The Adventures of Super Autism mom, and the unpaid bills.

Morning people.

My blog has been quiet lately because things haven’t been going the best.

Have you ever heard the term “supercrip?”

In short the “supercrip” is an archetype, a fictitious representation. The person who rises above it all, in spite of their disability. The person is BETTER even, than their non-disabled counterparts.

It sometimes feeds the expectation that a person with disability should be expected to rise above it, regardless of circumstances. It can affect how a person sees themselves, what they expect of themselves.

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(image transcripts at the end of this post)

Four disabled people live in this house.

I am one of them.

I’ve said it before.

Acceptance is not about pretending everything is fine, and that having a disability is no big deal.

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And yet,

in the case of current troubles it is my expectations for myself and a guilty feeling that I SHOULD be able to do it all that keeps me from asking for help.

We live, fairly happily, below poverty level, but money for extra and emergency expenses never seems to be there.

I want, YEARN for work that will pay for our needs outside of government assistance. I want independence. I blame myself for not being there yet.

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Working isn’t working out.

Even when the children were in school,  their care took up most of my time and made me unavailable for typical work expectations.

The point of this post is not to ask for crowd-funding. I’ve done that once before when we were in an emergency situation, and for that I am grateful.   However, coming running to my readers every emergency is not a solution.

I’m going to begin using Patreon  to invite  readers  to become patrons.  Patrons would pledge a certain mpnthly amount  (as little as a dollar USD) for the content I produce.   Patrons can also cancel at anytime.  I would offer special content for meeting pledge goal such a Q and A or writing about topics patrons want to hear about.

I’m hoping that this will bring us a little relief to constant concerns.

You can find my patreon account HERE.

Heres me talking about it .

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image transcripts

image 1  – super autism mom in a cape  text- reads “The Adventures of DUH DUH DUH DUH super Autism mom! she does it all! she cooks! she cleans! she supports her family! educates and writes! even while disabled! Wait a minute…

image 2 contains two panels one panel with a sad looking mom and bills, a child looking at the bills, children out of the scene are asking for things. Second panel mom is laying in bed worrying, clock says 2am.  “Actually she gets tired, and worries” Thought bubble reads: “water bill, porch fines, what do I do? I need to think”

image 3 reads “She tells her kids: “you are talented, creative, smart, beautiful just as you are” “practice and tomorrow you’ll be better than today” “there is no best way to be” “there is no such thing as perfect” “mistakes are  how we learn”

image 4 -mom is still in bed, its 3am.   Text reads: “but she has a hard time believing it herself.” “It so hard not to believe negative self talk.”  “All her mistakes, and every name flood her thoughts.”

thought bubbles read “I am so stupid.” and “Fuck up” “I wish you were never born. ” “Retard.” “Stupid” “Failure” Loser.”

video does not have transcripts.  I am explaining that content  would remain free.

 

 

A Week of Nature In the City

Happy Vernal Equinox!

Did you manage to “see” the eclipse? We’re in the wrong place for it.

Today is a good day  for a “week of” post. We made headway on our spring to do list.

Monday we hung up the bee houses, and Aidan put together the planter.

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Pete is wondering where the bees are.  DSCN0011

Bee  built a hanging tiered water-er where the water flows from the top cup (in which a bean seed is sitting in water absorbent polymer) into the second cup (mustard seeds) and then into a third cup for collection.

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She had quite a bit of polymer left over from the project so we started out beans seeds on the window with it as well.

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Tuesday Pete and I bought dirt for the planter box and we started “Nature Quest” 2015. Three of us have colds, so we hit the easiest of trails- Catonsville’s  “Trolley Trail 9.” Tessa found a millipede and a red backed salamander.

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The frogs are singing:

 

Wednesday we put the soil in  the planter  and I realized I was one bag short.  I started working on the April Calendar (yes, am ignoring the fact we’ve got a bit of March to get through).

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Next I need to check  to see what is happening in the homeschool group and plan for that. I also have a massive amount of documentation to write and a speech/paper to finish.

Bee’s radishes were looking radical!  errr. radicle. (not sorry).

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Thursday the beans were also growing.

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Nothing much “Nature-y” happened Thursday. We all have colds so I cancelled a visit to the park and we did other stuff, like playing “No Stress Chess.”

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Today it will be snowing and or raining all day.

This means, likely more board games and Netflix documentaries.

I also need to clean the bathrooms.

I think a picture montage of that might just be a little too wild for this blog.

;-)

 

 

 

Cyanotype Art. “Pot”

Wow! its a super rare art post.

YAY!

I continue to work on making my own handmade negatives  on transparencies to use in cyanotype printing.

This morning’s work “Pot”

Here is the transparency. I’ve been tracing pictures and then working on shading mostly but this one is completely free drawn.

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I had three 5X7 pieces of watercolor paper left and decided to test different exposures at 5, 6, and 7 minutes.

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Then I decided to add color/contour to the 5 and 7 and seven minute exposures using ink pencil, sharpe, and copic marker.

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Last week I made three different designs and a process video:

 

My fav. from last week is this one:

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Little houses and Refrigerated Cocoons

Morning. :-)

Our orchard bee housing is ready. As soon as the trees blossom we’ll hang them up in the back yard. We have three different types for the bees to choose from.

This one I bought.

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Aidan made this one at a workshop.

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The girls made this one out of a can.

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I also received our starter bees. Even shipped with a cold pack two males  emerged in transit. One died, the other is hanging out in a butterfly flight cage. I feel badly for him. There is nothing  blooming for him so he can’t eat. Male orchard bees don’t live long after leaving cocoon, and like male honey bees, their main purpose is mating.

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Poor dude. No food except sugar water and no female bees hatched yet.

These are the cocoons.

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They are about the size of peas.

They are all in here until the trees bloom.

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Till then they’ll be hanging out in the crisper drawer.

Autism – What will I gain from being diagnosed later in life? It won’t change anything for me, so why should I bother?”

amandasmills:

Reblogging,
I was diagnosed a few years ago now. While it hasn’t changed much in terms of accommodation or assistance, it has changed my outlook on my challenges and the importance of my needs. I can better accept myself.

Originally posted on seventhvoice:

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People often ask me: “What will I gain from being diagnosed later in life? It won’t change anything for me, so why should I bother?”

Well, my answer as to whether or not anyone should “bother” to get diagnosed is this.

Firstly, on a purely personal level, it depends entirely on what your personal circumstances are and what the biggest issues are that you’re facing at any given point in time.

If you’re a person who’s main problem is that you’re always feeling misunderstood or blamed by your family member for being the way that you are, then perhaps receiving a formal diagnosis may help your family members to comprehend and accept that some of the onus for understanding both who and how you are, falls upon them to make more of an effort to accept you as you are, rather than allowing them to continue to always view you…

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Can Spring Be Far Behind? Making plans.

Morning peeps.

Is everybody in the Northern Hemisphere nice and tired of winter yet?

For a blog that is somewhat (in an eclectic round about, sort of way) about studying nature in an urban environment , we sure haven’t been out much.

I could blame climate change and shifting weather patterns for making the temperatures unbearable, but instead I’ll do what many Americans do and say its god’s doing. Or at least A god’s doing.

It may come as a shock, but it’s not gay marriage and Obama causing the bad weather wrath.

It’s my fault.

I shouldn’t have called Thor a cheeseball that one time. Now he’s getting back at me.

Because.

I apologize to the earth for incurring wrath.  (but Thor is a cheeseball)

The temperature has risen a bit but winter weather, now mostly ice, keeps on. They are forecasting three to five inches of snow between this evening and tomorrow afternoon.

I’m looking forward to spring.

Spring  is an ideal time for botany and zoology projects as well as teaching general ecology and the interconnectedness of eco-systems.

PLANS INCLUDE:

  • Growing sweet potatoes

We’ll be growing plants  from slips starting in mid April and transplanting to containers outside in late May. It’s our second year.

  •  Beginning  this years “Nature Quest” hiking challenge

Assuming they are holding the quest again this year, we plan on starting the challenges earlier than previously.

  • Germinating seeds

This will be primarily for observation.  It’s the sandwich bag on the window method.

  • Creating a pollinator garden for the backyard

This may be  tricky, most indigenous plants are considered reportable weeds by the rat-obsessed leader of our homeowners assoc. I’m hoping that putting them in a raised bed with a sign that says “pollinator garden” will help me avoid fines.

  • Making new closed terrariums

Our first has died after remaining sealed two years ( not bad). T his time we’ll make two experimenting with layers organic material, worms maybe. We observe several natural cycles with this project .

  • Raising butterflies

It’s a fun/easy project for life cycle and adaptation.

  • Raising orchard bees

This is new. Orchard bees are docile, more hardy and affective pollinatorsthan honey bees. No they don’t make honey, but caring for them just may be the solution to world wide pollinator decline.  Right now we’re working on a few different types of housing to test out.

On the wishlist: I want a rain barrel.  We’ll see.  I hope to get to the year’s remaining entomological society meetings and learn about backyard insect surveys as well.

Katie, you should be twelve

Originally posted on Left Brain Right Brain:

Katie McCarron, you were beautiful and wonderful and loved by your father and grandparents and I’m sure so many more. Here’s what your grandfather had to say shortly after your passing:

I would like to say something about Katie. Some newspapers have reported that this was done to end Katie’s pain; let me assure you that Katie was not in pain. She was a beautiful, precious and happy little girl. Each day she was showered with love and returned that love with hugs, kisses and laughter. Katie loved music; she would fill in some of the words in children’s songs as my wife would sing along with the CD that would be playing, their own version of karaoke. She liked to dance, she loved to do the hooky poky. She loved being in among flowers and tall grass. She would say “I like grass”. She enjoyed the zoo and…

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This week…

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We went duckpin bowling with the homeschool group and I had a documentation meeting with the umbrella school that  makes sure our homeschooling meets state requirements. Yes, at the bowling alley.  Little Bee made a new friend and emails were exchanged.

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Dining room table tennis was played. You get extra points for wall/picture/furniture ricochet. Points are lost for cat interference. Tessa described (she dictated what to write) the many variations of how she and her plushie cat “mittens” were the ball return, unless our cat “mouse” got it first.

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School work was completed while still in pajamas.

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Aidan started a study on “Ode to the West Wind.” The name of the poetry guide (schmoop) gives Aidan the giggles. He gets to decide when he wants to complete the first three assignments of the week, as long as he’s ready for discussion on Friday.

Bee worked on arrays (can also get a glimpse of a pajama clad Aidan on the floor working on geometry).

Book review: “Zeus is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure” by Michael Munz

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I don’t think it too much of a spoiler to tell you that Zeus was dead to begin with. It goes without saying then he was REAL as well and had put himself and the rest of the also very real pantheon on what was intended to be a permanent hiatus. When he dies, all Olympus breaks loose upon the present day complete with squabbling siblings, grotesque monsters, cupid arrows, spinning fates, and sundaes.

It’s what I expected.

Apollo is buried in email.

Muse Thalia is fed up with script writers and producers mangling literature.

There are deadly bat winged, poison spitting kittens flying about.

Monster hunting reality shows are a thing.

Did I like it?

Yup.

IT WAS FUN.

I really enjoyed this book. I haven’t read a fictional/fantasy comedy I’ve enjoyed this much since Douglas Adams. Usually I get a few chapters in and just fizzle. This one I read in my free time till it was done. I liked it that much.

Munz continuously breaks the fourth wall down to a pile of rubble. There are many references to ancient greek and modern geek culture, but they are not necessary to know it to enjoy the book.

Not only is it all you would expect from ancient gods in modern life, it’s a rather intricate story line with a fun mystery. I couldn’t in my wildest dreams imagined the ending.

How does it rate from a Disability Perspective?

My readers know I always look at media from a disability perspective. I have panned books that had merit because they failed miserably in this.

Like much of present day culture the book contains ableist language from “wheelchair bound” to “idiot.” (People are not “bound” to wheelchairs, they are tools of independence, this is better conveyed by using the term “wheelchair user”)

It also, unless I am remembering incorrectly, does not contain any disabled characters.

That said, I did not find anything about it glaringly offensive. If I had it’d be in the recycle bin.

Is it a book for kids?

No.

Just as the original uncensored myths are not for children, (I lost count of the number of disemboweling in the Iliad) so too are the modern goings on best left to the thirteen and up crowd.

Before I finished the book, my teenager (a fan of myth, comedy, and a budding writer of both) began reading it.

I told the boy, “Its got profanity in it. I’m sure you’ve heard those words before but just to review, You must never say these words in polite company, and don’t let me ever hear you call someone an idiot.”

“Gotcha.”

If the others are interested in reading it, they’ll have to wait till older.

My six year found the deadly kitten creatures on the cover “adorable.” She was disappointed when I told her there were no plushie toys available.

 

 

Face Blind Tortured Bunnies and Eidetic Supertramp

Memorization though tortured bunnies

When my oldest child was little and I was new to homeschooling, resources for non-Christian based homeschooling were few. I often bought religious themed curriculum plans and either modified, added to, or threw out entirely what seemed unnecessary, too shallow, or unhealthy.

One suggested method for training the memory was memorizing and reciting lines of scripture and famous speeches. Instead we learned poetry from the popular down to the obscure and sometimes strange.

Here is one of the strange ones.

I love it for its multisyllabic run of strange words and the notion that something must be artificially modified in order to be “safe.”

It sounds crazy, but how often do we attempt to alter natural states into something more acceptable? respectable?

(logical…cynical, vegetable. great. supertramp is my head. again. ohh well. theres worse I suppose)

While I think its a fun thing to have a few interesting bit of poetry in ones head, this is NOT really how we commit most things to memory at all.

Photographic Vocabulary and the Eidetic Reader

Memory is more about building connections via associations to things we already know.

My memory almost got me into trouble in high school.

After my first vocabulary test  I was kept after class  by my English teacher.

“You wrote your answers word for word from the my study sheet. Do you have a photographic memory?”

“Yes.”

(quite a bit of staring and silence followed)

“Prove it.” she said, and handed me a blank test form.

And so I sat with her hovering while I rewrote everything I had previously.

While I do  have an impeccable memory for things I have read, sometimes even remembering what the page looked like, I do not have a photographic memory. What is called photographic or eidetic, is in reality just good chunking and encoding.

Ever wonder how autistic people become seemingly expert in arcane subjects quite quickly? A determined focus and good encoding is the answer.

Think of it like google.

It’s not a perfect analogy, but lets run with it.

If you search for something using general terms, you retrieve a lot of garbage.  Using quotes and specific tags helps make results more accurate.  So too if you build upon knowledge with more and more specific knowledge, you can remember quite a bit of information, and the more specific the encoding the better the retrieval.

This is why, when raising children,  we must provide a rich enough environment that there are many different opportunities for making and expressing (very important) connections with things already learned.

This is real learning, not parlor trick recitation.

Knowing how to efficiently learn doesn’t make a person some super human recording machine.

I also have a memory problem.

I find myself continuously forgetting names (always) and faces. It has been my whole life, that I have a hard time remembering people, especially outside of context. My work around has been to talk to them about general things until hopefully something they say helps me remember them. The most embarrassing time was when I didn’t recognize my sons’ speech therapist at the grocery store, and she had to remind me.

I also have problems attending to spoken communication (music is an exception) with no visual component. I forget phone conversations. My mind, as something reminds of something else continuously, strays in conversations. I have trouble attending to lectures without numerous visual aids. I forget mundane things.   I was told after IQ testing/psych eval.  that I have an astounding working memory, but that I don’t attend well to incoming auditory or visual information especially in social contexts.

I can remember century old poetry and often forget I put the kettle on. I’ll get so absorbed I forget to eat.

I manage this via

  • keeping lists and a schedule
  • repeating back things said to confirm and writing down
  • avoiding phone convo. when I can help it
  • asking questions, focusing on interesting details when talking to others
  • mind mapping lectures and other projects
  • attending to tasks in the kitchen if I have a burner on

A priority I have is to teach ALL the children how to manage daily tasks via organizational tools. I don’t want them to have figure it out like did, through embarrassing trial and error.