About.com.)

My doctor says no meds as of yet. I've got a year to get my ass in gear via diet and exercise. There you go.

Let's Get That Blogging Love Working For Us

I just got the email below from my mom. After I stopped hissing and spitting at the screen and then freaking out because she's got Iz with her for a week and worrying what the hell is she going to be telling my girl without me there to balance it (last time she was unloading the anti-gay material, so even though Iz has friends with same-sex parent,s she loves her grandma more and wavered towards the It's Just Wrong view of things when she returned--specifically my mom told Iz that if our girl married another girl, she wouldn't go to her wedding--yeah, that's the kind of guilt you want to douse a four-year-old with.)

Anyhow. I am pissed as all fuck, and so completely incoherent and need your help. If you respond to the email below (point-by-point would be helpful) I will repost it with your comments embedded. Also I will send the revised version to my mom after she safely drops Iz back with me on Saturday. AIIIIIGH.

This would seem not really all that relevant to us today until you get to #14. Then chills go down the spine.

Dear Mr. Ex President Clinton:

I recently saw a bumper sticker that said, "Thank me, I voted for Clinton-Gore." So, I sat down and reflected on that, and I am sending my "Thank you" for what you have done, specifically:

1. Thank you for introducing us to Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, Dolly Kyle Browning, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broderick. Did I leave anyone out?

2. Thank you for teaching my 8 year old about oral sex. I had really planned to wait until they were older to discuss it with them, but now they know more about it than I did as a senior in college.

3. Thank you for showing us that sexual harassment in the work place (especially the White House) and on the job is OK, and all you have to know is what the meaning of "is" is. It really is great to know that certain sexual acts are not sex, and one person may have sex while the other one involved does NOT have sex.

4. Thank you for reintroducing the concept of impeachment to a new generation and demonstrating that the ridiculous plot of the movie, "Wag the Dog" could be plausible after all.

5. Thanks for making Jimmy Carter look competent, Gerald Ford look graceful, Richard Nixon look honest, Lyndon Johnson look truthful, and John Kennedy look moral.

6. Thank you for the 73 House and Senate witnesses who have pled the 5th Amendment and 17 witnesses who have fled the country to avoid testifying about Democratic campaign fund raising.

7. Thank you, for the 19 charges, 8 convictions, and 4 imprisonment's from the Whitewater "mess" and the 55 criminal charges and 32 criminal convictions (so far) in the other "Clinton" scandals.

8. Thanks also for reducing our military by half, "gutting" much of our foreign policy, and flying all over the world on "vacations" carefully disguised as necessary trips.

9. Thank you, also, for "finding" millions of dollars--- I really didn't need it in the first place, and I can't think of a more well deserving group of recipients for my hard-earned dollar than jet fuel for all of your globe-trotting. I understand you, your family and your cronies have logged in more time aboard Air Force One than any other administration.

10. Now that you've left the White House, thanks for the 140 pardons of convicted felons and indicted felons-in-exile. We will love to have them rejoin society.

11. T! hanks also for removing the White House silverware. I'm sure that Laura Bush didn't like the pattern anyway. Also, enjoy the housewarming gifts you've received from your "friends."

12. Thanks to you and your staff in the West Wing of the White House for vandalizing and destroying government property on the way out. I also appreciate removing all of that excess weight (China, silverware, linen, towels, ash trays, soap, pens, magnetic compass, flight manuals, etc) out of Air Force 1. The weight savings means burning less fuel, thus less tax dollars spent on jet fuel. Thank you!

13. And, please ensure that Hillary enjoys the $8 million dollar advance for her upcoming "tell-all" book and you, Bill, the $10 million advance for your memoirs. Who says crime doesn't pay?

14. The last and most important point - thank you for forcing Israel to let Mohammed Atta go free. Terrorist pilot Mohammed Atta blew up a bus in ! Israel in 1986. The Israelis captured, tried and imprisoned him. As part of the Oslo agreement with the Palestinians in 1993, Israel had to agree to release so-called "political prisoners". However, the Israelis would not release any with blood on their hands. The American President at the time, Bill Clinton, and his Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, "insisted" that all prisoners be released. Thus Mohammed Atta was freed and eventually thanked the US by flying an airplane into Tower One of the World Trade Center. This was reported by many of the American TV networks at the time that the terrorists were first identified. It was censored in the US from all later reports. Why shouldn't Americans know the real truth?

What a guy!! If you agree that the American public must be made aware of these facts, pass this on.

God bless America and THANK YOU (once again) for spending my taxes so wisely and frugally.

SINCERELY,

A US Citizen

PS. Please pass along a special thank you to Al Gore for "inventing" the Internet, without which I would not be able to send this wonderful factual e-mail.

AND THE REST OF THE STORY

Hillary Rodham Clinton, as a New York State Senator, now comes under the "Congressional Retirement and Staffing Plan," which means that even if she never gets reelected, she STILL receives her Congressional salary until she dies.

(Would it not be nice if all Americans were pension eligible after only 4 years?)

If Bill outlives her, he then inherits HER salary until HE dies. He is already getting his Presidential salary until he dies. If Hillary outlives Bill, she also gets HIS salary until she dies.

Guess who pays for that? WE DO!

It's common knowledge that in order for her to establish NY residency they purchased a million dollar-plus house in upscale Chappaqua, New York.

Makes sense.

They are entitled to Secret Service protection for life.

Still makes sense.

Here is where it becomes interesting. Their mortgage payments hover at around $10,000 per month. BUT, an extra residence HAD to be built within the acreage to house the Secret Service agents.

The Clintons charge the Federal government $10,000 monthly rent for the use of that extra residence, which is just about equal to their mortgage payment. This means that we, the taxpayers, are paying the Clinton's salary, mortgage, transportation, safety and security, as well as the salaries for their 12 man staff-and, this is all perfectly legal!

When she runs for President, will you vote for her?

How many people can YOU send this to?

Good Luck to all our taxpayers!!

Fuck Yeah, and Fuck You, Mr. President

I was always leery of Mr. Gavin Newsom. Not any more. He is my hero. I am so proud to live here. Witness.

Ep, who has always considered him The Man, says that my former skepticism resulted from his generally unfortunate hairstyling.

2.15.2004

Badger Comes Through

Smut delivered to my door! Woo-hoo! Thank you, thank you.

Exhaling and Reveling

Iz and Seymour made it safely to their destination. I will now start breathing again.

I will also commence fucking around for a good long time, seeing as I never, ever, ever, ever get any down time in my own fucking house, what with the therapists on site for seven hours and the world's chattiest girl right after that and then Seymour, love that he is, joining the show for the final act each day. I am going to take advantage of this desperately needed zone time. (Leelo is an easy boy to hang out with, as he is currently not in a destructo phase.) I may not even answer the phone.

I will be fucked if I will do any housework. Later I will take the boy out for very bad Chinese or Mexican food, seeing as my cholesterol test results have not yet come back. I will run him ragged on hikes and walks so that he will go to bed early. Then I will set up the laptop next to my steaming scented bath, pour myself a glass of wine, and watch The Two Towers DVD or maybe some Buffy season 5. Finally, I will try to find some lascivious bedtime reading for an appropriate send off to a day like this. Yay for me.

2.14.2004

Huh.

Emma Goldman mugshot!
You are Emma Goldman! You are the mama of Anarchist/Communist feminism and you inspired millions to embrace the labor movement. Without ever directly saying so, you directed efforts toward saving wymyn and children from exploitation. Oh yeah, you were also a total sexpot!

Which Western feminist icon are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks Feministe for the link.

Unfortuntately, there will be no sexpotting today, as my Valentine has developed a horrible case of poison oak. Think non-itchy, swift-recovery-type thoughts for poor Seymour.

Please also think safe thought for him and Iz as they fly to San Dieggy tomorrow, to drop our girl off for a week with her grandparents.

2.13.2004

Iz Learns a Lesson the Hard Way

Even though Violet Beauregarde did it, storing your gum on your earlobe is a really bad idea. Oh well, our girl was due for a haircut anyhow.

We Are Doing the Right Thing

Leelo doesn't have occupational therapy on Friday mornings during February, so this morning we went and had some Mommy/Leelo cafe time. As we sat down, surprise! We were joined by Rook, his parents who were visiting from out of town, and Badger's mom. It was quite pleasant but I wish Iz had been there to challenge Rook's mom to a chattiness contest.

Rook's mom is the head of pediatrics at a hospital back East, and his dad is a child psychiatrist. They were both very knowledgeable about autism and ABA therapy, asked Leelo and me lots of questions, and ended up professing skepticism about our boy's diagnosis (he was very attentive, social, well-behaved, and well-spoken this morning). After I was able to form words again, I told them that they should have seen him in July, before his program started, as they'd have had no doubts about his diagnosis at that point. Rook, looking somewhat overwhelmed but valiant as ever, backed me up.

Now, they only saw the boy for an hour in a loud, crazy restaurant. He was sitting in a high chair the whole time, so they didn't get to see him run around, beset with attacks of the crazies. But the fact that two child development professionals could ever say this about Leelo is just astounding. It could be that, since it was a social situation, they were just trying to give me hope--but from what Badger has said, her in-laws never shy away from frankness.

Badger's mom was also very interested, or was at least exceedingly polite during all the autism/development talk. I am going to give her a copy of Let Me Hear Your Voice.

This ABA stuff, it's working. Unbelievable.

Speaking of Fuckerwads

Leelo just had another wee hours episode, starting with him crying in his room at around 1:30 A.M. Seymour called to him to come into our room, which elicited the unprecedentedly phrased "Daddy?" and got him to trot over to our bed. (Even in my sleepy stupor, I though, hey, Leelo, that's something new. Good boy). But then, once he climbed up, he promptly pinned me between him and his dad, on Seymour's side of the bed. Not good.

I immediately started overheating because Seymour the pajama-phobic sleeps under a great pile of comforters and blankets. I cannot sleep when too warm and so stealthily stripped. Rah! Except just as I was dozing off, Leelo turned over and ascertained that I had once more committed the ghastly act of nakedness. He sat up and howled "Shirt ON!!!" Sigh. It was too dark to find the original garment, so I went and got another. Too late, Leelo continued to fuss--first asking to "go in the car," then just fretting. It took him about an hour to settle down and go back to sleep. I hope to follow suit sometime before the sun rises. Yeesh. Little fuckerwad.

2.12.2004

Yes, President Bush Is A Lying Fuckerwad*

Thanks to Maureen Dowd fan Ep for forwarding this article. You can't link to it as the New York Times website requires a password, so I've reproduced it here with all credit lines instead.

From the New York Times
OP-ED COLUMNIST
The Khan Artist
By MAUREEN DOWD

Published: February 12, 2004
WASHINGTON

I think President Bush has cleared up everything now.

The U.S. invaded Iraq, which turned out not to have what our pals in Pakistan did have and were giving out willy-nilly to all the bad guys except Iraq, which wouldn't take it.

Bush officials thought they knew what was going on inside our enemy's country: that Iraq had W.M.D. and might sell them on the black market. But they were wrong.

Bush officials thought they knew what was going on inside our friend's country: that Pakistanis were trying to sell W.M.D. on the black market. But they couldn't prove it — until about the time we were invading Iraq.

"The grave and gathering threat" turned out to be not Saddam's mushroom cloud but the president's mushrooming deficits.

The president is having just as hard a time finding his National Guard records as Iraqi W.M.D. — and those pay stubs look as murky as those satellite photos of trucks in Iraq.

Mr. Bush said yesterday that smaller developing countries must stop developing nuclear fuel, even as the U.S. develops a whole new arsenal of smaller nuclear weapons to use against smaller developing countries that might be thinking about developing nuclear fuel.

After he weakened the U.N. for telling the truth about Iraq's nonexistent W.M.D., Mr. Bush now calls on the U.N. to be strong going after W.M.D.

Gen. Pervez Musharraf pardoned the Pakistani hero and nuclear huckster Abdul Qadeer Khan after an embarrassing debacle, praising the scientist's service to his country. Mr. Bush pardoned George Tenet after an embarrassing debacle, praising the spook's service to his country. (So much for Mr. Bush's preachy odes to responsibility and accountability.)

The president warned yesterday that "the greatest threat before humanity" is the possibility of a sudden W.M.D. attack. Not wanting nuclear technology to go to North Korea, Iran or Libya, the White House demanded tighter controls on black-market sales of W.M.D., even while praising its good buddy Pakistan, whose scientists were running a black market like a Sam's Club for nukes, peddling to North Korea, Iran and Libya.

Mr. Bush likes to present the world in black and white, as good and evil, even as he's made a Faustian deal with General Musharraf, perhaps hoping that one day — maybe even on an October day — the cagey general will decide to cough up Osama.

The president is spending $1.5 billion to persuade more Americans to have happy married lives, but plans to keep gay Americans from having happy married lives.

Mr. Bush said he wouldn't try to overturn abortion rights. But John Ashcroft is intimidating women who had certain abortions by subpoenaing records in six hospitals in New York, Philadelphia and elsewhere.

The president set up the intelligence commission (with few intelligence experts) because, he said, the best intelligence is needed to win the war on terror. Yet he doesn't want us to get the panel's crucial report until after he's won the war on Kerry.

Mr. Bush said he had balked at giving the 9/11 commission the records of his daily briefings from the C.I.A. until faced with a subpoena threat because it might deter the C.I.A. from giving the president "good, honest information." Wasn't it such "good, honest information" that caused him to miss 9/11 and mobilize the greatest war machine in history against Saddam's empty cupboard?

Mr. Bush says he's working hard to create new jobs in America, while his top economist says it's healthy for jobs to be shipped overseas.

The president told Tim Russert that if you order a country to disarm and it doesn't and you don't act, you lose face. But how does a country that goes to war to disarm a country without arms get back its face?

Mr. Bush said he was troubled that the Vietnam War was "a political war," because civilian politicians didn't let the generals decide how to fight it. But when Gen. Eric Shinseki presciently told Congress in February 2003 that postwar Iraq would need several hundred thousand U.S. soldiers to keep it secure and supplied, he was swatted down by the Bush administration's civilian politicians.

Yes, it all makes perfect sense, through the Bush looking glass.


*Say this like "peckerhead." It is the latest thing I mutter at Iz when she decorates our barstool covers with ballpoint pen, or at Leelo when he throws a bedtime tantrum and knocks every last toy and book off the shelves in his room.

Yeow!

I occasionally TiVo old X-Files episodes to half-watch during the laundry grind. It's been a while since I'd seen the show (the mediocre last two seasons having soured my affections), so I'd forgotten how stupendously gorgeous Gillian Anderson is. I wonder if there are any petite red-headed geeks who didn't want to be her during the good years of that series.

2.11.2004

Imaginary View

For my basement-dwelling children, whose room has no real window.

Is That a Gun? Is That Smoke?

More information on heavy metals in vaccines, and their very probable link to autism:

http://www.nupr.neu.edu/2-04/autism.html

Thanks mb and Seymour for the link.

Grab Bag

Good language from the boy yesterday. Examples: I heard him wake up as I was completing my morning toilette, and so ran over to intercept him before he bounded up the stairs. He took one look at my naked self and wailed "put shirt ON!" He also greeted home-from-work Seymour with an out-of-the-blue "Hi, Daddy!" before any of us had a chance to prompt him. Nice.

Generally, we're good. Today I went and had a lipid (cholesterol) blood panel done for the first time in, oh, about 10 years. I'm guessing they're going to tell me to knock it off with the cheese, seeing as my cholesterol is usually around 245. In antinciption of the cheese lockdown, Seymour, Iz, and I shared a mommy's-too-tired-to-cook "country dinner" of cheese, fruit, and bread last night (ooooh, the almost pornographic delight of ripe, soft Exquilor). Iz got a kick out of requesting "more crusts of hearty brown bread to gnaw upon."

Talked with Dr. P yesterday about changing around Leelo's supplement schedule, and he shocked me by saying that the only thing he thinks SuperNuThera covers sufficiently is B6, and that we should keep everything else. Goddammit. Seymour intends to pore over our DAN protocol to recheck their dosage guidelines, and it may be that we end up customizing our own dosing schedule. SuperNuThera was developed specifically for autistic kids, after all.

Most responses to our therapist ad have been useless, as the respondents have edu experience but no ABA skills. It takes great restraint to not respond with "why in fuck would I trust you to instruct my child when you can't even fucking process instructions yourself?" However we've also gotten two bites from newly minted ABA'ers looking for more part-time work, so that's heartening.

Leelo has taken to dumping all his toy bins on the floor whenever he gets a chance, and then "swimming" in the resulting detritus. He's too crafty for mere barriers, so we may be looking into shelving. Farking fark, another project.

Speaking of projects, I have been trying a new approach in getting night-owl Seymour up in the morning, appointing myself his "alarm clock of love." I think he likes it more than me slamming on the lights and yelling at him to wake up, but it's a bit more time-consuming, and we were late again for everything this morning. I think an effective solution might be getting ourselves to sleep somewhere before midnight--but when Mr. Leelo decides that bed time calls for a two-hour-long nutty boy routine, it's difficult to then hit the pillows ourselves without taking any solo grownup time whatsoever.

2.10.2004

I've Had It With Liberal Twits Even Though I'm One of Them

There's a whole lot of steam behind this post, so hold on tight.

I've had it with my pansy-assed so-called-liberal acquaintances* who run for the closet whenever their soaring ideals brush up against the roaring monster of reality. Fuck you, you fucking twerps.

Please note that the "pansy-assed" description also applies to me. I am one of those laughable sorts who's all for furthering the rights and circumstances of everyone on the planet, as long as I can contribute by hiding behind my checkbook instead of actually pitching in. I believe in democracy and community, but participate almost exclusively in my own tight-knit and circumscribed group of friends (balls-out lefties of action, most of them--I'm the square peg). I try to find clothing unstained by the sweat of exploited workers, but such togs are often elusive and hideous, so I duck behind my computer and outfit myself via O1dNavy.com instead.

You know my type. The Bay Area is polluted with milquetoast liberals like me. We're useless. And infuriating to talk to, if you try to get us to qualify our starry-eyed visions of a happy planet.

But some of us are more annoying than others. The ones making me hiss, spit, and yowl lately are upper-middle-class and generally Caucasian, and have ideals that fray visibly when they discuss schooling their natural-fiber-clad youngsters. Specifically, I am ready to throttle the next person who tells me that they had been considering Iz's dream school for next year, but balked when they saw what the school is really like.

Yes, my well-meaning but completely fuckwadded asspicking oh-but-I'm-not-racist morons, most of the students at the local public Spanish/English Dual Immersion school are (gasp!) Hispanic. Who the fuck did you expect to see there? And why do you think this school exists in the first place? What state do you think you moved to? Estamos en Alta California, amigos. You are the minority. Wake the fuck up.

"Oh," the pseudo-liberal whispers, shamefaced to mention such a thing, "there seemed to be an awful lot of low- and lower-middle-income families at the school." Really? Here in our beautiful, wonderful city where more than three-quarters of all renting households qualify as low income?

Honey, this ain't Pa1o Alto. If you're willing to sacrifice your children on the altar of public schooling, you're going to discover that they let these unfortunates mingle with your tender lambs at every school in town. They really do. Why do you think you get to live in such an excellent house, a house that would fetch 25 to 100% more in Men1o Park? It's because we've got diversity, baby. You might as well deal with it now, because as long as we have the lowest rents in the area, it's not going anywhere.

The complete fucking ignorance behind these statements really stings when you consider that Esperanza isn't anyone's home school. It's a magnet school--every single student comes from a family that made a conscious choice about their kids' education, and chose this school over their path-of-least-resistance home school. These are families who give a shit about learning.

So, let me see. Do I want my kid in an environment where education is celebrated and cherished? Or do I want my little automatons to learn how to air-kiss the spawn of parents who care solely for demographics and test scores? (The latter being useless in a town with so many English-learners, anyhow.) Hmm, not sure which value set I want my kids to absorb, so I'll have to get back to you on that one.

I just don't understand why these people can't swallow a simple concept: if they want more kids like theirs in the school, then they have to send their kids there, and talk their fellow scaredy cat, pants-peeing, Whole Foods-going, GAIAM-buying parents into doing the same. But I know they won't, and I don't think I want to attend school meetings with them anyhow.

Which is too bad for their kids. It's a fucking amazing school, even though it's not for everyone. There are many kids--Leelo, for instance--who would not thrive there. But the kids of these acquaintances would have blossomed at Esperanza, I'm certain of it. So I will have to be satisfied with watching the parents try to hide their twinges of guilt and regret each time Iz demonstrates her perfect Spanish accent. That will have to be tell-off enough.

*Acquaintance has a different definition than friend. But surely you know that.

2.08.2004

Want a Job? Please?

I just posted the following ad on Craigslist:

Reply to: aba_help AT yahoo DOT com
Subject: (education jobs) Seeking ABA Therapist For Private In-Home Program

We are seeking an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapist to work with our adorable 3 year old autistic spectrum son at our home in Rrrrredwood City. You will join an amazing team of therapists while our lead therapist is on hiatus through June.

We need someone who can step right in and start working, so applicants must have experience with and proficiency in discrete trials. We will provide additional, professional training as needed in skills such as Natural Language Paradigm (NLP), Facilitated Playgroups, and Sensory Integration. Team skills are a must as you will be working closely with other therapists to implement an effective curriculum.

Duties include one-on-one tutoring sessions, formal playgroups with our son and two other children, data recording, and team meetings twice monthly.

Minimum commitment of 10 hours per week (possibly more), four months duration. The ideal schedule is Wednesday morning/afternoon and Friday afternoon, with possible late afternoon hours on other days. Reduced hours will be available if desired after our lead therapist returns in June.

The position is open as of Feb. 25, 2004. Pay commensurate with experience, starting at $$$/hour.

Please email resumes to aba_help AT yahoo DOT com.


We did get some good therapist news this week, though. The agency that provides Leelo's Occupational Therapy has managed to find another therapist already, so there will be no gap in his OT schedule, at least for now. Whew!

2.07.2004

Best Blog Title In Just About Forever

http://www.isdickcheneydeadyet.com/

Switcheroo

We are about to make a big switch in Leelo's supplement schedule. We're hoping to drop the time-consuming daily grind of custom-mixing Leelo's supplement cocktails in favor of the simplified efficiency of a 1 tsp. daily dose of SuperNuThera. I am sooooo excited! We just have to recheck with Dr. P before beginning, to make sure we're doing everything exactly exactly exactly how we're supposed to, as these friggin' biomedical regimens are complicated undertakings.

Want details? I've prepared a numbingly dull line-by-line comparison of how SuperNuThera compares to what we're doing now, complete with proposed before and after schedules. I'll fax it to Dr. P on Monday for approval, in the hope of starting the SuperNuThera Slide on Tuesday.

Leelo is mosly doing groovily lately. He has gone back to the nutties a bit, including a funhouse episode last night from 4 to 6:30 A.M., but if you can get him to focus then he's right on with the correct responses.

Seymour gets worried each time our boy's behavior changes like this, but I think we just need to hang in and keep going. I don't like it when Leelo has unreachable periods, but I can't let it get to me--I know that the episodes will pass, and they cannot be allowed to interfere with my attitude towards helping him to learn, and maintain skills. His wigginess may be due to sloppiness on my part (this week: two missed Nystatin doses, two missed Lactobaccillus doses, one missed B12 shot, two gluten/dairy challenges due to his Plasticman arms & speed when it comes to forbidden foods), but then again it may not. Supervisor M has been tracking his data vs. every single little supplement change since October, and the only thing she's found that definitely affects his behavior is getting ill.

Leelo's ABA data continues to show progress. He's picking up new skills, plus he gets several "maintenance" sessions each week to ensure that he hasn't lost previously mastered skills. During this past two weeks, he has consistently greeted everyone he knows with correct form, often spontaneously (e.g., a ready "Hello KV" even though he only sees her once every 8 weeks). Particularly excellent are his morning greetings of "Good morning Mommy" and "Good morning Daddy." We have to greet him first, but he responds correctly 90% of the time. Very cockle-warming.

Slight issues with the yesses and no's, and colors. He is starting to overgeneralize--if you ask "Leelo, what color is my sweater?" (a question he used to answer correctly), he will answer with "yes! It's a sweater!" I have told his therapists, and they are going to work on it in session, while we will work on it at home.

The rest of us:

-I may be getting sick. Hope not. Sure is convenient to have Leelo's mega-doses of Vitamin C on hand. I am reading Ballet Slippers for the first time. Gee, I wonder if Lemony Snicket ever read this book...

-Seymour spent most of the day building trails in a local open-space park. He was then so sleepy that he dozed off while watching the kids, giving wily Leelo an escape opportunity. The boy opened the front door and off he ran, luckily to his swing rather than the driveway. Me: "That is why we always deadbolt the front door when we're home. Remember how I told you about him escaping into our mint forest while I was powdering my nose?" Seymour: "Oh yeah. Whoops." People laugh at me for being a lockaholic, but I've good reason.

-Iz: Continues to be funnier than fuck. If you know her, then you know what I mean.

Mercury Rising in the House of Wampum

My thanks to the good folks at Wampum for today's excellent piece on Mercury/Thimerasol/Autism. Just in case anyone is thinking the situation is clear-cut. Read on and please take action if you're able to.

Oh, right, trackback doesn't work for me for some reason. Please go to Wampum, read today's article Science, Please, and then yesterday's article Sunshine can be the best medicine. If you've got the stamina, then I dare you to continue on and read Tears of Joy -- A Matter of Perspective without sobbing. We POAs* have adjusted our goals for our kids, that's for sure.

*Parents of Autistics, since I'm stealing all my material from Wampum today.

On Bended Knee

Goddess of my childhood Zi1pha Keatley Snyder is giving a talk at a local book fair today at 1 O'clock! If I can stop genuflecting I will humbly ask her to sign my tattered copy of The Velvet Room.

2.06.2004

Leelo's Day

My other extraordinarily talented photographer friend JM just sent me a link to the Leelo's Day photo shoot, where JM followed our boy around, documenting a typical Leelo day between waking up and going to bed--including small-group language class, sessions with Therapist F and L, a facilitated playgroup, and our crazy Monday afternoon playgroup. The results are amazing. Damn, our boy is cute!

You also get to see pix of Scabby and Pat the cats (gorgeous), and my not-terribly-attractive upper arms (ick).

Email or comment if you'd like the link sent to you.

The Discipline of An Army Ranger

I am being so very well-mannered today. So very. The comments section of a blog that I write about way too much and so will not name here is rife with remarks that would normally get all sorts of spew from me, but I am refraining. To show myself that I can, that I am not a compulsive commenting junkie. I will write about them here, instead!

Those of you who know about my former Map Queen title (those are TWO Geography degrees under this belt, friends) will be dumbfounded to know that I did not write one word in response to a commenter who started going off on the virtues of the Peters Projection. Which we all know is so very well intentioned--kind of like a new PETA convert--in its histrionics about showing the correct sizes of all the land masses. Too bad the map looks like it was drawn by Salvador Dali, and very little like the continents seen on any globe. That's the problem in trying to show three-dimensional shapes on a two-dimensional surface. You've got to make some kind of compromise, or it looks like shit. Bucky Fuller's Dymaxion Projection will always be my gold standard.

The second commenter expressed a desire to be tortured by a mutant cephalopod. My hand started inching towards that cat-o-nine tails, but...sigh. They didn't say where they lived, anyhow.

In control. Ooh yes. Admire me! Look upon me, and despair!

2.05.2004

Apologies and Apologetics

I do apologize if my anti-Catholic-Church screed on Ms. D's site offended anyone. I'm not against Catholics, of course. I've had both my children baptized in the Church in addition to their UU Welcoming Ceremonies, because I firmly believe that the Church has to change or die, and I'm betting that it will have transformed by the time my children are old enough to make choices about their spirituality.

But, in its current incarnation, the Church is not a place I can believe in. Possibly this is due to having two of my favorite childhood priests unmasked as active child molesters. Possibly this is due to watching the attrition of clergy and closure of convents as the Church fails to cope with reality (women should be priests, and able to marry priests). Most likely it is the realization of why I no longer attend Confession: the Church considers many of my actions sinful when I do not.

In my opinon, intelligent people who continue to attend Catholic services have actively chosen to distance themselves from the current patriarchal and sexist framework. This is similar to what I do when I eat meat. I have conditioned myself not to think about the pain the animal went through so that I can enjoy my meal. A progressive woman who attends Catholic services has to have conditioned herself as well: to enjoy the community, the singing, the ritual, and the reminders about how to be a decent person without actively considering her limited role in the agency that makes the services possible.

I miss the ritual, I miss the righteous rightness and wrongness. I really do. But I'm not going back there any time soon.

Mother Of The Year, Yet Again

We had babysitting last night. Seymour ran off to finally see ROTK. I ran off with the generous duo of Ep and Clyde, who treated me to an excellent dinner and fine conversation (thank you thank you). Before leaving, I set up Pee Wee's Big Adventure on TiV0, since Iz had seen it before and I knew she liked it.

I returned home to a hysterical girl who could not stop crying and who absolutely would not go to bed. The reason? I'd completely forgotten about the movie's Large Marge exploding face scene. The last time she'd watched PWBA, I was there the whole time and had fast-forwarded past it. This time, she had had the holy shit scared out of her.

Iz was shaking and sobbing, and kept repeating that she "just couldn't get the face out of her head, [she] couldn't stop thinking about it." The poor bit wouldn't go more than five feet from me, and cried until I put her in my bed and laid down with her. Then she kept waking up every 20 minutes or so to make sure I was still there to protect her.

Which means that I slept in my bra. Painful, but appropriate punishment for being so careless, in my mind. She is usually such a brave girl. I worry that her armor has been pierced, that she is now vulnerable to the silly cowardices that wracked me throughout childhood. Fuck.

I hereby swear that I will not give her the your-pain-is-inconvenient-for-me brush-off that I got for my outlandish fears ("there couldn't possibly be giant squids or earwigs in your bed, now be quiet and go to sleep"). Nor will I coddle her for more than a day or two--but I will take her terror seriously, and am going to try to counsel her through it.

And maybe she'll take me seriously the next time I insist that she's not ready to encounter Sauron.

Hello Again

Yawn, stretch...

Ah! I feel like myself. Rah. No more of that snivelly chick shit. Let's hope.

2.04.2004

FUCK.

Sometimes, I start writing comments in peoples' blogs, just to blow off steam when they get me riled up with stupid fucking careless remarks, or get lazy with their reasoning when I know they can do better. Then I feel calmer, and hit cancel.

Sometimes, I accidentally hit post instead.

It's The Hormones

I really resent having a body and mind that, no matter how hard I try, will always be first and foremost under the control of endocrine secretions. God fucking damn it. It is embarrassing. When they take over, I get these uncontrollable urges to share, and we all know how gruesome that can be. But I can't help it. Aiiiigh.

Just last week, on the hormonal upswing, I got to thinking about A, the baby I gave up for adoption, and how he spent his first two days in the hospital mostly hanging out in the nursery, the poor little guy! I didn't hand him over to his mommy until he was 36 hours old! He must have been so lonely. Blubber blubber blubber! (Iz from the back seat: Mommy, are you okay?)

Which brings up a whole other issue: how the fuck am I supposed to tell her about this little secret? Should I? Just thinking about that conversation makes my heart drop out of my chest, all roller-coaster like. Bloody hell.

The weird thing about A's birth is that my dad--who goes by the code name Captain Video--filmed the whole thing. I have a video of me coming out of the delivery room (telling my dad to Go Away Dammit), me holding the baby and introducing him to all my friends who were in town, the baby hanging out in the nursery, more friends coming to see him, my mom holding her first grandbaby except he wasn't, all that. I don't understand why my dad recorded it all. Of course I watched it obsessively over the next year, every chance I got. It's still here, somewhere.

Now I am on the hormonal descent. It's not pretty (see last two posts). I've spent the last two or three days trying to get in touch with the Stanfford Pediatric Neurology Clinic (Dr. P came through on the referral), finally got through this morning, and was granted an appointment on JULY 30th, because they only have one Neuro doc who evaluates kids with developmental delays. I am still waiting to hear back from their autism clinic, but they warned that I might not hear from them for a few more months. So I am blubbering again, not just thinking of Leelo but of all the families with kids like him who are going through what we are, probably more intensely and with later diagnoses and fewer resources, and then have to deal with these same administrative delays on top of it all. Jeez.

2.03.2004

Oh Poor Me

Will someone please beat me over my pathetic mewly head, preferably with a shovel.

In Which I Wistfully Contemplate Life With a Spine

And I can get one on eBay, cheap! Then I could stand behind all my passionate outbursts without backpedaling and whimpering and trying to make nice. Fuck that. I do hate hurting peoples' feelings unintentionally, though.

Mostly because it makes me look like a dick.

Have any of you seen the Australian movie Lantana? It's a good one--not a bottle rocket, but a solid drama with a twinge of mystery. One of the lead characters, Jane, struck a chord with me and it wasn't a comfortable one, as it resonated a little too close to my core. Not because of her personal situation, since I am neither estranged from my husband nor am I having an affair with someone else's, but on account of her choices.

Jane thinks she's a good person, that she tries to do the right thing, but each action is rooted in selfishness or self-righteousness. She always makes the wrong choice; she fucks up everything she touches--in large part because there is nothing purely good or giving about her.

Nor is there in me. Not really. Except possibly my adoration of my family and friends, though I can't express this without that self-serving filter. It's true. I am resident in my own head, and can verify this absolutely.

So, I have decided to set out additional disclosures for my three dearest local friends, so that we can proceed on less fettered footing:

Ep: No, really, I am that vapid. I choose not to read the daily newspaper. It's not that I don't have the time--if it was important, it would happen. You needn't make excuses for me. I am jealous of your diplomatic and writing talents.
Jo: I miss all your stories. I hope your blogging isn't getting in the way. I am jealous that you have two girls, and that they have a real sibling relationship unencumbered by neurologic barriers. Sometimes when I choose not to make eye contact with you and look scowly, this is why.
Badger: I don't trust our friendship, not entirely. Because I know that eventually after all that digging you will hit hardpan and realize that yes, I really am that shallow. Sorry. I am jealous of your fabulous freewheeling, sponge-like brain.

If I had a spine, I would say this in person.

Writing it down was probably the wrong choice.

Ammunition

I often wonder what would happen, explosion-wise, were Josh Norton and my oldest brother Chet to meet, since they've both got that fiery, quick-witted, grouchy, excellent-historical-grasp thing going on. So I figured, hey why not, and sent my brother to today's post about ammunition (which you should read anyhow). He responded to me only and had this to say:

Where do you get this stuff?

A few quick points: If you have a bullet that goes off course when it hits a leaf, you're probably not going to hit many people. An old chestnut of the diehard left is that the M16 violates the Geneva Convention because the bullet supposedly tumbles. This is just the remnant of that argument.

The article states that the Thomp$on submachine gun was designed for use against the Filipinos, but that war ended about 1904 and the Thomp$on SMG wasn't invented until around 1923.

The real design challenge in ammunition is mastering a paradox. You want the bullet to be as stable as possible in flight, but as unstable as possible once it hits the target. A highly stable bullet will just put a hole in the target. An unstable one will create a mini explosion. Usually smaller and quicker is better and provides more energy than larger and slower (remember from physics KE= 1/2 mv*2, a twofold increase in speed leads to a fourfold increase in energy).

Haven't thought about this for years.

Now get back to your fambily.


Fun! I love knowing mulitple sides of arguments, in the case that I get to confront and torture someone even wafflier than myself. And I just love having access to brilliant brains! Indeed, Reader, whether you are a corporeal or digital friend, this is a big part of why I've lured you into my fold. I want to suck your brain! Now it comes out. Run away if you must.

Last note: I love that he assumes I know physics equations, whereas I've never taken a physics class in my life (chose cheerleading for sixth period instead, in the interests of well-roundedess for the old college application).

2.02.2004

Where It Stands With Leelo & Iz

Leelo seems to be doing well these days. Occasional what-the-hell? where-did-he-go? episodes where he looks right through us and runs around speaking in tongues, oblivious to all--but for the most part he has been with us lately. Talking to us. Noticing us. Saying "yes" and "no" appropriately (I know I keep going on and on about this, but it is an enormous, abstract conceptual leap for the boy, and not a goal his therapists would ever guarantee achieving). I have to keep reminding myself that his full-scale, full-time, tracked and monitored ABA therapy only started in August, and just how much can a person expect in less than six months' time?

About Leelo, I am feeling optimistic. Seymour and I are cautiously daring to think that we might get a real boy by the time this is all over. Probably always an odd boy, but we'd be fine with that.

Which is why I'm feeling okay about delaying his chelation indefinitely (sample arguments: pro/con). His progress is good. The ABA is working. I'm not sure it's a good idea to fuck with that, as the behavioral after-effects of chelation can be nasty. We've had enough bumps already. I'd rather just keep rolling along.

---

February 2nd is upon us. The day groundhogs and the local school district get to fuck with peoples' heads. Indeed, it is the first day of registration for kindergarten! If it fucks with your stomach to see an overly proud and dithery parent slobbering all over the screen about her precious, brilliant offspring, then you should click out now.

I'd like nothing better than to hand Iz's completed registration form right back to the person I wheedled it from on Friday (she wasn't really supposed to give it to me until today). But I can't, and not just because I have no idea what Iz's social security number is or where to find that information in my Superfund site of an office.

Nope. It's because we still can't figure out what to do with the girl, whether she should go to kindergarten or first grade. Every time I think hey, she'll be fine in kindergarten, she'll do something like get sick of waiting for me to finish reading Charlie and the Choco1ate Factory with her, and polish off the second half of the book in an hour. Aiigh! So, here are the piles of arguments stacked on opposing sides of my brain (keep in mind that Iz is a January girl, so if we do move her up she'll only be six weeks younger than the officially sanctioned youngests):

Go Directly To First Grade
-By her teacher's estimation, our girl will easily complete the Montessori kindergarten curriculum by the end of this school year. If she was going into an English-speaking school, she would go into first grade.
-The bilingual school does not require its incoming first graders to speak Spanish.
-In kindergarten, she will learn Spanish in three months, get bored, and will start figuring out how to torture everyone around her (according to my former first-grade teacher friend KV).
-During my tour of the bilingual kindergarten (all three classrooms), I noticed very little that she couldn't already do, Spanish or not.
-She is a confident little shit, and has no problems hanging out with older children.

Don't Pass Kindergarten
-Spanish immersion kindergarten will keep her from being bored. It's all in Spanish. It's all new.
-It will suck to enter first grade as the only one who doesn't already speak Spanish.
-She is going to be a late bloomer, if her dad and I are the models. If she's also younger than everyone else this may set her up for some horrific future social ills.
-We get one more year with her before she bolts off to college (yes, I am selfish! But there's a chance that she will be my only college-bound child. I don't want to kick her out of the box any sooner than necessary).
-Last year's bright little January girl from Iz's school went in to this kindergarten and is doing just fine. However she is a much more compliant and docile child.

So, aiigh! again. I can't make up my mind, but am selfishly leaning towards kindergarten. Seymour is leaning towards first grade. We've many friends and associates lined up on both sides of the divide. Meanwhile, I've yet to hear back from the Principal (who was going to ask the teachers what they thought of Iz's work and reading level), or the parents of a similar student from last year who were supposed to contact me.

Until then, feel free to cast your vote in the comments section! By all means!

Final note: I just want to gobble up that cute little marshmallow chick of a four-year-old-girl who came to our playgroup for the first time today, and told us that "she wasn't going to have any more brothers or sisters because her daddy had an operation on his pea-nuss."

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