Covid 19 sadness. Restless..

.my sore throat is from dust from cleaning closets. My anxiety though is from hell.

I’ve not been out since Thursday. This is Sunday. I lied. I’ve gotten the mail on my porch. I’ve gone from low carb searching for ingredients like MCT oil, Miracle noodle fettuccini shirataki and Ghee to carb loading comfort French fries dripping with ketchup.

I discovered a new artist. Here is her bio statement.

Link to her work at bottom of this blog.

…..a Yale professional’s thoughts on stress: Stress is exacerbated by: unpredictability, uncontrollability, something chronic and sustained. The whole globe is in that situation.

I can wrap a leaf around myself or several leaves, if I could stitch many together. But let’s say I found one big enough. I could be a human caterpillar isolating in the mysterious dark and waiting patiently for transformation. Spin silk even. Plan new beginnings. But you know I am not going to wrap a leaf or leaves around myself. What are words anyway but inventions. A construct? Like time. Here is a digital Art I made recently.

Surrender

So is anyone online shopping/browsing for fun? My favorite perusal pages to shop? Cabinet knobs! The array available is astounding. I bought ten of these:

I love antiques too. Patina spots. Silver-black signs of age. Well worn places. Rough spots. Sturdy no-nonsense frame. Well made. Lots of use left. Time tested. Takes a lickin -keeps going. Weathered storms. Great height. Secrets buried within. Am I describing myself?

So I made a nursery rhyme collage too.

Largely out of scale spider not so itsy-bitsy has weathered a downpour.

Some good has come don’t you think? It’s as if Earth had creepy crawly infectious parasitic infestations like lice, scabies, mites, ticks. WE are that lice. We humans. Earth said “You have made me sick. Your turn.”

And the world slowed down.

And threw their gloves on the ground. Like narcissistic ignorants.

 

If I were a kid during this it would have been anxiety provoking but also fun! No sports. No gym class. Woohoo! No oral reports. Plenty of written homework. Yes! Keep 6 feet apart. Delivery folks: leave it on the porch. Yeah! Social distance? No problem! No gatherings no problem.

On the downside I’m not getting to go on my two weekend concert getaways this summer. Upside? My work at home job is taking care of us. I feel so deeply and have been sad for all who are going through these upheavals. I’ve been doing things like clean closets, decluttering and so forth.

 

Here is a stimmy snazzy iPad case.

I normally stim by perusing online sites and adding things to shopping carts I’ll never buy. But lately I’ve been buying! Stuff I have on the way by post: my Zenni glasses, capris and spring blouses just arrived and of course the cabinet knobs are on their way. I also ordered a device to open my floppy discs from the 90s. Probably mostly corrupted but maybe I can salvage old writing and pictures from them. I also sent in all my 8mm home movies from around the time Howie got sick. To be transferred to thumb drives for easy viewing.

At least the telemarketers have been affected. No spam calls since this started! And: the once-dirty canals in Italy have cleared themselves of pollution now that boat traffic has ceased. Dolphins are frolicking there now. The ten lane highways in smoggy California are in a word: empty. Which means the normal congestion of autos is not contributing to pollution.

Digital Art:

Wash your hands thoroughly. Go outside for fresh air.

Put an LP on the old #recordPlayer and #closeYourEyes.

#playwithPets

As my friend April says: “Painters will paint. Poets will write.”

Also true: Bitchers will bitch.

My book: https://www.amazon.com/Under-Banana-Moon-Living-Aspergers/dp/150572886X if link doesn’t work (WordPress acting up today) then Google “under the banana moon Tucker Amazon.”

Link to the artist I mentioned in the first paragraph: https://www.facebook.com/416713085815190/posts/679354112884418/?d=n

 

Collage by KimberlyGerryTucker

I was thinking how I’ve not been productive lately, artly speaking. And then I went through old canvases. I’ve made quite a few. The last few years 2017-2019 -has actually had quite the output.

Some here are a combination acrylic and paper. Most are paper.

In some cases, I’m posting portions of larger works. Like this one.

This acrylic I’ve shared before. My typical trees with personalities and faces.

The figure is all that’s painted here and the rest is paper.

Acrylic completely.

This too is all paint.

This is probably 90% paint. I did a pointillist effect. Tiny paint dots.

Painted.

A woman sits with her back to the viewer. This is probably 75% paper and the test painted.

Pure collage.

Paper.

Paper only including puzzle pieces.

The figure is painted but there are textural elements too, like string. The background is paper and the wings have glitter.

This is an acrylic thought I’d forgotten about and is unfinished. Probably one I’m most likely to return to soon.

My late friend Steve Selpal liked this one and it is one of the first handful of collages I ever attempted.

Same piece. Different area of canvas.

Acrylic and paper. I believe my first mixed media.

One of the first, a portion of the one previously shown.

Acrylic and paper. One of the first.

Some of the paper here is from a 1930s book.

All paper.

I don’t think there is paint here at all. Maybe just the background actually.

A clunky art in all puzzle pieces that doesn’t work for me. This is how you learn. (I have dozens of puzzles with each color/hue sorted into bags. )

Again these are all paper.

All paper. Except for some minuscule lines accentuating her form and faces. Normally I simply cut thin black lines from paper to outline. Some puzzle pieces. Very textural.

One from the nightmare series.

All painted.

All paper save for a little paint for the face.

This particular blog post does not contain the images of myself and cat, or the gift I made for a friend of herself and her cat. I didn’t post the subway collage which was in ATrain the play, and nor does it show the nightmare series (except for the one with the bear here), and many others.

It’s just me going through old work and surprising myself at my output with pieces in some cases I’d forgotten about.

Please don’t use images without permission. I’d probably say yes anyway. 🙂

I’d like to add a note that I’m still a board member with Art of Autism and I’d LOVE for you to submit me your art of a woman past or present that you admire. Let’s celebrate Women’s History Month there are prizes of gift cards too but all images will be onsite. Art of Autism had over 4 million views!

Please send to me, Kim, at podsartofautism@gmail.com

Detransition-My Child’s Journey With Identity

As some may know, sometime in 2020, hopefully, that date is an estimate- Keri Bower’s film Desire is coming out.

It’s a documentary-style film about desire and disability. It will consist of several cds, (6? 7?) and my youngest child and his girlfriend (along with interviews of myself and Al) will have one cd of their own story.

Silas was born with female parts, had top surgery and took testosterone for awhile. Silas is candid about the period he is now in, at the video link I am posting here.

The montage of pictures at the end of the short video, really get me teary-eyed. Don’t watch if you are sensitive about personal anatomy and similar subjects being talked about openly. Here is the link:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tCMHQfRwJ4Q&feature=youtu.be

https://www.facebook.com/normalfilms/ That is the link to the Desire Facebook page.

Caring for a cat through every life stage, then saying Bye, till we meet again

I have exactly one picture (that I can locate, anyway), of him as a kitten. Since he was born early 00’s, cell phones with cameras were not in-pocket and at-the-ready, to capture every kitten nuance.

baby

My husband was diagnosed with 5 yrs. to live and ALS had him confined to a chair, paralyzed, and with a feeding tube at that time. A solace I had at the time was to make sure he was comfortable, put a baseball game on for him, put the baby monitor in my pocket so I could hear him (it had incredible reach, I could walk to the corner school bus stop with my then 5 yr. old daughter and could hear the monitor). Sometimes I’d visit a like minded neighbor.

My husband’s vocal cords were not functioning well, but if he made a sound, I could hear him and rush home. It’s funny, I could hear the baseball game from my pocket and people must’ve assumed I REALLY liked sports.

My friend (since moved) had a lot of stray cats. One day she called me because a stray female cat had dropped two kittens in her yard and took off, abandoning them. I wasn’t surprised. I once had a cat who was such a terrible mother, she systematically killed off every kitten in the litter. Another cat I had, during the birthing process, spun in a circle till the kittens came flying out. I digress.

I put the monitor in my pocket and walked to her house, not far away from mine. Two scraggly orangey “twin” kittens were unmoving in a box with a towel lining the bottom. On her front porch.

They didn’t look like they’d make it. In fact they were wet looking and had the appearance of baby birds, newly born, blind and featherless, that had fallen from a nest. The kittens were incredibly tiny, and fragile looking, with closed eyes and heads that bobbled as if the strenuous motion of their neck trying to support their head was not possible.

“I can only give a home to one!” I said. How to decide? I did “eeny-meeny-miney-mo.” And I put the winner in my shirt and walked him home, with the other baby newborn kitten weighing heavily on me, perhaps I should take that one too? But even though my husband was dying, he was going to give me hell for taking this one. We already had one cat. I received a frantic phone call from my friend.

She was horrified to have witnessed a hawk from her kitchen window, swoop into the box, and pick up the remaining kitten. As it flew over the yard, it dropped the kitten in the grass, then swooped in again, and made off with it.

All I could do was love the one I was trying to save. My middle son immediately felt a kinship and named him Mister Po. My son was a twin too, but I lost the twin during the pregnancy. We took turns feeding Po pet store kitten milk with an eyedropper and then a kitten bottle over the next few weeks, throughout the night every three hrs. or so round-the clock. As he amazingly grew less wobbly, more ginger, and stronger, I actually thought he might live. babylove

His hair was soft and I marveled that he was a long-hair. I found that Boost nutritional drinks (vanilla) which were covered by insurance, and which I had stacked by the case 6 feet high, that I used for my husband’s feeding tube, worked well for this cat.

When I filled the plunger with it to inject slowly into my husband’s stomach, I would dribble the dregs from the can onto the coffee table and Po really looked forward to this. Perhaps the nutrition provided by this nutrient-packed drink accounts for his long life. But what accounts for his sweet nature? He was just that way.

Friends, other pets, even my husband, either moved, faded away or even died but Po was here with me, as I cried on him, and when I eventually met a new partner who would end up moving in…as my kids moved out and made families. Po was steadfast.

During a getting-to-know-each-other phone call with my partner, he asked “so what are you up to?” I remember replying “Sitting here with a cat on my lap.” He replied, “I have a feeling that’s a pretty common thing for you to be doing.”

I am not the first person to have to make a euthanasia decision. At the end of his life, his spine was such that he was dragging his legs, and if you touched a certain spot, he would have a seizure or turn and bite the air. My finger got in the way twice and twice he bit me for the first times ever in his 19 year old life. It became infected, as cat bites on fingers are wont to do, and I needed antibiotics. I wasn’t giving up on him. Then he decided to spend ALL his time in a cat box. He’d bury his face in the litter and lay there like that, a certain sign a cat knows it is near the end. Still he cuddled me, burrowing into my neck, purring so loud and the decision I made was agonizing and painful.

Here is a “painting” I made of myself and Po, around the time frame when I realized he wasn’t immortal, by cutting up paper. It’s technically a collage, but I like to think of this as “painting with paper,” although no actual paint is used, just lots of cutting/gluing.

collage

Maybe some of you “get it,” he was my best friend, and my long term relationship. Just before the last trip to the vet:

clung

My kids said goodbye (my oldest made a FB post: “Goodbye good boy” and people from my past, from over a decade ago, remembered him and posted pictures) and we gave him a last meal of tuna. I brought him outdoors (truly his longevity is also in part keeping him safe from disease-indoors.)

A sampling of many condolences…

condolences.png

flkelkdfkvm

sad

kecdlkd.png

If you have read this far you must be a cat person.

Po was the subject of memes and photoshop and had a FB page I devoted to him just because I thought I might bore people on my personal, author, or artist FB pages with bombardments of pictures of him. My son made this one:

biggo

cool

Cool cat

dream

glasses

He played well into his elderly gentleman years. Even when his spine became bad and he was dragging his back legs, he moved so quickly! He would bolt forward wobbly, hips askew, legs not working well. It was this resilience, determination to reach me to cuddle, the strong will to move and continue living that made “the euthanasia decision” so damn hard and yes I am wracked with guilt and around every corner he is there but not there. The grief is enormous.

play

abuse

Tolerant.

belly

friend

ifits

olShoe

trumpy

A long-hair cat, he shed a lot and one day after a brushing, I stuck his own hair on his head.

mehim

He was about 2 or 3 yrs. old here.

pal

The dog felt my grief when I returned from the vet, bawling, she was all over me: Nurse Minnie, she is. And Po’s little sister, not so affectionate and kind of a loner, roams the house merrowring.

rawr

Po belly:

sweetbellyness

I got through this without crying, writing IS therapeutic! Bye, till we meet again.

His FB:

https://www.facebook.com/Oneandonlymisterpo/

 My book:

https://www.amazon.com/Under-Banana-Moon-Living-Aspergers/dp/150572886X

 

Contest: Art of Autism wants your art depicting Women you admire

Last year’s contest for Women’s History Month in March, was a heartwarming enterprise.

We’re doing it again this year, but having prizes for every age group, including adults.

Please share this to friends. And it’s never too soon to send me submissions (every submission will be published on Art of Autism’s FB page).

Send to Kim:

Podsartofautism@gmail.com

Pls put “Women’s History Month” in the Subject line.

Some of last year’s submissions:

Hope to hear from you!

Thanksgiving That Wasn’t … and Then Was

It’s the pan drippings. I’m not a gravy person, really. The idea of all that extra starchiness isn’t appealing, but as the turkey needs to cook for so long, there’re those scents that permeate the house. You go outside with some recycling to put in the bin, into the crisp chill, then when you come back in the smell hits you again and that anticipation of everything on the plate, with pan drippings all over it… I apologize to vegetarians if you’re still reading.

It is nice to have my three grown children and their significant others under one roof, and Al loves to cook. I make the stuffing every year. he baked the pies early, they were cooling on the stovetop. The stuffing and other side dishes (sweet potatoes, twice baked potatoes sprinkled with bacon and cheese, etc.) were cold and just needed to be popped in the oven during the last hr. or so of turkey cook-time. I have a double-oven, one on top, one on the bottom.

Every seven years my birthday falls on Thanksgiving. So sometimes presents and cake accompany the meal. Not this year. This Thanksgiving was late in the month. So… my sons Silas and Jeff were already here and my former daughter-in-law H. was going to drop off my now 12 yr. old grandson Jaden any minute. My other son, and his new wife and baby (Jaden’s sister) were due to arrive as well. Jaden came bursting in, “The tree is on fire!”

“Huh? What are you going on about, Jaden?”

“The wire, at the end of the street… a tree is on it and it’s got like, sparks and flames and stuff.” I live on a dead-end, there is no outlet once you turn onto the street. Jaden sits at the table, which has been nicely, humbly, set by Silas. It is just right for us. The paper tablecloth is already torn. There is not room for some of us, but there are recliners and Al likes to sit there anyway, to eat.

IMG_9524

The Macy’s balloons are traipsing up and down the street on TV, my daughter in law loves the parade and I tape it every yr. in case she misses any. The balloons are low to the ground because there was talk it was so windy they would bob and hurt someone. Then the TV clicks off. I hear Al from the kitchen remarking about the power.

I go outside because Jaden and I see his mother is still parked out there. She tells me that they won’t let her leave the street because of the tree on the wire. Policeman are not allowing it. Eventually she cuts through backyards and walks to the street adjacent to ours, where someone picks her up so she can have dinner at her father’s. How will my son Jer and his family get here? They end up parking on the adjacent street and walking through the woods at the end of the road where the cul de sac is.

When my son Jer was a baby, I was out walking, pushing his blue stroller, when my friend (who lived a few houses away from me and had agorophobia) said she needed to get home, now. We took a shortcut through those very woods and I lost a wheel on the stroller in the process. When Jer walked in, I told him the story.

“You’re kidding! I think I saw that wheel.”

“That was over 20 years ago, no way!”

He walked back and took a picture and texted me it. Sure looked like that wheel.

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The turkey was probably an hour and a half away from being done. Everyone was here. We sat around hoping for the best, surely the power would come back on soon. Then my phone buzzed, an alert from the electric company with an estimated time of 7PM that power would be restored. There would be no Macy’s parade. There would be no meal. Eventually we admitted defeat and served up pie, chocolate pudding, and whipped cream. That was not pan drippings but we were hungry at this point.

IMG_9523

Al removed the partially cooked turkey from the oven. Tomorrow (Black Friday) was another day. Sure enough we had power. Al put the turkey back in the oven, and Jaden and I made cookies. We waited for Jer and his wife and baby to arrive. Al chopped fresh squash on a mandolin like this one.

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Yes, it comes with a safety guard. No, he wasn’t using it. “Kim, can you come in the kitchen a minute please.”

I needed to fetch a first aid kit! Here is the tip of his finger. Sorry if you are squeamish, but I was amazed at the fact I could still see his fingerprint on it. He wrapped it well and continued on with preparing the meal.

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We WOULD have a proper Thanksgiving meal, albeit a day late. Jer texted me, “I’m not really comfortable eating the turkey, but I’ll eat the rest of the meal…”

We found this bit of news online:

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Once again, we’d filled the house with the aroma of turkey and once again we could not eat it. We ate the side dishes, minus the squash. I think it ended up with blood on it and was never cooked. The beautiful turkey, a gift my father bought us, was thrown away the next day. Ironically, when we took it to dispose of it, the timer in it had popped up,… but no one wanted to partake. (sarcasm)

Time for our dessert cookies that Jaden and I had made, because we’d eaten the pie for a meal on Thanksgiving the day before. They were hard as a rock for some reason. We couldn’t eat them. I don’t know what we did wrong. After eating the side dishes (with the smell of turkey still teasingly pervading our faces), it was time to get Al to a clinic to treat his finger.

We went to one of those walk-in places that are springing up next to every Dollar Store on every corner, and we sat. And waited. A movie played on the waiting room TV, which was mounted on a wall in front of us. There were a surprising amount of people there on Black Friday (which I myself have never partaken in, by the way.) The movie was one of those Lifetime or Hallmark things and quite insipid. A teenager needed to make a very serious decision: defy her parents and go the Christmas Ball with friends, or… make her mother happy and attend the yearly Church Christmas event. The plot was riveting! (It wasn’t. In no way was it riveting. It was torturous. And predictable.)

After an interminable amount of time there, we finally left for home and I remarked, “You know, both days that we attempted a Thanksgiving meal, we forgot to put out the cranberry sauce.”

Al says, “You’re right. By the way, NO turkey on Christmas.”

I had to agree. I was so over it.

When the power winked off on Thanksgiving, our plans were changed. We all found things to talk about. The next day, when we ate a meal of side dishes, we also talked.

And I decided to watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special I’d recorded. They ( the Peanuts characters) were all quite happy eating popcorn and toast for Thanksgiving. They really were happy.

Jer posted this on Facebook shortly afterwards:

IMG_9522

I realized he was right. The meal was one I’d soon forget, nothing memorable. But that Thanksgiving was not forgettable, it’s the one we’ll all remember, oh there was another memorable Thanksgiving I’ll never forget too. It was the year I accidentally put a knife all the way through my hand. It went in through the palm and came out by the knuckles. Jeff, about 12 yrs. old then, put my boots on for me as I was holding a towel on the wound, kind of in shock. Jer was a toddler, and seeing the blood, which was everywhere in the kitchen, (my father cleaned it up while I was at the ER), he remarked in his little boy voice: ” It’s just cranberry sauce! Don’t worry!” But that is not a story for today.

 

 

 

Teeter Totter Brains

I have a blog here today at the below link.

Debra says:

“Today is not only Halloween (Happy Halloween!). It’s the last day of #DisabilityHistoryMonth . Kimberly Gerry-Tucker looks at some creatives and how their brains were wired differently. Fun read!”

https://the-art-of-autism.com/9-great-teeter-totter-brains-with-the-brilliance-quirk-balance-disabilityhistorymonth/

Halloween Shenanigans

I tried on a few Halloween masks at a store.

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I don’t have a single picture of me in costume as a child. Rolls of film cost money then and we chose carefully what to take pictures of. But I did find this memorable costume mask which I actually wore. The Princess with the butter-yellow hair —and even then I wondered as to why ‘princess’ was never dark haired like me.

Costumes then, they came in boxes.

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I also remember being this guy one year (glow in the dark, no less):

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Back then, pop culture was not tied into everything. A skull and a princess are fairly generic, kids used to be ‘bums,’ cowboys, ghosts…

Nowadays, scads of things that’ll sit dusty as collectibles or end up in landfills, are made long before movies or cartoons come out- millions of things… everything from toothbrushes bearing the image of the character… to toys, clothes, figures and Halloween costumes.

I will never apologize or feel ‘less than’ for not being ‘up’ on pop culture. If it doesn’t interest me, I’m not going to ‘follow the crowd.’

Well… that’s not entirely true… I remember as a child, at least for a brief awkward tween while, thinking that if I did a culturally “accepted” thing, then I would fit in. As normal. Imagine that kind of thinking? Ha!

I remember this in particular: trying to create mischief on Halloween Eve, when I was in grade school, perhaps about 11 years old. This is the only picture I could locate of me at that age, right after my unruly horse mane hair was chopped and shaped. Dorothy Hamill time.

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The night of shenanigans went something like this: My friend and I decided to walk downtown at dusk under the ruse of telling our parents we were getting a pizza. It only cost $5.00 for a small circle of pizza so splitting the difference between us was doable. We skipped the pizza this time though because we had other business to attend to.

Or… we tried anyway. I took a few eggs from my fridge and my friend swiped a few from hers.  We put them in our hooded sweatshirt pockets and started off on our adventure, with a stop in the cemetery as was our usual route.

The first time we went into the cemetery we were perplexed and saddened when we did the math on many of the birth and death dates. There were so many babies and toddlers buried there, with their tombstones of lamb and cherub images. We were young enough to be unaware of the widespread influenza and smallpox epidemics in the 1800s and also young enough to be naive about mortality. In a word, finding so many of these graves was: shocking.

There was an area over the far bank, where “old” flowers were dumped. These were flowers, apparently wilted and almost dead, that had been cleared from graves and dumped here. There were many faded bouquets of plastic flowers too for some reason. We collected them in bunches and put them on the children’s graves. Then off we went. It was Mischief Night and were ready to partake.

It was dark. We had a target house in mind and planned on throwing a few eggs at the cellar door where we figured it would be fairly easy for the house owners to clean up the next day.

(Here is my best recollection, my book has a more detailed account because it was written directly from diaries).

What rebels we were. My friend reached into her pocket and pulled out an egg. Her first throw was way off mark. Nowhere near the house.

My turn, I no sooner pulled an egg out, than I dropped it, right on my sneaker. Mind you, I wasn’t an egg eater, still don’t eat them, (not with a fox, not in a box) so that was pretty disgusting for me. Her turn.

She reached into her other jacket pocket for her last egg when she called out “Ew! My egg broke in my pocket!” I was on my last egg. Better make it count.

I did not make it count. My egg went somewhere into some bushes or something.

A bit discouraged that our mischief had failed, we cut through the back lot of our old brick school, which was no longer a school and not yet the office building it would eventually become. The former school had originally been built in the 1800s and now stood empty, in limbo.

We had the idea to try one of the doors. Locked. But we tried a door around back. It was unlocked. We didn’t dare turn on a light until we got into the “lavatory.” I wanted to check out the old bathroom with the long rows of hunter green stall doors. And I found what I was looking for on one of the walls. It always made me laugh.

A few years before, when I’d been a student there, I’d scratched the word “poop” into the paint. This was my idea of flipping off authority. I told you I was a rebel-rouser. Of course I’d thought “poop” was spelled “poup,” like the word soup… When I found out the correct spelling, I corrected the “u” to form an “o.” Once a pedant, always a pedant.

I scratched a tally mark into the green paint.

We flipped off the light and went quietly up the stairs to a classroom, which, like all the others, had a cloakroom with hooks for coats which was behind a wall of the room, with an opening on either end to enter. In the cloakroom was also a kitty corner art supply closet that I remembered as smelling blissful. The “cloakroom,” was really a narrow dark hall of sorts, behind a wall, where we would dump boots and coats, with an entrance on both sides.

We tiptoed hurriedly inside it when we heard what we deduced must be the night watchman. He must’ve heard us and was checking the place out for intruders. I pictured my self in the striped attire of the cartoon felon in my mind’s eye.

We closed our eyes tightly and breathed quietly, remaining perfectly still in the shadows, huddled into one another. I dared open an eye as we cowered in the dark cloakroom, and made out the flickers of a flashlight beam from the classroom, devoid of desks of course. It had the familiar radiators under the tall windows, a fire escape door, and shining wood floors that we could hear the man treading on, with surprisingly loud echos.

We heard him walking around a bit, some keys jingling, and after he’d departed, and his echoing footfalls descended stairs, we came out of hiding and proceeded to quietly go downstairs ourselves and leave the school. We felt ourselves lucky he had not gone into our hiding place.

We’d gone into the school at least 5 times before, (scratching a tally mark in the bathroom stall each time, to indicate how many times we’d gone in after dark, right next to the poop word.)

These marks so far, had kept track of how many times we’d not been caught. We had an affection for this old place, a nostalgia is attached to it that still pangs me to this day, when I need to enter the building in present – day to visit one of the ugly offices it’s old classrooms (minus cloakrooms) has become.

I digress -So it was time to make a hasty retreat. It had been close this time. As our hands reached the long bar to push open the door to the outside Autumn air, there were hands on our shoulders and a voice: “Stop right here!”

My first reaction was to recoil from touch, as I had had many “Me Too” ‘events’ by this time, but then the dread set in:

Uh-oh. I was going to Sing-Sing. (I watched a lot of Bugs Bunny).

He proceeded to tell us that “young girls did not need to be doing things like this” and to my surprise he gave us a warning not to ever go in the building again, and he let us go.

A quick glance at his face revealed to me something surprising. I couldn’t help but think he looked ‘relieved.’ I had the notion then, that he’d thought the school was haunted all these times he’d heard noises, and having caught us this time, he was relieved it wasn’t! We never ‘broke in’ again.

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We ran giggling into a wooded area behind the school beyond the parking lot. The egg throwing had failed but we had managed to make mischief. What hell-raisers we were.

It had rained earlier that day and to our surprise, the area was full of small hopping toads. We decided to put a few in our pockets to play with at home. Halfway home, we decided to take out a toad or two and study them. It became apparent they were peeing. We removed the toads one by one from our pockets and every one peed on our hands. Our pockets felt and smelled terrible too. We let them go.

🤷🏻‍♀️

Nowadays, “mischief” takes on far different meanings than it did then. It’s like every day is “Mischief” night, (that’s putting it lightly) all over the world somewhere and each person takes it up a notch. The reality of what this world has become, is scarier than anything I could ever have imagined.

These days, I’m content to leave the light off on Halloween. It’s not that I’m a curmudgeon, or “too cheap to buy candy,” or a Halloween-hater. None of the above. In fact my family walks right in with their little ones; and I am glad to see them. They know that having the light off does not apply to them. I am just at the age, I suppose, when the disruption of the incessant doorbell (which sets off my dog to being startled and barking) is just too much and not partaking is what is kindest for me.  I’ve been playing around with SnapChat. Here are a few favorites:

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This is my favorite, and those are my real glasses, for the indecisive,, each lens a different shape.

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These pictures are from Autumn walks. It is important to capture this type of New England beauty as the color is a short time and how easy to forget the vibrancy or worse, to take it for granted. Every season in New England brings something to wonder at. Lots of walks before it is too cold for me.

But back to Halloween, here are some images (Snapchat, Edits) of my beloved cat. Recent documentation I’ve found puts his age at 17 not 19 as I’d thought. He has stopped the seizures and still purrs.

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He was a BIG part of my son’s life.

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Anyway, I hope Halloween is safe and fun for kids and adults alike, in whatever way one chooses to partake, or not partake.

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Kimberly Gerry-Tucker, author of under the banana moon text link

 

Snowing in the bedroom

It’s Autumn, not winter. Let me explain. But first-butterflies.

This plant attracts butterflies, like these pictures I took at the beach: (They let me get very close).

A funny thing happened last night. I’m collecting these milkweed pods for a craft project I’ll eventually share here… so I’m keeping the pods on my bedroom shelf until some of them dry out (so I can remove the wispy seeds easier).

So… the fan was turned on (can you guess where this is going) and I settled in under several blankets to read until I felt sleepy. Out of the corner of my eye, I start seeing snow in my room. Do I need a new eye appointment? Well I didn’t really see snow, it was more like numerous wispy, floaty, cotton-like white puffs that were just like the kind that milkweed pods have. JUST like them.

I giggled aloud. Al never noticed the flying wisps, nor did he ask why I giggled. He was involved in his own book and probably assumed my book struck me funny. Which reminds me of a quote by Pete Hamill:

“We grew up poor,

but not impoverished,” He said.

“What’s the difference?” Asked a journalist.

“The library,” Pete Hamill replied.

 

Autumn brings quite a bit to New England this time of year. This year it brought Keri Bowers to Connecticut. She was able to come last year at this time too although last year she came during peak color and this year, not. We took this picture together. In my bedroom. My milkweed pods are there by the candle stand. Can you believe we had the same shirt? Synchronicity.

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Perhaps this close-up shows the pods, still green. It wasn’t until last night that they released cotton wisps. They are just now drying after a few weeks on the shelf. 🙂 snow in my bedroom.

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Anyway… Here are a few more pictures from Keri’s visit. Filming is wrapped for our part in Desire, the film. Keri filming a scene on the beach where Ratnik (Sloan), Silas and I ended up being filmed while walking towards seagulls:

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Keri filming my rising son Silas’s interview with Ratnik in foreground.

I’m writing this with a view of my backyard glimpsed through the window, because I’ve moved my desk closer to a window. My back “yard” used to be bigger. It went all the way down to a ditch that separates the backyards on this street with the backyards from the adjacent street. Now my backyard is half the size, due to sumac that has encroached the space. It’s just big enough now for Al’s bucket vegetable garden and his compost pile. Wiki says this about sumac:

Sumac is a woody, very invasive plant, that has the potential for forming large clones.

Over the years, the sumac has taken sneaky giant steps closer and closer to the house. It invades the way bamboo takes off in the South. Time lapse would reveal the sumac’s sly steps forward gobbling valuable real estate marching toward my window. This year my son and Al took down five sumac trees and still they spread.

This is the biodiversity of the world. And I’m not a fan of sumac but I so admire its resilience. There is so much to learn from that! I’m reading two books presently about bugs (actually four, switching back and forth, but the other 2 are not about insects) and one book mentions that the cockroach and also mosquitos do despicable things like spread illness but are also fascinating and much is to be learned from them. The etymologist says, in effect, that although these two types of bugs are not cute, or beautiful, or otherwise falling into an acceptable category of warm sweet fuzziness, who are we to decide which bugs should be eradicated from the earth? Her larger point is, neither can we decide which people are better or more worthwhile than other people.

Divisiveness, whether it is over race, religion, politics, or imagined slights, is rampant and stems from a refusal to accept other differences. Differences in thought, appearance, taste, etc. Doesn’t it all stem from cold blind hate? Who are we to decide who is right, or who is best. Has listening and respect fallen into a river and drowned holding each other? I am looking forward (kind of) to Steven Spielberg’s documentary on the “Origin of Hate.” It will have big feels and be difficult for me to see, but I hope a lot of people watch it. He said he sees it not as a legacy film, but rather something that is necessary to make.

There are a lot of necessary things to say, to do, to hear. Greta as an example. It took a fellow autistic to speak truth and yet she is ridiculed and smeared. Hmmm. Attacking the messenger doesn’t change the message.

I think autistic savant artist Michael Tolleson said it best when he called Greta Thunberg an “oracle.” I just hope people LISTEN to the CONTENT of what she is saying. More than that. I hope the people in a position to effect change are listening. I wish I had new art to share, (been focused on writing) but here’s an old one. It doesn’t have a feel of being hopeful with it’s sad figure and angry figure… but I still do cling to that opening here in the painting- the one that leads to a brave new healthy world.

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 How do you like my new prescription Zenni glasses? They’re for the indecisive. I guess. 👍

BananaMoonPraiseAndOtherUpdatesToArtAndWritingAndEvents

 

The Orange Comes, The Orange Fades

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          The above photo taken of me and Mister Po by Amy Tucchio. And here’s my favorite, his kitty belly before he started losing his hair.
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I’ll leave you with that.
It’s time. To get a new fence I think.

Suess Review (Jones) and My Art Updates

TED, UNRAVELED

Memoirs are my favorite books to read, along with nonfiction, and also biology and neuroscience, and autobiography and biographies too. I read this one:

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Like all of us, he started life as a baby, and then became a child. To be exact, he lived in Massachusetts on 74 Fairfield Street. Many decades later, after achieving a notoriety that surprised him, he revisited that child home. He told the current owner Ron Senez “I just stopped by to make sure you’re taking proper care of the house.” For some time he sat in Ron’s young sons’ room (Ted’s old bedroom as a child) and regaled them with stories. Ted showed them where he’d poked holes in the plaster and he told them a tantalizing story about a mural of “a lot of crazy animals” now covered by their wallpaper.

He started out drawing humorous cartoons for beer, oil companies, and the like, with a long-running very popular campaign for a bug company. (photos found at https://aoghs.org/petroleum-art/seuss-the-oilman/ ) His early work for these ad companies had many touches of the fanciful animals we would all come to know.

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Of course he eventually fell into children’s books.

Suess’s wife was fond of saying that although Ted was witty, funny, somewhat introverted, and pleasant he was never happy when he was working on a book; but happiest when he finished one. Writing the rhymes, he’d often fill in the last word as ‘duh-duh’ or ‘dum-dum’ and then he’d toss and turn on his couch in his office, read a nonfiction book or mystery to clear his mind, walk the beachfront property, scour thesauruses, and eventually replace the fill-in words with the rhymes. He kept a paper bullseye of his father’s hanging on his office wall, where his father had gotten the bullseye dead center, to remind him of perfection. He had the bullseye till his end of days. (Ted was a chain smoker and eventually a dentist found cancer under his tongue which spread. He did not like hospitals and often refused treatments that may have prolonged his life a bit.)

When he first started, it was especially hard writing the Beginner Books series. There was a pedagogical rigor to the adherence of the approved word list. 361 approved beginning reader words to be exact. Authors were encouraged to have no more than 200 of the approved words per book. No “ed”, “ing,” or “er” endings of words were allowed either, except if it was specifically listed. Plurals were allowed but only if they were made by adding an “s.” Only approved contractions. No possessives. Finally the list was amended to allow “emergency” words, words not on the list but absolutely necessary to the story. Ted was quite a prankster and sometimes purposefully submitted x rated verse to Random House, and looked forward to the phone call that would surely follow! Truly, he would get a scolding, but he always left them laughing.

Example, an early “Hop on Pop” submission just to see if Stan was paying attention:

When I try to read, I am smart.
I always cut whole words apart.
Con Stan Tin O Ple, Tim Buk Too
Con Tra Cep Tive, Kan Ga Roo.

Or

This prank while working on “Dr. Seuss’ ABC:”

Big X
Little x
X…x…X
Someday, kiddies, you’ll learn about sex!

A more elaborate prank was played on a frequent house guest to the dinner parties at the Tower (he and his wife’s home in LaJolla). The man was always going on about how he collected fine abstract art. One day, Ted made up a fanciful long-syllabled-made-up “artist” name, worthy of his Suess books, and said that he had in his possession a rare abstract artwork by this big wig so and so “famous” artist. The man replied “Oh! I have always wanted an art piece by that artist!” Dr. Suess said he’d be willing to sell. Not long afterward, Dr. Suess presented the man with a framed abstract artwork (paint barely dry) that he’d secretly, and quickly, created himself. The man oohed and ahed! Ted could keep a straight face easily. Just when the man was ready to hand Ted a very large sum of money, Ted’s wife stepped in and said the prank had gone on long enough! Laughs were had all around. I wonder where that art is today.

Dr. Suess (he dropped out before he earned a doctorate but was to go on and be awarded honorary ones) was serious about “brat books,” as he affectionately called them. He felt the Run Sally, run!” books were detrimental to children and insulted their intelligence along with being boring and not stimulating in children a desire to read. Though he never had children, (his first wife, who could not bear children, took her own life in the Tower, devastating Ted), he knew how to be in a child’s world and also how to create worlds for them to be in.

From his home in LaJolla California, where he lived in what was known as “The Tower,” he’d receive more and more mail as time went by. He’d even have children ring his doorbell often asking if he were really Dr. Suess, or to wish him a happy birthday, and then run away down the hill. At first he answered the fan mail but it got to be so much, that eventually most fan mail was answered with a copy of a signed form letter Ted had written and drawn on himself, thanking the letter writer and explaining Dr. Seuss’s mail delivery was slow because he lived on a mountaintop where mail could only be delivered by a Suessian beast called a Budget, pulling a cart driven by a Nudget. Imagine having a copy of one of those today!

He was a true storyteller, granting few interviews, and always showing up for events, especially early on, if there was an arranged deal that he would not have to speak in front of the crowd. About himself, he told and retold stories so much that often many accounts of the same story are different. It was part of his charm. The office at Random House, which he visited when he hand-delivered finished books to read them aloud, much to everyone’s delight, he had a hand in decorating to suit him! The office there was whimsical, as per his decorating instruction.

Ted was terrified of public speaking, but toward the end of his life, he managed  to speak publicly in simple rhymes. They were short, to the point. For example, if asked to speak to college grad students, he’d step up to the podium, deliver four verses of rhyming advice, and amidst cheers he’d quickly leave the podium.

He didn’t preach, but his stories often were about big issues. Yertle the Turtle (who represents Hitler) was written in delightful anapestic tetrameter. It was banned in some areas for being ‘too political.’ Sneetches on Beaches was written in 1961 to teach children about discrimination. He wrote the book to address how different groups of people didn’t like each other during World War II. A number of the Seuss books address the subject of diversity and teach children to be fair and treat people equally. And there’s my favorite The Lorax. I don’t mean the silly movie adaptation, I mean his version, the book. Ted was a stickler on getting every single color in his books the way he wanted. He’d have loud conversations about this. And when a few stories were made into cartoons, he wanted them his way. It was his work. Not so sure he’d approve of the Grinch That Stole Christmas movie that takes liberties with his writing (sorry Jim Carrey.) But who knows… Back to The Lorax which was written in 1971. It chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax “speaks for the trees” and confronts the Once-ler, who causes environmental degradation. At the end when the last tree stump remains, there is written upon it one word:

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He’s left a legacy. I can’t begin to recount the tidbits I learned from the book. I do know that somewhere in this house I’ve got an “adult” Dr. Suess book, full of his art meant for adults. No I can’t find the book, but I was able to locate a few of the art pieces from this site ( https://www.drseussart.com/secretandarchive ):

CAT FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS

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THE RATHER ODD MYOPIC WOMAN

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Art in My Life and Other Updates

Finally finished the mime video for the event in October. With son Silas’ video production skills much appreciated. Cannot share until after event at CARD (Center for Autism & Related Disorders). It is a great feeling of accomplishment to have something creative come to fruition after much work. And although never really achieving my “unique” artistic vision, nonetheless it becomes an eccentric but heartfelt entity all its own!

Received these from a friend on a day I much needed a smile:

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My 19 yr. old cat has been having seizures, one of which he had on my lap. When he does this, his mouth snaps open and closed, biting the air. My finger was in the way. He ended up biting my finger which can be dangerous. I can barely move it and am on antibiotics.

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My son is in a highly creative mode of life, having won a contest recently. A pill company sponsored a contest whereby they send you a red and white capsule, and you sculpt art to go inside it. His creation (on the right) is a tiny wax skeleton, a casket and dirt from our yard, all of which fit in the capsule. He didn’t win first or even second prize but the contest judges like his and another person’s submissions so much they created a special category:

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Another of Silas’ works:

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Like me, he picks up interesting things by the roadside. He made some into this:

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Silas and his girlfriend are going to be featured in Keri Bower’s film “Desire,” in fact we have more taping to do later this month. Silas is supplying music for it too.

For the most part, I keep to myself. I enjoy my day job as a QA software tester. I love deeply and am loved deeply by my small circle. I am currently grateful thankful and even at times hopeful that the world is going to be alright. Although the times we live in are painful to bear witness to, a lot of the time. Currently I am enjoying the respite here in the east from the heat. Fall is coming on.

In my free time, I do my house chores and run errands and adore grandchildren and keep up with doctor appointments. But I also do what I’ve always done- fill my need to create. And also to advocate, occasionally consulting with college students when they are studying or writing about autism and/or selective mutism. I occasionally get emails that humble and thrill me. I received two such emails this week. Which I’ll share here. Sometime ago, I was published in this book:

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I got an email from Belo recently, here it is in part:

Dear Firsts Authors,

I have some wonderful news to share. Firsts has received a gold medal under the nonfiction anthology category from the Reader’s favorite Awards. This means you are all now award-winning authors!

…..There will be a ceremony in Miami on Nov 23rd, 2019 to recognize all winners.

…..They will make the official announcement on Oct 1st via their website and Publisher’s Weekly. While they haven’t made this entire official just yet, it’s perfectly fine to update your bio and call yourself an award-winning author. Also, I am attaching the seal image and award certificate for those who wish to add it to their websites. Oleb Books will be making the announcement via social later this week.

Congratulations to all of you – and big thanks for believing in me and in this project.

Cheers,

Belo

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I really really have to update my website! Belo, who I didn’t realize had a disability (he is blind) all the while we were emailing my contribution back and forth for this book, truly deserves this honor.


Another surprising email came from a literary publication I haven’t been published in for over a decade. Here is the email, in part… and if you are still reading this blogpost, which is always all over the place, I thank you.

“We would like to feature you as an artist, along with some images of your artwork, in an upcoming issue of our publication. …..we have reviewed work on your website and are quite impressed.

Since we only publish two issues per year, January and July, and we only feature one artist per issue, we are thinking of featuring your work in the July 2020 issue of the magazine. I interview the artists we feature and write the article. We typically use 9 – 11 artwork images in each issue. “


I said yes to that. It’s such an opportunity to pick art pieces I feel ‘say something’ about how I feel as a “terrestrial.” Because aren’t we all terrestrials? Not just citizens of this country or that one, but citizens of earth. I read that recently and cannot seem to remember the book I picked it up from. Isn’t that awful! Here is an artwork I may or may not have posted here in my blog (I’ve forgotten!)

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Anyway, I see the CARD event I mentioned earlier, and the interview for the magazine as opportunities to say things in ways I could never vocalize from podiums. Through mime-face, and art images and through written word.

my web site which needs work LINK here   

My Book Link Here

Silas Art link

Holy Dust Motes, Suess, Mime

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Inspired

Reading that book presently, every page fascinating. Got me to thinking for some weird reason- about a poem I wrote around 1999 (or earlier?) called “Holy Dust Motes.” The poem was published in Kaleidoscope, a literary journal that was publishing me quite a bit back then. The whole premise of the poem, was about capturing what I used to ‘get’ out of the Catholic church experience. I liked the ritual of it. I can’t ever remember my father attending, except for funerals, and he was the Catholic one who insisted that I, the only child, be Catholic too. My mother was Protestant but she made sure I attended catechism (at times the classes were with nuns), got my First Communion, Confirmation, baptisms for my kids…and when I was having a difficult pregnancy with my third son, I decided to attend the local church of my childhood on Sundays again. She sat beside me, and I often caught her crying during songs like Amazing Grace. My (late) husband had put the roof on that church himself. He’d encountered bees at the top but it didn’t phase him and the priest would tell the bee story at his memorial service years later when he died at 42 of ALS. Him, just a decade after (or less?) he put on the church roof, feeding tube inserted and still looking healthy:
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Ritual

When Sunday came, my mother let me choose where to sit, and once I chose that spot, I would seek it out every Sunday; so it was imperative to go early, to make sure the pew just behind the white pillar, blocking view of the priest himself, was not taken. Actually, it was not a popular seat, except it was my favorite. The church was beautiful inside, simple as far as churches go, but beautiful. The brown pews, always shining, with their long, cushioned pads that flipped down for kneeling. (There was lots of “Sit,” “Kneel,” “Stand…”) There was the big organ, and the choir on the balcony; behind and above; with men that sounded to me like women when they belted out songs (hymns?). But I especially was enamored with the very tall colored glass windows where the images were broken with black lines like mosaics. Without being able to see the priest, it seemed ‘acceptable’ to look around at architecture like the colored glass, because after all I couldn’t look at the person in the room who was speaking! My mother and I; I was about 13, a decade or so before we started the church-going, which we kept up for about 7 or 8 months:

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There are always church-goers in the row in front of you, to the side, and behind you, of all ages. We sat by the beam, and my mother never asked if I minded the pillar blocked my “view.” She knew me well enough. We sat sort of in the center of the aisle on the left. Our seats were at least halfway back, it being a small church with a middle aisle and seating on both sides. Sometimes I’d daydream, trying to imagine a simpler time, when people seated in those very pews, arrived by horse and carriage in long dresses and hats. I’d imagine them there in those very seats. My research would reveal that in 1844, in a nearby longhouse, mass was first offered to 6 Irish residents there. Much later I would do DNA testing, always curious about my heritage because I am adopted, and I would discover I am 43% British and Irish. The church itself was finally finished in 1856 where my spry husband would re-roof it all by himself as a side job.

The church was situated in such a way in space and time, that sun showed through the colored windows to my left in visible beams that made dust motes noticeable. I seemed to be the only one mesmerized by the teeny twirling swirlies. The fluffs, barely noticeable, except when they glinted like the mica in a rock, or lit up like the sparkles in asphalt. The actual church, here, photo credit: https://www.google.com/search?q=st+augustine+seymour+ct&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjY3f-zv5HkAhUKrVkKHUgkAvMQ_AUIEigC&biw=1920&bih=888#imgrc=9_mPseX-G-yHWM

Note my beam, left aisle:

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What thrilled me most of all was that- through quiet observation- all the while moving my lips and pretending to make sound (no sound escaped me), and the rising, sitting, kneeling, I would catch the sparkle of one dancing, hair-like mote and follow it until it landed on the head of a woman‘s coiffed blond hairdo in front of me, hair with a greenish hue from the stained glass windows’ reflection. Or sometimes a mote would teeter and tumble through a golden sunbeam, making itself known when it glinted, only to perch precariously on a bald man’s pate.

Energy and Spiritualism

Holy Dust Motes! That’s what I would think. And I am quite sure I am not the only one who has thought such things at some point in their lives. I stopped attending church when my pregnancy made me feel faint and over-sensitive to church smells. I eventually tried to put one of my children through the rites of Catholicism but in Confirmation class, when he was a teen, he and his friend were passed notes by clergy that said something to the effect that they had a nice smile. It was an “exercise” but I decided there are other ways to be spiritual. I believe in the gathering of masses of people with peaceful intent being pushed into the world in energy that goes somewhere and helps in its pure goodness somehow. I can get that through concerts where energy is big. A quick painting of peace:

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But this writing is not about the pros and cons of church attendance, not at all, it is about the senses. About how engaging the senses is profound and every single person gains something a bit different from an experience and it is ok we all gain peace in our own way. So here is one Suess gem I greatly admire; from which my dust passion was at least partly inspired:

“I’ll find it!” cried Horton.

“I’ll find it or bust!

I SHALL find my friends

On my small speck of dust!”

Did Dr. Suess know, when he wrote that, how many meanings he was molding? I went on to study dust, to research it, and then to research all the subtopics, after the church-going ended. It is the specks I miss the most, but I still find the glints everywhere (rocks, walls, rain, puddles…) and each time…the accompanying happiness- probably not unlike the miners’ Eureka seeing their gold glints in their pans.

Senses

Kids in grade school used to wave their hands in front of my face- “Yoo-hoo! Anyone in there!? She’s in her own world.”

Didn’t they see? There was a sacred geometry to the pattern in the radiators. A golden ratio to rain-drips falling down on the other side of the tall classroom windows. I will never apologize for being me, for sensing as I do, for seeing as I do. For dressing like a mime, for identifying with them, for doing “eccentric” things. When I have an interest, I greatly pursue it- if “they” say I’m eccentric, I don’t care, I just do it!

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When my husband was sick, I was 24-7 caregiver (I’d do it again) and I was having trouble expressing my self with art, which is a need I have. I identified with mime because you hate ’em or love ’em or they annoy you, and also they are creative and don’t have speaking as a requirement. I’m aware of how imperative it is to shed masks, mime for me, has no connection to that.

Mask vs. Mime, different

Masking to blend, means losing one’s own identity. To me, wearing mime, is to immerse in art, it’s a happy place. Here is a mime photo from that time when he was dying:

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Note to self: DO NOT smile with the showing of teeth while in white mime-face because even if your teeth are white they will appear that they are not!

So I’ve decided to participate in an event that requires this:

Upcoming

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I will try to stay up to date with my blog, and post updates.

current mantra

When I have an interest, I greatly pursue it, If ‘they’ say I’m eccentric, I don’t care- I just do it!

All for now-

P.S. EVERY time I create art, write a blog, express a view- it’s a raw and exposed “feeling.” I feel that and let that lessen and I end up arting, writing and expressing all over again. Hard to be seen. Known.

K

My book’s at the following link: Under The Banana Moon, living, loving, loss and aspergers/selective mutism

Radiator image from https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjjwMzEu5HkAhVhh-AKHXOqDz4QjB16BAgBEAM&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theoldradiatorcompany.co.uk%2F&psig=AOvVaw2Xq_lFjnNWFEVvlv1yBCzt&ust=1566391044236777

My Family, My Updates, and Art

Masking is a process in which an individual changes or “masks” their natural personality to conform to social pressures, abuse, and/or harassment. -wiki

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I enjoy making memes, they’re something I can do creatively that takes little time. I made the one above and these recently:

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I didn’t note the misspelling of “autistic” until yesterday and haven’t fixed it yet. Aaaarrrgghhh

Speaking of creativity (don’t I always) here is a wooden box I keep on my desk within reach. I have not done mosaics since the early 2000’s and this one I did then, all four sides which I switch out for a different view now and again. I have a suitcase of broken pieces. Perhaps I’ll start this up again. I’ve a waste can in the bathroom that is mosaiced too, all these years it’s held up.

All three of my children have artistic gifts. My youngest, Silas, collects treasures from the ground, as do I, and here is something he created recently which I adore!

PRISONER OF TIME by Silas Gonzalez

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My middle son Jer and his wife C. recently attended a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert. Here is the lovely photo. They are a beautiful couple and always take nice pictures.

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Do you see what we are seeing? We are thinking it’s a motion-blur effect although I don’t see blur! Note the suited man in the background. He’s lost his head!

I looked for a photo of the painting my son Jer did last year about anxiety, it’s a self portrait with gears in the head, very nice, and I can’t find the image-when I do I’ll update this blog. The painting was shown at the museum in Rhode Island- 2018, RICART show.

So I’ve been reading this, among many other books:

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This blog is high on imagery, and not so text-forward! Let me say this book is awesome! I love reading about the lives of creatives. I’ve marked many areas in the book for a later more extensive ‘review.’ I feel as if my brain is smoldering. The last few weeks have brought two of the worst migraines I’ve had in my life. I’m cognitively pretty low (which explains the typo in my meme!) but I’m keeping on. Here’s a quick iPadArt I managed to do.

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I do have a talented family. Here is artwork by one of my favorite people in the whole entire world- his first iPadArt creation:

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My little granddaughters (not so little now) love to paint rocks

(   https://www.facebook.com/groups/1840242882913721/  ) and hide them around the valley for people to find. They love finding them too. They’re quite the artists too. I keep a craft cart chock full of supplies for them.

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Truly, if you have a chance to check out Silas’ art please do. Links at end of blog. He is my inspiration. The other day he brought me this wee frog and several others for me to see (and then released).

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What do you think of these found rocks? I love them. In my next blog I will post the innovative thing Silas created with them!

He and I and Al will be interviewed further this September for Keri Bower’s upcoming film on Disability and sex, called “Desire.” Link bottom of blog. Like Desire’s FB page for updates.

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For anyone who has read my book, you are familiar with my parents’ relationship and you may know I lost my mother too soon, she never saw the book, truly it is an homage to them as much as it is to my my late husband, my aspergers and selective mutism tribe, celebration of living, and accepting loss. My father, pictured here on the left, age 86 is out fishing on a boat with my cousin W., the hay-baler you also may remember from my book. My father is enjoying his life!

My oldest son, dx’ed like me, started a paranormal investigative group years ago before it was truly a thing. It’s called CT PASTS (Connecticut Paranormal and Supernatural Tracking Society) and my my other son and also godchild are members. Someday I may be brave enough to share my own experiences here in a blog regarding that genre!

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I’m still doing my thing for Art of Autism, who is currently seeking poems/and or art. This is not a trending thing (peace) it’s for real, we feel this strongly, send in your peace submission and be a safe place for people to pause in the midst of all this chaos, when they see your art or read your poem.

You can contact me too at podsartofautism@gmail.com if you have a blog idea (we can pay bloggers) or if you’d like to be a part of the PODS project. Hope to hear from you.

Personally, I have been trying to feel well so I started Keto June 3rd. I love the discipline, and the creativity involved in planning meals. Because it does take planning to truly make it work, and it does power through metabolism slumps. I’m losing 2 1/2 lbs. a week, just right. Last night I had french fries for the first time (since May?) and I am so happy to know they tasted terrible! My goal is to be at a better weight next summer for my trip abroad. I want to be able to ambulate comfortably through those ancient ruins!

Al, my partner, has a vegetable garden so this is a big help, he has a knack for growing all the greens and peppers I can eat! He’s also going to start refinishing frames for my artwork. Here’s a question I want to throw out there, if you were asked to dress in mime for a paid gig (air travel included) and recite your poetry, would you do it? I would….but mimes don’t speak, so I’ll have to figure something out. More on that to come!

Personally, I am struggling with the chaos in this world, as we are all- I am sure, and also the voices in my head are telling me that my elderly cat Mister Po who is nearly 20 years old (longer than most of my relationships with men)- is nearing end of life. He is having several seizures a day. Here is a collage I did of the two of us a few years ago:

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It is made of lots of cut up paper. I made one for my friend Starr who lost her beloved cat. Seen here, you may recall her from my book as well. The colors are not true to the real art, it is not a good photo.

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It looks nice in her home as seen here. The art to the right of the serenity prayer is an artwork called Evanescence by my son Silas.

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My Mister Po, above in his playful mood, (pre-seizures) and with shedded hair on his head.

Here is a meme I made long ago:

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KERI Bowers and I last Autumn. Has it been almost a year!?

And saying Bye-For-Now in NYC a few months ago.

I have to close now, it’s errand day and the heatwave has let up. It’s too nice to be inside. Before I go I want to share what my dear friend Keri Bowers said to me yesterday during our nearly 2 hour talk. We were going on about negative mantras that get stuck in the head, those voices that try to take you down… and she said

“Do what I do and say to those voices, ‘Thank you committee in my head for weighing in with your opinions, I’ve heard them, now fuck off!’ “

Words to live by!

 

CTPASTS: If you have a presence bugging you, you know who to call.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/CTPASTS/posts/

About me, my book:

https://mercurygirl49.wixsite.com/underthebananamoon-1

More from multi-talented Silas:

https://silasmgonz.wixsite.com/artworkbysilas/about

https://silasmgonz.wixsite.com/artworkbysilas/gallery

The DESIRE film on FB:

https://www.facebook.com/normalfilms/

About P.O.D.S. (people of diversity, speaking):

https://the-art-of-autism.com/p-o-d-s/

 

Angel Statues. Images from a cemetery.

Inspired by my Facebook friend Ruth Christine Mortimer, who recently posted photos from an 1800s cemetery near where the Bronte sisters lived, I decided to take some photos in a West Haven Connecticut cemetery.

And here’s my favorite. When taking the picture, I did not see the dragonfly above the statue.

Here’s a closeup.

A quick walk at the beach.

Bye for now.

Painting My Nightmares

Anxiety and Night Terrors

 

You are having a silly dream. Maybe you’re walking with Rod Stewart and he face-planks and when he stands up has a bloody nose. (I had that dream…) But suddenly the silliness transforms. There are more shadows. Looming shapes. Sudden jump-scares. And then: IT. The ‘thing’ in the dream either appears or an event transpires which feels as if the sheer unexpected horror of it will cease you. You scream. You can’t make sound though, so it’s coming out raspy, like mumbling. This wakes you, and usually your partner is shaking you and scared too; because they heard the screams caught in your throat, and felt the way you were tensing and thrashing. A night terror. It’s different than a nightmare but both are probably caused by anxiety about a source of stress completely unrelated to what transpired in the actual dream.

I decided to paint my nightmares. Well, not really. I drew them and then collaged them. I consider them all quick artworks and unfinished. Especially this one. I dreamed this creature was sitting on me. It’s in need of much work and it’s the one I’m working on presently, in between other pursuits. I’ve got the “underpainting sketch” of paper-tone down which is how I like to start.

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This next image is a night terror too, one of my worst. I was walking on a stone staircase. There were cobwebs. It wasn’t especially scary, just a little spooky. Until a creature rose up from beside me and bit my arm. I woke with pure terror and it took a while to shake the imagery of it, and the mood.

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This next couple of images, you may find a little humorous. It wasn’t a night terror. It was a bad dream that was unnerving and I ended up shaking my head, “What was that about?” Which is why it stays with me. It is unfinished. I’ve yet to collage the woods into place. So here are two portions of the one artwork. In the dream, I was in a dark woods on a path. Delta Burke of the old show Designing Women, was hiding behind trees and following me. I looked in the distance and kept seeing a red glow. It ended up being the evil version of the logo of the Morton Salt girl, she had glowing eyes and was following me too, at a pretty fast clip. I stopped by a tree to discern which way to go to avoid the salt girl and Delta, when my teeth fell out!

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This next image is a recurring dream I’ve had all my life. I saw bear cubs in the wild when I was in grade school and since I was alone fishing down the back hill of my Grandma’s Vermont house, I felt responsible for little cousin’s safety. I took her hand and led her up the hill, never looking back but terrified the mother bear was nearby and bearing down on us. Since then, I’ve had at least a few ‘bear-chasing-me’ dreams per year. In most of the nightmares, I am thinking I am within the safety of buildings, but an elevator opens up, or I turn a corner, or I enter a room, and there’s the bear, bearing down on me. This is a depiction of one such nightmare.

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The next two dream collages I’m sharing here are perhaps my absolute worst and most memorable. The first one I dreamed just once, the other one recurred between 2000-2005. In the first one, I was about 16, living with my parents in a house that had an old road that led nowhere but into the woods. It had a stone wall alongside it and a big field. I dreamed I was walking along this familiar area, following alongside the wall where chipmunks and squirrels played, when it became dark. I heard chanting in an unfamiliar language and crouched down behind the wall. See the crouched depiction of me, right-hand corner? In my dream, (nightmare; night terror) I saw a ritual in the field. Hooded figures were circling a fire, chanting and I was terrified they would see me. I awoke, alone in the house, early morning light across my bed, and I swore I could still hear that unknown chanting in the room. that has always stayed with me.

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The next one, as I said, would happen at least once a week and it went on for years, during the 5-year period that I was round-the-clock caregiver for my husband who had ALS and was paralyzed. I learned all his machines, gave him his various meds and treatments, (I lost 80 lbs.) fed him through a feeding tube, turned him, moved him, showered and sponge-bathed him toward the end, set up his laptop with the robot voice like Stephen Hawking’s, I did all I agreed to do in my wedding vows, sickness and health after all. And through it all I knew I was the one on duty, every day was life-or-death. This is the recurring nightmare that would wake me, screams caught but just sounding like mumbles, tears streaming, my body flailing and my husband, tears coming down because he could not comfort me, being paralyzed. The position I put him in at nightfall, would be the exact position he’d be in when he awoke in the morning. I was a ragdoll body in the nightmare. It was vivid, and real. An unseen force would thrash me from wall to wall, and ceiling over and over again. I think I chose a prettier color scheme for this collage because it’s my bedroom and there is a stark juxtaposition between what is supposed to be a safe restful place, and the unseen terror that was throwing me around that “peaceful” place.

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Perhaps one day I’ll finish the series or maybe I’ll move on to another calling. Who knows. Here are a couple other things:

My son and his girlfriend at Pride NYC:

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Notice how I’m shifting the mood here, to something more upbeat? That’s on purpose. What do you make of this? It’s a rock my son brought home. The minerals inside were soft and eroded away. It’s got a V going all the way through. I absolutely love it. My son calls it a ‘hag rock.’

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I actually thought about sharing paranormal experiences here, maybe another time!

Gotta go!

SWEET dreams

 

Runaway Bardos, lessons learned in retrospect

I’m reading this book:

In Love with the World: A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying Hardcover – May 7, 2019

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Through the “bardos…”

Bardos: Defined by wiki: ‘Used loosely, “bardo” is the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one’s next birth, when one’s consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena.’

“In Love With The World” opens with a ‘running away’ scenario. Having read this opening, 10:30 at night, quite sleepy, I was transported as I fell asleep into the recollection of an experience I had at the age of about 16. I woke up still thinking about the first chapter of this book and thinking about my own experience.

It was early 80s, pre-interwebs and pre-cell phones. On the second floor of a house on a hill, surrounded by cow pasture and corn field, was my room, the clean room, the uncluttered one with blue walls in need of paint; posters hiding the worst areas; and yellow comforter thick and heavy on the four poster white bed, a blanket enjoyed all year. I had an older silver poodle, various cats, parakeets and a few hamsters. I’d decided to take my friend up on our longstanding plan. Tonight was the night.

Earlier that day, curly phone cord stretched into the bathroom with the door closed on it, we had the usual conversation:

…”so fed up…” “yeah we’ll get out of here and go to New York or somewhere…we could find work, we look older than our ages…” “come on over, tonight when the parental units go to sleep…” “oh yeah that’s a plan…” “I hear the train downtown is pretty cheap…” “ha-ha-ha-”

My father always went to sleep with the TV going and my mother slept in the recliner; easier for her to breathe that way. It was a weekend. There was a dutch door between my room and the kitchen. I could lock the swing-top closed with a hook and eye closure or leave it open, which gave me a waist-up view of my father in the mornings, at the sink making coffee and preparing my toast he would cut into three soldiers for me with butter so thick it would not melt. “It’s a humdinger of a morning, poopsy! Wake up and smell the coffee,” he’d say; or some such thing.

That’s where the confusion sets in as I remember that night. What was I running away from? We weren’t rich, sure, but we had unconditional love amongst us three. My bevy of cousins lived downstairs and we often enjoyed softball games in the big yard, or bocce ball, badminton, croquet, kickball, picnics and bike rides. My aunt and uncle and mother and father were often tending the big vegetable garden, mowing the yard, or sitting in the screen tent, a protection against mosquitoes, and gabbing way past dark. My father, the non-smoker of the bunch, is the only one still alive today (he’s 87). Here they are. My parents are on the left, my aunt and uncle who lived downstairs, on the right:

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My point is, I didn’t know it at the time, but this was a good time. Nevertheless, I’d spent a lifetime (all of 16 years) of feeling different. I wanted more than the feeling of a small town. I read a lot of books and I knew there was intellectual stimulation out there, but where? Perhaps a change of scene would transform my entire life. At that age, there’s so much to learn, and I was immature and insensitive to how my parents would feel when they found it.

I did a good job on it too because I had lots of pillows to work with. I imagined him glancing over the dutch door, seeing it, and buying me time to get further away. It was quite dark out, the night bugs were singing and big jersey mosquitos banged against my window screen, searching for a weak spot to get in. Satisfied with the arrangement of pillows and my stuffed Pluto dog beneath the comforter, I almost convinced myself there really was a body lying there. I shoved necessities into a zippered canvas bag- donuts in a Baggie, my hair shampoo and conditioner, my wallet, cash on hand and coins, a few bologna sandwiches, some clothes, dental care, and of course my blow dryer and the book I was reading at the time.

I made it downstairs and around the front yard when I met the first obstacle but I was prepared with a piece of bologna. I never understood why my uncle would not allow their big blonde dog into their house. His existence was solely to be chained to a shed, which was once a chicken coop and to strain its length for attention. He was a barker so I produced the bologna as I let him loose. I’d done this before. He would take off for the field, have a delightful run all night and be caught by the cousins sometime the next day. They’d scratch their heads, “…now how did he break loose again?”

It would take at least an hour to get to my friend’s house and from there, a twenty minute walk to the train station. There were dark stretches with no streetlamps; a winding steadily downhill trek through areas where people slept in dark houses and tree branches overhung the road. Just a year later, a girl my age would be abducted from this seemingly quiet area and murdered, found floating in a lake but I hadn’t the sense to think I was anything other than invincible.

Head down as I walked, my bag was feeling heavy, (it was so lumpy and full, I’d barely managed to zip it). I put one foot in front of the other, sidestepping gutter drains and cigarette butts as it was very important I not step on any. Sensitive to so much, every cell on my skin alerted when headlights suddenly shone at me and a car drove slowly by, which was not too often. Maybe just two cars passed during my whole walk. Mostly I was concerned with walking in the right direction. There were no sidewalks so I walked close to the curb. The dead body with it’s ?lips? pulled back, exposed blood-stained sharp teeth that made me freeze where I stood. I held my breath. The rat had legs and a tail and a substantial body, curled up fat. I prodded it with a toe. The vision of it stays with me. At the time I tried reading meaning into the sight but could not think up what kind of an omen this could be. I went on.

Finally I arrived at my destination- the dead end street. I took the backyards. Under her bedroom window at last, I set my bag in the grass and tapped at the screen. It took a while to get her attention. How could this be? Perhaps she’d fallen back asleep waiting for me. When her drowsy face appeared in the window, hair every-which-way yet still somehow Farrah-like, I thought, “Let the adventure begin!”

She told me to go around front. To my surprise we were soon sitting in her kitchen, a small nightlight glowing. And talking. Well She was talking. She was expecting a baby. This floored me. How long had she known? We’d talked every day. Why hadn’t she mentioned it. Wouldn’t her mother hear us, maybe she shouldn’t talk so loudly. Her mother knew about the baby, everyone knew but me? She hadn’t expected I’d really “show up…” ha-ha-ha

And she excused herself. When she returned, her mother was with her. She greeted me with both my first and middle names which is never a good thing. Then she called my father, a light sleeper, and handed the phone to me. “But…why?” He stammered. I didn’t know. It was true. I had no words for it. “But…” he went on, and I began to feel badly for putting this sadness into his voice, “I just got up for a glass of water and checked on you. You’re right there in bed…” Sounds of him shuffling around. My mother asking what’s wrong in the background. “Oh! That’s not you in the bed. I’ll be damned. I’ll be right there to pick you up.”

The ride home was surreal. Neither of us knew what to say to the other. When I arrived home, my mother, a sour look across her features, took the bag from me roughly and began going through it. “You packed the blow dryer!!!???”

I replayed my conversations with my friend over and over in my head, in an attempt to understand where I misunderstood. I should’ve realized that all her “ha-has” meant that we were just joking about running away. I was taking it all literally and she was just… playing along for fun.

She would go on to make more normal friendships of course, friendships that weren’t so complicated, peers on her level, friends that probably didn’t feel like social work, and what did I learn from the experience? That people don’t always mean what they say, and that’s a valuable thing to know.

In retrospect, I realize that teens are supposed to feel angsty, restless, bored. It’s part of ‘becoming.’ Truly, the walk in the dark, the rat and everything was a bardo experience. I decided as I fell off to sleep sometime early that morning that it was just as well. I mean I had my various cats, parakeets, hamsters and poodle to care for.  Here’s Suzy, a gift from my birth mother when I was just seven:

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She was always smiling. I did not include (at least I don’t think I did) this runaway story in my book- seen pictured here:

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(That is my parents on the cover, behind a Coney Island plywood cut-out that was popular in the day.) Reading the book I mentioned earlier, about the monk who ran away, I am more able to realize now… that at the time I ran away, I was focused on the destination: a faraway place to reinvent myself, a different existence to look forward to… when in fact I did do those very things. I didn’t fail at achieving that because it was never about the destination-where I ended up, at all.

I learned that my friend protected me from myself and had more common sense than I did. I also realize how our actions can confuse and hurt others and how sometimes when we think we are struggling or at our worst, it passes and these times will actually be remembered as the best times of our lives. We are just so caught up in what doesn’t feel right, that we are not truly ‘here.’

After the fancy art show, (consult the last blog or two in sequence for details on that) I was invited to a Yacht Party in Yonkers.

Just.

Nope on that!

I recommend the monk’s book, and if you haven’t read mine, it is here:

Under The Banana Moon- living, loving, loss and aspergers

 

 

 

 

Proprioception, ASD, Spatial Awareness and Perspective

I did a pulmonary test recently at the hospital which involved a ‘game’ of sorts, namely keeping an animated cloud on a screen afloat. It was interesting. You kept the cloud up by breathing at a certain rate. This ‘game’ is similar to “Floppy Birds.” (Which incidentally I suck at!) Anyway, my cloud kept crashing, dive-bombing the animated green ground in what looked to me (without glasses) like a display of red lightning.

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Eventually I passed the flag. This weekend I’m going against rheumatologist’s orders. I have to avoid sun exposure and no exercise for me till further notice. Well I’m going strawberry picking anyway. I’ll go in the morning before the sun really hits, wear long sleeves and a hat, and rest often. If I’m sick for days it’s my own fault.

PROPRIOCEPTION

(perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body.)

I lack good proprioception. I was discussing clumsiness in relation to being an Aspergers trait- recently on Twitter. For those who’ve read my book ‘Under the Banana Moon,’ you may know I once accidentally on Thanksgiving, put a knife through the palm of my hand. It came through on the other side near the knuckles. My then four year old son, upon seeing the mess in the kitchen started saying, “It’s just cranberry sauce. It’s just cranberry sauce.” It was blood of course. At the ER, the nurse said suspiciously, “That looks like a defense wound.” NOPE. Just me being clumsy. I consciously think before moving any part of me and this is crucial in preventing ‘clumsy’ accidents. I have no autopilot. I have spatial awareness ‘issues’ too. (One of the reasons I don’t drive.)

SPATIAL AWARENESS

(the ability to be aware of oneself in space. It is an organised knowledge of objects in relation to oneself in that given space. Spatial awareness also involves understanding the relationship of these objects when there is a change of position.

The W.A.I.S. test in my 1999 diagnosis of autism scored low, with my vocabulary and other word-related tests scoring above college level. I have not been to college. Oh, before I forget, my son texted me recently with this picture and the frantic text “I just moved a case of water and look what I saw!”

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Never having seen this variety of rodent (we’ve seen a few mice in the house over the years, but not this kind) I was very surprised. Until…..

I got another text informing me that this must have fallen from my shelf of cut-outs that I keep for collage projects! I hadn’t remembered cutting out this paper mouse but there you are! This happens a lot.

I’ll be walking through the house and see a paper skull in the corner or a cut-out phrase by the toilet that must’ve fallen out of my clothes: “Behold!”

You may be thinking, is mistaking the paper mouse for a real one, an example of poor spatial awareness: lacking the ability to detect an object that is not fully 3-D in time and space? No it isn’t. It’s just a trick of the eye.

For me, poor spatial awareness is all around, all the time. Mapping a room when I walk to avoid sharp corners, seeing those ads on the floor at WalMart and tripping over them every time, even though I know they are flat ads. And seeing a moving object and not being able to gauge how far it is (example: the ball hitting me in the face instead of me catching it, at school, ensuring every time I’d be picked last.)

As the anniversary of my late spouse’s death at the age of 42 comes up, I am reminded of my own health (I recently started Phase 1 of South Beach again, the strictest phase and already seeing results), thus the focus here on breathing issues, inflammatory problems, and asperger-related fallabilities. I am also reminded of the importance of truly living.  He climbed a steep cliff. This one:

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Here’s another look from afar from this link:

While I’ve climbed this many times, I did so as a healthy person. He was a year away from being paralyzed by Lou Gehrigs. If the dog jumped on him, he fell over. As he climbed, I stood at the bottom, wanting to look away and not able to, all the while shouting up to him that he was going to fall to his death, was he crazy? He made it up and back down without falling at all. But (I knew him since I was 14, and he was 16) he was always that way. At picnics, he’d often charge into a fairly deep stream wearing jeans and work boots. “Why?” I’d ask. “I felt like it,” he’d say. Or if we were eating at a pavilion, he’d have to climb to the rafters and sit up there with his sandwich. A roofer, he had no fear of heights. On Halloween he’d hide high up and concealed in my (now chopped down) Maple tree, and the kids never knew he was there.

We learn things from everyone we meet, whether they are free spirits, extroverted, introverted, overly huggy, or even curmudgeons. Part of me hopes my partner will cancel the strawberry field trip and part of me says going is worth the sickness I may endure for days afterward. Wow! As I finish up this blog, the house just shook. The nearby quarry is blasting again. I’ll close with a dog/baby story and a piece of my art.

Babysitting my new 2 month old granddaughter yesterday, she started crying in her seat as babies do. We have a dog named Minnie, our bulldog/beagle mix. She’s a Buggle? Or is she a Beabull? Well, she started stretching her paws under the couch to get something. It was a pink rubber duck I didn’t know was there. She brought it (in her mouth) to the crying baby… ❤️

I cannot remember if I posted this collage in my nightmare series, so here it is. I once dreamed this. It is unfinished but making progress.

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  –///——-//—///////———-

On sexuality:

Please LIKE Keri Bower’s FB page for the DESIRE film of which myself and son are a part.

Because I am random and my thoughts flit like butterflies, here’s something I learned: I’ve discovered I am considered a (heterosexual) sapiosexual and demisexual. Who knew?

—————/—–/////———

I get low. I get pains. I get restless and doubtful and keep trying anyway mostly. It’d be a waste to waste any aspect of growing older because so many don’t get the gift of aging. That said, Here’s a note from a fellow artist/aspergers/dear person (R.) who made my day by sending me this note after purchasing my book:

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So… recently I was told I have a “unique voice” that is “hard to mimic” and that I have a voice “like a cartoon character.” Hmmm I guess I’m unique. I don’t care how I’m perceived. Well. I care a little.

When I thought I didn’t belong in the MMXIX show recently, friends popped up with support. The show was last week. I felt that support. It was an honor to represent Art of Autism, as a lot of proceeds will go there.

What Art of Autism does to empower people, who are so much like me, means MOUNTAINS. Just yesterday, a few online friends (one of whom I’ve known since ANI-listserv in the mid-90s pre-diagnosis) said they thought of me in their day-to-day life for one reason or another. I may be fairly reclusive and at times isolated (by choice mostly) but those thoughts mean mountains too.

Note to R. The pedant in me wants to point out the misspelling of a word in your note but I will not! Sorry…

Info (PDF) on Cloud Test

My book

My website  

(I have to update the website very soon but it’s fairly up to date)

 

 

Collection MMXIX Dobbs Ferry

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I had the great opportunity to represent Art of Autism with my art at this event in Dobbs Ferry NY on May 30. Some proceeds will go to AoA -any purchases from any artist in the show (commissioned or sold) made up to 30 days after the show. Artists present:

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sleepingSnorlaxI caught many Sleeping Snorlax’s on the way.

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Saw a giant Uncle Sam enroute… and a big Paul Bunyan seen here in my Pokemon Go Pokestop screenshot. I remember an Uncle Sam and Big Paul Bunyan from the Danbury (CT) Fairgrounds that used to have stock car races and big statues. (out of business). I am wondering if that’s where the statues are from. I’d say that’s definitely where they came from.

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I think it is always wonderful to see electrical boxes spiffed up like this one.

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I got a kick out of this gas station too.

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We passed through Sleepy Hollow along the way and Al made the predictable jokes.

It was apparent when we arrived at the Hudson Building to install my paintings, that this spot was not to be parked in! I have never seen such a big cone.

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When we arrived I was struck by the beauty of the grounds with it’s stone steps, gazebos, fountain and paths leading to private niches surrounded by flowers and trees. The grandeur of the building is striking considering I overhead someone remark “When they purchased this building it was a hot mess.” In 1853 the building was the site of a brewing company which explains its open floor plans and sturdy stone floors. The entrance:

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When we arrived to install the art, Manuel (an enthusiastic very nice man with a French accent) explained that they were setting up a “red carpet.” This proved smart because the carpet (which turned out to be blue, not red) served as a route to follow from room to room, as the art was shown in several large open rooms.

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I love exploring old buildings so I was happy we got lost in the building at first, trying to locate Manuel. I had a chance to see big old doors like this with sturdy nameplates. I got to peek into studios too, where I saw so many artworks in progress…

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The windows surely looked original to the building.

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This was the long walk to the ladies room which had interesting rustic copper faucets. I kept returning to the exhibits a different route from which I’d left for the restroom. The colorful carpet helped me not get lost though, once I spotted it I was back on track.

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My son Silas, seen on the right in this photo, and his girlfriend Kat arrived shortly after the show began.

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You can pick them out here in the crowd too- far right.

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Wearing my ‘fancy pants,’ I kept trying to slip a note or a business card into a pocket only to remember my fancy pants had no pockets. They were fake. Sewn shut. Al later admitted having a similar issue. Here is my partner Al, parked in the hall near one of my paintings, perfect spot to catch the food trays going by! Catered by David DiBari- Gourmet Bites.

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The following two photos show a wispy hanging artwork and the colorful shadows toward the ceiling; cast by colorful uplighting, placed just so.

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This picture shows the “faery lighting” on the hall ceiling.

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You won’t see pictures of me. I got caught in the rain on the way in and incidentally because I never asked anyone who was with me, to specifically take pictures, this one, drinking wine and talking, does exist. Just as well! I had a few conversations that were very nice, and was able to pass out AoA flyers and business cards too.

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More interesting plays with shadow from strategically placed lighting.

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These ‘masks’ are the work of Kaya Deckelbaum, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and conversing with.

See the 3-D sculpted angel in this piece?

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The painting seen here by Ridikkuluz, amongst the crowd is very large. Here is a close-up.

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Here is a view of the music (Jon Kass Trio) and wine table (and crowd).

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Ever heard Macklemore’s song ‘Thrift Shop?’ I love that song and when I saw this art piece of a jacket with fake money sewn in, I kept hearing the Macklemore song in my head. A really imaginative one-of-a-kind piece, one of many hanging in one of the rooms by this particular artist.

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I wondered how this was standing upright. Interesting design.

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My own artwork is not pictured here in this blog except for the painting seen near Al earlier- I was far more intrigued by the art of everyone else and besides readers of this blog have already seen my work. It’s the first time my art has been displayed among such renowned artists and also the first time I am priced in four digits. For more info on whose art is made by whom, please see the earlier photo which lists these artists and do look them up. I’ve got links to a few here.

Speaking of art, have you read the book or seen the movie “Welcome to Marwen” with one of my favorite actors Steve Carell (who plays real-life PTSD vet and attack victim Mark Hogancamp? I have the book, and I recommend seeing the movie first… It takes a few liberties on the real story but is actually spot on for most of it. The movie may not be for everyone (it is quite sexist, [think over-the-top dolls dressed up in an overtly sexual manner and acting stereotypical with male dolls using terms for women like ironically “doll” and also “dame.”) The real man, Mark, who this is about has had traumatic brain injury.

Sexism aside, this movie is pretty moving and the true art involved and passion for craft from a man nearly beaten to death for crossdressing, is extraordinary. This is the coffee-table-style book I have on the true story. That is not a real man, it’s a picture of the plane and doll Mark created.

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That’s all for now.

 

Link to Macklemore’s song Thrift Shop

Jerzy Kubina (exquisite in his ‘man bun’ – many men, young and old wore their hair this way and it was hot in the building, were I a man I would’ve too)- spoke with my son and his girlfriend but I did not cross paths with him although I did enjoy many conversations with other artists and art enthusiasts.

Welcome to Marwen

Marwencol book

info on Hudson River Landing Building link 

More about Hudson River Landing Building here

Olde Danbury Fair

Kaya Deckelbaum, sculptor, artist 

Ridikkuluz

 

 

 

 

 

One of these things is not like the others, a spectrum brain sorting life stuff- art and earworms

Sometimes in group settings, in crowds, my brain  gets an earworm humming away. It’s that Sesame Street one: “One of these things is not like the others…One of these things just isn’t the same…”

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So, what do you think? Is my brain going to revert to the different song on the day of this show? I am the only autistic person at the show but artists are outsiders anyway, right? We all have art in common, although they are pricing SO much higher than me and by scale their works are larger too. Get up. Dress up. Show up. Chin up. Never give up. Right?

hmmm anyway, here’s the stuff I’m working on now that I’ve put the Goddess series away for awhile. I’m doing a small series of collages -lots of cutting- of my actual nightmares. There are 6 in all so far, and I’m working back and forth here and there between them and none are quite finished. But here are a few in progress:

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These are two portions of the same work. Judging by my depiction here, it may not seem like a nightmare but it really was terrifying. I was outdoors among trees and Delta Burke (of Designing Women fame) was hovering behind trees stalking me and the Morton salt girl was chasing me. She was bright red and evil looking and somehow menacing. I stopped to figure out where to run next, and standing next to a tree, my teeth starting falling out. Yes, the teeth is a common nightmare but the other elements of this dream, I’m not so sure about!

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Before I describe what this is about, let me tell you about a real life incident that happened when I was in grade school. I was with my cousin who was about five (I was 7 or 8) and we’d rigged fishing poles with strings tied to sticks and safety pins for hooks. We were actually catching fish and creyfish too. This was in Vermont and the brook, nestled at the bottom of a steep orange-pine-needle-laden hill in a thick wood behind my grandmother’s house, was a healthy brook. I looked across the brook at the hill on the other side, dotted with trees and green as far as I could see, quite peaceful and then something brownish-black came bobbing into view. It was not something I recognized as seeing before in nature. Wrong shape to be a dog and wrong color to be anything else I recognized. Also, it was sort of roundish and kind of running-galloping along. Towards the brook where I was with my cousin.

As it got closer, my nerve endings became alerted. I knew what I was seeing. I put down my pole and thought how foolish I’d been to believe that true real-life bears in their environment all stood upright, walking like humans the way Smokey the Bear and Yogi and Boo-Boo bear did. I realized now that the anthropomorphic versions I’d seen in cartoons were silly. It’s lumbering ramble had confused me. It was getting closer and I took my cousin’s hand and told her we’d be heading back to the house. We had a steep slippery climb (from the pine needles we sometimes used to slide down the hill) ahead of us. I never looked back.

All I could think of was what I’d learned in school when my teacher had said that mother bears defending cubs can be dangerous. I knew this was a cub. There could have been more cubs and a mother too. We climbed as quick as I could lead my cousin, navigating old cans (with snakes sometimes curled inside) and tree roots for steps here and there. Like I said, I never dared look back.

But this feeling of helplessness and fear must’ve had a large effect on my psyche. This collage is all paper of course- maybe hundreds of pieces so far, and as yet unfinished. It is a depiction of a recurring dream I’ve had since I was in grade school. I dream I am being chased by a bear. It’s always inside a building though, usually a school and I don’t know why. I do not have the dream (nightmare) as often now, maybe once a year, but I always wake up terrified. Often I try to escape the building and can’t find a door. I try an elevator but the door opens to—-a bear standing there. Or I try a door and a bear appears and chases me down a hall… It goes on like this.

I will post other nightmare art as I get further along with them.

I’ve having lots of fun with that. I’m also enjoying my time with Art of Autism where I had a chance to interview Katie Oswald. (Link at end of this blog)

So I was googling fancy dress clothes (the art event is ‘suit and tie’ for men and I needed fancy pants because I don’t do dresses). The search result I got what was not at all what I expected:

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NOTE: I did not choose this outfit for the show.

I put together some dressy look for my self (hopefully) by visiting maybe 4 stores and putting it all together. On this excursion we also stopped at the mall to get Al a suit since he hadn’t worn one since he was in the service. He was being measured across the chest when the measurer informed him his chest was large. Al told me he always had a broad chest and this is from his boxing days.

Anyway let me tell you, the sign we saw when we entered the mall proved to be false advertising:

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I did not find the fun that was promised. That having been said, I did realize that there had been some redecorating since I’d been there last. I was very taken with the new design of benches and waste cans as seen here:

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I spend hours upon hours doing artwork that honors trees in this manner!

I am also spending hours doing training for work:

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So, are you getting the Seinfield reference?

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Postman and Newman is not an easy training, not for me, although a lot of my co-workers would probably find it easier than me. Anyway at times I had to revisit lectures I’d already seen to complete quizes. Sometimes, I’d go outside to clear my brain and then return to face the Newman training on my screen all over again with it’s codes and arrays and strings and my brain often found itself saying this in Jerry’s voice:

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Brains. I was asked to bring my brain artwork to the upcoming show I mentioned, but I will not be able to do so. The work Manuel requested is digital and I don’t have time to order a good print to frame and bring along because it would never be here in time. This is the digital work I won’t be able to bring (for practical reasons, since it’s digital):

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I am bringing five other works, however.

My hope is, that my brain does feel as if I am valid in being in the company of such fine accomplished artists, a world where I have never felt a part of. And of course I hope my brain behaves. I have informed it not to get this earworm:

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If you view the above video…please return here to check out these two links! Thank you for reading and keep me in your thoughts May 30.

LIKE Keri’s Desire FB page here-a film on Desire and Disability, of which I am a small part

Katie Oswald interview

 

Faeries, Babies, Goddesses, Oh My!

There’s a stew abrew. And by that I mean, if my life were one flavor, I’d be pretty unfulfilled. A stew with all meat, is just… lacking. So here’s a catch-up of the bits and bobs that have flavored my world lately. Al, my significant other, with our new grandbaby Winry (she is named after Winry Rockbell).

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She is so tiny, my son recently dressed her in his beloved ape’s outfit, ape seen here with Squiddy– and the tux fit perfectly on Winry! No, I don’t have a picture, but it was priceless.

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I like the contrast in scale here, between Al’s thumb and Winry’s little fist.

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Here I am in the hospital the first time I held her –she is the spitting image of her mother❤ .

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Here is a waste bin outside the hospital. Note the sticker.

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I’ve been trying to work on my faery villages outside in the yard. A dear friend gave me a little gnome rowing a boat for Christmas, and I decided to make a water feature for him to row his boat in. Here was my process. I started with an ordinary piece of plastic (it’s got to be fairly waterproof because it is meant for outdoors and I am using tissue paper, which could grow mold.)

Even when I do my art collages, I tend to use recycled things, things I’d normally throw away, that I repurpose. This plastic, seen here is from a new table cloth I bought for Easter.

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I started gluing various colors of tissue paper over the rectangular strip of plastic, for the “color of water.” I know that most water, particularly on ponds, is not truly blue, but I am not going for realism here. I wadded up the tissue before applying it, for a textural effect.

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At first I thought I’d cut out pictures of fish from books and glue those to the plastic, but I decided to simply indicate “rocks” below the surface of the water instead. So I cut out shapes of rocks, using the black areas of text from this Tostitos bag, and glued them to the underside.

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This is how said rocks look, glued under the tissue paper, with the black side facing the tissue. I used ‘dark’ paper from sources other than the Tostitos package too, for variation.

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This is how it was beginning to look on the underside, with the Tostitos rocks glued, and an entire new layer of yellow tissue paper over the shades of blue and white tissue I also had on there. When I flip it over (not pictured) then the top is plastic and therefore fairly waterproof to protect it from rain. The yellow blends with blue, giving a green effect.

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But I realized I just couldn’t place this directly on dirt, because the underside is paper and glue and would deteriorate. So I put some glue onto a piece of cardboard…..

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…and smoothed out the glue, affixing it to the back where the tissue is. I then protected the cardboard backing with a thorough layer of good strong see-through packing tape. Now I was ready to put it outside, and from the pictures here, I hope you get the general ‘idea’ of ‘water feature!’

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The rocks glued underneath (from the Tostitos) don’t show through very much. I’ve learned they should’ve come first, before the first blue tissue layer. But they do show through a little. I surrounded the ‘pond’ with moss, bark, and rocks.

The black spikes you see have Butterflies on the end of them, but the butterflies you can’t see from the picture- they are out of frame.

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In this picture, you can see a little bit of wing from a plastic butterfly. It’s not a perfect water feature, but I like it. Here is more of what I’ve done so far, very early in the work I’ve yet to do.

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I am working on art too…Here are some unfinished pieces, bits and pieces of progress. This one is part of a piece called “Domestic Goddess.” It has a long way to go. Much like how I developed the gnome’s pond, I work in many layers and this is bare bones foundation, just a portion of a larger piece.

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Here is a quite early stage of what is a ballerina-type woman, happily dancing alone on a tree, she is part of the tree itself. You can’t see her in this photo.

My son Silas walked in as I was developing the bare bones of this piece (part of my Goddess series) and said to me,

“You have so much patience!”

Well, yes I do.

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This is part of a very large piece which is almost finished. It is an abstract-surreal-style depiction of woods, my favorite topic, well, one of my favorites…I will post it when finished. I needed a break from it which is when I decided to start my Goddess series. But I will return to this and get it finished when the time is right. Viewed from afar, this piece really does look like a fanciful forest. Up close it works too.

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I think I posted these in my last blogpost but since they are part of the Goddess series, here they are again. I always have ten or so artworks going at once!

These too, are unfinished, but the concept is in place. They are not really this dark- I think I took these photos in a dark room.

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So here are some rocks I saw when I went for a (chilly) picnic at the beach recently.

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Whenever my grandson visits, he takes used tinfoil (recycler, like me) and makes little sculptures of people for my shelf. This time though, he sculpted my name.

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I can’t believe I have four grandchildren. When the girls visit again, they’ll be surprised to see my tree decorated. There are surprises in all the eggs.

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I used the metaphor earlier of my life being a stew, that’s a lame metaphor but it works. I’ve got a lot in the pot, so to speak. I don’t do well with idle brain or idle hands. Neither happens very often. I’ve got to get working now… Software bugs won’t catch themselves.

Before I go, look how my kitten Georgie has grown. She’s 1 1/2 yrs. old now. She has such a prey instinct! I can’t wait for Spring to fully arrive so we get a few flies in the house for her to hunt. She loves to catch them and even though we’ve had a mostly bugless winter, she has tracked the odd spider on the ceiling and stares at nails waiting for them to move. I have to play her out with a feather on a string every evening -a toy that my granddaughter made for her.

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Last night there was a little accident. My elderly cat Mister Po (his FB page is HERE), has taken to grooming himself, biting himself really…obsessively. His hips are bad and he can’t jump anymore. He was doing the obsessive biting/grooming thing last night on my lap, when he tipped over, Trying to right him again, the meat of my palm under my thumb got between his teeth. Boy did that turn purple fast. And bleed.

He didn’t mean it. Did I say I’m going to start work now? Mister Po is laying on my lap desk!

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Before I go, please consider this, it is simple to check that box:

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This is no joke. My loved one’s loved one (a very dear soul) is in need.

Al and I —

Departing Manhattan after #Desire filming:

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BYE FOR NOW

……………………………………………………………………..

 

Links to recent articles you may want to check out relating to the film Desire, my art journey and in general-creatives:

I was honored to be a featured artist in Sanctuary magazine. Link HERE.

Keri Bower’s fabulous feature article for Sanctuary Link HERE.

Gender, Desire, Art, Journey (not in any particular order)

It’s still Women’s History Month (I write this on the last day of March) although every day is a good day to remember women. I think of my mother, a gentle laughing spirit and her mother, a fragile sprite of a woman with a mischievous aura about her. I think of my birth mother too, who I met a few times before she passed and found out later she loved to tell stories about faeries and little people. My biological grandma who I met twice, an artist who grabbed my cheeks gently, the first time we met and said “I love you already.” I think of Starr, who has had to face way too much havoc and to whom I send love healing intention every day- she deserves happiness. I am often drawn to autobiographical accounts of women in particular although my fave author Augusten Burroughs has a new book due out and I am very happy to have that on pre-order. Some interesting women’s stories (artists, writers, leaders…) a few that stay with me, of the very many I’ve read:

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Her beau: the well-known-died-too-young-Jackson Pollock gets the attention but Lee is fascinating!

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It stays with you. As tragedy and remembrance does.

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While books like this are rarely “juicy,” and words are carefully chosen, it is a fabulous insight into what shaped and directed the Obama trajectory.

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What can I say? I just didn’t know autism is a broad spectrum. I didn’t know stereotypes I’d been fed were largely untrue. I was always picking up memoir in my 30s, as I still do, in an attempt to know how people tick, so to speak, to get a grasp on my own different brain. I saw the title Nobody Nowhere on a Caldor store shelf and I thought, “Sounds interesting. I don’t have autism, I mean I don’t bang my head all day…but it should be an interesting read.” This is the first book I read from an autistic POV. Page one, I said, “So that’s what I’ve got.” Epiphany. The rest is history. Errr….. herstory.

Speaking of herstory, I’m going to recommend my own book to you and while I can’t say I am a leader or a mover-shaker, I can say that it is from the heart and that the late author of Nobody Nowhere became a sister at heart friend and wrote my forward free of charge, because she offered and I was honored. Every single human being has a story. I have a mountain of books at my bedside that I step around when I rise in the morning, to prove that. And for a long time I didn’t think I even had a voice. While my voice and what I have to say is unconventional, I do have one and this little book I wrote proves that:

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Oh, someone give me a kick in the writer-ass to get going on my next book! Art is something I am immersed in however. I’m planning a series of women-inspired paintings/collages of women (real, bumpy, curvy, diverse, empowered) and as such, I was looking at the extraordinary work of Goya’s women and witches, of which I’m sharing a little here…

 

Awestruck by olden images/sketches of woman, I had a specific search engine that brought up image drawings. I entered the search words “Old Woman” so I could inspire my own art creations with images that came up in the search results. Here’s what happened:

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Bags! Bags came up when I searched old women? A derogatory outdated term for women? Interesting, because that’s the opposite of empowerment isn’t it? LOL as they say.

So, Women’s History Month has Marched by and the next theme-designated-month is….drumroll….Autism Awareness! It’s a month many dread. Fact is, we are all going to see news, TV, docu-features, articles, etc. and community happenings and all manner of things in April related to what many of us live with EVERY day of the year. Walks. Stunts. Blue lights.

I’ve read that blue was chosen for Autism Awareness Month because autism supposedly disproportionately affects males (…actually girls hide it better and fall under the radar, so is that really true?…) and we all know blue is the assigned color for males… Really though? In a 1918 Ladies Home Journal article, the following was said: “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Hmmm I’m digressing. That in itself is disempowering in itself. Girls: dainty. Boys: Strong. It’s like that old Betty White quote I adore.

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But I digress. While some feel that designating a month for autism awareness is a great soapbox from which to express autism related topics, others absolutely despise it and are triggered by it. Autism is no “walk in the park” for those affected, says Kim Stagliano, Washington Post.

According to the Autism Society, the initiative was created “to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with [Autism Spectrum Disorder] is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life.”

On that note, here is what I’ve been up to…in part, as an instrinsically actually autistic woman: Truth is, I’m up to a lot.

Wednesday Al and I went to Manhattan with my son Silas and gf Kat to be filmed for our part in the anthology docu-film Desire, which Keri Bowers is directing on a shoestring. I destroyed a cuticle or two along the way. My nerves. They sing too loudly.

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My now-son Silas had top surgery and used to be my daughter Kerry Annie and if you’ve read my book you recall a little girl who loved classical music, daredevil activities, kitties and motorcycles…. Now I have three sons. Silas and Kat bravely talk about their love story, in this film. I’m proud to be a small part of a big thing. Maybe it was easier to talk about other people’s sexuality than my own?

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When we arrived (early) at the highrise where filming was taking place I saw these marvelous doors.

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Al and I took a seat in the library room to wait our turn, as filming was running late. Al can get curmudgeonly when things go unexpectedly and while I am not happy with unexpected change, I often try to take the stance that it’s an adventure after all and meant this way. Al did hold it together patiently, to his credit! Our unruly dog has taught him patience!

So, waiting in the library for our turn, Al settled in to an iPhone game and I picked up Neurotribes and skimmed through for an hour. Someone had put a Post-it note inside. Steve’s book reminds me of me when I was “shiny” which is my term for newly diagnosed, and in that awestruck and happy period of newly-diagnosed-revelation. At least that was my experience. At the time I was diagnosed (1990s), I got library books (much of what is in Steve’s book) and copied and copied info that I recognize in Neurotribes as part of what I researched, into a red binder which I still have, handwritten. Truly, Steve’s book is a go-to, a culmination of autism knowledge that is a gathered place for invaluable information. Inspired! (This library had jarringly noisy glass doors…for a library one doesn’t expect to grit teeth every few minutes while someone enters through said noisy doors…)

 

While Keri got great shots of Al and I walking, and even kissing on the busy street, it should be noted, alas, that filming is not my forte. I have RestingFrownFace. I suppose to focus on communication (selective mutism sucks) AND my facial expression is not cohesive, one always suffers. Plus side? I got to meet members of my tribe, Keri’s assistants Mark and Michelle. Here is lovely Michelle who had a very sore foot (and a trans child in common with me). My foot wasn’t sore. 🙂

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Keri wanted footage of my hometown and planned a trip to visit us on Saturday by train,(yesterday) … Unfortunately Keri and Mark got lost on the way and we are rescheduling the trip for the future. She had a rose for me but never got to deliver it. Here are she and Mark who is delightfully shiny 🙂 mugging with my rose. At least I got to see it!

Had planned to take them to one of my favorite trees when they got in by train, but Al and I decided to go to the tree anyway even if Mark and Keri weren’t there to see it in person. Here we are:

 

Here is a shot of the filming of my son (left) and his gf Katerina. They held hands the whole time.

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I have probably shared these before, but here is a “before” of Silas and a shot of ‘she’ and I miming.

 

It’s warming up here in the east. 60 degrees! woohoo. I plan to get a lowBattery-refill from nature as often as I can. My low power light is blinking. I’ll leave you with some art I’ve made, old and new- most collage, some acrylic, a lot of them unfinished. Poor quality quick iPhone photos.

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See Alex Trebek in her calf muscle? These collages and paintings are more vibrant in person. They came out rather dark here. Images copyright me of course.

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Go see your favorite tree. If you don’t have one, find one. Find your tribe, whoever it is. Make art. Catch Pokemon. Life is short. Maybe you’ll catch a shiny like me! Did you know Pokemon Go was created by someone with Aspergers? Of course you did.

Sanctuary has me as a featured artist. There may be a typo. I’m not VP of Art of Autism. I’m VP on the board at Art of Autism. Here’s the link:

Https://www.sanctuary-magazine.com/april-19-featured-artist-kimberly-gerry-tucker.html

 

CNN article about dreading autism awareness month.

 More on Keri at the link below:

https://www.sanctuary-magazine.com/april-19-keri-bowers.html

I Never Knew Bella Blankets Existed (and other epiphanies, like understanding my own artworks several years after I made them!)

machineTHE CRUNCHER

TRIGGER WARNING: descriptives of medical problems

The facility who did my test follows the “Planetree” philosophy, which means: mindful of a person’s mind, body and spirit. As you’re waiting for your name to be called, there are ‘soothing’ colors, comfortable furnishings, free coffee bar and a water feature. There are snacks in a basket for the taking and free water bottles. The sculptures and art are pretty nice too.

planetree.png

You get results by phone the very same day. If needed: There is a private wig consultation and fitting program at the hospital and (also for those who’ve received the diagnosis), free tickets to local theaters, concerts and supporting events.

I have never walked through the “meditation garden,” which is available nearby, but I’ve glimpsed it through the big windows and it looks very nice although me personally, I like meditation to be private. Some hospitals have labyrinths like this one in Oxnard California, although mine doesn’t. I adore labyrinths.

labyrinth

The facility where I get my mammograms, offers spiritual services, Reiki, aromatherapy, soft touch massage, therapy dog visitation, and guided imagery meditation. I have never checked the boxes for any of these amenities, I just want to be quickly in and out. Interestingly, they put HGTV on the TV in the waiting room and in the changing room waiting area. Is this TV show… a standard women’s choice? 🙂

They are progressive in trying to make the experience of mammogram pleasant, which of course, it is not. This mammogram was no exception. It hurts, you are pulled, positioned, and clamped down, and then told to hold your breath and you always wonder if the machine has a release function in case the power goes out, because you are trapped; and it hurts. I was saying recently that if men had to receive screening for testicular cancer the same way women received screening for breast cancer, well, many men would go unscreened. I’ve had at least ten mammograms over the years by now, maybe more, I’ve lost count. My biggest complaint this year was that I smelled cigarette smoke on the machine (from the previous patient?) BUT- You never expect this will happen; because they don’t tell you this. It’s not in the literature:

The day after the test (which was clear of any anomalies, thankfully) I was ready to forget about it till next year’s exam when I was washing up and getting ready to go to my yearly well-check physical. The soap was burning!

My doctor looked and said, “You weren’t kidding, your skin is torn open. Make sure you put Neosporin on that.”

When I got home, I saw the bright red tears where my skin had split, like crescent moons below each one. My skin is thin, it’s an autoimmune thing, I don’t blame the technician at all for pulling too much, in fact if I just rest my elbows on a table more than five minutes, they tear open and bleed. I’m not up to scaring anyone off mammograms, I want to stress the importance of them, actually, and I have a high pain tolerance, but I would’ve liked to know what to expect. Research on mammograms and torn skin reveals that a product called “Bella Blankets” are available and next year I am going to request them ahead of time. They don’t affect the x-ray results. I did not pull away from the machine too soon before the clamp was released, nor did I stick to the plate. So in my case maybe they won’t help, but I think women should know they are an option and I am going to try them next year!

I’m seeing a new rheumatologist soon, as well as a cardiologist because of my DVT scare and hospital stay in December. I work remotely from home on my laptop, no desk for me. I could never work at a desk, my skin is so sensitive that sitting in certain chairs and my tail bone skin is split and hurting…TMI! For work, I cocoon myself in pillows in my comfy place and have my laptop on a plastic board on my lap…

pillows.png

I don’t take any meds stronger right now than heart burn medication, but I have nonetheless been having some weird dreams and I’ve no idea what accounts for them. The other night I dreamed four teeth fell out while Delta Burke from the old show “Designing Women” was chasing me and boy did she have an evil look in her eyes. (( I like Delta!! )) Then the next night I dreamed I kept glimpsing a red ghost. You know the little girl with the umbrella on the Morton salt container? Well, she was red in my dream, a definite silhouette of her and her umbrella and she was running around scaring me, materializing and then running away. These dreams were more terrifying at the time, than they seem to me now in retrospect!

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So…..It is a goal of mine to reorganize and energize my living space, because overall I am very excited about my future, trips abroad being planned, and events in line that are good for my soul. One of the things I did was to put some of my collage/puzzle piece “paintings” on my bedroom shelf. Why not? I rarely display my own art. I removed the bubble wrap and put some on the shelf and now I see them every day. Seeing them every day, I realize now what they “meant” when I created them. Isn’t that funny? Sure, I had a ‘sense’ what they ‘meant,’ but it’s clearer now.

These were some of my earliest collage creations and although art is always my therapeutic outlet, I didn’t realize at the time, what I was ‘working out’ in my head. I apologize for the bad quality of these photos.

Here they are: (The colors are more vibrant in person).

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Note the dark-haired middle aged woman with her hand in her hair, exasperated? She’s barely noticeable in the bottom right corner. The middle aged woman in the bottom corner is exasperated, see her hand in her hair? She knows old age is looming over her and it is going to happen. She is consumed by the thought and is not ‘being’ in her reality of middle age.

youthBadQuality

You barely notice this, but in this artwork, there is the bottom half of a young child standing on this youthful woman’s back. See her dark green dress, flesh colored legs and black shoes?

When I was making these, it was a reminder to self to be in the moment. The young woman here, lying down is in the prime of her life. Her expression does not appreciate that. She is consumed with the primary colors of carefree youth bearing down on her and the weight of this child, of who she was, standing literally on her back. I think what strikes me is that the youthful woman and the middle aged woman are so consumed with the past (the child standing on her back) and consumed with the future (the old woman looming over her) that they are not in the moment BEING right where they are. I’m planning an “old age” collage that truly depicts what I’ve learned here-

a woman happy just Where. She. Is.

Einstein compared life to a bicycle-

Stay balanced and keep moving forward.

I think it’s silly, all these idioms- I mean ”life” can be like a ceiling too (sometimes you’re painted into a corner but you’ve got to remember you play an important role-sheltering everyone from the elements). Life can be compared to anything, it is truly connected to all we do-with lessons all around if we look and think. Life is like ________? Here a couple examples:

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From those two random idioms, See what I mean? I think back to when my late husband was dying and he was afraid. He asked my older son to kill him, pills or something, anything. My son ignored him and just kept walking through the room. I know it’s hard to be present but in the end my husband was present, in the moment, it was the BEST choice. Focusing on his end (the future) or his past (The person he was before being paralyzed) he had to be in a mindset of “right now is what is mattering”, and he stuck it got to see enjoy his Red Sox win that year. Small things.

I want to finish out this weird blog post by saying that if you’ve got a young neurodiverse artist in your midst, encourage them to draw, paint, or sketch a woman in history past or present who inspires them. I for one look forward to seeing what the children come up with!

In honor of Women’s History Month, Art of Autism is having a contest and there are SEVERAL prizes of art supplies, and since the deadline is approaching, send me something soon! I do love love love children’s art and the chance for winning a prize is high. All submissions will be on Art of Autism online throughout the month of March, so March forward! Contact me with submissions, as I said, I really look forward to seeing them. PODSartofautism@gmail.com

Before I forget, I just started reading Jodi Picoult’s House Rules, which must’ve fallen under my radar. Not sure how to feel about it. To anyone who’s read it, without giving up spoilers….thoughts to share about your experience with the book?

FLYERmarchForward

Kim’s book: https://www.amazon.com/Under-Banana-Moon-Living-Aspergers/dp/150572886X

Bella Blankets: http://blog.beekley.com/bella-blankets-and-tissue-acquisition-in-mammography

Skin tears and mammography: http://blog.beekley.com/skin-tears-in-mammography-happen%E2%80%A6but-do-they-have-to

2019-02-25 09_25_54-Window

Unashamed Voices- adult and still #Actuallyautistic

This is blogpost with many links. Maybe you can read through first and then return and hit up all the links one by one, if any interest you.

I feel that I have not written as much lately but I’ve been blogging with Art of Autism.

Here is: An article/interview I participated in recently with #AllisonKnight about being an older adult who happens to be autistic. You don’t stop having sensitivities, communication challenges, being autistic… just because you become an adult.

https://blog.unashamedvoices.com/2019/02/54.html?m=1

This is going to be a busy few months coming up. In October I did some B-Roll with Keri Bower for her upcoming film Desire, in which my trans son plays a large part. I’m now labeled “Talent Coordinator.”

#bowerbirdsart Keri seen here with Travis Breeding, image promo from Keri’s Instagram.

I’ll be seeing Keri again in NYC for filming and also for a visit here in my home town as well as possibly attending a play together.

My art and my grandson’s art as well as many talented artists have art in this #AnnieTorsiglieri play: ATrain.

Here’s my art:

(https://www.atraintheplay.com/)

I’ve been immersing myself in art! What else is New. Anyway as such I ruin a lot of clothing that way. My son took one of my paintings-my version of a Manet, and had it put the loveliest apron. Now all my paint and glue hit the apron and not my clothing! He added a lovely quote too. Unfortunately the company got the quote wrong and put “Kmart” instead of “art.” I refuse to return it though. I don’t mind the typo. It always makes me smile.

In other news: I got a shiny Spoink in PokemonGo! Friend me:

Neurodiverse? Do any kind of art?Please send me an email of you and your art at

PODSartofautism@gmail.com

to appear on Art of Autism’s People of Diversity Speaking (an ongoing mosaic page)

Also email me if you submissions for our March Forward contest. There will be a prize. Details to follow but the contest is for children who have done artwork of a woman in history, past or present, whom they admire. The prize is for the children submissions but feel free to send along your depiction of a woman you admire for posting to AoA Fb and or site.

Hope to hear from you!

I’ve got work showing in Rhode Island at the above location and dates. The theme is animals.

Did you catch this episode? Alex was so good!

An episode of Hell on Wheels filmed in my hometown of Seymour. He visited during Autumn and called the valley “the heart of New England.”

It really is easy to take our foliage for granted. The show had a shot of my old grade school- the one I write about in my book and it showed truly beautiful tree lined roadways I travel daily. 🙂

Here is a cake I made at Christmas:

It was good!

Bye for now!

Xmas Pictorial Musings

A quick blog post. This year I decorated sparsely, at least for me…being in the hospital for a few days a few weeks ago threw me. It really put a stick in my bicycle spokes, so to speak… I decorated the front door, in a weird but bright way.

door

I also got around to hanging cards up, albeit not so neatly…

cardscardss

My little tree outside has some lights on it…and here it is, sans its beautiful partner which was chopped down over the summer. See it’s lovely shadow.

tree

See the stump there….Speaking of my departed (murdered Maple), I lined some of the chopped pieces along the driveway, and stuck in candy canes.

cane

The effect pleases me.

Bruised my foot moving the logs…

I suppose the decorating style I’m going for this year is: Barely Bothered. I even chose a small Norfolk pine because I can enjoy it all year.

treecharlie

Note the cat scratching cardboard to the left, and a spool of wire the cats chew on. So far so good with keeping them away from the tree. When my grandson was over on Thanksgiving, he made me these foil men. Aren’t they great? That’s a repurposing of foil left from Thanksgiving.

jadenfoilmen

I came across this anonymous deed in a post by aspergersadie. Someone leaving warm clothing around town, attached to posts! Isn’t that the spirit. 🙂

anonymousleavings

I started doing a little research into my biological father (I was adopted at birth) and found this lovely old news item, apparently he raised roosters.

georgeroosters

Gordon Ramsey came to our small town on the hush-hush. It’s the show (Hell on Wheels?) where he surprises the restaurant with a makeover (after outing them with hidden camera footage. ) then comes the reveal where local diners sit and eat and review the new menu and restaurant design. My son and his girlfriend and many members of my late spouse Howie’s family are in the show. They all signed releases and it should air sometime when the new season starts. There were cameras everywhere and they saw Gordon Ramsey as seen in this photo. A house I used to live in is next door from this restaurant.

I wasn’t there, but I can imagine what he’s saying when the photo was taken: “You’ve got a beautiful view of the water here, let’s get that right…”

ipadart

I did this quick iPad art.

me14

Here I am at age 14, the age I was when my best friend and I would pretend to be Laverne and Shirley. I was Shirley. We strted calling each other Clutsy and Gutsy because those were the characters’ nicknames on the show. I was Clutsy. RIP to Penny. I had a doll named Penny. There was a character on Lost In Space with that name. I’m talking about the original that aired on TV each week.

snowfl

I almost forgot- I also put this snowflake on the front door. It was originally on the table at my son’s wedding in October. So I’ve repurposed it here and I plan to repurpose it again because I have a paper mache angel for my Norfolk pine that is in need of wings. Hoping to get in some collage this weekend, in need of an art fix. I’ve got some BEAUTIFUL paper arriving the mail soon, a gift to my self.

I’ll leave you with this. I designed the cover for Samantha Craft’s book Everyday Aspergers. It just went international. You should google it! I can’t wait to get my copy. I designed the backcover so if you flip it over, the lady is emerging from a cocoon.

sambook

Happy holiday season!

K

one more photo. I’ll leave it right here because I’m just so happy to see him so happy these days.