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Autism: Independent Living

While I have not been posting on my blog site often in recent months, it isn’t as if I have stopped writing altogether (as if that would ever be possible!)

Several months ago, right after I had struggled in getting my vision testing done, I did a Google search on what to do when vision testing doesn’t work for you.  I came up with the site “Quora,” and have been answering questions on there ever since.

For example, the question from this morning was:  “Can adults with Autism live independently without support?”

So I answered it:

Some might be able to. It really depends on many factors.

I, for instance, am what would be considered to be “high-functioning.” I have an average or above IQ, am (sometimes) verbal, can read, write, completed college with honours, have held a job for months, even years at a time…

But…

I have a tendency to panic attacks, am prone to depression, struggle with time management (time seems to go too fast for me, and I move to slow in it, so working more than a couple of days a week is too much for me and I can’t live outside of that.) I get burnt out easily, and shut down when I am overwhelmed.

When I lived on my own, I could never make enough to pay all of my bills. I wasn’t out spending money on things I didn’t need, but still ended up frequently short on money. Not enough for rent, hydro, gas, other bills. I couldn’t do it.

Also I struggle with abstracts – and thoughts of the future are pretty much entirely abstract. For example, I moved across the country, after completing my Early Childhood Education (with honours), to open a home daycare in a community that needed daycare.

My view was that I was allowed to care for 7 children, including my own. (5 under 5.) So even if I only filled those 4 spaces left for young children, I would have no trouble paying my bills. I took out a loan, moved across the country (fully expecting I would have no trouble flying home a couple of times a year to see my family) and opened my daycare.

What I could not see was that most of the care I would provide would be part time. Those 4 spaces would be filled by 10 children – and frequently I would be juggling and having to communicate to the parents in order to never go over 4 children at a time. Communication was hard. Getting enough income to pay the bills was very hard. Working full time to try and make enough to live was exhausting.

I couldn’t continue long term, ended up NOT being able to pay my bills, struggling to get money to eat, having my gas shut off, defaulting on my loans, and having to claim bankruptcy. NOT because I was out spending money on things I didn’t need, but because no matter how hard I tried (and 20 years later, this is still very true) I could not make enough to deal with everything.

In fact, trying to deal with everything a home requires to run (even excluding money – which had I been diagnosed, and been put on disability, I might have been able to manage) is so overwhelming that my brain shuts down (like an overloaded circuit breaker.)

Running a daycare was not the only factor in my inability to live independently. I also tried working in construction, and working in a small motel. Even in jobs I really liked, and could work at part time, I would become so panicky I couldn’t keep going. I am now at home on disability, as that issue became worse the more I tried, not better.

I am married now, and my husband works and takes care of the bills. He also helps me to socialize, and does the majority of the driving (even though I do drive, the unpredictability of other drivers and pedestrians causes me to panic and become exhausted too fast to actually get much done once I reach my destination.)

Maybe if I had a good level of disability payment support, and lived in a place where I was walking distance to most things I needed (groceries, church, etc.) and was on a very good bus route to anywhere else I might need to get to, I might be able to live independently. As it is, even as a high functioning adult with Autism/Aspergers, I can’t do it.

Easter 2015

 

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Autism: Change of Perspective

Speaking of age, my husband said something to me one day that caught me off guard.

We were talking of things that need to be done around the house: water heater, window, passports… I said the passports weren’t exactly a rush as we had no plans to go anywhere, and the earlier we had them done, the earlier they would expire.

I mentioned that I thought they only lasted five years (as that is how long we had our last ones.) My husband said he thinks we can get them for ten years now and “that’d be my life.”

Ten years.

Ten years ago my youngest ‘foster’ daughter was sick and falling over. Ten years ago we were told about ‘our’ children’s youngest brother, and were asked to adopt him.

Ten years before that my cousin died from complications with her Cystic Fibrosis, and my grandfather had a heart attack and cancer, and died a few months later.

Ten years is nothing.

I focus on the idea that the world might end in a few months – just to keep going. Anything I do, however, is with the consideration that I have as long left as I have lived so far – so renovations, and even habits, are important considerations for carrying me through the future.

When I get overwhelmed with the renovations that need to be done, or the skills and habits I would like to form (all of which I fixate on often) I get a strong impulse to move to a home that would make these things easier for me.

My husband’s statement sent me into another perspective which I haven’t seen before.

It isn’t so much that I thought he would live forever, but… the idea of his death was in how it would affect me – and such thoughts placed a sense of urgency on getting things in place that would help me and my son to endure it (for thoughts of him dying bring me to a place of panic – how will I keep going on my own?)

But this thought, spoken from his mouth as such a fact, transformed that perspective to what he might be considering as a result.

With ten years left, there is no benefit to moving (even if he were someone okay with change; which he isn’t.) With ten years left, what is the point of altering his diet or his habits and thereby making his life harder and less enjoyable?

And the things around the house? Some – like the window (which has cracked in many places and is held together with tape) and maybe the water heater are necessary. Others – flooring, paint, decluttering, updating, or even getting a wood stove – I suppose would not be so important at this point in his life.

They matter to me, but of course they wouldn’t matter so much to him: Ten years is nothing.

Obviously he could live longer, and that is the hope – but it isn’t like he will pass a certain date and the danger will be gone. Instead things are likely to become less important to him with time.

A complete change of perspective in just a few words, “that’d be my life.”

Easter 2015

 

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Autism: Age Is Just A Number

My husband is twenty four years older than me. Twenty four. He was born the same year as my father – though my father died of cancer just as we started dating (so they were never really the same age.) Age is an abstract concept, much like time and distance. One of those things that when I am pretending to be ‘normal’ I also pretend to understand, though in actual fact I do not understand. These things are too abstract for me.

So while we were dating there were a lot of people who disapproved of our relationship. “She just wants someone to marry,” they would say – or, “One day she will wake up and realize this isn’t what she wanted.” But age is a number; an abstract concept. It isn’t a thought I can hold in my mind long enough to matter.

The difference in our ages only registers in my mind when I think about things like how we couldn’t have children, or when I was considering his retirement and panicking at the thought that being the income earner would be my responsibility (and I can’t even support myself, let alone my family.) But then I know people who married people their own age and couldn’t have children, or one was unable to work due to health issues or something. These issues aren’t exclusive to us with the age gap.

There was a time in our marriage that it did seem to register – but that was when I felt we were failing the children we were trying to adopt. We had been asked to adopt their younger brother as well. I wanted to, my husband didn’t, and I felt a failure as their mother. The thought came strong in my mind that if my husband had been my father, perhaps I wouldn’t fail my children.

That thought did a lot of damage in my mind and in my marriage – yet I couldn’t shake it. My husband was a ‘good’ husband. He would have made a ‘good’ father – much better than mine was; in the things that broke me anyway. But if my husband was my father… well, like I said, that thought did a lot of damage.

Probably I was seeking a ‘good’ father in my relationship with my husband – but that had nothing to do with his age. That question comes through my mind often with men that I… almost trust and feel safe with: “If I were a child, would you adopt me?” Would I be too much? Would you want me?

Forget the ‘adult’ relationship that people assume I am seeking when I am drawn to a man – what I am begging to know is if they would want me, accept me, love me – but as a child, not an adult. And that is as true of men my age as it is of men so much older than I am. It isn’t an age thing; it is a trauma thing, I guess.

However that wasn’t what I was thinking when I started dating my husband. I did want to be married. I did want a father for my son. I did want more children, and a family. I wanted those things. I imagine most people do want such things when they get involved in serious relationships.

I had never dated anyone much older than me before him – but as I said, age was just a number; an abstract concept I could not hold on to long enough for it to matter. He felt safe. He felt comfortable. When I went out with him and couldn’t talk (which was a lot of the time) he didn’t seem bothered by it. That is why I stayed with him.

It wasn’t until I started to feel I was failing my children that it even crossed my mind as an issue – and even then I am sure the thought of “if I had a good father…” would have done as much damage to a marriage to someone my age as it did with my husband – for my grip on the difference between fantasy and reality is not very strong, and I know that the thought “if my husband had been my father,” would cause me as much struggle with someone my age.

For the relationship of a husband has to be different than the relationship of a father. It has to. So the challenge to my marriage – contrary to popular belief before we were married – is not age, but is in my trauma, in my fixation on whether a ‘good’ man would have wanted to be my father, and my inability to separate that from my need to be in a safe and accepting marriage.

Age itself is just a number.

Easter 2015

 

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Autism: Fantasy or Reality

Last night I had the strangest dream… whenever I want to share I dream I have had, I think of that song we used to sing in grade school music class: “Last night I had the strangest dream, I’ve ever dreamed before. I dreamed mankind had all agreed to put an end to war.”

Well, I guess my dream last night wasn’t about putting an end to war. It was more, I suppose, in reflection to anxieties regarding my mental state – which has been… challenged, I suppose, with the departure of my mother (on an airplane, not in a grave.)

Vacation July 2016 014

At first I was in a building of sorts. I think it might have been my church in the area which is now being used as a toddler room, but used to be the library. My son and I were in that room, only he was a young child (as he was when it was a library) and he was playing hide and seek with another child who was somewhere down the hallway.

My son had hidden under a shelf and behind the book drop box that used to be in there. I was sitting on a chair reading, and waiting for my husband, I assume. He used to work there, and was on the worship team for a while, so in the past (when my son was young, and that room was a library) we used to wait for him a lot in there.

As I was reading, I looked up. At the other end of the room was a double closet (which is not there – though my son has something like it in his bedroom at our house.) In the closet was a large pile of laundry, dirty sheets, and such. Suddenly several of these were lifted up by invisible hands, and flung at me. Not only were the sheets and other clothing being thrown at me, but heavier objects as well, such as a lamp, and books.

I got my son, and fled.

When people asked me what had scared me so badly, I told them of these objects coming through the air on their own. “The wind,” they said. “Demons,” I responded. I took them to the room and showed them the heavier objects that had been flung at me.

As a result of this, I was encouraged to check myself into a mental hospital. I have been in that hospital several times in my dreams – though I have never been to one even to visit in reality. This building was really nice. It had hardwood floors, lots of plants, a few indoor gardens, an atrium, and even the rooms were well decorated. Above that, they had activity rooms for crafts, and other things of interest to me.

In past dreams, when I have gone there, I decided not to stay. I needed to be with my animals, and couldn’t leave them behind. Above that, the rooms were often shared, and I couldn’t bring myself to a place where I would have to share a bedroom, and especially a bathroom. So I filled out the paperwork, and I left.

This time, however, I knew I needed to stay – the outer world was becoming too dangerous for me, and I couldn’t live well in it. So I walked up to the admitting desk, where I knew the man behind the counter (a man from my church who is in his 80’s I think.) He was sure I was there for someone else, but I corrected him, told him my paperwork was completed, and that I was Autistic.

What got me most about this dream was not that I was questioning my mental state (which I do) but the fact that I finally admitted it was bad enough that I was willing to stay in a place where I had to share a bathroom in order to be treated.

Since my mom went home five days ago now, I have been really struggling again with abstract concepts of time and distance. She was here, and now she isn’t. Not only isn’t she here, but she can’t be, as she lives to far away to just come back. Try as I might to recognize this as truth, it just doesn’t fit as such in my mind. So things like this bring me to a space where I am questioning if anything from the past (including the visit from my mom) was real – or was it just a dream?

And I suppose with that comes the fear that each time these things occur, my sanity slips a little – and that fear that my memories are but a dream carries into my dreams to tell me some day I might need extra help in seeing the difference between dreams and reality.

 

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Autism: Time Flies

Well… I didn’t do so well, and that is the truth. I pushed myself, and tried, and tried again, and failed.

At least when I gave up, I was still a week ahead of ‘the end.’ They may not have been my best posts, either – since thinking wasn’t an easy thing during that time. They may not have been my best, but I do know I did my best. I guess that is supposed to help me feel better knowing that or something, but… it just is. A failure is a failure, and while I am pretty good at giving grace to others who tried (even if they failed) I am not so good at giving the same to myself.

Well the time is over, and things return to ‘normal’ I suppose. So I will try again to write, and I will try to get ahead again – and since I am mostly alone, I guess that will work.

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Those were probably some of the fastest eight weeks I have ever experienced. It seemed so long at first, but…

Today we dropped my mom off at the airport. A little over an hour to the airport. A little over an hour back. And as I sit typing, my mom begins the 5 hour layover in Calgary. I know she made it there. 40 minutes ago. I know. I checked the flight status.

When we booked the flight, the layover was supposed to be less, and the entire flight was supposed to be earlier. But then it changed. And it changed again. And just when we thought we knew what was going on, we reached the check in kiosks and found her second flight was delayed again. I believe she was supposed to reach Ontario mid-afternoon when we first booked the flight, but now she won’t get there until after 2am!

Well, it is only a day – and we had eight weeks.

I am thankful for those eight weeks. I really am. But… like all good things, it ended too soon.

And once again I look around and wonder how I got here – and why I ever believed it was a good idea to move so far from home. And my mind can’t seem to understand. Was she really here, or was it just a dream? And if it wasn’t a dream, how is it possible she is gone now?

Time and distance. Two abstract concepts I have all but given up trying to understand, for they are well beyond me.

 

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Autism: Memories That Haunt Me

Well, the day is here. Seven years. It hasn’t always been this hard, but hard enough. Today I think of my children, and what might have been. I think of how quiet my house is. How empty. How large. Perhaps that is why each year at this time it becomes really hard to live here.

Last night I fought my way to sleep through tears, hopelessness, and an overwhelming sense of how broken the world is, and how broken my life is. I feel every loss, and every failure. Each and every one.

Vacation July 2016 014

I see my daughter at four, leaning in for a hug before she left for preschool with my husband. Achingly I hear my self deny her. I know why – I didn’t want her leaning across her sister, who had been sent from school despite spending the weekend treating her lice at home. I was overwhelmed. I would see her in a couple of hours, but was anxious about the appointment we were about to go into. I had my reasons. None of them good enough. I wish I had taken my baby in my arms – for three days later, when they let me see her for the last time, she had already been turned against me and wouldn’t come close.

“It is okay, Mommy,” she said. “They will let me come home.”

But they never did.

I see my daughter at six. Happy and smiling despite all of her struggles. Allowing us to change her plans, and drag her to an appointment (because she wasn’t allowed to go to school) even though we knew how hard change was on her. I see her relax as I assured her we would pick her up from the play room at the ministry when our appointment was over – but we never did.

I see my son at ten. Afraid, and vulnerable, and wanting so much to believe he would never be moved again. Wanting so much to be liked, and to fit in, that he would do and say anything. I see this child, who always surrounded himself with people – yet always seemed so alone.

I see my son at thirteen. Bravely coming to a strange place to watch his sister, while we went into an appointment – and being told he wasn’t allowed to go in with her. Awkward, and uncomfortable, and trying so hard to do the right thing despite all of this. I see his face as I walked out, and told him she wouldn’t be coming home with us. None of them would be coming home with us ever again. And I hear his words, and see his response these past seven years. “Family doesn’t matter,” he says. “People don’t mater.” “I would rather be alone.” And he is. That is the moment he stopped wanting to visit people. That is the moment he started hiding in the basement.

And I hate them for what they did to my children. And I forgive them, and think, “Maybe they were right.” Because I am broken now. And I hate myself for losing them. And I hate myself for trying. And it is so much easier to forgive other people – even when they took my children away.

The tears flow. Seven years, and that is enough pain for a lifetime. Yet the memories don’t end there. Over and over again I see those moments:

  • The last, struggled breaths of my dog – and how he looked lying dead on the table once he was gone… and the box that now takes his place.
  • The last pained breaths of my cats, my rabbits, my guinea pigs – and the very tears I cried as I held them in the end.
  • The last look at my Grandmother before I turned the corner in her apartment building, and left her for the last time.
  • My Grandfather, two of my cousins, my father, my mother’s mom…

And I think, as the losses pile up, and the memories haunt me like ghosts – I don’t think I can take any more. My mind will break. My heart will break. I can’t. I can’t. And I remember that thing that people say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Is that biblical? I wonder. Can it possibly be? But what about those whose minds do break? What about those who snap, and take their lives, or take the lives of others – was it not too much for them?

I don’t know. Seven years. Seven years, and the pain remains. A hard, hard day.

 

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Autism: Amazing Day!

What an amazingly wonderful morning I have had!

Okay, I don’t write posts like this very often, but every once in a while what I do matches up with who I am, and this is what it feels like!

It is September. I love September! I have mentioned that in the past, and I will say it again. This is my favourite time of the year… yet… is it dissatisfaction to say I always wish I were still a child starting school at this time of the year? I don’t mean kind of wish I was a child, or kind of wish I were starting school – but really, truly.

me at 7

Though I look it, and try hard to speak it, and try so hard to fit into the world that way, I don’t really feel like an adult. I don’t mean I wish to go back to my childhood – no way! That would be horrible. And I imagine that many children struggle, and childhood isn’t always what we idealize it as. Childhood can be hard! I can attest to that.

Children, however, are so full of potential. They haven’t failed yet. They could grow and learn and do and be anything. It is as we grow that the world folds in on us, and puts us in this little box – and if we spill over the sides, or we don’t quite fit right, or the box tears at the edges, we are told we have failed. And that potential that we are born with is reduced to lies and labels that others place on us, or that we place on ourselves.

  • Liar
  • loser
  • failure
  • broken
  • evil

And the chance to be, or to do, or even to try again is taken from us. And we are compared to others who are better than us. Why do we have to be compared? Why can’t we just learn on our own time, at our own pace? Not failures – just… not masters yet. Yet. Not forever. We can learn. We can grow. Let us out of the box. Give us a chance. I wish I were still a child.

It isn’t even exactly like I would like to be going to school – with its forced learning, on external schedules, and being tested and compared to others in the group. Again, why do we have to compare? Why does it have to be a competition? I am not them. They are not me. Why do we have to learn the same?

But provide the materials – the books, the games, the crafts… let me choose what I want to learn, and when I want to learn it. Their tests won’t tell what I know (only how much I could memorize for a short period of time.) They won’t show what I am interested in, or what makes me happy. They won’t show who I am. Don’t put me in a box – let me grow. Let me soar!

Today is Monday, September 5th, 2016. It is Labour Day in Canada. A holiday, and the day before school starts for the kids. But who says I can’t learn and grow on a holiday? It is September, and I was eager to learn. So I took out my books this morning, and began. Though I tried to plan, this morning I didn’t go with the plan. Instead, I took out one book, which led to another activity, and another.

As I write this, it is just after 12pm. I took my dog out, and fed her breakfast. I had a nutritional shake for breakfast, plus some tea and a homemade larabar later on. I went outside, and pruned our huge maple tree so that it wasn’t hanging low over the road.

In between all of that, I took out the materials I already had at home, and learned. And this is what I did:

  • Christian Devotional (“Lord, I Want to Know You” by Kay Arthur)
  • Calligraphy
  • Latin (Latina Christiana – or Latin for Christians)
  • Grammar (Harvey’s Elementary Grammar)
  • Reading music for my keyboard (Music in Me – Level 3)
  • Spanish (Duolingo)
  • Writing (this is my third blog post this morning.)
  • Dreaming (this should be a subject.)

Even with all of that, I had time to:

  • think (so many ideas went through my head this morning. I love that!)
  • laugh at my dog, and take her outside a few times
  • listen to classical music and nature sounds
  • check my email
  • read through Facebook

And after all of that, I still want to:

  • ride my exercise bike
  • go swimming
  • go for a walk
  • do a craft or other activity

Not that I will. The pool is closed today, and it is raining outside. Still I want to. That means that what I have done so far doesn’t feel overwhelming to me. In fact, I feel so good, I could do more. I could even, maybe, visit with someone! Amazing!

If I were a child, this would be enough. Since I am on disability, and only because I am on disability, I can do these things that are so healthy for my mental and emotional state. But why, I ask, is this way to spend my time not valued so much as if I were, say, out in a factory making buttons? Or going to school, and getting a degree? Or standing in a store selling…? Only because I am not paid for it. But who determines the value of what people do anyway?

So many things that people do for money are just pointless activities creating things just to make money. Where is the value in that? I can’t live like that. For me, learning… learning is life, and what I am doing here is of more value than anything that I could do out there. And that is why I wish I were a child. And this is who I am. And that is what made this morning so amazing!

 

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Autism: Don’t Need Real

I keep looking for it, but it isn’t available – at least, not where I live. Of course, it is such a new thing, and probably doesn’t offer what I am imagining yet. But if I can imagine it, someone else must have, and perhaps they can make it… soon, please?

While I would like it at home, I probably couldn’t afford it. So someone (not myself of course) would have to invest in it like a business. Like one of those old fashioned arcades they had when I was a kid… But then, I didn’t like arcades. Yet I think I would like this.

In order to feel safe, I would like it in individual rooms – or some things could be in a machine like a motion simulator, where there are several seats facing a screen instead of individual goggles.

Of course I am talking about virtual reality.

I wouldn’t use it for games like I guess so many would. I get scared watching regular games played – imagine then how I would feel about them in virtual reality! No thanks!

I would like to use them for travel experiences. I would like to visit all of the famous places in Israel, Greece, France, Italy, England… all over the world – just as if I were there, but without ever having to leave home.

You see, I don’t need real. I just need it to seem that way.

August Vacation 2016 015

So while I am not very much into new technology, and hardly keep up with the newest things, this excites me.

Traveling is hard for me. Not only is it expensive – too expensive for me to even consider much of the time – but it also causes me a lot of fear and anxiety. I am afraid to travel, either by car, or plane, or… and besides that, I get motion sickness. I am afraid going there, and coming back. I am afraid being there, and struggle with the crowds, and with the sounds, and with the smells. I can only handle so much. I am afraid of the food. If I struggle while at home, how much more will I struggle with a different culture and language? I can’t handle change.

So for all of those reasons and more, travel is too hard for me. I can’t enjoy my trip until it is over – and so much is missed with that level of anxiety. But with virtual reality, I could go, and be home, all at the same time. How great would that be!

I would use it for traveling through fairs, theme parks, and amusement parks. I would use it to watch theatre performances, and ride on roller coasters. I would use it to live.

Okay. The idea of using a cell phone for this makes me nervous. First, I don’t want to own a smart phone, or a cell phone, or whatever. Second, if these things cause cancer, I don’t want to have them hovering over my eyes for hours at at time. That would be bad!

There is no way I could afford the computer that could run it, or all the equipment that would go with it – but if someone else invested in these things that I could use at a cost (like a season pass, or a daily pass, or something) I would go. I would use it. And I would really love to have that available to me. Especially in a small town like mine where I have to travel far to get to anything like that, meaning I really can’t experience it for real. And for real, with my autism and anxiety issues, is often just too hard.

But this idea? I can’t wait for someone to bring in something like this that I could use!

 

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Autism: Barefoot in the Kitchen

The best things seem to happen when they are unplanned. Not that I am a spontaneous person at all, or that I like surprises, or even that it is normal for me to do great things unplanned. It is just that sometimes, the planning itself is so… involved of an activity, that by the time I am done planning, I am exhausted.

My plan for the day was to go shopping. It might only take a couple of hours, but for me, that is often too much. When I get home, I often crash, and fixate on Pinterest for the rest of the day. Knowing this about myself, it is rare that I will chose to go out on a day I have something else to do, or to do something else on a day that I have to go out. It is just who I am. Good to acknowledge, I guess, since I have been unsuccessful in all attempts to change it.

However, while I was downtown, my husband picked up a box of peaches from his work ($3 instead of the $13 they sell it for in stores) and put it in the van. I knew I would have to preserve them somehow, as there were way too many for the three of us. Canning wasn’t an option. I hadn’t the equipment, or knowledge on how to do it. I could dehydrate them, but then I would be the only one who would eat them. So freezing was the way to go.

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True, I didn’t know how to freeze peaches, but I searched it online and it seemed easy enough. Suddenly… “well, if I am going to be in the kitchen anyway…” I went out to my garden, and brought in a large bowlful of kale. Another accidental plant! I planted the seeds in a pot last year, which didn’t do great. I emptied that pot into a raised garden for the soil last spring, and now I have a lot of nice looking kale – which I have mostly been ignoring until now.

So the peaches were washed, sliced, dipped in lemon water, and spread on prepared freezer trays. The kale was soaked in water with apple cider vinegar to clean it, torn into pieces, lightly coated in a mixture of oil, salt, and nutritional yeast, and baked in the oven for 10 minutes.

It doesn’t seem like much, but there were a lot of peaches, even given the fact that I kept 20 aside for eating fresh. That, and I don’t usually multitask well. In this case, I think I did okay. I had 10 minutes between batches of kale to work with the peaches, before having to prepare another batch (I think I had three or four batches of kale.)

After all of this, I decided to make peach crisp for dessert with a few of the peaches. So I worked on that as well.

For four hours I was in that kitchen, on a hot day, with the oven on. Four hours! And I thought, “barefoot and in the kitchen…” and laughed. It was meant to be a derogatory saying, but I always wondered why – especially as a child. What is wrong with being barefoot and in the kitchen? I know I am missing part of that saying – but being pregnant is a difficult thought for me, since I can’t, and would love to be…

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Anyway, I really enjoyed my afternoon of working in the kitchen. How can someone be upset about doing something they are supposed to do, and capable of, and… okay… here is where I struggle to put myself in other people’s shoes. I am not a great cook. Not that I hate it, but I definitely prefer fruits and vegetables (and baking, but that is bad for my weight, and many other things with my gluten intolerance) to meat (yuck!) and that is what my husband and son would have me make. Plus if there is someone else even close to the kitchen, I cringe – and then proceed to drop things, and make a lot of mistakes, and become defensive, and…

But yesterday, on my own, working in the kitchen, I felt I accomplished a great deal – and that made me feel really, really good! And despite what so many people believe, those kale chips were so delicious I struggled to stop eating them (and people call me picky!) Good as bacon. Better maybe. Yes – I am serious!

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I had a great afternoon! And then I crashed – bad… but at least the day was good.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2016 in Poetry: My Creative Outlet

 

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Autism: The Price of Inflation

Yesterday the plan was to go to the grocery store, list in hand (I don’t usually do lists, but we are camping next week, and I was trying to be prepared) pick up those items, and head to the thrift store for bag sale. Since gaining all that weight from medication I took last fall, I have yet to find outfits that I actually like much. It isn’t that I look a huge amount different, but that I don’t like the feel of the ‘new’ clothes, and so each month I have been going to the bag sale to try to find solutions.

The first problem came in that several items on my list were 200-300% more than I was expecting to pay! (Yes, I wrote that right. 200-300%. Ridiculous.) I can’t eat typical camping foods: Hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages, macaroni and cheese, eggs… gross! So, so gross. Even the thought is overwhelming my senses, and making me feel nauseous as I write. However, I have to find something that I can eat while I am away.

Egg allergy – that one is out. Dairy intolerance – okay, I will allow cheese, and maybe sour cream and yogurt. It will hurt, but it is easy. Besides, I often eat these anyway when I struggle to find foods. Not good, but okay. We have lots of cheese (like a whole section of our fridge full of blocks of cheddar.) I guess my husband found good sales. Gluten intolerance – this one is new. Extreme, but new… well, new in that I just tested it. The side effects were there for a long time.

I tried with the gluten one. I really did. I made cherry Lara bars, and grain free energy bars. Enough for the week, but only breakfast. I was really pleased about that, because last time I went camping, breakfast was especially hard. I am glad that breakfast is planned, but there is still lunch, and supper, and snacks, and… I ate a lot of wheat while camping. What do I do now?

Every extra burner used is more money on propane. Not cheap, and we are not close to a filling station up there – so most meals are made together. But I can’t. I just can’t do those typical camping foods for so many reasons. Even the vegan versions, are still plant based grossness! Oh, did I mention I don’t eat meat either? But I had to give in to something. Meat it was – just… when I say okay, I will eat meat, and then they proceed to make… well, I didn’t mean that meat! Okay. Clarify. For that week away, I will eat chicken, and bacon – because I like chicken and bacon, and only don’t eat them because of cruelty reasons (which is huge, but I am still plant based most of the year, and that is something.)

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So I went to buy chicken and bacon – but as I mentioned, 200-300% higher than I was planning to pay. Okay, I have heard of inflation. I will even admit that I struggle so much with inflation that it often takes me years to allow myself to pay the higher price, and by then it has likely increased again. But when I think I should be able to get bacon for $2 a pack, and it is now $6… well, I walked away. Same thing happened with the chicken.

What do I do now? I wondered. Check out the avocados. Again, $5 a bag, where a month ago I paid $2.50. I understand in season, but it is still summer after all. Someone has to have fresh avocados. No? Okay. I will make a salad. Small bag of pecans? I thought, maybe $3 – I didn’t need that many. But no. $6 for a tiny, tiny bag. $10 if I got the larger one, but still too much. Almonds? Outrageous since the drought in California – which seems to have been going for years. I used to get a kilogram for $10, but now that bag is $20.

And the thing is, I am not one of those “well, that is the price now, what can you do?” kind of people. I can’t pay those prices. I have a limit in my head on what things should cost, and I can’t go over it. Which means that my very limited diet becomes even more strict with every price increase – and I don’t do change well. So the market sets off an avalanche of problems for me, effectively making my well planned and thought out solutions (which take me a very long time to be okay with) impractical. Such is life with Autism. No change is good change, including inflation.

 

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