30 November 2005

Being Cassandra

Thank God for Astryngia and her miraculous way of digging up the sort of vital information that parents of Aspies need, yet seems purposely hidden in amongst un-parent-friendly gobbledygook, the jargon steeped secret language of the 'professionals'.

Looking at the way the SEN Code is simplified into basic leaflets so that teachers can understand it, each sheet with no more then five summarised points like a Powerpoint presentation, I wonder how even our educators are supposed to get hold of the latest findings.

Anyhoo, that's how I know that this all encompassing frustration, this urge to become squeaky and tearful in pained disbelief is called being Cassandra'd.

Son has a new teacher. She has spoken with him, come to agreements with him and generally set herself up to manage him properly. This is as much to do with her personal pride as anything, but her admirable determination to excel seems to exclude me. Close home-school communication doesn't fit into a career path where the emphasis is on single handedly saving the day. Admitting that there is anything to discuss or anything that a parent could add to the plans she already has in place is just not in her game plan. I found out today that I am being sidelined - that 'close home school communication' now means me getting 'told' (well after the fact) rather than being involved.

I have just had to challenge her assumptions, ask her bluntly whether she sees the points I raised in an email as an attack on her (excellent) school, or, as I intended, as concerns that Son's differences can disrupt the flow of even an excellent school, and cause him distress as much as anybody else. Its about the boy being too much for the system, not about the system being below par. There are such fine lines to tread.

Thank God this school actually has been excellent for a good few years since he was diagnosed; that he wasn't written off. Thank God I have experienced being treated as part of a team who all want the same thing, because the sensation of shrinking in height was tangible, the dark pit of chaos and fear. The old, pre-diagnosis feeling of being treated like some sort of weirdo pushy mother who should be dismissed condescendingly as an annoyance and disruption. It flooded back in a split second and threatened to overwhelm me.

Catch 22 is if you let them see your total frustration, become squeaky or red faced or apologetic or even angry, if you become a gibbering wreck in response to their cold blindness, you only underline their original conclusion.

I have Parentlink on my side. Well, correct that, on my child's side, but part of that support for him requires that his mother is treated with due respect and not reduced to a quivering wreck of no use to anybody. Parentlink is the name for our local LEA Parent Partnership Service, and every LEA has one. Bloody invaluable.

Teachernet says:

Working in partnership with parents is a very important aspect of the Code of Practice. A strong partnership is required between the school and the parents/carer. Every effort should be made to encourage parents to work with the school and other professionals, to ensure that their child's needs are met as early as possible. In order for them to play an active part, you should provide relevant information so that they can reinforce learning in the home. With the SENCO and your support, parents should be able to:

  • recognise and fulfil their responsibilities as parents and play an active and valued role in their child's education;

  • (more stuff about understanding the forms and procedures)
For Astryngia's benefit (I'm sure she's seen it) the page on gifted and talented pupils says:
Teachers should aim to make learning challenging and enjoyable, so that all pupils, including the gifted and talented, achieve their full potential. Gifted and talented pupils need to be given opportunities to study some, or all, subjects to a greater depth and breadth and, sometimes, at a faster pace. However, it is important to bear in mind that, whether gifted or talented, a pupil is first and foremost a child who will need encouragement and support in order to develop as a whole person. This support is crucial where there are marked discrepancies between a child's gifts or talents and their emotional, physical or social development, or where there are specific learning difficulties.
There are hoops to jump through, procedures to follow. Never mind if you can see your goal two steps away; as a parent of a school age child, you are part of a team. If it involves holding hands with all these professionals, telling them they are all wonderful and expert and invaluable and life savers (sometimes its true) and skipping in circles singing Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush all at the same time, then watch me. Its slow, its frustrating and it makes me want to cry sometimes but at least its a way forward.

29 November 2005

Compromising Positions

Rachel and Ally got me on to this rather heavy train of thought.

Rachel wrote an excellent article for the Sunday Times on being attacked by a rapist. Ally's situation is more complicated and for that perhaps harder - but it was still rape.

How can a date rape be harder to come to terms with than a horrifying, sudden and assuredly unprovoked attack that leaves obvious physical damage?

Society has no clear and unified opinion on what is considered unbearable provocation. 34% of us, apparently, believe that women who dress 'provocatively' (deliberate inverted commas) are, consciously or subconsciously setting out to provoke not just sexual attraction, but sexual action; that if our mouths say No but our clothes, by the observer's standards, say Yes, then the wardrobe should be given more credence than the voice.

Rachel, poor Rachel, was at home minding her own business when a man knocked on the door, pretended to be a neighbour and forced his way in, brutally attacking her.

Ally, however, was in a relatively trusting situation, one on one, when things got too heavy for her, but her 'partner' decided she didn't really mean no. That, or he decided some accidental action of hers perhaps hours earlier had already said yes, and so wasn't even listening any more. He was going to get his end away, end of story. Her obvious injuries are miniscule in comparison, but so is the outrage and defence that society awards her for that; so much so that she only chose to tell her story years later and on a blog rather than defending herself at the time or trusting in the understanding of persons nearer to her heart. She had no confidence, after the event, that she was (and would be accepted as) in the right, or clear of blame.

Some will think I am talking out of my earhole already so to set the record straight, I have been badly beaten in the past, several times. Not as badly as Rachel, but well enough to know the mental clarity of expecting to die, the physical disassociation, the strange awareness that after the first good punch nothing hurts - you know its happening but the mind is working too fast and furiously to take in the pain and really recognise it. I remember one good punch when the tirade stopped because I was pregnant - we skipped the full drama and he jumped straight to the tears and the 'look what you made me do - this isn't me - I'm not like this with anybody else - what are you turning me in to?' Yawn, yawn, yabber yabber, bull, bull. At the time it was enough to make me wonder if it really was somehow my fault, if I was that shrewish and antagonistic, but only after I had stood in front of a mirror, watching as my cheek swelled until the skin split. No pain, no feelings anywhere, except this strange and disassociated notion that if I covered the 'normal' side of my face, the rest made me look really quite like Diana Ross.

I still carry the scar. Going to hospital for a stitch or two would have been suicide.

Thank God for physical shock, its a wonderful thing.

I have also been, well, lets call it compromised, or obliged, if you will. I know the feeling of filth and invasion, the horror of thinking you will never be clean again, as if the semen has soaked into your very skin, and up into your brain - that you are permanently tainted in a manner that no amount of scrubbing or praying or fretting will ever reduce. You are stolen, even from yourself. Its worse, way worse, than being physically broken.

I guess I should call myself lucky that even when the same man was involved, the two didn't happen at the same time.

Rachel is asking what forgiveness means to us. I suspect however that Ally has found it easier to forgive her attacker than to forgive herself. If you see enough images proclaiming that men, or even some men, have no control, that women should take precautions against putting a man in the position where he can't control himself, then you start to question yourself. Before you can even start to forgive, you are beaten up inside with panic attacks over whether you made yourself out to be a whore, whether you did something stupid to trigger the sequence of events, whether you are stupid and foolish and gutter trash. Whether you 'asked for it.' They used to say it was only the good girls that got caught and I think to an extent that's still true, because people brought up to trust in the good nature of all people, in a universal sense of fair play; they are far more likely to find their faith rudely shattered, by whatever kind of abuse.

Nobody tolerates something that is horrifying to them unless there appears to be no other safe option. That means that at any stage in your personal development, you will have different ideas of what constitutes an unbearable alternative. The real option you are facing doesn't have to be death - it can also be isolation or any situation perceived as ongoing and fearful, particularly when your first attacker/misunderstander is being determinedly forceful rather than indiscriminately violent. Like having a tooth pulled, acquiescing to rape (and by that I mean accepting that your protests aren't working and feeling instead hopeless and helpless) is often a toss up between the short lived horror followed by a regaining of control, or an ongoing terror such as being stranded or even just ridiculed. Ridicule is such a powerful threat to teenagers.

When my first marriage became increasingly violent, I assisted in hiding that fact - play-pretending to the world that everything was alright, unable to take the shame at the outset and unable to wrap my head round the concept that this behaviour was anything more than an aberration - that the real man was the reasonable one that had courted me. Later, when it became a matter of life and death rather than 'mere' total humiliation, my dearest other would beat me senseless over some perceived slight. The guilt would step up a notch if I had felt safe in company, had had a drink so that I felt enough false bravado to contradict him, but generally it was to do with me smiling or looking at another man. Or getting his dinner wrong. He would physically and verbally bruise me, draw blood somewhere or other, and then within half an hour become fixated that having sex would mean it was all alright again. I don't even want to begin to count the number of times I chose to be raped rather than have my injuries doubled or tripled by his renewed anger, I chose to grit my teeth and hate the process in exchange for getting him to relax, getting a chance to creep to the bathroom and cry silently or investigate how much damage accompanied the pains I was feeling; getting out from under the threat of more violence.

See that's the bite. I always had a choice. I could have chosen to die instead, I could have chosen to wait until he was sated and scream for help, run to the police, hope that marital rape would be taken seriously enough to protect me from his predictable reaction. Some will say that means I asked for it.

In the end, however, we clothe ourselves with our own opinion. We 'wear' shame. We also wear rationalisations, validations, excuses; some of us wear the existential concept of isolation to an extreme that we hold faith that our personal experience is the only one of consequence. People in that state are in danger of being dangerous.

I do really believe that there is a moment of judgement (even if self judgement) when we die/have died. I say moment, but as existence outside of time is timeless, it is also an infinity.

I believe that we stand naked before God, and that means naked of our little defences or burdens, stripped of society's standards and emotional baggage and any sort of back up for our decisions.

Then we get to see/feel/understand what we did. In one split second (or eternity) we get to experience the pains, disappointments etc (and joys and revelations too) that we put upon others.

Each and every single one of them - the whole life story from the other perspective, and in panoramic view.

The lot.

On the head.

At once.

This is how I forgive people. I or their 'victims' may still be wearing the damage they did. I may be jumpy or hyperalert to some triggers, or still secretly convinced, somewhere deep down inside, that I am a useless, antagonistic slapper who deserved it, although my rational mind denies it. All that and yet I can still forgive them.

I know I forgive them, because I could not put them through what they put me through. If there was a button to push, to make them experience the pain without me even having to get my hands dirty, I couldn't push it. I wouldn't wish that on anybody. If I had the chance to exact personal and equal retribution, I would walk away.

Just the concept that God, in standing before them without love or hate or partiality, just in allowing them the sight of him, will cause them to realise every pain they caused me, all at once - but more, every pain they ever caused another living soul - that makes me cry for them. It is a fate too horrible to contemplate and compared to that I am in no way a victim - they are. There, but for the grace of God.

You can't hate someone once you have cried for them, trust me. Sure, you can still fear them, avoid them, all that, but forgiveness is the conscious act of clearing a debt, of refusing to extract repayment, even a token payment of discomfort or understanding a little of how you felt. Forgiveness is giving up the concept of revenge.

Who Is Bad?

This could have been a post about original sin. I mean, if the very first sin was 'eating the fruit of knowledge' after God said no, then a whole thesis could be penned on whether the decision to ignore him was pig headedness or disdain, independence, feeling we know better, conceit, the need for power and control, or even all of the above.

One interesting truth about us as a race is the one often overlooked in this story - that we do fear to cross boundaries without some sort of perceived approval. Eve wouldn't have dared, except that the snake was there to rationalise with, was standing there (he had legs at the time, in this story?) egging her on and promising understanding and support and validation. He wasn't enough though - she desperately needed her other half to understand her, and the story repeated.

Crossing boundaries, overcoming morals or expectation to deliberately commit a perceived sin is something we rarely if ever do on our own. No, this isn't going to head off into a discussion of the perils of television, of normalising shocking events; nor of how a man, pushed too far by one means or another, can turn into a suicide bomber. I'm not even going to sidestep into the biblical advice to hear, see and speak no evil, although it makes sense. The only way to wrap your head round some things is to concur that they are not so unspeakable or unthinkable, to face your own potential for overstepping the mark.

The first instructions to mankind in this tale were:
  1. Go forth
  2. And multiply
  3. Subdue the earth
  4. and all that is in it
OK so that's inbuilt
  1. Curiosity
  2. Reproduction
  3. Need to feel in control
The funny thing is that, depending which version of the bible you read, it adds that God's intention was for mankind to live all over the planet. Either, then, he never intended for Adam and Eve to stay put in the Garden of Eden, or they weren't originally the mankind this refers to. They do turn up a chapter later and the only tag for the timing of their creation was that it was before the rains. Sadly there's nothing in the seven day creation story about making it rain at all - the waters of heaven and earth were separated, but there's nothing about making them swap places yet. This idea would also explain how Adam and Eve's children found wives and how Cain could have been killed by other humans when he got evicted. I'm stopping here before this becomes a query about missing links.

Okay so where are we? We feel more fully alive and validated when we are
  1. In control
  2. Conquering something
  3. Exploring (whichever boundary you personally choose to push)
  4. Having sex (when point 1 also applies)
  5. Getting approval (Eve got it from the snake, Cain didn't from God)
These are inalienable and unavoidable urges, but couple them with desensitization to outrage, absorption of the possibility and potential to achieve these by ignoring the needs of another; by considering ourselves to be deserving of more control and superior to or in more urgent need than others, and you have the root cause of every sin on this planet.

Compare yourself to any person who achieves more or less than you in the list above, and you have the root of jealousy, anger, rape, violence, pride, conceit, disdain, bitterness, theft, greed, even at its lamest the root of an inconsiderate and selfish attitude. Find others who feel the same and you bolster those bad things up with validation. Heck, we actively search for other people, news or soundbites or movie clips to build us up in our wrong attitudes, because the wrong is endemic now and so much of what others do causes us anguish. We rush to build ourselves new castles, to defend and reinforce our sense of personal right to this, that or the other. We're all infected.

This post was going to be about something else entirely, but the foundations of what I had to say have erm, expanded slightly on the page.
Split into two. See next post up.

28 November 2005

Haieeeee Yah!

Horribly Fascinating, or Fascinatingly Horrible?

I had heard of, but never seen, the US 1950's propaganda movie 'Duck And Cover'. I knew it was appallingly inadequate, like the leaflets and 'public information films' in the UK that suggested setting a mattress at an angle to the wall and hiding the whole family behind it. What I didn't realise was that, in the middle of being totally ineffectual, the entire film was targeted at what look like seven and eight year olds. Was America that ready to be blown up, that they terrified a whole generation? As if my mind was desperate to tangentialise in the middle of all this, I couldn't help noticing how fat and unfit the 'expertly trained fire service' appeared to be. Put it this way, none of them had to tuck their willies out of the way, coming down the pole. Its just under ten minutes long.

Here it is - click on the picture.

If you fancy something just as mindboggling, but in a completely different way, then this next one is a one and a half minute clip from a 1970's TV extravaganza produced in Finland, and is almost hypnotic in its erm,...........

words fail me.
Get the groovy close-up on the fancy footwork, dude.


  1. I never washed the school uniform until Sunday afternoon.
  2. Last night I left it all in the tumble drier.
  3. Got up this morning to find that the condenser box was full, the drier had run on cold, and the clothes were still wet.
  4. When they were dry I rushed to fold just enough items, so there were no creases and they were warm and toasty, for putting on straight away, but I left the drier door open a little.
  5. I forgot about the rest of that load until there was more wet laundry to go in there.
  6. I just went to pull the last soft, white, school polo shirts, socks and underwear out of the drier and I couldn't.
  7. Because the cat was in there, asleep on them.
  8. Back in the wash.

27 November 2005

Just To Complete The Set

To keep in the same vein (pun) as the previous three posts and to have an entire front page dedicated to knobs (English meaning) of one form or another, did you know that there are:

All known as (The) Willies/Willys?

Apparently the Brothers Grimm also wrote a fairy tale entitled The Boy Who Wanted The Willies.
Well I never. I don't remember THAT turning up in any childhood library books.

A Dongle is now a hardware device for protecting copyright, apparently. I'd love to meet the geek who thought up THAT one.

Oh todgers.

Speaking of Knobs....

Presumably it was just in the UK, then, but how many of you sang along to Grease, changing the words of 'You're The One That I Want' to 'You've Got a Wobbly Knob'?

I honestly thought it was everybody.........

A Knob By Any Other Name....

Searching for a picture of one of these:
I came across these:
According to a site for Kentucky Fiddlers (of the musical variety one assumes,) they are apparently known as the Blue Knob Boys.

Is there something going on in Kentucky that we should know about, or does the word not translate across the pond?

And Now For Something Completely Different....

Yup, that was it. But you have to agree with the Python Team even after, oooh, about 30 to 35 years, it's still completely different!

That takes some doing.

26 November 2005


If there's one thing worse in this world than opening your big mouth without engaging your brain, then its knowing you offended someone you respect, in the process.

If there's anything possibly worse than that, its merely suspecting you offended someone, but not being able to reach them to apologise/grovel/work out what you did, or how what you meant and what they heard differed. Being denied the right to know for sure and therefore the right to negotiate or move on. Being 'cut off' with no explanation and left to let your imagination run riot.

In NLP it's called abruptly breaking rapport, and it actually leaves you feeling so daft and lost and judged and confused, as if someone pulled your chair away just as you sat down.

The long silence. The one that would be so inconsequential if everything was normal, but when you are on tenterhooks to know whether you blew it, feels like being snubbed, ignored, cold-shouldered. Except you can't wrap your head round that or come down to the nitty-gritty of how salveagable the situation may be, nor what you need to do about it, because you don't actually know for sure.

It will wear me down in the end. I don't know how to do the dance, you see, I will wait so long in torment and then, being the all or nothing sort, when I can no longer tolerate hanging on with all hope, I will cut off completely.

When you've done it wrong, people who respect you will tell you, won't they? No beating about the bush, but direct and honest condemnation or whatever else it is they want to express. The way I see it, if they don't have the time or the be-bothered to let you know where their thoughts are, then they don't really have much invested in the acquaintance. If they acted that way deliberately as some sort of punishment then, well, no, I really hope people grow out of that sort of ner-ner-na-ner-ner poison before they leave the schoolyard.

I guess I beat myself up too much, too often. I allow people to hurt me, and then I hurt myself wondering if they felt it was deserved, or if it really was deserved. In the end, when I am left to guess, to assume, to put two and two together; when (and in this case if) it turns out that connections have been severed with no explanation, then the residual feeling is one of dissappointment, not at anyones behaviour (my own included) but that I mistook a shallow person with a 'pick-em-up-and-drop-em' attitude for someone with a bit more backbone. That I completely misjudged. It will all lead back to worrying that I trust too quickly.

I don't want to be untrusting just to protect myself, but I am fed up with feeling confused and stupid when I come across people who seem to fly into your life, be unusually friendly and personal and then fly out again without the decency to let you know. Its so bloody frustrating.

Is this me displaying idiosyncracies close to the Aspie borderline again, or am I normal? Am I just a control freak with an unnatural need to understand whats going on? Do you ever get this too? Respect me enough to be brutally honest, please; I'd really appreciate that because I genuinely want to know.

25 November 2005

Caption Competition

This is a friend of mine at a recent awards dinner. Yes I am jealous of the glamorous work colleague he took as his date - she got a great dinner, got to see Olly in a penguin suit and by the looks is extremely ladylike and elegant. I am trying to work out whether this is fair enough compensation, however, for being quite so squashed by Paul Ross (UK TV personality and brother of the more famous Jonathan Ross)

Three cheers to Olly and his company, Zolv.com for being nominated, they handle some huge contracts and the accolades are well overdue.

Anyway - forget I told you all that and give me a caption!

Cast are: Paul Ross, C, Olly and Mr M.D.

Ode Re-allocated

Wrote this a year back, on Fanstory.com, when there was some 'battle of the sexes' banter going on.

Republished here in honour of a friend who has fallen head over heels in love BEFORE finding out that, ahem, personal relations with the love of her life can be a little on the impressive side. Never mind the cherry on the cake, we are talking cherry on a cocktail stick, methinks.

Pins and needles at attention,
Whether they be thin or thick
Cannot cause me apprehension,
Each a boring little prick

Rather would I have a chopper
Strong and sturdy in the shaft,
With a solid head, a whopper,
Any less is simply daft.

All this talk of weapon wielding
With no guarantee of size,
Are there secrets you are shielding
From our little mouse-like eyes?

Get the goods out on the table
Tell us what we're rhyming for
Give us reason, if you're able,
Recommend yourself a bore.

If you are not clean of habit,
Knowing how to wash a cup,
Scrap the deal and pass the rabbit,
Sorry dear, your number's up.

(Apparently in this case, he doesn't just wash up, he cooks, and even TALKS. She's hit the jackpot - good luck to her!)

Starbucks Challenge 2

I really like the idea of bloggers working together to make a difference, so if you fancy being part of a huge conspiracy (hehe) or to put it another way, you wouldn't mind doing one quick job as a volunteer secret shopper, heres what to do:
  1. Walk in to your local Starbucks
  2. Ask if you can get a cup of FAIR TRADE coffee
  3. Enjoy your coffee! (If you can get it)
  4. Come back online and report the result you got to these guys.
I can't play because, heck, we're not very civilised round here and we haven't actually got a Starbucks - which, to be frank, doesn't phase me in the slightest. Hallelujah for that, even.

Nonetheless, the company made a public promise and they've been caught out once for not keeping their word and claim to have resolved it. Apparently not so well. As a consumer, I like to know which stores are untrustworthy, regardless whether thats because of incompetence or plain lies.

Thanks to Siel (Green LA Girl.)

P.S. If you manage to play along before Nov 30th then theres a little prize for one or two lucky participants as a thank you. If, however, this whole 'say one thing, do another' issue gets your blood boiling (please notice how I tactfully avoided accusing a large, wealthy retail chain of out and out BS-ing the public), then I don't suppose it matters one jot if you think to test the local shop in the first weeks of December, I'm sure Siel and City Hippy would still want to know.

Pass the word!

24 November 2005

Aspie - Normal Translation

Maybe that should be the other way round.

I don't think I have Aspergers Syndrome.

I DO have less than perfect social skills and prefer a structured environment. Not in my house - it's a tip - but in my head and my dealings with others. I am capable of extreme creativity, of opening up my feelings and the like, but I need to feel complete and absolute control over the situation to allow that. I love people and crowds and multiple input and constant feedback and validation, and yet hermitage suits me too.

I am one of those weirdos who respects, for example, Simon Cowell. Yes he is rude and blunt but his focus never wavers. He is completely convinced that the whole focus of the competitors in X factor is to learn and improve. So many times he and Sharon Osborne effectively say exactly the same thing to a performer, but she will pad hers out with words about 'liking them' and 'appreciating their hard work'. Simon just can't see the point of that. When he speaks, how far you have come is irrelevant compared to how far you have to go. Absolute, blunt honesty. Structure. Predictability (in as far as his mood or the performer's emotional state will never change his focus.)

Call me nuts but I get a sense of safety from that. The guy might be incredibly insulting, but he doesn't lie. Is he Aspie? I'd lay money on it if I had any.

That's the crux. I feel safest in a bullshit free zone, where there are no undertones to a communication, no layers of consideration beyond the point that is 'officially' at hand. In face to face communication I too often forget that others have multiple agendas; to be blunt, I forget that they are not up to speed; that other factors get in the way for them.

Am I an Aspie? Computer says no. (Joke - Little Britain again - click on picture for soundbite mp3)

Where's the cut off line where someone does or does not have that condition, anyway? I could probably reach out and touch it from my place on the sliding scale.

Still, through a site called About.com I found an excellent forum for Aspies at WrongPlanet.net.

I've been reading the forum thread about fitting in to a school (which one member rightly pointed out should be about fitting in at a school, because otherwise it means managing to get your whole body to fit inside, like Alice at the White Rabbit's cottage.)

I so wish I could join. I so want to be seen as one of the family, part of the team, able to converse. I want to be accepted by these people.

Why? I produce Aspergers children. My daughters escape diagnosis, my sons do not, but they have male-female equivalent brains. The multiple channels between left and right hemisphere in the female brain mean that I and my girls can hide amongst the weirdos normals with more success. We never quite feel like part of the gang and end up as leaders or outcasts (although an outcast who neither cares nor notices becomes a leader very quickly - security is magnetic.) However we are not so blatantly unfitted to the sausage factory process that is our low budget, 'cram 'em in and push 'em out all looking the same' education system.

This is my gift. Sitting as I do, so close to the borderline, I am bilingual. I get, and overuse, analogy, a 'normal' skill. I understand a lot of what the normals are saying, if they don't put too many layers into it. I am crap at office politics, at sniping and one-upmanship. However, I speak fluent Aspie.

Things that Aspies don't really 'get':
  • dishonesty,
  • shallow or changeable opinion,
  • mood swings,
  • fuzzy word choices (body language and intonation do not factor so the precise words chosen are crucial.)

I guess most of all I want to plough into that forum and play translator. I want so much to convince these people that they should be proud, not browbeaten, that others attacked them. That the fear and isolation they feel faced with a bunch of 'normal' (bullying, sly, manipulative, changeable) kids is what each of those so called normals actively works to avoid feeling by trying frantically to establish themselves as 'better' (a.k.a. more homogeneously interchangeable with the pack) than someone else; that every time even an adult belittles someone else it is not about attack but about defence.

Aggression is born of fear. Fear is born of insecurity. The Aspies so need to wake up and realise that they are not subnormals trying to live up to normal expectations, but lions trying to live like mice. The mice are only in charge because there are more of them, but we need to help both species to learn that lions exist. Not always better, not always worse, but different.

Its ok to be a geek, its a special gift to be able to switch from hearing and sensing more than others can take in, to focusing so completely on a task that nothing else gets in the way. Why doesn't our society value our geeks? Why does what they can't do so well cloud our vision of what they can do better, instead?

OK so I have two goals. Motivation and translation. Its not enough that the Aspies find each other, or those with a high enough IQ to appreciate them. I want to tip them off to the basic workings of the less focused mind - how to walk through the world of mice without either squashing things with their big lion paws, nor stopping to take offence or feel hurt when some mice start belittling them for not being small and squeaky.

I want to be a bridge and a validator. I want to be their mum.

23 November 2005

Lady Lou - You Know Who You Are

This post is dedicated to a particular friend who has refused to be a Lou for her very own Andy.
Yup, that was it.

Confused? Its a UK TV show - Little Britain.

The Boys Are Back

Zilla .......

Your little friends are at it again.......

Click on the picture to see their latest video

Fair Trade - Please React Today

Just got this by email


120 days ago LIVE 8 rocked the world. Whilst the boys and girls with guitars made some noise, 3.8 billion of you turned up, tuned in, or logged on to show you wanted to change the world.

Well 5 days after the LIVE 8 concerts - the G8 leaders met... and they had heard us. It was an historic meeting which achieved more than any G8 in history. These are the commitments that YOU helped the 8 most powerful men in the world to make...

  • $50 billion more aid per year by 2010
  • AIDS drugs to all those who need them, and care for all AIDS orphans
  • primary schools for ALL children by 2015
  • a commitment to protect 85% of vulnerable Africans against malaria and
  • debt cancellation for 18 of the world's poorest countries
Oxfam reckons that if the G8 keep their promises, by 2010, these commitments will save 4.5million lives per year. You personally helped to make that happen. That's a hell of a result.

Now... the next part of this story is about to start - and there's another HUGE opportunity coming up. We HAVE to change the unfair trade laws so that people in extreme poverty have a chance to build themselves a future.

The crucial talks are happening right now, and the main man there is Peter Mandelson. The talks aren't going well - in fact they're in pretty desperate straits - and there's a real chance they're going to fail completely.

But we absolutely can't let that happen without one last push, and without letting them know that the people of the world still demand a result. Mandelson needs to know that we want him to do everything he can, and more, in the interests of the poor. You can tell him this in literally 30 seconds by clicking here and emailing him. Please do it RIGHT NOW - JUST CLICK HERE - it's INCREDIBLY SIMPLE and if you do it, WITHIN 20 MINUTES YOUR PERSONAL MESSAGE WILL BE IN HIS INBOX. 2 million of you are getting this email today. That's a seriously powerful message. It's a real fight - but we need you once again to line up shoulder to shoulder with the poorest people in the world to stop them getting screwed.

We will NOT let our world leaders fail in their duty to stop the scandalous deaths we see on the news every night. Send the email. Do it.

Do it now. Click here.

Bob Geldof

Be my guest - copy this, spread it around, share it by email or just plain follow the links!

22 November 2005

3am - Almost Home

I was so certain I had posted this before, but I can't find it - it would have been about a year ago anyway. So, for lack of anything remotely creative erupting from my few officially functioning braincells, and in honour of the weather, have (a reprise of) a story like what I wrote, about the snow. Now. Before it comes true and becomes crass and inappropriate.

3am Almost Home

Freezing cold and drunk as a skunk, I am doing the sensible thing and ploughing forward through the snowy city streets toward home, as if I have a purpose. It is bitterly, viciously cold and the glower I wear is only half affected, although it helps to complete the image and keep me safe.

Indoors, at John's house, I only knew that the evening was mellow, that I was in good spirits and that the port was delicious. Now, out here in the frost, I realise I am thoroughly pickled because my limbs are fluid and flexible. My face, though frosted with new snow, has a warmth in the cheeks that defends the bone. Hat? Yes, I could probably have done with a hat, but I'll live.

This is getting me far too many concerned glances from couples taking their time after cosy nights out, but the task now, alone as I am on the seedier edge of London, is to stride forward with a purpose. It helps to be viewed as someone local and streetwise and therefore discarded as potential victim by the con-artists, gigolos and druggies looking for the price of a McDonald's hot chocolate, or maybe a score or a fumble.

The scowl of deep thought is my saviour, although the most I can manage is to concentrate on walking in a straight line fast, on making sure I am still heading in the right direction. There are snowflakes on my teeth; that's annoying.

Thank God for this Crombie overcoat, solid ancient wool, the pride of an old man's wardrobe consigned to the back of a second hand shop and spotted and claimed by frugal, clever me. The lining, pure silk, may be dropping off out of old age, but the thick, weathered wool still does its job. My toes are numb, my bare calves also, but my chest is warm and safe, my throat protected from the scorching ravages of evil weather.

Oh God, why won't my tear ducts work? I am grateful for this steadfast, bulldog attitude, but the child, the woman inside me wants to cry, so hard. So far to walk, six or seven miles, in this damned snow storm. Every bench I pass, every warm and welcoming light from long closed stores, all make me want to stop a while, but I dare not. It will be 3am before I reach home even at this rate. I don't ever want to see him again, but can't believe he hasn't got into his car to make sure I am all right. I am sticking to the longer, safer main-road route, why hasn't he come looking? I hope he's OK.

An hour ago now, just when the last bus had gone, when the train station was locked up, tucked up for the night, he had told me it was all over. He timed it, I think, to try and guarantee 'one for the road', or a snuggle and a cuddle and 'good vibes' in the morning, I don't know.

I don't care, either, damn him. I suspect he wanted to force the break-up into civility, into the path of minimum guilt, where he could convince himself it was mutual, darned sleaze ball coward, he wanted to have his cake and eat it. Then again, if he is so intent on saving face, on keeping his gentlemanly reputation, why isn't he here? Where is the warmth of his car? Where is the brotherly affection he swore, like some booby prize, always to hold for me?

My legs are not so cold now, though they probably ought to be. They don't feel assaulted like they did when I set out, more like lead. I dare not stop walking, nor even change my pace because I doubt anything keeps me moving forward any longer, other than momentum.

I have crossed the river. Two towns to go, and the tourist traps all behind me. No more pretty street lights, no fancy shops and restaurants. The dregs of humanity are mercifully absent, for if they were here, they would not be the last drunken revellers, well dressed and in couples, heading home to continue the romance of an exotic meal. They would be something else; the drunks and drug addicts, woken at last from alfresco slumber, or moved on from their corners; the disavowed and disappointed; people like me. Gutter trash.

Right now the gutter looks good, warm somehow, perhaps half a degree safer than the blast of icy wind at head height. Dirty nooks between phone boxes and office walls, where dust and grunge have settled and combined because the wind cannot sweep them, these look inviting. They make me hanker.

My God, but I downed that port. I must have known that something wasn't right, that I was losing my grip on reality no matter what, because I hid in its intoxicating fumes, guzzled them like a defence, or a suicide. How many glasses had I drunk after he told me? Why didn't he stop me? He was smiling. Bastard. I am paying for it now. I'm not entirely sure I should feel this woozy, just on port, when all's said and done. It's a silly thought, I have only known him two or three weeks, but no, he wouldn't have, I'm certain.

I am just so tired. I don't want this any more, and I doubt I can do it, either. Even as my rational mind is fired onward through fury and indignation, through hurt and surprise, my strength is so completely used that I want to cry again. The five-year-old side of me is winning now, cold beyond cold and out the other side, into stiff but warm incapacity and wailing, teeth-gritting defiance. She wants to stop, demands to shut these eyes and sleep, until this weather is all gone away. Better to take the shortcut, across the fields; sticking to the roads I just know I won't make it.

Willing my legs to keep moving doesn't seem to work so well any more, this is painful. There are no doorways here, no bus shelters or phone booths. In fact there's only half a mile or so to go, I can see the lights of the houses, but near enough is good enough, it will have to be. The hedge seems a good enough shelter, yes, it is, it rocks and cajoles me like a mother to its child; I swear that as we meet and meld, I do not stoop. Simply the world revolves around me and there is no up or down. This is peace, this is comfort.

I don't need to close my eyes any more. The snow is so pretty, settling on my legs and on my tongue. This is warmth, and this is home; this is as far as I go.

I think there must have been something else, back at John's, something more than the alcohol, to make it impossible to leave. But I did it, oh yes, I walked out on him and that is my triumph. Shame my temper only carried me so far, but that's life. I wonder if he'll ever know, or care?

Still Here

Still smoking. Like the magic porridge pot my 50 gramme pouch of baccy still has dry stuff in the bottom and so I'm just keeping on keeping on. I'm starting to think about drinking lots of water, but not until I've got the kids to school. A couple of pints from the cold tap probably isn't too wise until I'm back indoors in the warm.

Are my UK friends all stocked up and prepared to spend next week at least, stuck indoors? Haha, we're not. A month ago the news was all about the worst winter for a decade (remember 1996?), now some helpful souls are mumbling about the worst since records began in the 1800s.

Anyway - got a claim form to fill, then an appeal to write up re son's schooling next year, then a letter needs sending to the County so they can dish his special needs Note in Lieu out to all and sundry, then a meeting to organise, a website to look at rebuilding and I'm half way through an online dreamweaver course with the HTML one standing ready, so I'm not around much, this week.

I console myself that most of my American friends will also be around less and less with the work of Thanksgiving to do, so its perfect timing, if it has to happen.

I may go down my Da Silva downloads - they have a real nutzoid way of looking at life - the ones I found try to draw punters in not with the prospect of changing their own attitude, but with the prospect of using some sort of mind control over circumstances and other people, so the lower level chat rooms are full of people claiming to have 'imagined' X into liking them, or Y into giving them money.

I didn't hang around to see if the attitude gets readjusted at the upper levels, but their very early audio files for getting into a relaxed state are fantastic and they have a built in safety switch (from my perspective) at the point that they start suggesting we can reach other planets with our minds. Then the back of my own mind sticks its tongue out and starts chanting 'Cuckoo, cuckoo!' Instant wake up call.*

I don't care. The earliest tapes are just about getting you so relaxed that they can plant these silly suggestions in the first place. Although my mind won't have them, its still very restful up until then.

So, stress levels first (in a manner that doesnt involve sleeping for a week) followed by lots and lots and lots of paperwork - unfortunate as I generally smoke more at my own keyboard, so probably followed or interrupted by more work on the stress. Oh, and someone's bringing the kids home for me today and will expect a cup of tea, so I have an hour with bin bags and laundry and bleach to squeeze in there somewhere before three. Jolly fun.

Yup, this week, unashamedly, it's all about me. I'm trying to be strong and resist the urge to play comment fairy when I should be sorting my life out. Sorry.

Have you noticed, all the best people seem to be in their only little bubble of WTF at the moment? Deja Vu - we all had this back at the eclipses. Then it was about changing outlook, now it seems to be about facing the mess. Its nice when theres a cosmic pattern, when you can see the rest of the class scowling over their own exam papers too.

Advice for the day: Try and smile. If nothing else, it scares people. :-)

*If that offends anyone, then sorry, tough. I have enough rubbish in my head without letting other people poke their own faiths and beliefs in there while I'm not looking. I prefer to establish personal conjecture only when I'm wide awake, thank you very much.

Oh Bugger. Add one more to the list - finish the T-shirt shop. This to happen as soon as possible, which will be when I'm far enough into my study courses to be happy with my artwork, which means after all the school related stuff, but still.

Tut, tut, tut.

21 November 2005

Found a New Favourite.......

Taking care of my crystal balls

by Madam_Zuzh

Many people have often not said to me "madam zuzh how do you manage to keep your balls so clean?"

well my dears. I rub my balls regularly, sometimes with a damp cloth or sometimes I get Mr sheen to spray his goodness on them and wipe them over with a large chamois

Martin and Charlie dont take my calls any more

know you later

Madam Zuzh

So, I'm a Focker?

The Movie Of Your Life Is A Black Comedy

In your life, things are so twisted that you just have to laugh.
You may end up insane, but you'll have fun on the way to the asylum.

Your best movie matches: Being John Malkovich, The Royal Tenenbaums, American Psycho

Why am I SO not surprised?

Thanks, Writer Mom.

19 November 2005

Overshadowed #2

There is something defiant, brave even in voicing the unfair things in life, in having the daring to put it all to paper or announce that this or that is happening. Its a way of disassociating, of denying unfounded guilt the chance to take hold, a way to stand up to things.

It takes it all out of the shadows, where depression and shame can thrive and pushes it into the cold light of day, where there is nothing to hide because nothing remains hidden.

Its therapeutic.

However, once you have stared at the scary monsters long enough, once they neither diminish nor grow but sit there inanimate - then to continue to declare them is to volunteer yourself as victim. They won't go away, but they don't appear to have any immediate intention of killing me, either. Red alert is unjustified now.

I have some stuff going on (so who doesn't? Its November, which is statistically bad anyway, plus the start of a Grand Cross, a time for battening down the hatches no matter who you are.) I allowed it to exhaust me and scare me a bit, but I am not a victim, heaven forbid. As emotional aerobics, I am 'feeling the burn' and that can only mean one thing - tomorrow the weights won't have gone away, but the muscles I use to deal with them will be bigger and stronger.

Thanks to those who read - who allowed me to mouth off and review things.

I got the comments by email and I've kept them. There's no way I'd lose them, they helped so much - those attached to the post and the ones that arrived by other means.

There's treasure and then there's treasure.

18 November 2005

Graphic Meme

Cyn at Cynter has a meme going on. Husband saw it and played and now I'm passing it on.

This is how you play:

Do a Google image search of the following and post the first (or favorite if you want to cheat, but label it so) result for each:
  • The name of the town where you were born
  • The name of the town where you live now
  • Your name
  • Your grandmother’s name (just pick one)
  • Your favorite food
  • Your favorite drink
  • Your favorite song
  • Your favorite smell
So here are mine, all using the first graphic to come up, apart from Seaford:

Yup the view here was framed by the Adshel bus shelter. Yes the whole of the Uxbridge Road is like an Indian market full of exotic foods and fabrics and an impressive range of brass and plastic goods. They like their plastics; so do I.
I think the bus shelter was used to cut out views of warring, triple parked motorists.
Yes, it's wonderful.

This is the second graphic claiming to be of our home town, as Husband used the first that came up. Notice how neither actually displays this seventies suburbia-by-sea, but rather more picturesque views looking away from town.

At first I thought 'Yes! This'll do for representing me!' But then I looked closer. There is something inherently wrong with men with:

more moisturised skin than mine,
more exfoliated skin than mine,
better hair than mine, with more (any) glistening 'product' in it,
men with no body hair at all,
men with obviously plucked eyebrows.

And what's the woolly hat for, indoors; first line crab defense?

Okay, okay cut the laughing.
One of my grandmothers had the dubious honour of carrying the 'must have' family middle name. Shut up.
The Welsh Gibbons are a good bunch and I can see why the family association would be carried on - even if it might have been better to give the marker to a male child?

Creme Caramel
Its just one of those seasonal treats that you can manage somehow, even when the idea of eating anything else makes you think you'll burst. Best enjoyed on a really full stomach, though, because otherwise there's nothing much to it so it involves consuming loads and getting weird looks, or forgetting to tell the kids you actually bought any at all.

Just like this; neat, and by the tumbler.
Chill the bottle and sod the ice.
Not for sharing,
definitely for finishing.

Don't Come The Cowboy With Me, Sonny Jim
But only as sung by Kirsty MacColl

Fresh Cut Meadow Grass
Not your chemically assisted, perfect lawn variety, but
the stuff with some chloropyll left in it and a few wild flowers.

YOUR TURN! leave me a comment so I know who to come visit?

Thought In Progress

BirdyChirp did a great post a while back about crass and thoughtless Charity organisers - there are evidently still a few of those about. Until I read that, I confess I hadn't thought much about it, so the following is my own learning curve. Fire away.

It is marketing genius, I think, when people are used to running the gamut of rattling cans for this, that and the other charity, to offer would-be contributors a huge payback in terms of kudos and self approval. Its why Children In Need and Red Nose Day are so popular - people get into the spirit of it as if its an annual holiday - some get their faces on the telly for having picked something 'whacky' to do and drummed up sufficient sponsorship. People team up at work or in their street and all congratulate each other.

I have to wonder how third world kids would feel, if they were expected to show gratitude for Red Nose Day by watching clips of, say, people sitting in baths of baked beans, to raise money. Hey kids, a whole bath full of food, and oh look at the big hairy man. And now its unfit to eat, isn't it? And listen, everybody's laughing. Tough luck! Ooh look, that whole school class is having a party with cake and ice cream to raise money for you, aren't you pleased? And there's a person who bought their fat kid six pairs of shoes because the shoeshop is donating some of the profits. Aww aren't they kind.

I get the feeling that a lot of people would stop playing or paying altogether, if scenes of the fun were used to torture the children. The system as it exists benefits everybody, but our idea of a lovely day to remember would be the third world idea of horrendous waste, or possibly an undreamed of heaven on earth.

Still, that's similar to how it must be for wheelchair users to attend a gala function (in their honour) and be regaled with self approving tales by the jammy gits who climbed a mountain and took beautiful shots of the views, to raise some money. Talk about rubbing it in. Take a knife and twist it, why don't you. "Oh Lordy Massa, thank you Massa, that's me in my place (just behind your pet Labrador that cost you more in Vets fees last year) and ever so grateful. You wanker."

The thing is, the kind and clueless don't actually see what they are doing. They continue to get a great deal of personal satisfaction and warm fuzzy feelings out of 'helping the less fortunate' and we as a society encourage this psychologically unhealthy leaning towards smother love. We bump up the egos of those that 'help', to encourage more money out of them, irrespective that it grinds into them the concept of difference as a victim state, as somehow being 'less.'

If hardly any of us had functioning legs, for example, there would be:
  • no steps,
  • no heavy doors,
  • no slim doors,
  • no silly thin supermarket aisles made more hazardous by special offer build-outs.
  • No huge gaps between trains and platforms,
  • no high handles or bolts
  • better parking regulations around kerb ramps,
  • wider, better maintained pavements.
You name it. The requirements would be the norm. As to doors (and even ceilings,) there probably wouldn't be any that were 6' tall. For the majority, for the wheelchair 'normals', there would be no point.

There would be precious little money put into research for things like hip replacements or even fallen arches and the poor sods who were born with functioning legs would be the ones being subjected to sympathy and pity because they couldn't keep up, couldn't play wheelchair basketball, never developed such strong arms, kept hitting their heads; or later in life had to shuffle painfully up slopes (when anyone who's had one dodgy leg knows that short steps would be much easier.)

The walkers would probably be complaining to government that the push buttons to open doors were too low down the wall, and too far from the door to get there before it slammed on your nose. That they were bullied at school, with their toes always run over, and quips about whether the air was thin up there. There, there, poor dears.

The thing that got me about the book I read yesterday, which was only 100 years old, was the way that difference was absolutely accepted as a victim state. The lesson that we are all human was dressed as being kind to the less fortunate. It was apologetic. It blatantly aimed to turn disgusted condescension into warm hearted condescension that would be rewarded by God; indifference or loathing into deigning to administer a pat on the head in exchange for those ubiquitous warm fuzzy feelings. In its defence, it had to work from a real starting point of ignorance and self interest, societal expectation and 'the done thing.'

If you look at people with a difference from you and come over all warm and fairy-godmother-ish, then good for you. Yes, pat yourself on the back, you are way better than the self interested types who have no time for egalitarian concepts. Just stop and check whether you also feel superior to the people you help. You're not. You're just different, and being in the majority is the only thing providing you with this false blanket of security.

Glad I got that off my chest.

17 November 2005

To Much With The Belly Button Pondering

THIS ONE is quite amusing, though.

Today, for lack of anything better to do, I read a book. There are plenty of them in this house, but needing something I had never read before, I turned to our collection of oldies.

Today I read The Girl Captives, A Story Of The Indian Frontier, by Bessie Marchant. Produced by Blackie and Son of Glasgow, there was no print date but it was presented to one Winnie Short, for attendance and behaviour, by the St Saviours Girls' Sunday School in Paddington, Christmas 1922 and must have been written during, or referred to, sometime between 1837 and 1901.

Today I learned many wonderful things about 'normal society' of the then recent past, how the virtue of kindness to others 'of a lower station' could be conveyed to the young women of the day.

I learned that even then, in the early 1920s, Germany was referred to as The Fatherland; that German traders would set up their stalls at an Indian festival market and that it was worth remarking, as unusual, that everything they sold was marked 'made in Germany'.

I learned that Queen Victoria (hence the dates, above) was referred to in India as The Great White Queen, or more familiarly as Kaiser-i-Hind, meaning Empress.

Heres an excerpt for you:

"Juliet bowed in her turn, her manner to the full as haughty as his. "It may be that the ransom will be paid in shot and shell if you do not have a care, Mr, Wuzeer," she rejoined haughtily, for somehow the little prime minister, with his foppish airs and affected manner, got upon her nerves to quite a serious extent, and she could rarely resist the temptation to have a fling at him when opportunity offered."


Dystopian Dreams

Writer Mom's Husband (may his tribe increase) hit a nerve for me yesterday.

Dystopia = Fear of Perfection.

I'm not saying that's what he's got, but I do, depending on the definition. My childhood understanding of perfection was that it was what you achieved in Heaven. A final state. Nothing more to learn or unlearn, all things open to your eyes.

That terrified me.

Like WMH I value the journey more than the goal; learning, teaching, helping, receiving, leading, following; all these seem so precious when compared to an unalterable state with nothing more to do or undo.

I wonder how many people out there accept the concept of a heaven and consciously write it off as a destination, imagining it as a place of ultimate stagnation.

I wonder how many of us fear that heaven will be hell.

But I was wrong. The richness, the beauty, the joy of imperfection is in the taste of awe, in the opportunity to marvel and feel so incredibly fulfilled when there's a happy ending or a silver lining or a reason for hope.

Yes hope is a traveller's armour - at the end of a journey there is nothing more to hope for, but hope is only a thin shadow of awe.

Glorious, marvellous - these are 'awe' words. That's why I believe that this life is play school; that heaven, or perfection, will not mean stasis but an eternal, empowered song of every shade of 'wow'.

Weepy movies, dawn light, children, even knowing you did right by someone and made things a little better for them, a genuine hug, knowing you played fair, knowing you didn't turn your back on others to look after number one - all these are tiny, playschool tasters of what is to come in University and beyond.

The things we value from this journey are like the chunky wax crayons that ME Strauss loves. They allow us to create, to express, to develop, but once we respect them, once we really understand them, well, I've heard then there's paints, and clay, and special paper and felt tips and inks that involve skill beyond our understanding. More and more and more.

I used to be terrified - not now.

16 November 2005

Analyse That!

In line with:
  1. My expertise at procrastination (Housework? What housework?)
  2. A comment made below by Writer Mom, which set me thinking, and
  3. A dream post at ME Strauss's site which got some good answers
I have decided to share a dream that I had a while back. Please bear in mind that I am a (relatively open minded) Christian and if that sticks in your gullet, think Theist / Monotheist with a belief in immediate communication.

Bear in mind too that I have spent a couple of years doing what I accused the reincarnationists of, which is basically staring at the seed catalogues and letting the garden go to pot - I stagnated. I am short of a life path and pretty self-involved about it. An egoistic dreamer and directionless time waster. I confess.

So, in this unhealthy and self involved situation I had a very bizarre dream and am willing to take any interpretations, however unflattering. Just don't pander to my ego and tell me I am wonderful because I will shoot you down in flames; I have to. I have a big enough head as it is and that's how the angels fell; they marveled at their own beauty. Believe me, I am, not so secretly, flaming amazing, so I know how easy that is to do.


I was up on a mountain with a bunch of amused looking and unnervingly hunky Tibetan monks and, a la Indiana Jones and the Grail cup, was asked to choose 'the real prayer bowl'. You know, the one that rings so perfectly that you can travel with the sound, are the sound - the one where time and form and everything break down or are at least traversable. The one that touches eternity and everything in between.

I forget what I chose, but it was in among ridiculously grand items and also plainer wooden ones, and even, for some reason, ornamental pottery chickens. Anyone want to tell me if Tibetan monks really revere, or liken themselves to, domestic chickens? I mean, even sing songs about them?

The secret in my dream is that the bowl is not the bowl; the bowl is really only the gong, the tuning fork, if you like - we are the bowl. We are that which reverberates and that which creates the multilayered, perfect, breathtaking and physically incapacitating tone.

I've never heard or experienced a sound like it and I've had several stabs at meditating and praying in an effort to revisit the dream and hear it again. Marginally addictive, to say the least. That said, there have been periods where I forgot all about it. This was one such time, until Writer Mom's comment.

Argue all you like whether this was a dream (lessons from the subconscious) or a vision (lessons from an external source) - it doesn't matter. What matters, and annoys the hell out of me, is that I (or whoever) tried to tell me something, show me something, and for a brief moment I got it. I still have no idea how it relates to the now, what to do with it, how to unlock it, what I needed to know about myself in practical rather than airy-fairy and self congratulatory terms.

Why tell me there's more tools in my toolkit, then leave me to wake up without the key? Why say 'this is important, but I'm not going to tell you what it is or what it does'?

Sound conceited? Yeah, I thought so too, which is why its taken me a couple of years to mention it. Do by all means bring me back down to earth, I'd be grateful.

All suggestions gratefully received.

Moon Madness

Yesterday I may have been fwarc-farcking at the walls, but it wasn't at the full moon, honest, and it doesn't count as howling. So there.

The clocks being back an hour now, it'll be another month before I am ignoring my husband again as he walks down the hill, in order to swim in the magic of starlight in the pre-dawn sky. Instead, today, I inched out of the porch in dressing gown and bare feet again, to find myself in an alternate universe, straight off the covers of a myriad science fiction paperbacks.

The sky was an icy blue, obviously daytime, yet the moon; the moon hung over the opposite roofs, in precisely the way that moons aren't supposed to (sorry Mr Adams;) completely round and perfect and taking up most of the picture. It looked like the rest was coloured in as an afterthought to fill the gaps.

A pure, fat, full moon, low and marvelously close and, well, silvery. It was a silvery moon; that's the only way to describe it. A silvery moon and a silvery morning and a silvery world. The uploaded picture doesn't begin to touch it. All that was missing was the wasteland, to make the publishers for Heinlein or Bear start copyright proceedings.

So that's what's been going on then.

My mother used to say (with disgust dripping from her voice) that there is 'no such thing' as depression, that it was an American made-up word for a made up condition, and that if normal folk judged their normal state by the so-called list of symptoms, then we'd all be bloody depressed all the time. She said that people get angry, or sad; worried or tired, and then they get over it.

Don't be too hard on her - as a ten year old girl, she stayed in London when war broke out, joined the leagues of scruffy, dirty, poorly dressed kids collecting paper and lead for the war effort by climbing through the rubble of neighbours houses to pick over their demolished property for recyclable items, whether or not old Mrs F or Johnny from school had been in there when it went down. She would be there with her bucket when the all clear sounded, waiting for the ARPs to declare the site safe. She grew up to join the Women's Auxilliaries and to drive the Green Goddesses and operate the radios for the emergency Fire Service.

She holds tight to the opinions of a survivalist. I think if she believed in fussy things like mantras, hers would be 'absorb it, accept it, make the most of it, move on.'

I adore her to bits, she has a heart of gold supporting that barren outlook, but never having had that sort of conditioning, I find keeping up with her to be hard work. You will find her still desperately rallying the troops for a sing-song, metaphorically speaking, still chivvying people up to laugh at disaster and move on, when mere mortals have gone into brain freeze. Her tolerance limits are so broad they are beyond my understanding, and I imagine that my need to draw lines a little nearer to home is a source of disappointment to her, in return.

Anyway, whether you call it mild depression or a fug, or a rut, grey moods can creep up on people. Barring real emotional torment, stress (another American psychobabble self-pity word, says mum) can do funny things. I appear to have been quite stressed recently, as evidenced by my coping strategies, which, pardon me for saying, are fluffing brilliant.

In complete retrospect (because annoyingly I never actually notice at the time,) I have:
  • Laughed more (ok maybe its been slightly hollow and a tad intense or scary, but ride with me here)
  • Gone into total denial and counted my blessings by finding people worse off than me and nagging them to death in an effort to 'help' instead of looking at my own mess
  • Worn 100% effective housework blinkers (well its the bottom of my priorities anyway)
  • Lived by the fire bell - ie done only those things that seemed demanding and crucial.
The crucial stuff falls neatly into three piles -
  1. the stuff I really don't want to do; filling forms, paying bills, keeping to other people's schedules etc.
  2. The morally essential stuff - being nice to my kids, feeding them, occasionally noticing they exist, getting them out in clean clothes.
  3. Defending and rebuilding my optimism, ie communicating longer and more profusely with funny or intelligent people without the hassle of having to smarten up the bag lady look first, ie blogging.
Thank you. Thanks to Husband who has cheerfully climbed over stuff on a regular basis to get in to his own house / out of his own bedroom. Thanks to you lot for not reacting to me like I'm a sandwich short of a picnic; I have been living off your comments. Thanks to my kids for being happy to kill each other/ throttle guinea pigs / trash their rooms / wait for dinner whilst I was blogging or commenting away online, and mumbling 'yes, in a minute dear' without ever actually getting up to do anything about it.

I am not proud. Silver moons and silver linings - I guess at least I have learned a masculine 'skill' in grunting at the appropriate moment and not really listening at all, but hey.

Its a full moon. The best day of the month for new beginnings, for turning over new leaves.

Or in my case, turning over old rubbish, and playing hunt the carpet before the lower lifeforms find it. Thank God we don't do Thanksgiving over here, because I (and my house) would be beyond redemption.

Gosh, that's thanks to just about everybody then, isn't that nice.

15 November 2005

Doing the Chicken

Everybody join in:

1. Get angry
2. Notice children or anally retentive types staring.
3. Smile in a slightly unnerving fashion, a la Stepford Wife or Politician-without-a-script
4. Bend knees
5. Bring hand up to shoulders and stick elbows out a bit
6. Maintaining the smile and stary eyes; pinch nose, begin to strut around, flapping elbows, with knees still bent and call:
7.Fwarc! Fucfucfucfucfucfuc. Fwarc! Fucfucfarc!
8.Repeat as necessary.

Trust me, its therapeutic.

P.S. This post doubles as my entry to fineartist's Self Portrait Tuesday. Its OK. This was last Christmas. The tablets helped.

Earlier On

Earlier I had a bee in my bonnet. I was planning a post decrying reincarnationalists as frustrating soft soapers. The oil slick on the sea of spiritual urgency.

I was going to moan about how saying someone else has a hard life because they earned it in a past life is morally reprehensible. I was going to rattle on about how looking to the next life or six to pack in all your learning is tantamount to an excuse for lifelong procrastination and looking after number one.

I really really was going to make the point that all the noisy ones (and perhaps the quiet ones are better, but as they don't speak up, theres no telling) seem either to be constantly concentrating on past lives or future ones, in preference to the one they're in. Result = it doesn't matter how many lives they've got, this one's wasted. If you have an hour to study or clean house you don't go look at the photo album instead.

If the idea of only one life to get the point is terrifying to you - then good. Wake up and start working on it, instead of bolstering up the masses that live for the next public holiday or purchase or other amusement.

Yup. Thats what I was going to say (barring a few disclaimers about possible extenuating circumstances such as early death, and God having the last word.)

Except now I can't be bothered.


Ten Questions

Kelscraggly (what a brilliant name) did this fun list a couple of days ago. I volunteered to play along because I am so altruistic full of myself. (I also haven't done LunaNina's list for a week or two, dang nabbit.)

1. What is your favorite word?
Love. Especially on Xmas cards or notes. Friends put 'Best Wishes'. Family put 'Love'.

2. What is your least favorite word?

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

4. What turns you off?

5. What is your favorite curse word?
Sorry, I just love them all.

6. What sound or noise do you love?
Solitary birdsong

7. What sound or noise do you hate?
Office electricals and fluorescent lights; monotone hoooosh-whrrrrrr all flaming day

8. What profession other that yours would you like to attempt?
Myofascial healing, definitely.

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything with small minds and bitchy politics - shop assistant, factory, school cook - I couldn't keep up with the subtext.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like God to say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Its okay, they all made it.

Anyone else?

14 November 2005

Jack Sparrow, Or A 'Done Bird?'

You scored as Captain Jack Sparrow. Roguish,quick-witted, and incredibly lucky, Jack Sparrow is a pirate who sometimes ends up being a hero, against his better judgement. Captain Jack looks out for #1, but he can be counted on (usually) to do the right thing. He has an incredibly persuasive tongue, a mind that borders on genius or insanity, and an incredible talent for getting into trouble and getting out of it. Maybe its brains, maybe its genius, or maybe its just plain luck. Or maybe a mixture of all three.

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

Captain Jack Sparrow


Batman, the Dark Knight


Lara Croft


Neo, the "One"


The Terminator


William Wallace


James Bond, Agent 007




Indiana Jones


El Zorro


The Amazing Spider-Man


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

Me? Twitchy? (The short version)

NOTE: Men: Don't even bother - because I know it gives you all brain ache if you read/see/hear a woman with issues that you can't wave a magic wand over. You can't provide a solution; trust me, so scroll on and find something funny. XXXXXXXX. Oh oops, except the link in the first paragraph, thats OK, but then you're gone, right? Bye bye. Love ya.

Have I used this picture before?

Possible; I have a brain like a fried egg today. If you've seen it already, see this 'artistic shot' instead - the picture should be enough for the men, but for me the nice thing is that it appears to be accredited to someone called Herb Bitts. Very appropriate.

If I could name the person who has run my life for the last few days, she would be Milly Tantbitch.

Did I tell you my name on psychic sites is Idano? Its a homage to my Red Indian spirit guide - No-Eye Deer. I used to have one called Running Bare but he led me astray.

Sorry. Cuckoo.

[PLEASE Insert 2,000 imaginary words of your choice on how schools suck, school authorities suck and what a hard done by and exhausted but combative and resilient (and scary) little genius I am]

I feel better now.

13 November 2005

TransGender Meme

Yup it sounds weird.

Thing is, I was over on fineartist's blog again (yes I know, I am a creepy stalker and I hang out there all day....), ahem, anyway; and Zilla said something about a new movie with a guy from Scrubs.

I adore Scrubs! So much, that if a Fairy GodMonster turned me into a man, I would want to be: Doctor Perry Cox.This has absolutely nothing at all to do with the fact that, given half a chance, I'd like to do John McGinley.

No. Nothing at all, honest. Hubba.

So I challenge (tag) you all - if you HAD to wake up tomorrow as a character of the opposite sex, who would you want it to be?

Do try to base your choice on character, not appendages, please.

Comment below and post the answer on your own blog, so I can come see!

A Letter To Jane The Plane

Dear Jane

I don't think you know you are a plane, but having been one myself, I think I can see it.

Not a Jumbo Jet, but a toy plane. Not those polystyrene things that bend the second you throw them, but a properly constructed, old fashioned, toy aeroplane; the kind with the strength to take a good rubber band inside from propellor to tail.

When we're working right, we don't bend at the first fall (or the second, or the third), we don't waft around ineffectually, we zoom. We are brilliant; and for that reason life, like a delighted little boy, seems to chuck us around a lot harder, play with us more often and whilst weaker items go on display we end up in the dog's bowl one day, stuck in a tree the next; down the back of the sofa too often to count, but are always fished out and always thrown again. Its the life of a really treasured possession and for that its okay.

But this is about your rubber band.

Life, the boy, has played too much, has wound your propellor a few too many times, and your overwound band has knots and kinks in it. You know it, I know it. If someone was to come up to you and show real sympathy at the wrong moment - heck, that band would unravel, and ones with knots in have this way of going sproing. Instead of soaring, something would bust.

So do it your way.

Let the pressure off little by little, in tiny steps. Keep on locking your propellor when you have to. Yes you'll look rigid. Yes friends offering comfort may be confused, but if some teddy bear from the toy box comes up to you with their emotional arms open and something inside starts to go twoing - if you feel yourself unravelling and about to collapse or explode, you have a right to pull your most furious look and shout 'Get away from the rubber band!'

Pace yourself. Find a weepy movie or soppy music and let just a tiny amount of the pressure off, one tiny ping at a time; or just plain decide to forget about it and go say something nice to someone else instead.

Right now, you are the only one who can see inside, who can tell when its safe to unravel a little more of the pressure, so go with your own instinct and take as long as you want.

Right, thats that said, now go see this.
But not if your stomach's a bit delicate. You have been warned. Its just that, if the above was a bit soppy for you, or came too close to making something go twang (all that bloody love and understanding - so annoying when you're holdin' it all together) then this is definitely an antidote.
I'm Welsh, but I disown this, I tell you.

Tut, Tut, Tut.

That last post - you never actually went over to Bart's did ya. Did ya?

No. Well silly you, your loss.

Here's the picture: