Not only that, I broke his thumbs.

I’m having lots of fun with the camp kids.  S. taught us a type of meditation that focuses on breathing earlier.  Then I taught them how to solder.  I understand now why people choose to be teachers of children as a career.  I’d like to elaborate but lack the words.  We’re going on a nature walk to talk about design tomorrow.  We’ve acquired three more kids whose parents work in the building.  They’re older (14, 15, 17) and have been a delightful addition to the group.  They ask answerable questions, for starters.  😂  (I don’t know how much the sky weighs, but love the question.)

I taught in the Army and while earning my Ph.D.  I enjoy it, (but I get nervous.)  S. has been great about keeping things flowing.  (When someone asks a question, I usually lose my place.)  One of the kids is super energetic.  His mom said he gets in trouble at school.  The camp is movement friendly.  I think better when I walk around and imagine others may too.  I don’t want the child wasting his concentration on remaining still when there are better things on which to focus.  Sitting still is bad for our bodies, anyway.

I’m missing my drums even though I packed a practice pad.  It’s not as fun.  I’ve been spending more time with a guitar (that isn’t set up.)  My fingertips object after about an hour, but I composed a melody.  The inclination to tip the guitar up under my chin when I get to a hard part always cracks me up.  (I have a less painful acoustic at home with a strap that helps prevent this.)  I brought my 25 key midi keyboard, too.  It works great with my iPad Pro.  I’m going to play around with it this weekend.  It’ll be my first time using GarageBand in ages.

I’m holding my breath regarding recent developments in affordable health care.  I brought my emergency protest kit just in case.  Hugs to everyone who is doing the same.  Don’t lose hope.  Remember, together, we’re America.  We, the people, hold the real power in our unity.  The vast majority of Americans support life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for *all* Americans.  The opposition is trying desperately to hide their crimes.  They’re not a force, they’re an embarrassment to humanity.  The victory is ours, we just have to collect it.  Stay peaceful.  💜

 

Adele is So Dope

I’m headed to Denver on the 23rd.  I’m excited to go, even though it’ll be a short trip.  I’m too cat-paranoid to go for more than 4 days.  Plus I’m a homebody, so anything longer would just make me anxious anyway.  I’ve had a headache all day today.  Not debilitating, just constant and annoying.  I didn’t sleep last night, so that’s probably why.  I finished a book by Felicia Day called, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost).  I bought it in August, but had several books ahead of it to read first.  I liked the book.  She’s pretty relatable.  She’s really smart, neurotic, funny, and talented.  I love that she’s also a violinist.  And that she has a math degree.

I followed her on Twitter for like a week.  She didn’t have much to say that interested me.  I suck at following celebrities.  I probably shouldn’t bother.  Except for Amy Lee and Evanescence, of course.  The only other celebrity I follow is Wil Wheaton.  He cracks me up a lot, and never annoys me.  I follow a lot of authors too.  But I culled some famous ones for various reasons.  Neal Stephenson rarely tweets.  Same goes for Ernest Cline.  Patrick Rothfuss gets a little odd with his tweets at times.  John Scalzi tweets a LOT.  He also annoys the shit out of me with his insecurity driven arrogance.

He’s got the same views as I do politically, and shares his thoughts on current events.  However, any time someone criticizes his work, he loses his shit and tells them not to read his books.  It’s not even funny.  There are a lot of assholes out there who get their jollies from being hyper-critical asshats to famous creative people.  Most are of course hurt by this, because human.  But when the creative famous person responds by channeling their inner toddler, it makes a bad situation worse in my opinion.  Go hug your wife and count your money or something.  Just don’t get all butt hurt over it and respond.  Obviously, anyone with the time and gumption to do such a thing is an asshole who wants attention.  Don’t encourage this type of behavior by giving them what they want.

Adele Live in NYC is on.  She’s so awesome.  I remember a commercial from when I was a kid about a cassette tape company.  I know.  Shut up.  Anyway, it was Memorex, and their motto was, “Is it live, or is it Memorex?”.  Adele would have been so perfect for this concept.  She’s the real deal.  No bells and whistles necessary.  In the age of autotune, Adele is a diamond shining brightly amid many rocks.  Thank goodness she exists.  The world is a better place because she sings.  She’s beautiful, too.

She’s getting a standing ovation, and is crying over the response.  I’m surprised she gets so nervous when you consider the fact that she brings it every time.  I can think of 3 singers that blow me over like this.  Adele, Kelly Clarkson, and Amy Lee.  Adele has the audience standing up and singing Rolling in the Deep with her.  That was the first song I heard from her.  She was at a radio station singing live, because the radio dude didn’t think she could sound that good live.  She proved him wrong in a major way, and won my heart at the same time.  Also, when ‘fuck’ was one of the first words out of her mouth when she did a huge show in London, I knew instantly that I loved her.

I love that all three are awesomely talented, humble despite it, and they all 3 choose some really intense and difficult music.  I appreciate that in an artist.  I’m not impressed by pop fluff songs that even I can sing note for note.  Music is communication to me, and the lyrics are only part of the message.  I think it matters so much to me because it’s one of the forms of communication that I can use consistently.  I’m still not talking out loud, but it’s not bugging me anymore.  I found a blog of another autistic woman who has the same issue, and that made me feel better about it.  I eliminated some of the things that were stressing me out.  Now I just have to wait for my anxiety to catch up.

I’m looking forward to my trip to Denver.  Even though it’ll be for Christmas.  I don’t celebrate it.  Just another day.  Even when I was a Christian, I didn’t.  Jesus wasn’t born in December, and the holiday was appropriated from pagans.  So it’s a bullshit holiday on many levels.  The blatant consumerism and the lies are messed up.  I loved it as a kid, though.  I think it’s a holiday for children, and those who feel obligated to buy them gifts.  I can’t fault an adult for being sucked into the cuteness tractor beams of a child who wants a gift.  That shit is impossible to resist when you don’t have kids of your own.  I spoil the kids in my life, but I’m pretty sure it’s half of what being an aunt is all about.  The rest is listening with a straight face when they bitch about their parents, and agreeing with them in a noncommittal fashion.  I totally rock the role.

That Was Awkward

I spent some time working on the new site today.  I don’t have a launch date yet, but I did get some advisors who will help keep it focused and positive.  I’m so delighted that they agreed.  I also got help on some wording I was struggling with.  I’m learning a lot about respectful ways of addressing people, varying views on issues of importance to me, and different varieties of sexual, and gender identity.  It’s good for lowering my anxiety when interacting with people.  As my confidence in these skills go up, my anxiety about putting my foot in my mouth or hurting someone by accident goes down.

I had an unexpected visitor earlier today, but it was one that doesn’t frazzle me.  It was the son of a woman I met at the VA.  He’s autistic too, and they used to spend time at my apartment, mostly playing video games.  He’s 12 now, and ran away from home.  He told me he wants to live with me instead of his mom.  I told him to relax, and that I’d play Skylanders with him after I finished something.  He sat down and started lining up my huge collection of Skylanders. He’s really good at setting it all up.  I texted his mom and told her where he was.  She was angry.

That’s why we don’t hang out anymore.  She yells at her kid and is angry most of the time.  The last time we hung out, she yelled at me.  That was the last straw.  I told her I don’t want to be her friend anymore.  She got angry and left.  I hadn’t seen her kid in a while, and I missed him.  We get along well.  He makes me laugh a lot.  He likes to do pranks.  Like when they came over to go swimming, he’d race us back to my apartment, and then lock us out.  It was funny, and it wasn’t as if he was doing something dangerous.  Just being silly and having fun.  But his mom would get so angry.  He would let us in, and I could tell he was disappointed that she didn’t play along even a little bit.

When he and I would play Lego Star Wars, and my character would get stuck, or if I got distracted, he would get frustrated because it meant his character had to stop and wait for me. The first time this happened, he had a cow over it.  But I just watched him lose it, and then I held up five fingers on one hand, and one finger on the other.  Then I told him he started out strong, but lost his steam about halfway through, and since he didn’t shed a single tear, I had to deduct two more points.  He stared at me for a second, then we both burst out laughing.  After that, anytime I frustrated him, he would tell me to hurry up before he had a level 9 or 10 tantrum, then we’d laugh.

It wasn’t a big deal.  I understand frustration, and how much more intense it is when you’re a child.  His behavior didn’t make me angry.  I don’t think he was used to an adult who didn’t yell at him for every little thing.  At one point, they were spending the night, and we were watching all the Alien movies.  I kept talking and pointing out funny stuff in the movie because I can’t handle scary movies.  I always notice mistakes like if they are wearing a white shirt in the beginning of a scene, and then suddenly it’s green, or something.  So I would talk to the TV, much to Miles’ amusement, telling them we know what they did, and they can’t pull a fast one with us, etc.  Just being silly.

Miles laughed for a while at my antics, and then I could tell that he was getting too excited, because I was too.  He started laughing loudly and slapping the floor.  The loud noise it made rattled me, so I covered my ears and started rocking.  I was doing self care, and everything was cool.  Miles was super happy, and having a good time.  Yes, he was loud, but he wasn’t hurting anyone or anything.  He would have naturally settled down when he expended some of his over-excitement.  Every kid I’ve met does this, and when I was a kid, I did this.  It’s one of the many ways kids show joy.  It’s awesome.  But his mom saw me covering my ears, and took it as her cue to start yelling at Miles.

At first, she told him to stop, and he did.  But it was like her anger was growing, and she just kept telling him that he needed to settle down, and stop being so loud, and how if his behavior continued this way he wouldn’t be allowed to spend time at my place anymore, etc.  She just kept going and going.  Miles had already stopped.  There was no logical reason for her to keep yelling at him.  So I started laughing, because it was just so ridiculous.  Then I told her she’s like the Energizer Bunny.  She just keeps going and going and going.  Naturally, Miles joined me, and we said going and going together for a while.  It was fun, and funny.

In my view, we were diffusing a situation where his mom was overreacting.  In her view, I was encouraging Miles to act out.  We settled down after that and finished the movie.  Then I went to sleep in my bedroom, and they crashed on my sofa and on a blow up mattress in my living room. When I lay down in my bed, I was thinking it would be better if she would drop off Miles to hang out for a while, then pick him up and not talk to me.  I didn’t and still don’t understand why she was so angry with him all the time.  She clearly had no idea how a naughty 10-year-old behaves. Had she known some of the things me and my brother, Steve, did at that age, her head probably would have exploded.  Miles was and is a good kid.

His behavior is mild and typical for a child, especially one on the autism spectrum.  Children are loud, excitable, joyful, funny, and creative.  When you allow them some room to be a kid, they are so fun to be around.  But when you make them anxious and frustrated by yelling at them constantly, they let it build up until they can’t take it anymore.  And sometimes they demonstrate their exasperation by running away.  I told him I texted his mom so she wouldn’t worry about him. He didn’t respond.  I know he felt betrayed, but reality.

After a bit, he asked if he could come over after school next week.  I told him he’s welcome here, but only with his mom’s permission.  I told him if he came here without her permission I couldn’t hang out with him.  He asked why not, and threw my Xbox 360 controller.  But the way he threw it was funny.  He held it up, paused, looked for an acceptable place to throw it, then threw it.  It took everything I had not to laugh.  It landed on my sofa, and was undamaged.  Further proof that he’s a good kid.  I told him it’s the law, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  He said okay.

His mom came and buzzed my phone.  Miles answered and asked her to come upstairs.  Inside, I was thinking, “Nooooo”.  But I didn’t say anything.  Miles started putting all my Skylanders back where they belong, and turned off the console and TV.  He knows all the rules for my apartment. He feels comfortable here, which I think is good.  His mom knocked on the door, and I let her in. They sat on the sofa and talked for a bit.  I went to put a load of laundry into the dryer.  Then she said something about it was good to see me, I wasn’t listening.  I already told her I don’t like her, so I don’t know why was she talking to me.

She asked me if I wanted to go to IHOP.  I said no, thanks.  Then they left.  It was nice to see Miles.  My cat came out of hiding, and I went about working on the site.  It’s probably a good thing I’m not a mom.  I’m pretty sure I’m clueless about parenthood.

Violence Overload

Another school shooting.  This time in Oregon and last I checked, 14 dead and 20 or so wounded. Yesterday we had one locally, but fortunately, only the school principal was shot, and he was back at school today.  The kid who shot him was only 16, and is going to be tried as an adult on attempted murder.  His father said he’d been withdrawn and angry at the world of late.

I hate that they are going to try him as an adult.  Kids have no skills when it comes to coping with stress, rejection, bullying, etc.  They can have a loving family, friends, and a decent support system, and still do something this stupid on a whim.  Children don’t understand long term consequences.  It’s physiological. Their brains aren’t done developing.  They shouldn’t be held to the same standards as a 30-year-old, in my opinion.  They are going to send him to prison for decades most likely, and that experience will ensure he never gets better.  It’s a fucking trap.

I think we as adults can do better.  I know we can.  We should be teaching boys and girls coping skills while they are children.  We should start doing this at age 5.  By not doing this, we are failing our children. They aren’t born knowing how to do anything.  They learn what they observe, and what they are taught as well.  They are like sponges.  We need to teach our kids about reality.  Teach them how to grieve.  Teach them how to survive being bullied.  How to stand up for themselves.  How to cope with intense emotions.  We need to show them how we as adults do this, and let them see our example.

This means we need to collectively get our shit together.  Kids today admit they don’t feel like an adult until they’re in their late 20’s at the earliest.  There’s a reason for this.  We haven’t prepared them for the world they are inheriting.  We’re quick to label the new generation, but refuse to see that our label is more of a reflection of the parent generation than the one we try to sum up with a clever few words. Humans are too complex to throw them into groups based solely on when they were born.  Ridiculous.

Bullies have always existed, but they are not to blame.  If a child knows how to cope with being bullied, that child will be fine.  Adult intervention will result if necessary.  But that child who was taught how to cope with bullying will know that it’s something they can handle.  It’s something they have control over.  They aren’t blindsided with no clue how to react, feel, or respond.  This is a scary world.  It doesn’t start getting scary the day we turn 18.  It’s scary from birth onward.  Our kids need to be trained to survive in this world.

I was extremely sheltered as a child.  On top of that, I had a child level mindset well into my 20’s.  The Army almost sent me home for being dangerously naive.  In my case, it was more a case of my being disconnected and in my own world than parental neglect.  When the child is autistic, the training is different.  My mom recognized that sex ed at age 14 would have been disastrous for me, and pulled me out.  I didn’t have the fear of strangers necessary to ensure my survival.  I was too trusting, and I was a wanderer.  When I look back at my childhood, I’m amazed I’m still around to speak of it.  The times were different, and I grew up in a small city.  But I was also fortunate.

Today, the whole world is disconnected to a degree.  The small town feel of a small city no longer exists. Neighbors are often strangers.  Children don’t play outside in yards as much, and are usually glued to a screen.  It’s different.  It’s colder.  Our kids need more training.  I trust in my heart that if the 16-year-old boy who is facing adult charges was taught how to cope with his adolescent surge of testosterone, how to cope with the rage of feeling victimized, and knew his parents were aware of such things, he would be going to school tomorrow.  Train your children for our current world.  Please.