Archive for the ‘autisn’ Category


May 7, 2020

Some people who disregard what I’ve written because it’s…smut. But is it?  When Ann Patchett wrote Truth and Beauty, about her relationship with the writer Lucy Grealy (who wrote ‘Autobiography of a Face’), she didn’t consider it controversial, but the truth.  Yet,  a bunch of protesters, who hadn’t actually read either book, demonstrated against Patchett being allowed to speak at Clemson University because she wrote about ‘the love between two women’. Yes, Patchett did write about the love she had for Lucy, and how Lucy had coped with so much physical pain and romantic rejection. Patchett even wrote about Lucy’s bad choices, including drugs and sexual promiscuity, but there is nothing salacious about Patchett’s book. That’s the problem when Christian men get hold of something & turn it into something else to discredit or debase women. The men remain credible, and the women have to defend themselves.  In any case, what I write is being judged by the larger Christian community.

I am going to defend my choices.  I became acquainted with an attractive man through a dating site.  He seems honest. We haven’t actually met. There are some things that aren’t quite right.  He’s Catholic, and as I’ve said many times, you can’t have it both ways.  Over the past week, he’s tried to find out more about me, and he has asked some interesting questions.  However, in a recent text chat, he mentioned me to his daughter and had her text me.   I just can’t imagine why a man would do that.  If I had kids, I wouldn’t have them meet anyone I didn’t know until I really knew them.

Our actual conversations haven’t been totally clear because of the audio quality of both our phones.   He now has Covid19, is very discouraged and not feeling well (but not bad enough off to be hospitalized).  I asked him what it was he actually did for a living. He lives in a very upscale community, so he must be paid well (he had also asked me if I invested).  He told me he sold mining and drilling equipment. When I asked him, he affirmed that yes, he sold fracking equipment. He was reluctant to explain how he justified helping greedy people ruin the global fresh water supplies just to make money. He said to me, “Don’t judge.”

  I am not rich, but I’ve been able to carve out economic security for myself while not having to compromise my values, for the most part. It’s been tough. A few times I took work for pay doing things I was not comfortable with, but I didn’t make a career out of compromising my values.  I worked for less than a week for a man who resold dogs from puppy mills. He lied to buyers that they were raised by families. Sure, the Amish are families—but make no mistake: puppies are a cash crop to them, like any other livestock. I just couldn’t do it. I am a purebred dog fancier. Ethical hobby breeders who love their dogs don’t sell puppies to be resold. They want to meet the people who say they want puppies.

I’ve worked for veterinarians who lied about how much playtime day boarding dogs got, and how much time dogs spent in cages, especially overnight in their own filth because they didn’t want to pay an overnight person to let the dogs out. I’ve even worked for one who told people he would euthanize a dog, and kept it as a blood donor! I’ve worked for dog daycare owners who didn’t train their staff and allowed dogs to be bullied and harassed, or isolated with no playtime. People whose friends found dogs that were lost, and, instead of searching for the owner, or seeing if the dog was chipped, kept the dog for themselves or resold it.

I’ve groomed dogs for ‘no-kill’ dog rescues that lied about dogs being good with kids, or housebroken.

Briefly, I sold timeshares for a company until I learned that, because they were resellers, most of the buyers had a terrible time booking the weeks they had paid for.

I have many Catholic friends. Most have lapsed.  They lapse for the same reasons I   address in my writing:  a religion that has managed to sustain itself by protecting leaders—and that’s what the church hierarchy is—who have acted for their own best interests, while not just misleading followers, but protecting stronger people who have exploited their flocks.  It’s 1 thing to be culturally Catholic, and another to continue to support these hypocritical people because it’s comfortable and you think it benefits yourself.

I wondered for a long time if I was really out of the mainstream. Having these questions led me to study cultural anthropology. I had a unique instructor who assigned books written by Africans, and that’s where I discovered Chinua Achebe’s books, particularly Things Fall Apart.

So now, I am being confronted, and that is the term, by potential lovers who haven’t ever addressed that they’re characterizing themselves as Catholic. I’ve had the conversation with a few Christians who have denied that this is how it is—but this is how it appears; once you have admitted that you are not perfect, you can make the wrong choice. Then, you ask Jesus for forgiveness, and you can get into Heaven. You can attain salvation even though you knew what the right choice was but chose to do the wrong thing anyway.

Having been an environmentalist…evolving from being a teenaged tree hugger into someone who understood the scientific ramifications of protecting or stewarding the natural environment (or not), I try to act on what I believe.  I helped found one of the first community-based recycling centers in the country. I have lived in places where getting fresh water was a daily struggle. I don’t think I could make the wrong choice and then ask a deity to forgive me. I have no savior. Nobody would get me into their heaven. I could not live with a wrong choice to just make money. This is what Trump and the GOP are doing now.

Yet, that is what I am being confronted with. I am being asked to overlook or discard the fact that a potential lover helps people poison the environment. Does he think there is an ‘away’? That what he does two miles down the road, or on another continent, won’t affect him and his children? I’m waiting for an answer. but, for now, I have to step back. I can’t be giving (or receiving) sexual pleasure from a man who does this, and that was the whole point of trying to get to know him. I am very disappointed. Such is life.

Day 20 + Covid19

April 17, 2020

Dali’s muse: Gala

Day 20 + Covid19

Day 20Today is Easter. I’m, hoping all the people who think social isolation is a waste of time & that if God wants them, it is their time—-go to church. Socialize with each other, and your families. Word is that there is a 14 day incubation period. So….. by the end of the month, whoever doubts the level of contagion will be infected, and either be very sick, die, or a carrier.

We have to start testing very soon. We can’t continue this way. Sure, we will probably all still have to be wearing masks for the foreseeable future, but we have to get back to work.

Everyone is feeling stressed and anxious. I decided I was willing to play the odds and go meet my Muse in his house out in corn country. We’ve both been asymptomatic, both been taking precautions, but when it came to actually meeting, me saying, “Ok, I will come to you and get this party started,” he got a pang of conscience and said he didn’t want to risk getting me sick.  I didn’t think he had it in him.  As things look, it will be the end of May before we can actually meet.  I would place a money bet.

This whole situation is a test of integrity, but also ingenuity. Ramadan starts in about 10 days. I have no idea how he addresses reflection to himself, but I am getting a better idea of how he really is. Just from what I can tell, he has Asperger’s. I guess it takes one to know one. He is very rigid in how he conducts his life. I am a creature of habit myself. It’s just that over the years, I’ve learned to pick my battles. so…

Today has never been a holiday for me. My most memorable Easter was almost 30 years ago, camping near Palombe (Malawi) with the VSO, and how they brought 2 cases of beer, meat, white bread, and white potatoes for a camping dinner and none of them had ever cooked over a fire. Then, it started raining at around 5:a.m.

Yesterday, Day 19, I ‘baked’ a little. Since I had mashed potato flakes and the other ingredients, I made mashed potato cookies. Ingredients include shredded coconut, so it’s like a rich macaroon.  Those came out well, but the ‘cheese straws” using filo dough did not come out.  The recipe steps were too many, the ingredients were way too few—  definitely needed more whipped eggs.  So I made dinner tonight and Kunihiro said it was better than last night, “those bread things with too much salt.”

I had no idea what he was talking about because I had made bulgar the day before that (Thursday?  Friday?), but I opened the cookie box forgetting I had put some of these things in the box, which came out more like fried papadum.  Then, I knew what he was talking about.   Are you, too, trying out all those recipes you never got around to?  Interesting how you can then discard them so quickly.

And then there’s my Muse, who is clearly overwhelmed and stressed because of course, his business has been busy as ever, and he’s gotten more customers but doesn’t have the assistance, and I know that neither of us wants a long-distance relationship. Whatever would be the point of that?  This isn’t ‘love’, this is an assignation.  Look it up—you can Google word definitions,.  But that’s what it is.  I am under no illusions, so here’s a story I heard long ago which always reminds me to bargain for what I want:  This woman is at a bar,  and a man comes in. He sees her and is interested.  He goes to her and introduces himself and after a few banal pleasantries, he asks her, “Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?”  She laughs and responds, “Sure!  Let’s go!”  But the guy then responds, “Well, would you sleep with me for $10?”  The woman becomes irate and she responds, “No!  What do you think I am?”  He says to her, “We know what you are, we’re just haggling over the price.”

Yes, I know what I am, I’m just haggling over the price. Tell me, many of you actually know me:  where am I going to find a hot young man at my age?  Someone who doesn’t have a zillion pounds of baggage. A healthy guy who is honest about what he wants.  A guy who understands responsibility.  A guy who can support himself.  A hot guy.

Day 21.  I’ve totally wasted today.  I didn’t get out of bed until almost  8,  and then I made a pot of steel-cut oatmeal that should last at least a few days. I  read the paper, took the dogs out for a decent walk, watched a couple of videos on Rudolph Nureyev, the ballet dancer, and now I really have to get back to marketing my book.  Wasted way too much time on Muhammad’s website looking at some of the videos of him.  Last night we spent an hour talking.  He said he wished we lived closer. That was something I addressed first when he contacted me.  I can tell by talking to him we are living in very separate realities. He said he can’t believe I want to give him a blow job. I won’t disabuse him of that until I actually see him. I just told him I would definitely teach him what I want, and my God I sure will.  He’s told me some of his fantasies, and he’s really not too far out there.  I won’t reveal them here (What I will do is ultimately write about them for pay). But he thinks like a guy, and  I’ll just have to work through that.  This is a guy who doesn’t eat fruits or vegetables.  That’s immature.  If I do only 1 thing for him besides giving him a blow job—-apparently the only thing missing from his life, I hope I can introduce healthy food into his diet. Not planning on changing him, but I hope to scare the living daylights out of him. The reason men over 45 need Viagra is their veins are clogged by a life of red meat-eating.

Day 22  half the day is gone. I am going to do marketing this afternoon.  I  wasted time listening to a free webinar on how to find the man of your dreams via dating, put on by a ‘Life coach”.    Finding love is the luck of the draw.  She made some good points, but anyone with half a brain could figure this out.  The last date I went on, about 2 months ago,  I went on because the guy lived nearby, his politics were progressive, he didn’t drink or smoke…and that was all we had in common.  He was my age and had NOTHING. He didn’t have credit cards because he had apparently abused his credit.  He did auto bodywork, and he lived from hand to mouth.  The reason I continue to pursue the Muse is that he owns a business (not one I would have ever even considered going into—selling tobacco produces), he owns his own house, doesn’t smoke or drink, and he knows what he wants.  Of course, actually meeting is probably weeks off. I know we won’t get together before Ramadan.

Anyways, I  went & did major shopping at Aldi’s this morning, because we were out of a lot of stuff:  olive oil, some frozen food, hummus,  guacamole, raisin bran.

I had a great discussion with my fellow groomer, Lee Chen last night.  Of course, her shop is closed, and she isn’t sure  she will reopen.  But someone saw her shop door open and called to see if she was really open. No, she was just cleaning everything with bleach & wanted t to dissipate it & not breathe it. Ok, to actual work now!

Days 23 & 24….Yesterday I spent several hours contacting dog clubs about my book—- Polyandress, and about their broken links to their parent clubs.  So many dog clubs have websites with no way to click a link to contact them. What’s the point of that?  It was tedious.  I also started editing some short stories that I hope to submit to publications, but they need so much work crafting.  My Muse suggested that we get together tomorrow.  He wants to find out if we really have actual physical chemistry. So do I.  I still can’t believe he wants a woman my age but I have nothing to lose.  Late yesterday my roommate told me he was going in to work. Since  My Muse had agreed to Friday, I  texted,  and in passing said Kunihiro was going to work.  So My Muse texted back that he could come and see me.  Why we can’t have a vocal conversation is beyond me at this point, but  I texted back that I have to be out of the house by 1, and will be busy until at least 8 I(a doctor’s appointment and  2 webinars), but if he arrived by 10 we’d have several hours.  He texted back that he was not driving in the morning. I assumed that was partly because of morning inbound traffic, but no, he was taking the day off & wanted to sleep in.  But since I assumed it was morning traffic, I responded, ‘But you want me to deal afternoon traffic.” So he texted back that he didn’t know I had planned for today, and let’s do Saturday instead, and that it was his mission to fulfill my fantasy Saturday.  I, again, asked him to please not shave anything, and he texted back about my ‘demands’. Joking, but still.  I woke up around 1, feeling so intently physical as though we had made love.  I was trembling.  I rarely have sex dreams. It’s the anticipation.  This is why we  have agreed to play the odds, but that’s what he said about Easter, and then he said he’d feel bad if I got sick.  All bets are off.  We haven’t gotten sick yet, it’s just him and me.

That addressed, my stepmother called and said my father was in the hospital. His breathing was labored.  This is old age and complications. Since the quarantine started, he’s been confined to his room at the nursing home, as have been all residents.  Like prison, to avoid transmission.  He is confined also to a wheelchair.  His circulation is bad due to inactivity as well as diabetes. We all die of something.  Nobody just dies.  But he’s not dead yet.  Also talked to my sister. Amazingly, they sold their house the first day it was on the market and have put a deposit on a home in Tennessee.  I’m sure life will be better—and cheaper, for her down there. The house showed amazingly well considering the rooms are generally small and the house is a bit dark, the layout is sort of not useful.  No matter.  My father knows he will probably never see my sister ever again.


Mental Illness is not a Moral Failing

November 3, 2017

Recently, I’ve been pursued by an anonymous bully.  I have an inkling of who he is, but not where.  Hell, in the modern world, does it matter where he is?  He’s crafty.  He doesn’t have the balls to  call me directly…he calls my  employer and harasses office staff.  He’s done this to me several times, and I’ve been fired for it.  Don’t tell me what is legal or illegal. Women are fearful of men, and will acquiesce.

This guy has posted that I am crazy and mentally ill. His point?  That he is better than me?  Stronger?  More intelligence?  Not sure what his point is.  I think he is probably more mentally ill than I am, but nothing we can do about it.

Being mentally ill doesn’t mean you can’t think. Not all mental illness is schizophrenia or dementia.  I  was taking medication for depression at one time, and a friend said to me, “You know, you might have to take that for the rest of your life.” And I responded, “If I were diabetic, would you say the same thing to me?”

People clearly don’t understand mental illness. Wouldn’t YOU be mentally ill if someone you didn’t know was attacking you, calling your boss telling them to fire you, and  you didn’t know why?  Wouldn’t that cause you stress? Well, stress is also mental illness. is not a moral failing.   A moral failing is taking an action that you know affects your community in a negative way—and doing it on purpose.  Finding a dog, knowing that someone lost it, and not attempting to find the owner, but deciding you will be a better judge of what a good home is.

Rescuing a dog from an animal shelter and finding out it is a biter, and knowing what it will take to make that dog a pet and not doing what needs to be done, because you are either too lazy or want to spend the money on other things…is a moral failing.   Keeping that dog confined for months—or years, because you aren’t killing it…but not making sure that dog isn’t stressed out every day he lives…is a moral failing.

Breeding a dog that you know had  genetic ‘defects’ that not only affect its quality of life, but will cost a lot of money, when you  don’t have to breed that dog…is a moral failing.

Denying that any of this is important, and running a business that you promote as humane…is a moral failing.

I had written all this months ago, and because I work  in the pet industry, I encounter a lot  of this.  Just recently, many women have come forward and spoken out about being harassed by men.  it’s not all sexual harassment, you see, but it is still all about bullying women.

Are all experiences better shared?

June 17, 2016

I am not the most sociable person, but for a long time, If I wanted to do something, I  often asked a friend to join me.  More and more, I  feel it is better to  just do what I want to do—alone.

My friend Mimi has a personality ‘thing’ where she is annoyed by people making superfluous noise.  Noises like  slurping the end of a drink through a straw, or crinkling a candy wrapper.  Especially in a movie theatre.  She makes more  noise complaining about these people than the people actually make.  It’s irritating. It’s also irritating trying to go anywhere with her because she is compelled to  schmooze with  absolutely any stranger. She thinks  that by ‘networking’ this way  that she will ultimately get more business.  She doesn’t, but this is how she is. so, we can’t get anywhere in a timely fashion, because she is always stopping to talk and joke.

My friend Patty is very interesting, and has a lot of interests, and she can be very funny, but she also has  two annoying habits;  she will  agonize over buying something, buy it, and immediately regret the purchase.  Also, she can’t have a good time without alcohol.  I didn’t realize this until I traveled with her. I bought a bottle of local liqueur as a souvenir, and she drank it without asking.  Oh sure, she promised to replace it, and didn’t. When she drinks, she can be nasty and confrontational.

Then there is Lena.   She is always complaining about my car.  It is a mess. I often have my dogs in the car.   Also, Lena likes to have a window open.  My last car was in an accident, and the windows would not always close, so I didn’t open them. The sun roof was not good enough for her.  She’s like a dog—who wants to stick her face out the window.  Always complaining, but  she doesn’t drive and was getting a free ride. We both like art, but we can’t go to an art fair together, because Lena has to stop and peruse everything—even though she is not going to buy.  This is how her Asperger’s is manifested.

Kate is always late, but insists on  picking me up and driving…then really not knowing how to get where we are going.  Also, even if we discuss the plan before hand, if we go to a movie, she always wants to spend more money…by either going out to eat or shopping  for stuff she really doesn’t need.  I had to stop doing anything with her that wasn’t at my house or her house.

the interesting thing is…..these women, while pet lovers, don’t share my interests in dogs, or in Africana.  Those people who do shave my interests, don’t live close enough by for me to develop a  ‘social intimacy’ with. so, will all our friends in the future be on Facebook or other social media?  I wonder.


Focus: Getting the Dog’s Attention

October 9, 2015

Berbop on Santa's lap, with Dash

Bebop on Santa’s lap, with Dash

I see dogs with behavior problems most days of the week.  Pet dogs. Dogs that people have gotten as pets with  no plan  or strategy  to get the dog  ‘trained’.  I know the reason this happens is that  dog owners  not only get   wrong or incomplete  information from watching TV, but from the ‘experts’ who have never trained a dog, but who speak with authority, and tell these dog owners what to do.

This is more baffling and irritating (to me) because now, with the internet, you can find all sorts of good information. So, I guess people are lazy and stupid.  I can’t think of any other   explanation for dog owners allowing their dogs to be out of control.

One of my fellow dog groomers told me about a client of hers who just got a puppy.  It’s an Australian Cattle Dog puppy, and  it’s ‘already biting’ so they just keep it in the crate.  She tells me the  owners got the pup from a  Cattle Dog rescue. Really?  A puppy…and it’s already in rescue? Doesn’t that tell you that  too many people are breeding Cattle Dogs, and there are  not enough good homes?

OK, whatever.  I think this  family was expecting a Shih Tzu or Maltese pup, not a working dog, bred for generations to  chase and bite the heels of  sheep and cows.  In my last post about dog training,  I addressed spending a few minutes at a time  shaping the behavior of the dog to get the results you want.

I  offered to help the  family teach the dog to focus, and teach them how to get the dog’s attention, so they can start undoing  what  they’ve already ‘taught’ the pup, and start over….  since my co-worker is the actual contact, we’ll see how this goes…but this is what I am going to tell you all who  got pups under  six months old who are biters:

Most puppies that bite are reacting to something they fear, and are using their instincts to stop what (or who) is causing them to fear;

Or, they were bred to  bite first (react) and if you are planning on keeping this dog as a pet, you have to get his attention;

It’s up to you to make sure the  pup is getting enough exercise, enough rest, and a nutritious diet.  There ar no excuses.  if you are making excuses.  Admit you made a mistake and return the pup.  I shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t go looking for another home for the dog—return it to the people who sold or gave you the pup. It is THEIR RESPONSIBILITY.

After exercizing the pup, have the dog sit, touch his temple with your finger then immediately touch your temple, causing the pup to make eye contact. Say, ‘watch me.’ IMMEDIATELY GIVE THE PUP A TREAT (the size of a cheerio.  Click with your tongue as you do this (unless you  have become very adept with a clicker). Do this several times a day.]

Start walking the dog on a leash—-with a martingale collar. NO HARNESSES. harnesses were designed so a dog can pull you, and you don’t want that.  A Martingale collar won’t choke your pup, but will restrain it.  Call  grooming shops, veterinarians, even your park district, to find out who runs dog training classes, and what they teach. You might not be the best dog trainer in the world, but the whole point of doing dog training is  bonding with your dog, and starting to communicate with and understand each other.There are also many  excellent dog training books available.  I like, “Good Owners, Great Dogs,” by Kilcommon & Wilson.

In any case, we’ve learned a lot about dog training and how dogs learn in the last several decades.  It’s all kind, and all positive.  If you don’t want to communicate with a dog, why did you get a dog?


Movie Review:Love And Mercy—Foxes Minding the Henhouse

July 10, 2015

I’m not much of an audiophile.  there is so much noise in my life, I generally listen to NPR on the radio, and go for jazz.  However, I still enjoy the rock of my youth.  On my desert island playlist is Good Vibrations….  I’ll say that straight off.  Next thing I’ll say  is that I have been mentally  ill on and off. Mostly depression, but the fact is that I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and I  just  don’t fit anywhere.  I’m on the Wrong Planet.

Because I love Beach Boys music, and so many people told me they enjoyed this movie, I had to see it.  It’s a visually beautiful movie, taking place in southern California, and a story well scripted and edited.  The music is great, of course.   Paul Dano and John Cusack both  do  an excellent job of playing Brian Wilson young and old, in all his turmoil.

I don’t  think that most of us who enjoy Beach Boys music realized  Brian Wilson arranged so many of the hits we love.  He really is a genius.  However,  it’s hard to be an artist. It appears that his fellow band members had a different idea of what they wanted to do.  Coupled  with an abusive  father, and whatever stresses cause mental illness, he was really tortured for a very long time…  Psychotherapist Eugene Landy, who  somehow got  guardianship of  Wilson, also abused him more.

We in America are so trusting of care providers. We just assume they are altruistic and have your interests at heart.    I saw several psychiatrists and psychologists  as an adolescent.  They made a lot of money off my parents and really did no more than assure me I was not crazy.  When I was starting my college career, I was thinking of majoring in psychology (because I wanted some insight into how  people make decisions).  I had the  amazing luck to  get a ‘self-taught’ intro to psychology course  with a textbook written by James V. McConnell :  “Understanding Human Behavior” (, the genius (no joke—he got a MacArthur grant) worm biologist, who addressed the practice of psychology on humans.  He said, in a nutshell, that 1/3 of people who go to  psychologists/psychiatrists for  talk therapy get better, 1/3 stay the same, and 1/3 get worse.  It’s  essentially the dynamic between the patient and the  doctor.

Brian Wilson had the extreme misfortune to come under the control of Landy, who alienated him from his family even  further, and it was just by a stroke of luck that he met Melinda Ledbetter.  She had the integrity to  try to disentangle him.  Of course, this could have gone either way.

Mental illness is  sort of like diabetes in that  if you take care of yourself. are a bit introspective,  and avoid stress, you can  function in the  world…but it never really goes away.  And what is it? A chemical imbalance?  Thanks to Temple Grandin,  there is a lot less  ambiguity to  human psychology than there used to be.  However, the foxes are still in charge and , coupled with lawyers, they tend to keep us oddballs suppressed.
This is a sad story with a happy ending, and it  does a lot to show that not everyone who is mentally ill is schizophrenic.

Book Review: Look Me in te Eye, by John Elder Robison

November 17, 2011

There was an old joke that  people used to tell, about a couple who had a child, and the child never learned to talk. The  parents asked the doctor, and the doctor said he’ll talk when he was ready.  One day, during dinner, the child said “The soup is too salty.”  The parents were overjoyed that the child talked, and asked him why he didn’t talk, and the child said, “Things were fine until now.”  Funny?

Not if you are the parent of a child with autism or Aspergers.  Thanks to Temple Grandin, there is more publicity about  the autism spectrum.  Aspergians (like me, & the author of this book) are high functioning, and this is not a disease.  It is a personality type.

I learned about  this about  9 years ago, when I read Temple Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures.  I  then asked several clients who were psychologists, and they laughed and said, “Yep, this is you.”

A ‘fellow Aspergian’ gave me this book. The author happens to be the brother of Augusten Burroughs, who wrote the classic, Running With Scissors.   Their parents had serious mental problems, adding to their  complications.   Robison is a lucid writer, and he goes into  the cogent details of why he & Augusten have different surnames, and  how he coped with being different.  He was not ‘diagnosed’ until he was an adult.  Then, suddenly,  all the troubles he had fitting in(to society on The Wrong Planet) fell into place, and he was able to start dealing with people.

He’s had a remarkably  interesting life, being a road engineer for KISS, inventing games for Mattel, and finding his way.

If you  know someone who seems very intelligent, but has no social skills,  get this book.  It was just published in 2007 and has been through several printings. I am sure you can get it on Amazon if your local bookstore can’t order it.