Radio Silence


Things are likely going to be dead on this blog for a time... I doubt I could manage a post right now except about what's forefront on my mind right now, and I'm not in a position where it's likely to be wise to post about that.

To anyone reading, please pray for us or send good wishes or whatever you are willing to do. There isn't really any tangible help that can be given, and I most certainly have no objection to adding anything good to this situation at all... a little good karma certainly couldn't hurt anything.

The tags should at least give an inkling why we could use it.

My husband misses the point sometimes, which makes the Bloggess the best decoy ever


Firstly, the internet being down for the better part of a week really sucks. Fortunately, the torture is over and I get to spend the next few days catching up on my feeds while trying to ignore the feeling of my pelvic bones shifting around when I move.

It's honestly amusing the number of times now that my husband has looked at me and very seriously informed me, "No taxidermied animals!"

As a response, it's a great illustration of comically missing the point when I say I totally want to be like the Bloggess. I've told him before that he doesn't have to worry about taxidermied animals from me. I'm not referring to the items involved in the crazy antics, just the antics themselves.

Because of this, though, it turns the Bloggess into the perfect decoy. Every time he tells me "no taxidermied animals", he's forgetting about things he might actually need to worry about. Like, "no teaching our son how to dissect insects". Or, "no, you can't have all the kittens at the SPCA, no matter how cute they are".

Actually, I'm having a lot of trouble coming up with things for him to worry about right now. That's probably got something to do with the pregnancy brain though, which truly kicked in with a vengeance about the time baby dropped. My memory might be pretty bad, but usually I can remember if I flushed the toilet ten seconds ago, or that I've already grabbed some meat out of the freezer for tea. And then proceeded to wander out to get meat out of the freezer another five times since already. In the last hour and a half.

Lastly, something my mum showed me ages back that I went looking for in order to show my husband. NSFW (swearing).

Camera's here! And so is baby stuff


The digital camera finally arrived in the mail recently (big thanks to @RyanStoler), so I can finally share pictures with you. The timing on this is pretty good, as it arrived only a couple days after my grandparents visited with a huge amount of stuff for the nursery. Us ladies immediately took the first available opportunity to attack our new toys and went a little crazy setting everything up, so said nursery is now basically done.

Intyalle's Nursery album on Photobucket

That cot was set up entirely by us two, with no help from my husband. He, perhaps fortunately for his own safety, was napping and in no position to try interfere with the pregnant, nesting female in the next room.

I didn't want to take pictures of every single drawer of clothing, much less every piece, so the pictures you see are of the two drawers of 0000 clothing. The black set of drawers contain the 000 and 00 clothing, and the big red drawer contains bedding and cloths and such.

Pictures of me will be forthcoming at some point. Before I can do that, however, I would need to get dressed. So, none yet.


I made my mum fangirl today


My mum is not typically the fan-girly sort, but she's the one who first introduced me to the Bloggess. And today I got to tell her that the Bloggess is following me on twitter. Jenny Lawson thinks my inane chatter is worthy of notice, and the awesomeness of that might well make me explode. My mother actually typed "OMG". With the capitals. I don't think I've ever seen her type omg before ever. It kind of makes me wish I'd been there to tell her in person because she might well have said it too and that would've been something to hear.

If mum were the sort to have a twitter, I bet I would've made her horribly envious too.

Band Back Together


Band back together is an organisation dedicated to sharing stories to destigmatise various things like mental illness, rape and abuse. This year, Thoughts From Paris is hosting a blogathon to fundraise for this organisation - a post every hour - and one of mine has been included.

So go take a look and, perhaps, donate a little bit to the cause.

Mighty hunter, my ass


We're out of cat biscuits today. We'll be able to get more soon enough but, in the meantime, we finally broke out the fish we'd been given for the cats that has been in the freezer. Turns out they're whole fish. I couldn't tell you what kind, I know nothing about fish.

Currently, Harmony is happily munching away. The fish seems to baffle her somewhat, but she's taking it as a challenge and munching away. On the lino. Three seconds in I caught her trying to drag it off the plate and immediately I was all "RIGHT. We are NOT continuing this here." So she got moved rapidly to the kitchen.

Ginger, on the other hand, despite all protestations to the contrary, must not really think we're starving her after all. I have tried several times to coax her back over to the food, but assuming she acknowledges it at all, she just sort of sits there ad gives me a look that says "And what exactly do you expect me to do with this?" Then she starts trying to convince me we're starving her again.

Honestly, cat. I bet the rats would do better with that damned fish than you have. There's even a decent chance they probably will, since someone apparently hasn't the slightest idea what to do with food that didn't come from a can, box or bag.

So it appears Ginger will just have to wait until we can pick up some more cat biscuits, while Harmony will get to munch away quite happily. Don't let her protestations that we starve her fool you; she has quite happily gone on campaigns to insist we need to feed her right this second before she dies even as food sits in her bowl right at that moment. On more than one occasion, this has necessitated picking her up and carrying her to her food bowl just so she finally remembers that actually, we already did feed her. Oh yeah!

And, head in my hand, I remind myself patiently that she's not the stupidest cat I've ever owned.

God, but I wish I had a camera. Right. This. Second


Today is a great testament to the power pregnant-woman-pheromones hold over cats.

Our cat Ginger does not like other cats. Not one bit. She's gone totally ballistic over the proximity of a small kitten before, and continued to growl at the spot he'd been rolling in even after we removed him. I have considered it a great accomplishment that she has mostly been able to coexist with Harmony since we moved here. If she spots Harmony, she'll grumble and growl and generally act like an old man shaking his cane and telling the kids to get off his lawn, but there's no active fighting or anything. Even that time when, to our horror, Harmony (not too much older than a kitten and still holding many of the attitudes) decided a fun game would be to stalk Ginger's tale.

Most places in the house, Ginger just gets told to shush and stop grumbling. I do allow her a safe haven though; my room. For one thing, her food and water are in here, so I don't want Harmony stealing them anyway. More importantly, though, it's a little much to ask her to deal with something she's not really happy about without giving her some place to retreat to. So while Harmony occasionally comes in or passes through, if Ginger starts growling, Harmony gets told to move it along.

So between the fact that she knows she's generally not allowed in here and her own tendency to be energetic and a bit skittish, it's miracle enough for Harmony to jump on my bed and curl up next to me at all. The biggest miracle of all, though, is that not a single peep was heard about this out of Ginger.

Of course, cats are contrary things, and in the time taken waiting for the new post page to load (throttled 'net is a wonderful thing, let me tell ya) and typing all this, sadly, this blissful state has ended. Ginger apparently woke up enough to notice Harmony was there and growl at her, with a hiss or two thrown in.

That said, even that was pretty short-lived, and she's already mostly decided she can't really be bothered grumbling. Or even sulking. Aside from the occasional punctuation of a grumble from that end of the bed, she appears to have curled up to go back to sleep now.

So, I think I'll take the opportunity to enjoy my fill of double cat love, as they've never been willing to coexist so closely before. I'll take all I can get while it lasts... even if it's just because they're both so obsessed with me being pregnant that neither is willing to leave me to get away from the other.

Just when I thought the weather was back to normal...


I could hear a veritable wall of rain overnight last night. It was truly impressive.

Here's hoping it's just a one-off.

A video that should be watched by many


This video touched me deeply.

It's right, too. Those of us who go on, at least a part of us knows they're wrong... or sets out to make them wrong, at any rate. We manage to hold on to the belief that we are more than that.

And yet, it leaves its mark anyway.

I believe I am a good person; it's something I've worked hard for. I believe I am better than what the bullies say, than the lies depression tells. And yet I still don't believe I'm good enough... and I don't believe I'm beautiful. Intellectually, I know the sheer mass of people who've told me now that I am can't all be wrong. At this point, I'm pretty sure they even outnumber those who told me I wasn't. In my heart, though, I don't believe it. In the mirror, I can't see it. I say they're biased, or just trying to make me feel better, because so much of me still can't see any other reason for them to say it.

I guess that's all I've got to say here... I just wanted to share the video and get that out. I hope this touches and inspires someone else, too.

Updates, a little nonsense, and things I found online


So, I should probably approach this with some kind of coherent order. Even if it will likely inevitably break down in a few paragraphs' time.

I find it a little amusing that I scraped together something to post yesterday because there hadn't really been anything to post about, and then all of a sudden several things pop up all at once. The kind of amusing that makes you want to facepalm a bit, anyway.

First up, midwife update.

Everything went well, and I'm actually quite confident that being reported again shouldn't be an issue. Which is nice, because having to go looking for a midwife for a third time would really not be fun at all.

She'd managed to get my ultrasound reports back from Palmie, and the reports from the ultrasound and blood test here were back. My results were, as she put it, boringly normal, which is a good thing. Everything is proceeding about as close to textbook so far as one can reasonably expect; despite occasional iron problems, my iron is good; despite grave warnings from some of my family, my sweet tooth has not resulted in gestational diabetes. All signs of the slight bleeding I had earlier in my pregnancy are utterly gone in the ultrasound. The enthusiastic movement of my son is a very good sign, even if it made it practically impossible for the midwife to get a heartbeat because he wouldn't stay in one place long enough.

She also, and for this I bless her, pointed me towards a brand of liners with a surface area exceeding two square centimetres. Honestly, why do they make the things so damned tiny? Thin, I get, thin is the point - and I'll grant that these liners are thicker than is usual. However, they're still much thinner than a pad, and as an added bonus, they actually extend the entire width of my not exactly ginormous underwear. Thank you, regular liners, for making me feel like I need to wear a damned g-string for you to do any good at catching a little discharge instead of dumping it all on the underwear. The brand is Tena, for anyone who wants to know. The liners still share the problem of pads without wings in that the sides tend to come up somewhat, but even with that the protection is a lot better.

Hovering somewhere between concerning and good, despite saying they would be getting in touch with my midwife as part of investigating the report (and despite the fact that they're meant to touch base with the midwife in all such things), child services has yet to contact her at all. On one hand, if things were dire, they would have been on the phone to her as soon as we were out of the meeting. On the other hand, they specifically said they'd call her and haven't, whereas I know they have made first contact with my family. It remains to be seen what will happen there.

Second, an addition to my earlier Ballastexistenz post.

In the first post of hers I linked, Ballastexistenz mentions a researcher who dismissed anecdotal evidence that autists could, in fact, read emotion, purely because she'd learned they couldn't. She also mentioned autists failing tests because they identified what the actors actually felt, rather than what they were pretending to feel.

Well, this article might lend some further support to that.

No, it's not an article on autism - just a random one about Anne Hathaway that I stumbled across in my internet wanderings. Of note about it, is the picture choice.

If you read the article, it's clear that the writer thinks Anne is happy in that picture - ecstatic, even. I, on the other hand, was horribly confused as to why anyone would choose that picture for an article like that. To me, that is not a happy face. Those eyes speak to me of despair, or fear. Actually, they scream it at me. Even covering the eyes though, that big dazzling smile is too tight, too tense to be genuine.

A brief search for pictures of Anne supplied many that were not as glaringly terrible for getting the point across, but I had trouble finding one that would actually do the job. The best seem to amount to "tense". So, it seems pretty clear that not only was a terrible picture used, the entire article is a bit off-base when it comes to reading emotion.

And they think we're the ones who can't read emotions...

Third, Hyperbole and a Half talks about depression. Really, really well.

Hyperbole and a Half has, unfortunately, gone an awfully long time without being updated. So much so, in fact, that Allie felt the need to mentally prepare us for the fact that the blog would be updated again. In fairness, the next post was a doozy. It probably would have been pretty overwhelming to see that all of a sudden, after so much silence.

The reason this amazing blog lay silent for so long, is depression.

Allie describes depression really, really well. At least, I think she does. That's not necessarily very representative, though; if you've got depression, you already get it. The question is, do the people who don't have depression get it now? Especially the bit about how we're not actually necessarily being negatively... it's just that happy-go-lucky, hopeful advice really isn't all that helpful.

I will admit, I don't generally get so bad as to be completely incapable of giving any kind of shit about anything. However, even with that difference, the description is a remarkably good one. The foggy haze and apathy, the crushing loneliness and boredom that only increases with any attempts to actually do anything about it, because your ability to do anything about it except to keep trudging on just isn't there anymore.

The post is a very good one, and well timed in that it happens to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week. I definitely recommend it for a read.

Lastly, the Bloggess. And cats.

This morning, I woke up to this in my twitter feed.
This is a pain I know well. My husband is surprised I'd never had fleas even once before meeting him, given my tendency (nay, compulsion!) to stop and try to pet every cat that I see. The first time I ever got fleas was off his mother's cat, amusingly, and I have yet to get them off any of the stray or just strange cats I have approached - this despite how utterly tasty fleas seem to find me. It doesn't take long for any biting bugs in the vicinity to home in on me.

Also, these blog posts are getting fairly consistently more difficult to write. This is because, as my pregnancy progresses, our cat is becoming steadily more and more obsessed with me. If I'm sitting up, she'll come try curl up on my chest, or right next to my side, nearly pinning my arm to me. If I'm lying down, she will plant herself firmly between the laptop and my body.

Failing these, she will still make sure to spend the appropriate amount of time vigorously rubbing herself all over the laptop, my glasses, and my person.

Apparently, pregnant people smell really good or something.

Quiet, but hopeful


This isn't much of a post, because there's not an awful lot to post about right now, but at least things are looking hopeful.

More baby stuff has been gotten together, and a camera should be on its way to me soon, so when the time comes I will be able to regale you with pictures! Also, I might finally be able to update my facebook profile page which is over five years old at this point.

It seems likely that my husband has found some good-paying work. Even if he doesn't get this particular job, he's in good standing now with a pretty reliable temping agency, so the job search has at least gotten that much easier.

My next appointment with the midwife is tomorrow. I'm finding it remarkably easy to go into without any expectations; I'm honestly clueless as to what I should even hope for, never mind expecting anything. You can probably expect an update on that in the next couple days. I still haven't heard back from child services and I'm not sure how much longer that will be, but it's looking reasonably hopeful that nothing will come of all this.

It's nice that things are looking up. Usually I'd need to be putting in more effort in order to not just sit here waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it's much easier not to be pessimistic when the week has already been somewhat poor. If I never have to deal with so much of one of the worse aspects of society at one time again, I still would've had too much for a lifetime.

Here's to things going better, going forward. For everyone.

To be oneself...


The best paths in this life are never easy.

Choosing to be who you are, no matter what anyone else might say, is a difficult path to walk. I wish it weren't so, but it is. The easy path is to conform. If you fit into society's box, you will always have friends and people you can talk to. If you dare to step outside it, the only friends who will stand by you are those who are your friends for who you are... and those people can be depressingly rare at times.

As we step out into the darkness, into the forests that lie between the beaten paths, I know that this journey is a difficult one. I cannot begrudge those who choose to stay on the clear-cut roads where they will find safety in numbers. I cannot blame them. This is not always a happy path.

Truly, the ones I have the most respect for of all are those who walked with everyone else, but found the strength to turn away and forge their own path. Rare as people who accept you for who you are can be, they are even harder to find when everyone around you is busy fitting into a socially acceptable box. The kind of person who will take you as you are generally asks that you do the same for them; you will have trouble finding them while trying to be someone else. So those who leave the bounds of what society considers normal are the most isolated of all, at least for a time.

Personally, it was something I never bothered to do, so I've never had to experience everyone I care about turning away from me in an instant, because of a single choice. I think little of a relationship that stands on such shaky foundations as to evaporate so easily, so I've never had much truck with them. If you won't take me as me, you're not the kind of person I want around anyway.

I know not everyone shares that view, though. Many consider poor friends better than the risk of no friends, if they consider it at all. Many care, and can't not care even if they are shown this caring is not mutual. So as painful as it is to watch someone reach out, only to start boxing themselves back up again, I cannot consider the choice an unreasonable one.

For those of us who do walk the dark spaces between, take up a torch. Ballastexistenz works to make people aware of disability rights, and the unfair treatment the physically and cognitively disabled receive. The Bloggess seeks to chase away the shadows and pact of silence surrounding depression and social anxiety. Take up a torch and light the way. If we work away at these brambles, slowly, the easy path may widen. We may manage to make spaces where one can be socially acceptable without having to tear themselves apart and bind away the unique things about them.

And perhaps, if we can't change society, we can light the way for each other. Perhaps we can make a path to walk together, our own path, to tell each other; we are not alone. Here, you will find companionship. You don't need to search for years to find it, and you don't need to give up your self to get it.

It takes strength to stand in the face of society and be who you are anyway, but the more we light the way, the less those who follow us need to be so strong.

And, maybe, the fewer who will turn away from this path for fear of the dark.

A powerful message, and an interesting video


Recently, this was posted on Ballastexistenz. An interesting enough post in its own right, or I wouldn't have been prompted to comment on it with my own thoughts. However, the one I actually want to talk about is one mentioned in that post. Namely, "In My Own Language".

Though the mention of that post had me terribly curious, I first saw it when I was needing to be careful of bandwidth usage, so at the time I had to pass on watching a video of unknown length. Fortunately, though, because I commented on the post mentioning it, I have gotten periodic emails reminding me of its existence, including one this morning. With only a few more days before the bandwidth resets for the next month, finally I could dig out the post she's referring to and watch the video.

It was absolutely fascinating to watch, and yet in some ways equally frustrating. As I mentioned in my comments to the first post linked, this communication barrier that presents such a problem doesn't exist only between NTs and autists, but even between autists and other autists. It's like all NTs are on one frequency, maybe five or something at most, and autists are spread across the other hundred or more. Autists on the same frequency, or at least the right frequencies, can communicate incredibly well. Even just among those using the same method of communication, though (generally typing, for my personal experience), I have met those who actually communicate better with autists than they ever could with each other. Attempts to cross those frequencies led to more gross misunderstandings and fiery explosions than any attempt to talk with an NT did.

This was not so violent an interaction as all that, but it was still one of not-quite-matching frequencies, I think. On one hand, it was fascinating to watch and did strike a chord in me... but at the same time, it was unbelievably frustrating because it was also just beyond my comprehension. Perhaps the best way to describe it is that it made my brain itch, and that's a rather aggravating sensation, mostly because I can't just reach in and scratch it. It felt like I should have been able to understand entirely, and I almost could, but much like when you have a word on the tip of your tongue, it was just beyond my ability to grasp and form into a complete thought.

The latter half of the video, which did include text, made a very powerful and very true point. There is far from only one kind of thought in this world, and the kind NTs display is actually the more limited. After all, one of the big differences is that NTs are much better at filtering, seeing what they want to see and reducing the world to only one small segment of what is actually there. The problem with autists is that our filters are either poor, non-functioning or just unusual. Many deal with overload, due to difficulties narrowing their focus down to include only as much as they can actually process. Where an NT filters for human interactions and information, I am just as likely to take in what the cat is doing and saying as what you are doing and saying. Granted I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady, but that actually applies to a slightly lesser degree with other animals too. In my mind and with my filters, animal conversations are just as important and worthy of notice as human ones, and can provoke similar responses at times.

(Dear god I accidentally closed the tab thank god that didn't all disappear... everyone take a moment to pray to our lord of computer whim and thank him for this miracle :P Remember kids, always save long internet posts)

The question of natural language in autists is a fascinating one, and I'm actually not entirely sure how to answer it myself. What is my natural language? I don't actually know.

My first reaction is words, particularly typing. I'm one of the very verbose kind of autists, and certainly I find IMs much less stressful than, say, phone conversations. I'm also aural in preference to visual, and tend to think in words. Pictures give me more difficulty.

However, it seems to depend a lot on what, exactly, I'm communicating. For example, my emotional vocabulary is much more deficient than the rest of my vocabulary, and I have vast amounts of difficulty packaging identity, emotions and people into boxes I can wrap words around. Never bother asking me what someone is like; it's not a question I can answer. They're just... them. Here, my primary language instead seems to be a non-verbal one painted in nebulous swirls of emotion and impressions, something which I think my empathic abilities contributes to. It actually distresses me greatly when a situation arises that I need to try translate this in order to communicate it to someone else, because it is a language with nothing even resembling an equivalent in English.

Not the best way to build trust


I won't go into too many details here, but I would note if any medical professionals ever end up reading this, reporting prospective parents to child services - even if they never work out it was you - is not the best way to foster trust.

Now, I understand that clearly there are situations where this is reasonable or even necessary. There are, however, also situations where it really isn't. Well-informed parents that have clearly considered all the things you bring up and have no serious vices probably already falls into the latter, even leaving all the other factors and details aside. Certainly I am unimpressed that my depression was in the report, given the fact that I am clearly open about it with those around me and well-prepared to seek help should things deteriorate (due to, say, post-natal depression piling on top), both from my support network and medical professionals.

My next appointment with my midwife is very soon anyway, so I will still be going. We'll see how things go, but I am seriously considering changing midwives. I'm truly not sure what she was thinking or exactly why the report was submitted, so I can't judge her motivations at all. Perhaps she truly only meant well.

Unfortunately, intentions have very little to do with the fact that my trust and confidence in the one supposed to keep me safe, sane and healthy throughout this process has taken rather a large blow, and that could potentially become dangerous if it makes me hesitate to mention concerns in the future.

Not sure how I never heard of this one before


Sensory Processing Disorder.

Autism interests me. I have, in fact, long taken a small bit of amusement out of an aspie whose monomania... is Asperger's. This just strikes me as chuckle-worthy.

So, I've read a number of resources regarding autism in my time. Usually, when something is also its own condition, it tends to get listed as such. ADD/ADHD is a common co-diagnosis for autism, and if I recall correctly it's actually one of the criteria to have at least one of the various dys- disorders (dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia - the last, also known as clumsy child syndrome, is by far and away the most common, and the one I personally fall prey to).

For some reason though, I can't recall having seen sensory processing disorder mentioned even once. It doesn't take more than a glance at Paris' description of the condition to see it's clearly part and parcel of autism - issues with specific textures, or notes/sounds, being sensitive to even a light touch or small smell, etc. Or, alternatively, noticeably less sensitive. I'm pretty sure the various and varying hyper- and hyposensitivities of autists are also among the diagnostic criteria.

There's not really a lot else to say here... it was just a mildly startling thing to run across and find it had its own name too, and I find it a little strange that this is the first I've heard of it.

Why must there always be a 'them'?


Nothing so much happened to prompt this particular post today, it's just something I had on my mind.

Intolerance bothers me. When I see people particularly indulging themselves in it, I like to try get them to rethink the situation at hand.

Actually, that got me bitched out a few days ago. Semi-constant stream of almost exclusively intolerant and nasty anti-religious pics reposted on my news feed by one particular person. I tried to point out as gently as possible that calling out religions on being intolerant by being intolerant was, at best, a little hypocritical. There's only so gentle you can make that message, though, when it basically boils down to "Hey, you're making an ass of yourself right now you know". I'm actually anti-organised religion myself, because of the tendency for it to become a breeding ground for mobs. The faith itself has little to do with it though.

Still, I might've been more annoyed at being bitched out if the attempt to do so wasn't so comically sad. The big 'take that' in all of it was that the person in question was no longer going to bother giving me the extra-special congratulations on having a baby (that I haven't actually had yet anyway)... extra-special because usually she doesn't give congratulations on that because "I don't see getting pregnant as an accomplishment". For some strange reason, I don't think that had the effect she was looking for.

What bothers me even more, though, is that some people can absolutely never take that hat off. I do't just mean they have a particular group they can never, ever stop hating on... I mean they must always find someone to single out and point to as bad. Even in places that are specifically meant to remove the factor of 'us' and 'them' so everyone can relax for a while.

I'm a member on FetLife. Not currently active right at this moment... I may get back to checking things there again at some point. Whenever I am active, though, there is a singular common theme at any given time to my contributions... not all the threads I'm posting on, but more a matter of a constant presence. There is always at least one thread I am actively contributing to, trying to push back intolerance.

FetLife is supposed to be a safe place for those in the BDSM community to hang out and talk with each other. You'd think a group which gets attacked so much from those outside of it would know better than to be bullies themselves... but apparently not.

Nor is it a few people, or even all that infrequent. It's mind-boggling. The number of times someone will come along and post a question, and be immediately buried in a downpour of attacks from basically everyone else on the thread. Accusations of abuse start flying, and somehow, not a single one of them even bothers to answer the damned question.

Now, I'll grant it's important to be watchful for abuse in the BDSM community. There are always those who will use the excuse of BDSM to get away with things that are actually just outright abuse. But being watchful and constantly jumping to conclusions are two very different things.

These conclusions are generally (and kind of necessarily) based on the assumption that the OP's partner is not, in fact, into X. On one thread, an attacker tried to defend their position to me by pointing out that the OP never said otherwise in their question.

Now, the kink in question is one of those that will quickly result in the other person leaving if you try spring it on them and they don't share your joy... and the post fairly heavily implied that this was not the first time trying this. All the OP was asking for was a couple ideas for a specific situation within it. I was left staring at this reply, my mind boggling, thinking, why on earth would you assume that his wife doesn't like it? Why is that the first place these people's minds go? There was no evidence that OP's wife would up and leave him over it if he dared, which is what everyone was insisting.

As for not providing the information outright in the first post, why should he have expected to be attacked immediately? He was asking a question. For most people posting on FetLife, this does not need to include the disclaimer "yes, my partner is into this as well so please just give the specific advice I'm looking for", and it should not have been needed now. So no, defending your intolerance and bullying with "well he didn't tell us any different" doesn't cut it. Aside from having been a stupid assumption to begin with, if there's information missing that you need to answer a question, you don't just fill in the blanks yourself however you damn well choose. You ask. Very few people are likely to think to mention every relevant factor immediately from the first post.

That wasn't even the worst instance I saw. Another thread, later down the track, was about CNC (consensual non-consent) and marking - someone just sharing a particularly good time they'd had with their sub.

Hoo boy did that set off a gigantic firestorm of abuse accusations with great speed. CNC is indeed an extreme in the BDSM community... but mostly due to the difficulties in making it work on a practical basis, especially standing-agreement CNC as opposed to single-session CNC. Even then, it's not exactly vanishingly rare. Those that do it are noticeably around, and those that like the idea but can't really make it work make up an even larger group. So I'm really not too sure why this kind of attention around it seems to crop up a lot on FetLife. It's very similar to the more common humiliation-play; if you don't like it yourself you're not really going to understand the appeal, and on the surface of it, it can look abusive. Would be, if not for the fact that it is consensual and even desired by both parties.

In this case, a most baffling cry went up that she said no, so it was abuse. It was enough to make me wonder if everyone had forgotten where we were. The very reason that safewords are so important in BDSM is that no does not always actually mean no - CNC even takes it a step further in that that fact is the entire point. If the tale had included her saying 'pineapple' and OP not stopping, sure. But just 'no'? Especially when the end also included clear indications of the happiness of both parties and aftercare from the Dom?

The reason that this threat was so much worse, though, is that the sub in question actually ended up weighing in herself, pointing out that it was, in fact, consensual. Most of the attackers who hadn't been dissuaded already at least had the decency to look a little shamefaced at this point and stop calling the OP a liar. Two people, however, did not.

One just continued to say it was wrong anyway. Clearly a proponent of the "one twue way", this man seemed to think any way that wasn't his way was the wrong way. This is really more a particular brand of idiocy than anything else.

The woman, however, was far more stunning. She immediately accused the sub of either being a fake puppet account for the Dom (five seconds of glancing at the profiles was enough to fairly thoroughly put that to rest), or otherwise clearly mentally infirm. That's right. She was so thoroughly intolerant to CNC that, as far as she was concerned, anyone who would consent to that is basically just clearly incapable of making their own decisions, and on par with some severe mental disability; to be pitied and helped and kept away from the ebil Dom-man at all costs.

BDSM is a group above all that should know better than to single people out, bully them, and rain down accusations of abuse without looking at the actual situation at all. After all, as a group we get it from everyone else all the time. And yet, even in the one place that is supposed to be a safe refuge from that sort of thing, it's still rampant. So many people are just apparently incapable of helping themselves from turning around and attacking someone in any given situation, even up to and including for much the same things they object to having been unreasonably attacked for. Even "benefit of the doubt" and "innocent until proven guilty" are not just thrown out the window - it's like such concepts never even existed.

I truly and honestly do not understand it... but it definitely makes it hard to maintain one's faith in humanity.

I probably shouldn't be allowed these things...


So today, in the midst of all the town stuff, my darling husband and my metamour clearly went to a second-hand store of some kind. I stayed home, so I'm not entirely sure where. One thing they got was a couple of sets of drawers, for which I am very glad.There's still lots of clothes that need sorting among the various boxes, and the lack of home for them has given my nesting a serious stumbling block, which has in turn made me antsy.

Now we just need bookshelves. Lots and lots of bookshelves.

What they also found and grabbed while they were there, however, is this:

Yes, the photo sucks. It's really hard to take photos with your webcam. Someone should totally send me a digital camera.
The idea was that it would be a great activity for me to share with baby as he got older, and that in the meantime, I might enjoy it myself. Certainly not an idea without merit; genetics is of great interest to me, and science and biological sciences too in a slightly broader sense. I originally went for the course to become a veterinarian at uni; when I didn't quite make the entrance cut, I fell back on genetics as a major.

If anything, the biggest flaw in this plan would be that I might get a little... too interested.

The set includes a simple light microscope, a magnifying glass, a (rather poor) pocket telescope, two collecting vials, a 'hatchery' thing, 8 blank slides, 2 prepared slides, spatula, tweezers, stirring rod and a small  plastic box with labels, slide covers and cover glasses. Sadly missing is the petri dish with what looks, on the picture, to be a magnifying lid. Probably the best of all the equipment for the kind of things most kids are likely to want to look at; really, a dissecting microscope is probably better than a light microscope.

Immediately, my mind sets into gear considering possibilities for actual usage. The prepared slides are definitely an awesome touch, but the novelty of looking at a bee's wing and what appears to be a bee's leg (the second slide is unlabeled for some reason) can only last so long.

Firstly, any kind of regular usage is going to mean getting new cover slips, especially as about half of the original twelve appear to have been used already. Fortunately, that's unlikely to be too expensive at a guess, given the enormous volume of usage they see in labs. Certainly the containers at uni tended to come in groups of 100 or more; they're small, single-use items, and kind of fragile to boot. Slides get washed, but every single successful and failed slide both means a cover slip disposed.

Then of course, there's the fact that like all low-end light microscopes, it doesn't have its own light source. So a desk lamp is probably a good idea at some point, because natural light is notoriously unreliable and makes actually using the things a bit of a nightmare.

Then there's the problem of the ideal things for light microscopes to look at... even of the fairly easily obtained samples, practically all of them require more precise tools than the cheap mostly-plastic ones provided, and many of them require stains to be properly viewed too...

Um. You can see where I might be inclined to get carried away, no? Actually, the tools problem is fairly easily solved... but that solution probably supports the point all the more. Namely, I'm fairly sure I know which box my dissection kit from animal bio is in.

Certainly I am sure, if my son displays any interest in science, that things will be very interesting.

I think perhaps my husband's attempts to restrain me from creating a small laboratory in a suitable corner of the house in the process might be more interesting, though...

Anyone got an Ark?


So, for the past few months or so, the North Island of our fair New Zealand has been in varying levels of drought. I'm not sure entirely how bad or how long; I know Napier was on water restriction, but until recently I lived in Palmerston North. Not only has it not been as bad all the way down the bottom of the North Island there, but Palmie itself is on a floodplain. Possibly even the only one in NZ. At any rate, the Manawatu breaks its banks fairly regularly there and as a rule the city is pretty chronic for rain, so the rest of the country could be in a drought and we'd experience maybe moderately dry.

When I moved to Tauranga it was certainly dry and hot enough to notice, though, and up this far the ground was noticeably dry. Then, maybe a week ago, it started raining. Like, raining. It has pissed down at least once a day every day. I was already starting to get a little concerned that we might see flooding.

But this was not the last to be heard from the weather, oh no. Tonight, we have even heavier rain, accompanied by thunderstorms. Not just here, either. So far I've heard of similarly severe rain in Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch. One of my Wellington relatives has been asking on facebook if anyone there happens to be building an ark, a call which I think I'll second.

Of course, for some strange reason, it's sunny in Ashhurst, approximately 15km out of Palmie.

What the hell, weather?

Worries in the Night


Night is not a good time for me. The time when I've finished reading all my feeds, and all my online friends in other time zones were in bed hours ago, and finding something to occupy my mind becomes more difficult. Or even worse, when I'm settling down to try and sleep. It's not always a good idea to leave me alone with my thoughts, with nothing to keep them at bay.

Last night, specifically, was a bad night. As sometimes happens, a song I'd put on gave me the urge to pick up the guitar and start singing. Now, I love to sing. I have my whole life. Alone in my room, there was certainly no reason not to. So I did. Only... it didn't last long.

Because there is one thing that most assuredly does not love me picking up my guitar and singing.

Here, I'm going to tangent for a bit. Recently, in this post, the Bloggess linked to 21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed. The post was inspired by 21 Habits of Happy People, which Rosalind essentially called out as unhelpful bullshit. And it is - is it ever! Because much as people tried to backpedal once confronted and claim that the list was not targeted at those who actually have depression, we need to be realistic about this.

People who are down right now, for whatever reason, but do not actually have depression, do not need your lists. Life sucks sometimes, they'll be down for a while, and then they'll carry on. They don't need to be told to "enjoy the little things", "be optimistic" or "appreciate life". Even if they've lost sight of those things right now, they'll work them out again eventually and all well and good. Without your help.

Take this quote:

Happiness is one aspiration all people share. No one wants to be sad and depressed. [...] I’m not saying happy people don’t feel grief, sorrow or sadness; they just don’t let it overtake their life. 

 Quite clearly, this is not aimed at people who can manage happiness by themselves. Therefore, it is aimed at those who can't. And, what do you know, there's a reason for that. They're quite right when they say no-one wants to be sad and depressed, which is why, if the answer is as simple as "buck up and think happy thoughts", that person does not tend to stay depressed. So automatically, anyone for whom the listed strategies are not horribly unhelpful and insulting, isn't going to need them.

The bit that gets me most on these lists - which I'm sure Rosalind directly addressed at some point, but I can't seem to find the relevant bit - is the "do what you love"/"make time for things you enjoy" piece of advice. Especially for those with chronic (as opposed to acute) depression, there's one big flaw with that particular suggestion.

Depression takes away your ability to enjoy things. How can you do what you love when you can't love what you love?

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I can remember a time where I could regularly play the guitar for more than two and a half songs (on a good day) without being overcome by an overwhelming wave of apathy. If I've got a set performance, with specific songs I need to play and finish to show people, that's one thing. But just sitting down and enjoying playing guitar? I can't anymore. Sometimes I can make it through two and a half songs... sometimes one and a half... sometimes I'll start five different songs and sort of trail off halfway through each one because I just can't bring myself to finish them.

Last night I think I made it halfway through the second song and somehow managed to barely limp through a couple more before I finally gave up. Last night, it got to me.

I'm tired of not being able to enjoy the things I know I love, that I should enjoy. I tried to get medication, once, several years back. Basically walked into the doctor's office and said "Please put me on antidepressants. Now." Unfortunately, I was a somewhat suicidally-inclined, autistic teen, which the doctor took one look at and returned with "How about we get your parents in? And take a look at other options? And literally anything we can manage that does not include putting you on these drugs?"

I can't say I blame the man - it's a fairly alarming collection of contraindicators. Due to the changes in brain chemistry that teens undergo, depression is very common and frequently temporary, tapering off along with the end of puberty. They don't like to risk a life-long addiction medicating something that could very well just correct itself. They also hesitate to medicate anyone with suicidal tendencies because anti-depressants tend to make things worse before they make them better. Lastly, we have autism. Due to the quirks in brain wiring and chemistry, any drug that affects either of these things have been known to go a bit... awry in autists, from time to time. Even worse, frequently not even in the same ways from one autist to the next. Anti-depressants are already a very hit-and-miss, keep trying until you find one that works for you kind of drug. It makes that search all the more difficult and risky when any given one just might act as, say, a psychotic, for no really discernible reason.

So while I still seriously consider anti-depressants, I'm not sure I much like my chances of getting any now, either.

Frustrations over not being able to enjoy much anymore, though, is not what caused the rest of my night to quickly devolve into clinging to my husband crying for at least a good couple of hours. What did that, was fear.

I am currently well into my second trimester. Sometime around the end of July, all going well, I will be bringing a new baby boy into the world. What had me in tears last night is the fact that I have no idea how I'm going to be able to be any good as a mother.

I'm not feeling as bad right now, but I can't say I really know the answer now either.

See, my dad taught me to play guitar... at first, anyway. Thing is, he has clinical depression too. I have no idea how hard he had to work to manage that... I do know, however, that eventually it just became too hard. Over time, my requests to play together got turned down more and more, until eventually I had to resort entirely to self-teaching. I wasn't a little kid when this happened; dad didn't hide the reason for it and I was plenty able to understand by then. But still, it sucked. There wasn't an awful lot I really got to share in with my dad, and it made me sad to lose something we did together.

I've never doubted that my dad loves me, and cares for me. I've certainly never felt unloved or neglected by him, or any such thing. But I do feel distant. I don't remember a time I ever really felt all that close to my father, and a big part of that was depression putting a barrier between us. Not just his, either. My own became noticeable to me somewhere around eleven, and I'm sure it didn't help matters any either.

I don't want my son to feel distant from me. I don't know how I'm even going to manage as much as dad did,  though. I can already barely play guitar at all; how am I ever going to hang in long enough to teach my child? Especially if, like me, it's another decade-plus before he's ever interested enough to actually learn? In another decade, am I even going to be able to pick up a guitar anymore?

Obviously this isn't the only thing in the world to share with my son, and it's full well possible that he'll never be interested in guitar anyway. This might never become a relevant point... at least, not directly. But the problem isn't the guitar. It's what it represents. It's one of the things I've managed to hold on to the best, for the longest, and even that's slipping away from me now, and has been for some time. It was the one, clear thing that made it really hit me: this is going to affect my child. It's going to affect my ability to be a good parent.

And god help me, I don't have any idea what to do about that.

Insert Obligatory Introductory Post


So, I've decided to try making a blog. About me, basically.

A place to ramble, to talk things through (even if it ends up being only to myself) to try get them straight in my head, to share my thoughts. Somewhere where I know I won't be bothering anyone, because anyone who hangs around long enough to read anything does so of their own choosing, and can stop at any moment. I have difficulty with social networking like Facebook because it's always seemed a bit like randomly breaking out my guitar in a room with other people; vaguely intrusive, and I forever feel like I'm going to bother someone.

I'm splitting this off to keep it separate from what I actually want to talk about that prompted this blog. And because random introductory posts are obligatory. Even the Bloggess had one. Of course, hers was totally way cooler than mine, but that's beside the point.