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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Amalthea's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, December 27th, 2005
3:45 am
Blueberry Fig Torte

Ingredients:
2 whole wheat pie crusts
10 mead soaked dried figs
1 handful of chai soaked rasins
pinch of cinnamon
nutmeg (about half as much as the cinnamon)
1T vanilla
liquid from one coconut
meat or two coconuts

Topping:
About 2 cups blueberries
About 2 cups pine nuts
About 2 cups fresh mint leaves

Bake pie crusts until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. In a food processor, combine all remaining non-topping ingredients and process until smooth. Contents should be about the consistency of applesauce. Pour half of mixture into each pie shell. Sprinkle top with approximately equal amounts of each of the topping ingredients. Chill. Serve cold.

The mint and blueberry worked extremely well together for me as part of this dish. Very unusual flavor, but quite tasty.
Monday, December 26th, 2005
2:16 pm
Christmas Feast
It should be noted that whatever you may feel to be the case or choose to believe about my reasons for being on this particular set of health benders, or the science behind them, you are welcome to that perspective. But in our lives, D was at the point that she was contemplating an extended medical leave of absence because she could not function as a human, and I had more diagnoses than I can even keep track of. That is where this began. We were both dying of the Western way of life, slowly and ambiguously and with a great deal of "well, we really don't know why" from even the very best doctors we could buy. Both of our problems are dramatically on the path of improvement through this and a handful of other changes I have researched. Among the many things affected, I do not spend every hour of my day exhausted and in constant pain. I no longer fail to heal from joint distress I have had since I was 13. I no longer fail to heal from sprains and pulled muscles I used to suffer from for months until re-injuring them again and again. It does not hurt to walk up or down stairs, to move in ways a normal human day requires like bending to remove laundry from the dryer. My migranes have fallen away to no more than one a month, and usually then I can track what I did wrong. My sex drive has stabalized and I am much less weepy than I had been. The depression has stabalized again, my breasts don't hurt at random, my ovaries no longer get stabbingly painful cysts popping, and my "fibromyalgia" and "irritable bowl syndrome" that several western medical treatments including one surgery hadn't touched, are gone. And I do mean gone. I had tried a variety of perscription pain meds, lost a gall bladder and many other things before I finally gave up on believing no answer could be found that would be enough.

There are people who will tell you that some singular thing will cure it all. I am not one of those people. Unless, perhaps, self education is that one thing. I have changed everything, and nothing. It is hard to explain. The western scientific world had given me quite the list of things to avoid and I have disproven nearly every one for my own physiology over time by coming to understand why that thing was malfunctioning instead of how to avoid the potential of a malfunction. Most of the suggestions were half truths based on treating the prevention of symptoms instead of educating me about why I might get that symptom based on some other behavior or dietary lack or what have you. So in that sense, I have stopped a lot of arbitrary change that wasn't working. but I have changed a hundred million things that were much more subtle than the average suggestions from the Western medicine that were killing me. Instead of avoiding high fat which consistently added weight slowly over many years of doctors telling me to try harder, I am finally losing weight without trying by eating much more fat, but understanding the complex details of how to choose what my body is signalling a need for and how to ensure that what it gets is really what it thinks it was asking for. I understand why that hundred doctors told me to avoid saturated fats. It was the 3 minute answer. The quick fix they could convey in the time the insurance companies would pay for, and they hoped it would be enough to bring things back into balance. Only it wasn't working. It wasn't that they meant me harm, but they weren't going to take the time to teach me what, if they were lucky enough to learn it at all, took them as much time to learn as it would most people to aquire a master's thesis. They couldn't even if they'd wanted to. The answers aren't simplistic and there is no "get out of consequences free card" but you can pick your consequences and learn your own signaling system and find your own path. Not only can you, but I have come to believe it is the only way to enjoy a healthy lifestyle in the US if you are in any of the high risk, highly suseptible categories of people, here. So long as we take for granted that which we believe we know, we cannot know more. To borrow a line, "Yesterday you knew you were alone on this planet. Just think what you'll know tomorrow". You cannot find that which you do not want, in every fiber of your being, to see.

I cannot possibly relay here, all the 6 months of study of scientists and doctors all over the world, farm science, soil and air quality monitoring bodies, anthropology, psychology, physiology, water analysis, Oriental medicine, nutritional study, etc that I have waded through. Many will say the jury is still out on the reasons I am doing what I am doing. But it is my opinion that the jury has been in a long time, but we alternate between being too busy to notice, being too distracted to care, being too miserable to look into it, too skeptical to believe, too impatient to research it all far enough, too willing to believe there isn't yet enough evidence to deal with the hassle of change, too willing to accept any single "expert" or "proof" or "disproof" or single nation's perspective, and many other similar problems. We suck at science in this country. We suck in part because we are so very sloppy with language and the media is so sensational and ratings driven. But the information is out there if you can question the legitimacy of every single thing you read that claims it knows instead of claiming it has found evidence that seems to point to x. The information is out there if we are willing to act on hunches, experiment on ourselves the way we have been experimented on for years by the media and medical and drug industries looking for fast answers they could feed us for profit. Most of the data is out there for those who choose to do the research and are creative enough to pull it together and capable of both fantastic projective hypothesis and absolute skepticism of anything claiming that either it has the one true answer, or that the answer isn't available, the jury is still out no matter the evidence you have found and how well what you seem to need seems to be working for you, etc. Both are extremes of human emotional interaction with their words and concepts and self worth. They are justifications for inaction, stagnation and acceptance of whatever burdens them now. But most people choose to spend less than 1/100th of the time on research that I have spent, and even those trying to find it, are often looking in vastly too narrow and limited a direction. Most people are not generalists and do not pull together the descriptions of African wild animal preserves and their observations, with the findings of nasa, the US government, Hitler's torture research, Chinese nutrition studies, farming history and technology, evolution in isolation and with exposure to US medicine, and the physiological processes of fat creation, transfer and utilization, among the many many sources. That is their choice and one I can even understand. But it is a choice. And it is not my choice.

There are costs and benefits to all ways of life, and every day we choose which costs we accept. Most of the time that means choosing the costs we know and disbeleiving in sufficient evidence to try what we know not of. That is a choice we all have, but one I personally was tired of being limited by. And I believe, for whatever reason(s), that I am one of the cannaries in the mine, and I am tired of it, and leaving the mine while I still can for different consequences I am more okay with than being sacrificed to the alter of willful ignorance and a lack of interest in change that I too used to suffer.

With that, on with the story:

We decided that since we didn't know what to get Deb's parents for Christmas, since they might be leaving the country for Costa Rica to get away from the insanity that is the US and retire, that we would give them a gift of time and service. Since they were getting back the 23rd, it was going to be interesting to accomplish a Christmas Eve dinner they were hosting at their house, so I decided to make a whole lot of interesting new things for them as experiments. I'm not even going to try to list it all at once, right now, but will add them here over the next couple of days, with opinions of my own about how they worked out. I shall invent names of the recipes as strikes my whim.

Nearly Newtons

Ingredients:
(all nuts and produce were raw and organic)

Bottom Layer:
About 2C Brazil nuts
About 1C dried figs
About 1C cinnamon mead soaked (overnight) pecans
About 1C unsoaked pecans
About 5 Organic, no sugar added Dates
About 1/2 a handful of chai soaked (overnight) rasins
About 2C unsoaked rasins

Top Layer:
About 10 cinnamon mead soaked (overnight) dates
About 3C chai soaked rasins
the juice of one lemon
about a quarter lemon worth of zest
the fruit of one mango and one banana
About 10 Sherry soaked dried figs

To make, Add all bottom layer ingredients (or as many as will fit in a couple rounds if necessary and then mix by hand in a bowl) to the food processor and process until extremely sticky paste is formed with none of the nut bits being larger than a grain of uncooked rice. The goal is for this layer to be easily scooped out, extremely stiff stuff that is sort of like a chewey granola bar in texture. Add more unsoaked nuts to dry out mix, or more unsoaked dried fig to sweeten or increase adhesion of ingredients for this layer, as needed.

For the topping, blend all ingredients in a food processor and let run until smooth. End result should be the texture of a very thick and sticky applesauce like substance or the fruit you would use to spread out and make fruit leather in a dehydrator. It should be spreadable, but not thin. Add more dried and unsoaked fruit to stiffen, or more soaked fruit or lemon to thin as needed.

In a pan, spread the first layer and then chill for 20 minutes in a fridge. Then spread topping across it, return to fridge until ready to serve. Because of the use of dried fruits and nuts and lemon and alcohol, this dish can last a very long time in the fridge, relatively.

I was making a whole lot of food, so you may want to adjust to smaller portions. But the end result was very much like a less candied fig newton in flavor and was extremely tasty and comparatively low sugar since all ingredients lacked any added sugars and none was included in the recipe. It is a sweet dish because drying fruit brings out the sugars in the fruits, but not nearly so sweet as fig newtons or other such experiences with overly candied dried fruits.
Wednesday, December 21st, 2005
12:43 am
Food and Health
There are many other things I should be putting down here, but what the hell, I should start somewhere, right?

So anyway, I have been on this health education bender that sort of started here in this journal many moons ago. I have spent enough time on food research that I probably could have a degree in biochem at this point. But that aside, there have been some practical behavior things that have changed in our lives as a result of the various things I've learned. While I cannot even begin to ellaborate on all the stuff I have learned, at the moment, one of my current running experiments has to do with live food.

By this I mean that in the US for reasons related to lawsuit paranoia and complete failure of the average populace to think things through all the way to their logical conclusion, we have created a many faceted monster. One of the primary facets relates to the foods we buy and eat in combination with the medicine we experience from the western world.

The basis of antibiotic consumption assumes that we have constant intake of sufficient good flora to replenish any of the good organisms we lose through antibiotics that kill indescriminantly. The food industry, for reasons of shelf life, appearance, customers lacking sane criteria, desire for more profit, less spoilage, etc, have done everything in their power to "stabalize" foods we are consuming so that they are absolutely predictable. Of course, living things are hard to pin into predictable pigeon holes, so slowly over time, all the food has become dead, because dead is an utterly slow predictable state with a long shelf life.

What do I mean? Well, in order to recover from antibiotic use, we have to constantly and consistently be consuming foods that have not been A)Genetically altered for sweetness, B)Gentically altered for lack of diversity (ie sweeter, less likely to spoil, bigger, perfectly shaped, pretty, etc), C)Lacking the vitamins and mineral diversity the human body needs from natural soils that are not stripped of nitrogen, low on magnesium, etc, D)Not paesturized (paesturization does what it is supposed to do: kills everything. How many living, air breathing, aerobic creatures do you know of who can survive on death and rot?) foods and juices with living enzymes and active cultures killed E)and without being artificially created for speed of production or stability for long shelf life and uneducated "health" marketing reasons, etc, such as low fat sour cream made of acidified milk, rather than natural aging of milk, F) and without substances "added" back in after overprocessing to account for nutritional defficiencies in the dead food without also adding the living substances and fats and such which the body required to process those vitamins and minerals and "added" substances.

There are many reasons, but suffice it to say that many many modern ailments can be traced to things like a lack consumption of calcium added back into skim milk without the fats that helped to prevent that calcium from causing gall bladder problems and kidney stones and other imbalanced absorption problems. That is just one of many examples.

So the experiment has been one of finding ways to prepare living foods. Foods that aren't cooked to the point that they lose water solluable vitamins and living enzymes and cultures. It involves buying only organic veggies, only real dairy products (unfortunately Colorado does not permit the sale of unpaesturized dairy products, but it is at least possible to only buy those which are whole milk products, real cultures in yogurts and sour cream, etc), real cultured foods like unpaesturized vinegars, etc.

There are some people who take this phenominon to the extent of having nothing cooked in their diet. I am trying to find some relatively easy, relatively quick ways to compromise to allow most of the things we might miss of cooked food, while rendering them at least partially living foods with vastly higer vitamin content and vastly lower contaminations, artificial preservation means and imbalanced intake of nutrients.

So I am doing a fair amount of experimentation with foods and intend to try to write down at least the successes in this journal so that I can find them again and utilize the recipe again. You are welcome to try them yourselves, but please attribute me if passing them along.


So, tonight's experiment:

Ingredients:
1 bag curly noodles
1 bunch chopped chard
6 organic roma tomatos cut in 6ths
1 sweet potato, grated
1 carrot, grated
about 2 tablespoons of garlic
1 cup unpaesturized "v8"ish drink
1 tub real, cultured sour cream
1/3 cup unfiltered, unpaesturized apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons whole, unfiltered organic olive oil
1/8 cup parmesean shredded cheese
1/8 cup romano shredded cheese
cilantro
itallian spice
spicy Mrs. Dash
1 pkg sliced pepperoni, quartered (without terrible additives you can't pronounce)

Toss noodles half the vinegar, half the olive oil and the chard in a pot of cold water, and turn on high. Once noodles and chard are softened (before boiling happens), drain noodles and chard.

Combine vegetable drink, remaining vinegar and olive oil, sour cream, sweet potato, carrot, garlic, cilantro, itallian spice, spicy Mrs. dash in blender. Puree.

Toss in tomatos, cheeses and pepperoni with noodles and chard. Pour in contents of blender, stir and serve.
Saturday, May 7th, 2005
8:32 pm
A thank you for the beauty inside a friend.
I have always wanted to create. To create for others the gasping impossibility of beauty that I have found so much of in the world and words of others. But I have spent so many years staring down the lense of human incompetense and blindness that I fight more days than not for something besides despair at how much any such effort will only fall on deaf ears.

I spent so many hundreds of hours being jarred and yanked about from disjoint where there should be flow, and the broken content of a million staggering eyes that held no more fluid of life than a slatted spoon. So many years of painful realization that most people cannot even see. So many years understanding that the vertigo of beauty, the air that cannot be drawn in the face of infinity is lost on people. Trapped inside those bodies.

It is easy to lose myself in the oozing nature of despair at the content of so many empty faces. But just when I have given up on creating meaning for those who will not see, someone with talent like hers comes along and I wish that I could contain in words what it does for my soul just to get to share in what she sees. Just to be brought to tears with simple words, breathless and nourished by proxy to her inner light. I wish that I could show the world the depth of what she sees.

Thank you. Bless you for blessing us all.
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005
10:57 am
If that wasn't clear, for any of you that I have in some way dropped on the floor, just assume I am a jack ass who means well and don't feel bad about pestering the fuck out of me to get me to actually retract my head from my ass and communicate with you in some useful way. You will not annoy me with persistence or creativity. And while it shouldn't be your responsibility to create functionality where I am inept, it is at least more effective if you would still actually like to hear from me and or see me and I have been failing utterly to not be a complete dip shit myself. Thank you. That is all.
10:55 am
Pet peeve #314:

Being so freaking ADD that you cannot manage to coordinate with real friends to actually see them while being emotionally self destructive about those for whom time is made but who clearly didn't deserve it.
7:03 am
Irrational pet peeve #312

Extenuating circumstances related to other people's disrespectfulness make it impossible to express upset about mistreatment by a friend to said friend without it being hopelessly conflated with other issues which make the initial mistreatment almost impossible to express without assumptions of motivations falling places that you are really pretty sure aren't relevant to the specific mistreatment involved. Knowing full well that telling someone their friendship abuse is unkind will be instead taken as pettyness about the specific details of the manifestation of that mistreatment.

Irrational pet peeve #313

Caring enough about one or more parties responsible for "other people's disrespectfulness" that I would rather be pissed for several days and keep it to myself and be used than express outloud what will be misinterpreted as other than what it is really about.
6:49 am
Irrational pet peeve #311.

Someone who professes to friendship falls in love with an idea you offer them about an activity to do together on the one short chance you get to see that person. That person then plans to partake of your hospitality but so alters the activity that you are excluded from it either through failure to think of you at all or failure to be considerate in the slightest about the guest list, or both.

I know it probably wasn't meant to be cruel. I know said person probably just failed entirely to comprehend very overt information that some third party's were not welcome in my life, and in wanting to see them zirself, failed to even think about the message it sends or exclusion and taking advantage it creates. But what I want to do is give in to the desire to retract my offer of courtesy if that is the treatment of friendship to parties involved. *sigh*

I am being stupid and pissy, probably, but there you have it.
Monday, April 25th, 2005
9:54 pm
schizophrenia and visions
Ramblings else-journal about the nature of knowledge, insanity, religion and fact. http://www.livejournal.com/users/reverend_aelwyn
Saturday, February 12th, 2005
8:57 am
Quote of the night last night:

They aren't gay, they're Australian.
8:43 am
Alright, so back to being a human being again. Congrats to those of you who figured out the rabbit hole posts, and that I am not suddenly a rabid republican or TV lover.

I am not done with researching the subject of nutrition, however I have gotten far enough to take a stab at the overview how to guide as a basic pass, so watch for that very soon.

Also, people who love blues and/or foreign music should make suggestions for artists that I might find interesting to try listening to some of their work.
Thursday, January 27th, 2005
7:55 pm
Okay, concept yanked from Cadhla.

Iron Poet, Amalthea style.


Iron poet. Well, so the idea is this. You give me three words. I give you literature. Okay, originally it was poetry, but why limit it to that? So a short story, literary non-fiction or poem depending on my random whim and your relative absurdity.

The rules:

1. You must give me three words. This part isn't optional. I know many of you are sick and twisted people, and that it would be a fun game to see if you could totally baffle me, but that isn't the point. The point is to give me external stimulus to trigger initiating writing to get me sorta back into the swing of things, and for you to get 30 seconds of fame as the source for genius. :) I expect you to select words you actually want to see something about, rather than trying to be arbitrarily difficult. Groups of two or more words, like 'green mile' or 'hairy butt' still count as two or more words.

2. You can suggest a form (such as poem or stories), mood, genre (fantasy, horror, children's poems)and even a style within those if you choose, assuming your words were not sadistic and/or impossible to the format chosen. I am the final judge of what is or is not sadistic, and while I will generally give preference to those additional suggestions in most cases, blinding brilliance and occassionally random sanity preserving whim will necessitate the choice of something other than your suggestions. Sadism in the form of conflicting suggestions will often cause words to be discarded except when you manage to hit my very odd sense of humor just right. Sufficiently archane, pedantic, esoteric suggestions that would make the peice an unnecessary burden on the reader will generally be ignored. So just because you know how to ask for a hendecasyllabic sapphic stanza which also functions entirely within iambic tetrameter, doesn't mean you'll get it. Instead you will usually get ignored for being an insane twink who should be beaten with a large tome of literature. Clear?

3. I will not write acrostics, limericks, poems which depend on a visual layout or any style which by definition will take me more than the available time in a couple of days to do complete the peice, which may well limit your fasciation with epics and physics related subject matter.

4. I will only guarentee attention to word groups placed in original comments, rather than replies to someone else's comment for reasons of the impracticality of wading through occassional runaway threads and to create ease of retreival.

5. I do have other things to do with my life at the same time, many of which hold a much higher priority. So while I will work through them and attend to any which are not tossed out for reasons of sadism, pain induced in me as the writer (bad pain, not funny pain) or unavoidable risks of some kind in positing about them publicly (or any other reason listed above), I will not manage to do so quickly necessarily. Anyone who chooses to include an email address in their (or each of their) lists of words will get an email with a link to the work they triggered when that peice is put up. As a matter of security of your email addresses, I suggest putting at least one arbitrary space in the address when posted, and will edit same out when using it so that you do not get a swarm of bot spam. Other than that, let's see what y'all got. Remember that I have very very few sacred cows, and I am willing to dabble in things like children's works that some might not tackle with such a challenge, so do not arbitrarily limit yourself unnecessarily, but try to stay far enough within the bounds of approximate broad reasonableness so that you aren't simply ignored.

[Editor's note: If it was not clear, you are allowed more than one submission as long as they are sincere and not just twinkery.]
3:12 pm
D&J, can we go ahead and get cable? There are some nature shows that would probably improve my understanding of animal form for painting, and I've been thinking about it for a while, and it would also be a good addition to spending more family time together. What do you think?
2:33 pm
So, I have decided to become a republican. I know that this may be alarming to some of you, but I have been reading the Jerry Falwell emails that someone signed me up for, and in so doing, realized that I needed to ask Jesus into my heart and begin defending his cause against those people who have loose morals and do things that seem gross or disgusting because it has been so difficult to live in a world with such horrible realitites. I hope you will all understand, and will not take my reports of some of you as terrorists personally. They aren't about you, really, they are about me.
Tuesday, January 25th, 2005
10:16 pm
Other things about our trip:

It was really cool to get to spend some time with Joel's sister sans other family circumstances. I hadn't really been sure before talking to her housemate about gifts for Christmas that she really liked the lot of us in any particular fashion. We explained to some of her friends that she introduced us to, that it was hard to tell when back there how much was stress at being around her parents, how much was just her being not a frail flower of femininity, and how much might have been not especially caring for us when we back there for Christmas and spending time around her the last time. Her friends assured us that it was just that she was like that and that she talks about us a lot and really does like us. We had to clarify that we didn't mean the state she's usually in that is sort of "cynical dyke" in flavor or something like that. When we said she was positively bubbly and happy by comparison they all looked at each other like "Buh?" at the idea that she seemed even that much less happy when we'd spent time around her in her parent's house. Hell, I am not sure that even Via realized she was that different between the two states. But it was clear that she was radiating discomfort the whole time she was in her parent's house at least at a low level, and that wasn't true at all this time. They were boggled at this.

We all hung out and talked all night long with his sis and her poly household friends. We ended up crashing at their house since they were sans dogs and toddlers who would all be awake and intrusive if we went back to Via's place. Thanks again, guys!

Lots of good talking and it was clear to me that I would love to spend some less time crunched time around all of them.

One of the things that became clear from sharing stories was that Via didn't really have the details of a lot of things that had gone on in Joel's life, and what she did have details on was altered in odd ways by the Lyn filter on the world through which she'd gotten many of the details. I was talking to Joel about it a little after we got back and he was saying that because she'd been dependent on the parents still when he just couldn't cope with the mess anymore, distancing himself from them and trying to ignore them meant that by virtue of proximity he'd mostly not kept up with Via, either.

I talked with him a little bit about the similarity in their patterns even though they chose different details, and even he commented that at the time that he disappeared, because the broken dynamic encouraged isolation and the age difference mattered somewhat more then, that he'd never really realized they had much in common.

I am glad we went back there without him in a way because I think it allowed more of the details of her wish to know more of his life and consider him a part of the more positive family she is trying to insulate herself with these days, to surface in ways that I would realize it and thus have the chance to point it out to Joel who is often too oblivious to notice those things.

In some ways, deep down, he still holds himself more responsible for his childhood than he probably should, and I think it was beyond his self esteem and understanding of his family to really believe that any of them wanted to really know him for who he is instead of who mom wanted him to be. I say that in part because over the years he has talked about Via in ways that made me believe he really respected the intelligence and fortitude it took to pursue the dead languages and history he didn't really feel like he could ever have kept up with. I know that he thought of her and with some fondness and a lot of respect, but I also know that at some point I suggested to him that he send his sister a copy of the email he sent his parents about us, and he seemed almost startled that she might want to hear from or about him.

In some ways he filed his sister in some of the same ways that he filed the love he couldn't let go of or ignore, but which he felt unable to alter in any real way, from high school. He decided with Stephanie that he didn't have any way to be what she needed, really, any way to take back all the mistakes or any idea how to get from what he felt to a real relationship of any mutual depth. So he shelved that part of himself and the relationship with her, but couldn’t help returning to it in his mind again and again.

In a lot of ways, we healed his rift inside himself about Stephanie by showing him that while she was neat people, the rift was not exclusively of his own creation, and that we were able to teach him the things that were road blocks before, and be for him things that Stephanie had only been hints of, pinpoints of light into what it would take for him to grow and change. It was muddier than that in his brain, and never that obvious to him, but his fixation with her healed itself when he saw how we had changed who he could be and how much capacity he had to succeed with us that even she had not held for him, really. In an odd way, seeing us all together, I think taught Joel to believe a little more in his potential and his progress, to see a bit more of who he had created of himself and the potential he held going forward in his life, instead of looking back.

In a similar, but different way, I think getting to spend a little time, even if not nearly enough, with his sister without him, may have made it possible to help heal a little more in the path of his emotional self value, and encourage more relationship building between them than either really knew how to initiate on their own because of all the context that went before. It made me realize how little they really knew of each other, and how much each of them did care about the other and wish they had more idea how to be more for and to each other. It made me realize they both had more of a resource for healing some of the isolation they shared than either of them probably would have believed a year ago.

And it made me realize that so much of the pain that I couldn't be sure the exact source of in Joel's life, had to have come from their situation growing up because they shared too much in the way of patterns. Before spending that time with his sister, for example, I attributed more of his pattern of never wanting to allow himself needs or wants that weren’t guaranteed, to circumstances that came after his mother's influence had waned. But it became clear to me that those more recent circumstances were him recreating his earlier struggles, reliving it to try to resolve it, even if he didn't realize that enough to succeed.

Too much of the attraction to stoicism and Spartan lifestyles and lack of loving spousal relationships of trust and all those things existed in both of them. As just a small example, both slept on the floor, essentially, ignoring their present world and comforts or wants. It wouldn’t surprise me if that indicates that she is also avoiding certain things Joel is struggling to face in himself about disassociation from physical realities to further squelch wants and needs that, if expressed, give someone power that has sometimes been, and might again (as the fear goes) be used against him to control him or hurt him.

Some of the pieces manifest in different ways. Joel hid in online worlds to detach from physical needs and wants and to avoid the pain and the insane levels of work it would take to fix those things without help. For Via, there are ancient cultures and languages. But the niceties of pretty and comfort and closeness are brand new things to her where they exist at all, much like they are in Joel. She focuses on cultures where her patterns would not seem so unusual, just the way he does with cultures inside his computers.

Both had their own different ways of fumbling toward the knowledge that they were afraid of who they could be if allowed to be part of relationships where the balance was not equal, where their pain and frustration and fear and rage would end up walking all over and destroying that which they loved in some irreversible way. They both understood that they learned an unbalanced amount about intimidation and anger and frustration, and needed to handle those parts of themselves with extreme care. Both of them have a certain fear of their tempers and cranky sides and hurting someone else with them. Both intellectualize when most people would let themselves feel things. Both focus on the crazy little irrelevant details that no one else is really paying attention to, to cling tenaciously to the facts and the rationality and the haggling over a shared reality, attempting to establish a world they could rely on and ensure that no one could possibly misinterpret their intentions.

That one is a pattern that this weekend made me realize they both share with their mother. Mom does not want to impose or make anyone feel like she meant them harm or disdain or disrespect to the point that she clarifies and specifies and rehashes detail well beyond where most people are trying to move on to the next subject. She feels judgment where there is none meant and hyper-focuses when others have moved on, and tries to clarify to eliminate any need to ever apologize for any misunderstanding, to hash out detail to the point that she can't be considered to be misconstruing or misremembering or otherwise incompetent or malicious. With Lyn it is mostly a combination of a constant lack of real self respect or confidence combined with a need to be respected and considered competent. And while there are times when it seems to manifest that way with Joel and his sister, it is also more generalized and less likely to end eventually in emotional breakdown from feeling challenged constantly somehow.

Their mom spends her life repeating over and over that she is sorry that she lacks social intelligence and didn't mean it like that, in millions of ways, how she holds herself, her body language, and her words. I have long suspected that while she doesn't like the idea, she is probably the source of the ADD she passed on to Joel and that this is among her many behaviors that point that way. Mom is correct in believing it is self esteem and depression, but self esteem and depression grow of many things and one is not feeling very successful with other people most of the time or at tasks that she thinks any idiot should be able to do without getting upset, which is very much an ADD thing. The emotional roller coaster about weird tiny inabilities that she fears undermine her capacity for being taken seriously or considered as intelligent as she is, because she feels like a klutz and a failure and all thumbs. So she fixates and people notice more because of the fixation on clarifying, than because she stumbled on some societal no-no in the first place. She feels always a little out of place, a little behind everyone else's social awareness and ability to gracefully navigate situations. And both of her kids have a lot of elements of the same. It has taken a lot of work to teach Joel how to laugh at his short comings and handle them without devaluing himself. It has taken a lot to teach him that it is okay to not be able to get a printer to do what he wants even though everyone else seems to be able to in his mind, and that he need not keep beating on himself. He can just ask one of us to be printer girl for him and joke about it. So much work that I strongly suspect neither of their parents had any concept of letting go and laughing and moving on to find a way to prevent the problem next time.

Another piece is the fixation on arcane details that lose many people in conversation, and derail natural conversation flow in sometimes awkward ways. The best description, maybe, is really that except for the anger and anger control issues, the three of Lyn and her two children all express the majority of the mostly girl manifestations of ADD that people suck at recognizing. These kids stay in their chairs and don't make noise at the top of their lungs at every opportunity, but they also get bored very easily, drift into daydreaming and deep, sometimes obsessive fascinations with esoteric things. They are the kids who get okay grades, but are always staring out windows, off into space, into a book, or a computer. These are the kids who seem to alternate between blank and uncomfortable and topically obsessed with something so far beyond most of the people they try to talk to about it that even intelligent teachers and peers get glassy eyed at them easily or have to ask their parents to please encourage them not to disrupt class for the intricacies of verb forms and quantum theory so often that the teacher can't get through the subject matter with the other kids, no matter how much more interesting the digressions might be. These are the kids who don't feel like they know how to look normal or nice, who don't feel like they catch the hints everyone else find obvious. These are the kids that were always too young or too old for any situation, too much cranky old stoic when others were laughing, and too much immature child when people expected more of them at the same time.

I personally find the qualities endearing and attracting in people because they remind me of myself and the things I had to overcome, so it's a good thing to me, but in a larger sense, it makes much of our lives harder in the long run. Joel wouldn't be my spouse if I didn't find his pedantry and goofy obliviousness to hints endearing. But I am an odd duck myself, so it makes a kind of sense. Because I am so prone to sexual healing situations and have so little in the way of usual social stigmas about sex, I found myself wanting to draw her close and make her feel more accepted in ways that would have probably made her brain leak out her ear in trying to handle it with all the social stigma pressure she grew up in and my relationship to her brother. But hey, there you have it. We all know that I am a strange.

Whatever else, though, it was neat to spend time with Via and meet her friends. And she was right when she decided we needed to meet each other. So hey, Via, if you’re listening, give yourself some credit for knowing us better than we had any idea that you did, and introducing some very cool people to us. I was impressed that you knew us that well, and I had a wonderful time with y’all. It was quite the stark contrast to some of my more absurd relatives in town for the funeral, and helped in some odd ways to not be dragged down by their weird ass family politics. Thanks for that.

And thanks Nicole, too, for making space for us even if we didn’t end up using it like we planned. Your daughters were great and I could tell that I had found a kindred spirit when I saw all the coloring on the walls. I wish we’d had a lot more time to spend with all of you. Clearly we need to come back out there, just for that. Maybe in the spring when we make a trip to spend a little time with Kit’s sister in Montana, we could make it an excuse to do both.

Probably more ranting about my insane relatives to come, but for now, I should do stuff on the to do list instead of that which is far more interesting to think about.
2:27 am
Mourning rituals in this country have always seemed strange to me. This latest funeral was no exception to that trend.

I have always found it strange that people seem to treat funerals like either an excuse for a family reunion or as though it is some intrinsic part in believing the dead have moved on, or something like that. I stand in the room wondering why I am the only one who seems to find it odd to see people holding the hand of a corpse and talking to it as though it were still likely to reply. I feel odd with a body on display and everyone alternating between talking to it or behaving as though it does not exist at all. The contradiction is sort of baffling to me.

There are other rituals like wakes and the ceremonies of a variety of other cultures that for whatever reason, seem to make much more sense to me than what we do with and near our dead.

I also find it sad that ministers so rarely try to make such ceremonies very unique. The Christian ceremonies in this country, in my experience, are usually going to contain about 5 standard passages from the bible. Having read it, I know that there are more beautiful and applicable things to turn to at such times. But somehow many people seem to be comforted by the predictability and repetition while sort of pretending that it is an individual ceremony.

People kept asking me if I wanted to take one more look at the body, get pictures, etc. I just kept looking about as though I suddenly had been placed in an alternate universe in which none of the living people made any sense at all. I can even sort of wrap my brain around them wanting this to help themselves say goodbye, but they seem genuinely disturbed when I do not function via their constructs. They seem to think I am inscrutible.

Why must we view and handle our dead in this country? I do not mean why do some people do so. I can sort of at least guess at that. I mean why is it expected of all of us as the desired path in any nominally christian setting here?

It isn't that it makes me squeemish, really. I don't care in that sense, but I keep thinking "Why would I want to? What possible advantage could be imparted that I cannot better acheive through remembering fond memories and wishing their spirit well in any beyond that may or may not exist?"

Their personhood, to me, was not contained primarily in the flesh of their form. I cannot really fathom that being a necessary goodbye for me when the person I cared about is already long gone from that body. It's like losing a boyfriend and saying goodbye to the love letters he left behind. It's not that I think they shouldn't, just that they seem to find me extrordinarily strange for not having any particular interest in the body of any kind or need to get as many looks in as possible, etc.

I must admit that the people who hold the hand of the body and talk to it like it were still animate do sort of wig me out in a "dear god, that is weird" sort of way, but I file it under "to each his own" and try not to think a lot about it. I personally could sooner see addressing the corners of the room to speak to the dead in the beyond than through that particular method.

I find it much more interesting to talk to the people who are there with no further ties to the dead, no family relationships, no life time friendships, but those who still felt a need to come. This funeral was unusually rich in that regard.

I have been to a lot of funerals at this point, and I do not think I have ever before experienced the people who turned up for my grandfather's at any of those. He had very little in the way of family. He and his siblings had all been left at an orphanage during the depression, and were separated and scattered all over the US over time. He didn't have the huge parcel of cousins and aunts and uncles and neices and nephews that make up the crowds at most funerals. It made it all the more remarkable the people who did come.

There were some of Dorothy's extended family who had not forgotten that he had been everything she needed and done everything he could for her.

And then there were others. They'd worked with my grandfather or whatever and hadn't known him well enough to stay in touch but missed him when he was gone and cared enough to show up and meet the family and tell their stories of why and how they had cared about the man. People who had worked ship yards with him, where he was their welder 30 years earlier who felt drawn to this man or his memory for the rest of their lifetime once he'd moved on, because they found the power of his love so profound. People who had bought property from him and been so impressed with him that they'd wondered of him and hoped the best for him for years afterward and felt the need to say goodbye. How many people that you sold a business to would be so impressed with you as a person that they wondered about you for 40 years, or became your life long friend, and cried for you when you died?

Many of these people hadn't seen this man in over 30 years but felt so close to him and his stories of his family that they had shared when they shared jobs together, that they felt like they needed to attend even when they could barely walk themselves, to share how much it had been apparent that he loved his family and how they wished they had taken the opportunity 30 years earlier to meet them all and develop stronger friendships. That they remembered this man regularly over 30 years of aging and losing their own loved ones for the strength of his love for his family, was so much more valuable, to me, than any body could be.

And so many of the rest just seemed to be missing those stories from strangers. Missing the love this man inspired in these random strangers whose live my grandfather had touched without even knowing that he had, just by being who he was. He was a man that most of us will never meet the likes of in our lifetime. That was apparent from the people who mourned his passing.

I cared about listening to people who wanted more than anything to show up, 30, 40, or more years after losing track of this man, to make sure that his children knew how profound his love for them had been, and how apparent to everyone who knew him in any way, no matter how small. They wanted to tell someone that in 40+ years of life they'd never forgotten that this man fell in love with a beautiful, 13 year old girl, the daughter of the farmer he worked for, and that from that day forward, he'd seen no one else in the world that he could imagine spending his life with. They wanted us to know that they had all seen this, every day in this man's face and his stories. They wanted us to understand that he was their hero in all those years. They wanted to meet his children. They envied this man, not because he had a dime to his name most of the time or societal stature, but because he accomplished more than they ever could just because he loved one woman so much that it shaped who he was every moment of his life, and thus changed the people who knew him every step of the way.

There were hard times, fights, struggles, their share of mistakes, but he never lost sight of the beautiful girl who took his breath away. He did whatever it took to provide for her and take care of her, even through debilitating rheumatoid arthritis that caused the complete deterioration of the bones in her hands, hip fractures, vertebrae collapsing in her neck and a million other problems. Strangers looked in horror at the twisted remains of her hands. But never in all those years did I once see horror in my grandfather's face. In over 60 years of marriage, he spent 40-50 of them caring for the woman he loved and her extremely broken body. Through all those years of being her hands, lifting her in and out of bath tubs, doing everything for her that it took to allow her to remain independent, there was always love and complete devotion in his face when he looked at her. For him she was always the beautiful 13 year old that captured his heart.

How many people can you say such things about? How many marriage would be made stronger by so much pain and responsibility and illness? How many men would cause you to feel a pressing need to attend their funeral just to tell his children how much in 40 years you remember his love for them and how much respect you feel for his memory as a man who changed your life just by who he was?

Those things are priceless to me beyond anything a cold and lifeless hand could possibly contain. Those memories were the value in being there, to me. If there is consciousness beyond death, I know that somehow, he and Dorothy are together now, and no longer in pain. And that is all the closure I will ever need.
Wednesday, January 19th, 2005
6:00 pm
Oh, and the funeral I missed? 

This is the best part of all the chaos.  I am talking to my sister and she tells me;

Apparently the funeral I missed; my mother didn't want to pay to have the body flown to AK. So she bought a falling apart trailer with which to haul the body and other crap she was taking back there behind my grandmother's old car (cadilac style). Car wasn't designed for trailer. Somewhere in random Oklahoma she burned out the transmission.  The couldn't get parts until Monday, so she rented a truck and had to move all of the contents of the trailer to the truck and get back under way, making her late for the funeral itself, which of course couldn't go on without a body.  Gloria and her sister both play the martyr in escallatingly ridiculous drama with one another and about one another's choices, but were kept separate save for the funeral, preventing the destruction of the planet by nuclear fall out.

But everyone was crammed into the small truck, pissed off and tired from repacking everything, to head on down the road. She apparently continues her trend of not being able to let anyone else make a decision. The original idea was that they would stop in Kansas (with the body?!) and see my grandfather who is now dying, but because of transmission blow out and repacking time, they can no longer do so. So everyone tries to convince Gloria to go back through leavenworth on the way home, leaving a day earlier, but getting to see Jerry's father before he dies one more time. She argues all day until the point is mute for timing reasons and then finally gives in once she knows it is now impossible, even though this change of plans made more sense geographically to picking up the broken car.  The car place failed to work on it like they were supposed to, so then they had to arrange to tow a broken car and overweight trailer home.

And so, it took them so long to get to AR with all this, that it was Christmas by the time that they did, and ....wait for it....the cemetary was closed for Christmas. So they have this dead woman's body in the bed of the truck for 4 or 5 days until the cemetary will again start accepting the dead. Just. Oh. My. God.

As my sister put it. "Like I always do, I swore again never to ever share a vehicle with the woman for any road trip for any reason ever again. Which of course, I am about to break, but this is the last grandparent that can die off, so hopefully next time the swearing will stick."

And now apparently my uncle, my mother's sister's husband, tried to break into my mother's house over the weekend in part of the ongoing saga of their collective insanity.

I couldn't make this shit up.  It's just too funny.  Hillbilly hell.  It's a wonder I can function in the real world at all considering the genetic hand delt me. 
5:09 pm
In other, less long winded news;

My grandfather is within hours, at longest days of dying and I am having to plan for vanishing for at an indeterminate time and for an unclear length of time. 

My mother is still furious with me that no matter how many millions of times I have told her that I can't function by phone, she chose phone as her only means of communication when her mother died in December, so I didn't find out about the funeral until three weeks after it happened when I thought to check voice mail and got the lengthy assortment of her ranting about avoiding her.  No matter how many times I try, the woman takes it personally.  In the past I have made the mistake of apologizing profusely for my limitations, which, since she is abusive has meerly encouraged her abusiveness about said limitation.  I am now refusing to apologize which is, by necessity, pissing her off more. 

We have a guest who will be at the house a few days starting Monday.  Looking forward to seeing her. 

Also found out that Deb's step grandmother who has been more grandmother to all of us than our real families has lung, esophogeal and bladder cancer, which suggests she isn't far from full system shut down from all the years of smoking that have built up in her system.  Her husband also has a spot on his lungs, but the biopsy was inconclusive. 

Three grandparents down or on their way, new meds dosses, guests and my brain being eaten by biochem means that I am a touch on the spastic side right now, so if I have in some way dropped something on the floor with any of you, that is why, and it will probably be picked back up  soon, but after a funeral and guests and such. 

In other topics, stay tuned for more practical application of my rambling dissertaion on biochem as time permits.

Also:  Something that woke me at 3am for no reason. 

Words are metaphors.  The represent a thing in a random abstraction.  Not all that hard to comprenend in and of itself.  Almost obvious.  But consider trying to express everything important to you in the metaphor of the engine of a car and its parts and function.  Challenging?  Hell yeah.  Now, use only the car metaphor but adjust for all changes over time to the automobile.  Suddenly it seems more clear why communication is so hard for people, why so many relationships fail and flounder when you must express something about the transmission to tell someone that you having troubles with change inside your head.  It can be done.  Sort of.  But it leaves a lot more wiggle room than most people think  about or aknowledge.  And the fact that all language is metaphor often multiple times removed from source data, gives you the reason it is so impossible to accomplish neutrality with it.  interpretation is all.  That is why there will never be a balance between the words of the religious and the scientists about evolution until we can prove one or the other right beyond shadow of a doubt.  That is why political correctness evolves; to distance ourselves from the intentions and feelings of people we percieve to be cruel, we adopt new, more complex metaphors for our existance. 

Think about it the next time that "Honey, you forgot to take out the trash" escalates without warning to your spouse to "Why in hell is it that you never complete anything I tell you to do?"  Your metaphor has changed.  But I would bet you money he's stuck looking for the cliff notes. 
Tuesday, January 18th, 2005
8:58 pm
Connections
The following should be consider to be copyright me, if that wasn't already clear. You may pass on the link with attribution. Please do not otherwise use it in any annoying or weird or copyright infringing ways. Thanks.

In a doc appointment to recheck med dosages the other day, our vegetarian housemate being mentioned caused the doctor to start pushing on some info in such a way that it caused years of research in a lot of different subjects to all cascade together for me. I have read hundreds of books, many of them medical texts that normal people would flinch at plowing through about ADD, and recently I have been exploring both Autism and dietary deficiencies. Add to that various interests like anthropology, history, entomology, neurology, bio-chemistry, etc as interests, and you get a strange spectrum of things that most people wouldn’t be interested in all of. And damn. All of it came to me full force, mid migraine. I sat and stared blankly at my hands for several minutes while my brain tried to catch up with walking through it all. I am sure there are still holes and there are probably pieces I don't have right or don't have right for the right reasons or whatever, but it hit me a lot like a train and made me need to talk a bunch if it through to understand it myself. You have been warned that this is still pretty stream of consciousness.

My Apostrophe continuedCollapse )
Friday, December 10th, 2004
2:42 pm
So, I have an actual serious question that I haven't done enough research to know the answer to. Is there anyone who is actively using "high functioning" (ie, in my current useage of the phrase in this context, identifiable as possibly able to in some way translate between our two worlds through whatever forms of communication) autistics to help reach children with autism that are being very hard to reach?

It seems like parents of autistics are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on trying to reach these kids and several times now I have seen comments that the people who ended up breaking through were other autistics who could bridge the gaps better than anyone who was too normal to even understand where most of the gaps in information were. And it would be phenominally positive situation for many of the autistics who could find phenominally rewarding gainful employment that inherrently flexed with their limitations and strengths. Thoughts anyone?
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