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What I Do Here

If you are here for genealogy, try this: http://walkitout.livejournal.com/tag/genealogy

I write about whatever I am thinking about. It helps me think about it and remember it later. Because I live far away from many of my longest term friends, we don't always get to participate in each other's daily life; sharing my blog is a second-best.

My interests change over time, but at any given time, I am usually very intensely interested in a few things. This might look more organized and logical than it really is. I have two children with autism spectrum diagnoses, and they seem completely normal for my extended family; if I were a kid growing up today, I'd have a diagnosis, too. Try to keep that in mind, if you're trying to figure out what kind of person would write the kinds of things I write.

I really think that a lot of our approach to identifying people who need support would work better if we focused on smaller-than-diagnostic modules (such as social interaction problems), rather than characteristic clusters (like ADHD or ODD or ASD or whatever). This particular analysis seems to share that way of thinking about kids who need support.

I've been really wondering a lot about the overlap between ASD and ODD for years now, especially as we have tried to have playdates with kids with the same diagnosis as my kids, but a very different range of symptoms. I had convos back when A. was doing EI with therapists who said that some parents diagnosis shop, which I just wasn't sure whether I really believed that was a full explanation or not (really, are all these high energy, high conflict kids with ASD diagnoses actually ODD instead? Because they sure set off my ASD-dar for the rest of the package: social interaction issues, sensory problems, narrow areas of deep interest, etc.). I try not to blame parents (because I don't want to be blamed, either!), and I sure recognize that when a parent has needs that aren't met, that is going to limit how much the parent can then do for their child. Part of why we work with a play therapist is because I recognize my limitations at helping kids solve relationship problems in a play context without either creating high structure or making the situation worse in some other way (neither of which gets at the thing I want my kids to be better at than I am, which is being able to relate well to other people and share goals and cooperate and All That Good, Prosocial Stuff).

I'm starting to think that maybe ODD actually starts out as what I think of as Grumpy Old Man Syndrome. You say, hey, let's do X. GOM says, NO! If you wait a few minutes, GOM will say, hey, I have an idea. Let's do X! Annoying as fuck, but manageable, if you can avoid engaging with the initial no. If you make the mistake of trying to convince GOM to do X, GOM will escalate and entrench, until GOM is saying that X will kill the kiddies, give us all cancer and directly start Armageddon within his limited remaining lifetime. Also, cost too much money. A parent that doesn't have GOM, and who figures out early on to wait, and maybe do some environmental nudging towards X, and doesn't require the GOM to admit it was actually the parent's idea, etc. etc. etc. can take a kid with GOM and produce an adult who may be a little annoying at times (especially when tired or surprised out of their routine), but is basically functional. A parent who has severe GOM themselves may wind up making an adult with severe GOM, aka, ODD. Assuming they don't just kill each other when the kid hits puberty.

We tend to think, oh, let's fix the kids and then it'll be good in the next generation. And I'm like, yeah, that's probably never going to be good enough for things like really entrenched, multi-generational GOM. You are going to have to mitigate with the 'rents, if those kids are gonna have any chance at all.
Let's say you buy something from a store. I think we're all clear on things like, hey, store, you are supposed to protect my credit card information from hackers. But what other requirements/limitations apply to a merchant?

Depends on where you are!

Linkage to follow, expect updates:


Visa and MC really don't want the customer slowed down or pissed off. They have rules preventing merchants from requiring additional ID for purchases as part of the regular process. Returns, by contrast, _can_ require state ID.

Basically, everything people did when you used to pay by check seems to be Not Allowed, and maybe that's part of why no one takes checks any more. However, this isn't necessarily the kind of privacy rules I was looking for.

There's this:


But that's more about borrowing/lending/etc. financial institution stuff, not going out and buying something from a store, or buying something from an online shop that is then mailed to you.

Another way to think about this is not a right to privacy but a right to control publicity associated with one's name.


Chuck Yeager sued a wireless company for using his name in a press release and won (I have no idea what happened on appeal, and honestly, the amount won didn't look like it justified the effort put into the suit), and also sued Virgin America for something similar.

This is a law firm warning you that this kind of thing can happen:


They mention this lawsuit, which was settled:


It's unclear what the total was from that, but there was a lot of money from a related case, that he then donated:


However, all the right to publicity laws are, er, trumped by first amendment rights. So while a shop that said this:

"Famalicious McCelebrity Shopped at FunFunSexyTimes!!!!! Order Your Sex Toy from FunFunSexyTimes Today!!!"

would probably lose in court should Famalicious McCelebrity choose to sue FunFunSexyTimes, I suspect that "Hey, It Is Political Speech And Thus Protected", if what FunFunSexyTimes said was actually this:

"Famalicious McCelebrity Shopped at Our Store and We Donated the Proceeds to support SomeCauseOrOther".

Especially if there was any reason to believe that Famalicious McCelebrity opposed SomeCauseOrOther.

I am trying to figure out what I think of all this. But the fact that this is not something that generally arises is all by itself kind of interesting. I mean, we've had lawsuits about whether the guv'mint can take a gander at your library record and what kind of warrant they need to do so. There's all kinds of stuff that stores can't ask the purchaser for. But boy, if the store knows who you are, and they are not actually trying to make money off you in an apolitical way -- like, if they wanted to share with the general public your shoe size or how you liked your burger prepared or that you really hate coleslaw -- there's really not much stopping them.

If you find evidence to the contrary, please share! I'll probably retain some interest in this for a while.


I got a mile walk with D., and another mile walk with M. and D. It was a very pleasant, relaxing day. T. went off with C. B. came by in the early afternoon and took both girls out to lunch at Julie's Place and then to the arcade. After that, we saw the play therapist for the first time in a while (she has been visiting family in another time zone). She was so happy to see A. again and meet R. (yet another R. -- there are so many of them in my life! And all wonderful people) and see how creative and cooperative they have been. For many families and many children, having friends and play dates are a normal, expected part of life. In our family, they have been ... effortful. But not now. R. and A. get along fabulously, and they find all kinds of fun little projects to engage in. It was really neat that the therapist who worked so hard with both my children get to see the results of all that effort in action.

I did a little decluttering (cleared off part of a dresser top, part of a desk drawer, found an Omron pedometer and then went to the post office to send it off to a friend) and ran a minor errand (picked up a DVD I'd requested at the library). I did more laundry (finally got around to doing my sheets and the towels in my bathroom) and ran the dishwasher. D. helped replace the tablecloth with the vinyl cover, so the (playdough encrusted) tablecloth could go through the laundry.

Things are looking better around the house than I think they ever have. It's really nice, especially when I think back to my end of June anger motivated clearing of the island in the kitchen.
One of the sitters suggested taking the girls to her place for swimming and also up to Fun World. They were gone a long time! Since D.'s son was with his father, and [I'm not allowed to say what T. was doing], D. and I went out to lunch at Red Raven in addition to our walk. We had manhattans and I got the steak; she got the fish and chips and she generously let me have a couple of her onion rings. Yum!

When R. got home, we realized that one child was still in Worcester (Ecotarium) and the others were still in Nashua, so R. and I went to Ginger Court where I had a second manhattan. Technically, this was an error. I wasn't ever drunk, but I still had a headache by the time I went to bed. Oh well!

It was a great day. Everyone had lots of fun.
I successfully went to my Dutch lesson!

This morning, I took both kids in the car over to Household Goods to drop off a toddler bed/chair thing that A. used to sleep in, then used to sit in, but was de-accessioned as part of the Great Bed Shuffle. They were happy to take it off our hands, especially since R. had taped the bits (pegs, screws, instructions, etc) in a ziploc baggie to one of the side pieces.

Then we stopped at the bank, where both kids got lollipops and I got cash.

Once they were both off with sitters, I went to my Dutch lesson, after removing some surface dirt from the soft furniture, the table and the island and putting the chairs and stools up so roomba could do its thing. It did not do its thing, so I wound up running it when I returned. Oh well. I was doing this for Complicated Reasons, partly because I wasn't sure the cleaner was even going to show up but mostly because even if the cleaner did show up, her health has precluded her from actually finishing a lot of the work. I wrote a note to her about what I _did_ want her to do (vacuum the 3rd floor and dust up there), and after I returned and talked to her, I had some frustrating conversation with her about other tasks ("Can you lift your arms above your head?" "Yes." "OK, take the long handled swiffer and get all the cobwebs on the ceiling." "Oh, I get vertigo when I try to do stuff above my head." *blink* She wanted to use a stepladder. I'm trying to avoid a horrifying accident/death, and if you tell me you get vertigo lifting your arms above your head, I am NOT going to agree to you using a stepladder to get cobwebs from the 10 foot ceiling. There was also a convo about windows; she won't just do the inside if she can't do the outside. *sigh*). I'm not sure if I can make this work out, but I'm going to keep trying to find things I don't want to do, that I think do need to be done, and that I'm willing to pay someone else to do.

I had a nice walk with M. I was out of blondies so she had leftover birthday cake instead.

R. and I tried to go out to dinner at 4:40 but the sitter came home early. When I asked her to let me know in advance when she was going to be dropping the kid off so early, she said, "I never do." which isn't much of an answer and isn't strictly speaking true. It was not easy getting further scheduling information out of her for the rest of the week. Even tho a few days ago she said she'd be starting each morning at 10 a.m., it turns out she won't be showing up until 12:30 on Thursday -- and it isn't clear _when_ she was planning on telling me that until I asked her for the rest of the week's information (again) today.

August. I blame August.

Liveblogging _The Soul of an Octopus_

Page 12, after a discussion of animals, feelings, etc.

"To many, we spoke heresy. Skeptics are right to point out that it's easy to misunderstand animals, even those most like ourselves. Years ago, when I was visiting Birute Galdikas's research camp in Borneo, where ex-captive orangutans were learning to live in the wild, a new American volunteer, smitten with the shaggy orange apes, rushed up to an adult female to give her a hug. The female picked up the volunteer and slammed her against the ground. The woman didn't realize that the orangutan didn't feel like being grabbed by a stranger."

I'm not sure this story belongs in the context of "animal feelings are hard to understand/some people don't think they exist". This is more like a, don't be an idiot story. You can honestly have the exact same experience with a human as with that orangutan, if you go up and enthusiastically hug the wrong stranger at the wrong time.

The next paragraph is actually worse. After telling some story about an animal communicator (self-identified) who uses telepathy to talk to animals including an elephant: "After her telepathic conversation with the elephant, the communicator told the keeper, "Oh, that elephant really likes me. He wants to put his head in my lap." What was most interesting about this interaction was the part the communicator may have gotten right: Elephants do sometimes put their heads in the laps of people. They do this to kill them. They crush people with their foreheads like you would grind out a cigarette butt with your shoe."

Actually, elephants used to be used to kill in battle and as executioners. But they usually used their feet to crush. I'm still looking for an example of an elephant crushing anything with its forehead. The statement in the book is unsourced. *sigh* Look, feel free to make fun of the person who claims to be telepathic. I don't really care. But elephants crushing people by putting their (elephant) heads in the human person's lap? Sourcing, please!


Elephants crushing human heads using elephant feet. Just like you would _expect_ an elephant to go about the business. This head in lap theory just doesn't make a lot of sense. The elephant would get a completely unnecessary crick in its spine.

Also, for your enjoyment. An elephant snuggling in someone's lap:


Repeated, unsourced, in an excerpt in the Boston Globe:


Insert snotty remark about people from New Hampshire.

ETA: The stuff about the possible effects of octopus ink on pages 158-60 is really interesting.

Weird editing error on page 161: "(Tarantulas do this too -- if a leg is injured, they will break if off and eat it.)" The error is that the second "if" should be "it".

ETAYA: p 194 gratuitous error

"Says a cameraman for the Seattle NBC affiliate, KOMO."
The horse was canceled due to expected heat, which did in fact occur. R. got a walk.

T. and I went to Savers in the morning to drop off some of what we decided to get rid of as a result of yesterday's Great Bed Shuffle. Then we went home. After a bit, we went to Willow Books, where we bought T. the rest of the Harry Potter series (he got several volumes for his birthday at yesterday's party, and R. found a volume that I bought him back in 2005 -- that's kinda funny right there). We also bought 4 100 piece (small pieces_ puzzles with Harry Potter scenes and Tales of Beetle the Bard and Quidditch Through the Ages.

The balance of the day was spent hanging out, doing laundry, etc. R. and T. went to Crossroads for dinner. A. has been attempting to craft a wardrobe for a doll dress and I got tired of this not working (paper first and then improvisational stuff involving a plastic gladware container and a stylus) so I ordered an American Girl doll sized wardrobe.

I had this idea I'd rope the kids into helping clean mirrors and so forth, but that never happened.
Today, I went to Whole Foods. R. had gone to pick up the cake yesterday, but when I realized that we were expecting a kid with egg and milk allergies, I went back this morning to get a vegan chocolate cake. Then he woke up with a cold, so I took the (still frozen) cake and stuck it in the chest freezer for the next birthday party.

At 10 a.m., we all showed up at Altitude: two kids from T.'s class, another kid from his program but a different class, one of the boys he does therapeutic riding with, the lovely family we've been having playdates with and assorted parents and siblings all came to celebrate T.'s birthday with him. They jumped for an hour and then we had pizza and cake. It was simple, but really, really, really fun. A. wants to do the same for her party. I sent invites via text and a couple emails, and never had to send reminders because everyone checked in with me the day before! Apparently we have really wonderful friends! Well, okay, the kids do!

We are now in the middle of the Great Bed Shuffle. T. had the full bottom bed from his bunk bed and A. had the top twin bunk. This was working okay, but it was hard to snuggle with A. at night in the twin as she gets bigger and I don't get any smaller. R. moved the twin back into T.'s room as a top bunk. Then we removed the toddler bed/chair that was in A.'s room in its chair configuration. Finally, R. moved the full sized futon from the 3rd floor down to A.'s room. So now she has a big enough bed for us to snuggle in, that can convert to seating if she wants space to play/a place to sit.

This is an enormous project. I know, I know, you're thinking, that sounds like a lot of work. But there were probably a dozen stuffed animals under T.'s bed. Etc. There was a great deal of vacuuming.

House is looking pretty decent, tho, especially since having a meeting at the house motivated me to clear off the dining table, replace the tablecloth, etc.

Best news of all: T. was perfectly content getting rid of all but a few of the soft animals/pillow pets/etc. that were gathering dust under his bed.

ETA: We all went out to dinner at the Pub on the Common, followed by Kimball Farms, where we used up some gift certificates/gift cards. A day of Togetherness is rare when not on vacation. Not sure why this happened. The kids sure bicker when this happens, which is why it is so rare.
The kids were out with sitters, so I had a meeting at home. A very nice woman representing NACPM explained to me in some detail what they are working on and why. If you think there should be an accredited process by which people could become professional midwives that doesn't require them to go through a full nursing path, so that _legal_ midwife-assisted physiologic birth could be accessible across the country, drop me a line and I'll put you in touch with her.

If you don't really care about that, but you do care about reducing maternal and perinatal mortality, unnecessary surgical and medical interventions in the birth process, the same.

And if you don't care about any of that, but you do care about health care costs in this country, the same again!

Off soapbox once again. R. and I had lunch at the British Beer Company. I normally avoid drinking at lunchtime, but he pointed out the rye manhattan on the menu so, you know, I drank. They make a very simple manhattan (bulleit rye and rosso rossi, IIRC, no bitters definitely) which is nevertheless really, really good. I had the fish and chips, which was also really, really good. And I ate it all, so I didn't have a very big dinner later on in the day because I was still full from lunch.

R. and I later drove out to Target, and encountered a wicked thunderstorm. That was exciting. We were in search of full/double bedding for A.'s new-to-her bed. We were not able to find merch bedding (Frozen or Minnie would have been great) in anything other than twin, but we did find ice cream cone design! That's kinda cool.
Today, my Dutch lesson was canceled because the instructor had a cold. This is somewhat funny, because I didn't go on the off chance I might give him the cold my son had. He got it anyway, which makes me sad for him, but at least it's not my fault.

T.'s last day of summer school was yesterday. We went to Whole Foods. He hadn't necessarily wanted to go, but I needed some things for the two play dates today. The second play date was ultimately canceled, which is probably just as well because A. would probably have been quite tired if she had school and two play dates in a row. As it was, she was very happy, and we reschedule the second one to next Thursday.

I made two rounds of salsa (one ginger jalapeno no garlic no onion for R., one cubanelle garlic and green onions -- both tomato, cilantro, lime) and had tortilla chips and black bean tortilla chips. Since that play date never happened, I got to eat my salsa, guacamole (didn't make it -- got that at the store), some of the black bean chips and a freezer burrito (Amy's Kitchen non dairy) for dinner.

I've been doing a fruit plate and a raw veg plate for the daily playdates. The fruit plate has strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, clementine, apple. The raw veg plate is carrots, celery, radish, grape or cherry tomatoes, bell pepper. After about three hours, there is usually about a quarter of the veg left and a tiny amount of fruit. As a really nice side effect, my snacking has gotten much healthier. Altho I do usually break out the blondies after a couple hours.

It was really hot and muggy, so we didn't actually walk today. That was sort of a bummer, but walking would have been more of a bummer and I needed a rest day anyway.

No cleaning (beyond the usual round of laundry and run the dishwasher) and no decluttering. Altho I am plotting a huge furniture rearrangement involving both kids bedrooms and the 3rd floor for the weekend, but I need to go buy some pink bedding in double/queen size first.

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