Bees and Butterfly, Green Fest and Fresh Air

Morning :-)

“The blossoms were finally at peak this week – time to wake the bees!

Only two of the cocoons I ordered hatched. Even with following directions to the letter,

the rest were dead. :-(

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Isn’t she the fuzzy-wuzzy-est?

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ONE nest space has been filled.

It’s early yet though, we may have more activity from the mason bees this spring, as well as leaf cutter bees in the late spring and summer.

This Saturday we’ll get some seeds/native plants at Howard County Community college “Green Fest.” to work on our native pollinator garden.

As my readers know we spend time in several parks, primarily in Baltimore County and Howard County.  This year we’re participating in Howard County parks’ butterfly survey.

Our designated park is Font Hill.

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Yesterday we had our first family butterfly walk of the year. It was a nice walk, even if disappointing butterfly wise. Do to weather, construction, contractors, waiting for phone calls, and unexpected trips to deal with unplanned headaches of paperwork, we hadn’t been out.

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We saw squirrels, Canada geese, a tiger beetle, minnows, tadpole and a garter snake.

We only counted two azure butterflies and they didn’t stop for a photo op.

Ah well.

It felt good to move.

Tomorrow Tess and I will be vlogging our trip to Greenfest. :-)

 

All the noise, noise, NOISE (updates and sensory sensitivity)

Morning,

I had intended to update everyone yesterday. The update is that’s it been cold and rainy and we haven’t done much.  Homeschooling continues on, but being the month we wrap up, its been, well, wrapping up. Aidan finished his math textbook, Bee is close to finishing up a grade level in khan academy. We’ve been reading books we didn’t get to and finishing assignments. I’ve been working on paperwork and fretting over my porch.

We’ve had some issues with our porch (repairs and fines and inspectors, oh my). People hammering away on the porch has been noisy. I didn’t think it could get any noisier, until the city decided it was a good time to resurface the street.

Phase one was yesterday, There were huge trucks, jackhammers, and heavy equipment.

Thankfully, we have noise cancelling headphones for when people are experiencing sensitivities to sound.

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We don’t need jackhammers going outside to be annoyed by noise.

To several people in this house, certain, pitches or volume of noise is just torture.

It goes beyond being annoying.

It can be painful.

I always felt for the Grinch and his dislike of noise.

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Poor fellow, imagine the Christmas morning trauma that could have been avoided with a good set of headphones.

Clinically speaking, sensory sensitivities are a feature of autism spectrum disorder, but not necessarily a defining characteristic.

In  the “restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior” section (I find this an odd category to stick it) it lists:

Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g. apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement).

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/hcp-dsm.html

While clinicians list this as secondary, people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders have often stated its a major aspect of difficulty in participating in  typical activities social or otherwise.

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Recently in her Psychology today column , autistic writer and advocate Lynne Soraya, wrote  “Shopping While Autistic.”, about how even the grocery store can be a sensory assault. Even seemingly everyday sounds can cause problems.  One issue we have with the store are the lights, and the sound system.

We try to work around it.  One child is touch sensitive.  We respect that and don’t force him into hugs. Another is a sensory seeker, he loves deep pressure and is sensitive to smell. Yet another child isn’t a seeker or avoider at all, but certain textures of food are repulsive to him.  While I occasional offer suspect foods to him, I never force him to eat them. Some smells make me feel sick, in other ways I’m a sensory seeker. One of the girls is super sensitive to noise and smell.

I have found that the older I get, the more coping mechanisms I learn. Sometimes it means having a plan to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible, other times it means avoiding situations that aren’t necessary.

Happily, sensory friendly concerts and theatres are now a thing.

A popular theory concerning sensory sensitivity is that over connectivity in the brain leads to a an inability to filter.  Yet there has still been no specific cause found.

While many occupational therapists suggest “sensory diets” its important to consider the specific child’s needs as well as respect. Holding a kid down to brush them with a surgical sponge, or to force hugs is cruel and counterproductive. On the other hand, if a child seems to feel more put together after they swing a bit, having an indoor swing may be helpful. It all depends on the kid.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Thinking on “Being Evil is Not a Disability”

Dr-Doof-dr-heinz-doofenshmirtz-17372124-450-800Happy Monday Minions!

I hope everyone had a good weekend, and if you celebrate, a Happy Passover/Easter.

On Saturday night, I found myself in the very weird position of defending sociopaths.

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 Tweets: “me: sociopaths fall under antisocial personality disorder, often victims of childhood trauma + by ADA standards, mentally disabled. ”

Maysoon Zayid reply:

“Nah, this is why I don’t go with that definition, then every terrorist and murderer could be blamed on disability”

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“Maysoon Zayid”: I do not consider sociopathy a disability. Mental illness totes is but being evil is not a disability.”

(Maysoon Zayid is wonderful btw, you should check out her TED Talk)

I’ve already had a nice long rant on why we shouldn’t blame crime on mental illness. If I have to say it till I die, I will.

Crime is not typically the result of mental illness.

Mental Health is a factor in only about 4-5 percent of crime, usually coupled with substance abuse, and that INCLUDES people with personality disorders ( including sociopaths). Don’t get me wrong, they certainly aren’t people I recommend having in your life. Generally though, they aren’t responsible for crime and terrorism.

once again, everyone repeat after me:

MENTAL ILLNESS IS NOT THE CAUSE OF CRIME OR TERRORISM.

Let talk about

EVIL.

You know when I’m sick and phlegmy, I can do an outstanding Doofensmertz (pictured above) interpretation.

He’s a cartoon character EVIL scientist set on taking over the tri-state. Besides tri-state domination, and all things EVIL as his main focus, he is extraordinarily good at messing his plans up without anyone needing to step in.

So, when I think of EVIL, I think of doofensmirtz, and a host of other media super-villains, not violent crime or terrorism.

The resulting pain, loss, and devastation that crime brings is a terrible thing, and there have been in the past and still today, sociopaths responsible for orchestrating horrible horrible things. Yet, to look at those instances and conclude all sociopaths are “evil” killers and don’t deserve to be classed as having mental illness, OR  to say it is caused by evil people ignores the very complex nature of crime, and terrorism.

The study of risk and resilience in the face of diversity  has been a major focus of child development/lifespan research.

We ask, What  factors influence a person’s life for good or ill?

Factors of crime and terrorism include

  • socio-economic problems
  • lack of education
  • lack of basic resources
  • lack of stable adequate employment
  • dysfunctional government
  • abuse or otherwise dysfunctional family with lack of positive or worse a negative role model

It leads to vulnerability to indoctrination into violent ideology, disenfranchisement,  and history of criminality which tends to only escalate.

Obviously, fixing those problems are just as complex. (and requires a systems mindset)

It’s easier just  to blame one thing.

We also don’t like the idea that we are all vulnerable. It’s scary to consider one doesnt need to be an “evil”  sociopath to do horrible things.

Just as it is easier to blame mental illness for terrible acts, its also easy to just blame “evil.”

It gets us off the hook.

It fools us into believing we aren’t vulnerable to the same actions.

Blaming  “evil” is easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why We Will Never “Light It Up Blue”

Good Morning!

It’s finally a bit spring like and things are coming back to life.

I want to take a moment to thank Becca Makin and Jason Wills-Starin for contributing their support on Patreon. It’s a start, an every little bit counts.  :-)

It’s April, which means we’ll have a month long “awareness” money beg from Autism Speaks called “light it up blue.”

At our house we DO NOT support Autism speaks in any way, that includes their April “Light it up Blue” Campaign.

Why not?

Autism Speaks Has a History of:

  • Failure to include a single autistic person in Senior leadership
  • Supporting dangerous fringe movements including vaccination scares, and promoting a school that uses electric shock for behavior modification
  • Fundraising efforts that pull away resources from local charities that support services for autistics and their families and then designating only 4 percent of their budget to similar services
  • Fundraising that consists of outdated negative  disability rhetoric and fear mongering

My family has been called lost, tragic, “not living” but merely surviving in fear of my child’s next move.

  • Hostility toward and attempt to silence actually autistic voices.

These tactics have been denounced by ARC, The Autism Society of America, and most recently AS lost its only advisory member on the spectrum John Elder Robison author of “Look me in the Eye” and “Raising Cubby”
“Autism Speaks says it’s the advocacy  group for people with autism and their families.  It’s not, despite  having had many chances to become that voice.  Autism Speaks is the only  major medical or mental health nonprofit whose legitimacy is constantly  challenged by a large percentage of the people affected by the  condition they target.” -John Elder Robison

I happen to be one of those people who can not support any efforts that give them a façade of legitimacy or money to continue.

They do not speak for me, my autistic family, or my community.

For more information please visit:

http://boycottautismspeaks.com/

 

 

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 .

—————————————————————————————————————————-

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.