Monday, August 31, 2009

An Absence of Pronged and Other Implements

Why, oh, why, is the only available type of flatware so often the Giant Spoon? Where are all the big forks? Where are all the small forks? And, for that matter, where are all the small spoons? Clearly, somewhere in the kitchen there is a Black Hole into which all manner of objects -- particularly utensils -- are disappearing. Very strange indeed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Plink, plink

Herself is teaching me how to play the piano. It is a difficult and tiring endeavor, but I aspire to play at least one duet with her. Together, we can do it!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Slightly Odd Duck

It has been just over two years now since Offspring the third was determined to fall within the Autism Spectrum. He is a person with Asperger’s, an “Aspie.” He is the same child he was before the pronouncement: the same bright, emotional, devoted, tender-hearted, black-and-white thinking, justice- and fairness-oriented, noise-averse, sensory-sensitive, and mildly obsessive person he has always been. The main difference now is that with a formal piece of paper with this label marked on it, the school system is required to take into consideration his unique needs in the classroom setting. Furthermore, as far as Aspies go, his difficulties are minor. With training, patience and time, I have every confidence that he will learn to navigate the outside world comfortably and successfully.

He has made tremendous strides in this direction during the past two years, and particularly in the past year and a half since he started tae kwon do. This is no mere coincidence: the lessons of tae kwon do have given him excellent coping skills. He has learned to accept correction and to generate self-control; he has found a core of self-confidence; he is able to expend some of his tightly-coiled energy in a positive manner; and most of all, he has found a group of people who treat him with respect, courtesy, and kindness. On the mat at the gym, he is no different from anyone else: he has his tribe, his commonality, his belonging. It is a wonderful thing to behold.

As Offspring the third has matured and grown, I have noticed striking parallels between him and Herself. They are surprisingly similar in many Asperger’s-related ways: they are both somewhat socially awkward; they enjoy routine, dislike change and spontaneity, and prefer to know exactly what is going to transpire; they tend to obsess and perserverate; they are overwhelmed by loud noises and certain other sensory input; they frequently misunderstand sarcasm and teasing, and take statements literally rather than figuratively; they tend to use language in slightly unusual ways; they sometimes have trouble maintaining eye contact when conversing; and they can have difficulty interpreting the emotions, motivations and intentions of other people. While many other people share many of these traits, the grouping of these particular characteristics may occasionally add up to Something More.

And so, the question begs itself: is Herself an Aspie?

Ultimately, does it matter for her?

I think not.

Herself has been blessed multifold with opportunities that allow her to navigate around her issues. Her telecommuting ensures that she can prepare significantly in advance for most work-related social interaction. The prevalence of e-mail allows her to communicate most often in her preferred medium: print. She has several internet-based friendships that are both meaningful and helpful. Her Beloved is an abundant source of information on motivations, intentions, and emotions of other people. As Offspring the first and the second have matured into teenagers, they have also provided much-needed insight into the inner workings of other human beings as well.

Most critically, after over a decade of self-imposed social exile, Herself’s recent, laborious efforts at in-person socialization have resulted in her ability to consider a small core of people at the tae kwon do gym to be her friends. The payoff from her calculated (and in her mind, very great) risk at attempting friendship has been so much greater than she ever expected. While Herself still occasionally experiences awkward conversation, inward difficulties, or "one of those moments," these are few compared with the joy she has found. The Universe has been truly merciful in bestowing these friends upon Herself.

Thus, ultimately, whether Herself falls directly onto the spectrum as an Aspie, or is merely adjacent to the spectrum as a Slightly Odd Duck, is immaterial. She understands her own limitations and has the means to work around them. By chance, good fortune, and a bit of hard work, she has managed to gather all that she needs around Herself.

Everyone, whether on the spectrum or not, should be so lucky.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


With the advent of the school year comes the reemergence of the customary morning task of making lunches for the Offspring. Offspring the first and Offspring the second, both in high school, prefer the generic-brown-paper-bag container; Offspring the third, who is still in grade school, is content to use his favorite cloth lunch bag. Each child requires slightly different food items, and it is important to remember who gets what.

Herself could require that the Offspring pack their own lunches. She seems to derive pleasure from ensuring each lunch has just what each child enjoys, though. She quotes Aesop:

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Behold Peacock: ancient, ornery cockatiel. He (or she - no one has determined, and Peacock has remained silent on gender issues) is older than Offspring the second, and was named by Offspring the first, who was then a toddler and clearly impressed by Peacock's beautiful coloration.

Peacock grudgingly tolerates Herself's presence, as she is the one who tidies the cage and provides birdseed and water. However, Peacock is quite enamored of Herself's Beloved and will chirp and sing happily at the sound of the garage door closing (an indicator of his homecoming). Offspring the third tries to fool Peacock into believing that Herself's Beloved has arrived by shutting the garage door noisily, imitating standard phrases uttered by him, and calling out, "Hey, Peacock!"

Peacock, however, is not fooled.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Now that the Offspring are back in school, I'm indulging more often in my favorite pastimes: baking. Today's project is coffee cake. Nicknamed "coffee pie" by Offspring the third, it is one of Offspring the second's favorite breakfast foods. Tasty!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Alone At Last

All the Offspring are at school, and Herself and I are blissfully Alone at home. Solitary creatures that we are, we are enjoying the quiet and the absence of movement elsewhere in the house. It is a small relief not to have to tend to anyone’s needs other than our own, if only for a short period of time.

We offer a whispered request to the Universe that the school year will go smoothly: may the Offspring do well and have success; may they seek out and easily obtain help when it is needed; may they find friends who make them laugh and cheer them on; and may they be spared from the childish cruelty that is so often exchanged amongst their peers.

We will be waiting, refreshed from our time alone and ready to feed you, listen to you, and care for you. We love you, Offspring.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back To School

Today I helped Herself gather the myriad supplies necessary for the offspring to bring for the commencement of school on Monday. As we shopped, Herself reminisced about the gray paper which she and her grade school classmates would carefully fold into eighths, entering a single math problem in each divided portion. The math paper was oddly similar to the toilet paper in the grade school, small gray sheets in a metallic box.

So long ago, yet strangely so close in memory.

Some day, when the Offspring are finally fully launched, Herself and I will consider going back to school ourselves. There's such pleasure in having a fresh notebook, a sharpened pencil and a smooth pen, and novel topics to contemplate. Or perhaps we'll brush up on some old favorite subjects that have been submerged in unused portions of the brain over time: Latin, Greek, biology and physics. The quest for knowledge - one of the best parts of being human.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Behold Daisy: large, clumsy, goofy. The encroaching grey on her face reveals her age but contradicts her youthful spirit. She has a substantial tail that knocks things over. Rescued as a 4 1/2 pound, wretchedly ill puppy, she still believes that she is small and dainty, and will try to climb her 60-plus pound self into someone's lap to sit. She sleeps upside-down on the couch, legs all akimbo and poking into the air like twigs on a forest floor. If you throw a tennis ball for her, she is Your Friend For Life. Good dog, Daisy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Had my morning meal with Herself today. While I would have preferred something sweet, I was content with cereal. These do, after all, look like miniature pastries: donut seeds, perhaps?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Behold Thor: he is rotund, nervous, and fiercely protective of his domain. Despite his substantial girth and advancing age, his steps are sprightly. Fervidly and fervently dedicated to Herself, he will patiently lie by the front door for hours, awaiting her return. He is the R2D2 of pets - I have never seen such devotion in a dog before. All souls would be well served by the experience of such unfettered love from another creature.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Program

My apologies. The usual complexities of life crept up upon me, and I neglected to update my blog as usual. I'll rectify the problem, beginning today. Rest assured that there's nothing strange or untoward occurring.

Things are a little fishy, though.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy Places, Part I

There are a few places I have encountered that always seem to elicit tranquility and contentment. Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico is one off them. So much to enjoy: the cool dark of the caverns; the permeating quiet that is hardly affected by echoing footsteps; the faint odor of bats and rock; and the unusual and multiple speleothems. It is the most marvelous hike, devoid of the baking sun that can render unbearable an otherwise pleasant desert walk. The bat flight in the evening is a worthwhile spectacle - so many flapping creatures, streaming out and away into the dusk.

One of Herself's friends, remembering Herself's love of Carlsbad Caverns, presented her with a bat charm for her birthday. Herself is quite pleased to have this tangible reminder not only of the friendship, but also of this wonderful, soothing, soul-refreshing place.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake

The computer has mercifully been restored to full working order, albeit with the ever-present spectre of the now-defunct hard drive looming mournfully in the background. It is good to be back in business again.

Yesterday was Herself's 42nd birthday. It was a quiet sort of day, exactly as she prefers, and it was punctuated by a most pleasant lunch with some of Herself's favorite people. We could not have asked for anything more.

The cake was tasty, too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


It appears that the Motherboard was not the issue; rather, it seems to be that the hard drive has shuffled off this mortal coil. Alas, exponentially. I had a few essays in the works that were not backed up - replaceable with some effort, but an inconvenience, to be sure.

Herself is remaining as sanguine as possible under the circumstances. I think she's beginning to wonder, though, whether she's somehow generated some Bad Karma, given the sheer volume of small, disagreeable problems that have recently popped up like mushrooms after a rainfall. She is patient, however, and has once more turned to Buddha for words of wisdom:

Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn't learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn't learn a little,
at least we didn't get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn't die;
so, let us all be thankful.

Monday, August 3, 2009


I have suffered a Motherboard failure on my computer. Alas. I will rejoin you with pictures as soon as possible.

In the meanwhile, a quote from Buddha to contemplate:

Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Donkey Words

A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference.

- Eeyore, Winnie The Pooh

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Another Roswell Inhabitant

This is Harold's friend, Reginald. He enjoys walking in the rain, playing chess, and reading Ray Bradbury.