Wednesday, March 31, 2010

He seems to be a happy baby

Cris writes in my journal...

September 9, 1982 

Just got back from shopping and all of us are soaking wet. A warm September cloud burst. The third today. The first ones came 30 seconds after we finished washing the "Bug" in Bayport. Only have had it about a week and we still can't quite believe it. We finally own a red VW. Cute little thing. Sue drives it rather well - but not as often as she'd like. Eric also has fallen in love with the feel of driving the little bugger. I get to steal it away all for myself when I drive it to work and home for lunch. Oh yea, another first. A job I rather like - Studio Sin Something (unreadable) - North Main Street, Stillwater. I can really get into it. and I have the callouses and razor cuts all over my hands to prove it. They hurt - but in the pain I feel accomplishment and satisfaction. Aja's taking a bath now. She's really got the hang of her potty chair. Harris is getting stronger all the time. Since Sue spends the day with them while I work she can fill in the details of their most recent progress. Take it away love.

September 14, 1982

Aja is certainly learning to talk. She has learned to say "mine" in the last week. She uses "me" sometimes too. Among her new words are: Pickle, Eggs, Yogurt, Button, Barrette, Doll, Paint, Diaper, Pen, Bee, Write and Pin to name a few.

She is starting to use her potty chair more often. One day she used it from morning until nap time with no diaper on and absolutely no accidents! She loves to brush her teeth every night after her bath. And she even takes her naps and sleeps at night after a hug and kiss from dad then from mom. I lay her down and wait until she puts her leggs down (she holds them up in the air) and then I cover her up with her blanket and say "goodnight" and "I will see you in the morning - or when you wake up".

It took a long time for her to get used to the idea of being by herself but now Cris and I can even talk while she's laying awake and talking to herself in bed.

Wow, Harris is going to the doctor today. We will see how much he has grown. I know he's done a lot of growing. He smiles a lot and coos when I talk to him. He seems to be a happy baby. He can hold his head up mostly too. He loves to take a bath and when the water is running in the sink for it he is happy and seems to know what is coming. Harris likes to swing, and rock, to be held and talked to and sit in his chair and watch Aja playing. He kind of tenses up when he sees her coming close because she hugs him hard and tries to pick him up like a doll or something. She is getting nicer I think. When I am holding Harris, Aja sometimes asks me to put him in his bed or in the swing so I can hold her but usually she sits on my lap with him.

I will write more when we come back from the doctor's. Harrison weighed in at 11 pounds 5 ounces and he is 23-1/2 inches long!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Harrison, my son, my son

July 13, 1982

I'm waiting for the doctor to come. Nothing much is happening. I called my dad to say we might be coming over for a while if the doctor says it is okay. Anne and Aja are sleeping now. My dad said he heard them get up at about 5:00am for a glass of milk.

This is getting boring. since 1:00 yesterday afternoon I have been having contractions. We moved a whole bunch of furniture into our house - Grandpa Norm's things: two sling chairs, a rocking chair, a sewing cabinet, a beautiful vanity, dresser, bed with a nice mattress, a bench (for the vanity), an oriental rug, a chair, and various small items. Boy does our house look different. I managed to do the dishes and put away the laundry before we left for the hospital. Cris just finished Aja's sandbox the night before last (July 11th) and she really likes it. I am trying to get him to build a climber for Aja from the wood in the garage. I think she would really like that.

The contractions are somewhat regular and they are getting stronger. When this is over I am going to take a long nap, maybe 48 hours or more! (I don't think so.)

July 13, 1982

I think I will be going to the hospital again soon. I think this is really it. It will be nice to see this baby finally. It is getting a bit ridiculous I think. For awhile I thought it may stop. I would have been heartbroken but I took two walks and that seems to have done the trick. Cris is watching "Ripping Yarns" so I think I'll wait until that's over and maybe a little bit longer, maybe 11:00 will be alright. My dad says I will probably be about 7-8cm dilated when I go in. I don't think so maybe 1cm is more like it so I will wait...and wait.

I've talked to Cris's mom today and Mary (David and Alex's Mary) and she cheered me up a bit. I am sure we will have lots to talk about. (They sent me home in the morning.)

July 19, 1982

Well, I had a boy! I don't believe it! He looks like me too. Harrison Thoreau (I believe) was born at 10:35PM on July 18, in 1982 (I'm sure you know that but I'm just practicing). He was 7lbs 2oz and 20-3/4 inches long. What a big boy! I think the nurses will bring him to me soon. I am pretty sore (my stitches) and my uterus is clamping up now and then but other than that I'm fine, but I am hungry and tired as can be expected. Well, I think I'll tell all about labor and delivery.

Cris had predicted way back in April that the baby would be born on the 18th and I said the 19th - that is pretty good, huh?

Well, this morning (I am talking about the 18th you understand) I woke up and did the dishes (wait a minute!) I asked Cris to do them and HE did, sorry Cris. I cleaned the house. I was getting a few contractions and I joked about being in labor, not believing it and ignored them. We brought laundry to Grandpa Norm's house and I did 4 loads of it (by myself) the contractions were still coming and might I say they were starting to take a bit of concentration about 2:00 or maybe 3:00 (you see I was ignoring them). I had a good raspberry sundae and then sent Cris home to get fabric softener. He came back and went to get Burger King for us. By that time I was fairly sure I was in labor. I estimate my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and fairly regular. I had to sit down for them or if I was hanging laundry on the line, I just paused. Aja was being extra good that day - only getting into a little trouble as expected but not fits of anger or anything.

It is nice that Cris and Aja can be together when I in here because I know they both need me and I need them. I love them very, very much and I wouldn't be able to function without them or they without me I suppose.

We went home around 6:30-7:00 and we told Grandpa, who had asked us to stay longer, that I thought I was in labor, funny thing is that I thought it the last time there too! When we got home Aja took a much needed nap while I read The Waterfall (Margaret Drabble) that my mom had lent to me for the hospital and Cris took a shower. I put away the clothes with help from Cris and he checked my dilation and he figured I was starting to dilate more than I had before.

So, seeing that I knew now that I was in labor, we quick packed Aja's bag and mine. Cris put it in the car and I tried to call my parents - no one home. Called my doctor; they said he would call. Called Mary and David - no one home. Called mom and dad - They were home! Told them to expect us. Grandpa called and said we forgot the raspberries, I told him I was going to the hospital and he started saying how if he was sleeping when we came, he would put them between the doors for us to pick up to bring to my parent's house. I interrupted and said we were going now.

We didn't wait for the doctor to call back - a good thing too. We dropped Aja off, she waved goodbye and off we went.

We came into the hospital about 9:00. I was 4-5cm dilated I went into the bathroom to give a urine specimen and when I was done urinating, I sat on the toilet feeling another contraction and lo and behold my bag of waters broke right there into the toilet. How convenient!

There was meconium (means the contents of the baby's intestines, or poop, if you wish) in the water so I told the nurse. She said it was normal for breech babies - I believe that! Then into bed a few good contractions and they hooked up a fetal monitor measuring the baby's heart and my contractions. That was neat. I tried to get some of the tape but the nurses said it was in the baby's records, so...

I handled it very well, the checked me again - 6-7cm. The another contraction and I had to go to the bathroom (around 10:00). While going to the bathroom and then contraction and the urge to push - PANT BLOW!  Back into bed another (2 minutes apart) Pant, blow - boy that was tough. At about 10:15 they were checking me (almost complete) and decided to bring me to the delivery room at least the chair would be more comfy (I couldn't lay on my side or I felt excruciating pain). They did this quickly between contractions and by the time I had just one more, then the doctor said I was completely dilated - it was okay to push.

One good push, "Please adjust the mirror", then one more push. Here it comes the butt and legs I said, "It's a baby!" It's a boy! and he's inside of me - more pushing, his arms are moving on the outside on my thighs and butt and his head is inside me, push gently, plop! No breathing, just sucking sound, the nose and the mouth, soon crying. Just wonderful, I felt terrific. They put the baby about 4 feet away from me and I had my glasses so I could see his legs were flexed like this (V__o) What a sweetie! So that's Harris, a son! How wonderful! Cris is smiling! Just wonderful! They let me hold the baby after a bit - he looks like me! No lines on the lip - Cris said that this one's a "Lowe Baby" (I have a smooth philtrum - many people do not even notice - Harrison on the other hand does indeed have a philtrum - even though it may have looked like he had none immediately after being squished out of my body...) Cris held him - oh I like that! my boys! Cris such a good dad! I don't know a dad better than he is but I think my brother David ranks up with him.

Cris is so good, so patient. I said about 3 mean word orders when I was about 7-8cm dilated. I looked him in the eye and said, "NO!" that's not very nice but I think he is so good and understands so well. I love him for that. I wouldn't have been able to do it without him.

We brought the baby back to the labor room. Cris carried him (I like that). I nursed him and he did real good. He was just looking around - very smart baby I think! He cried a bit but I got him to stop by talking to him. Cris held him in between sides and he was calling my mom and dad and grandpa and then I called Cyndie and John, and David and Mary, then Cris remembered to call his dad (wow!), everyone was happy! (Of course they were) After a bit, the nurse asked if we were done with the baby. I said I was tired and Cris went with the baby to get weighed (he called his dad after that - he remembered during a cigarette). Cris came back and told me the weight - wow - 7 pounds 2 ounces - the doctor had thought maybe 6 pounds 2 ounces or so - that is nearly a pound difference.

I called my mom and dad and told them Cris was coming (it was 12:30am) and he had pictures and then Cris left. He's probably sleeping now with Aja and I am half awake and starving waiting for my baby and my breakfast. I hope they both come soon!

Lot's of excitement! I guess I was very enthusiastic and excited - that would be appropriate for the birth of my second child, Harrison, my son, my son. 

Two things stick out here for me to comment on. Number one is how close I seem to my brother David and his wife Mary. I know I looked up to them. David is 12 years older than I am. I was enthusiastic that we were having children at the same time. David and Mary divorced when Alex was 4 or so. I am not sure exactly when. Mary saved money and then left David - a surprise for everyone. David was very hurt. He married another woman quickly, Vicki. She had two children, one son almost Alex's age and one daughter, a little older than ianthe. Vicki was, and still is a wonderful woman.

As time went on, David and Vicki (or maybe it was just Vicki's influence) became more and more christian - like scary right-wing christian. It confused me at first, how my brother could change so radically. I slowly lost him to his new beliefs.

Now the grown son is a Pastor, married to the most lovely of people - incidentally a pastor's daughter - and they are expecting their first child. David and Vicki's first grandchild. The daughter spent a couple years as a missionary in Africa and will soon be married. And Alex? Poor Alex. The child tossed back and forth between mother and father, undiagnosed, untreated mental illness and alcoholism. Poor child, rejected by the devout christian family - how very sad. How very unchristian. It makes me weep.  

I do not mean to hurt David or Vicki, or their children. They are lovely people. I just do not understand their worldview. They are theists. I am an anti-theist. I am violently opposed to the idea of a god or gods or supernatural force or anything like that. My love for them is as deep as my confusion about how they can not only believe, but actually devote their lives to an imaginary idea. This is unkind for me to think. I realize that. I love them. I wonder how I can believe two opposing things at the same time. But then again I wonder how they can hold their christian beliefs and shun their own child/sibling.

The second thing that sticks out - and I have not pointed it out before, is the medical jargon I toss about. In an earlier post, I judge a doctor as "not sure that he knew what he was doing" as if I really have enough knowledge to determine that. That is Asperger's thinking. I toss about medical terms mimicking my father, and the doctor speak around me. 

I have become even worse about doctors after my two bouts with cancer. I see in this journal, that I asked for a bit of the printout from the heart monitor. If it were happening now, I would have ripped off a bit without blinking an eye. 

As Jeanne commented on an earlier post - I am a person that believes that I am better than everyone else around her, and at the same time, thinks that I am the worst person of all. Again, I wonder how I can believe two opposing things at the same time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Alexander John was born yesterday

June 6, 1982

Alexander John was born yesterday (actually on the 4th close to midnight). He was 11 pounds 8 ounces and 23-3/4 inches long! That is awfully large. Mary had a C-Section because the baby was posterior as opposed to anterior (posterior is when the baby's spine is on the same side as mom's - and anterior is the baby's spine is towards the mother's abdomen - which is the way babies usually are - it is easier to deliver them because that is the way the baby bends!)

We are going to see him tonight. My mom says he is really cute. I believe it. Aja was just beautiful and I would hope all of her cousins were cute!

Well, on to our baby...

I went to the doctor the other day and he said that he thinks the baby will be breech. He said he would let me deliver it normally if it is a frank breech, but if the feet come first there will be a problem and he will have to do a cesarean. I don't want that. i am still hopeful that he or she will turn around and not give me any problems. I still have six weeks to go (or so). We have decided on names for the baby - Zen Harris or Maya (no middle name as of yet). We know our parents and family are not going to like Zen Harris as a name but they didn't like Aja either. We are the ones that we have to please and we both like it! and Maya is a very pretty name and it is also East Indian like Aja. It means "Creative Power". I like that. Oh by the way, the doctor did an ultrasound and found that the baby is due on the 22nd of July. I thought you might want to know that.

We have rearranged our house seeing that we are guaranteed another six months here. We put our living room into our dining room, our dining room on our porch and our work area is in our living room. Aja's bedroom was rearranged and the new baby's dresser was put in there and filled with baby clothes. We are awaiting the crib to put back there so Aja can get used to it.

We are going to rearrange our bedroom so it can accommodate the cradle but we have to wait for Alexander John to grow out of it (which won't be long!) Moving the house around makes it easier to clean and when someone comes to the door and if I was feeding the baby I wouldn't have to panic. We even have a telephone in our living room, just like real people! Anyways, I really like our "new" house and we are all awaiting anxiously its new tenant. It is up to he or she to decide when to come.

July 1, 1982

Yesterday I got my permit and even went for a little ride out back of Bayport. What fun! I only got one wrong on the test - oh well - so I scored 96.We went on the 29th of June to Target and got a carseat for the new baby and a potty chair for Aja. She is so smart. I am sure she will start using it soon. She has started going to sleep by herself in her crib. I hope I will be able to leave her in there awake by the time the baby comes. Well the crib is all set up in Aja's room and the bottles are sterilized and the diapers are awaiting use. My hospital bag is packed and the going home clothes are too. When I went to see the doctor the other day he said the baby is already around six pounds and if I carry it to term it will be SEVEN pounds! Wow! That is Normal! I hope I have this baby soon - in about two weeks from now would be perfect.

I got a stretch mark from this kid on my right hip - how disappointing! I hope I don't get another one. I am so uncomfortable. I'm much larger than I was with Aja. The large baby makes me think that it's a boy - but still I think it may be a girl - but we are going to know before it is born, because it is breech and I believe there isn't a chance in the world that it will turn over.

Aja is really quite the talker now. She is into saying firetruck and then saying "ooooo" like a siren. She can say car (sounds like tar) and teeth. She clearly says Bye, Eye and Hi. She went into the bedroom yesterday and told her dad, "Butter". She was sitting in my lap (I was going to the bathroom) and she pointed at her potty chair and said, "Potty" I said, "Yes, very good!" Then she pointed down at me and said, "Potty". "Very good, Aja!" Then to top it off she pulled at her diaper and said "Potty". Now that's pretty smart I think!

Some new words include Balloon (Hot air balloons have been flying around all summer), Plane, Bug, Bird (This is not new but she uses it frequently and correctly), Wind, Cookie, Apple, and she is learning Candy.

Aja went swimming at Bayport Beach and she really loved it. We carry around her bathtub around in the car and she uses it as a pool at Grandpa Norm's house, down in Bayport, and at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

On the 9th we are going to David and Mary's house to baby-, dog-, and house-sit for a few days. It will be good practice for me and kind of a dress rehearsal for Aja. We will see how she likes a baby around - her moods and so forth so we can be prepared!

I wonder who I am writing to. It seems like I am writing a letter to someone, don't you think? I thought for a minute there I would get to an entry without another list. Nope. Another list of new words. I think I was saving words just as I saved my children's scribbles. All of them. I threw out a whole bunch, but I am cleaning out under the stairs and I found a lot more. How many scribbles would you find interesting? One or two? How about 12? It is hard to let them go. But I am going to do my best.

I like that I took a small part in my journal to mention the birth of my nephew Alex. How very generous of me - lol. His dad will become a grandparent in May for the first time. I am anxiously awaiting news of the arrival of "Baby Girl Fixx". Grow baby grow!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Too Much Infomation!

May 19, 1982
claim token A6BMM7SB349M

Aja has learned how to say "hi" and "bye" and she is always greeting people or saying bye to them, it is so cute. We are finally hearing her true speaking voice. She sure understands a lot now too - and tries ti say things though they are hard to pronounce - bird is hard but she says "bir" and the tries to make a bird sound and when we are at Gramma's house out on the porch, she opens the porch door and calls "kigie" in her high-pitched voice - so cute! My pride and joy!

Cris writes in my journal...

Still May

And something else is discovered - raeeeen! A very cute little word that she associates with all sorts of water (except ba - or bath). Quite shocking and sometimes scary, she seems fascinated by rain. She handled it pretty well the other day when we all got stuck in Pioneer Park, seeking refuge under a slide from a small shower.

We have quite a bit of fun, Aja and I, while Sue's at work, subbing at the daycare now and then. We get along and communicate pretty well. She never takes a nap though. Too much to do, so she goes right to sleep when mom gets home.

That rain. That rain was the start of Aja's first ear infection. She has had infections all her life in her ears. She is deaf in one of her ears now. It is my fault.

All this detailed information about Aja really reminded me of the baby book. I asked Aja about it. She said it was in the storeroom under the stairs. Since I am on spring break, I thought, "Hey! I should clean and organize that room." 

Aja pulled the book out of her storage box. I photographed most of the pages. I present them for your amusement.

aja's baby book


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Boys perplex me....

March 28, 1982

I have a lot to write down so I am going to skip around a bit.

Aja is talking so much lately as of today she says: Ball (bha), Pop (bop), Juice (jewsh), Bath (bah), Gramma (dhadwa), Baby (bahbah), Cheese (cheesh), Hot (haa), Brr (as in cold - bwww), Foot (fuh), Nose (no), Jump (jah jah jah in rapid succession), What's that? (wazah), Goodbye (quite clearly). She says other words too but I can't isolate them all.

Aja is learning to run now and she runs so fast (about as fast as my normal walking pace) that she bumps into obstructions like walls, the desk, her table, even the door (when it is shut!). She is learning things so fast now, mostly words are her main concern, every day she learns something new. Today we were reading Tuffy the Tugboat (my name for it) and we went over the same words for about 5 minutes - boy, basket, boat and kitty (Kitty is another word she already knows - she says kiggy). She found the basket because it is in another of her books "50 Words to Grow On". Every time we come to that page with the basket she points at it and I say "Easter basket". Boy, does she get a kick out of that!

She is learning the parts if the body although she cannot say the words, she understands eye, nose, ear, foot, and belly button. When I tell her that there is a baby in my stomach, she points at my belly button and then lifts her shirt up and finds hers! Oh well, she is just going to have to wait until June to find out about the baby.

I am going to deliver at St. John's hospital in St. Paul. I just changed doctors. My new doctor is named Dr. Kuhlenkemp. What a funny name. He seems very competent and I am satisfied with him unlike Stratte. I didn't know if he really knew what he was doing.

Well, Aja woke up from her nap and we took a shower. She never took a shower before and she seemed to be a bit confused, but she put the stopper in so the water got deep and she sat in it while I got dressed. Then she hesitantly got out.
 March 29, 1982

Well, I really wanted to say a bit about the baby to come. Cris and I are considering naming her Bailey if she is a girl or Harrison if he is a boy. I don't really care what sex the baby is, but a girl would be nice because I had one girl and I know how to handle girls. Boys perplex me. They have different requirements - especially in the diaper region. That is one consideration - I am not saying that I couldn't learn, of course I could. Another reason in favor of a girl would be that since Aja and this baby would be so close in age, two girls would seem to be closer friends than a boy and girl.

This baby (going on to other things) kicks a lot. It seems to be more active than Aja was. Yesterday, he or she reached my ribs. Now I will be in discomfort for as long as the baby is inside of me. My back doesn't hurt unless I sit "funny" for a long period of time, which I try to avoid doing. I can't stand for long periods of time because my feet get all tingly but I can walk long distances.

I am constantly getting contractions. It kind of worries me because I wouldn't want the baby to come too soon. The doctor seems unsure of when the baby is due. maybe he will do an ultrasound on me. That would be nice. I liked that with Aja - and you get a picture! And of course they can see how the baby is doing.

I am looking forward to having this baby - maybe it is sheer insanity. I know how much work a baby is - not to say how much Aja and another baby will be, but still I am waiting. I have gone over all my notes on labor and that sort of thing. I am confident I can deliver without medication. Although, I would ask for something if my bags of waters (sic - lol) doesn't break like the last time. Of course we will take pictures and I will bring this book to the hospital and write down how everything went.

Wow, that is pretty funny. A list of words Aja can say. I think I should ask her to bring her baby book over sometime - I can show you how obsessive I was at listing everything about her life: first band-aid, first time she watched me cross the room, first  nail clipping, etc...

I am amused about my childish ideas about baby boys and their mysterious "diaper regions". I actually am laughing out loud. The same immature thinking really shows when I explain to my 14 month old child that there is a baby inside me. I am sure she was riveted by my explanations. I talk to babies and children as if they are adults. Anthony says I do, at least. I try to reason with them like they understand my arguments pro or con against having some cereal before a bite of yogurt, or whatever. Last weekend, ianthe scolded me for snatching a ball away from Sienna before she could take it from her brother. "Real mature mom. She is only two years old." 

When I do stuff like that, I am not even thinking. I am just acting on impulse. I make a decision. For example, "Sammie will like to go on top of the cupboards." I grab Sammie and thrust her upwards, over my head, up towards the top of the cupboards. Sammie doesn't particularly want to go up top the cupboards at the moment. She has been happily grooming herself near the hot air vent. Anthony catches me forcing the cat to climb to the top of the cupboards. "Put the cat down, Susan!" I can't stop. I am singular-minded. "Susan, Stop! Put the cat down!" Cat scratches and bites. There is much damage. Blood runs down my forearms and drips from my elbows. Then Anthony gives me the "Please wash those wounds carefully. Why did you think that was a good idea?" lecture. I feel confused because I don't know why I was trying to force the cat to climb the cupboards. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. I am in physical pain and want Anthony to comfort me, not lecture me. He helps me apply the bandages.

I remember reading the books and discussing things with Aja, then with the other kids too as they were growing up. I repeated things over and over again. I am like a parrot. I find comfort in repetition. I could read the same book over and over to my children. I would have it memorized. I wouldn't even have to look at the words. I continue to have the same conversation again and again with my grandchildren. I say the same thing over and over again to my students. Repetition is my friend. Before leaving the house for work, I look at one of the cats, and seriously announce that it is "in charge" for the day.

Since I am on Spring break, I took Anthony out for lunch today. I told him about yesterday's post. How I was frustrated that Aja spoke and squealed. I recalled that my mother was pretty angry that I had named my child "Aja". She had never heard the name before, so that made it unacceptable to her. She had called me the a couple days after I had taken Aja home from the hospital. She asked, "What are you calling the baby?" of course, I thought she was hoping that I had decided to call her by her middle name "Sue". I defensively answered, "Aja, what else would I call her". I remember that. I remember how weird it was to say. Cris was at school during the day, so I spent the majority of my time alone in silence with the baby. I didn't call her anything. I stared at her. I stared at all my babies. Why would I talk to them? They couldn't understand me.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It is very high pitched too! It drives me nuts!

February 3, 1982

Aja never shuts up now-a-days. She mumbo jumbo's all the time. She is just beginning to learn some words like doggie and kittie (sic). She says kitty without the "K" and a very guttural doggy like daddy in a way but she knows the difference. She goes "auf" when she hears us talking about dogs or when she sees pictures of them. And when she wants something (Anything) she says "Muh" and points in the direction of her wishes whatever they may be. And it is very high pitched too! It drives me nuts! I wish she would learn the words but it will take some time.

She is just beginning to run. Which is difficult if you think about it. We chase her all over and she laughs! It is a fun game. I wish it were spring. I can't wait until this winter is over. I want to go to the parks and play outside and things but it is so cold out that we can't and it takes 10 minutes to dress Aja to go anywhere.

It became a law on the first of the year that babies have to ride in car-seats. Aja just loves hers. It is one that we pulled out of the garbage at Laurel Street. Randy and Bonita threw it out, all it needed was a head pad and fixing the pad going around the front. No problem. It works good too. Aja used it as a highchair for quite a while while she was prone to climb. Her highchair tray would rust her food because the paint had rubbed off, but recently we spray painted it and last night Aja and I gave it a bath and it looks really nice!

It has been difficult to record these early writings, Nineteen years old, still a baby myself.I am annoyed by my use of exclamation points! But I use - hyphens - all the - time - in my later writings - and still today. It is like the hyphen is my favorite key on the keyboard.

I am embarrassed by the way I speak of my daughter, how candidly I discuss being annoyed. I actually remember Aja's squeal. It did hurt my ears. High pitched or sudden noises frighten me and hurt me. That is an Asperger's thing. That doesn't excuse my lack of sympathy for my poor tiny daughter. It appears my Theory of Mind did not expand to include my baby's separateness from me.

I am embarrassed by my poverty. I am confused about the car-seat mention. I had a small gray car-seat when I brought Aja home from the hospital. Maybe I didn't have a larger one - a front facing one. I used duct tape to fix the head rest on the dumpster baby-seat. The highchair was given to me by my parents. They gave me my cradle, crib, highchair and rocking chair. They were all the same ones that I used. I had all second hand things. The ladies that I worked with at the Daycare Center threw me a shower and gave me their old baby clothes. I tie-dyed the stained t-shirts and onesies to hide the stains. They actually looked pretty cool. 

I worked at a Daycare in Stillwater. it was a special program where the state pays your wage, while the company benefits from your service. The purpose is to pay for your training in period - or up to a year - and then the company hires you. The daycare did not hire me when the year was up. They instead replaced me with a new employee. I never understood why. As I think of it now, I bet that I was not the best worker, nor was I the best daycare giver. I really am annoyed by small children. I hate how they jump around and ask a lot of questions and hang on you. I just want people around me to sit still and make noise only when necessary. 

I am very tolerant of my grandchildren though. I am much kinder to them than any other children. I tend to correct the behavior of children in public: scold at teens when they are acting up, chide whining children, ignore snotty toddlers. Although I have a much longer fuse when my grandchildren are concerned, I do still get annoyed by them at times. My husband and ianthe sometimes correct my behavior. I sometimes make the situation worse. Like grabbing toys away from Lil Miss Danger before she can grab it from her brother, stuff like that. I do things like that to the cats too, but the cats know to scratch or bite me to get away.

I see how awesome my youngest daughter ianthe is at being a mom. She was several years older before she decided to become a mother. She struggles with some of the same issues I have had, but she is so much more graceful than I am. She is such a nicer person than I ever was, than I ever am.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Teddy Bear's Picnic

October 24, 1981

Writing as a nineteen year old.

Aja just flipped over backwards off our bed. She seemed a little embarrassed, wishing she hadn't been so engrossed with her radio playing "Teddy Bears' Picnic" that she flipped off into the depths only to be saved by the pillows her mother placed in that very spot in case such a thing might happen.

Aja just happens to be almost ten months old but she seems both younger and older than that.

In the months that she has been here, she has progressed from a small being (father says "small and flopping around") to a little girl who talks (mama and dada and various other sounds of delight) and plays and has an attention span of a much older child.

Aja and her dad play together as if they were best buddies. Aja never gets angry but she always gets hurt some way: bump on the head or something like dad biting her finger, but usually nothing catastrophic.

December 19, 1981

Aja is certainly growing up. This summer she is going to have a little brother or sister. She loves babies so I hope she likes having a baby around.

Soon it will be Christmas and Aja will get over stimulated, cranky and tired. We didn't buy her many toys because we know all of the people who know her will buy her toys, toys, toys! Then aster Christmas, her birthday will arrive and my baby will be a whole year old! I don't believe it!

December 21, 1981

Today, Cris took me to see a movie called "Neighbors" starring John Belushi and Dan Akroid. It was strange. It was supposed to be a comedy - a screenplay written from a book of the same title. It was supposed to be about middle-class paranoia but I didn't really catch the point. It was pretty stupid but funny in a few spots. I think Lampoon does the best comedy. Anyways, it was nice going out with Cris and leaving Aja at Gramma's house. We were told she was very good.

Today Aja was playing outside at Grandpa Norm's house while dad was shoveling. She messed up her snowsuit - got it all full of mud so Gramma washed it tonight.

It sure doesn't seem like Christmas is 4 days away. Today Cris looked at the thermometer in Aja's room. It is between the window and the plastic. It was 110° F! It was only 29° outside, now that is solar heating! I wanted to open the window and let all the warm air in but the window doesn't open. Oh well.

December 22, 1981

I am sick today. I've been sick but today I really feel bad. I've been wearing my pajama's all day long. I couldn't sleep last night 'cause I was coughing.

Aja opened up another X-mas present from Grampa Bruce and M. It was a yellow bib with a bear on it. Cris went shopping for me downtown today. He also got me some cough syrup.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Thought on Art

Direct self-expression is never art. We cannot assert that the artist is really an artist because of strong emotionality or above-average sensitivity. The artist is an artist because of his special ability to recognize shapes intuitively, these being symbolic of his feelings. He intuitively recognizes in things a reference, they become for him a means to say the unutterable to express the unknowable. All art is in this sense symbolic art.

We cannot consciously form new symbols. Jung pointed out it is not possible to create a living symbol from known conscious connections. They then acquire no "charge" and contain nothing more than has consciously been put into them. The whole personality must resonate with it if we wish to be able to call as a symbol "living" and not merely the intellect which does not extend beyond signs.

Failure to introduce new symbols into art are not rare. They derive too much from the intellectual sphere, the primitive element was not included in them, this being just what is familiar to all people, from the collective unconsciousness.

Done! At the end of the journal I found a list of Art supplies I needed to get for class. I also found "Notes on Artistic Self-Expression" with a detailed list of different disorders, ironically Austism to Schizophrenia.

The next journal I am picking up is dated 1981 to 1986. My children's earliest years.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I still don't understand...

May 26, 1987

Many things have happened. I don't know what I wrote last time or when but I decided not to look back. I bought this book I think in January this year and now half way through the year I have bought another! Fancy that - my last book took me from September 1981 until December 1987 - most of Aja's life. Well it goes to show you what influence people have over the lives of others. Here's Phebe Hanson telling me to write. I resisted and the pressure was there, she never even was phased. She just was so calm. I write now because of this, because of her patience and understanding , because she is wonderful.

I have learned so much lately. I still don't understand the cause of the heaviness on my heart. I don't understand the weird dreams of killing the kids that I drew in my visual journal. The decapitated heads floating down the creek. The blown away faces on thin, small bodies, and more. I sense I must have dreamt more. I feel it right now, a heaviness on my heart. weighing me down, foreboding something. Who knows?

Driving down the highway on the way to Bayport on Saturday or was it Sunday, I thought of how if we were all to die here, not by nuclear means or anything, but if our civilization was to pass away now, gradually dwindle into nothing, and still survivors elsewhere, and our cities would become lost and overgrown. Highways would begin to crack and trees would crack them further and houses would be lost to one another by the trees and brush and it would be untouched until thousands of years from now people would rediscover this place and wonder about us. Tell stories. Write romantic books about our lives. Make assumptions such as we do about the importance of such things as peoples who lived eons and eons ago. Egyptians, Sumerians, Greeks, Mongolians, Aborigines, Mayans, everyone. It would be all wonderful to discover such a place but it is lost to us. We plunder and can not leave well enough alone. We cannot look and not plunder, to set aside some discoveries for the future inhabitants. It is so stupid that we don't even think about this sort of thing. This is another a priori of man (A priori knowledge or justification is independent of experience - I had to look it up. I am not sure what I meant when I used this term). That the idea of us looking into the future is inevitable because it has been done and we can do nothing to change this within us now.

June 3, 1987

Cris and I went to the library downtown today. I had never been there before. Cindy watched Harrison and ianthe so we could be free without children running around.

We both got a whole bunch of books. I got books on Love and addiction, Ed Gein the murderer, schizophrenia and tried to get a book on self-hypnosis but couldn't find one. That library was very larger. We went out to eat at the Lotus afterward. That was nice.

We seem to not be able to talk while eating. Weird problem. I think the television must be moved out of the kitchen to remedy the situation. We look at each other occasionally but we don't talk.

A few weeks of silence should help us learn to talk while eating again.

That's it. I'll try to move it tomorrow. I think everyone will go into shock. Oh my god! What about WKRP? Oh well, sacrifices, sacrifices!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I feel like a bitch

May 19, 1987

I feel like a bitch. I haven't done anything nice. All I do is yell. I am not getting enough sleep or rest. All I am doing is heavy duty house cleaning. Thinking about a house where nothing is extra - no extra - everything is useful - ha! not this house. I hate everything. Why do people need so many things just to survive? Why do we have all these objects around us when we use them only once or twice a year? It would be nice to have a tool shed that the whole world could share - just a couple of tools we rarely use like a plunger (take for instance) or maybe the scrubber (brush) - you know what I mean - corkscrew! ! ! It drives me NUTS! I work and work to make a room sparkling clean - but it is of no use. Cris was saying how corners suck - always corners and cracks - always dirty places where things get stuck - YUCK! "Wouldn't it be nice," he said, "To have a house made of sprayed concrete?" YES, it would.

Cleaning the bathroom pipes I kept wishing that they hadn't been painted. Everybody paints everything! People are always painting the woodwork and hinges and pipes and door knobs and electrical plate covers and windows and window latches and god you name it, they paint it! Even the bottom of the tub and sink! Help!

How about some honesty of materials - that's what I want - honest use of material. If you are going to have exposed pipes in the bathroom don't try to camouflage them - be honest - leave them be - to rust or whatever pipes do - sweat! That's what they do. I love sweaty pipes.

And, If you are going to use an outside door as an interior door - don't paint the glass windows! Give me a break. Funny that one side of our painted glass window door is broken.

What exactly is wrong with me? What is the cause of my mood? I do not know. Maybe it has to do with mixed feelings: being happy that school is over, yet knowing that I am less than welcome at home. I need to get away from here - just for everyone's sake. I do want to work but I feel I need a short time to relax after working at school so hard all semester. But on the other hand I feel Cris thinks the same way - now that I am done with school I can give him a break. It's like the weekend when we both think we deserve to sleep in.

I am going away with Halle, camping, I think, soon. We both would enjoy each other's company. We both need to get away. This will help my feelings of feeling unwanted. Then I will work for the summer. I just want to work part-time for some photo (?) related thing. I am confused as to what to do. That makes it really hard to just start looking for a job, not knowing where to begin to look.

I have been reading Memoirs from the House of the Dead - I know I mentioned this before- and it is near the middle of the book that Dostoevsky is talking about being in the hospital. He suddenly changed gears. I don't know what it was, but all of a sudden, he was no longer physically detached from the information. He let down his idea that someone else was writing the memoirs and let it come through shining. That it is he and that his experiences that he had in the prison camps made him the great writer that he is. That 10 years of human insight - insight into what is human - bare to the bones - the true human element and striving and desires and motivations. He had nothing to do but learn and devour information. I don't know how he survived such a life.

I wonder how I survived such a life as well. A young mother with a cheating, unloving husband and three very young children, living in a one bedroom duplex. Cris said that since welfare paid us money, we shouldn't work. I wanted to work, but had no idea about how to get a job. 

Reading Camus, Sartre and Dostoevsky was the led into my special interest of what it means to be human. I have been fascinated by humanity, probably driven by my own quest to figure myself out. My research has taken me from paleolithic art history, to study of early hominids, to how Homo sapiens differed from Neanderthals (Neanderthals had complex burial rituals and ritual hearth fires, whereas Homo sapiens are the only hominids that create art). I have studied and compared myths from different cultures and have drawn some conclusions of my own.

This entry exhibits the Aspergian trait of a limited emotional vocabulary. I am confused about the origins of my mood. I can be angry one minute, the next minute, calm and intellectual again. My feelings and emotions are directly related to the physical feelings in my body. As long as the adrenaline is surging through my body I am angry. When it dissipates, I am calm again as if nothing had happened.

To tell you the truth, I am relieved that there are only 3 more entries in this journal. I tire of it. It repeats the same complaints. I am exhausted repeating the same sorts of comments about such boring material. Painting pipes and windows, pretty exciting stuff!  ::rolls eyes::

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I am a rich man

May 14, 1987

Tomorrow is the last day of classes at MCAD before next fall - YEAH! I am very happy school is over. Summer I can do anything I want - just be me. Ahhhh RELIEF! I've been thinking about what I must do. I promised myself another journal (visual) that I must do certain things: exercise, read, work. I notice the state of the house - this also must be dealt with - DREAD - and a garage sale must happen soon. I want to do it all. I want to balance it all out. I should make a list of parceling out the things I wish to do so I don't burn out on any one thing.

Also it came to mind I must write in my journals - anything - I just have to write - write often and with passion - must learn all I can about myself this summer - and the only way to do that is to write my butt off.

My classes I preregistered for today seem interesting and I am pleased at the schedule - Tuesday and Friday only so I am free to work the other days.I am taking Photo one, Video one, Science of Behavior and a Chinese Art and Culture class. Good!

Bonita Wahl said I could help her at film in the Cities. High school students in July and early August four days a week - fun stuff. I can work for Halle and possibly Norman Anderson. I have a feeling he won't call me to work though so I am not waiting for him or anything. I want to write up a serious resume and cover letter and apply for some position - possibly just a stupid job somewhere.

I want to hurt my mind with writing - writing poetry and stories and just stuff.

I want to clean my house - sparkling clean - rid it of pests - no mice, no roaches - no excess!

I want to clean my body, no chemicals, exercise it - healthy.

I want to pick my brains - to know myself - inside and out. To be surprised at myself - to assure myself of my goodness - to feel whole and well. To gain control of myself. To be empowered. To be beautiful. To be well.

Reading "Memoirs from the House of the Dead" (Dostoevsky) and I am feeling horrid. I have a common cold. One thing that stands in my mind is this..."He wanted for nothing...lived like a rich man." I like this thought. It is true, you can live like a rich man if you do not desire what you cannot attain. If you do not feel sorry for yourself - you will be alright. Herb Grika said today that jealousy is when you react to something being taken from you, but envy is want for what you do not have. There is a supreme difference between the two. Envy can spur two people to action to attain what they do not have but if envy (and jealousy for that matter) are held in check then you arrive at the state where you live indeed as a rich man.

If you want not - or want not for anything - you are like a rich man - who is satisfied with his lot in life.

This journal entry seems pretty boring. I cringe reading it, remembering that I asked every one of my teachers for job leads. I had so little experience in the world. I asked the Art History professor if he had any work for me over the summer, he told me I could come clean his house. Yikes.

I understand now, 23 years later, that I was probably annoying them. One teacher, Herb Grika, openly despised me. He was the teacher that asked me what I wanted to do in life. When I answered that I wanted to teach at a college, he laughed at me. He said, "you should teach high school students". I think he was trying to tell me that I wasn't mature enough to teach at a university. I think he was trying to hurt my feelings. I actually left MCAD at the end of the Fall semester the following year as a result. Transferred to the University of Minnesota to get an Art Teaching degree and license. 

Teaching high school is a good and a bad fit for me. I like teenagers, but they react to "authority figures" warily. I yell at them, threaten them in cute ways, I am often misunderstood. I am abrasive and frightening. I am also very loved, many kids say I am their favorite teacher. I have a soft safe place in my heart for the awkward kids, the dark-siders, the emos, the special needs kids, the poor kids, the homeless kids, the native kids. I protect them. I watch them, help them with their schedules, advocate for them.

I believe that teaching is going to destroy me. I am a train wreck, running down the rails. I am an expert in my subject area, a leader in the district, and I hate my job. I hate it. I need a quiet place to work. I am looking at master's programs. I think Library and Information Science - with a focus on Digital Archiving. That sounds quiet doesn't it?

Friday, March 19, 2010

I don't know

May 5, 1987

I don't know. It is not April anymore. I am informed that there are only two weeks left of school - this week and then the next. Papers are due: one for Humanities, two for Composition, well one and a resume. My final film is due, and my gravity vehicle, my self-portrait also. That is all - if that isn't enough! I hope I can count on Cris for support during this week! I must work on my film tonight and tomorrow - also squeezing in enough time to draw a self-portrait. Tuesday night I must work on my gravity vehicle and Wednesday night is time to write a composition for Humanities. And squeeze one out for composition? and final film? EEK! Friday maybe that film is due? OH GOD! Well, study for Art History exam on the weekend and save work on vehicle for Monday night.

May 7, 1987

Well, I wrote my resume and cover letter. I blew off my self-portrait - only finished halfway. My vehicle is operable and survived one critique and will be decorated for the next. I wrote my paper for Humanities. Only one more to do for English. Will EDIT film tonight. I am having trouble doing what I want with it. I can do it tonight - sound also - I hope.

May 7, 1987

"10 things I learned at MCAD this year"
  1. That school is not real
  2. It is a great distraction
  3. Mothers are not as fun as single people
  4. I need 8-10 hours of sleep a night and rarely get it.
  5. I'd rather be home than anywhere else.
  6. Cris is a better homemaker than I am
  7. That I am totally unprepared for the future
  8. That I better get proficient at something soon because Cris has usurped my place
  9. That school is not a replacement for free-time.
  10. It's hard to be alone for only 14 minutes a day in transit.
Just like my current state of being, I am surprised by time. Things are planned and on calendars and everyone knows things are coming up, and yet I am surprised. Surprised by Thanksgiving! Halloween! When the heck is Easter? Who knows? If it isn't a day like any other, I am surprised. Routines, I like my routines.

The plans I make for myself go right into my google calendar and out of my mind. I have tiny pieces of paper in my purse and bag that may or may not be important. I have 223 unread emails in my in box. I never listen to my voice mail, at home or at work. I found this cryptic entry on my calendar...
... I was mystified for a week. What did I mean when I entered it on my calendar? I could not figure it out. Then, on Monday, my daughter Aja called, "Are you still going to drive me to the airport on Wednesday?" What a relief! That was it! 

My poor children. They would come home from school. I would ask, "Are you ready?" "For what?, they would ask. "We are going to Kansas, we have to leave in ten minutes...Or...We are going camping, hurry so we can get the tent up before the sun sets!" It seems that all my plans have always been in my head. I never share them, and often forget them. I have a place for everything and everything is all over the place. I bet this journal entry listing assignments due will be a rare thing as I go through my books. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Keep it simple

April 30, 1987

What I do and why...

A) I do not eat animals because there are peasants starving in South America because of rich Americans using all the fertile land to graze our cattle.

B) I recycle plastic bags because I know they never deteriorate.

C) I do not use unnecessary electrical appliances like hair dryers/food processors/blenders and the like.

D) I dry my clothes inside on wooden drying racks in the winter and outside on lines in the summer.

E) I teach my children that low tech and hand-made toys are more fun than glorified electric playthings - they agree.

F) I buy wild rice that I am assured is grown in Minnesota Not California because it protects the Indians livelihood.

G) I respect the environment. Do not litter. My children do not litter. I dispose of toxic chemicals safety or as directed on the containers say to do so.

H) The only thing I think I must change is that I throw away pop cans. I am distressed by my lack of enthusiasm when it comes to saving them.

Like a textbook Aspie, I believe the above is a writing prompt about what we believe and why. I guess I took it a bit too literally. Like many twenty year olds, I was extremely environmentally and socially conscious. I sewed my children's clothes, I spun wool and knit - but mostly toys - I never could finish a sweater. I shopped at my local coop - it is now the Mayday Cafe in Minneapolis. 

I was a vegetarian for 8 years. I suddenly threw out all the meat products that I had in the house after reading Diet for a Small Planet. At the time of this journal entry, I was at the near end of my vegetarianism. When I decided to eat meat again, I waited until the kids were in bed asleep, and then walked down to the corner cafe. I brought home an entire rack of ribs. I ate them all, sitting on the floor, gnawing on the bones. Yum. There is no way tofu or beans can replace a BBQ rack of ribs. I didn't get sick either.

I am amused by the statement that I don't like to use electrical appliances. I actually am FREAKED out by things that have motors. I like hand tools. I remember my sisters gave me a food processor for my birthday and my first thought was "Why would they give me this when I love to chop vegetables?" Now there is a great example of an undeveloped Theory of Mind. How could they know I liked chopping vegetables? I love slicing vegetables, and washing them, and preparing them. I have a zen-like attitude towards cooking. I love to cook - the process of cooking is calming. I cut my vegetables in perfect slices, even, uniform. I eat the mess ups - or throw them to my dog to eat. 

The whole idea that I was not using motorized items for some sort of Utopian ideal is ridiculous. I won't touch the lawn mower. I won't touch the snow blower. I will not touch the leaf blower. Motors scare me. My husband Anthony is supposed to cut the lawn when it gets long. He works a lot, and gets home late, so he rarely has the energy to mow on a weekday. He is pretty cute when he decides to mow. He has a routine he follows when he is going to mow. First he thinks of all the things he might need to buy, and then goes shopping. Then he puts on his mowing outfit, special yard shoes, shorts, yard gloves, hat and his ipod. He mows and bags the yard waste, even though he says he has a mulching blade - whatever that is. I stay inside and watch him, in case he runs himself over and loses a foot or something. He says there is a safety thing on it that will stop the blade if he lets go of the handle - but you can never be too certain around motors. /shiver

I have been mulching the yard. I was upset because the neighbor lady who mows like clockwork every third day was mowing our side yard. Maybe she did it to be nice - that's what Anthony said. I thought she was doing it to take our yard over - that happens sometimes doesn't it? When you care for someone's property without the owner telling you to back off? Well - that is what I thought she was doing. So when I got 7 trees cut down in my yard (they were dead - well 5 of them were...) I asked the tree guys to leave me the chips. I used a plat drawing to measure from the corner of the cul de sac to figure out where our property line was and erected some stakes. I tied some line to the stakes, then the neighbor came out. We discussed the property line and came to an agreement. I repositioned the lines. 

Then I put yard cloth over the carefully mowed grass and mulched it. All over. The whole side of the yard. All wood chipped. The next summer, I started planting flowers in the area. It looks great. I started mulching the rest of the yard too. The less Anthony mows, the more grass I am taking away. It is a silent yard war. I believe this must be another case of Theory of Mind, because I am not taking Anthony's opinion into account. I just dig up an area and make a garden without discussion. 

Keep it simple indeed. Maybe in my own mind it is simple, because I am singular minded.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


2. Make your own recovery the first priority in your life
I have done this in these means:
  • re-evaluated my goals and expectations for myself and am trying to achieve.
  • Asserted my wishes to work, now must follow through.
  • Am becoming more selfish - guarded about my time - not saying yes to people I don't care about.
  • Trying to accept criticism - especially when it hurts - because it probably is correct - try to change.
  • Eagerly am looking for ways of things that will help me, not others, for once!
3. Find a support group of peers who understand
  • Call: Psychologists
  • Look under "Human Services" community crisis hot line
4. Develop your spiritual side through daily practice
  • I would like to learn about hypnosis and yogi/meditation. I should get a book from the library on these subjects.
  • I have been using affirmations.
    • Sue, I love you and accept you exactly the way you are.
    • I am free of pain, anger and fear. I enjoy perfect peace and well-being.
    • I every aspect of my life, I am guided to my highest happiness and fulfillment
    • All problems and struggles now fade away: I am serene.
    • The perfect solution for every problem is now manifest. I am free and filled with light.
    • All things are possible through love. Love is working through me to heal me and strengthen me, to calm me to peace.
    • I release all the pain of the past and welcome the health, joy and success that are mine to claim.
5. Stop managing and controlling others

6. Learn not to get hooked into games
It is very hard not to do this. I want to help and shelter Cris. He recognizes this and stops me but I should stop myself.

Game #1
Cris: I do all the work (martyr).
Sue: I'll do it all next time.

Game #2
Cris: I don't want sex if you force me into it.
Sue: I will remember next time, but...

Game #3
Sue: Cris, get out of bed.
Cris: In a little while (falls back to sleep).
Sue: (Angry) Cris, Get Up!
Cris: (Angry) I will. Leave me alone.

Game #4
Cris: I am going out for awhile
Sue: I wish you'd stay with me.
Cris: I feel guilty.
Sue: Don't, go out, have fun.
See Sue? You can recognize the games. Now Stop Playing Them!
7. Courageously face your own problems and shortcomings

8. Cultivate whatever needs to be developed in yourself
Books to read:
  • Love and Addiction by Stanton Peele
  • Love and Limerance by Dorothy Tennov
  • The Art of Selfishness by David Seabury
  • The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity by Catherine Ponder
9. Become selfish

10. Share with others what you have experienced and learned

Characteristics of Relationally addicted Women
  • Obsessed with relationship
  • Denying the extent of the problem
  • Lying to cover what is happening in the relationship
  • Avoiding people to hide problems with relationship
  • Repeated attempts to control the relationship
  • Unexplained mood swings
  • Anger, depression, guilt
  • Resentment
  • Irrational acts
  • Violence
  • Accidents due to preoccupation
  • Self-hate of self-justification
  • Physical illness due to stress-related diseases
Characteristics of Recovery
  • Admitting helplessness to control disease
  • Ceasing to blame others for problems
  • Focusing on self, taking responsibility for own actions
  • Seeking help for recovery from peers
  • Beginning to deal with own feelings rather than avoiding them
  • Building a circle of well friends, healthy interests
Self-analysis by Karen Horney
Main characteristics
1. The neurotic need for

I like how my journal entry ends mid-sentence. I could laugh at this whole post if I wasn't so repulsed by it. This boring entry was obviously gleaned from a library book on being co-dependent. Just like my second blog entry , I am using my intellect to puzzle out my place in the world. This is a common Aspergian trait. Having to intellectualize "normal" behavior because it is not second nature to us.

One of my "special interests" was schizophrenia. I started researching it in junior high school after reading Sybil. I was fascinated by her mother's catatonic schizophrenia. I read every book in the library and then started devouring my dad's medical texts and journals.

After I had gotten the symptoms memorized, I began to practice. I liked to sit motionless downstairs on the couch staring at the small weaving hanging near the fireplace. I tried to sit as still as possible; blink as little as possible. I still can sit very still. I like to sit motionless, staring straight ahead, in fact, I amuse myself by sitting still for long periods.

My ability to mimic the symptoms of schizophrenia convinced a psychiatrist that I actually had the disease. As a teen, I was proud of that. It was proof that my research had paid off. As I became more involved with Cris, my inability to put myself in the mind of others caused me to "brag" about the diagnosis without explaining all the research that went into it. I don't believe that Cris really understood that I wasn't schizophrenic. He kept telling me I was insane. It was one of the ways he controlled me.

Since my Asperger's diagnosis, I realize that I don't see the forest because all the trees get in the way. I do not have a well developed Theory of Mind. I have only just started to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from mine. All the research I have done in my life never brought me the comfort that my Asperger's diagnosis has.

Throughout my twenties and mid-thirties, I was looking for a reason for why I felt so out of place in the world. In this entry, my new reason was co-dependency. The idea that I was co-dependent was comforting, while I read, and took notes. As a young mother of three, with a cheating, abusive husband, I was desperately trying to find the reason that I continued to stay with a philandering man. I didn't know my undiagnosed Asperger's was telling me to stay because I don't want anything to change.

Change is scary! I hate deviation from my routine. I am hesitant to make any changes. I consider getting together with friends to be a deviation from my schedule. Changes to my routine cause me to become exhausted. I am over-stimulated by being on-my-toes, monitoring my behavior, hoping I don't make too terrible a mistake.

My family has known me all my life, so they are not at all surprised by my ability to dominate a conversation. My family includes a couple other undiagnosed Aspergians, so we are pretty good at wrestling the conversation from one to the next without thinking about it as odd. My mom and dad had a rule when we were growing up that at the dinner table we could each speak in turn, the eldest (non-Aspergian), would go last. He could talk the tail off a brass monkey - he still can! My parents let him have all the time that was left after the five of us had had our say.

My husband's family however, has only known me for 12 years. So they are stunned when I railroad a conversation at a family gathering. I will sit in silence, staring at my plate, bored by their conversation until someone says something that interests me. I will look up and launch into a diatribe about subject, talking loudly over anyone who dare interrupt me or attempt to voice an opinion. I can see it happening. I cannot stop myself. I have the nicest in-laws ever. They love me even if I can bring a pleasant conversation to a standstill.

Since my diagnosis, my dear husband Anthony, has helped stop my overbearing conversational technique during family dinners. He helps me stop. He is my sea of calm. I love him so very much for the support he gives me.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


April 2, 1987

I've been going nuts lately, not wanting to talk or associate with anyone. Staring off into space, knowing something is wrong but not knowing just what. Sitting alone with strangers around feeling comfortable. Sitting in my car alone hiding so no one can see me. I just want to be alone.

Cris is always complaining about needing a break. That drives me nuts! I need the break. Just to be alone. Sitting, staring is what I want. I want to leave this world for awhile each day. The time I come home I need just a minute alone because I am so stressed out. I like to be home with Cris and the kids but it's the people all day, then hopping in the car and being home too soon. Everyone wants something too. Everybody wants something from me and now I am so drained. I need to replenish myself so I can become whole again. How can I keep giving after it's all gone?

I thought giving would create a vacuum, whereby I would draw things from others. Well how vacuous must I get before I get something, even just a grain, comes back to me? How come I can't be the one who says I need a break?

Just wanting to be alone: a classic Asperger's symptom. While reading Tony Attwood's book on Asperger's, this struck me as something I felt in the present. I didn't remember that I had always wanted to be alone. I need to be alone to recharge. I get so "peopled" out. Being a high school teacher is exhausting for me. Full classes of 20-36 kids shuffling in and around me - 5 sets a day. No wonder I am a nervous wreck! I have taught for 11 years. 

Five years ago, I cleared all my personal items out of the room. I was leaving, if I could, over the summer. I wanted to teach at an online school. I was shocked that I didn't get a call back for my perfectly conceived application. Then the urge to seek a different job came earlier and earlier in the following years: April, December, October, the second day of school this year - only 7 days before my diagnosis. Finally, it all made sense: the desire to escape; the sensory overload; the inappropriate behavior; the overwhelming sense of being out-of-control. 

I have tried many things this year to comfort myself in the classroom. I take an anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety medication. I have put all my curriculum online - including lectures - which I record earlier at home and then podcast. While, I have little direct contact with the kids, I am actually a pretty good teacher. If they need help, they come and ask. I am probably better one-on-one anyways. I try my best not to move about the room. When I do, I only end up saying something wildly inappropriate, or acting like a fool. I hate being a teacher as much as I love it. I love teaching, but I am not particularly excited about photography nor graphic design.

When I get home from school, I usually have 3 to 4 hours to unwind. I am the happiest when I am by myself. I love to be alone. In silence. No anxiety.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I stare at people

March 30, 1987

ianthe woke me up at 6:45 this morning. I popped up happily - which is unusual. She was hungry. She had fallen asleep before having supper last night. I gave her Cheerios; she didn't eat them until I changed her diaper. She ate all of them and drank lots of apple juice. She was thirsty, so was I. We drank together and smiled. She was very sleepy. I gave her a bottle of milk and put her back to bed at 7:05. I did the dishes - well half of the dishes for Cris - happily - to make his day more enjoyable. He let me wear his purple sweater. He woke up to say goodbye. He asked why I was so chipper this morning. Well, I felt good - good to see ianthe before the afternoon, good that Aja and Harris were too wiped out to wake up with her crying at 6:45 and too tired to wake with me putting her back in bed.

In class later, they went to watch a video. I couldn't take it. No more sitting in dark rooms. I sat up on the third floor thinking about the movie I will make soon. I leaned my head against the glass, looking down into the gallery at a guy with two girls. They looked weird, all foreshortened. When another guy joined them, he looked straight up, not with any purpose and saw me. We stared at each other maybe 30 seconds. I did not want to look away. I was doing nothing wrong. I thought it was pretty weird, only head and shoulders.

Being alone with ianthe, my youngest child, always brought a sense of calm to me. I chose her over Cris's wishes. He had asked me to think about aborting her when I told him I was pregnant. Immediately - within a split-second - I thought about it and the decision was made, "No", but he didn't ask about my thoughts until days later. He was furious. That was the end of my marriage - that choice - the right choice. He soon was coming home from school with drawings on his pants, decorated by Char, a woman who was "just a friend" he assured me. I was so sure he would not stray, when I suspected an affair, it was one of his male friends that I expected him to have strayed with. 

He had no interest in my pregnancy. He painted a violent painting called "The Fetus". He had no interest in naming the child. I chose ianthe, naming her after Richard Braughtigan's daughter. He said he hated it. I chose Tristine, naming her after Peter Davidson, the blond Dr. Who. He played Tristan in All Creatures Great and Small. Tristine is the female version of Tristan = child of sadness. Cris hated that too. I was defiant. He hated everything.

ianthe rarely moved when she was a fetus. I often thought she had died. Once a week, or so, she would move her elbow or knee slowly across the surface of my belly, announcing her presence. She was precious to me. I chose her. She was mine. Cris said he would not take me to the hospital. He told me to take a bus. I did not know what to do. I was plunged into a deep depression. 

When she was born, she just looked around. She was a silent child. She never cried. She just made small sounds. I did not speak to her. I only stared at her. ianthe communicated with small sounds and grunts. I thought she was deaf. I asked my dad (he was a doctor). He reassured me that nothing was wrong. I wanted to believe him.

She was sitting at 4-1/2 months, crawling at 5 months, walking at 7 months. She was a wiry, thin, tall, spider-monkey baby. I was so very depressed raising her, that I forgot to feed her solid food. I breast fed her first, and then thought, "Oh, I should try to give her food", but she wasn't hungry by then. Eventually, she was referred to the University of Minnesota, "Failure to Thrive", they said. They gave me suggestions for diet. Yet, she only ate bananas: banana rice cereal, banana oatmeal cereal, banana barley cereal, and bananas. I lovingly called her the Banana Pan.

ianthe was close to 3 before my sister Cindy agreed with me that she might be suffering from hearing loss. Cindy provided daycare for me while I worked a temp job altering men's suits at Dayton's. She noticed that she had to make eye contact with ianthe to get her attention. She had a very limited vocabulary. She said a few simple words and phrases, notably calling both Aja and Harrison "Aya", "Stop it", and "Bye, see you later".  I took her to the doctor for a hearing test. She had a congenital defect - both of her middle ears were filled with gunk - had been that way since she was in utero. They cleaned out her ears and put in some tubes while they healed. When I took her home, an airplane flew overhead. "Loud mama," ianthe said, startled, covering her ears. Poor baby. She has permanent hearing loss of both high and low ends of the frequency, but human voices are mid-tones, so she does alright.

I always spoiled ianthe. She had only me. She needed extra love. Cris would threaten to fight for custody of the children after our divorce - but he never meant ianthe, he meant only Aja and Harrison. He made it apparent that he wanted nothing to do with her. I am so sad that she knew that. How hard would that be growing up?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A forgotten page and a strange flat basket

I found this page 5 pages back in my journal...

March 26, 1987

Why is
this empty
sitting her in
my journal when
I tried so hard not
to leave any
loose ends lying

March 26, 1987

I am the stupid flat basket that you put under your paper plates in. My reeds are woven so that I cannot bend. They are loosely woven, you can see through me. I am hidden, forgotten. I was lost and now desired. I am precious and valuable, not materially but as a ghost, or as a gift. I am not transferred from hand to hand but I am kept and lost and returned only to be lost again.

I cannot see anything while I am lost. I have no awareness. Only when someone possesses me, do I become aware and can contribute myself. I am not used for my original purpose. Why am I flat? I do not know I must not retain much. I can only retain information while someone possesses me. When I am lost, I hold nothing and must be refilled when I am found again.

I am the gift of creativity. I am longed for but I cannot be aware. I must be found, for I am hidden beneath piles of mechanical rubble - the logic of today. I must be found and only found while those who seek me are not looking for me. I am not visible to those who look directly at me but only to those who let themselves be unaware as to give me awareness. Then I can enter them and become one with them.

I am not here to gratify grandiose desires but I am here to give those who are meek the creativity they so desire. I am elusive. I am not on call. I will not come when beckoned or sought. I do not wish to make those who seek me re-known. I want to stay close to the rubble so that I may be lost and found and lost and found as a wish for I am a gift, but I am not permanent.

Gifts must be given away but I am a gift in itself. The giver and the gift. I belong to Sue and only Sue. I am her own unique creativity. Right now a soldier seeks me with violence. He would kill to find me. That is why I am hiding. I will not come out under threat. Only when he is mulified and forgets that he is looking for me will I come out and in doing so, I will transform him into a prince. For awhile at least, before I am lost again. This is my way of life.

I have no idea what the heck this is about. Maybe it is a "free-association" writing for class. Maybe I was analyzing the strange crazy dream I had. I am not sure. It seems at first that I am talking about my tendency to become those who are around me. A basket that holds another person - thoughts - ideals. A basket that is nothing unless it is filled with another. 

But then I go veering off into the "I am creativity" stuff. What? Maybe that was the writing prompt. I was comforted when I went back to my original idea of being the giver of the gift. The basket that holds your burdens. That is who I am. That is who I became to survive. I am mother, provider of my children: Must Keep Them Alive. I am wife: Must Keep Husband Happy. I am never just me. Just Sue. I was never enough for myself. 

I was always uncomfortable in my own skin. I was always awkward. Clumsy Spaceship Sue - riding around in my head, behind my eyeballs - seriously - that is how I felt when I was an adolescent. How else could I explain my clumsiness? Why else would I purposely break my little finger on the brick wall outside the gym upon hearing we would be playing basketball for two weeks? Did that hurt? A little, but not as much as the humiliation of being picked last. I couldn't hold the ball, much less bounce it. I didn't understand the rules. A broken finger meant I could sit on the side and stare into space and be alone. Spaceship Sue. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tornados and Dreams

Haiku for Cell Animation

bring the trike downstairs
venture outside
to listen for trains

My dad and I
Looking forward to
our own destruction
in the storm clouds

March 21, 1987

A Dream

Heaps of garbage and junk my partner picks up a flat basket. A shot is fired from within this war zone. I run safe outside the door. The soldier finds me later in the complex. He is going to kill me. I tell him that I could find the basket, but I can't find it. Lisa makes some really good food for him and his friend. He turns out to be a prince. He talks to one of my important friends (the belly dancer? Halle?) While I chat to the poor soldier about what is happening.

This place is all corridors which have multiple levels, elevators which will take you not only vertically but horizontally. The lower levels are very open - sometimes the ceiling is 3-4 levels up, as you get higher, the ceiling gets lower. The doors open up onto different environments: sometimes outdoors, sometimes shell-shocked neighborhoods or gyms or locker rooms, wherever.

There is this house, all glass front. Someone is telling me about the family in it. The mother comes home from work. The children pour out of the wood work - about 30 kids or so. I'm told she is kind of a saint. I have them over for dinner at my place - a boiler room type of place within the complex.

While we are eating, discussing the prince soldier, the ceiling begins to drip tofu-custard-water. Cris and I are making love on a dirt floor in my room. The ceiling drips on my knee. I grab a towel as the ceiling drips over my legs. The family is trying to help. The saint woman funnels the goop into a machine which was present and I didn't know the purpose of. It moves the stuff all over and if you mix in tahini, it makes a good dish - umm - weird...

At the movies, I take the elevator down to the Hobbit. The guy who dropped out of school is the elevator man. He gives me the Pepsi challenge on the way down. It is a trick. There is no Pepsi, only Coke. Coke products litter the floor of the elevator which is now moving sideways. We laugh. I ask him something. He starts talking about hanging out. I ditch him when the elevator door opens.

I am sure everyone has strange dreams that mean nothing. I have never been one to analyze my dreams, merely being amazed or terrified by them. I do not know why I am recording dreams. They don't make any sense to me. 

The haiku, on the other hand, is significant. I was making a cell animation. Drawing each cell with India ink. The 60 second animation was about tornadoes when I was a child. I remember when there was a tornado siren, my siblings and I would pile downstairs with our things. We had a large basement. We brought our trikes in and roller skates. We drew chalk traffic lines on the red concrete floor, so we would not crash into each other, as long as we obeyed the rules of the road.

If dad was home, he took me outside. I remember standing beside him. He was fearless. We looked to the West. He described what the clouds would look like, "The sky will turn green." He described what we would hear, "Tornadoes sound like trains, listen." 

I am convinced that my father was an Aspergian, like me. He died several years ago, so I can't be sure, only conjecture. He was a doctor. He had special interests: calculus, geology, photography, woodworking. He relied on my mother to tell him when it was time to leave a social function. He didn't have a lot of friends, the men he did associate with were husbands of my mother's friends, or they were people that he had went to school with at the U of MN. He was intensly interested in family. He wanted to keep us close. We were very loved, but I am not sure he ever told us.

Friday, March 12, 2010

This Stone is a Woman

February 14, 1987

This stone is a woman. I can see her delicate features her chin and nose, perfectly shaped head, long neck, wonderfully curved breasts. She has been formed of the earth and water, yet remains, rising above the massive weight of the past and into the unknown future. She has the past to turn to for help when she needs it. Her life was built upon the lives of others before her. They imparted in her the gift of life, of hope and love. She is alone yet there is no fear. She is ready to face the vast emptiness of the future before her. She has grown of this mass. She struggles to be free of it yet she never will. The past is always there, someday she will turn and face it.

February 16, 1987

How do I feel today...

I feel like a skeleton in death thralls. Contorted red pelvic area, where life began, must be where life would end last. Pelvic bones, skeletons, smaller bones for male, larger, wider for women, make room for the babies.

Chris (not Cris - this is a classmate I am speaking about) stole my Mr. Buffalo. He's bugging me, sitting against the wall - not writing - making me laugh. Doing Mr. Buffalo tricks reminding me of playing pigs: snouter, oinker...

General comments fly, "She's Hawaiian."
I say, "Who cares?"
Phebe Hanson says, "All Hawaiians are Americans."
Jimmy says, "She's a Communist."
I say, "She's Catholic."
Jimmy says, "She's an Existentialist."

Who Bloody Cares? Labels, Labels, Why all the Distinctions?

I have, all my life, carried around small trinkets, usually animals. Now-a-days, I have cats. I have real cats - four of them: Nivek, Gaz and Gir, and Sammie - but I don't carry them around - I have stuffed cats to carry around and squeeze. I take "Mrs. Norris" to the hospital with me. My husband, Anthony, will bring him to me unbidden with my toothbrush because he loves me. He knows I love my cats. Mrs. Norris is a weird gray cat that looks like a little old man. I talk to him when I am alone in the room - give him "airplane" rides on my feet. Nurses give me an odd look if they walk in on me playing. It never occurred to me before my diagnosis that this was uncommon behavior. I thought everyone played when they were alone.

I lived with Eeyore in my early childhood. My grandmother had sewn him for me out of a pale yellow lingerie fabric. I loved that donkey. His tail was held on by a button. By the time I was five years old, my mother had grown tired of sewing the button back on. She taught me how to thread the needle. She taught me how to tie a knot. She taught me to catch the knot in the fabric before I began. She taught me how to catch the fabric and move the needle through the button holes, back into the fabric, around, around. She taught me to tie off the thread. I sat in my little rocking chair and sewed. I sewed that button back on, sometimes more than once a day, sometimes even more than that! I attribute my sewing skills to that little donkey. 

Soon Eeyore was so filthy that my mother could stand him no longer. She took it away, maybe I was asleep, maybe at school. I think I was six or seven. I went into a deep mourning period. I was filled with such a deep sadness it was paralyzing. I remember singing a sad song with many verses about a pony. The chorus went like this...
My pony is lost to me, to me.
My pony is lost to me. 
He ran away one day, one day.
My pony is lost to me.
I think my parents realized I was not going to give up looking for my donkey. Where could he possibly be? Then suddenly, I found him! The "Easter Bunny" had left Eeyore under the cover for the typewriter. I was reunited and happy again, until Eeyore disappeared again in the same way a couple of months later. I was once again plunged into despair. I looked and looked for him. He must be hidden somewhere. I had found him once before...

When I was 10, my mother asked grandma for the pattern. Even though years had passed, I had continued to ask where Eeyore was on a regular basis. It must have driven her crazy. She sewed me a new Eeyore. He had gray fur and a black mane and hair on his tail. He had beautiful sad eyes. I danced with him in circles, in the backyard. I held him by his front legs and sang him a song. A song of rejoicing, of wonder, of joy at his rebirth.
Eeyore, Reborn!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cris is gone on Vacation

I skipped these entries earlier because I was ashamed. I refuse to be ashamed for my lack of understanding when I was a twenty-something. I remember looking out the window, with my children - they were just babies - the oldest not even in kindergarten - pointing at the people waiting at the bus stop. I told them, "Look at them! Mindlessly going about their lives on auto-pilot, never once thinking about what their place in the world really is. They just follow the expectations set before them. Sad little people." 

I never was a very nice person, I still am not. I have a sense of superiority. I look down upon, and judge people unfairly. I am quick to criticize. I am quick to anger. At the same time - and I have heard this about women/girls with Asperger's - I am very emotional. I cry easily now. I don't think I was quite so prone to tears as revenge as a young mother. I was evil. I enjoyed the fact that lies tripped easily off my tongue. I lie still, as easily. 

I skipped these entries earlier because I wanted to portray myself as a victim. I played almost (or just) as large a part in my troubles as my emotionally-vampiric adulterous husband did. I should write all the entries - and let you be the judge...

January 4, 1987

Cris is gone for the good part of two weeks - or maybe a week - or at least 10 days. I will miss him, but I am looking forward to his vacation.  It will be a good opportunity for me to get done some things that need doing. I need to take charge of my life - to go to the post office with Harris and ianthe while Aja is at school - mail all my letters and things like that...

I worked for Halle last week and made $56.00! I feel pretty good about it. I feel like taking out my machine and sewing somethings for Cris while he is gone to surprise him when he comes home.

I haven't bitten my nails for a few days and they already look pretty good. I wish to continue not biting them - self-control I need you right now.

"Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?" - Voltaire

"The man who rows the boat generally doesn't have time to rock it."

January 4th is my oldest daughter's birthday. It seems that Cris decided to go away on the day Aja turned six, I can't remember if he left the day before, or after the cake. Was he actually "on vacation"? No, he was staying with another woman. I knew that. I tried to pretend that it didn't matter. I told him I would do anything, just as long as he didn't leave me.

February 2, 1987

Not much to say, I feel a bit depressed, I don't want to talk about groundhog day or candle mass day. I have lots of work to do - I must work and read and go to school. It seems endless - too much.

Cris is wonderful. He is so smooth like chalky butterscotch. His hair grows from his body delicately from each pore - the same color as his chalky skin. Matte features and skin. Wonderful. He is so fun and nice to be with of late. He is fun to joke and laugh with. I'm not feeling as inferior with  him anymore either. Remember Sue to work on self-control and build up your self-esteem or confidence. Someday I will be a confident woman.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


January 27, 1987

I used to look for stones as a child. Dig them from the asphalt if I thought they might warrant a rescue attempt. My parents had a rock path that curved from the backyard along the side to the front yard. The backyard path had small sharp stones that we would pile up on our laps to feel the warmth of them. They hurt to walk on occasionally but the front yard path had larger, smoother stones. Round and smooth mostly. Although the backyard had a few hidden agates and a multitude of quartz, the front path had mostly granite and hard black stones which always eluded a name. Some rocks were sandstones and limestone which we would hunt up to make a hopscotch board on the sidewalk - other specially selected stones served as our markers to throw. We would look for flat stones that would rest and not roll when thrown.

Odilon Redon "Ophelia"
I am drawn to the painting called Ophelia. It is beautiful and daintily painted in muted colors. It was painted in 1905-06, oil on paper, mounted on board. It seems to be a dream that Redon painted. He must have worked in a dimly lit studio and danced while he painted. Ophelia looks down. She appears to be in love. She is in the lower half of the painting. She is cut off mid-waist. The dress below her breasts loses focus. She is wearing a blue dress over a white under-dress it is falling from her right shoulder. The white dress appears trimmed by lace. Ophelia has long blond hair falling behind her left shoulder and in front of her right as she is leaning towards and shyly down in profile.

She has a ring of delicate flowers in her hair. In the background it appears to be a vague landscape. Reddish tones to her left and cooler greenish tones to her right. Yellow and red flowers behind her body and an abstract tree limb - very thin rises from the slope of her shoulder and titled head to the top of the painting, the sky to the left of the branch is grey-ish blue, while the right hand sky is a peachy-green color blending orange at the midpoint of the painting near Ophelia's face reminding me of autumn.

The title, Ophelia, gives the work - or rather reinforces the mystical, mythical beauty of the piece. Upon walking towards this painting, I was distinctly satisfied by the title. Ophelia seems to be of another century - possibly the 16th century. A worker, or servant, well dressed but not splendidly.

Ophelia appears to be awaiting (or possibly seducing) her lover. She at times looks a little sad and forlorn - maybe he is never going to show up.

The lines that Redon used in his painting of Ophelia are delicate and pliable. They are softly and irregularly placed about her outline and dress. Small bits of color brighten up the composition - small, thin, areas of excitement within a soft and subtle painting. The blending of the oil colors helps give me a sense of peace. Had they been used without blending, placed side by side, the feeling would have been totally different. Ophelia seems to be outside - the light having a blueish tint to it, it must be during the middle of the day in the shade of the woods.

The composition seems flattened. She does not seem to be out in the open. This adds to the cozy feeling of the painting. Very few cast shadows are present - Redon used shading on the contours of her dress - her armpits, and behind her neck on her left where her hair is falling. This shadowless-ness increases the feeling of her being in a shaded area.

Although I say she looks as if she is in the shade - she appears well lit and the picture is bright, if not a bit muted, not quite pastel. The color of her hair and skin are very much the same - reminding me of warm butterscotch but chalky.

We seem to be on the same eye level - Ophelia and I. She does not appear as much as a goddess or villian. She is someone we can relate to. I want to know her.

Both of these entries are from school. The first a writing prompt. The second an analysis of a piece from the visiting exhibit at the Minneapolis Art Institute. I find it remarkable that one day, I could be in a physical fight with Cris, and the next day, calm and relaxed. 

My feelings have always been short lived. I feel "calm" as my default when I am alone, or in a comfortable place. The week before I was diagnosed with Asperger's, I made a Mood-a-Meter in my classroom to visually represent my state of mind (because students are often afraid of me at first). I have my "normal daily moods" Calm-ish, Manic, Tense, Nauseous, Snappy, and Irate. On the fringes, some less common moods - on the calm side: Numb, Hopeless, and Despair; on the irate side: Crazy-eyed-Serious and the least common of all Dangerous. My students kept asking me, "Where is your Happy?" I was confused, "Calm-ish of course, aren't you happy when you are calm?"  After my diagnosis I realized why I had no "Happy". I have a limited emotional "vocabulary". It had never occurred to me that I felt anything different than those around me. I have since realized that I actually FEEL emotions - I mean I physically feel them - as a sensation. I feel the adrenaline released from my pancreas, I feel hormones secrete from my thyroid. Do you "feel" your emotions? or are they more intellectual? I bet you never thought about it before.