Thursday, November 30, 2006
While there, I met up with one of my little brother's friends, (yep, I have not one, not two, but three little brothers. Didn't know that, did ya?) who took me out to see a band he liked at a tiny, smoky, upstairs bar at a place called The Wharf, in nearby Alexandria, VA.
The musicians were incredible, but the woman singing .....she tore the place up!
The whole time I was there, I thought to myself....why isn't this woman known? I mean, really known, as in a household name. She's that good.
I went to see her perform many times, often bringing along new people (sometimes dates); instantly upping my coolness factor by knowing about this place.
When I moved from DC this is one of the things I missed, and her music came to represent to me a period in my life where I opened up and started becoming.
One time when we had to be in the DC area for one of Riley's therapies , I looked her up on a lark, seeing if we might be able to catch a show. It was a long shot, but lo and behold she was playing not ten minutes away from where we were staying. We went with friends and had a great time. Todd got to see what I'd been talking about all these years(he'd heard the CD's often enough). Sharing that with him is one of my happiest memories.
You can sample Ms. Redmond here performing at the Kennnedy Center, but Todd and I will be seeing her live here in Lynchburg Saturday night!
That's right people, we're taking what we learned from last season's Dancing With the Stars on the road. Hot Toddy and I will be shaking our groove thangs.
Work it! Work it!
I sure hope Lynchburg is ready for it all.
* The Fabulous Ms. Redmond has several CD's which you can purchase through her website. I recommend Send the Moon (calm and gentle) or Here I Am (not calm and gentle, a great break up CD).
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
He debunked the "refrigerator mother theory" which supposed that autsim was caused by poor parenting; mothering in specific. What mothers of autistic children went through before this change I can't even fathom.
He was a scientist who recieved his doctorate from Penn State. He was also the parent of an autistic child. (You'd be surprised how many medical people suddenly are willing to look outside the box when their own child is affected, Todd and I included).
In Rimland's obit in the New York Times , autism is referred to as a "puzzling" social skills disorder. They forgot to mention the bowel disorder, the emotional disorder, the behaviorial disorder, the immune disorder, the detoxification disorder, and the gross and fine motor disorder it typically is as well.
The word "puzzling" in association with autism gets on my nerves too. If an adult is suddenly mercury poisoned, and loses eye contact, and speech, and starts flapping their arms, it's called environmental poisoning. The only thing "puzzling" to me is that when it happens to a child, it's called autism instead.
But, I digress. This post is about Dr. Rimland. Without him, my daughter and tens of thousands of others would be far worse off than they are today. My hope is that he's going to continue his work, perhaps tossing obstacles out the way even more effectively, from the other side.
Thank you Dr. Rimland.
From my depths, I thank you.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
When you think of autism, do you take it this far? Can you imagine getting to the point, where you wished you were dead, or your child were dead or perhaps both?
My child is not “severe.” She’s getting better all the time. Our horrid days are few and far between at this point. But a quick glance over my shoulder and there we are. Her constant, blood curdling screams over every little thing. Me on the floor in the kitchen in tears, covering my own ears. Baby brother cowering in the corner, sucking his thumb.
We've had many, traumatic, horrible moments. In my darkest hours, I had visions of snapping. Imagining myself on a cot in a jail cell, finally peaceful.
If I were in poverty?
If I were single parent?
If my spouse were not supportive?
If I lacked education, and did not have the resources to research like crazy, gaining glints of hope along the way?
This single father endured many years of autistic behavior, far worse than any I ever had to deal with. He and his child suffered at the hands of a government bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. They no doubt suffered at the hands of insurance companies who deny coverage for biomedical treatments, because these treatments are not "approved" by the very government that seeks to hide the cause of the disorder.
I wonder what the stats are? How many autistic kids have been killed at the hands of their parents?
This child certianly won't be the last.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
We’ve all changed so much, even from just a year ago?
Seth no longer sucks his thumb, he‘s no longer in diapers. Riley has grown a foot, and now her front teeth are missing.
Hot Toddy is even hotter.
And I have the fastest growing hair on the planet! Seriously, it went from a chin length bob a year ago to way down past my shoulders at present.
One thing though…..remind me to wear some "pretty" pajamas this Christmas Eve. The long johns and t-shirt? Not attractive. And maybe I should consider running a brush through my hair before allowing myself to be filmed?
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Speaking of fireplaces, that's a great writing prompt.
(Go! Take it from there).
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Lining the carrots up on the plastic cutting board I cut off seven tips all at once. Holding them steady with my right hand, my left hand rocks over the line-up, slicing through in a rachet-like motion. Never can I slice a carrot without thinking of the time I cut through my left thumb, called my "work crush" to take me to the hospital, kissed him on the cheek when he dropped me off, and felt the cold burn of “nothing” in return. Over and over I rock my blade until I’m at the stubs.
Stubs get tossed and for the millionth time I long for a compost pile for all the good veggie scraps I throw away. Produce used to rot in our crisper but not now. We use up everything. Still, there's no time to even think of starting a garden.
It's taken me a while to come to grips with eating meat. For years I ate vegetarian, but pregnancy does strange things to people. With Riley, I found myself sitting in a parked car, eating cheeseburgers from McDonalds. Not one, but two cheeseburgers. Todd would've been less shocked if I’d opened my palm and offered him a hit of a crack pipe. He thouroughly enjoyed my foray into the dark side, but it didn’t last.
Now, our diet is so limited, poultry is a must. At least for us. At least for me.
Still, cutting through bird flesh gives me the willies. Picking the meat off a whole chicken’s bones, is gross. Yes, we could buy only breasts, but at least once a week it’s a whole chicken. It’s become a moral issue for me. Look at what you’re eating. Acknowledge it. Be conscious of it. Plus, it's Seth's favorite.
There is an idea that every soul, animal and human, bug and tree, makes a decision to exist in this world, and chooses when to exit. No accidents. No one goes, unless they have agreed to go. A sacred contract is honored, every time.
Lately as I rub oil over the bird, and pat salt and pepper onto its skin, I’ve replaced my usual mantra of “Oh God,” or “I’m sorry,” to “Thank you. Thank you for coming into existence. Thank you for nourishing my family.”
This Thanksgiving we will eat with reverence.
We will enjoy every bite.
Looking around the table I will be thankful for all the things I thought I wanted, but didn't get, and I will be grateful for the three beautiful faces looking back at me that I did.
Monday, November 20, 2006
"Now that's good bass!"
Every now and then her hair is so knotted when she wakes up I have to drench it in detangles spray and let it soak in for a while before even attempting to comb it.
Today was such a morning, but I couldn’t find the California Baby (the health food store detangles spray, the one without all the chemicals). Rummaging through the drawer in the bathroom, I found an old bottle of the commercial kind (chemical-full) and decided it was just going to have to do. One day won’t kill us, will it?
As Riley ate breakfast, I stood behind her, laying on the non-aerosol pump, with my index finger, attacking the rat's nest with a vengence.
There, that will make things easier.
After breakfast, I began combing.
Trying to lighten the mood,
“Riley….how did you get so tangled? Did Daddy take you out for a ride on a motorcycle when Seth and I were still asleep?” (If you knew how NOT a motorcycle guy Todd is, you would understand the humor. Man, I crack me up)!
“No.” she giggles, then…
“Did you get your head stuck in a jar of honey like Pooh?”
“Nooooooo.” she laughes before shrieking again.
What the hell did she get into?
Half-way through her head, I glance at the bottle.
Hair spray, firm hold.
Instead of detangling, I'd shellacked her rat’s nest in place.
Friday, November 17, 2006
The woman at the podium was perfect. She was tall. Elegant. Intelligent. Composed. I wanted to pinch her because she seemed to be made of some non human substance, too flawless for mere flesh. Methinks she was a robot?
Anyway….at this point in time everyone knew that cigarette's were bad for you. We’d all had the black lung passed around in elementary school to scare the crap out of us. It was common knowledge. No-brainer stuff.
And yet….this woman (or whatever she was) stood at the podium, looked out into a roomful of reporters, and said “There is no evidence, that cigarettes cause cancer.”
No she didn’t?
Had I been plunged into a 90’s version of The Emperor Has No Clothes? I’d just landed this job after pounding the pavement for weeks. I had no clue how it all worked? Looking around the room, I was psyched. Surly one of these reporters, a bigger wig than me, was about to take her out.
It didn’t happen.
Everyone gathered their sound bites, scuttled off, got their quotes from the other side, put their little cookie cutter stories together and moved on to the next piece of non-news.
I felt like an idiot for not saying something but who was I? My confidence wasn’t developed. I wasn’t yet a mother.
It takes time but truth always has out in the end.
We all know what happened to Big Tobacco.
I do believe you’re next?
* Should Vaccine Court Hearings Affecting Thousands of Children be Kept Secret?
This is a question A-Champ (an advocacy group for kids with autism) is asking in a newsletter I recieved yesterday. Included in the letter was the following link:
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Dear ____(I‘m not allowed to reveal the nickname we use for one another, ever),
Sorry I couldn’t wait up. Had to go to bed. Even though you were gone for two days and you work too much, I still love you.
Almost as much as I love Emmit.
(He won. Hurray)!
For those of you with that unique mix of anal retentiveness, plus a love for organic crunchy granola, check out Women for Women.
Or, how about Ten Thousand Villages?
No need to thank me. Just knowing you're spending your dollars far, far away from corporate America is thanks enough. Well, if you're already shopping...maybe something little?
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
"Dear Editor: I am usually impressed with Health News Digest. However, I had a negative reaction this morning reading Michael Shaw's article on "anti-vaccination hysteria."
The incidence of measles due to hygiene, pure drinking water, and increased sanitation in the developed world had dropped to negligible levels before the MMR was ever introduced, which by the way does not have "traces of thimerosal" as he incorrectly states. Shaw claims that the link between autism is a claim that stretches credulity, and that claims like this happen "when people have it too good with too much time on their hands", especially a "public not well-versed in matters scientific." This self-proclaimed critic of American parents is clearly not up on studies revealing the MMR vaccine strain measles virus that is present in the tortured guts of autistic children who have been given a severe life-long enterocolitis, or the many studies coming out now by top-notch scientists showing that a substantial subset of children are unable to handle the toxins like thimerosal, formaldehyde, aluminum, fetal body parts, etc. etc. contained in vaccines. He is clearly not up on the incidence of the thousands of children who have been treated with detoxification methods to remove the heavy metals injected into their newborn bodies and who have improved considerably with more and more recovered daily from these biomedical treatments. I would daresay that many parents of the 1 in 166 children with autism are far better versed in matters scientific than writer Shaw. He continuously puts down parents in this article; "Well, no one said you had to be smart to be a parent!", and characterizes them as having a "harmful sort of complacency" and "willful ignorance." Clearly he does not know parents of autistic children; for one thing, they are very smart, as are their children if they can be treated properly to lower their toxic load and bring out their innate intelligence. In the literally thousands of autistic families I have seen and worked with in the last 10 years, I have yet to see complacency. That anyone could believe a distorted study that could select groups in a way to show that autism was greater after the neurotoxin thimerosal was removed from vaccines displays the highest level of ignorance possible of the utter manipulability of epidemiological studies. Fombonne is the laughing stock of many scientists specializing in autism, and is seen as just another pawn in the hands of the pharmaceutical companies who are allowed to continue producing unsafe, even poison, vaccines. Unlike the officials of the CDC, IOM (with a prominent Merck family member on their board, profiting hugely on the sale of thimerosal until 2010), and FDA who know the truth but are denying and hiding it from the American public, even to the point of hiding records off-shore to escape the "Freedom of Information" act, I suspect Shaw is just ignorant. 8 of our prominent politicians are in the process of having the power of the CDC to continue controlling vaccines removed; too many of our so-called "health officials" have ties with the pharmaceutical industry and are likened to "the fox watching the hen-house." This enlightened bi-partisan political group is working to have vaccines evaluated and controlled by The Institute of Environmental Medicine so that vaccines can once and for all be tested properly before they are mandated to be given to innocent children. 1 out of 166 children now are displaying severe levels of neurotoxicity as actually even revealed by CDC's own statistics, all the while denying any relationship to vaccines. Shaw says vaccines are one of medicine's greatest blessings, change that to one of the pharmaceutical industry's greatest blessings. Ask the hundreds of thousands of parents with screaming, hurting children who stare off into space flapping their hands and unable to speak. The cry of American parents is not anti-vaccine; it is for vaccine reform. Parents have a right to insist that substances that are mandated to be injected into their children be effective without poisoning them.
Jaquelyn McCandless, M.D., retired (to teaching and writing) autism specialist, author, "Children with Starving Brains, A Medical Treatment Guide for Autism Spectrum Disorder,' Executive Board Member, DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!), a branch of the Autism Research Institute, and physician trainer in the bio-medical treatment of autism."
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
God in the form of six beautiful African American women, singing harmonies and rythyms, doing exactly what they were put on earth to do.
God is the only word I can use to describe the feeling of witnessing perfect creativity up close.
Sweet Honey in the Rock.
They are the song of civil rights, love, hope, tears, sorrow, joy, peace.
They are the song of my childrens' childhoods (yes, little white kids living in Lynchburg, Virginia).
Sweet Honey in the Rock.
My girl clapping, grinning ear to ear as she sang along in a four part round. Singing in a round is her dream! She used to cry because she couldn't do it. She'd get so frustrated when she floated off her part. Now she's a big six year old. Singing in a round? No problem.
Sweet honey in the Rock, in an intimate small theater setting. Unbelievable?
Sweet Honey in the Rock!
A dream come true.
Sweet Honey in the Rock.
* Proceeds from this concert went toward establishing the Rev. Haywood Robinson, Jr. Scholorship fund, to bring the arts to children.
** Sweet Honey in the Rock have two children's CD's. Still the Same Me, and I Got Shoes.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Remember this guy?
Well today is the day. Five months to the day after he made his early arrival, he is headed home. Weighing less than two pounds at birth, he's now a little pork chop. His parents, Michelle and Cris are thrilled and so is big brother Justin. Thank you to everyone who kept this family in your thoughts and prayers.
Happy homecoming little man.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
She’d heard them practicing down the hall at school and begged her teacher to be able to go too.
She’s been taking lessons with a group after school for a few weeks.
First we were just practicing bow grips.
Next, we were practicing holding under the chin, using empty egg cartons.
Two weeks ago we got to touch the violin.
She could hardly contain herself.
But you have to hold it just so.
And the bow must also be held with precision.
And you only drag "so much" of the bow across the strings to form your sound.
And you have gross and fine motor delays.
And your depth perception is way off, so this is very hard.
And a little anxiety quickly goes into full blown panic.
And mommy yells at you to stop screaming.
And mommy says you are NOT allowed to say "I can’t."
And you go to bed in tears.
Even though you really, really wanted to learn to play the violin.
just a gift from heaven, just a dream come true.
In a flash of glory, in a ray of light,
Welcome to the world that will hold you tight."
These are lyrics from the song Welcome To The World, by Nicolette Larson.
You might remember her as the voice of "It's gonna take a lotta of love......" fame, but I happen to think her Sleep, Baby, Sleep, CD is her true masterpiece. She was inspired to make the album after the birth of her daughter in 1990. Graham Nash and Linda Rondstant sing harmonies on some of the tracks.
My friend Megan gave this CD to me when Seth was born and I could scarcely get through the whole thing without blubbering. That was partly hormones, but even now...4 years later, I just got a little verklempt singing the above mentioned song to Seth, in the rocker, at bedtime.
One listen to this album, and I got past any preconcieved notions about Nicolette Larson (hey wasn't she some disco queen from the 70's? Uh....no.) Megan gives the CD to all the expectant mothers she knows and now I do too.
Larson died in 1997,leaving behind her young daughter, Elsie. It's evident listening to this CD just how much Elsie's mama loved her.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
One personality will be severely allergic to something. The next one won’t be. In the same body. One personality will be far sighted. The next will be nearsighted. In other words, the thoughts we think, literally change our body chemistry.
She describes us not as solid but as flame-like, flickering back and forth based on our thoughts and our body’s reactions to our emotions.
Our minds change our bodies.
Mind you…..she doesn't appear to be someone who advocates feeling only “happy thoughts.” From what I gather, (and I’m not very far into her work) she advocates feeling all of our emotions, and not letting them get trapped in the body where they will fester and stagnate.
Candace Pert was one of the scientists in the movie What the Bleep. I highly recommend it to anyone who finds this “consciousness creates reality” concept interesting. She is also a new blogger! Read her latest thoughts on AIDS and Autism here. Her new book, Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d, is next on my list.
Welcome to the blogosphere Ms. Pert, and thank you!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
But I do love my country, so I place my hand over my heart and instead of singing, I've prayed.
I’ve sent apologies to a young blogger who had to flee Baghdad, reminding her that not all Americans support the war, and that the last presidential election was very close. I told her we are so sorry for what has happened to her home, her beloved cats, her life.
Yesterday, I took Riley to vote with me. Hand in hand on the way there, we talked about how my great grandmother, (grandma Wilson's mommy) could not vote because they didn’t think women were as smart as men. I told her that many brave women worked very hard to make sure little girls would be able to vote when they grew up. At the booth, we pulled a chair over for Riley to stand on so she could see me enter my choices. I saw the spark in her eye. She will remember.
When I went to bed last night, it looked like the Republicans had Virginia. This morning, the Democrats had rallied. A recount. Who knows when we’ll know for sure who won?
But look at the rest of the country!
I don’t think I’ve ever felt prouder to be an American.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Don’t bother with the comments asking us what we were thinking? I already said we were stupid, okay?
It all started one day, when one of the kids said something silly, and I responded with a “Why I oughtta!” (Ralph Cramden style) and proceeded to shake a fist in the air before chasing them down the hall to tickle them.
That was followed by ,
“I’m going to beat you blue!” and shaking my fist in the air I chased them down the hall to tickle them.
At first Todd would warn, that’s really not a good thing to say, but before too long he was “punching them in the eyes" and giving them "knuckle sandwiches" too.
The kids love the chase and squeal with laughter as we give them "the business."
The other day, Seth stood in front of me at the computer.
“Mommy? Will you beat me?” He said, cocking his head to the right. A hopeful look on his face.
Dropping everything, I chased him down the hall, tossed him on the king size and proceeded to tickle under his chin, his knees, his belly. Riley climbed on and it was me against them. I’m queen of the tickle!
All was fun.... until Seth lept forward, attempting to dive on top of me. He missed and smacked his mouth into the wall. Blood lined the gums around his front teeth. His lip fattened.
With ice pack still in place, we had a family talk about why "beating" probably isn’t the best word to use for tickling.
Still, I’ve spent the last two days hoping he doesn’t tell his preschool teachers he got a bloody lip during a beating from mommy.
She's a country music industry baby and knows the inside skinny on all the stars.
Sure, she's probably getting sick of all my comments.
No matter. I'm having a riot!
Thanks Sista Smiff!
Brad Paisly forever. FOREVER!
P.S. Todd walks in from his evening shift at 10:00.
"I'm a little worried about this bloggy underworld you live in." He says.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Riley, in her little blue sleeveless dress, made a B-line over to the wall, walked right up to one element in particular, and pointed to it. "Mommy...what’s that?"
I hadn’t even registered that it was the periodic table yet, but when I got to the sculpture she was asking about I almost fell on my butt. She was pointing to the chemical with the abbreviation, Hg.
This sculpture wasn’t her favorite( pink), it was green? What attracted her to that one out of the dozens up on the wall?
Children on the autistic spectrum often test lower for mercury in their blood than the general population. For a long time this was used as an excuse to dispel the link between vaccinations (with the mercury based preservative thimerisol) and autism.
What’s been discovered is that mercury doesn’t show up in the blood of autistic kids because it’s bound so tightly in their tissues. They aren’t actively excreting it like the rest of us, so it just stays in the body, building up with each exposure, wreaking havoc. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. Once chelation therapy is underway, metals often start dumping out of these kids. Unfortunately it is a long process, taking up to 18 months.
Last February, we started Riley on chelation therapy. Every weekend, every three hours, round the clock, we apply the skunky smelling cream prescribed by her doctor. Lab tests (stool) have come back negative.
But lab tests are just a snapshot. They only tell if she’s pulling metals on the day of the test.
Should we be putting her through this?
Hang in there. It takes a long time.
She’s doing so well. Trust your instinct.
Friday we got our latest lab results in the mail.
Our girl is excreting mercury!
I knew she was.
Thinking back to that day in Tennessee I marvel at my beautiful daughter and her innate intelligence.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
300' for 18-22 minutes.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Quiet as a mouse, I’m alternating between scraping my index finger along the bottom of the popcorn bowl, and licking the peanut buttery goo off of said finger.
Sometimes, it’s mommy’s turn to lick the batter.
Todd joins in and we’re officially in cahoots, no kids allowed. They can eat the muffins. Every week, we go through exactly two dozen peanut butter muffins.
After a while I turn on the oven light to check. When I attempt to turn it off, I accidentally turn the timer off. And when I attempt to turn the timer back on, I accidentally turn the oven off. Todd sits at the table, eyebrows lifted, a happy little gentle smirky smile on his face.
He lives for this. I’m his entertainment. Like when I go downstairs to get my glasses, only to return with no glasses, because I got distracted by the smell of cat poop and changed the litter box instead.
Or when I ask him every day. “Is today Dancing With the Stars?”
He tells me no, then he tells me what days it actually is on, and I promptly forget, knowing he won’t let me miss it.
I ping pong through life like an absent minded professor, sans the professor part. How would I keep track of anything without him?
But for now that’s just between you and me.
For now, I turn the oven back on, shoot him a warning glare and simply say,"Trevor".
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I have tangible proof. Something I can hold in my hand and look at.
A few weeks ago I commented to Kim at Emroider the Silence that her photography was so beautiful she ought to make cards out of her pictures (and sell them for a mint I might add).
Well, today in the mail...guess what I recieved?
Kim is not only a talented writer, she also has a great artistic eye and her pictures are just gorgeous. I selfishly don't even want to send out the cards because I want to keep them and look at them and put them in little frames to beautify my home, but I will share some of them with you here.
Isn't Kim just the sweetest, most thoughtful bloggy friend?
She's for real!
P.S. Hey, where's my stuff from the rest of ya'll?