Tuesday, 31 March 2009

the inevitable

here's one of those ten things about me posts. well, i'm tired, and its my blog. plus, i have some things to say that i cant be bothered to "work" into proper posts; i'll probably find some other stuff to inappropriately share in order to fill in the gaps.

1. i spent much of my adolescence nurturing an appalling crush on jeff goldblum.

2. the other week we spent some time with another child and their mother. some things that were said bothered me, but not enough to inform social services. let's just say we have different ways of looking at life. maybe it's a cup half full/ empty thing, but the children had a nice time and surely that was the point. now said mother is avoiding me. so, i can't help but wonder, like some sort of playground carrie bradshaw, and that can't be a good thing, what did she take about me from our meeting? and why do i care when i think she's quite mental?

3. fish oil changed my life.

4. a million years ago, in another life, drunk, i said something really thoughtless and hurtful to alexander mcqueen, simultaneously talking myself out of a studio assistant position, shortly before the rest of my party were removed from the premises by the police for an unrelated offence. i would like to take this opportunity to apologise... but i won't, because there is no way alexander mcqueen is reading this. if any representative of mr. mcqueen would like to make their presence felt in the comments section, hopefully we can move forward from here. thanks.

5. i have a shameful affection for pink kitchen appliances.

6. apparently, i narrowly missed being named "sunshine". formally. given that i have spent much of my life thus far shrouded in SPF30, black hair and anxiety, this represents a heartbreaking missed opportunity to ultimately define irony, and furthermore really stick it to alanis morissette.

7. way back in the mists of time, two months ago, my first post on this here blog concerned the fraught tension and horrific drunken fallout that typifies the shared wedding attendance experience of myself and my young man. in order to avoid yet more nuptial based misery, i proposed wiping the slate clean, perhaps literally, with my flattering but dismal grey £10 go-to frock, replacing it with something joyful from vivienne westwood. in order to illustrate just a tiny part the riotous palette i will be wearing to a wedding this saturday, see the shoe above. unfortunately this shoe is popping up, priced, in advertisements next to most uk fashion and beauty websites. edit- and train information ones. this bothers me, but no matter. hopefully anyone not duly absorbed by the happy events taking place will be dazzled enough by our lustfully fond and clearly fulfilling relationship to notice the obvious high street provenance of my footwear.

8. i refer to my neighbour with an abusive name from which one might infer that he is of scottish heritage (i have no reason to that this is the case) but also not nice. he has never once responded or spoken to me, his language is vile, and he does passive aggressive things with the boundary hedge.

9. in paris over the new year period, i managed to drop my purse full of small denomination uk currency all over the floor of a very busy starbucks. what followed can only be described as breathtaking gallic gallantry and wit regarding the strength of the pound sterling, which i was completely unable to handle. i found myself grinning and batting my eyelashes like some sort of demented miss world contestant with allergies. i would say i died a little death, but that means something quite different in france, and certainly not something starbucks stands for. obviously, i didn't.

10. i would very much like to stay in a treehouse with a dvd player. my ideal holiday might well revolve around a hot tub, greenery, a sopranos box set, rain, and stilton.


Sunday, 29 March 2009


...or perhaps third of an occasional series in which a.s. points out the likelihood of an autistic spectrum diagnosis for characters, objects or, indeed, abstract concepts from popular culture-

roald dahl's matilda clearly has hyperlexia.

which, as an aside, is my new gladiator name.


hey mickey!

so, i just did a search for neuro-typical symtoms. i thought it might be nice.

astoundingly, however, no such comprehensive list appears on the internet. shocking. well, not one that I could find after spending 3 minutes with google, typing with one hand.

but i did find this, and, sadly, i thought, "...righty. well, the extremely poor wording of this might have to serve."

pathology is a powerful word, isn't it? oh, and so is mutation.

i have read before that d.c.d., among other things, is symptomatic of another root problem, but they need to start putting it better. and to be fair, maybe they did in the two years since this was published.

plus, i need more information about how an aspie rodent behaves. does he sit quietly doing sodoku in the corner of the cage? does he freak out when he's in a different place in the queue for the water bottle? does he line up his pieces of cheese in height ascendent order? does he hate the rustling noise of the straw in his bed? we're talking basic information here, scientists.



Thursday, 26 March 2009

max... i think i love you

i must be now overdosing on soy and it's affecting my oestrogen levels, or at least that's my story and i'm sticking to it. lately, i just can't seem to stop tearing up at the slightest thing. this week has seen me bawling over, among other things, jade goody's sons; a particularly cruel support garment that i thought i was going to have to be cut out of in the changing room; the narcissi in the garden; birds that suddenly appear/ every time you are near; and today, the trailer for the new "where the wild things are" film, by spike jonze. i'd have cucumbers on my eyes right now if i could get them to stay on while i type.

i am fully prepared to concede that this trailer might be the best thing about this film. it offers glimpses of potential greatness. but, you know, i know damn well when my buttons are being pushed... take some arcade fire, some lens-flare photography, woods and some labrynth-ine creatures; throw in a breathtakingly raffish and cute little boy, boats o'er the bedclothes and some suggestions that things in said boy's world are not all hunky dory... and finally, combine with one of the most memorable images of my childhood. oh dear god... pass me the tissues/ mogadon/ gin. oh, please be good.

i hope this is going to work for kids too, and not just grown-ups on a mawkish parental nostalgia trip. it looks appropriately dark and this apparently is a concern, but could have a similarly broad appeal, and perhaps subtextual subject matter, as e.t., which views quite differently as an adult. i tried showing the trailer to rudy (familiar with the picture book and we have a few little wild thing soft toys) but he really wasn't interested. there were no visible robotics, so what did i expect. i , of course, interested in the fleshing out of the max character, he is in some ways such a one dimensional character in the story- a naughty boy, and we don't really have naughty boys in the same way anymore- we have sad little boys acting out; wild things.

the film is not out for a while, and until this trailer came out the other day, there were all sorts of rumours that this was going to be bad. speculation abounds as to what sort of struggle the studio is having with spike jonze's vision... so... there is spitting and polishing to do. or, rather, c.g.i. mischief of one kind or another. i've got my fingers crossed under the bedsheets.

p.s. i have just read that initial screenings were not seen as successful, with kids crying and asking to leave, and apparently the max character does not come off as likeable. he slaps his mum. apparently warner brothers are not happy with what they are calling a 75 million dollar art house kids film. i couldn't be more excited about this if they were doing reshoots on my street.


Monday, 23 March 2009

ceci n'est pas un post

When I'm really, really disappointed in people, and feel completely disillusioned about my whole relationship with them, I don't know whether to give them a hard time, or give myself a hard time for hoping they wouldn't do that to me in the first place, so I go for the latter, because I don't know how to do the former (and because, you know, they might stop liking me or something.) And then it seems that people are queuing up to rub salt into the wound. And as being pissed off takes up an awful lot of my energy and time- like, for example, the entirety of 2005- I have nothing really to say. I fact why I am even writing this.

So, in absense of an actual post, here's a picture of Snoopy..

And look at that- I'm so distracted, I capitalised properly.


Wednesday, 18 March 2009

next week, pugsley

helping my daughter out with her homework earlier made me remenisce about learning to write. she jiggles and wriggles and sometimes gasps out loud as she concentrates; her handwriting is beautiful.

when i was 6 to 9 years old we lived in a restored farm building in rural nowhere. to go to school, we had to walk half a mile to get authority provided transport, which then took us yet more miles o'er hill and dale to our little primary. The school had two classrooms, two members of staff, outside toilets, a very dangerous pond and about 28 pupils all told. i am not 80 years old; neither was i wearing clogs.

this school was big on handwriting and silent reading, perhaps because it was something that we could be left alone to do at our desks while the headteacher sat at hers. we also spent an incredible amount of time drawing and painting, probably for similar reasons. we practised so much, in enforced silence, that the standard of literacy and artistic merit was stratospheric, it was like a small pocket of genius surrounded by bright yellow fields of oilseed rape. i was the kind of child from a very early age that always had her head in a book, so my parents weren't too concerned. and why would they be.

when i moved schools, it was found that i was way above my agegroup in reading, and i also became the artistic school mascot. i was completely shocked, because at my previous school i had only ever been mediocre. it was also found that i was a complete numerical ignoramus, and this has remained the case. my learning difficulties went undiagnosed, but my handwriting is often proclaimed remarkable.

to look at the above image is incredibly evocative, calming even. when we were practising in silence i was never scared. i might well frame it.


in which a.s. fails to find her 4am calling

the insomnia marches on.

i'm wondering if my brain is trying to tell me something, if actually i'm supposed to be using those hours for some special purpose, if this is time in which i should be responding to some higher calling. i am becoming more and more adept at functioning on very little sleep, and in some ways am becoming, all things being relative, an organisational powerhouse.

maybe in these lost hours of frustrated pain i am actually supposed to be writing that novel, or having the big idea that catapults us out of debt. maybe i'm supposed to be changing the world, seeking truth and justice through tireless 4am crusades.

or maybe this way clinical psychosis lies.

"it is a well discussed fact that margaret thatcher only had four fours sleep a night," my boyfriend tells me, driving to his game, "and look what she achieved!"

"shudder," I said, by now well used to having to verbalise horrified tics.

"okay, well, maybe acheived is the wrong word. let's go with caused. look what she caused on four hours sleep a night. insomnia does not mean the end of a... prolific output."

i had to stop gnawing my fist to laugh, and that is the work of a special someone.


Sunday, 15 March 2009


in zadie smith's second novel, the autograph man, her dual heritage character alex li-tandem has spent many hours of his life devoted to many seemingly pointless exercises, and one of them is a book. a book of categorisation.

with alex's book, his aim is to look at every object, thought, verb, theme, occassion or happenstance and assign it to one of two camps- jewish or goyish. for example- "goyish smells of the 17th cenury (sandalwood, walnuts, wet forest floor)" and "goyish holidays/ festivals which are actually jewish" and "jewish trees of note (poplar, sycamore, oak)".

at the core of his assignations lies his fundamental truth- everything interesting, everything with integrity, everything with soul, he defines as jewish.

and my point is i now realise that i am in danger of becoming this way about the autistic spectrum, such is my fervent defensiveness/ evangelism, and just maybe the point of this blog is to assign an a.s.d. to everything awesome. this could mean that in six months time a sample from it might read

space hoppers
new chanel couture collection
landau-klefner syndrome.

well, its a thought.



following on from my post last night i began to wonder if the computer/ craft interface (heh) is an unexplored juxtaposition, and, lo, it is not. the above image appears at the incredible endfile, and i was so excited when i saw it, i started to hyperventilate. well, i haven't had access to the internet for a long time, the information equivalent of not getting out much. anyway.

when i was sixteen, i made a wedding dress out of clingfilm and bubblewrap, with tin can corsetry. it was a clumsy statement, if a fairly beautiful object, and one i don't really need to talk anyone through i don't imagine. i bring it up because i have always been interested in the more "feminine" arts, and how they can be niftily spun to have, for want of a better expression before i have my coffee, bite. i also just love doing it. at school as i sat working with my embroidery frame, doing intricate goldwork, i came up against so much questioning and zipfile snobbery, that, so lacking in confidence, i just abandoned the craft and threw myself into the safety of marketing mass produced clothing. i wasn't working on kittens or disney slogans about dreams, i knew what i wanted to say but my voice was too small then.

last year, it became important to me that i take it up again. i am currently working on the crosstitch equivalent of sas training. all the fun things are done now on it, and all that is left is to infill, so much infill, which i have been doing since january and expect to be doing until, like, june. to me the important thing is not so much the finished piece, it is that i do it. it has taught me important lessons about the fact that my time has value, that i can produce something of unknowable worth that could possibly survive for generations. it has shown me that i have underestimated my own stamina.

to sit and do something like that, i read, "silences the inner chatter"- i'd be so interested to read more about crosstitch as coping mechanism, and i wonder what i might have been producing a few years ago had i the freedom to do so... it almost frightens me.


Saturday, 14 March 2009


this week, there was a day when i met with the various educationalists that take charge of my children for significant parts of their weeks, to discuss their respective progress. these meetings were back to back, and, between them, lasted about an hour and a half. that in itself is a marvel.

after both meetings, and the various debriefings to interested parties, i sat down with my green tea (oh yes, 2009 has seen some changes..) to write down and consider the findings. it seems that the child that is supposed to be the worry, the child with the diagnosis pending further diagnosis, is not in any way a worry. now that we have a diagnosis, pending further diagnosis, his differences are invoking real understanding, and, further, real respect. it's okay when he doesn't want to participate with the group. it's okay that he hasn't learned to recognise his name. it's okay that he needs coaching through the most fundamental of manual tasks. it's okay that his field of interest is so very limited and intensive. and, do y'know what? it's kind of awesome. rudy has other things to give- his laid back attitude and his generous, engaging, caring interpretation of his surroundings charms every single adult he comes into contact with. he might not say much, but what he does say is inspirational. his spirit is going to see him through.

my daughter is doing equally well. in fact, she has really blossomed since leaving the institution currently taking such respectful care of my son and moving to her new school. this incredibly funny little girl, who saw things at an early age that could easily have scarred her irrevokebly and was apparently so maladjusted, tested consistently above average and her creativity, quiet confidence and senses of humour and justice are gently carving out a unique yet intense popularity for her, even with children a lot older than herself, that i don't recognise, i have no frame of reference for. my little girl with her bob and her crazy drawings and her WW2 evacuee sense of style ... my little girl, currently sitting upstairs at her crafting station in her bridesmaid dress singing along at the top of her voice to her carole king cd, is rocking everyone's world.

maybe because i knew their father for such a short time and they came into my life as fast and subtle as a juggernaut, my children constantly take me by surprise, and yet they feel like pieces snapped from my own bones. they are magical and yet utterly familiar... is it always this way? whenever i think of my excellent, beautiful, odd children and the respect they encounter, and then i contrast how life was for me at that age i think, with gratitude, relief and excitement, of progress. thinking about this over the last couple of days put me in mind of a douglas coupland quote,"the geek shall inherit the earth". i've been thinking about two books of his (although i love most of them and girlfriend in a coma is the nearest thing i have to a religious text). specifically, j-pod, in which the typically autistic traits of a close number of game writers are explored somewhat and in a very passive, non-sensationalist and humourous manner, and microserfs.

microserfs was the defining text of my late adolescence. god only knows why- i harboured a deep distrust of computers whilst i championed craft. this did not do me any favours academically, really (and i went to art school), it was probably a kneejerk defensive response to my then quite unorthodox and outdated interests, and of course i was covering up for the fact that i couldn't afford a computer. but i must have read that book cover to cover a hundred times. more. i would read the last page and go straight back to the first... these were my people. for the first time i was encountering people who thought and felt like me. it was like falling in love for the first time. i accidentally left my dogeared copy on the bus when i moved down to the capital to work in fashion. my mum- who knew me well enough to buy it for me in the first place- said it was the end of an era.

i miss microserfs. i don't actually remember much of it, except that the main character's lives are transformed by a visionary, high functioning autistic person; i'm going to have to revisit it. it's as important, to me, as orwell.

"i think that every reader on earth has a list of cherished books as unique as their fingerprints... i think that, as you age, you tend to gravitate towards the classics, but those aren't the books that give you the same sort of hope for the world that a cherished book does."- Douglas Coupland.


Monday, 9 March 2009

not in any way frightened of poo..

i haven't written a cv in years.

ask me about anything, well, most things, and i can rattle off 250 fairly convincing words. ask me about me and it all sorts of dries up.

a few years ago, i used to help a photographer friend collate visual information into trend stories and it was easy, because it wasn't for me- i was doing it for her. she'd got the job, she'd done the groundwork, she'd done something i could never do. she'd convinced people to pay her to do something that wasn't drudge work. i ran a mile from anything even vaguely challenging but not because i'm afraid of hard work- i have absolutely no professional confidence. i'm a good, diligent employee (the more lowly and badly paid the work, the harder i work) and i will drop everything and produce words for anyone else kind enough to ask me, but i can't do it for me. once bitten...

right now i am in a situation where i have to think about what transferable skills the last six years have provided me with, and what they can bring to an already underwhelming resume. i've got to go and get a job soon- one that allows for the fact that i have two small children and don't drive, and all the other jarring realities of my life.

i hate to write about serious things, though, in the same way that i have to make people laugh constantly, so here is a top five list of the experience-no-object careers that the various things that have happened over the last decade have prepared me for. well, its a start.

1. police negotiator

what i feel i can bring to the role:-
endless patience and a rudimentary understanding of the criminal mind, bestowed upon me by my relationship with the childrens' father. dogged determination to succeed despite constantly moving goalposts and unreasonable demands. ability to predict and effectively prevent all possible worst case scenarios under pressure. good coffee drinking and awakeness skills. could possibly grow a moustache. good jackets.

2. wedding planner (bahamian)

what i feel i can bring to the role:-
ability to whip up magic with muslin, candles and some ikea doorstops in under three hours. experience dealing with hysteria, panic and confectionary in a pressurised scenario. good creativity skills and an endless belief in romance combined with an unflinching grip on reality. a prevailing sense of understated elegance. constant supply of wet wipes. good jackets.

3. j.k.rowling

what i feel i can bring to the role:-
very little, but i might be called upon as a grammatical girl friday in order to prevent an angry harry saying angry words angrily quite so much. good coffee making skills. good jackets.

4. farmer's wife

what i feel i can bring to the role:-
good genes. a feel for that country living aesthetic- a flair with gingham. good range cleaning skills. the ability to remain in clement humour at 5am. not in anyway frightened of poo. good level of country style crafting attainment. adversity seems to suit me. keen on pickling. good wellingtons/ jackets.

5. life coach (carole caplin type)

what i feel i can bring to the role:-
the ability to cheerlead and dispense excellent advice on virtually everything whilst clearly stumbling through life myself, nails bitten to the quick. good jackets.

... i think i'll look into personal shopping.

Thursday, 5 March 2009


today i looked into buying a new tv, freezer and microwave, the last lot having just given up the ghost within 48 hours of eachother. my findings were sobering, and so my head is in the sand, but we are probably healthier. discuss.

today i bought my daughter a macintosh two sizes too big for her because i liked it so much. i'm still deciding whether it's chicness is undermined by the fact that she looks slightly edwardian in it, with all the excess material pouffing out above her chest. i saw another seemingly segacious mother willingly, no- enthusiastically buy her small daughter a pair of lolita style heart sunglasses. i took an involuntary a sharp intake of breath. the mother noticed. she knew. and maybe because she so clearly did, i didn't say anything. who is going to lose more sleep tonight? me, probably. and who's daughter looks more ridiculous? discuss.

today i bought my son a tiny toy which he reeeeally wanted that was clearly overpriced (in that it had one) and intended never to be opened from it's packaging- just put away in an attic somewhere to be discovered in fifty years time and sold so that one can retire to the bahamas. but he took it in the bath. the little sticker eyes fell off, leaving r.baby traumatised and screaming. dredging the bath afterward, i managed to find this tiny scrap of paper, and, removing it carefully to safety on my fingertip, i thought "well, this is a defining moment." discuss.

today i bought some more post-its in order to augment my shoddy, barely functioning organisational skills. in the shop, right in front of them, stood a tall, clever looking young man, taking up lots of room with his satchel, whom i asked to excuse me. thrice. in the end, i squeezed past him, muttering (very britishly), "sorry..." and he muttered threateningly, "you will be". i froze in terror, and he wandered off. discuss.

today i bought an apparently modest dress with no clear underwear (or should that be underwire) solution other than duct tape. so today i bought some duct tape. disgusting.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

can you bring me my chapstick?

i've written about the film napoleon dynamite in the context of asperger's before, and since this whole flurry of concern surrounding my little boy's specific diagnosis came about, i have been itching to watch the film again, not least because i love it. but then i love any film which has awkward silences and superlative styling. speaking of which, this tattoo is by a man called brad bako, who definately has some sweet special skills.

it turned out my copy of the dvd was scratched (yet another possession sacrificed to my children's campaign of unknowing destruction), so i had to put that little urge on hold until it i saw it was on tv last night, so of course i had to put my busy social life on hold and watch it. i love a bit of gentle, dysfunctional comedy, me, so it made orange juice come out of my nose about three times.

anyway, i thought i should rethink my previous diagnosis (because i'm, like, such an expert) because of napoleon's habit of telling fantastical lies in the hope that he will win respect. for example, in one scene, napoleon tells a bunch of jocks in the gym changing rooms that he spent the summer in alaska hunting wolverines with a 12 guage because they were attacking his cousins. genius, but this didn't quite chime with the aspie profile i had in my head. thinking about it more, i am totally wrong, and i have already experienced examples of this behaviour. not from my son, although he does love to cast himself in the hero role quite dramatically, but elsewhere. anyway, i took my lil' theories to the internet, and it turns out i was right in the first place.

here's a link to a paper published on psychiatryonline.org, some of which i have pasted below-

Napoleon Dynamite is the unexpectedly critically acclaimed movie from 2004 that became an instant cult classic. It is also, however, something of a psychiatric conundrum. The film calls into question poignant issues that psychiatrists grapple with daily. As observers of human behavior, we must consider why unexpectedly successful cultural phenomena so powerfully capture the public’s psyche. This question is ideally suited for the psychological examination of Napoleon’s immense popularity. In addition, it is clear from the very beginning of the film that Napoleon is not like other teenagers. He is awkward, frequently misses clear social cues, and seems developmentally delayed both emotionally and perhaps cognitively. One could easily entertain the diagnosis of Asperger’s spectrum disorder in trying to make sense of Napoleon’s challenges. And yet, inherent in most conceptualizations of Asperger’s-like syndromes is the assumption that those who suffer from the disorder are bothered by their lack of social connectedness and that those who spend time with Asperger’s sufferers are equally bothered by their strange behavior.

this paper would seem to identify and address the apparent dychotomy of the film's popularity when asperger's is generally regarded as very much an "outsider" condition. interestingly, in response to this paper, also on psychiatryonline.org, i found this. bow to your sen-sei.-

Few things I consider myself an expert of, but the recent analysis of "Napoleon Dynamite"... is one of them. That is because I am Napoleon; not the Napoleon, but a Napoleon (there is more than one of us). I grew up on the borders of Preston, Idaho, and I dare declare I am the only Napoleon to have become a psychiatrist... The "cool" kids label the "geeks," but tell me again, who calls it a disorder? If you had treated me the way suggested in the article, I would have become abnormal. Proof: my mother, a daughter of the founders of Preston, does not get Napoleon. He is just a nice boy, and the story is boring to her because it is about every day life!... I suggest you put down your DSM sometime and pick up the local newspaper, visit the local church or relic hall (there’s a great one in Franklin), meet the family, read the local history, and learn about ancestors and traditions before you go calling someone’s behavior an illness; because one day the Asperger’s geeks may be labeling your lifestyle a disorder.

that last line is kind of beautiful.

what katy didn't do

i know i'm well over the hill and probably not qualified to comment, and god knows i abhore bitchery in all its forms, whatever my fashion allegiances may be, but until recently i have been borderline vexed by katy perry.

my reasons run thus- she's stepping on my toes just a bit with her look (...i'm sure that keeps her awake at night. i know that would make those who see me running to school in my boyfriend's t-shirt and old jogging bottoms chortle, but it's mainly a colouring/ body type thing, and i never said this list was going to be rational); pretending to be a lesbian in order to excite boys or sell records is depressingly nineties; she has been known to make thoughtless comments regarding homosexuals (before reinventing herself in the predictable pseudo-sappho mold) ,and also about lily allen (i am ferociously protective of lily allen for reasons that wholly ellude me); plus, i think her (ex?) boyfriend travis whatever is supercute even if he does look in need of a good wash, and she always looked a bit unconvinced when photographed with him. of course, given these flimsy reasons, it's not like i was devoting my life to her downfall. i found her irritating only on a par a ten minute bout of tinnitus.

however, all this has been brought into sharp perspective by the arrival of someone as irritating as persistant menstrual cramp. someone called- and i shudder to write this-lady gaga, whom i now regard, with a healthy sense of fun, as my personal nemesis. i'm all for the new, don't get me wrong. nothing makes me happier than a hip young thing mixing it up, and i'm all for experimental hairdye, unlikely shoes, androgeny, reinvention and evolution, but i do my iashion irreverence to come with a bit of humility.

as far as i can tell, lady gaga produces music which is unaffecting at best. when i first heard that song she, um, sings, i thought it was ashley simpson, and in fact i can't remember the title of it purely because i can't separate in it my head from "outta my head", which is by, yup, ashley simpson. her look is very provincial british fashion school two years ago, with a prevalence of bubble hems, off the shoulder sweats and comedy headwear. she is filthy rich. none of this bothers me, none of it bothers me at all, in fact i'm borderline indifferent until i read that she thinks this is all very important, epoch-making, significant work she's doing. she's surrounded herself with fawning hangers on/ creatives and describes this merry entourage as a modern day version of warhol's factory- or "haus of gaga" (and, no, i'm not quite sure how one would pronounce that.) she has a vision, a mission, a purpose. she has taken ziggy stardust as a starting point, been to topshop, and now thinks she is defining a whole new era. jesus.

watching this, i could feel my brain cells disintegrate at a rate usually only ever caused by persistent solvent abuse. i accept that paris hilton is in it too, and therefore we are witnessing some previously unparalelled levels of stupity tag teaming, and actually, yeah, paris does come off worse, but that's basically a given, isn't it?

maybe i'm just getting old.



i have heard it said that there are two types of mother- the kind that think it's acceptable to tear into multipacks of crisps that they haven't yet paid for in order to placate their squalling offspring as they journey around the supermarket, and those that don't. usually, i belong to the latter. i operate a zero tolerance policy on eating in the street, also.

however, today i joined a niche subsection of the former. on my way round tesco this morning, in something approaching a comatose state, i consumed 2 effervescent vitamin c tablets dissolved in a bottle of mineral water, 2 ibuprofen and then a double espresso (there is a coffee place actually in my local supermarket, this is the absolute pinnacle of civilisation in my book.) but needs must- i have had approximately 20 hours sleep in the last week. thank god i don't (can't) drive. i am managing to remain just about functional in that i am managing to get my children where they need to be when they need to be there, and in a well fed and presented fashion. having said that, my house looks like a chinese laundry and i am avoiding the resolution of an outstanding issue with my tv/ phone/ broadband provider, basically because the very thought of it fills me with a dreadfully exhausted ennui.

i follow all the rules; no caffeine or exercise after 5pm, i eat lightly in the evening, i have sufficient time to wind down after the children are in bed at 7pm sharp, etc. i'm exhausted to my very bones by 9 o'clock, wandering around half completing tasks, so get ready for bed, and then brushing my teeth seems to kick start some evil second wind reflex. i read for a little while, and, even if it's really really bad writing, it's like i can't actually process that it's 4am and i really need to stop- i can't get my head around the fact that i need to be up again in two or three hours. sometimes, by some herculean effort, i turn the light off (traumatic, i'm afraid of the dark), and then i'm lying in the dark mentally sorting through the airing cupboard, listing outstanding jobs in the house, rethinking budgets, fretting about climate change/ wars/ aids orphans/ the damp in the kitchen, all underlined by the nagging feeling that i haven't locked up sufficiently, and need to devise a plan of action should someone break in and attempt to abduct the children. sleeping with a variety of household tools under the bed is not good feng shui, i don't imagine. i have hyperacute hearing also, which does not help- if anyone rustles a plastic bag, the clear kind that sweets or greeting cards come in, within a 50m radius of me, i am climbing the walls, hands clamped over my ears, bellowing in agony. any trace of a synthetic fibre in my bed linen and i'll grind my teeth all night without even knowing i'm doing it.

the only thing that i know will help is a good pedicure (quirky, moi? i'm obsessive about my feet), incorporating a really thorough lavender and neroli oil massage, so now i have to get to lush tomorrow. they produce a massage bar called therapy which is excellent and incorporates these oils, so it is all but garaunteed that i will haemorrage cash on their incredible but relatively expensive wares. my cat-like oversensitivity to smell (honestly, during my pregnancy i could have leased myself out to the police as a sniffer dog) means that i need things around me to smell a certain way. good smells for me are burnt caramel, lavender, coffee-obviously- tonka bean, neroli, ylang ylang, and cinnamon, which can sometimes worsen my temper and puts me in mind of the fact that this is what they use to neutralise the smell when a dead body has been hanging around undiscovered for a while, but i like nonetheless. i can feel my body literally unwind smelling these things, so most of the time i wear a lush solid perfume that incorporates at least three of them in order to maintain some sort of happy equilibrium and adequate focus on various manual tasks, like housework. however, the faintest whiff of clary sage, juniper, clove, or, less poetically, processed meat, spells at the very least a severe bout of nausea and at worst an epic five day migraine. oceanic, or ozone, smells cause me to daydream excessively or can actually make me hyperventilate and are therefore to be avoided, although i love smelling them on my boyfriend- who said romance was dead?

for my son, honey and chlorophyll are happy smells, while eggs and lilies are like his kryptonite- he becomes (even more) hyposensitive and very queasy when these smells are in the house. i use lots of candles and wax burners in the house,but i want to stop doing this, or at least change brand, because often they are too sickly sweet and often have a resinous amber basenote that lingers in our hair and clothes and makes us confused- its too much olfactory information, which is a shame because sometimes that can be exciting.

i haven't been to lush for a while as we had a significant end-of-xmas-line haul which included mainly spicy, almond and pink candy fragrances (which my daughter adores, and the snow fairy shower gel is amazing for her hair and scalp) because they were selling them off cheap, so i have none of the normal focus providing elixirs i generally rely on- hence, i now realise, this bout of insomnia.

yet again, this account cross referenced with this list of symptoms makes me wonder sometimes where dyspraxia ends and i begin.


Monday, 2 March 2009

and in the words of ice cube..

oh, the power of rapid vitamin d production...the sun came out, and then:-

my vogue arrived.

my children made me genuinely laugh more than 4.7 times.

my espresso machine stopped producing watery stuff that looks and tastes like whats left in the bucket when you've cleaned out a pigsty

no major appliances broke.

i spent no money.

people that phoned me did so with good news, and with a cheery manner.

my hair looked awesome.

all this on 3 hours sleep.

i gotta say...

Sunday, 1 March 2009

miss brightside

yesterday, i posted on a little bit autistic that if the autistic spectrum can be likened to a colour wheel, a diagnosis of DCD, or dyspraxia, can be likened to a "diagnosis" of "blue-ish".

is a "blue-ish" diagnosis helpful? well, when a kid is four, definately- especially if you thought he was "green-ish", and was just hulking out all over the place. he probably won't become truly navy, or sky, or cerullion, until he is in his mid twenties anyway when he knows himself and can effectively communicate who he is... but it can be infuriatingly vague. don't most parents like to have a handle, however fantastical, on their children's future? faced with any possible impediment to a happy, secure and fulfilling life don't you want, especially when first faced with a diagnosis, that impediment to be brought into much sharper focus? you want to know what you' re up against- every heartbreaking detail, every worst possible scenario. but it goes away, and you are left with your calmingly "blue-ish" child, and a fresh sense of perspective; better equipped.

the comparison i immediately draw with this sadistic foray into the unknown is the demands for detail someone makes when told their loved one has commited an infidelity, when for some reason you seem to draw a twisted strength from any sickening detail you can glean- for any handle on the extent of your betrayal.

and this, rather clumsily, brings me to my point. it seems this colour wheel theory can be applied to many things that were previously thought to be either "black" or "white". today, on a single mother forum, i read a description of angelina jolie as a single mother. i sat bolt upright- has brad left? or, more likely, has she left brad? but no. it would seem that this forum describes anyone who is not formally married to the father of their children as a single mother. this forum believes that a woman that cohabits with the father of her children is a single mother. this forum even believes that a woman that is married to a man with whom she has children, but who is not the father of all of her children is a single mother... and i couldn't quite believe what i was reading. i sometimes struggle with the term single mother for myself because i am not technically single, being in a long distance relationship, and that's out of deference for the millions of women that don't have someone to talk to on the phone at the end of a hard day. but i sure as hell parent alone. no maintenence, no contact, no birthday cards... just a whole heap of guilt, and i'm not even the one that left.

so, let's say, on the single mother spectrum, i used to be "purple-ish" (co-habiting with the father of my children), then i was "gold-ish" (completely on my own), and then i was "gold-ish green" (completely on my own, but in a 3 year long distance relationship with someone who has a great relationship with my children, and who knows in the future). i am mainly gold, because my story still elicits empathy and exclamations to do with my perceived heroism when i relate it to people i haven't seen for a while, or people i am just getting to know, even if i dress it up in blase, cheery "everything's great now!" clothing. i don't like it. i'm no hero. if i could, i would tell these people i discoved these beautiful cherubs under a bridge in upminster. and that's not because i can't take responsibility for the fact that i had the bad judgement to procreate with someone who turned out to have the moral and ethical fibre of a ball bearing, it's because i hate for people to feel sorry for me. i don't feel sorry for me so why should anyone else?

what surprised me perhaps most of all about this expansion of the categories that are now covered by the "single mother" label was the extremity of my reaction to it. i was raised by a single mother ("rose gold"- no other relationship, but received maintenence and she worked hard to maintain that we still had contact with our father) and, obviously, am one myself, so i take any negative use of the term "single mother" (and most of the uses are, with a sweeping disregard for why these mothers might be single in the first place) particularly hard. so i never thought i would be defending the term, that i would be so keen to preserve it for the relatively martyred few- i mean couldn't it be in someway helpful to our blighted reputation that nigella lawson is now counted amongst our number?

and what colour are these women that do it completely by themselves- no help whatsoever from anyone?

well, i'll tell you. they are "platignum".