28 April 2011

What works for me

I ran into a new (to me) blog today, and I'm totally in love. Stark Raving Mad Mommy is genius. I love the wit, the stories, the love. All of it. Anyway, I was reading this brilliant post about doing what works for you and I had a rather large lolsob at the line "You have a cabinet full of nutritional supplements?" because you ought to see the impressive collection of nutritional supplements (and one massive jar of peanut butter - in the medicine cabinet because it can be locked away from little hands that like to dip, lick, and smear.

Here's what it's like in that basket:

 Now, remember, my husband does not believe in keeping anything we don't use, so if it's there, one or more of us takes it.

So, that's why my house is shabby enough that people who visit think we're poor. :)

27 April 2011

You're disgusting - here's a present

Dear Corporate Shills,
Thank you ever so much for the free samples of Go 4 Trim weight-loss product. I really appreciate the reminder that no matter how thin one might be, it's always good to be thinner. I so much appreciate the thought that I am truly disgusting in the eyes of society and should fill my body full of toxic products in order to get rid of large chunks of my disgusting self. It's really wonderful that you instill that sense of 'never good enough' into a person so that companies can continue to make money off our insecurity. I've never bought a weight loss product from you, so I'm sure that's how you knew I needed one. I'll be sure to buy LOTS more products from you, now that I know you have only my best interests at heart.

Seriously pissed off. What if someone with an eating disorder had opened that box? Hell, it triggered me to be ragey and upset. What would it do to someone with a history of seriously disordered eating? (My eating is only minorly disordered)

26 April 2011

Random update

Bad blogger! So much going on and so little blogging happening.

I've been watching the election like I'm sitting on a roller coaster. I get all excited when I see Ekos projecting 100 NDP seats but then I watch CBC and they give a ton of time to some asshole economist who goes on about how the NDP would ruin the economy. The CBC isn't liberal. It's Liberal. Considerable difference.

I'm watching Stevil tell us wimmens that we're just uninformed if we don't vote for him. Paternalistic asshole.

I celebrated Easter with my family and my church. That was lovely. The kids behaved at church, making it seem to everyone that I exaggerate their issues, I'm sure! :) Easter means hope, rebirth, and the belief that life doesn't end when our bodies do. It's also something of the notion that ideas don't die. They could kill the messenger, but the message lives on. In the midst of a contentious election, and inlaws who insist on voting for Conservatives, it was a message I needed.

On the way home, I listened to some marvelous new music from a band so new and indie that I can't even find quality You Tube videos of it. They're called West My Friend, and they're fabulous. Go listen.

And being true to my hippie vegan westcoast self (even though I grew up omnivorous in the prairies!) I got myself a community garden plot. Actually, I got two. Beautifully serendipitous. My husband picked up a piece of litter, because he's good about that, and it was a flyer for a free community garden plot. He gave it to me, and I called immediately. Got not only a plot, but I got it for free. It is completely organic and includes access to water, tools, PLANTS, SEEDS, and best of all, it's right next door to my house. If it weren't for the pesky fence between my complex and theirs, it'd be 30m from my door. Completely awesome. So when I went to have a tour of it, she told me they have an extra plot and do I want another? YES! Score! Everyone local is getting fresh veggies this summer. As long as I don't screw it up, that is! :)

18 April 2011

Passover brownies

For my Jewish friends celebrating passover, and my Celiac friends celebrating chocolate, I give you:

3/4 C unsalted butter, softened (margarine works if you're dairy intolerant)
3/4 C sugar
5 eggs, separated
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
6 oz. almonds, finely ground
pinch of salt

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in egg yolks. Set aside.
Melt chocolate in double boiler. Cool, then mix into butter mixture. Mix in finely ground almonds.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry, then fold into batter. Pour mixture into 9" square greased baking pan. Bake for 45 min. Cool and cut into squares. Try not to eat all of them in one sitting because they're even better on day two.

I haven't had one in years because I don't eat eggs anymore (Stinkin' little Pop and his allergies! As soon as that boy is weaned, I am having the biggest plate of scrambled eggs EVER), but I figured I'd share what used to be my joy. :)

Thimerosal study coordinator indicted for fraud

Thimerosal is safe in vaccines, right? Right? I mean, the CDC says so. UH OH! An excerpt:
Poul Thorsen, the principal coordinator of multiple studies funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used to deny a vaccine/autism link was indicted on April 13th on 13 counts of fraud and 9 counts of money-laundering. The charges relate to funding for work he conducted for the CDC, which claimed to disprove associations between the mercury-based vaccine preservative, thimerosal, and increased rates of autism.
So why isn't this getting even a 10th of the play that Wakefield and his sketchiness got? Oh, right. This could cost the pharmaceutical industry a shitload of money. This could challenge the medical establishment.

Could we please just have an independent study or two?

In Canada, thimerosal is still used in HepB shots for babies. It's also in flu shots. I am utterly livid. When I had my Crackle immunized at 2 months, they gave him the HepB shot. I specifically asked if there was thimerosal in it, as it was an issue, even then. No, they told me, it's not. And now, looking up my facts for this post, I find out that it is. The nurse flat out lied to me. I am sickened. Edit: there are two series of hepB shots in BC. The infant series does not use thimerosal. The Gr6 booster does.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think vaccines cause autism in otherwise healthy kids. But I do think they contribute to underlying genetic dispositions to it. For example, if a kid has a genetic disposition to autism, he or she is going to have some symptoms of autism. A screwy immune system is a very very common symptom. So, add in a vaccine into a child with a wonky immune system and expect it to work properly, and you are going to be in for a surprise. That quirky kid may now be spinning, head-banging, and forgetting how to talk.

Aluminum also needs an independent study. People with autism are often unable to process metal in the same way as healthy people. Their bodies simply don't detoxify properly, meaning that that "harmless" little bit of mercury or aluminum can do significant harm to a person with autism. Especially one with an immature immune system.

My kingdom for an independent study.

07 April 2011

Evil is as evil does

Today, in a lame attempt at a joke, I posted this to twitter (a modified retweet of something from @RogerEbert) 
"Cambridge U psychopathologist says a lack of empathy is the root of all evil." So Conservatives ARE the devil. Gotcha.
Someone replied:
"if you believe in God, Jesus logical you must believe in evil, Evil does not play by any rules, and must to be fought."
Hmm. I'm not sure that I do believe in evil. It's a very tricky concept for me to wrap my head around. I certainly don't believe in a deity of evil like "Satan" or whatever. My thoughts, at this point in my spiritual path, are more like a belief in evil being the absence of good. Turning away from what is good and right to act in one's own self interest. Hurting people intentionally because it might be fun is evil. It truly does stem from a lack of empathy.

Jesus said to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the debts of the indebted. He said to be nice to everyone, not just those people with whom you agree. He prevented the murder of a woman for prostitution/adultery. He healed people. He was the embodiment of what is good. It's why I get so bloody mad when I see people claiming to follow his path being so callous.

And it's why I cracked the joke about the Conservatives. It was only half a joke, really, because it does seem to me that they have little to no empathy for anyone. Poor people, abuse victims, crime victims, none of them matter a good goddamn to those people. They don't even attempt to pay lip service to the problem (as the Liberals do). It's just plain evil to cut programs for abuse victims while spending money on unnecessary wars. It's evil to lock people up for growing the wrong plants. I could go on.

So, there ya are. My noodling for the day.

In the latest edition of 'fuck the poor'...

The Prince is getting married. Weeeeee.

Royal wedding to be shown on giant screens - World - CBC News: "Prince William and Kate Middleton's nuptials will be broadcast live on giant screens set up in central London, complete with food and drinks stands and a Ferris wheel to add to a celebratory atmosphere, officials said Thursday."

And all I think is "If they had a modest wedding and kept the free food and drink stands open for a few months instead, THEN I'd be impressed. Share the wealth".

Seriously. People live on the streets. Feed them instead of blowing millions on a party. Or, you know, both would be okay too.

05 April 2011

Child killer wants out of mental hospital. After 2 years.

Convicted child killer wants out. Already. Not just no, but HELL NO!

Look, I'm as liberal as they get. I'm a lefty, pinko whackjob. I know this. I revel in it. I believe in mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. For everyone. I also believe in justice and keeping people safe. Schoenborn killed three innocent children. He should not ever see freedom. Not because I want him punished. But because he has proven that he cannot be trusted. If he's healthy now, let him work in a supervised environment in the mental hospital where he lives. But do not allow him to ever be unsupervised ever again. That's my line. You kill someone, you don't get to be unsupervised ever again.

02 April 2011

Twitter is funny

Look what Twitter suggests I also add to my Twitter feed when I added Stevil's feed:

Autism Awareness Day

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. Senator Jim Munson wrote a fantastic article for the Ottawa Citizen. Go read. Then come back. I'll wait.

Several things struck a chord with me in his letter so I'm going to go through it:
We have all witnessed the scene. The shrill cries of a young child at the mall. Arms and legs flailing. The mother, powerless against her child's fervour.
An intense scene like this triggers all sorts of responses in onlookers -from amusement to sharp judgment: "That woman can't control her own child!"
I wonder how many of us might wonder: "Could that child be autistic?" A temper tantrum is only one of a collection of symptoms of autism.
Oh hell yeah. Amusement to judgement. Sometimes both in quick succession. ACT BC puts out cards that one can hand out to people in public when the child is acting up. Really? What is wrong with people that this is even necessary? 1 in 110 kids is diagnosed with Autism now. It really is that common. I've even heard the judgments from my friends - not against me, but other mothers. Comments like "What's the matter with parents these days?! That kid is screaming and she's doing nothing!" Yes. Because that's what is often the best plan of attack. Do and say nothing, and it continues as is. Try to stop it and it becomes a full-fledged meltdown that doesn't stop for hours. Another one: "That kid is just a brat! He's not autistic!" Right. Because you've got a PhD in Developmental Psychology, right? You know, just by looking, that a kid doesn't have it? If you really think you can dx a child with or without Autism, just by looking, while the kid is acting up, you are truly ignorant. It cannot be done. Also, if a kid is bolting through a parking lot, do the parent a favour and stop the kid. Please. Don't look at the parent with disgust and watch the kid run into traffic. Don't tsk tsk. Don't laugh as the parent runs by, frantically trying to stop a child. Help. And I do not give a flying fuck if you get shit for this the odd time. You do it anyway.
Autistic children and their families need our compassion -and this begins with awareness. Today is World Autism Awareness Day, a United Nations resolution in honour of people affected by autism.
Okay. Agreed. But can we please stop referring to people with Autism as autistic? Unless we're going to start calling kids with Cancer "cancerous kids" or kids with Cystic Fibrosis "cystic fibrotic kids", I don't want to see it.
How we deal with this crisis today will affect the fate of these children once their parents can no longer care for them. Not that long ago, people were hidden away in institutions, marginalized from society. If we don't begin planning housing and care options for autistic adults, who's to say we won't see the return of such measures?"
Yes. This is a big worry. The more kids are diagnosed, the more this becomes an issue. But even more than this is the problem of children not getting intervention at an early age. Study after study has shown that the earlier, more intensive intervention a child with Autism gets, the better chance s/he has at becoming a productive member of society. And yet, there is not one government in Canada who provides a proper ABA program for all kids on the spectrum. Not one. BC's program is arguably best, because at least every parent gets the funding to find some sort of treatment. In most parts of the country, the province provides an ABA or EIBI program, but only for a handful of kids. If you're on the waitlist, you get no treatment at all unless you're wealthy enough to buy it yourself. And waitlists can be years long. I know it's expensive. But pay now or pay more later (pdf). And remember that compassion. Paying later means that kids who could have lead an independent life with proper intervention now cannot.
In the absence of strong federal commitment, autism organizations at the local, provincial and national levels are carrying the weight.
Oh my yes. And they don't have the resources to manage that. VSCA (Victoria Society for Children with Autism - notice they didn't go with VSAC) is one such organization. They do great work, giving out respite money to parents, providing a lending library, a listing of available interventionists, and organizing the Autism Awareness walk. They were hamstrung by the Gordon Campbell cut off of the lottery funds. That and donations are what they survive on.
Two recommendations from the report that I consider most crucial are national standards for treatment and research, and a national strategy for equal treatment and services across the country. Courageous actions are now needed to deal with this emerging crisis.
That just seems like such a pipe dream to me. The Harper Government (TM) clearly doesn't give a rat's ass about anyone, never mind sick kids. And they are sick. I am tired of hearing about how people with Autism are "different" and we should respect their differences. Puhleeze. Okay, if someone with Asperger Syndrome is happy and healthy and functioning well, then no, let's not try to "fix" them. But if a child is affected by Autism in a way that makes it impossible for him (or her) to play, have fun, learn to talk, learn to eat, learn to cope with the day to day, well then HELL YEAH, I want to have access to services to help him.

And let's fund biomedical treatment too. Because much of Autism is biological, and can be treated with supplements and medications. Not cured. Not as the only intervention. But DAN! doctors are fabulous, and have done wonders for all three of my kids. And, for that matter, me and my husband. Our is a Naturopathic Doctor, though some are MDs or DOs. We pay for the medical treatment out of our pocket. When we told her, our pediatrician said, "It's Autism. There's nothing I can do for you. You might as well try." So the medical establishment has nothing for us. But make no mistake, this is a medical issue. And our government is letting us down. Autism treatment isn't even considered a health issue by the BC government. It's handled by the Ministry of Children and Families.

So next time you see an overwhelmed parent in a grocery store with a kid who is freaking out, smile and say, "Some days are rougher than others, eh?" Or if she's dragging the kid toward the cashier and is overloaded with groceries, maybe ask, "Can I carry those for you? You seem a bit overwhelmed." Sure, maybe the kid is just a brat, and the parent sucks at parenting. It happens. But it's far more likely that the parent is doing his or her damnedest. And it's at least even odds that that kid is somewhere on the Autism spectrum or has some other developmental disorder. Don't be a judgmental jerk. If you see a parent with a child on a harness (i.e. leash), assume that the child has a habit of bolting into dangerous situations and that despite the parents best efforts, can't be broken of it. The harness guarantees the safety and gives the child a bit of room to be on his own. I cannot count the dirty looks I've gotten for the harness. Hundreds, at least. Most days, I don't care. Some days, I come home and cry. It's so frustrating, because I know if they'd just have the guts to say something, I could tell them about him. But judgmental jerks tend to also be cowards.

I guess it all boils down to one thing: compassion. Be compassionate. Autism is an epidemic - it's going to affect someone you know. Learn about it. And don't assume the worst.