Monday, June 23, 2008

Stella's Hip Chickness

Melody Gardot has topped my workshop listening playlist for awhile now. Her voice is smokey and beautiful, her timing impeccable, and she can even make a store-bought cookie sound sexy.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hippie Child Goes Boy Scout

Way back when, I was a Brownie (the junior Girl Scout rank). Other than vague memories of gluing popsicle sticks together into Christmas ornaments in the basement of the Methodist church, I can't remember much about the experience. And since I am genetically engineered with that Irish sense of humorous irony stirred with a revolutionary bent, it didn't take long for the scouting thing to rankle my 9 yo sensibilities. When the "flying up" ceremony that would transform me from a Brownie to a Girl Scout came along, I immediately flew out. Also, I didn't like the uniform. My peace sign necklace kept getting snagged on the medals and patches.

All this leads me to explain why I am proud of my son aka Hippie Child. Unlike his more inflexible mother, it just made sense to him to wear his Che Guevara tee shirt with his Cub Scout uniform. Now, if the Boy Scouts would just come up with a "peace now" patch, he'd be all set. I'm also hoping that part of the fire safety requirement will include keeping his hair out of the camp fire.

(I am impressed that he went so far as to trade in his flip-flops for sneakers. Gotta dress up for the ceremony, Mom.)

One To Nine, And The Grown-Up Wins

Thanks to the dedication of the small AC unit built into the side of the workshop, I was able to get the lead-piecing finished up this week -- without any of my usual work-til-3AM sessions. Honestly. It baffles me as to why I feel the need to return to the drama of such final-exam-cramming behavior, but whenever I finish a project, that seems to be exactly where I go. So, I guess this finishing up -- at the mundane hour of 5PM -- is something of an achievement. Could I possibly be acting my age?

Or could this be due to meditation practice that I've started recently. Ever since beating April's Infection Invasion, I've been seeking out ways to boost my immune system. I'm back on the insulin-balancing eating plan (teeny meals 6 times per day, rather than 3 bigger ones) and learning weight-lifting from my terrific trainer, Tara. I'm swimming, which I believe is as mentally restorative as it is good for my arms and legs.

And I'm learning more about reiki -- a Japanese healing method. My teacher is funny, irreverent, and sincere -- simultaneously. How could I not be intrigued? Along with the reiki comes a kind of meditation that uses focus on breath, mantra, and a kind of symbol focus which totally appeals to my visual artist side. Like all things that take me out of my busy brain, it's hard to explain other than to say that part of the focus is traveling along the symbol -- with your focus.

I think this is about as close as I will ever get to understanding what it feels like to be a tree. Or a number. Or something like that.

Wormsloe Live Oaks, Savannah, GA

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Numbers Are In

Lots of good news here. Lisa's Transom is coming along quickly and (drum roll) the AC in my workshop is working. That pretty much makes my week.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Autism, Variable Speeds, and Understanding (Please)

My friend Staci forwarded a very interesting article to me that delved into cognitive and learning disabilities, the ADDs, ADHDs, APDs, and PDDNOSs of the world. Coming from a family "on the spectrum" myself, I know that these neat little acronyms really don't define anyone, as much as give those of us who don't have any of them a partial roadmap to understanding the people who do. This article, written by the mother of a girl with an acronym grab bag of her own, explores how to help children with these disabilities without inhibiting or hurting the creativity or unique world view that these same children have as a result of these conditions.

This has been a source of constant debate among the Asperger's community for years now. Why are we considered abnormal when you NTs (neural typicals) seem just as abnormal to us? It's a thought-provoking question -- and one that has baffled me for years. Many Aspie children have memory skills and an ability to focus that some of us would love to bottle and sell. On the other hand, these same people can suffer nearly unbearable pain finding their way through the "playground society," because it is so hard for them to understand all our unspoken, NT social cues. Where does the real problem lie? In the disability or in the society?

After mulling this over for part of the morning, I decided to go to the ultimate research source -- YouTube. Here are some different viewpoints to this question. All of them valid, and each of them an attempt to answer this complicated question.

From Amanda Baggs:

Incredible Brains: