Trickle Down?

Plowing through stacks of autism-related books and literature, plus trawling the web. Last night I found a totally engrossing article at wired.com. In short: part of the autism epidemic may be due to unprecedented geek mating.

What really strikes me is this excerpt:
Over and over again, researchers have concluded that the DNA scripts for autism are probably passed down not only by relatives who are classically autistic, but by those who display only a few typically autistic behaviors. (Geneticists call those who don't fit into the diagnostic pigeonholes "broad autistic phenotypes.")

Jeez, have you ever met my dad? I mean, I love him--EVERYONE loves him. He would do anything for his family or friends, and in my case (only daughter of man with four brothers and three sons) is especially indulgent. But he has more than a few suspect behaviors, including:

-Must Maintain Schedule/inflexibility/doesn't understand why you JUST DON'T GET IT
-Prefers to be asocial/doesn't get standard social cues
-Knows absolutely everything about pre-1965 pop music and culture, yet can't remember anyone's name or grasp certain concepts

Schedule: You don't want to mess with my dad's schedule (Jekyll becomes Hyde in an instant--run for cover!). Too bad if your guest/fiance is sleeping on the couch next to the kitchen--my dad empties the dishwasher and grinds his coffee beans at 5:30 every morning, and that's that. No, he is NOT going to pour out that hours-old coffee, and woe to anyone who does (e.g., Seymour). Of course it makes sense to take I-5 to the 91 to the 605 to the 105 to the 110 to the 10 to the 405.

Socialization: Everyone thinks of my dad as a hearty extrovert. What they don't know is that he has a 10-minute shtick (thank you Dale Carnegie), and that once he's run through his jokes and set pleasantries, he's done. He does not discuss himself or his feelings, ever. He prefers to spend his time alone, ideally reading. If he really wants to do something, and you tell him No, he may not understand--he may just get flustered and angry, because it makes perfect sense to him. He will probably end up doing it anyhow, once you're not looking (this has led to several neuroses on my part).

Information: He has one of those human-computer brains--regarding subjects he likes. He even did a test run on a TV quiz show in the 60's, receiving one of their highest scores ever--but had a panic attack and left when they turned the cameras on. (Be on his team for Trivial Pursuit.) This same brain called Seymour "Scott" for the first five years of our togetherness. Despite his recent quintuple bypass surgery, he has to have his diet monitored like a toddler or he will go straight for the bacon cheeseburger every time--he just doesn't get it. If you tell him that he can't have the super nacho cheese omelette and outline the reasons why, he will pout--also like a toddler.

Obsession: My dad loves contests. Anything free is good (i.e., "Can I take you to lunch" may mean "We will go to Costco and fill our gullets with complimentary food samples," nothing wrong with a gray market all-channel cable box), but winning something is even better. Now that he is retired, he is relentless in his contest-entering, and he almost always wins. He hasn't paid for a cruise, concert, ball game, or movie ticket in years. If the contest has limits on how many times he can enter, he has no problem using his friends' and family members' names with his address and phone number. The local radio station finally capitulated--before their latest contest, they called HIM up, saying that they wanted to give a heads-up to their favorite listener. Contest-entering has been the one thing that lured him into the Internet and email age--it streamlines the entire process.

You just gotta wonder.

Endnote: Just received an online photo album from a friend who is the female half of a super-genius couple. Gorgeous pictures of their four year old boy and almost-two-year-old girl. The little girl has a stern look on her face in every one of the 15 shots. Leelo didn't smile in any pictures at that age either, in almost exactly the same way. I repeat: please please no please no...

Advice From The Trenches

My friend Spot put me in touch with a woman we both went to school with, Maryte. Her daughter is 9, so she's got seven years on us in terms of autism experience. I sought her advice on the chelation thang, and here's what she wrote:

I highly recommend the chelation -- especially for a little guy. There is a mercury detoxification list serve possibly on yahoo. I will see if I can find the address.

If you want to get started--go to the Autism Research Institute website and download the mercury detoxification protocol. Also -- anything by Dr. Amy Holmes will be very helpful. I believe she has a powerpoint presentation online.

I think it is a very wise choice. You see a lot of bad behaviors and then an amazing child begins to emerge

So far I've heard only good things about the results of mercury detoxification with autistic kids. Obviously, though, the research continues.


Leelo is a bundle of green snot this A.M. Need to get Dr. P's advice--this is the point at which the ear infection normally comes.


My hand is all mendhi'd out. Mmm. Love that henna smell. Nothing like it except maybe real indigo. My design is highly symbolic, thanks to artist LH. Her hand, which I did, just has a goofy design on it.


I Am the Best Kind of Blogger!

Oh, Monkey Monkey Monkey (I, Asshole --> Monkey) what have you done? Links to far too many quizzes--I am inexorably drawn to the huge burning chasm and cannot stop myself from diving in, goodbye everyone, I'll see you next week!

The results of the first quiz:

Are You A Blogaholic? Results
Your Score: 56 / 100

YOUR SCORE 56.0% 56.0 points out of 100
AVG SCORE 43.1% 43.1 points out of 100

7678 people have taken this silly test so far.
1519 people have sored higher than you.
5635 people have scored lower than you.
524 people made the same grade as you.

What does this mean? *
56 points is in the 51 through 80 precent
You are a dedicated weblogger. You post frequently because you enjoy weblogging a lot, yet you still manage to have a social life. You're the best kind of weblogger. Way to go!

Aiiigh, most of my August posts refuse to load. Goddammit. Might have to get Seymour to help me with technical issues. It would be much more pleasant to be unaware of my idiocy (I feel like Charlie at the end of Flowers For Algernon, except without having experienced the super-genius arc).


Leelo Food

Holy Semolina Substitute, Batman! We cooked a Leelo-friendly (dairy wheat/gluten soy peanut citrus sugar free) dinner last night, and it was delicious. Leelo, of course, had no interest, but we've leftovers to confront him with for a few days. Here's what we ate:

Leelo Pasta & Pesto with Tomatoes
-Fresh Basil
-Fresh Garlic
-Pine Nuts
-Olive Oil
-Mrs. Leepers Rice Pasta
-Tasty Tomatoes

Start to put pine nuts and garlic in food processor. Hesitate upon viewing first pine nut, realize that some are slightly off/old and unless you cut all the individual points off, you should just toss them out now. Curse. Trim teeny points for an interminable period, finish. Blend pine nuts and garlic to toast-crumb consistency.

Wash basil. Start tearing it up and into the food processor. Realize that this is overgrown late-summer basil, and that if you include all the big, tough leaves, you will end up with pesto that tastes like it was made with celery. Curse, seek out all the still-tender leaves (about one quarter of them), put in food processor. Dollop of olive oil, salt to taste, blend.

Toss with diced tomatoes and surprisingly tasty rice pasta from excellent company that donates a portion of its proceeds to autism and celiac disease research.

Offer pasta to your two-year-old son. Watch him fling it to and fro. Curse (silently).

Everyone else in family gets to douse pasta with grated parmesan. Mmmm! We may get the hang of this funky diet after all.
Please Please Please No Please No

If you have an autistic child younger than 14, do NOT read today's Salon Article on Autism. I am going to have the cold sweats for days. Wish someone would have warned me. Actually, Seymour did, but this is how we contrary types get our just desserts.


What Makes Me Do The Snoopy Dance

Besides I've been such a snarly, growling poo-face lately, I've written down some things that turn me into a happy pogostick. Which I am a lot, really:

The druid-evoking oak grove at the top of the hill in front of my house--especially when it's foggy. Crazy, gnarled oaks, silence, strangely empty understory. Extremely calming. The journey is a 3.5-4 mile hike with switchbacks, but only the first mile is really challenging. Come with me! Bring your sickle!

Sitting on my front porch with the golden afternoon filtering through the oak trees, and a view that negates all human interference. Listening to quail, red-shouldered blackbirds, red tailed hawks, woodpeckers, and other birds whose songs Seymour or LH would need to ID for me. This is a rare occurrence, though, as who would be watching my kids in the afternoon before everyone starts returning from work and clogging up the soundscape with hoots and hollers?

Watching Strange Brew, or hanging out with people who chuckle when I steal lines from it. Seymour doesn't understand how it soothes me, and made me turn off the video just as Iz crowned! Twit. My affection for the movie has something to do with Trying To Understand My Canadian Heritage.

Maps. Map projects like this. I am a cartophile, and have the M.A. to prove it. In grad school, I preferred geeking out in the computer lab all day long while making my digital maps & animations to food (which was helpful since my stipend was $7K/year). Then they dragged me out of the lab and told me that the maps were insufficient--that the degree required a written thesis, too. Aiiigh! Hopefully no one will ever find that document (a shorter, almost coherent version of it got published in my favorite cartography periodical, shocking no one more than me). BTW, if anyone has a Mac with a floppy drive, let me know...I've been neglecting some serious archiving.

A big mug of Earl Grey tea with lots of cream and sugar (cold days only). My mom is an Anglo-Canadian (as in spells colour with the U, no problem with The Queen's picture on the currency, fantasizes about holidays in the Cotswolds), so I've been drinking my tea like this since I was 3 years old.

Torturing proselytizing Christian shitheads on the mothers club eGroup list who think that they are exempt from the ban on non-parenting postings since after all who could deny the supremacy of any message that spreads the word of Jesus Christ? Certainly none of our Athiest, Hindu, or Jewish members.

Hanging out with G-Spot, Dee, or The Little Flower--it could be months or it could be years, but we pick up the banter as if we'd just had lunch yesterday. Would you please fucking move back to California already?

Drinking! Neither too much (lest I transform into The Beast Without Impulse Control) nor too little (what's the point?).

Goats. Salmon or other anadromous fish. Information or jokes about either. Not squid--I have had nightmares about them since I was 6 or 7 (and guess how much sympathy I got for waking up screaming that there was a squid in my bed). My interest now is best classified as morbid fascination.

Music from my pre- and teen years (excepting that pretentious Bauhaus crap--PUH-lease!). Squids, Rainy Day, Fun Boy 3, first/second wave ska, esp. Untouchables, Fishbone's EP, Special A.K.A., Bangles pre-Manic Monday, the early New Wave stuff before Talk Talk and their poseur buddies ruined everything. Elvis Costello's New Amsterdam still makes me rock from side to side with a Stevie Wonder grin. Show tunes (before 1965), goofy old vocals like Maurice Chevalier and Jeannette MacDonald (that would be my dad's influence).

Trying to harmonize--to anything--when no one is looking or listening. (Leelo pleads: NO SING!)

Literary brain-blending rollercoasters like Snowcrash or The Satanic Verses. Read the latter on our honeymoon, had to keep reminding myself that it would be a good idea to pay attention to my groom. Ah, patient, darling Seymour.

Good port. Seymour's dad is from the land of port--and he pours his stellar vintages with a liberal hand--so I'm ruined as far as the cheap crap goes.

Jelly doughnuts. I was safe for years, as it seemed like everyone on the planet had forgotten how to make a decent jelly, but Krispy Kreme has resurrected the classic version and I'm just screwed. (Jelly Doughnut coming! ha ha ha ha ha ha [see Strange Brew entry, above].)

Reading my friends' blogs. I'm not so good with the in-person communication skills, so the blogs often fill in the blanks. They also make me appreciate just how fricking cool these people are. I should dig out that Myers-Brigg test that Jo's mom did for me--I don't remember the actual letters, something like NFPLUFF, but Jo's mom said that it meant I have a very difficult time relating what's in my head to others, and think everyone already knows what I mean when actually they have no idea. This is why I tend to choose the jobs that let me work at home, by myself (the test's recommendation was Foreign Translator--ha! I am monolingual).

Finding blogs that are worth reading--why is this so hard? Worth the effort, though.

Treacly shit about my partner and kids that is interesting to grandparents and relatives only, which is why I have a whole pink shiny puffy website set up just for them.

Gardening used to, but nowadays I am too preoccupied to water the plants and they're all dying.

Have you fallen asleep yet? Good night.


Oh, Why Not

The Potion Maker
squidium is a milky, pasty opalescent gel created from the bones of a Snark.
Mix with squid! Username:
Yet another fun meme brought to you by rfreebern

Mix with me! Or not...fine, I'll do it for one of you:

The Potion Maker
squidium is a milky, pasty opalescent gel created from the bones of a Snark.
spanglemonkeyium is a translucent, crumbly tan powder drawn from the bones of a bandersnatch.
Mixing squidium with spanglemonkeyium causes a violent chemical reaction, producing a cloudy indigo potion which gives the user the power of acid-spitting.
Yet another fun meme brought to you by rfreebern
Wrong Tree

All right! Another person found me via the search words mom boy fucking! Thank you, Sitemeter.

How Things Are With Leelo Today

Yesterday Leelo and I went to the BioSet practitioner while saintly Jo watched Iz. Turns out Leelo is sensitive to the last four supplements we had questions about: Nutribiotic grapfruit seed extract, glutathione cream, vitamin B12, and calcium, which means he'll have to be de-sensitized to them all (it's an accupressure thang). The calcium ban makes me especially nervous--I don't want his bones to to get all porous and rubbery, or turn to powder (the latter is the coercion rationale used to get Iz to eat calcium-rich foods). To get calcium (and all the other currently banned supplements) on board, I've increased the number and frequency of Leelo's BioSet appointments, yet so far won't be needing to cut into the ABA therapy sessions. Whew.

Leelo's twice-monthly team meeting took place yesterday as well. Supervisor M reported that she went to his small-group language school to evaluate his progress since June and was relatively pleased--although our boy still doesn't like or possibly understand how to follow directions as a member of a group. This doesn't bode well for his transition to a real preschool (with a "shadow" aide), but Therapist F and Supervisor M are going to evaluate a school or two anyhow. (Leelo gets booted from his current school when he turns three in November and the Regional Center cuts off his funding.)

His work with the therapists continues to exceed expectations, at least according to his team. They use the words "amazing" and "tremendous" a lot in describing each session. Super-Supervisor Andil and Supervisor M, who consider Leelo's ABA program to only have been in place for 6 weeks, say that his rate of language acquisition is impressive and that this can be a good indicator of future success. They have stepped up the variety and complexity of tasks in his program.

Nice to hear: Supervisor M specifically feels optimistic about Leelo's social potential, since he is a happy, friendly boy and does like and seek out other people--on his terms.

Supervisor M also voiced concerns about Leelo's sensory needs. Turns out she, like me, is in the middle of Temple Grandin's Thinking In Pictures (an account of the experience of being autistic), and that Grandin's assertions about autistic kids' need for sensory integration therapy underscore what Supervisor M herself has witnessed many, many times: it works, kids love it, kids need it. So I've put a call into the Occupational Therapy director at Leelo's school to see if they can set us up.

This morning Leelo and I both woke up with runny noses (I was up most of the night being the amazing sneezing snot fountain, so not a surprise in my case). For Leelo this is cause for alarm--he is one of those kids who's sick for the entire cold/flu season, and his colds always, always, always turn into ear infections. Fending off those infections led to the antibiotic overuse cycle that we suspect shredded his little gut and may have contributed to his autism. He hasn't had an ear infection since ear tubes were put in in April, but the cold/flu season was pretty much over by then. I do not want him to get sick again.

However, Dr. Prattle has advised us to not let Leelo use antibiotics, ibuprofen, or any other over-the-counter cold/flu meds until we get Leelo's system working properly. What we are supposed to do at the first sign of illness is hit him up with Manapol, an aloe-based immune system enhancer, and Myco-Immune, a similar product. I have been scared to use these products since their primary function is to raise the body's temperature to help it kill the bad bugs. Especially since our family has febrile (fever-induced) seizures, and, though Leelo's never had one, Iz's have been prolonged and violent. I will monitor him closely.

Leelo had his first dose of Manapol during lunch. I figured what the hell, I'm sick too, and so am going to join him on the regimen. The Manapol isn't so bad--you can open up the capsules and mix it easily with water. The Myco-Immune is nasty as all-fuck, though--it's alcohol-based! Like putting a dropperful of everclear in your mouth! I'm glad I dosed myself first and found this out, since I tend to blindly trust everything the good doctor recommends. Can't imagine how awful it would have been if I'd given a straight dose to Leelo--the last time we gave him an alcohol-based supplement, it resulted in projectile vomiting. Will call Dr. Prattle and ask for advice.


Tennis, Anyone?

Laughing at some of Jo's recent entries about compulsive comments-checking. Yeah, babe, me too. Although I don't get any drive-by visitors; possibly the autism component makes people fidgety and cautious? Hmm. Perhaps I should add more expletives.

Leelo is running around in a Tennis Club logo t-shirt. My child. The strangeness of this is almost impossible to communicate, but I'll try.

Needless to say, the shirt was a gift. From Seymour's parents. Who are STC members after 10 years of waiting for other members to die off and free up slots. Seymour's mom likes to joke that the club should have an adjacent cemetery to make things convenient, seeing as most members are far too old and rickety to actually play tennis.

Now, I adore Seymour's folks, and they seem to like me okay. They are kind, funny, and generous, and it is largely through their support that Leelo's therapy program exists. I respect how different their life is from how their life was, and that they started from squat with no external support. We all get along, as long as no one breathes a word about politics (they are staunch supporters of Bush and his local cheerleader, U.S. Rep. J. Dunn). I am fascinated by aspects of their alternate dimension, with its boats and Clubs and fundraisers, its trim humorless women and overly jovial men.

But I don't get it. I do feel like part of the Rosenberg family, but the rest couldn't be more foreign. I don't play tennis, my hair color isn't regulation, I don't like doing the chit-chat cha-cha-cha, and I especially dislike being lined up and measured against all the other "kids" our age (this is done by the other parents, not Seymour's).

While at the Club, I hide on the far side of the far table, quietly order drinks, and gawk at the passing specimens like a newbie anthropologist (Seymour and I use this time to play I Spy, Plastic Surgery Edition). When we leave I perk up visibly.

Once we get three or four streets away from the hushed green lawns and quiet houses surrounding the club, the neighborhoods start to melt and swirl and come alive. People start appearing on the streets. We keep driving and the neighborhoods keep changing, and as we reach the bridge I comfort myself with the thought that in S____, it's those Tennis People who are the town freaks.


D is for Dumbfuck, That's Good Enough For Me

Once again, I am a total fuckwad. I violated my very own Prime Directive about leaving items on top of my car--namely, that when doing so one must also leave one's keys on top of said item--and now Iz has no lunchbox. Jo saw a lunchbox that fit its description (red, Cookie Monster) lying in the road yesterday, but I went back and it wasn't there. FUCK! It had an Iz painting tucked inside that I never even got to see. Goddammit.

JT left yesterday afternoon, back to McKinney, TX to visit her sister, and then on Thursday back to London to finish her MBA degree. She'll be done with school in December, so if she doesn't find a marriage candidate by then it's back to Ghana. She did get to meet my single, wife-seeking friend JM, but he was being slightly grouchy in his otherwise kind way and anyhow I teased them too much about the matchmaking since I knew they weren't exactly each other's missing piece. Good luck, m'adamfo.

We had a great time, toodling around SF and the local coast (she had never experienced S.F., visited a rocky beach, or seen giant redwood trees). We also had some interesting discussions about Ghana now as opposed to the Ghana I knew 11 years ago. Big changes.

Besides the proliferation of cel phones (land-line based infrastructure doesn't work so well there), she says one of the biggest changes is dress code. In 1991-92, women were expected to dress modestly. Not hijab or burqa modest (southern Ghana is not Muslim), more like school-marm or Moonie modest. These days, she says, urban Ghanaian women don't dress all that differently than American women. Although she was very clear about Ghanaian women knowing better than to wear low-riding pants when their bodies aren't built for it.

Alas, she is gone and now I must get back to writing in increasingly concentric circles around my navel. For instance, it occurs to me that there are many benefits to only accepting friends who are smarter than me. One is that I learn all the time, every day, and don't have to pay money or read to do it. Another is that people assume I'm in my friends' league. Downside is that I always feel like a dumbfuck, and lend credence to this feeling whenever I open my mouth. I could read more, or learn to write faster or think more critically, and I've been trying to keep my mouth shut, but that would take effort, and/or would require piecing my brain back together. In the meantime, people, I appreciate your patience.

Details on brain implosion from a few days back:
--Leelo's super-supervisor Andil, a woman with 20 years in ABA therapy, was very emphatic in telling me that she had doubts about DAN practices and the lack of data underlying it all, and in her experience had never seen any improvement in any child from any of these methods. I muttered something about it being non-invasive and Leelo's truly having digestion problems, but she just pinned me to the wall with her level, skeptical gaze and told me she'd email me some studies.
--I've also been told by many autism professionals that sensory integration therapy is a bag of hooey, and not to bother with it. However, I am in the middle of Temple Grandin's book Thinking In Pictures--a book about autism written by an autistic--and the author asserts that this therapy is incredibly helpful for children all along the autistic spectrum. Another task to research, contemplate, discuss, and then shoehorn into Leelo's schedule.
--JT's arrival: welcome, but ill-timed. One week after Iz and Seymour had returned from San Diego, and just as I was emerging from traveling-and-visitors overload. Immediate plunge into entropy and depression, incapable of lifting a finger to tidy the house in preparation since all objects assumed the weight of gold. Need at least two visitor-free weekends in succession.
--Spanish class not working with the crazy family schedule. Major blow. More synapses atrophying.
--Person with whom I share significant genetic material needing advice about his and his girlfriend's surprise impending family addition. They are both clueless, and are depending on me to show them the way. Um, make sure your kid's not autistic, sleep now.
--Another, smaller, relation is teetering on the edge of a black hole, and no one is doing anything to prepare for preventing her fall (she is under protection now, but that ends with a bang in July). My inquries about what will happen then being greeted with hostility or declarations of the situation's futility.
--Excellent CD made by LH (worshipful praise to you, amiga) not working in my stupid car's player. Iz got hooked on LH's taste in music and poetry and was very vocal about about her distress.
--Other stupid crap that's even duller than the above, but drags me down nonetheless. I have stocked up on some remedies, though--raspberry-jam stuffed shortbread, and those cocaine-laced tortas from La Casita Chilanga. Plus I TiVo'd The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.

Again, we are considering doing mercury/heavy metals chelation on Leelo. I've been doing research online, but as anyone who's researched anything web-wise knows, it's difficult to track down non-anecdotal information. Mostly I am worried about all the nastiness of the listed potential side effects of the chelation drug DMSA, which include:

- bone marrow suppression
- increases in tumor necrosis factor
- liver toxicity
- nausea
- diarrhea
- anorexia
- fatigue
- flatulence

Yeah, that's the kind of stuff I want to spring on my communication-impaired two-year-old boy. Need to do more research. Dr. Prattle assures us that all will be fine, but he seemed kind of spacey the last time we saw him so we are hitting the books with renewed vigor. Or I am making Seymour hit the books. Or I am hitting Seymour with the books...

Happy Leelo bits of progress:

Mom: Who is that? Leelo: Cow
Mom: What does the cow say? Leelo: Moo!
Mom: Who is that? Leelo: Farmer.
Mom: What does the farmer say? Leelo: La-la-la-la-la-la-la la la la la la!

Also, if I'm not in the room with him while he watches a video, he will frequently pop by to tell me (with great eye contact) what's happening on the screen, e.g., "Max is jumping!" and then run back to his couch.

Therapist F swears that he asked her an honest-to-god Why question today (first ever):
Therapist F (handing Leelo Viewmaster of African beasties): That's a dog (well, a fennec fox, but...)
Leelo: Why you do the dog? (!!?!??)
Leelo: I want the elephant.
Leelo: I like the elephant

Finally, today was his first-ever facilitated playgroup. Therapist F swears it went well. Isobel was a bit of a non-compliant horror, but I can blame part of that on the blast-furnace heat we've been experiencing.


I wish there was a magic chelation drug to bind and drain all the toxic thoughts in my head. Currently I am amused by nothing, judgmental about everything, leery of everyone and their motives, and very, very tired.

Will admit that Iz and I are getting a kick out of Clan Apis. She's grooving on the whole World Flower concept. And the new Brain, Child arrived today. Rah.


Teeny Tiny Steps

Seymour finally kicked my butt down the driveway, around the corner, and up the street. Goal: get my out-of-shape ass on the gorgeous bike I bought on eBay via impulse six months ago and which has since turned into a swanky spider condo complex.

I've been avoiding the bike because it's a really nice bike--pressure. Also, it has clip-in pedals. Seymour said that if other cyclists saw me riding this bike with toe clips, they would reenact the shredding scene from Suddenly Last Summer on me and then offer my bike to someone who deserved it. I am afraid of clip-in pedals--they lock your feet to the bike, so if you're inept like me it's only a matter of time before you fall over in front of traffic and get smushed like a bug. Nevertheless I let him coach me through it, and it wasn't all that bad. Kind of like learning to hook a back-closing bra.

The bike is cool--it's really fast on paved roads. Then again, my trusty old commuting steed was a mountain bike, so any bike is going to feel light and speedy to me.

Now I can ride for an hour in the mornings before everyone else gets up. Bet I won't miss a single day!


Leelo's big step for today: starting to do unprompted greetings, e.g., "Hi Therapist F!" without anyone poking, prodding, or modeling for him. Also, commanding "look at me" almost always gets an eye-lock from him, fleeting but consistent.

Tried to explain to Iz today about Leelo, that Leelo has a condition called autism. Fuck--couldn't do it right, voice cracking, tears welling up (thankfully I was wearing sunglasses). She still just thinks that he "needs help learning how to talk."


Snapshot of how my brain is currently working: Brushed my teeth. Lips got dry, sent message to brain to find petroleum-based lubricant. More synapses fired, lubricant was located and applied. Lips promptly turned numb. Turned eyes on and hey, that was analgesic Neosporin. Good job, brain.


JT from Ghana is here. She is still an absolute delight. She has never been to San Francisco. This is going to be fun.


Sometimes Sitemeter gives too much information, for instance that someone found this site by googling "mom fuck boy." Niiiiice.

Perspective, Again

Therapist L couldn't come to work today. Her boyfriend's house burned down and his family lost everything.


Fresh Hot Brain-on-a-Stick

My brain finally imploded today. Did you hear it? It happened at around 5:00 in the afternoon. I took it as a sign from the powers-that-be to streamline my life, and so dropped my Spanish class. Didn't tell Seymour until after I "went" to class, though. He was cool and supportive--anything that makes me less of a harpy-class bitch can only be a good thing for him.

One thing that lit my fuse was yet another ignorant email post to the Moms Club eGroup, this time about how we need to participate in a "grass roots" campaign against high gas prices! For fuck's sake! Here's what I posted in response; quite measured IMHO:

I'm sure our Canadian members are among those who find
this campaign humorous, since they (and most of the
rest of the world) have paid double the
gov't-subsidized U.S. gas prices for aeons.

Come on, ladies. Driving is a privilege, not a right--and certainly not a cause. I've lost all my patience with these people and don't have what it takes to pull the sticks out of their asses or heads out of the sand one by one. Unbelievable that this is the same group through which I met Jo, LH, and Ep.

Further discussion of implosion factors would be intolerably whiny and could cause additional collapses.


The Talk

This morning as I was driving Iz to school, she asked "Mommy, when I was in your belly, how did I...

(Me, panicking, whuffing...oh sheeit, I haven't figured out what to say yet NO NONONONONO!!!!!!!!!)


Ah. Well. Detailed discussion about umbilical cords and their relationship to your very own belly button. Further discussion about structural similarities in leaves/stems/branches. We are going to look for the belly button spots on some of our deciduous trees' branches, once Fall really starts swinging. Whew.

Leelo is back to being himself. Went up and gave Iz a kiss when asked to do so, and is once again an excitable jumping bean about excite-worthy things, as opposed to just being nutty. Both therapists were pleased. His language was particularly great today, e.g., big spontaneous "I see the truck!" Receptive language (comprehending what is said to him) was better than usual, too--this used to be his biggest deficit.

He is starting to repeat everything we say, and not necessarily just when addressed. Oh boy. I am waiting to see how long it will take him to start telling the whiny cats to Fuck Off, since that's how their requests are met by me.


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Let the Mega-Dosing Begin!

Today we added B6, Zinc, and Folic Acid to Leelo's daily supplement routine. Not that bad so far, just a few more bottles to open, and our handy-dandy little pill crusher works as advertised. I gave Leelo far more juice than usual to cover the taste of the new additions, though, so he was a nutter for Seymour this morning, and the poor man got all down about the boy's lack of progress.

Thing is, then Seymour and Iz went to the wacky pool for several hours this afternoon, and I hung out with the boy. Who had his alligator and elephant have conversations and then walk around the room together. Who looked at the cover of the new Madeline DVD Iz's auntie sneaked to her and declared "Two Madelines!" Who said "I all done!" when his lunch was over. Who laughed at the funny parts in two picture books we read (unprecedented). Who pointed at several items when asked to do so in a book he'd never seen before. Who followed the directions "put the farmer in his house." Who picked up a block, announced "square," turned it 45 degrees and announced "diamond!" I'll debrief Seymour after he finishes scrubbing the kids, and then hopefully he'll have a spring in his step.

Made an all-GFCF dinner for the family tonight. Of course, Leelo refused anything novel, but the rest of us chowed down on those cod, halibut, potato, sweet potato, and yam pakoras. Oooh, baby, they were good. Don't you wish yourdietary guidelines gave you the greenlight for an all-battered-and-deep-fried dinner?

Leelo's facilitated playgroup starts tomorrow, at our house. The idea is to get Iz involved with her brother in a fun way, so she and her friend R are going to "teach Leelo how to play." Therapist F will be supervising this one. It should be really amusing to see what two four-year-old girls consider good teaching and playing skills.

The facilitated session will lead into our standard Monday playgroup, wherein I guard the front door and yell at all the kids to stay in the yard and keep the hell out of my house (not really, but kind of). My mom friends are very cool about it, they realize I'm two or three steps away from the edge. Amazed that anyone still wants to come over, but I just can't take having my house ravaged yet again after the day's three previous therapy sessions.


Barfity Barf Barf Barf

Leelo has many nicknames: Stinky, Happiness, Captain Destructo, The Energizer Bunny. He used to be called Mr. Barf, too, because of his tendency to do just that, several times a week, usually in public, and for some reason especially when Ep was in range. It took us a long, long, time to figure out that his barfing was due to his poor little tummy getting continually routed out by antibiotics (our boy's had 15 or 20 courses due to recurring ear infections). Since he got ear tubes in April and stopped taking antibiotics, we've been almost completely barf-free. The rug steamer that we bought in Leelo's honor hadn't been used in months.

Something went wrong today, though. He had two episodes of projectile vomiting right after breakfast, resulting in an ashen, weak Leelo who could barely stand up. I suspect this was due to his new "non-invasive" homeopathic drainage complex, as that was the only change in his diet/supplement routine this week. He perked up afterwards with a bit of watered-down pear juice. Then I gave him some guacamole, by which point he'd recovered enough to angrily try to open my mouth after I took a bite of what I guess he considered to be "his" food. Wasn't quite himself for the rest of the day, but he probably still just felt like crap. Hopefully he'll be himself in the morning.

It was too hot to play today, so I drew a picture of Iz's head. Then I asked her what else I should draw. Here's what she wanted: Herself in a stripey tank dress overlaid by a fairy skirt. Wearing ballet slippers, with bow on her head, holding Gandalf's staff on one side, and the hand of Ermengarde from A Little Princess on the other. Ermengarde (specifically the one from the movie, not the book) holding provisions: a basket of tomatoes, bananas, and grapes for their trip through Middle Earth. And then there's Saruman ("While he was still Gandalf's friend") welcoming the girls to Isengard. She wanted me to draw Sauron welcoming them to Barad-Dur instead, but I can't draw Sauron.

The drawing is on the Leelo and Iz web page: http://www.izzy.com/pat.html.

Isn't she the cutest? Yeah, well, then she came out on the porch while I was talking with a male acquaintance, held up one of my tent-sized bras, and--with the grin of an imp--declared "Mommy, look what I found in your sewing kit!"

Ran screaming from the house to go have scrumptious Indian food with LH and MV (thank you Seymour). LH made me a CD! We arrived at MV's house in the middle of his fiancee's bachelorette party, which included gorgeous mendhi designing and much jealousy on my part. MV's house has an aviary in the back--empty, but just the fact that he can talk about "his aviary" puts him in a different conversational league than most. Must figure out how to visit him more often--not only is he cooler and funnier than me, but he has ton of Viz magazines and anthologies that I haven't read yet. Hmm.


Look! Ten apples up on top! I am so good I will not stop!

Not related to the title: Ep is going on vacation for two weeks. BIG sigh.

Seymour and Iz are back! Hurrah! I'd forgotten just how snuggly she is when she's in a good mood. Apparently her grandparents let her watch super-crappy TV the whole time but that's okay. It's vacation. She mostly did cool things, like take a tour of my pilot bro JD's airport in a golf cart, go nutty at Sea World, and play at the beach. Seymour couldn't find a single place to rent a mountain bike, though, so he was disappointed and we'll be packing one of his bikes next time. I completely friggin' hate traveling with a bike box.

Seymour spent part of the week in LA with his brother & family. Good, smart, hard-working, and pretty folks. We adore them.


Related to the title:
Today we had a follow-up meeting with Dr. Prattle, Leelo's DAN (Defeat Autism Now!) doctor. It went well. Dr. Prattle is really pleased with Leelo's decreases in hyperactivity, stinky diapers, and belly size, and his changeover to the crazy diet. We thought our guy's swollen belly was due to yeast overgrowth, but the good doctor assures us that it was GI tract inflammation caused by food allergies. He also told us get our asses in gear with respect to a heavy metals chelation (extraction) program. He says that mercury affects the brain's speech center, so the earlier we chelate, the better Leelo's ABA sessions and overall communication will be.

Just thinking about chelation puts cracks in my skull, though, because it requires jumping through a series of complicated prepatory hoops. Before chelation, Leelo needs to have a good store of minerals in his body--he needs to have been taking all his recommended mineral supplements for at least two weeks--because that DMSA will be leaching out minerals as well as mercury. But Leelo can't take all those supplements right now--he's sensitive to most of them. In order to de-sensitize him, he needs to go through several BioSet sessions--ideally two a week for several weeks. However Leelo's weeks are already totally scheduled, and the one semi-free afternoon he has available is the one the BioSet practitioner has off. So I'm going to have to talk to Leelo's therapists about him missing the ends of a few sessions for a few weeks. Sigh.

Anyhow there were a number of other modifications to Leelo's Biomedical game plan, all complicated. Cannot believe one little boy requires so much work! Fascinating details below. Meanwhile I'm going to go find that husband of mine, and see if he'll find me more compelling than endless cyber-trawling for bike parts. Good night.

Modified GFCF diet in place
· Sugar/sugar substitutes
· Chocolate
· Lentils
· Peanuts
· Gluten (Wheat, Oats, Rye, etc.)
· Soy
· Dairy
· Eggs
· Oranges/citrus
· Bananas
· Blueberries
Leelo currently eats fewer than 10 foods. Dr. Prattle is okay with this for now, although a rotation diet is still ideal. We will continue to try to introduce new foods. Right now Leelo eats:
o Brown rice bread
o Almond Butter
o Cashew Butter
o Hazelnut Butter
o Whole Foods veggie potato chips
o Whole Foods french fries
o Dried raspberries
o Green apples
o Diluted pear juice
o Guacamole (avocado, raw garlic, salt)

Yeast Eradication Program, Ongoing
· Low-sugar diet in place
· Avoiding antibiotics
· Antifungal regimen:
o Diflucan for 10 days--FINISHED
o Nystatin: ongoing until told to stop
o Lactobaccillus: 1 capsule each morning on empty stomach
o Nutribiotic: waiting for BioSet results to resume
o DGST: ½ tsp at beginning of each meal,

Homeopathic Drainage Complex (Bioset Recommendation)
This complex will help Leelo’s body flush out toxins. Must be taken on an empty stomach. Since the complex is alcohol-based, we should ideally mix the following day’s dose with water, set it out, and let the alcohol evaporate overnight before giving it to Leelo.
· Start with 2 drops/2x day
· Day 3 increase to 4 drops/2x day
· Day 5 increase to 6 drops/2x day
· Day 7 increase to 8 drops/2x day
· Day 10 increase to 10 drops/2x day, continue until bottle is empty

Leelo is sensitive to most of these supplements. He can begin taking the ones marked OK as of 9/13/03. We will work with the BioSet practitioner to desensitize him to those remaining.

OK’d Supplement Dosage Schedule Special Instructions
Cod Liver Oil ½ tsp 1x day Mix with half/half juice
X B6 1 tablet 1x day w/food
X Zinc w/o copper 1 capsule 1x day w/food
X Folid acid ½ tablet 1x day w/food
Selenium 1 capsule 1x day w/food
Mag.Glycinate ½ tsp 1x day w/food
DMG 1 capsule 1x day w/food
Calcium* ¼ tsp 1x/day w/food
MG/K aspartate 1 tablet 2x day w/food
Ascorbic Acid 1 capsule 2x day w/food
Glutathione cream* ½ ml 2x/day Rubbed on lower belly/inside of thigh (alternate application spots)
B12 1 inject'n 2x/week 30 degree angle
DMSA 1 capsule See DMSA section

*new additions

DMSA/Heavy Metals/Chelation Program
· Get Leelo desensitized to all supplements via BioSet
· DMSA dosing cannot occur until Leelo has been on mineral supplements for at least two weeks.
· Must stop taking minerals (Selenium, Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, Mag/K glycinate) at the same time DMSA starts
· DMSA dosage: 1 capsule every 4 hours (XX capsule/day) for 3 days
· At end of 3rd day (or soonest event thereafter) take and send off stool sample
· On 4th day, resume mineral supplements

Biomed To Do as of 9/12/03
· BioSet testing for Calcium, B12, Nutribiotic/Grapefruit seed extract, Glutathione sensitivities
· Order Calcium from Kirkman Labs, 1-800-245-8282 item #036/16
· Get another stool test kit—yeah!
· Get pill smasher for B6, folic acid tablets
· Call/fax Dr. Prattle’s office to:
o Schedule visit near November 12
o Confirm when start glutathione cream
· Work on Special Diets for Special Kids recipes w/Godfather M
· Step up BioSet treatments to 2x/week
o Talk with ABA therapists about Leelo missing therapy to speed along supplements regime
o Call BioSet lady to add more BioSet appointments


I am a hero! With no ass!

The frantic fish loves me. She has a clean, refurbished tank and lots of food. Now I can adopt out her and her apparatus without feeling guilty about the griminess of it all. Takers?


Good news: JT is coming to stay with us next weekend. She is currently in Dallas with her sister, but the larger scope is that she's visiting from Ghana (where we were university roommates) for three weeks, and is taking a side trip just for us. Rah!

JT hasn't visited since Seymour and I got hitched in '95. We've missed her. Don't know if you know any Ghanaians, but they are wonderfully frank. She came with us on a post-rehearsal-dinner trip to The Pleasure Chest, took one look at the rows of sex toys, turned to best man Gouda and said (and you must imagine a musical Ghanaian accent here), "G, what is the difference between a dildo and a vibrator?" Son-of-sex-therapist Gouda had no problem explaining the various uses of such items. JT then knit her brow and exclaimed "But why don't they just get a man?"

I am sure Ghana is a very different place in the twelve years since I lived and ten years since I traveled there, but way back then JT and her friends used to tell us American exchange students that they were jealous; they wanted to be fat like us. (For me, that was a stone or so ago, so she is sure to be extra-jealous this time.)

For context, my exchange year in Ghana followed three years at UCLA, where eating disorder support groups are de rigeur. And I was born and bred in the LA area--a particularly fucked-up place for a girl to develop her body image--so, under previous circumstances JT's fatness envy would have had all 115 lbs of me sobbing in the corner.

However, by the time JT and co made the comments, I'd been in Ghana for a while. My friends and I had been guilelessly wandering through all corners of Accra, and so had already been smacked upside the head by the reality of poverty (and guess what: polio and leprosy are not extinct). We'd become friends with students who owned two shirts (one on the back, one on the clothesline), and who would get woozy in the afternoons because all they'd had for breakfast and lunch was tea with sugar. We saw what real food issues were. By the time JT and friends called us fat, we laughed with them and knew we were lucky.

I frequently tell my mom friends that I don't have time for people with food issues or body image problems, and it's true. After watching people fight over the right to lick the grease and crumbs off my just-tossed food wrapper, after months of encountering kids with bellies swollen by rickets, I don't want to hear anyone whine about being fat. Poor you, you have enought to eat. If you're going to bitch about it you'd best get a fucking life that doesn't intersect with mine.

That's not to say the topic of weight and weight loss is forbidden in my presence. If you can talk about your fat ass with humor, are bitter about being on the receiving end of a genetic backhand, or take care of the matter without making the rest of us suffer, then you can still sit next to me. If, however, you make googly-eyes at the dessert and then go on with the theatrical sighs about how you CAN'T eat such-and-such because you're on a DIET, there's a good chance I'll kill you. That dessert is a privilege, you git.

Personally, I've got a pretty funny body. Wide shoulders, explosive bosom, no waist or ass to speak of, and toothpick legs. That's the way it is. Thanks, Mom, thanks Dad. Not much I can do except avoid horizontal stripes. And if I ever want my waist back, I am fully aware that I need to start riding my lovely, dusty bike or take advantage of the hiking trails outside my front door. I am not going to blame my access to obscene amounts of food.


Can You Find The Bitty Borg Cube?

Okay, stuck the cube in the header. Good enough. Inelegant but functional, like most things I'm responsible for.

Moms group eListers spent tonight sending out messages about Mercury Causing Autism! followed by This Isn't Really An Epidemic--The Diagnostic Criteria Have Changed! I choked back some bile and instead composed a nice neat note to the effect that it is NOT a change in diagnostic criteria, yes autism IS a real epidemic, and you all can BITE ME, er, go to autism.org for some real chunks of info.

Was very difficult to drag my arse to Espanol tonight, but I missed last week due to traveling and if I miss one more class I get bounced. What's the Spanish phrase for depressed ass-dragger?

Bad moms meet for coffee tomorrow A.M. at our favorite cafe. Oooh, I need those cocaine-filled chilaquiles and my compadres real, real bad--It's been me, Leelo, and the therapists all week and I am going cuckoo. Hopefully they'll not smack me for being such a twit via email all week.

And ah, yes--we did go to the crazy BioSet practitioner today. it was totally surreal, tired grumpy Leelo was not into it after school and two therapy sessions and made the procedures difficult, but the end result was that he does get to start taking his vitamin B6, folic acid, and zinc supplements. We're meeting with Dr. Prattle again Friday to go over next steps and due processes.

Too tired to type. Miro el DVD de The Two Towers y tomo cerveza! (Just watch me rock on those -ar verbs.)
No, I don't know how to code

Sitemeter. Why not? This kind of wanking doesn't require hiding in the bathroom.

Went to the site. Signed up. Followed the direx for Blogger/Blogspot. Got the cute little rainbow Borg Cube on my page, woo! However, no matter where I put the little cube it truncates my page. Tried putting it in various spots--same result. Although now, if you resize the window, the whole page WILL show up. Help?

Back during The Boom when anyone who'd read the first 10 pages of HTML for Dummies could command upwards of $50 per hour, I used to do this stuff. Low-level mindless help systems work, but yeah. When I'd get stuck back then, though, I could go whine to my webhead spouse.

New favorite Spanish phrase: escuchando furtivamente (eavesdropping).


Yes, Yes, This IS an Autism Blog

Leelo will be three in exactly two months. Developmentally he's still pretty much a toddler. It's a downer--by this age, kids usually start getting a bit of sense, and parents get to start cutting down on the vigilance. We're nowhere near that stage, so stress is high in non-home environments. Although I do get to say "fuck!" without worrying that he'll copy me, and even if he does it'll be cute, like when he says "penis."

But yeah, I'm depressed a lot. Comes with the territory and results in alternating bouts of lethargy and fire-breathing bitchiness (run, Seymour run!). I find that one of the more dangerous ways this gets expressed is through driving--sometimes the rules of the road don't gel for me, and I coast through stop signs or can't wrap my head around exactly how one chooses a lane after a left turn. So, if you ever drive near a school that serves special needs kids, beware!

People assume and assert that we're heroes just for having an atypical kid. Autism does bring out the best in many parents, but for me it mostly brings out an inability to focus my eyes voluntarily. And I don't think we're doing anything special--this is what the parents of autistic kids do. The real heroes are the people who spent their lives and energy bushwhacking and mapping the ABA and GFCF paths we're plodding down so many years later. It's so much easier for us, especially living in the SF Bay Area near DAN doctors who can order a full series of blood, hair, stool and urine tests in one office visit.

Our DAN doctor goes one further and recommends practitioners for the crazy BioSet/acupressure allergies test we'll be doing tomorrow. Got a little bit of that Yes I'll Try Anything Non-Invasive To Help My Boy thing going on, it is true. But according to Dr. Prattle, it's better to see if Leelo's allergic to any components of his ideal arsenal of supplements before we dose him. I just want to remove any barriers to Leelo getting supplemented--he's been living on rice bread, nut butters, avocado, fresh garlic, potato chips, green apples, dried raspberries, and pear juice almost exclusively for the past few weeks, and I'm worried that he's going to get scurvy, rickets, or infantile osteoporosis if we don't step things up.

Now it's time for the Little Ray of Sunshine section. Full-scale, 30-hour-per-week ABA therapy finally began yesterday. Therapists F and L both commented on how well he's doing--Therapist F in particular professes continued amazement at his language, and swears she had a five-sentence conversation with him this morning. He hasn't started most of his supplements, and many autistic children make their greatest strides after being put on vitamin B6 and magnesium. If it wasn't for the changes in his diet, I probably never would have tried hazelnut butter--drool. These are all good things.

So while I am guardedly optimistic, overall I am still living with a boy who is older than his sister was when she started preschool, and who comprehends very little of what is said to him. He is a delight, but there are of course no guarantees, and we have so much work to do.


I should take some time out to sing the praises of Iz, Leelo's sister. She is holding up pretty well, considering that Leelo gets a round of applause and cheers just for looking at someone, while she mostly gets chided for misbehaving. She is funny and silly, and while she corrects people who mispronounce sherbet or orangutan, she is still young enough to get a kick out of conducting our day as a sung libretto (I can't sing, so this is a very indulgent girl). Already loves reading so much that she tries to walk around with a book in front of her face. Is convinced that there are Bloaths in our local undergrowth. Would rather have a Sauron than a Barbie. Makes her new Frodo doll do all the ballet positions. She drives me nuts but I miss her already.
San Diego, Part Deux

One of the reasons we went to So Cal this past weekend was to attend Seymour's Grandmother's 90th birthday party. She insisted on having it at her club in Newport Beach, so for me it was a reluctant side trip back behind The Orange Curtain.

I'd been sighing for months at the thought of this gig. The dress code was "summer cocktail," which is a challenge for a body who prefers dumpy togs from Old Navy/BR (where I know my sizes and can order everything online. hate. shopping. hate. shopping.). Last week I finally crumpled, went to The Mall, found a semi-cool skirt and top before I hyperventilated, and shot out of there like a rocket. When I got home I realized that the top was beige--a color I'd promised myself to never buy again since it highlights the monstrous, disproportionate size of my bosom (lassies who think they want big tits are just so misinformed, but that's a rant for another day). Ah, well.

The party, thrown by hostess extraordinaire Seymour's mom, was lovely and tolerable. I hate socializing except with the pre-selected few and so was indebted to the open bar. I should probably thank my kids, too--having to watch them meant I didn't have to talk to anyone unless the kids knocked over their drink. Instead I got to hang with my parents and in-laws, while Seymour did all the hive-inducing mingling.

Grandmother M was in top form--she is the healthiest, most vibrant nonagenarian west of the Mississippi. She shows no signs of slowing down, either, and in fact celebrated this birthday by going hot air ballooning. She has no sense of humor when she gives instructions, though, and so was miffed when she spotted a present tucked under my arm (she'd specified NO GIFTS). When I explained it was for Seymour's dad she relented (I'm not sure what she would have made of it anyhow; it was an Iz's Favorite Things drawing of a dragon, a flower, a TV, and Darth Vader). I hope I look and feel like that lady when I'm 90, and am tickled that Seymour and the kids carry her genes.

Other party tidbits: the youngest aunt totally dissed my mom! With an insincere, split-second greeting followed by the presentation of her back! Despite her conservative views and potshots at my parenting skills, my mother is a compassionate, good-hearted woman and NO ONE gets to disrespect her but her children. Normally I would march right over and slaughter that cow, but everyone was watching. Can't stand people like the aunt who think they're better than everyone else just because they stepped in a big pile of money that they did absolutely nothing to earn. My mom was bummed until I reminded her that everyone likes her.

Spent quite a lot of time talking to J, one of Seymour's cousins. Sweet guy. Boy, does he love Everquest. He made it sound so fun that I figured hey, why not, I'll give it a shot. Only to check the site and realize that--duh, it's a PlayStation game and I haven't had a console since my Atari 2600. Guess I'll stick with Kookin' Kidz.

The post-party day was my last in San Diego, so we hopped around the beach one last time and then went to lunch with some of Seymour's dad's relatives. I could spend all day with Uncle T--the man was born & bred in SD and knows the surrounding seas better than anyone but Neptune (side note: every time we went to the beach, Iz asked "Does Neptune know I'm coming?"). Uncle T still knows where to find abalone and ten-pound lobsters. Useful person. I love useful people.

Then it was off to the airport for a snorfly goodbye from Iz and Co. Uneventful flight. Was feeling peevish (escalating PMS, no more beach) and so decided to torture a random innocent by leaving that stupid Bill Bryson book on the plane.

Came home to the scent of a neglected cat box. Home! Back to the ABA grind. And by the time Seymour and Iz are back I will miss them.
What the fark is up with Blogger/Blogspot? Do they have some sort of loser filter that prevents people like me from upgrading? (Dude, she might post a picture of herself--gack!) Far as I can tell, their ordering services have been down for weeks upon weeks. Guess I could call Pyra, but it's quicker to just bitch about it.


Ramble Alert

Why do people go to Florida? I grew up on the west coast--practically in the Disneyland parking lot--so Disney World is irrelevant, and I can't imagine anything less refreshing than a warm ocean. And, people, it's humid! Like aerosolized soup! Like San Diego this past week! Mr. Leelo is sure as hell never going to Florida--his first night in a truly hot-n-humid environment had him screaming in disbelief until 2:00 A.M

But oh, man, the beach! My folks live near Windansea, which just rocks. The surfers guard the waves jealously, but they don't mind dorks splashing around in the shorebreak. So, Leelo, Iz, and I got limitless access to wave-ends for chasing and jumping around. Then I sent the squallers back to fiddle with shovels, towels, and plastic octopi while I got into more serious jumping and splashing. Was having so much fun that I didn't notice a particularly powerful wave until it knocked me on my ass and then introduced said ass to the abrading properties of sand. Result: a nice tight grimace as I watched Iz build sandcastles and "sand potties," and listened to Leelo talk about how much he liked to "dance on the beach!" Still love that bodysurfing even though I suck. Still have sand in my hair as I write.

Spent the first two, Seymour-less, San Diego nights in a local Holiday Inn since my folks' house was full of brothers. The hotel was dreamy: One block from the beach. A swimming pool. A/C. A retreat from my parents' sauna/madhouse. Too bad Leelo and Isobel refused to go down at their regular bedtime--I desperately needed five minutes to read a book or even pick my toes in peace, but it wasn't to be. Then there were the losers-who-went-to-bed-at-8 P.M. banging on the wall every time Leelo made Panny and Totoro reenact a really rollicking scene from Max & Ruby, or tried out his new eardrum-piercing shriek. Tried to remove Panny to help Leelo settle down, but no go--he just howled "I want Panny!" (A typical-child-style outburst--excellent.) So I hauled Leelo into my bed and got kicked in the kidneys--in an endearing way--all night.

We went to San Diego without Seymour so that we could catch a day-and-a-half with my bro Chet, his wife R, and their baby, B (Seymour couldn't get sprung from work in time). Their little family is so happy to be back together after Chet's year in Afghanistan, especially R who now has someone else to put the baby to bed. Didn't get to talk to them that much, what with the screaming toddlers and all, but apparently Chet is in the running for yet another If I Told You I'd Have To Kill You job. The three of them seemed sad to leave California, especially Chet--but he needs to remember that it was his choice to live in The Land of No Burritos.

It is also Chet's fault that my folks have a subscription to the self-delusional society freak show that is Vanity Fair magazine. My dad always leaves a copy lying around, and for all my high-handedness I invariably end up gobbling it down. I used to do this with my aunt's National Enquirers, too, so I guess VF addresses some brain-stem level craving. For all its pretensions, VF is certainly formed from the same putrid dreck as the Enquirer--why do the writers find it necessary to comment on topics like Wallis Simpson's "grape-like, indeterminate genitals"? Yeesh. But hey, if they write a follow-up, will someone please let me know?

Reading Vanity Fair always leaves me feeling sick to my stomach. I feel the same way after being caught in Burger King's tractor beam (although if it's late afternoon, I've forgotten to eat lunch, and the kids are strapped into the car, then I'd eat candied deer hooves if they were sold at a drive-through). Felt less sick about renting a minivan for the weekend, even though it was like driving a Japanese hotel room. I am all for practicality, so if I'm going to be spending a lot of time with people I don't see very often, and we are going to be spending a lot of that limited time driving around, then it's just stupid for us to ride in separate cars. Stupid!

One of the things my folks and my family all got to do together thanks to my not-stupid rented minivan was toodle up Mt. Soledad for a spectacular sunset and--get this--an intense and prolonged green flash. This was the highlight of the whole trip for Seymour, as he is a much bigger geek than I. (I write that in admiration, BTW. I am too lazy to be a dedicated geek.)

After the green flash, and thanks to my generous parents, Seymour and I went on a date (!). We had some decent Indian food, but I almost choked on the prices--$14.95 for prawns vindaloo, with naan and rice ordered separately. Bah. I told Seymour that there should be a sign at the city limits: "Welcome to La Jolla, now bend over," since price points are based solely on the privilege of making a purchase there. It is indescribably strange that my parents live in such a place, although Seymour is far more weirded by his parents' lakefront compound. (When we were kids, our parents lived in nice boring middle-class suburbs.)

The second part of our date was a long beach walk in the moonlight (cue music). San Diego-bred Seymour filled me in on local beach lore. Then he surprised me by commenting that it seemed like I had a lot on my mind and wanted to purge it somehow (fark, did he find out about this blog? Not that he couldn't read it, but I just like having it to myself. Will proceed to compulsively Clear History after blog sessions). I did tell him how tired I am of knee-jerk reactions to political postings on our local moms' club e-Board (I would be less annoyed if the respondents actually read each posting and replied to its points, rather than letting loose with a poorly spelled, gawd-I-love-America and you obviously don't emotional volley). Also filled him in on the lameness of my sulk over not being asked to join Ep and Jo's writers group: 1) I am not a Writer, nor have I ever expressed any intentions of becoming one, and 2) Like everything else, it meets in the middle of a Leelo therapy session.

Leelo, by the way, is doing fabulously. We once again started two approaches simultaneously (Diet/yeast eradication and full-time ABA therapy), so it is difficult to determine which is because of what. But it's impossible to ignore the improvements. He is talking up a storm: "That is the farmer's house." "I want to be all done." Waking me up in the morning to announce "I want Mr. Salt!" Saying hello or goodbye appropriately--with the correct name--with minimal prompting. His hyperactivity is almost gone. My mom in particular commented on what she perceived as a huge difference in the three weeks since they saw him last. Another improvement is that his stench-bottom episodes have decreased from four to one or two a day, but I suspect that this is interesting to me, the diaper wench, alone.

Part II tomorrow (oh yes, there's more--I had no unsupervised computer time for five days!). Tired and (shock) totally grumpy.


We are off to San Diego. Fish tacos, Windansea beach, perfect weather, babysitters. Yeah!


Something that made me snicker despite, or perhaps because of, my foul mood: The Death Clock.

Still poring through links of links via more links to find good blogreading. Fruitless. At this point, candidates with oxymorons for titles or subtitles get drop-kicked automatically.
Sugar: The New LSD

Leelo has been a full-on nutter this morning, resuming the "neh neh neh" running around in circles and picking two things up and running around with them behavior that we thought we'd quashed. What the fuck is going on? He was barely able to pay attention during Therapist L's session this A.M., although she got him to do lots of "good work" by keeping his sessions short.

Ah. Seymour just told me that, at my cousin DD's birthday party yesterday, Leelo got hold of some kids' lemonade at least 3 times and "I didn't really see how much he got, but he was gulping it." God damn fucking shit FUCK!!! So there you go. Sugar is our boy's warp drive toggle. If I understand the theorized process correctly, an over-yeasted gut goes nutty when it gets a sugar dose, and starts excreting opioids into the boy's bloodstream. Our boy isn't just nutty, he's totally high. As I told LH this afternoon, if you pretend Leelo is 21, then his behavior is plainly that of someone on recreational drugs.

Therapist F conducted Leelo's afternoon therapy session. She is ever-cautious and polite, but was clearly concerned by his regression. To get the full idea of how the session went, picture me downstairs, hunched in the corner and chewing on my knuckles, while listening to the boy upstairs babbling and running, followed by his therapist crooning "Leelo! Leelo! Leelo!"

Afternoon playgroup was a needed distraction. SS raided our mint forest and liquor cabinet to make mint juleps, but hey--someone had already been in the liquor cabinet that we never open because we're too lazy to mix drinks, and almost cleaned out the Maker's Mark (I suspect a relative). Everything else in the cabinet was clearly a souvenir or gift, and none of it qualified as a bourbon substitute: Norse cloudberry liqueur, Cypriot dessert wine, and tequila. Somehow it worked out okay. No one fell over, though. Damn.

The kiddlings and I are going to San Diego on Wednesday. We'll get to see my newly-back-from-Afghanistan brother, his wonderful wife, and their 18-month-old boy who will probably run developmental rings around Leelo--who for his part gets to miss two-and-a-half days of sorely-needed therapy. But I do want to see my bro.

Seymour will fly down on Friday, and he and Iz might stay down there for some extra few days. This would mean that Leelo and I would have evenings to ourselves for a bit--excellent news to me. I'm one of those freaks who functions better when my partner is away, and not cluttering up the decision-making processes. For a bit. Then when he does come home he is welcomed openly, rather than growled or grunted at. Everyone wins.

Spent far too much of this day dismayed or depressed. Thankfully I am armed with a great new fluffy yet engaging book, Nancy Farmer's The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm.