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Because I’ve missed you.

I’ve had this blog for almost four years now, and I’ve never had to think about the consequences of my writing, mostly because I could never in a million years have imagined I’d be where I’m at. The short answer for my absence is that Jon and I went to court about vaccines, and he used a blog post against me. I was called a dangerous mother amongst other things, and in the end I lost, spectacularly – mostly due to a tidy technicality in KS law about children and religious beliefs. I will never get over how that event played out, and it’s not something I wish to discuss, so if you think you have suggestions for me please know the topic has been exhausted, I promise. There obviously is more than this simple paragraph explanation, but I just can’t discuss it publicly.

To know that honestly the only thing that could be worse for me regarding the kids is death or kidnapping/molestation, gives an idea of what this feels to me – truly I have nightmares about it. You don’t have to have known me well to know how many years this topic has been important to me, and there is damned near nothing I can do that will change the outcome. I lost and I am hurting. Period. I’ve sincerely never thought my friends who made different choices didn’t love their children or weren’t trying to do what they felt was best, and I need that same grace now more than I have ever. Please send supportive thoughts, this is the hardest parenting thing I’ve ever done, if not the hardest thing period.

So, for now I’ve removed all the old posts with vaccines as a tag, and have found myself in the totally surreal world of actually researching to find reasons that would convince me this future for my children can be something I can attempt to support. I have to find a way to pull it together before those appointments, and if I can scare myself (oh, fucking irony,) into believing this is better for them, maybe I’ll be able to do it. So far I have failed epically, even while legitimately trying.

I don’t know how I’m going to be able to do it.

On a correlated note, it’s been five months and two days since those emails first started this phase of court and attorneys and Latin phrases I never thought I’d learn, like pro tem and nunc pro tunc, and ex parte, and no issue is really resolved. We’re still fighting over child support and the profit from our house and even which school district the kids will be in. It will likely be close to a year before it’s over, and I could spend tens of thousands of dollars in the end on legal fees. Good thing I genuinely like my attorney.

I think the worst part about it all is that I am so cynical now. I find myself not being surprised to learn things, as if my character barometer for people has shifted from a default of most likely a kind person to most likely vindictive, just not yet triggered. Sure, I get that I’m still in this and someday I will have had some space from it. But much of my naive idealism is gone, and perhaps whatever wisdom I can gain from that will be helpful for me eventually, but right now it just makes me sad that my filter is cracked. But hey, I’m not dead yet, so technically I’m supposed to be stronger. I’ll let you know when I figure out where. 🙂

And to end this update on an upswing, life otherwise is strong. Brandon and I are doing great, and are for lack of a less attention-getting word, engaged. We’re leaning toward Elvis and Vegas at some as-yet-unplanned point, so start saving your money if you want to see that spectacle. We’re also buying a house in my old neighborhood so the kids can stay in the area; Lorelei’s starting Kindergarten (d’oh!) in the fall, and Jack will be in third grade. We’re busy, we’re stressed, but we’re happy and we’ll be fine.

We will be fine. And someday we’ll be awesome again.

Peace and love, hope you’re all well.

1. Jack is ebbing again, in that he’s being a TOTAL PAIN IN MY ASS the last few days. I love him with a ferocity I’ve never known was possible – I know I’ve mentioned that – but he is the single most contrary human I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending every waking moment with. He argues when he wants something. He argues when he doesn’t want something. He argues if he feels something is unjust or unfun or just for fun.

He argues when he agrees with you. I’m really not kidding.

And it’s hard, because I know he’s not even always unhappy when he does it. Sure, he reacts to the stress he senses around him, but I think in part it’s his natural personality from.. erm.. grandparental bloodlines, and also as residual habit from when he first was navigating social interaction altogether. He is not a natural cuddler, but wants attention (as everyone does) so pressing everyone’s buttons around him ensures a modicum of it. I get it.

Regardless, he’s driving me nuts and I’m not in an awesome place with my autism parenting right now. It will pass, like every phase has, but one of us might not make it out unscathed from this one, that’s all I’m sayin’..

2. Lo has discovered the joys of whining. To which I say really, karma? REALLY?

3. I was shown an article today about a local newscaster’s wife being paralyzed by the flu vaccine – and the subsequent trial in vaccine court. This one’s particularly fascinating to me as someone who has such an aversion to the propaganda every year, it’s nauseating.

4.  Here’s a follow-up article telling that the Neo-Nazi family has had their children taken away by social services. I know we all had a nice pat-on-our-back rant about why they probably are d-bags, but I sincerely hope those kids needed to be yanked for legitimate reasons, and not because of the limelight they were in. Three and under. Oy. That’s so very little to be away from their parents, it breaks my heart.

5.  Saw Gran Torino last weekend. Hmm.  It was on many people’s Best Of lists, and my friend Justin really liked it, so I’ll just say I must have missed something. .. Both times I watched it.

6. My back is at about 90% at this point, which is relieving. Now I just need to go back to the gym, because despite herculean efforts to not eat the bagel with cream cheese that’s calling to me, the scale is reflecting my absence.

7.  It’s 2°.  Four hours ago it was 1°.  Toasty!

Britney Spears has agreed to K-Fed having sole custody

Could make me cry if I thought about it long enough, but surely that has to be for the best.

Voters to decide on naming sewage plant after Bush

Snort.

HIV vaccine trial canceled

Hm. I could write an entire post on this alone, and it wouldn’t be all rant. However this whole thing is particularly fraught with blurred ethical lines. If I thought they could create a vaccine whose efficacy rate was high enough, the benefit could outweight my usual concerns with possible long-term consequences of the vaccine itself and I’d squarely place this one in the grey area. However, like the story mentions, thus far it’s been a catastrophe, and previous trials have given recipients the virus. I respect the fact that the scientists are admitting they don’t know enough about how HIV changes the immune system, but I also know it’s just a CYA for Merck, who funded the last study. Wolf in sheep’s clothing and all that. Either way, I’m interested to keep up on this, because this isn’t in the same ridiculous category as say, chicken pox.

Emmys snub Wire *again*

I am honestly offended. And in the words of my favorite leader Cedric Daniels, I think this is BULLshit.

Rick Reilly’s an overpaid, under-qualified shlock writer and I can’t wrap my brain around why anyone likes him.

That’s all.

So would you believe me if I told you that WordPress changed their internal design, and I feel like it stole my writing mojo? I open up a blank page and immediately my lip curls up at the unfamiliarity of it.

(That and I think it’s because Jon sent the blog to a thousand old friends as a way to tell them about our life and I have stage fright suddenly. Thanks, H. Pimp. Maybe you should update your blog more than once every three months, hmm?)

Anyway, how is everyone? Things are rolling merrily along here I s’pose. I saw an article recently about how the mumps vax is conclusively useless and I really wanted to rant/boast/drone on about it. But then I looked and saw a theme of my most recent posts and decided I’d lose more people if I became that person all the time. 😉

Royals season has started, we went on Tuesday and will again on Saturday. I love going to games, though probably not for the right reasons (i.e., the game – though it was pleasurable to see A-Rod play this week, heh). It’s funny how conditioned I’ve become to craving a hot dog as soon as I step into the stadium. A hot dog! Blech! Unfortunately for this week though, it’s cold and rainy with a chance of snow (SNOW! DO YOU HEAR ME? SNOW!) this weekend. This isn’t the Chiefs we’re watching here, people. Oh well. I love the adventure, if not the windburn.

The halflings are doing fairly well. School has become tremendously easier with Jack riding the bus home. We have his IEP meeting next week and I know I’ll be able to write in a bus schedule for next year. I’m debating about letting him ride both ways, but I’m torn. I was talking to a good friend yesterday who homeschools her kids, and the old guilt came back that I’ve just given up to let other people take care of Jack. And the deep-down truth is that the benefit of his learning social skills in a specifically-structured setting is only ancillary to the fact that I get a break every day. And I know I’m validated in wanting some respite, but I know that I chose the school option because of it, and that makes me sad. I really hope to re-examine homeschooling in a few years, maybe when I feel less tapped-out, because philosophically I think it can be an awesome learning possibility. But for now, this is what is best for everyone.

Lorelei is simply the cutest damn thing ever. I don’t know if it’s because she’s a girl, or that there’s just so much less stress because developmentally she’s on-time, but some days she is the brightest light in my life. Even her screeching tantrums can’t get to me, they just seem so.. understandable to me. And it’s another example of that autism-lens through which I find myself parenting even when I don’t want to, but I’m not sure I can always stop it. It’s bittersweet.

I’m still waiting to hear back from the Bradley academy to start provisionally teaching (really, have I mentioned the antiquity of that place? Bah. ) but I’m thinking of taking a writing course somewhere. We’ll see, though. I tend to hover between needing to be social and busy and resisting too much structured expectation of my time. Snort.

Jon’s work is picking up a bit after some crappy recession-induced drama, but he’s getting ready to go on a bunch of business trips, so I’m trying to shore up for that. We’re almost done with all seasons of The Wire, so I think I’ll arrange our Netflix queue to send me every chickflick available while he’s gone. Merchant Ivory, here I come!

And that’s it for now, methinks. We’ll follow the proverbial North Star back to my beloved Colorado in June sometime, so as the weather gets warmer that magnetic pull will keep me going. If anyone wants to join us, let me know – my uncle brews his own Guinness. *happy sigh*

Have a great weekend friends! I hope you’re all well.

You don’t HAVE to watch that doc just to make me happy.

However, you MUST read this phenomenal blog entry.

Fo’real, this is one of the single best opinion pieces I’ve ever read.

I’m not kidding.

cigarette-doc-one-small-789044.jpg

I saw this article today about a gal describing her life as an Aspie, and I was reminded again how little I really know about my opinion on autism. In particular, this paragraph made me resignedly smile:

I also have intensified senses — touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound — so I am attuned to lights, noise, textures, and smells. In a “busy” environment, I will eventually go into sensory overload and my mind will go blank. When this happens, I have to “go away” mentally for a brief period to regain focus. When I “return,” I have to piece together what occurred while I was “away.” The additional mental processing I must do to function every day is fatiguing, and I don’t handle “ad hoc” very well. Being asked to respond quickly in the midst of all this other processing is difficult, sometimes impossible.

So, if I pretty much wrote this exact thought-process a week ago, does that make me an Aspie also? I doubt it. Though I think it’s interesting that most auties have sensory issues. Is it a sliding scale neurologically? A chromosomal crap-shoot timed with some sort of external trigger – toxic or otherwise? Possibly. It seems a lot people assume that’s the most logical scenario. .

I think part of my eternal reticence to discuss autism is the fact that there is that large school of thought that it is some sort of toxic damage, obviously mostly correlated to vaccines. And despite my holistic philosophies, I just can’t endorse that fully. I see the irony (if you can call it that) that I’m against vaccines but don’t necessarily believe it’s a direct causation; at least not how I categorize ‘autism’. But that’s because I really think in the future there will be a demarcation in the diagnoses. Whether it will actually ever get this openly acknowledged I don’t know, but I think there will have to be a time when people being diagnosed will be either ‘autistic’ or just ‘toxic’, regardless if the presenting characteristics are similar.

I know at least one little guy that I believe is absolutely vaccine and environmentally-toxic, but I don’t think he’d genetically be diagnosed. I can’t really tell you why, other than what I know of human physiology (and what his mom has told me in passing about his health and history) and an instinct I have. I just think his eyes seem.. cloudy, for lack of a better explanation. I know that sounds like corny hoo-doo, and maybe it is. I don’t walk around peering at people to guess how unhealthy their body is. But the fact is sick people often look sick. So, whatever. And in that case, I’d love to send them to a naturopath to detoxify, but it’s not my place, and everyone has their own beliefs. He seems to be a fairly happy kid; who am I to judge his quality of life? Shrug.

But like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think Jack is ‘toxic’. Sure, we could live a healthier lifestyle, but by-and-large he’s a healthy fartknocker. And aside from that, there is no mistaking that most of his quirks can be seen in me, and more specifically, his grandpa. Autism experts would lurve Jack’s bloodline.

Regardless, given the coincidence that I am invested in both natural living and autism, I’m often the go-to for opinions or education, which is both validating and humbling. It would be a lot easier if I did belong to the genetic vs curable camp, because I have a host of research on both. Unfortunately I don’t think it breaks down that cleanly, which, ironically again (?), sort of sums up the difficulty that can come with navigating autism.

So I guess this is my yearly admission that I have zero idea. And the further along we go, the less I have the urge to discover, which is bad timing considering autism is the new hot topic. But, I do like the tangential press on vaccines. I mean, even if I’m not wholly convinced by the recent ruling by the government, I wholly support it – if it means more education.

The truth is that it has crossed my mind in the past that maybe Jack is my segue into gaining credence on both sides of the vaccine-discussion fence. It’s a pretty strong shield to carry when very few people will argue with me either way.

It’s OK that I don’t know everything – I know enough. 😉

Here’s a ridiculously simplified list of some reasons why I choose not to vaccinate. This can be a springboard for further discussion should anyone want to, or it can satisfy curiosities. I know I should cite references for my opinions, but I don’t feel like digging them up (from ‘real’ sources like the CDC or PubMed no less!). If you can’t find them yourself, or feel they are incorrect, please let me know.

1. The ingredients needed as preservatives and adjuvants, not to mention the cultured viruses themselves, are completely unnatural for our bodies. Were you to get any of these vax-preventable diseases (VPDs) for real, it would be a completely different story to your immune system.

2. The efficacy rate is not 100%, yet there is a God-complex trust in them that’s borne of fear of the ‘unknown’.

3. I don’t believe in herd immunity as it’s touted (at least in regards to vaccines, if not the theory itself). Yes, if everyone stopped vaxing altogether there would be a natural backlash of infections. But in time it would even out to where it should be.

3a. You can’t protect from all germs. It’s just simply impossible, not to mention stupid. We all have good and bad bacteria in our bodies, that’s what keeps us balanced. You get sick when you’re out of balance. So when you try and take out an entire subset of bacteria, you create an epidemiological niche – a hole, if you will – that is promptly filled with a different strain. That’s called serotype replacement. (This is exactly what’s happening with MRSA and CA-MRSA. Bleach is simply not the answer for everyone.)

4. Pertussis sucks, agreed. The vaccine sucks worse, though, and has not changed the stats anyway. It’s a nasty, unpredictable and dangerous vaccine.

5. The CDC doesn’t even have stats for Tetanus in kids. Think about that. So why is it included? Unless you have a reason for a slow circulatory system (i.e., elderly age, diabetes, etc.) it is completely unnecessary.

6. The test-groups for every vaccine are very specific to very healthy people. That excludes those with allergies, auto-immune diseases and even plain-old sickness. Yet every child is expected to vaccinate on schedule. Some doctors will suggest you wait until your child doesn’t have a fever, but many don’t. Honestly, it’s almost laughable, the hypocrisy.

7. Likewise, there are no long-term studies. Even though there is an alarming correlation b/w young girls passing out and coincidentally being diagnosed with Guillian-Barre Syndrome, no one will admit that the long term reproductive consequence of Gardisil could be mind-bendingly dangerous. Check out VAERS. It’s all there.

8. You will never, ever EVER get 5 diseases at once. The two main ways you get things are through your nose or your mouth. Then you activate the Th1 system which sets off a complex chain for immunity. But injecting 5 (or 3 or whatever number, really) plus whatever other foreign agents, completely bypasses the Th1 and hyperactivates the Th2 system, which basically overwhelms the shit out of your body, trying to fight off all these things it would never get in a natural situation. NEVER.

9. The history of some of the vaccines is scary. It is a complex and money-making relationship with politics and pharma. I don’t think they’re out to get us, but I definitely and openly have real mistrust that they have my children’s best interest in mind. And the truth is, I think this God-complex trickles down to Pediatricians. (Note: This is a touchy subject that includes OBs, too. And I’m not suggesting everyone stop trusting their caregivers, I guarantee they know a whole helluva lot that I don’t. But I’m just gently suggesting that they are not infallible, or that the system from which they get their knowledge is possibly flawed or complicated, that’s all.)

10. The all-inclusive and mandatory schedule as it stands now is utterly ridiculous. Even if I’m reticent to correlate vaccines to ‘autism’ as I define it, I still think it’s truly dangerous to give that many shots (don’t fool yourself: the combo shots have to be counted individually, no matter the number of injections) to a growing baby with no blood-brain barrier. There’s going to have to be admission from someone that this is not working, it’s becoming increasingly obvious. I think that makes a lot of people on both sides nervous.

11. Aluminum is a really scary thing to me the more I learn. It should not be in your brain, no way, no how. This one thing alone is worth it to me until my kids are older or more is understood.

12. I’m not afraid of the diseases. I am familiar with how they present, and when to get medical help. I breastfeed, eat as organically as possible and try to give my kids the tools for a healthy immune system. We do what we think is best for our kids, and that’s what I’m doing, that’s all. I understand that people disagree with how strongly I feel, that’s totally fine. I respect everyone’s choice. I’m just (ahem, again) asking you do the research before you make the decision. You can always get the shots later, but you can’t ever take them back. 🙂

(Whooee we are only a week into this! Tired of it yet? Because you know my cleverness knows no bounds, right?)

1. Favorite movies

2. Favorite songs

3. All the names starting with J that we could have named Lorelei if we hadn’t luckily realized with Jacoby we were starting a matchy-matchy name theme.

4. People from my past I’d like to catch-up on now.

5. Theories why when you cross over State line from KS to MO the drivers somehow get dumber, if that’s possible.

6. Why the following people must be in on the joke, because there is just no way in hell they could be taken seriously by anyone, ever, they are so ridiculous: Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Ann Coulter, Andrew W.K., Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Michael Moore, Tucker Carlson – just to name a few.

7. Why I love Matt Damon.

8. Words I can never remember how to spell correctly.

9. Words I just can’t remember the definition of.

10. Truths and misconceptions of autism as I know it.

11. Why simple math eludes me completely.

12. Why giving 26 vaccines in the first 6 months of life may not be a good idea.

13. Foods I love.

14. Theories on what’s genetically missing from me that I love to eat and hate the kitchen.

15. Books I love.

16. Best fictional characters of all time in the media.

17. Songs I like to karaoke, or at least watch be sung by drunk people.

18. Ways I wish I would be a better person.

19. Reasons I think I should give myself a break.

20. People I admire, and why.

1. I must have long-term memory loss because every year I try the KC zoo to see if it doesn’t suck.

Nope. Still does. And this leopard cage was smaller than the sq feet of my house, easily. This fella was sleeping on the metal grid that is above the walkway (this is from the ground up). It made me sad to see him; this is just so unnatural.

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2. Got that vax book I mentioned a while back. I’m pretty stoked. Light reading, eh?

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3. We’re on the last disc of the first season of Heroes. I’ve concluded I want to have Hiro over for dinner. “Ah mista flying man WSHHHHHHH!”

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Good times.

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