Latest Entries »

 

 

doing it wrong

You’re doing it wrong…

I can’t really portray myself as the “typical poster child” for people with autism.  Even after 10 years of knowing that my strange wiring has a name (whether you call it Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism or just plain Being Screwy,) I have a hard time wrapping my head around those descriptives.  I don’t want to be labeled, and I don’t want to use a label as an excuse.  I hate to admit weakness or vulnerability.  My standards are higher than that- but reality is what it is all the same.  I have to find ways to cope with the anxiety, the emotional disconnects, and the physical ineptitude that comes with the package.  Some days are better than others, but it does get a bit easier with age and time- and by being around those who tolerate my eccentricities.

Most people who know me aren’t really aware that I’m HFA, or have Asperger’s Syndrome, or whatever you want to call it.  I’m fine with that, because I have spent decades of my life trying to navigate and function in the “normal” world.  Most of the time I can play the “normal” role pretty well, and I’ve learned to either avoid the things that make me look awkward or find ways to deal with them.  I also blend into the scenery very well, and if I don’t want to be noticed, I’m not going to be.

albert-einstein-2

Many people associate autism spectrum disorders with the cognitively challenged or with “idiot savants.”  While one may be both cognitively challenged and autistic, one can be autistic and not cognitively challenged at all.  (Think Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison here, both brilliant innovators and thinkers who were most likely somewhere on the spectrum.)  People with high functioning autism can (and often) do things that the “normals” do-get educated, hold gainful employment, have and raise children, and integrate into the rest of society.   We might appear to be eccentric or odd or awkward, (and we might even fall down a lot,) but we can and do function.  My road map for getting around in this world looks a lot different than yours, but I can make it to the same destinations.  Sometimes I can get there faster, but other times I have to take the scenic route.  I have to navigate with the map I’ve been given, because it’s the only map I have.

Common knowledge paints a  bleak picture of autism- the non-verbal child rocking back and forth, unaware of the world around him or her, rather than the tech geek who might not be a huge fan of socializing but who can design and program and get lost in virtual worlds.  Sometimes society sees autism as the image of the “Rainman” character, or as the guy who can play Mozart from memory but can’t control his bowels.  The key here is that autism is a spectrum. Some people with autism have incredibly high IQs and extreme cognitive ability.  Others are more in the “normal” intelligence range, and some are profoundly mentally challenged.  No two people on the spectrum are alike.

All I can say to parents of an autistic child is that there is good life to be had past that diagnosis, and a lot of that good life is what you create it to be.  It’s not the end of the world, especially when you refuse to accept excuses and when you think outside the label.  In some ways I think my parents’ ignorance of autism worked in my favor, because I was not indulged, mollycoddled or otherwise given a pass on acquiring necessary life skills.  I was actually held to a higher standard in most things when compared with my “normal” sisters because I was a voracious reader, had a broad vocabulary, and was capable of academic achievement in many areas.

read all day

My parents didn’t know anything about autism, but they knew there were things wrong with me: I could read- anything and everything- before my second birthday, without any coaching or lessons.  They didn’t know about hyperlexia- and why should they, when hyperlexia affects 1 in about 50,000 children, and 75% of those are male. They were dealing with one in 200,000.  Hyperlexia is a condition exclusive to HFA children, which is another fact they had no way of knowing back in the early 1970s.

I was born in fragile health and had a litany of respiratory and other health problems in early childhood.  I was also born as the third child in as many years.  Too-close birth spacing, and poor health in infancy and early childhood are associated with an increased likelihood of autism spectrum disorders.  It probably didn’t help matters much that my oldest sister (who wasn’t quite three years old at the time) tried to suffocate me with a pillow the day I came home from the hospital.  (There are more than one reasons that my son is an only child.)

My parents knew my gross motor skills were abysmal, and even sent me to physical therapy for quite some time.  I have very poor balance, as well as severe myopia, and even with vision correction I still have a difficult time with visual-spatial tasks that involve gross motor skills.  I was eight years old before I could balance well enough to ride a bicycle.

kids_on_diamondback_bicycles

My parents knew I was deathly afraid of almost everything- a change in routine, strange people, flying insects, you name it, except for dogs.  Why I was so comfortable with dogs I’ll never know, but I’m still more comfortable with dogs than with people.

I was prone to panic attacks, and I was taunted and beaten daily by other children (especially my oldest sister) and pretty much was a basket case spaz most of the time- when I wasn’t buried in a book.  I had my obsessions with different and often unusual subjects- dogs, murder mysteries, rock and heavy metal music, classical music, all things automotive, and 20th century history.

Though there were bright spots, for the most part, between the anxiety and (later) depression, my childhood was scary as hell.

Deer-in-the-Headlights

 

Even though the tendency to live as a perpetual deer in the headlights becomes less and less marked as I age, anxiety and fear still dominate and define my emotional life.  That may sound bleak, but I am not a person who is dominated by emotions.   I am governed much more by what I think than by what I feel, which is probably the only reason why I can get out of bed in the morning and step out the door and function without completely freaking out.  I do have emotions, but they have to be filtered through and processed through my mind before I can deal with them.  Out of necessity this makes me a delayed reactor.  I can get through a loved one’s death and funeral and all that and not appear to be fazed by it- but a week or a month or even 20 years later the emotions pour out- some trigger or event or visual sets off the process and I find myself mourning a long ago passing or reliving a long ago trauma.  That sucks, but I don’t wear my emotions out for the world to see.  I have a hard enough time figuring them out for myself.

I don’t like being physically touched, especially without warning or by strangers.   I am not in any way a “hugger.”  I will hug when it is socially necessary, but I’m not going to be the one starting it, and the person I’m hugging better be an immediate family member or a very close friend.  My discomfort with physical contact might go back to my sisters and their friends’ constantly tormenting me because they knew if they did poke, prod, grab or otherwise contact my person that they would elicit a response.  I had a most overpowering and piercing scream that was loud, but not quite loud enough to overpower Mom turning the TV up all the way.

old lady tv

 

Having live, stinging insects thrown in my hair didn’t help alleviate my disdain of human contact either.  I’m not sure if my distaste for physical touch came first or if that distaste was created by the indignities of getting punched, slapped, stepped on and/or the challenge of removing live wasps from my hair without getting stung.   I had very long, very thick hair as a child, which made removing foreign objects from it challenging at best.  That’s part of the reason why my hair is cut short today.  It’s easier to color and it survives my early morning swimming much better too.  It’s worth the temporary distress every month or so to keep my hair short.  Even now, a routine hair cut or Dr. exam is not my idea of a good time, although I know both are harmless, temporary and necessary.

I have a difficult time with eye contact also.  In a way it’s good that I stopped wearing contacts a few years ago and I had to go back to glasses.  I never liked the coke bottle thick glasses I had to wear as a kid, but the glasses available today with the plastics aren’t nearly as funky looking.  Glasses give me a little something to hide behind.  I am awkward at best with eye contact because it does not come naturally for me.  Neither does body language.  I have to consciously think about those things and what  non-verbal messages I’m sending when I’m carrying on a conversation out in public.  I don’t always get it right.  I don’t get it right a lot of the time, even at my age.  “Normal” people get non-verbal communication instinctively, but it’s a mystery to me.  Non-verbals are one reason why I prefer to communicate in writing.  I am much more comfortable staying in the dimension of verbal language.

The Written Word

 

I love Cliff’s Notes.  Yes, I read the books too, but sometimes highlights are great as a refresher.  If I were to write a sort of user’s guide to dealing with me and not being too perplexed while doing so, the Cliff’s Notes version would go sort of like this:

If I’m not looking you in the eye, it’s probably because I forgot I needed to.

I trip and fall easily, so if you notice me hanging onto the rail, or avoiding activities that require balance and coordination, remember, my gross motor skills are rather poor.

Don’t touch me without fair warning- including lint picking and tag stuffing.  I would like to be enlightened that I have a tag sticking out, or dog hair on my sleeve, but please let me fix it or remove it.

Don’t be alarmed when I fall off the planet from time to time.  I don’t need to be connected to the rest of the world 24/7, and I do disengage from time to time to help preserve my sanity.

Don’t take offense when I take things literally.  I appreciate sarcasm as an art form, and I have a wicked twisted sense of humor, but please don’t intentionally make yourself hard to read. 

Remember that I’m very poor with non-verbal language, both sending and translating.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Don’t be surprised when I go down a different tangent.  My wiring is different, and sometimes I can associate completely bizarre and different things (that make perfect sense to me) but that don’t make sense to other people.

Please give me some respite from screaming kids, demanding people, and from constantly being “on stage.” I can cope with the “normals,” and I navigate better than I probably should in the “normal” world, but I am still a traveler, not a native.

My primary emotion is “fear.”  Thirty years ago it used to be “terror,” so this is improving, but still…thank God for Prozac.

pills

There’s a pill for that…maybe?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newborn_human_child

I admit I’m biased in favor of life.  Especially when I hear of freaks like this.  I don’t have sympathy for women who treat their newborns like trash, (or their unborn children, for that matter) especially if they live in states that allow you to turn in a newborn at a hospital or fire station with no questions asked.  You might not want the kid, but someone else does.  More importantly, that kid deserves some sort of a chance.  There are millions of people who can’t have kids of their own for whatever reason who would be delighted to take your “unwanted” child in as their own.

All I can say to that is- unless she is profoundly mentally challenged, or suffering from an extreme mental illness- : selfish bitch.

aliciaenglert

So you were afraid your parents might think you’re a slut? I can almost understand that mentality from a 12 year old, but from someone who’s 23?  Besides, I’d rather my parents think I’m a slut than for them to discover that I’m an attempted murderer.

I was 22 when my son was born.  Yes I was (at the time) married to the sperm donor.  However, my son was not planned, and the timing was awkward at best.  Even so, it wasn’t a difficult choice- my son’s life and well-being took precedence over mine, and my son’s life and well-being definitely took precedence over my sorry excuse of an ex as well as said ex’s mother.  That’s a long story and I am not entirely without fault, but even as a rather emotionally impaired specimen, I have some sense of when to do what’s right rather than what appears to be expedient- or even logical.

I’m not even one of those people who is thrilled about being around kids.  One on one is OK, but not a whole gang of kids at one time.  I have no clue what a normal childhood is supposed to look like other than what I gleaned from the child development charts and so forth that I pored over in the hopes that my child might possibly turn out to be normal- or at least gainfully employed, and not a serial killer.   So far- and solely by the grace of God- my sorry parenting seems to have worked out.  He does have a job and as far as I know he hasn’t killed anyone.  As far as being normal, well, at least he is a good conversationalist, and he has good hygiene.  Then again, the same could be said of Ted Bundy, so you never know.

306418-ted-bundy

Ted looked normal, but then, sociopaths usually do.

Even though I could never categorize myself as a warm-and-fuzzy mommy, I tried.  My son, the precious only male child, did thank me for being a hard ass.  That was probably the most rewarding thing he has ever said to me. It’s easy to just capitulate and give your kids what they want and attempt to shelter them from anything that might bruise their precious, fragile self-esteem.  It’s hard to say no, to set boundaries, to instill a work ethic, and to adhere to certain moral absolutes, but your kid isn’t supposed to be your “buddy.”  Maybe when they’re adults, but not when they are still kids and are still discovering why shampooing one’s hair and brushing one’s teeth daily are essential, mandatory life practices.

brush teeth

Mandatory: not negotiable, and NOT optional!

Our current societal mentality is all about what’s comfortable, what’s easy and what’s disposable.  Raising a child is not comfortable, not easy, (not cheap either) and 23 years later, he still “needs mommy” but, thankfully, not in the same way he did as a toddler.  I don’t have to bathe him or change shitty diapers, which is definitely a plus.

I don’t think the Roe v. Wade decision did much to make people see that children are valuable, but as heinous as the idea of killing innocent children for convenience sake is, it’s a symptom of a larger, age old problem.

It’s all about the pervasive view that, “It’s all about me,”- the temptation of the Garden.  “I can have it all,” or as the serpent in the story tempts Eve- “you will be like God.” (Genesis 3:5)

German_Adam_and_Eve

It won’t make you God, but it will make your life a lot more complicated.

But isn’t hindsight 20/20?

Oh, yeah, we humans want to be our own gods. Believe that.  Call it “original sin,” or “the depravity of man,” but that desire is the root and the essence of what’s wrong with humanity and society, and we can’t fix that longing because that’s written into who we are.

I know even though I find certain human actions to be reprehensible, that I am every bit as much a sinner and a violator as anyone else.  I don’t have the authority to pass judgment on other people, and I don’t want that authority either.  I know all too well that I don’t have much empathy, and I don’t have a high tolerance for stupid behavior.  I will comment on the actions of others- and I do have the authority to condemn certain actions, even though I have no way of discerning the thought processes and motives behind those actions.

The only answer I have for that is: Kyrie elaison – God have mercy, Christ have mercy.

Have mercy on us all.

Tuna-Sandwichestabtwinkie

 

Navin Johnson’s (Steve Martin’s character in the iconic film, The Jerk ) meal that his adopted mother served him on his birthday was a tuna sandwich wrapped in cellophane, a Tab and a Twinkie.  Most of my favorite things are like that- simple, cheap and uncomplicated.  I  share Navin’s enthusiasm for Tab, and I like a good tuna melt from time to time, although I’ve not had a Twinkie in at least ten years.

classy

I’d like to admit to complicated tastes, as in: oh, yeah, I sit around drinking vintage Cabernets and imported cheese while conversing about world history and literature with influential and erudite people.   I study some rather obscure and esoteric subjects (have you seen my collection of 19th century postmortem pics, for instance) from time to time, but in social circles, I’m not that good of a performer. I’m not that pretentious. Since I am pathetically socially inept, and not at all well connected, my evenings are usually spent watching Jerry empty out the Natties, go from just a little drunk, to full-on fall-over shitfaced drunk, as he attempts to argue philosophy with the dogs.  Jerry is not an eloquent conversationalist even when he’s stone cold sober.  Alcohol does not enhance his verbal communication skills.

Natty

FYI: Natty does NOT make you an enchanting conversationalist.  Ever.

Jerry isn’t the greatest company, but he is predictable at least.  He tolerates my eccentricities, which is saying a lot. It’s easier that way, and I don’t have to worry about what to wear or whether or not I am avoiding eye contact again.   To him, I’m just the tepid body that pays the cable bill and medical bills, buys food, and wanders around cleaning up the beer cans.  He’s doing good to refrain from calling me Mildred and asking me about my diarrhea, but that’s OK.  I’ve been married to him for 19 years and neither one of us has succeeded in killing each other or making good on threats made in the heat of anger to leave,  so it must be all good.

I don’t know what to make of current events.  Robin Williams committing suicide was just plain bizarre, although I can certainly attest to the truth that comedy is the flipside of tragedy.  We shouldn’t really be surprised that comedians invariably suffer with depression and all the psychological baggage that goes along with it.  Humor is a defense mechanism. Usually the funnier a person comes across, the more tragedy that person has endured. Most of the time I try to laugh to keep from crying- or to fill that awkward void when I just don’t have the words or when that proper, polished façade just doesn’t materialize when I need it to.

man in pink tank

This dude must have had some pretty serious childhood trauma to try to rock the Daisy Dukes AND the crop top.

Perhaps it is better to elevate sarcasm to an art form than to take out one’s pain and hurt and anger in more destructive ways.  I don’t want to hurt anyone, especially in the ways that I have been.  It might be a bit mean-spirited to show pics of people who have made unfortunate fashion/life choices, but hey, you set yourself up for those.  If I appeared in public looking like a crack ho, or morbidly obese and/or otherwise badly dressed, then someone posting my sorry ass pic online should be a wake up call, a sort of, “Get your shit together, bi-atch!” statement.  I would be asking for it.

Now, going as a Twinkie for Halloween might actually be funny, but I don’t think that was this chick’s intent.

twinkie

Sort of like a Twinkie, anyway.

baby cradle

I wonder- sleeping? dead? doll?

There is something just not right, something incomplete and unfair, in an untimely death.

A good friend of ours, who claimed at one point to be an atheist, died Saturday night.  It was not a pretty death (if there is such a thing) nor was it a quick or painless death.  The poor man had dealt with cancer for the past four years- a bout of colon cancer that almost killed him back in 2010, and the stage 4 lung cancer he was diagnosed with back in April that finally spread throughout his body and slowly, painfully and agonizingly did him in.  To greatly summarize the gory story, this guy spent the past month jacked up on every narcotic known to man, and was almost always straight out of his mind due to the cancer spreading to his brain.  Nothing could quiet the unimaginable pain associated with cancer spreading like wildfire, not even the Tramadol and morphine and whatever other heavy duty drugs that the hospice people have at their disposal.   Cancer is a pretty shitty way to die by all accounts.  I don’t say that to trivialize his pain or the pain that his widow is still going through and reliving all those horrors, but words just can’t paint an accurate enough picture.  I pray to God that I don’t die that way, and that I would be spared the awful reality of being a primary caretaker of a loved one dying that way, because I don’t have that kind of courage or strength.

Since everyone has to die, I could only ask to go the way my maternal grandmother did- suddenly, via a massive stroke that took her from walking, talking and being completely normal to being pretty much dead as a doornail in an instant.  It really sucked for the rest of the family, but it actually gives me some peace knowing that she didn’t linger around and suffer for months or years, slowly and painfully deteriorating until she was unrecognizable.

Stephen King said it in his book Pet Sematary: Sometimes dead is better.

pet sematary

I am not in any hurry to take the Dirt Nap- nor am I in any hurry for anyone else I care about to bite the big one either- but I still have a really hard time with suffering, and watching people sort of fade and melt away before my eyes.

Maybe that’s what that whole “mid-life crisis” thing is- understanding that personal mortality is about more than just the Dirt Nap- it’s the little bites of decay and loss and downhill slide of entropy that we endure every day.  Things like the realization that my eyes don’t adjust to close vision when I have my glasses on, or that the people I went to high school with look like my Dad’s friends- and that a good number of my Dad’s friends are dead.

The places are either gone or drastically changed, and that’s not even been from the distant past.  I usually don’t have too many reasons to go downtown- save for the paper nightie appointment once a year- because I go to a different primary care Dr. and his office isn’t downtown.  Yesterday I decided to take my granddaughter to the art museum (which I must recommend, as they have lots of fun stuff for kids) and I was amazed on the way down High St. to take her back home at observing the OSU campus.  At least temporarily, campus has been de-skankified and yuppiefied almost beyond recognition.   I think they’re trying to overcome their reputation of being the Midwest’s #1 school to get robbed and raped.  Good luck with that.  Especially on the night of the Michigan game.  Leave your car- and yourself- at home.  Watch the game, if you must, on TV.

Of course, campus gets a makeover about once every 20 years.  It will take about a year or so for the current renovations to get trashed, and when you think it can’t get any nastier, some builders come in with bulldozers, raze most of it, and start again.

Maybe that’s what’s going on with me.  I could use a renovation.

renovation

Home improvement is nowhere to be found in my box of talents.  Believe that.

I would like to expand my education- not necessarily in a formal way, because, sadly, most so-called institutions of learning are all about the almighty dollar and/or all about filling young people’s heads with socialist/globalist garbage.  Even poor Steve-o had to take two courses that I believed were total politically correct garbage- one course in “cultural sensitivity” and another on “our global economy.”  The first course mostly informed him that as a white male he is/was responsible for all of the evils in the world today, from inequality in the workplace to global warming (both concepts are crocks of crap, IMO.)  The second was supposed to be on economics but it ended up being a formalized diatribe on how industrialized nations are victimizing tribal peoples in third world holes, and how we should bury our cars and wipe with reusable cloths.  That would have been sort of funny, except that his major was automotive science. 

I think I will embark upon a self-directed expansion of knowledge, even though I know that my biases will play into that.  It’s no worse than a tech school requiring my son to take courses in BS to graduate.

good nuts

Naturally good nuts.  That’s good, because we wouldn’t want artificial nuts.

neuticles1

Unless you’re the owner of a neutered male dog, and you take his loss of sexual potency way too personally.  There are, believe it or not, artificial nuts for neutered dogs.

I’ve never owned a male dog.  I’m of the opinion that female dogs generally are smarter, live longer and have fewer overall health problems- even though spaying a female is a lot more expensive and involved than neutering a male.  I have encountered more than a few male dogs that would make me hesitate to consider a male dog,  but in fairness I’ve also encountered a few that I really liked.  I find it really hard to dislike any dog, with the exception of my cousins’ psycho Chihuahua, Andy- but Andy’s been dead for nearly 40 years.   If anything, poor Andy was an argument against incessant inbreeding.

GoodbyeTesticles

You didn’t need them anyway.

I  may end up with a male dog someday, but I wouldn’t consider having an intact male, even though neutering doesn’t guarantee placid behavior.  Uno, the one-brown, one-blue-eyed, twisted little Shih-Tsu, who used to belong to my mother-in-law, positively tormented poor Isabel (who was a five pound, spayed, elderly, black cat) by chasing her all over the house and attempting to hump her constantly.  He was neutered, but that didn’t seem to matter to Uno and his Red Rocket.  I was glad when we found that guy a good permanent home- away from Isabel.  He was a sweet dog, but humping the cat (aside from being counterproductive) is just plain creepy.

I’ve had three male cats, and they weren’t at all bothered about being nutless.  Other than reduced longevity, (and males are bigger) I really don’t see much difference between spayed female cats and neutered male cats.   I think the male cats I had were secretly relieved of being culled from the gene pool and therefore set free of the obligation to -well- screw like tomcats.

cats

Thought I was going to post a gratuitous pic of feline copulation, eh?

Since I’m on the subject of nuts, (for what reason I have no idea) I have to comment on the illustrious, nutless wonder who is squatting in the White House.  Normally, I can’t stand to listen to Obama speak, and if I feel I must find out what kind of garbage he’s spewing, I just read the transcript later. Unfortunately I was subjected to the Wanna-be-Imperial One’s press conference regarding the Ebola epidemic and his African summit while I was waiting on my car to get serviced at the Toyota dealership.  Hindsight being 20/20, I wish that I had remembered my headphones, or that I had decided to wait outside.

Since I sat through every infuriating minute of it, I thought I would offer the rational person’s Cliff’s Notes on this particular address:

Let’s send billions more dollars in “aid” to Africa that will not be (and never is) used to do anything to ameliorate squalor, disease and poverty, but will be squandered on funding terrorists, supporting regional warlords, and  empowering garden-variety thugs.  While we’re at it, we’re just going to open our borders to every terrorist, scumbag and non-English speaking, uneducated indigent who can manage to traipse on in.   Because terrorists need love too?  Then the Naked Emperor cries and whines and wonders out loud why American corporations are clamoring to incorporate in foreign countries to avoid the evil IRS and its labyrinthine and oppressive tax system. 

Oh, and we can’t send the Ebola medicine to Africa because it’s experimental…and they might die from it.  Even though they are almost certainly going to die from the Ebola, why should we try giving a drug that might help?  Someone might sue us or something.

Really?

I almost threw up all over the customer lounge.   Thankfully by that time, my tire rotation and car wash were done and the service advisor had come to retrieve me.  I just hope they torqued my lug nuts to 76 ft lbs. like the owner’s manual suggests.

no clue

On the way home I had a few insights on B.O.’s asinine rhetoric.

1. Why are we spending a red dime to support any terrorist harboring country? I don’t give a flying fart in a high wind what’s going on there.  It’s not our problem. In fact, as cruel as it sounds, perhaps some of these third world holes could use some thinning of the herd.  Especially when foreign aid never seems to get where it’s supposed to go, and the poverty and desolation persists no matter how many billions of dollars are thrown at it.

2. Why do veterans go without medical treatment, and American citizens are taxed so heavily they can’t afford their own healthcare (even though they work for a living) while our government pisses away our tax dollars to support terrorists and others who only want to kill us and send the world back to the Dark Ages?  Americans’ money could be better spent on our own infrastructure and military, and to secure our borders against the terrorists and thugs, but what do I know?

3. Why is this illegitimate president still squatting in our White House?

 

 

not sexy

I think that might be a skunk on her right thigh.

One does encounter the frightening side of humanity at the Ohio State Fair- or any other public festival-type gathering.  It wasn’t as alarming as I have observed in years past, or perhaps I’m getting a bit jaded to the freak show.  The Marion Popcorn Festival is coming up, which makes the Fair look positively tame.  I’ve also found that it’s a lot easier to take pics with the Note 3 than with a traditional camera because people just think you’re texting or something when you are really taking pics. Maybe that’s mean of me, but I run even worse than I fight.

smokin red

Toasty tobacco flavor!

I wonder if Red here is disabled or if she just figured it was worth $10 to ride around in a Mart Cart all day.  I think she weighs less than 300#, so they probably don’t let her ride the cart in Walmart.  She is setting a lovely example for her (grand?) son though.  Even while she is lecturing another offspring (?) spousal unit (?) on the dangers of wearing just socks without shoes in public.

red with sox

Told ya ta wear some shoes, dumbass!

The dog had Barbie dolls with better hair than poor Red.  I say “the dog” because Suzie, the deranged Dachshund my parents had when I was little, appropriated certain of my sisters’ toys for her own personal use- when she was done eating their socks and underwear, that is.  Suzie didn’t like very many people, but she adored me.  Go figure.  I never had a problem with her, but my sisters couldn’t touch her, or get their toys back once Suzie decided she liked them.

I figured, with Suzie, possession was 9/10.   If Suzie wanted it who was I to stand in her way?  Although I could do anything with Suzie, including getting toys back from her, I wasn’t about to do that for either of my sisters.  I liked Suzie better than either of them.

shorts n boots

Shorts and cowboy boots?

I saw a number of people at the Fair wearing cowboy boots with shorts.  I don’t know why this particular fashion choice bugs me, but it does.  At least she’s not wearing Daisy Dukes. And she was nice enough to cover up her back fat, unlike this unfortunate girl:

gratuitous back fat

Girl, you need a rear view mirror.

Perhaps I am being a bit harsh on fashion choices- after all I dress for comfort most of the time, and especially so if I am going to be traipsing along outside in the heat.  It wasn’t as hot as it normally is which may have cut down on the freak factor this year.

smokey

The talking Smokey the Bear is freaky though.

When I was a little kid I always wondered about Smokey’s preoccupation with forest fires.  I knew too many kids who were only too happy to fry ants with magnifying glasses (yes, I did do that) or set stuff on fire with Zippos (Steve-o,,,)  I always wondered why Smokey talked about not playing with matches, but never mentioned Bics or Zippos or magnifying glasses.

Zippo_light

Not a flashlight substitute, either.

Then again, central Ohio is a swamp and it’s usually raining, or there’s some form of precipitation at least every other day or so,  so wildfires generally don’t happen, and when they do, they generally don’t spread much.  However, the perpetual dampness never stopped the slumlords from burning down non-profitable rental properties to the point that in certain locales it is expensive and well-near impossible to get home owner’s or business insurance.  There’s always accelerants, you know, if you really want something to burn.  Too bad the ass-pilots that use them usually have very little understanding of forensic science.  They can tell you doused the place with gasoline before you torched it.

Smokey seems a little quaint and outdated for these times.  Nobody wants to intentionally burn down forests, because you can’t get insurance on a random forest. Maybe Smokey should be talking about arson?  “Hey, kids, only you can decide not to burn down your non-profitable rental properties, ” or, better yet:  “Hey, kids, don’t drop your crack pipe and burn down your crack house!”  Especially if you just spilled gasoline on the floor.

Ponderous-Dachshund

Mi underwear – Su underwear?

Somehow, some things just aren’t meant to be shared.

I haven’t thought about poor Suzie in a long time.  She was always in fragile health and died at the relatively young age of 7 years. I believe her early demise was largely due to being willing to eat vast quantities of anything, including socks, underwear, marbles, Army men, and things my mother served that were sort of supposed to be food.  Mom’s cooking was rather disastrous a good deal of the time, so there was a lot of food left over to go with Suzie’s Chuck Wagon.

chuckwag70

On second thought, maybe we should have just eaten the Chuck Wagon.

mmmm…Meaty!  in a meat by-product-y sort of way…

 

field and stream

This is an interesting concept.

I can see it now.  This could be the cover of a beefcake (as in nude dudes) calendar with a fishing and hunting motif.   The sign is from a local construction site where they are building a Field and Stream store as well as a Dick’s Sporting Goods.  (Yes, for the sports non-enthusiast,  Dick’s Sporting Goods is a real chain of stores.)  This sign just struck me funny in a puerile, sophomoric way.  It’s bad that I still enjoy toilet humor at my age, but some things are just funny, and it doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 80.

Today’s trendy habit of photographing every bloody thing under the sun (and I am oh, so guilty of doing it too) provides vast quantities of comedic fodder.  The horrible pics of moonbats in Walmart are proof of that.

thrift store explosion survivor

It just seems incongruent that in these times where everyone has a camera (usually part of the phone) and can take pictures anywhere, that people go out in public looking like something left over from an 80’s slasher flick or an unfortunate survivor of an explosion in a thrift store.  Just because you can go out wearing a halter top, SpongeBob boxers for pants, and you can dye your hair Ronald McDonald red, doesn’t mean you should.

Back in the 1940’s, for example (one of my favorite fashion eras) photography was expensive, and taking pics of people wasn’t a particularly easy endeavor.   It was unlikely that someone would take a random pic of you, and even more unlikely that your pic would appear on screen or in print, ever.  Even so, people dressed a bit more appropriately out in public.  There are no pictures from the 40’s of anyone out in public with underwear showing above belts or pant waists in the middle (or the bottom) of the butt crack.

sagging2_thumb

Women didn’t go running around outside with their back boobs showing either.  It’s no crime to be large, but if you are, dress appropriately.  No one wants to see that.

Back_Boobs793

(Not sure if this is a woman, but you get my drift.)

We have become a nation of freaky moonbats.  It started in the 1960’s when people started doing acid and other hallucinogens, and it’s getting progressively worse.  Maybe I’m noticing this because my parents pretty much opted out of the whole ’60’s counter culture scene except for the thing for Volkswagens.  I know more about old air-cooled Volkswagens than anyone probably should, but as far as I know, my parents are tee-totalers who only take drugs they have scripts for.

vw air cooled

Saturday we’re going to the Ohio State Fair, which among other things, is a Walmart-caliber freak show.  I’m going to try to sneak off some pictures as long as I can do it discretely.  Last year didn’t disappoint.  The Popcorn Festival in Marion is the world-wide showplace of Very Bad Tats (this is coming up in September) and I will have to try to sneak some pics of those too.   The Festival is not an easy place to get pics, as it’s crowded, but the Bad Tat Bazaar (or should I say Bizarre) will be interesting.

I shouldn’t say anything about tats (I do have a small but tasteful rendition of Théophile Steinlen’s Chat Noir on my right calf) but there’s tasteful, artistic tats:

IMG_20130513_093939

And then there’s tacky, drunk-and-stupid ones:

badtatbeer

I did- or I should say Steve-o, aka Mr. Borderline OCD did- some research before we did the whole tat thing.  He was diligent in finding a facility whose standards exceed the county health department’s for cleanliness and sanitation, and whose artists are truly artists.  Getting the Chat Noir applied was a surprisingly pleasant experience over all, and going to a reputable facility was much preferred over getting drunk and giving some recently-released-from-prison bubba with a modified Walkman motor full of hepatitis A, B and C a $20 to scribble permanent scribblings into my skin.  My best friend in high school did that, and she probably still has that particular ex-boyfriend’s name in three inch block letters on her back.  I don’t know if she got hepatitis or not from that jailhouse tat, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

  warmandfuzzy

I am not the poster child for things touchy-feely.  I loathe strange people touching me (even getting my hair cut is an adventure, though I endure it because I can’t cut my own hair with any degree of accuracy) and generally I’m not too thrilled about being groped by those I do know.  Unless they’re dogs, and that’s OK.  Why, I don’t know, but dogs are safe, at least for me.  Even when I was a little kid and was terrified of the world, from my sadistic oldest sister to unauthorized insect life, I had no problem climbing the fence and snuggling up to a 120# Rottweiler.

rottweiler

It’s not usually the big dogs you have to worry about.  Unless you’re up to mischief, that is.

The only dog I can remember having any kind of problem with was Andy the Chihuahua, but he was likely the product of many generations of inbreeding, and from the moment he was whelped he was certifiably messed up in the head.  He was my cousins’ dog, and even they couldn’t touch him.  It’s a good thing that pathetic little Andy, with his  high-pitched, constant and annoying yappy voice, severe underbite and thick cataracts,  (I think the wretched thing was born blind) didn’t live past the age of five. I’m surprised he lived as long as he did.   I think the only thing that saved him was that he was too evil for the cats to eat him.  He reminded me of a wind-up toy with an over-wound spring.  Such a toy will go like blue blazes- for a little while- then it just dies suddenly.  I think it was reported that poor Andy bit the big one mid-yap.  I don’t think he was very much missed.

psycho chihuahua

Andy the psycho Chihuahua is the exception, not the rule in the canine world.  Humanity is the exact opposite.

There is a sad irony that I feel safer with animals that technically are the same species as wolves (canis lupus familiaris is not far removed from canis lupus lupus after all) than I do with fellow humans.  But I do.

I’ve gathered from my own observations that “normal” people (begging the question, “Who defines ‘normal’?,” though I know I am most certainly anything but “normal”) generally have an easy time relating to other “normal” people.   While I’m usually looking for excuses to avoid excessive social interaction, as too much of playing that game wears me out, the “normals” blithely seek out more opportunities to be in each others’ faces.    I have to work at the communication game.  Really. Hard.  I have to consciously know which façade to pull out, and what (figurative) costume to wear for which occasion.

I have to pay attention to things that come instinctually to most, such as eye contact and body language and tone of voice. Otherwise, if I’m not paying attention, I just stare straight ahead and bellow out everything in a loud monotone.  I have acquired social skills- and over the years I’ve trained myself to practice them well- but that whole hoo-hah wears me down, just as the social dance energizes most people.

hermit

Sometimes I’d like to tell the whole world to bite me sideways and say screw it all, (and I would if I had the scratch to live as a recluse) but necessity dictates that I have to put up with other people and their shit.  Maybe it’s wrong or arrogant or selfish of me to see things that way, but that’s just the way it is.  That’s my reality-constant vigilance and constant anxiety, because I have to pay close attention to every word and every movement, at least when I am under others’ scrutiny.

Maybe that was where Shakespeare got the notion that all the world’s a stage.  Performing is hard work, and sometimes I just don’t wanna.

I don’t have to play the game with dogs- or even cats for that matter.   With them I can just be.

There are times I do enjoy the relational hoo-hah and find it a strange kind of fun, but it’s fun that I really only need in small doses, and even when I do enjoy it, it wears me out.  Right now I’m exhausted, and in a way I wish I could beg off human contact for a few months or so.

14corolla

What I really need is a nice, long solitary road trip.

I could use one of those trips where I leave, go somewhere randomly, do whatever, and then come back.  The last time I really did that was back in 1987, and I caught hell for it.  Of course, going 500 miles out with $150,  in a car that had no air conditioning, leaked oil horribly, had 4 balding (different sizes and treads) tires and a top speed of 45 MPH wasn’t a good idea and I wouldn’t dream of trying it today, especially without a phone, but those were different times.   Cell phones were expensive toys hard mounted in expensive cars back in 1987.  I was a young punk and wanted to do what I wanted to do, even if I didn’t have much scratch and my car was a very distressed, high mileage ’79 Subaru DL.   Today I would be afraid of being raped and robbed (well, in my case, probably just robbed and shot) if I would happen to get stranded.  Today I have plastic (though I am quite loath to use it) a modern car, a phone, GPS, roadside assistance and a (always loaded) .357 Magnum.

I’m not nearly as trusting as I used to be.

Jerry would have nine kinds of fits if I did something like that.  He would accuse me of being out trysting with some smoking hot young stud even though he (especially) should know I have the sex appeal of stale saltines and wet socks.    In reality he would miss subjecting me to his tirades, and would miss me fetching his food and beer.

Yes, a solitary road trip would be most delicious.  Even a day trip would be good.

 

speedwayburrito supreme

Get your gasoline, beer and Marlboros here, but NOT your burritos.

Perhaps it is too obvious to be a cautionary tale, but it wasn’t a good decision to eat the $2 spicy beef and bean burrito from Speedway.  I paid for that all of Saturday night and a good part of Sunday.  Who needs those expensive colon cleanse kits, or even White Castles for that matter?

I don’t eat prepackaged food very often.  Most of the time if I want burritos I make them at home with refried beans, whole wheat tortillas, ground spicy turkey, sour cream, cheddar cheese, onions, salsa, etc.  I know what’s in them that way.

Tonight will probably be a salad night.  It’s hot.  Either that or Spam sandwiches.  Nothing wrong with Spam, at least not the meat product.  Grill it with a slice of American cheese, some onion and tomato on wheat bread with mustard and it’s not half bad.

spam ad

Grandpa used to love this stuff.  And chicken necks.   He lived to be 91, so it couldn’t have been that bad.

I can think of a lot of different things that probably would offend my colon less than that burrito.  Like Dran-o.

As far as the condition of my mind and heart at the moment, it’s not as bad as it could be.  It’s not as good as it could be either, but the pragmatist in me finds such a condition oddly acceptable.

A little bit of melancholy and pensiveness is good for the soul.

melancholy

I have to watch spending too much time there, though, because for me melancholy can become full blown depression very quickly and easily.    I have a twisted sense of humor for a reason, and most of the time that reason is because if I don’t laugh about the idiocy and injustice and pain and fear in this world I would have to cry.  If I really start in crying, I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop.

tears 2

Isabelnotamused

So I haven’t been around for awhile.  There’s a few reasons for that.  Let’s start off by saying I hope no one else in my sphere dies anytime soon.  Death sucks.  Especially when it’s Miz Izz.

I acquired Miz Izz- Isabel- as a four-week old (it’s really easy to estimate young kittens’ age) that had been abandoned in a grocery store parking lot.  What amazed me is that a typical feral cat, even one that tiny, would have at least tried to run or fight, but not Isabel. She let me scoop her up and take her home.  As if she belonged.  And she did.

???????????????????????????????

This is Jezebel at 9 weeks- she and Isabel were virtually identical as far as looks and build.

Had Isabel lived another month she would have been 16 years old.  But her poor little body just couldn’t take any more.  She had always been petite and somewhat frail, and she had become even more so when she developed a condition called “pillow foot” or more correctly, plasma cell pododermatitis. Suffice to say this is a nasty condition, and Isabel had it rather severely.  At times her paws would swell up so much they would bleed and I would have to take her to get shots- which helped for awhile, but then she became too fragile for the meds (prednisone and doxycycline.)

Maybe I shouldn’t miss an old, fragile black cat with set ways and a loud voice.  But I do.

Death can be a mercy, especially when someone is suffering and there isn’t any real fix for it, when there’s no longer any good life to be had. My last good memory of Isabel was of her greedily snapping up pieces of top sirloin as we shared a steak.  The dogs were outside of course, and the only two cats that were ever bold enough to ever approach my Steak Experience were Isabel and Jezebel.  Jezebel is a bit more restrained, but Isabel never had a problem getting right up close to get her little bits of gristle and fat.  That was the last time I can say I knew Isabel was still enjoying being a cat.  I buried her a week later.

grimreaper

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…

I admit that I fight with the idea that humane euthanasia is OK when a cat or a dog is suffering and they have gotten beyond what I would call “good life to be had,” but the same concept doesn’t apply to humans.  I understand, at least from a spiritual and theological view, that God is the Author of life. Since humans are made in His image, we generally don’t have the authority to take human life away.  (Capital punishment is an exception to the general prohibition against taking human life, and so is just war, but those are topics worthy of their own separate and detailed discussions.  Suffice to say that I believe in the merits of both, in the proper circumstances.)

Dead_Body_Man_by_MrMotts

 

It is morally right to put a cat or a dog to sleep when he or she is suffering and he or she stops enjoying being a cat or a dog.  Euthanasia for humans is not acceptable even when it would seem to be a mercy.

As far as the higher purpose of human suffering, I’ll be the first to say I don’t get it.

Not that I would put a human life into the same (noble but still lower) category as the life of Miz Izz, but my mother-in-law had been suffering and confined to a wheelchair for most of the time that Miz Izz walked the earth.  My mother-in-law died last Saturday after being confined to a wheelchair for 15 years, suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, congestive heart failure and a laundry list of other maladies.  Her last two weeks were particularly brutal.

I don’t believe in euthanasia for humans- not ever- but sometimes I’ve got to ask God why.  Isabel pretty much enjoyed her cat life up until the last week of it. Granted happiness for cats is fairly easy- somewhere to sleep, food to eat and somewhere to drop a load.  Human life is a lot more complicated, but still, why did Jerry’s Mom have to suffer for so freaking long?

monty python evacuation

Hospice is a great help for those who are actively dying, but it can only mitigate the process.

Worse than her dying was the funeral. I understand Southern Baptist soteriology (understanding of the mechanism of salvation) pretty well.  “Turn or Burn” is pretty standard fare at SB funerals, but to the uninitiated, it is about as anti-PC as one can get.  You don’t get a funeral message too often that includes, “Do you know where you’ll be if you get hit by a truck on the way out of here?”

Jerry’s sisters were a bit taken aback.  I had tried to give Steve-o a heads up on SB soteriology before the funeral so he wouldn’t freak out. His religious understanding has pretty much been shaped by growing up in a Lutheran church, so the really fundamental interpretations of SB soteriology would sound a bit bat-shit crazy to him.  Mom has confused him enough by trying to throw in the Catholic earn – your -points system.

I grew up around Regular Baptists (even more of the “Turn or Burn” mentality than the SBs) so I know all too well there could possibly be an altar call.  There wasn’t.  He did do the Sinners’ Prayer though.  I have to hand it to the preacher for preaching the gospel instead of offering pallid platitudes on how much life sucks and then you die, ya – da ya-da. At least Steve-o had a heads up.

Lutherans don’t do altar calls.  Our pastors do occasionally mention hell, but not usually at funerals.

It just seems strange to me. Life and death and all of that.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 53 other followers