Thursday, December 14, 2006

Electricity, Eee-Lec-Tri-City

This post should be read with the School House Rock! song "Electricity" running through your brain. If you don't know the song, well, I am truly sorry.

We've been having lots of wind storms here in Washington this week. A not-so-pleasant side effect of the wind blowing lots is that our power goes out pretty much all the time. It was out yesterday afternoon through this morning, and I'm speedily typing while I have the chance, as I'm sure it will go out again soon.

We live in a very pro-electricity home. Not only are all of our phones cordless, digital ones that only work when the power is on, but my kids get freaked out and annoyed when the lights don't work, let alone when they can't watch Curious George. Fun times. I left the house yesterday to go shopping with both boys. Yes, that's how desperate I became. Also, our garage door is way too heavy for me to open by myself when the power is out (the previous owners rigged the doors so they are connected so they could use one garage door opener. We call these kind of things "Imper-vations" in their honor) so I have to make sure to park outside so I can leave if I need to. Fortunately, yesterday the power was already out when I got home, so I couldn't get locked in the garage.

Last night, the electricity came on momentarily -- long enough to turn on the battery back-up system Hubby keeps his alarm clock plugged into. The battery back-up has a very annoying high-pitched beep that sounds every 20 seconds. Hubby can't hear it, of course. Only the dogs and me, apparently. So, sometime in the middle of the night, I was crawling around under his side of the bed, poking around for some sort of OFF switch for this infernal contraption. I finally found it, turned the thing off, then worried that Hubby would miss some important meeting this morning. I woke him up to ask him what time he needed to get up so I could set my trusty old battery powered alarm clock for him. "Seven fifteen," he mumbled. I was already going to get up at 7:15, so left my alarm set for its original time.

So, this morning at 7:15, the alarm sounded and I told Hubby it was 7:15. He mumbled, "Thanks," before rolling over and going back to sleep. I finally got up at 7:30 when I figured he wasn't going to get in the shower. When I was scrambling to get the boys out of the house to head to speech therapy at 8:15, guess who was still snoozing? Hmmm. I told him it was 8:15 before I left.

Anyway, last night after turning off the annoying beeping device (why the heck do they make those things so they beep? "Hey everybody! The power's out! Let me wait 20 seconds and I'll beep again so you know the power is still out!") I started thinking about electricity, and how living in the boonies is not a good thing for having constant electricity when you need it. I decided someone somewhere should come up with a generator that runs on fat person treadmill action. That way, the fat person is getting some exercise, and in addition to sweat and burned calories, electricity can be generated as well! Hey, I'm not being weightist, either. Skinny people can use them, too. They should definitely get them at gyms. They could fuel the entire gym, and sell the excess electricity to nearby buildings. So, someone, somewhere, get on it! I'd like one for my house. Of course, I don't want to have to be the generator of electricity, so I guess I'd have to use the dogs or kids to run on the treadmill.

Time to go soak up some more electric lighting before the power goes out again.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Another Gray Monday - Yeehaw!

It's another gorgeous day in the Pacific Northwest. No sign of sun, rainy and gray, and it looks like it could be dusk outside. No, it's 10:30 a.m. I really need to get a spectrum light.

For those of you who've been wondering about that little minx, Jetta (what, you don't remember Jetta? My tempermental car?), she went in to the shop Wednesday. That afternoon they called to say it was a fuel injection problem and they'd fix her up with a new filter, and for only $80 we'd be good as new. I relayed the news to Hubby, who gave me his, "I'm very skeptical" look, then said, "Yeah, I don't think that's the problem." Sure enough, that night when I drove Jetta to my soccer game, on the way home, that good old engine light came on again. At least this time she didn't go into limp mode. I told Hubby, who said he'd take her in again tomorrow, and that he was afraid it was the transmission.

Sure enough, the next morning, I picked Hubby up from the car place, where Jetta was getting a brand new transmission. Woohoo. Friday we got her back, driveable again, but responsible for the big chunk missing from our bank account. Not that we need that during the Christmas season. No, plane tickets for a family of four, car rentals, and gifts for everyone are free these days -- didn't you get the email? No? You must have thought it was spam and deleted it. Nope, re-read those "Gift Card Confirmation" emails. Oh, wait, it WAS spam. Crap.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Autism Stuff

A couple things to write about Autism today.

The other day, someone posted something quite annoying on one of the Autism forums I read. It wasn't the poster's opinion, but something she'd read and that had annoyed her as well, and she wanted to share.

So, I read what was posted on the Autism site, then went to the site to see it in the flesh.

First of all, it's from the website,, so I was prepared for the, er, most biblical.

Second, it was in a section under "Pregnant?" - Yeah, you know there's going to be some good stuff there, if there's biblical ministering going on.

The pregnant section starts out with:

Don't get an abortion or give your baby up for adoption.
Look to the future with hope and prayer for your baby.

OK, I understand the whole Bible people have an anti-abortion thing going, but don't give your baby up for adoption? WTF? So, say you're a 14-year-old rape victim living on your own on the streets, but you don't believe in abortion. Best thing would be to put your baby up for adoption since you can't support it, let alone yourself, right? Oh, hell no! Not if you're a good Christian. You pray about it and everything will be fine. Huh.

Now, here are the good parts (good meaning "OH MY GOD! THEY DIDN'T WRITE THAT!):

Well, I just went to the website to copy some stuff, and lo and behold they've changed it! That's good to an extent. I'll paste in what they had on last week that made my blood boil:

Mommy's Diet Can Cause or Prevent Autism in the Fetus

Autism in infants has soared to become an epidemic and shows every sign of heading higher. This is a dreadful brain damaging condition that is incurable and destines the poor child to live a life as a retarded adult....Autism is caused by the USDA recommended low-fat, low-cholesterol diet when eaten by the mother before and during pregnancy. The fetus in the womb needs cholesterol, essential EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids and essential arachidonic omega-6 fatty acid as found in meat and fish in order to grow a healthy brain...Autism is caused by the mother's dietary deficiency in fats and cholesterol during development and growth of the baby's brain. Pregnant women should eat a high-fat, high-cholesterol, high-protein diet before and during pregnancy in order to have a healthy baby without autism. Vegetables and fruit have no fat, no cholesterol and no protein. The low-fat, low-cholesterol vegetarian diet causes autism. A high-carbohydrate diet with excessive amounts of fruits and vegetables as recommended by the USDA Food Guide Pyramid actually causes autism.

Mommy, your salad for lunch will not grow a baby with a healthy brain. Salads will cause a brain damaged baby. The baby's brain is made of cholesterol and fat. Your low-fat diet can cause your baby to become a retarded child.

OK. Good stuff, no? They go on to rant and rave about the importance of essential fatty acids, etc., which I do agree are important in the diet. The problem I have is that I did eat a high fat, high cholesterol, high protein diet when I was pregnant. Guess what? Hutton has Autism. Hmm. How did that happen? I was eating my red meat and drinking my milkshakes.

The entire part about autistic children being destined to live as retarded adults with no future really pissed me off, though, as well as the incurable thing. Uh, tell that to all the recovered kids out there, and spend a few minutes with most of the autistic kids I know, and you would NOT call them retarded. Whoever wrote this, on the other hand, might be considered retarded.

Anyway, one of the moms on the Autism forum this was posted on, who happens to be a Christian, sent the website an angry letter soon after, and it seems to have worked, because now there is no mention of incurable brain damage and retarded adults. However, they do still have this little gem on there with their dietary warnings:
If you are the mother of an autistic or ADHD child you should deal with the reality of the situation. Go look at yourself in the mirror and shout, "It is your fault." Then change your diet. Go out to dinner and eat a ribeye steak without bread, potatoes or dessert so your next child won't be autistic or ADHD also.

Yeah, you can bite me, you pompous jackass. My child's Autism was not caused by my diet. I'll be praying for you to grow a brain. Ha.


The second annoying thing I read yesterday in a more mainstream source, but it was still quite ignorant. It was in Hubby's college alumni magazine. I thought it would be good to read about the Autism treatment world in my hometown, as I never know if we might end up there someday. Well, the article was going well until I came to this:

For a while, some people argued that thimerosal, a mercury-based additive in childhood vaccines, was behind the rise in autism cases—but that theory has not held up under scientific scrutiny. Thimerosal was removed from American vaccines in 1999, and as far as anyone can tell, there has been no subsequent decline in ASD in children born after that time.

Yeah, that's good and all, but it's completely wrong. Thimerosal (which is about 50% mercury, and extremely toxic) was not removed from American vaccines in 1999. That is when the FDA brought it up and the Public Health Service, American Academy of Pediatrics and vaccine manufacturers agreed to remove thimerosal-containing vaccines "as soon as possible." Of course, that didn't mean much. Money is involved after all. We didn't have an immediate recall. Some vaccine makers didn't start cranking out mercury-free vaccines until 2003! Those made before 2003 could have up to 25μg of thimerosal, and they are possibly still in use as well, as they still haven't been recalled. Vaccines made shortly before the new thimerosal-free ones in 2003 won't expire until 2006 at the earliest, 2008 at the latest. So, if your doctor has a big stockpile of vaccines, your child could be getting pumped with mercury for two more years.

Oh, and the pregnant women and kiddies who are "doing the right thing" and getting their flu shots? Yep, they're most likely getting a nice dose of mercury as well, as most flu shots are still made with mercury.

So, this whole, "No, there's not anything to see here!" thing the CDC has tried to pull isn't working on many in the Autism community. The reason there hasn't been a noticeable decline in Autism numbers could be because thimerosal wasn't really removed from vaccines in 1999. It's still in them. That and the zillions of other toxins are children are being exposed to. We won't be able to see if there's a decline in Autism numbers due to the removal of thimerosal for several years, and even then, if pregant women are still getting flu shots with mercury, isn't it possible this is damaging to their fetuses and could cause Autism? Since nobody knows the cause of Autism, I think it's safe to say it's possible a potent neurotoxin still widely used in vaccines could have something to do with it.

The take home message -- ask for a single dose vial of your vaccine if you're going to get one, and double-check that it doesn't have thimerosal, aka nasty potent neurotoxin. Or don't get vaccines at all. That will really piss off the CDC. Har har.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My Poor Children

My poor children are not getting any gifts from me for Christmas this year. Aren't I a heartless, uncaring mother?

Well, take a look at these pictures:

And those are only some of the toys. There are more downstairs. And this is after I've cleaned out a lot of what they don't play with.

I got out the Christmas stuff yesterday, so Santa's village has been incorporated into the rest of the Little People toys that are spread out around the room. Hutton likes to hook all the sets together in a circle, but in this case, it's more like a Gordian knot. Last week, I set up the train tracks on the train table, because before that they'd been all over the floor. So, for a day or so, one could walk into our playroom/office without stepping on toys. That's over now, as you can see from the pictures.

Don't worry, though. My poor, poor, deprived little boys will be getting more stuff from Go-Go and Nana (the names their grandmothers have given themselves). The two of them race to get to the Amazon wish list each year and buy everything. Mom (Go-Go) snapped everything up this year, so Nana will have to just wing it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Snowy Days Just Lead to More Rain

Well, it's the end of the week, but it seemed pretty slow and mellow. Probably because Hutton's school was cancelled every day but Monday due to our huge blizzard. Cough. Really, it was just a few inches of snow, but that was enough for our district to be overly cautious. Monday I went out with Harrison to buy a hat and gloves for Hutton, and some boots for both boys. Tuesday we didn't leave the house; we stayed inside in a snow coma. Wednesday we went outside and played in the snow a bit. Hutton attempted to sled using a cardboard box. It wasn't ideal for sledding, I found. Note to self: buy a sled for the next time it snows.

Thursday was back to the routine in terms of speech therapy, but still no school. My friend and her kids came over to play, then the boys and I went to Target so I could spend money on things I don't really need. I like to alternate my Target trips -- every other time I buy things I need. The other times I get sucked in by, "Oh, that's new! I think I'll get that." I bought a "winter" slipcover for the couch, some Christmasy tablecloths, and a poinsettia. So, not too bad -- they're somewhat useful, though I could have definitely survived without them.

Today was the really fun day, though. Fun in the sense that it was crappy. Well, not that bad, but the worst of the week. It started out with the fact that I had to -gasp- drink tea instead of coffee, since I forgot to buy coffee the last time I went shopping. Then I was late getting in the car to take Hutton to ABA therapy. Then my car started acting wonky when I got on 520. The "ESP" warning light lit up. ESP in this case stands for Extra Stability Protection, but it could have been that the car really does have ESP, had an idea it was going to have some big issues in the near future, and was giving me a heads up.

Now, I'm going to share something a bit embarrassing with you: I name my cars. Yes, I'm one of those people. My cars have been: Cecil, the powder blue Civic hatchback, Elliott, the "titanium" Escort (titanium is a fancy car paint name for beige), Jackson the black Prelude (I didn't like any P names for alliteration, so went with Jackson as Jacksonville was his point of entry in the country), Sven, the silver Volvo C70 (I didn't really call him that very often, and I think I should have named him Mulva - you know, the rhyming version of the part of the female anatomy that you get from changing a couple of vowels in Volvo), Jimmy, the green Jimmy (that was a given, as he was already named), and lastly, Maddox, the green Acura MDX. This was before my current car, the goldish/beige Volkswagen Jetta stationwagon, who hasn't really clicked for a name yet. Though all of my previous cars have been boys, Jetta is definitely a girl. She's bitchy and temperamental, you see. I've thought of just calling her Jetta -- like Jimmy, she already has the name. It's the name of the bitchy girl on Clifford the Big Red Dog, too.

Back to the car warning light situation -- Jetta started with the "ESP" light. I, of course, had no idea what that meant - a triangle of arrows with a big exclamation point in the middle. I don't speak car German. I don't even speak human German, other than my favorite word, gemutlik. The triangle of arrows corresponded with Jetta making funny noises and not having decent acceleration. Which is great when it happens as soon as you get onto a highway. Pressing the gas pedal all the way to the floor, hearing the car not upshifting, and seeing the speedometer stay on 40 is really fun. Jetta continued to do this off and on, with the warning light staying lit, the entire way to the UW. Since I was late for Hutton's appointment, I didn't want to pull over and try to figure out what was going on. Jetta managed to get up to 60 sporadically, and I stayed in the right lane. I managed to get the owner's manual out, and found the warning light page which I read in bits and pieces as I drove. (Yeah, I'm all about safety on the road!) We made it to the UW a mere twenty minutes late, and I brought the manual in with me to read while I waited. I wasn't too concerned. Figured the ESP light came on because of some slush I drove over getting on the 520, and maybe it would go off when I turned on the car later.

After lunch, when I turned on the car so we could drive to another of Hutton's appointments, which conveniently enough, I was also late for (hey, we were all enjoying our lunch, and I lost track of the time!) the light wasn't on. Phew. Wait, scratch that. There's the ESP light again. Oh, and here's a universal symbol I know -- the engine light! Joy. Jetta revved and made all sorts of fun noises while refusing to go over 35, and we arrived 15 minutes late to our next appointment. Fortunately, I had the perfect excuse both times for my lateness. Darn car troubles! During the second appointment, I called Hubby and he said he'd meet me at the car dealership in an hour and a half, that he had a conference call. I then called the car dealer, and was told they were "shutting down for the day" -- at 2:30 on a Friday. Yeah, it's one of those dealers. Then he said, "I'll put you down for Wednesday. How's that?" Uh, great. Really amazing how you fit me in like that.

I drove home on the back roads to avoid being run off the road in my car, which I now knew was driving in "limp mode." It was OK until I hit Hollywood Hill. I put Jetta in third gear as she huffed and puffed. No go. Pull over to let three cars pass. I made it up to 20 mph again. The hill got steep again. How about second gear? No better. How about first gear? I managed to creak around a curve in the hill going 15. Pulled over to let another car pass. I finally made it to the crest of the hill, and practically coasted home in neutral. Yeah, I'm really looking forward to the drive to the dealership Wednesday. There's another big hill the other way, too.

So, back to the car names. If there is a serious issue to these car warning lights and "limp mode," I'm thinking of calling Jetta Cassandra instead. She did give me those warning lights, after all. Didn't just stop driving all together on the 520 bridge over Lake Washington. For that, at least, I'm thankful.

We'll see....

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